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Susan Adcox

Susan's Grandparents Blog

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Goodbye to the Blog, But Not to Me

Saturday May 31, 2014

Even a grandparenting site needs an occasional facelift. Soon you will see a fresher, more contemporary design on this page. (To get an idea what it will look like, check out the About.com home page.)

When the redesign of this page goes live, you may notice that my blog is missing. Instead you will see in-depth pieces about topics of interest to grandparents. Now this is nothing new. I've been writing these longer articles ever since I've been with About.com. If you clicked on a link in my blog, it usually took you to a longer article. Now, however, there will be no blog.

I've loved being a blogger. It's been fun to share little bits of my personal life and some of my sense of humor. Some of that will make its way into my longer articles, and it will certainly be on display on my Facebook page, my Twitter account and my Google+ posts. If you haven't connected with me on those venues, click the links below. By the way, if you've been frustrated with your Facebook feed, if you will click "follow" as well as "like," my posts should show up on your wall. But the most important thing you can do to stay in touch is to bookmark the Grandparents home page and stop by often.

My most popular blog posts will still live on my site and come up in search, complete with the comments that my faithful readers made. But the blog posts that were written in connection with a current event or others not of lasting interest will disappear.

I'm excited about the redesign, but we have already had a few bumps in the road, and there may be more. If a picture doesn't display properly or a headline looks funky, don't give up on us. We'll have everything looking pretty just as soon as possible.

Grand Photo of the Week: A Great Ride

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Grandson on Riding Toy

I wanted a super cute picture for today, and I think you'll agree that I found it. Isn't this picture of a friend's grandson adorable?

I wanted a special image because this will be the very last Grand Photo of the Week. About.com is launching a redesigned site that will no longer include blogs. I'll still be here, but I'll be concentrating on long articles instead of blog posts. Please keep stopping by to see what's new in the world of grandparenting, and to see my new site when it appears in all of its glory. We can still chat on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  You can sign up for my newsletter, too. Just click one of the links below.

I loved blogging, and I loved the comments from my faithful readers. (You know who you are!) Unfortunately, blog comments have already been turned off, so you won't be able to comment on this picture. But I know you like it as much as I do.

Photo @ J. Nichols

Grand Photo of the Week: Time Flies

Tuesday May 27, 2014

beautiful granddaughter playing in the park.

It's been almost six years since I published my first Wednesday photo. At first I used the Wordless Wednesday label, but since I've never been able to be truly wordless, I switched to the title Grand Photo of the Week. I used to save all my Wednesday photos to this photo gallery, but I exceeded its capacity long ago.

My second Wednesday photo was this one shown below of my youngest granddaughter sneaking a snack. Above is the little snackster as she appears today.

sneaking a snack

Time flies.

The Way Families Look Today

Monday May 19, 2014

Adoption_Jutta_Klee.jpgScientists have discovered that humans have a fairly sophisticated ability to detect family resemblances, even when the individuals are of different ages and genders, according to this piece in Science Daily. This ability could be a survival mechanism left over from the days when deciding whether to protect or attack was of vital importance.

Today families are much more likely to contain individuals who may not look much like the rest of us. Grandparents may have adopted grandchildren and foster grandchildren. Children dealing with infertility issues may use sperm or egg donors.

Grandparents whose grandchildren don't look like them don't get to spend hours discussing whether Junior got his mother's nose or his grandfather's. But that's a minor consideration against the major blessing of having grandchildren. Also, families are often amazed at how many family traits their non-biological children exhibit. There's a lot more to being a family than the passing of genes.

Photo © Jutta Klee | Getty

Multigenerational Vacations: How to Work It

Thursday May 15, 2014

Multigenerational_Vacation_Martin_Barraud.jpgMy husband and I love to vacation with our kids and grandkids. Sure, our trips are sometimes a bit chaotic, and occasionally we have a conflict. Still, we've created many memories, and we're already planning for at least one multigenerational vacation this summer. That's why I'm shocked when I hear or see comments such as these:

  • "I'd rather have a root canal."
  • "I can't even eat dinner with my family without a fight."
  • "Better take lots of alcohol."

Here's my take on the subject: I don't want to travel with anyone, related or not related, who is selfish. If you can't compromise, you're likely to make a lousy traveling companion.

In my article about managing multigenerational vacations, I mention that we follow the philosophy that everyone gets to do some of what they want to do. The key word is "some." If the grandkids want to hit the swimming pool and then order pizza, chances are that they'll get to do that at least once. If the grown-ups want a nice dinner out without the children, that can usually be arranged as well. Everyone gets some of what they want, but no one calls all the shots.

How does your family manage multigenerational travel, or do you fall into the rather-have-a-root-canal camp?

New Roles for Grandmother: Bridesmaid, Flower Girl

Saturday May 10, 2014

Grandparents dream of sharing the joy of a grandchild's wedding.The generation that has turned wedding traditions upside down has another idea that grandparents may (or may not!) approve of: grandparents in the wedding party.

The New York Times reports that some modern brides are tapping their grandmothers as attendants. One innovative couple, lacking family members of the right age to be flower girls, asked two grandmothers to serve that function.

You'll love the photograph of the two grandmothers tossing petals and hops as they come down the aisle. (Yes, hops are trending in wedding floral designs, a nod to the interest in craft beers.)

I do hope to witness a few grandchild weddings, but I don't want to be part of the wedding party, especially not as an attendant. I can't see my old face mixed in with all those beautiful young ones.

I've known a number of men who asked their fathers to serve as their best men, and somehow that doesn't seem as grating. But at a grandchild's wedding, all I really want is a front row seat.

How about you?

Grand Photo of the Week: Connected

Tuesday May 6, 2014

grandchildren connected with cell phone

If you have teenage grandchildren, scenes like this one are probably familiar to you. A teen grandchild without a phone in hand is an anomaly.

Do you fight it or join them? Technology offers plenty of opportunities to connect with grandchildren. You can FaceTime or Skype. You can connect on Facebook or explore those other social networking sites that your grandchildren are probably using instead of Facebook. You can play games together or bond over a hot TV series.

Or not. Some grandparents still prefer low-tech activities, such camping, playing cards or baking cookies. When we talk, we prefer doing so in real time.

To which camp do you belong? And do you believe there is any future in resisting technology? Leave a comment below.

Photo © S. Adcox

Books With Positive Pictures of Aging

Monday May 5, 2014

Portray women as second-class citizens, and you risk a tempest that won't stay in the teapot. Buy into stereotypes about ethnic groups or the differently abled, and you'll be run out of town on a rail. Portray grandparents as doddering grayhairs out of touch with the times, and you'll probably get a few snickers and not much outrage. Unless your audience includes Lindsey McDivitt.

McDivitt says that she is "passionate about tackling the issue of ageism, particularly where we are teaching those negative attitudes to children." Her contribution to the cause is A is for Aging, B is for Books, described as "a blog about positive images of aging in children's literature."

McDivitt will not review books that employ age stereotypes to create humor or those with illustrations that portray older people as "funny or freaky or frumpy or foolish." In addition, she passes on depictions of older adults as lonely, sick or forgetful. She acknowledges that books in the last category may have their uses, but her passion is demonstrating the diversity and heterogeneity of the older population.

"A is for Aging" is a delightful place to stop if you are looking for books for grandchildren and even if you are not. McDivitt doesn't just review books. She also links to current research and suggests topics for discussion. I've included McDivitt's site in my list of grandparenting blogs even though she's not yet a grandparent, because she is a wonderful advocate for us.

To the A for Aging and the B for Books, McDivitt hopes to add a C. It stands for Change.

Have Housekeeping Standards Changed With Time?

Sunday May 4, 2014

Grandchildren can make some big messes at their grandparents' houses.When I was a young married, women were judged by the quality of their housekeeping, and many of them were overachievers. Their tubs appeared never to have been used for the purpose of bathing. They spent hours waxing and buffing their floors. Their baseboards were scrubbed. Their door knobs were polished.

Let me pause and say three things. First, most mothers did not work outside the home. Second, bad housekeepers did exist. Third, even good housekeepers occasionally let things get out of hand (although they were mightily embarrassed when it happened).

Having grown up in that era, some grandparents are a little put off by the state of the houses that their grandchildren live in. That is true of this grandparent who sent me an email asking advice about her grandchildren who are living in a dirty house.

This is another example of an issue over which grandparents have little or no control and one in which speaking up can harm relationships. Unless you are willing to pay for household help, it's better to remain quiet and to remember that the quality of parenting your grandchildren receive is much more important than the state of their houses.

Have you noticed generational differences in housekeeping practices? Leave a comment below.

Photo © K. Hatt | Getty

Even Cooking Fails Can Be Memorable

Monday April 28, 2014

cooking with grandchildrenOne more insight from my recent family reunion. As the women in the family were recalling my mother-in-law, we realized that many of our memories involved preparing meals in her kitchen.

Today when my family members are coming over, I do much of the meal prep ahead of time. My goal is a stress-free meal and more time to spend with the family when they arrive. But perhaps I'm depriving my family of something more important: the chance to make their own food-prep memories with me. Yes, making meals together can be hectic, but perhaps that's what makes those experiences unique. Several of the memories we shared at the reunion involved cooking fails, including my own memory of whipping the cream into butter the first time I helped out in my mother-in-law's kitchen.

Every Thanksgiving my second daughter wakes up early and leaves her sleeping family to help me crumble cornbread for the dressing, chop onions and make fruit salad. I thought she was just being helpful, but now I see that's there's something else going on.

My new resolution is to involve my grandchildren more in food preparation -- the boys as well as the girls, and the ones who aren't interested as well as the ones who like to cook. We're going to make some memories of our own. If we end up with butter instead of whipped cream? Well, there are worse things.

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