Category Archives: Guest Posts

Working mother + granny nanny = love fest {guest post}

written by Collinus Newsome Hutt

My mother?  A Granny Nanny?

Lord, every time I see my mother interact with my children, I laugh.  It’s funny to me.  Really funny.

This 69-year-old recently divorced mother of six children is my granny nanny.  And she is good at it too!

I remember when I told her I was pregnant with grand girl number one.  She was so happy for me.  She stood by me through some of the worst nine-month, all-day sickness ever and answered all of my silly pregnancy questions (even though her last pregnancy turned up not one baby but two, 30 something years ago).  After walking with me through one of the most traumatic births in the history of giving birth, my mother took one look at grand girl number one and was hooked.

Once Gracie was born, I knew my mother wasn’t going to just let “anybody” watch her grandbaby while I worked.  She teased and tormented me for a while, “and don’t come asking me to baby sit.”  She is currently the granny nanny to grand girl number three and complains every day about how tired she is of watching my kids and that; “I better not have any more because I am getting to old for this shit.”  I don’t even listen.  My kids adore their granny nanny.  They do.  Heck, I love her so much that I named grand girl number three after her.

What I love about my granny nanny, aka my mom, is that she is kind, compassionate and is an extension of me.  She is.  She doesn’t think twice about what to do, and I love that about her too.  She gives grand-girls the time and attention she deserves and is great at affirming them and chiding them when she needs to as well.

When granny nanny says, “rub a little bit of castor oil on her feet and it will draw that cold outta her” I don’t say anything.  I go find a store that still sells castor oil and rub it on which ever grand girl is sick and make an appointment with a doctor, just in case.  When granny nanny sends me home with not the third batch of collard greens but the fifth batch, I don’t complain.  She says, “them girls sho’ do love my collard greens.”  And they do, fat back and all.  That goes for anything granny nanny cooks…”Granny is a waaaayyy better cook than you are mom.

So, here’s to all the granny nanny’s in the world.  Because of my mother’s self-less example, when my girls start having babies, I won’t think twice about being a granny nanny.  Best job in the world.

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Collinus Newsome Hutt is the mother of three beautiful girls and the wife of one man (although she could totally be married to Denzel Washington too, no questions asked).  Collinus is a committed educator and spends her time teaching pre-service teachers the ins and outs of teaching and learning.  She also blogs occasionally, when she has the time, about the pitfalls of education and anything else that bothers her.  You can find out what she is up to at The Great School Project.

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Father’s Day 2011 {reflections from my hubby}

Written by Tahllee

As we approach another Father’s day… reminded by the marketing engine that is alive and well – despite the development of advanced remotes that allow one to fast forward… I reflect on being a Father in the multigenerational home.

For me the multigenerational home brings freedom and a new level of being content.  Our arrangement really makes it easier to juggle all the demands and desires that I have in my life.

It is an opportunity that provides special moments, expanded knowledge and understanding of the world, new discussion topics, reminders of moments from my childhood that I had forgotten, increased awareness of diverse perspectives, and evolution of relationships.

The years continue to zoom by with valuable life lessons experienced at an accelerated pace.  My relationship with my wife, with my kids, with my mother have all benefited from the opportunities and challenges of life in the multigenerational house.

Years ago, before we were a multigenerational home, I remember reflecting at that time that I had not done a great job that year.  My balancing act was off.  I spent too much time at the office and too much mental energy trying to solve work related challenges.

I had judged myself and was failing in what really matters.

I always had choices but I was allowing the perceived reality and perceived importance of my current projects to control too much of my life.

Now that I am older and what I believe is wiser, I try to control less, put my energy were it matters, and give more. I pass on opportunities that might seem important but at a more core belief – will just serve as yet another distraction.

Multigenerational living teaches us to slow down and enjoy today while not forgetting the future.  We have constant reminders and motivation to balance these aspects of life.

Live with a plan, but have enough flexibility for life.  Giving, receiving, caring and sharing are important for all families but are especially important in the multigenerational house.

***

What is my favorite thing to do for Father’s Day?

Grill something tasty without it being a competition, go camping with the family, see a great baseball game at Coors Field (go Rockies) – or all the above.

What do I want for Father’s Day this year?

To have the ones that I love know how special they are and that I love them.

Do what is important in life – don’t get distracted by the unimportant – and celebrate our small successes and victories!

Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

***

Tahllee is the father of two kids and has been married to Kanesha since 1998. He is a research scientist in the aerospace industry and values a good work-life balance.  He also lived in a multigenerational household while growing up.

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Living with my in-laws {guest post}

Reflection of 2 years of living with the in-laws, Mike’s parents

written by Jenny Hoffman

A few years ago life was changing for my husband and me in many ways; Mike finally found a job as an attorney after two years of searching.  Life was looking up.

We were living with my sister and were so ready to finally have a place of our own – so apartment hunting we went.  To our dismay we could not find anything that we could afford that was safe.  Unfortunately, Mike’s new job did not pay well and we were in debt, so after looking at many places that scared the living daylights out of me, Mike and I decided to have a chat with his parents to see if there was anyway we could move in with them.

We had previously lived with his parents for a year when we were first married.  We knew what we were getting into and thought of this as a way to save money toward buying their house when they retired in a few years.

His parents were great and welcomed us with open arms, so 2 years ago, in April, we moved into their basement. I cried, not sure if I wanted to do this again but was not sure what else to do. I also was not sure how I would survive this. Me, all my things, my pets, and Mike – and Mike’s things moved into the basement.

Living with your in-laws can be extremely tough. You can’t escape on holidays when you live in the basement. You learn more about the family than you may ever want to know…for instance, what your mother in-law wears to bed at night, or someone watching you when you don’t want to be watched, like the day you decide you want M&Ms and popcorn for breakfast.

Yet, it is also one of the greatest things I ever did for myself and my relationship with the in-laws. I got to know the real them as they did with me.  There is almost always someone to hug you when you need it the most, you can borrow a cup of sugar when you need it, and most of all there is always someone there making sure you are okay.

The last two years have been tough for my family.  My mom went through treatment for cancer, my dad had heart surgery, we were in the process of adopting a baby when the mom changed her mind, and Mike lost his job in December of this past year.  Without the in-laws I’m not sure how I would of gotten through all of this. I needed to have someone there for me when I was too hurt and exhausted to say I needed help.

My only advice if you choose to live with your the in-laws is set rules. For example, I do laundry on Mondays, I shower at night, and I will never go to their bedroom without yelling up the stairs as I go up there.  These are the things that help keep your sanity. You know when you can do things and you don’t see what you don’t want to see.   It takes time and patience to live with the in-laws, it can be extremely frustrating at times, but living with anyone can be.  Please, I know I’m not perfect.

My only regret of living with my in-laws comes from Mike’s siblings.  That is where the trouble lies…family members that do not live there currently – but have grown up where you are now living.

One of Mike’s siblings loved that I lived there.  I could help with the lawn and snow shoveling so she did not have to worry about her parents.  She knew that her parents were okay; someone was there to make sure they were taken care of.  The other two were an entirely different story.   They found it pathetic that I lived there, did not respect that it was my home, and felt they had rights to all that was in the house -  including our things.  They did not understand why we would be upset if they came over unannounced late at night when the in-laws were out of town.  They grew up there and in their minds they believed that they had the right to be over whenever they wanted to be.

Mike and I moved into our new home last week, and I am thrilled to be in my new home. And I am thrilled that Mike found a great new job.

I love the freedom my family has but I miss my in-laws.  I am currently not speaking to the two siblings; they hurt me beyond belief a week before our big move.  I know time will heal the wounds, but most of all I am hurt that they can’t understand how the Hoffman house was a home to me and will always hold a piece of my heart.  No, I did not grow up there, but I did live there and I did call it my home.

The in-laws have always been there for me and as life continues to change for us, I am so grateful that I have them in our lives.  I am grateful I have lived with them.  I understand Mike so much better because of this; he is a product of his upbringing and I know now what that really means.  Family is one of the greatest things in this world, and when you show love and respect almost anything is truly possible, even living with your in-laws

***

Jenny Hoffman is a wife & embroidery artist who lives in Hayward, Wisconsin.  Jenny enjoys fashion, shopping for vintage items – especially linens, spending time with her husband, two cats & dog, and most of all just trying to make the world a more beautiful place.  She believes with her whole heart that if you put love out into the world, love will come back to you in ways too numerous to count. It just sometimes take longer than you would like.

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Memorial Day {My mother-in-law’s memories of loved ones}

Written by Kanesha’s mother-in-law.

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Memorial Day

To Re-Mind.  To bring to the thoughts and heart again.  Remember.  To walk between the rows of headstones.  In an instant they become more than names carved into the rock.  They are words, smiles, laughter etc etc etc.

Sarah, grandmother. A farm woman, who milked her last cow by hand into her 80’s.  Who let her grandkids play in her jewelry box.  (I have her biggest, gaudiest pink earrings.)  She taught me to sew on a machine with foot power.  According to my dad, she was the easiest person in the world to get along with.

Bill, maternal grandfather. A quiet man who did his best to destroy the weeds in his corn and bean fields.  He had a row of snuff cans on the window ledge by the kitchen sink.  He was seldom generous but when he was, it over the top.

Bill, paternal grandfather. He retired from farming and lived in town across the street from the park.  I loved to ride in the front seat of his 58 blue Plymouth.  I am thrilled when I can find pieces of this man in the people I meet.  Of course, as the oldest granddaughter I enjoyed gifts of teddy bears and dolls.  He died at the young age of 62.

Uncle Orville on my mom’s side. He was her 2nd brother, she being the oldest.  He was killed in a car wreck at the age of 23, having served in WWII as a sailor.  I was almost two when that happened.  His death brought a terrible unspoken loss to the family.  In my mind he is this handsome (true) rebel hero that raced around the country roads on his Indian motorcycle.  I always look for incredible things to happen in my life on his birthday.

Uncle Orlend on my mom’s side. He was her 1st brother who lived in the shadow of his younger brother, though both were equally tall and handsome.

Uncle Billy on my mom’s side. He was her baby brother.  He was only 13 when I was born and there are many pictures of him carrying me on his shoulders.  No blizzard could keep him home if there was a bowling ball that needed to be rolled.

Aunt Darlene and Uncle Marvin, my mom’s only sister and her husband. I loved to stay at their home and play with the boy cousins.  My uncle was one of the original dumpster divers.  He found old toys and could fix anything.  They were a very loving couple.

Great grandfather Bill. He was still sitting on his front porch with his leather flyswatter when I was in my early teens.  He lived with his daughter and my grandfather in the house by the park.  He built his first house from a kit ordered from the catalog.

Mom & Dad. The last to be added.  They rest together under a headstone that bears the names of their 5 children.  The stone sits on the edge of cemetery and when I drive along that road at night, it is the only stone that catches the headlights and winks back…as if to say, I see you and I am watching and please be careful.

Memorial Day in a small town in southern MN.  The school marching band gathers at the cemetery and plays Taps.  The military color guard fires a 21 gun salute.  There is a full crowd in attendance.  And it is very quiet and everyone is remembering.

Then the quiet is broken and the crowd slowly disappears.

Happy Memorial Day!

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St. George Island – an annual multigenerational gathering {Guest Post}

By Monica Manning Miller and Caroline Manning Miller

This guest post is dedicated to Mrs. Pat Manning of Leesburg, Georgia in honor of her 70th birthday. Mrs. Manning is Monica’s mother and Caroline’s grandmother.

For the past 16 years our three generation family of 13 (2 parents in their 70′s, 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-laws and 5 beautiful granddaughters ages 10-23) have vacationed together. We spend one week together a few hours from my parent’s home in South Georgia on St. George Island off the Florida Gulf Coast.

Caroline in pink

St. George Island is very beautiful with development kept very low to protect the environment. One old motel, a B&B, and rental houses are the lodging choices. There is a grocery the size of a 7/11, a few t-shirt/bait stores, and a handful of very casual seafood restaurants. Everything is very mom and pop. Don’t go looking for a Starbucks, McDonalds, boutique, golf course, movie theater or cabana boy – not here. You come here to decompress, escape and be with the ones you love. It is casual R&R at its very, very best.

Over the past 1.5 decades, we have perfected the art of 13 people in one house, but everyone does need a little space. We have rented the perfect house for 12 years now. It has:

  • 6 master bedroom
  • two additional baths
  • two laundry rooms
  • a kitchen with two dishwashers and two ovens
  • three media rooms (2 of which we never use)
  • multiple decks and porches round out the creature comforts

Monica in the center

Our days are very freestyle. Some are up early for the best shelling and fishing while some wake up in time for a tomato sandwich at lunch. Usually by mid-day everyone has convened at the beach. Afternoons are spent talking by the water’s edge or reading on a shady porch.

We all take turns cooking fresh seafood dinners. The emails fly in the weeks before we leave discussing menus and adding to the grocery list. We do the majority of the shopping before we leave my parents. We pick up fresh seafood, bread and ice cream at the market on the island.

The five granddaughters have a daily chore list including taking turns emptying the dishwashers, trashcans, and sweeping the kitchen and stairs. They are also in charge of clean up after dinner.

After dinner is when the fun goes to a new level. It is time for cards, dominoes, stories, teasing and outrageous laughter. The competition can become quite ferocious.

Our lazy, crazy, happy, joyful days of the beach week fly by. Before we leave, we pull out a calendar to choose a week for the next summer. My husband lovingly calls this our fam”damn”ily beach vacation, but it truly is the best week of the year every year.

This is a dessert we make at least once during the week. It is very yummy and easy for kids to help make. Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream.

Fruit Cobbler

  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups fruit (blackberries or cut up peaches are our favorites)

Spray 9×13 pan with Pam.  Put fruit in bottom of pan. Whisk remaining 5 ingredients and pour over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 45 minutes.
Check center of dough to make sure it is done. Sometimes if fruit is very juicy it may take an extra few minutes.

Enjoy!

***

About the authors

Caroline is a 23 year old graduate of Vassar College with a degree in Neuroscience and has been accepted to the Master’s program in Biomedical Science at Regis University. She is currently employed at National Jewish Health in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

Monica is the very proud mother to Caroline, a retired caterer, and current trophy wife of 27 years to her loving husband, Dave.

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Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.

Click here to find out more about submitting your story.

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Multigenerational vacation in Italy {guest post}

by Andrea Salvo

In our family, we are not strangers to multigenerational travel, and certainly not strangers to Italy. However, our trip in the summer of 2007 was unique to me in that I hadn’t been to Italy with my grandfather and had never been to the town in which he was born.

The trip started out with a bang, our flight to Philadelphia was canceled, which meant we would not be making our connection to Rome, and would need to reroute13 people  to Italy in the middle of July, not an easy task. With 6 people working simultaneously we all ended up in a limousine to Toronto, to catch a plane on a different airline, our bags following in their own bus behind.

Once we actually arrived, luckily no-one was left in Rome as was threatened by the airline, the adventures began! We piled into two large white vans, ours was dubbed “The Magic Bus” and we navigated these beasts through the narrow streets of Reggio Calabria, in the southernmost part of Italy.

By the time we arrived at our home away from home, Sayonara, I was surprised we were all still talking. Whatever stress we had was forgotten as we approached our destination and my broken English speaking grandmother stated, “There it is, I told you, go straight, straight then turn around.” Thank goodness for her navigation skills!

We visited with our cousins and great aunt who still live in San Ferdinando. We met old neighbors and extended family. For the most part we remained a large group which meant considerable dinner tables. The dinner crowd grew to massive proportions when our Italian family members joined. We had one evening of pizza, french fries (the Italian side dish to pizza), and salad with approximately 29 people at the table. It was a typical Italian scene.

On day five my Mother decided we needed an adventure. My sisters, cousin and parents loaded into the Magic Bus and we made our way to the breathtaking landscape of the Amalfi Coast. If you ever find yourself in Positano in the middle of July, and you stumble upon an old man selling homemade lemon ice from a cart, get some, and then go back for more.

The trip culminated in yet another road trip. This time I hopped into the bus with my grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, and three cousins. Our destination was Montadoro or mountain of gold, where we would spend three days celebrating the feast of St. Joseph. My maternal grandmother and my father were both born in Montadoro, so when we arrived, we were greeted by my father and his entire family.

We spent three days with my father’s family and my grandmother stayed with her family. On the night of the feast my grandmother had tears in her eyes as she walked in the procession, through the streets of her town, two generations in tow. She pointed out the house she grew up in and the balcony from where her grandfather was once assaulted by a woman’s dirty water, a story we heard often as kids.

On our way back to the main land, which included a six hour drive and one hour ferry ride, we made sure to stop at a gas station and get Panini. In Italy, the best Panini are sold in the gas stations. Add to that the most decadent snacks and exquisite coffee and you might begin to understand why I always look forward to an Italian road trip. My grandmother treated us to yet another of her famous one liners when she stated, “I feel like I was born and raised in this bus.” We quote all of her pearls of wisdom from that trip to this day.

Not only were we multigenerational we were multifamily. In total we had three generations and members from five different families intertwined at any given time. To be certain, I will never forget that trip. I may go back to Italy once a year, but Italy they way it was in 2007 will be a place I visit only in pictures and memories.

*****

Andrea Salvo is a wife and mother who lives in Broomfield, Colorado. Andrea enjoys reading, cycling, dancing, cooking, and spending quality time with the ones she loves.  Andrea’s days are filled with taking care of her beautiful daughter and working as a School Counselor. She takes pride in mentoring young teenagers to find their purpose and talents and to live their best life.

*****

Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.

Click here to find out more about submitting your story.

 

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