Tag Archives: guest post

Teddy Bears & Family History {guest post}

Teddy Bear Day is Friday, September 9.


Teddy Bears , written by my mother-in-law, G.B.

No, I don’t have my childhood teddy bear.  I do have a picture of it.

Years ago I discovered  a great bear pattern using quilted material.  Since then I have made several for children and grandkids.  I experienced great satisfaction making bears for people.  It was hard to believe that within a box of old clothes or old quilts a bear was waiting to be found and given a home. The bear or bears became an essence of their owners. 

I had two old quilts to work with for several sisters.  The grandmothers were represented in two quilts and there were more than two people who wanted a piece of the memories.  And I made 5 or 6 bears.  And I was rewarded with smiles and tears.

There are other stories from other boxes. 

One of the last stories involved my dad’s plaid shirts.  Some were wool.  Some were cotton flannel.  They met the scissors.  And became 3 bears for 3 of his grandsons.  In the pocket of each bear was a playing card because Dad loved to play cards. 

There were bears out of mostly new material for grandkids.  The youngest granddaughter’s needs a trip to the hospital.  Her dad fell asleep on her bear and when she  pulled, the leg started to tear.  Tears followed.  Her bear was made of velvets and corduroy and brocades in all the colors of the rainbow. 

My bear I always associated with my paternal grandfather.  The bear along with a couple of dolls I believe were gifts from him.  Of course the best gift couldn’t be held.  It was riding with him in his 1958 blue Plymouth heading to the farm.  My feet just stuck out over the edge of passenger seat.  Those moments were the essence of pure childhood happiness.  I thought I was the luckiest person in the world.


“Multigenerational living has always appealed to me…” {guest post}

by Ashley Coombe

The idea of multigenerational living has always appealed to me. I am very attracted to the concept of many people working together for the good of one household, so my parents and I have often discussed the idea. Two years ago, it became a reality after my parents returned from a trip to an Indian orphanage. They came home feeling like they had too much room in their house, and offered to let us live there with them for a year to pay off debt. We accepted, and a week later we were living with them!

We agreed to discuss the possibility of making the arrangement long term, or even permanent, after one year. When we sat down to discuss it, we each admitted the benefits of living in a multigenerational arrangement far outweighed the small sacrifices we each made. We made the choice to co-purchase the home and raise our kids in a home with their grandparents.

How do we make it work?

None of us are very good at setting rules and sticking with them long term (made obvious by our tendency to eat poorly!). While we initially set boundaries when we moved in, things change so quickly in our household the “rules” have to change quickly as well. For example, we originally set that I would have the washer and dryer during the week, and my mom could use it on the weekends since she works during the week. Then, as my parents began traveling a great deal on the weekends, that no longer worked for them. Initially, we planned on switching off making meals every other night. That plan didn’t work out either. Instead of having meetings constantly to revise our set up, we try to follow three simple rules.

  1. Be A Blessing to the Others in the Household. We each try to go above and beyond respecting – instead we try to be a blessing to each other. If respecting someone means rinsing off your dishes when you are done with them, being a blessing to them means rinsing theirs off too, and emptying the dishwasher while you are standing there.
  2. Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt. Obviously, there are going to be times when you walk into the house and none of the dishes are done. Give others in the household the benefit of the doubt that they likely tried to get the dishes done but something got in the way. Then be a blessing to them and do the dishes J
  3. Bring your strengths to the table, and cover up for others’ shortfalls. Each of us in the household has specific strengths, and some glaring weaknesses. My strength is organization, so I tend to put groceries away and organize them. My husband’s strength is getting us all motivated, so we utterly rely on him to get us moving to do the yard work on Saturdays instead of putting it off one more week. My dad is amazing with technology, so he updates all of our computers and keeps us in the know about new television advancements (we just put a new apple tv in our room!). My mom is amazing at finding deals online, so when we need something for the house, she hops on eBay or Amazon and finds the perfect item for a great price. Rather than getting frustrated that someone is not helping enough in one area, we realize that we each have varying strengths, and we pick up each other’s slack in those areas. Then we are more apt to give grace in an area of weakness!

No matter the boundaries we set, from who does the grocery shopping to when we shower, as long as we’re working to be a blessing to each other, giving each other the benefit of the doubt and focusing on the strengths we each bring to the table, we are able to make the household work smoothly.

The Benefits of Living in a Multigenerational Household are Amazing.

During our one-year discussion, each one of us mentioned how much we had grown during our time living together. Learning to live with in-laws isn’t all that different than initially learning to live with a spouse, and the experience stretches you as a person in ways you couldn’t have imagined previously. I am less easily irritated, more patient, more forgiving, and have fewer pet peeves. My living situation has made it imperative that I grow in those ways!

My mom mentioned this week that she no longer feels as though relationships are as fragile as she once believed. We’ve worked so hard to honor each other as adults (very different than when we lived together when I was a teenager!) and worked through so many small issues that she knows our relationships can weather the storms of daily life without leaving scars. She wasn’t sure of that before!

The biggest benefit of living together has been the affect on my children. They have the opportunity to have the kind deep relationships that only come from living together day in and day out with adults other than just their mom and dad. They have adults other than us that they have to obey and respect, and get to trust and spend time with. They see us respecting our elders, just the way we expect them to respect us. It’s been so valuable for their growth as well!

My dad and my husband have become very close friends, and always have another guy to watch sports, work on cars, smoke cigars, and discuss guy stuff with. My mom and I often cook dinner and talk about our days together, a memory I will always cherish. Obviously, the financial benefits are huge, and our kids have all kinds of opportunities they would not otherwise, from family trips to martial arts.  Dan and I are able to go out on date nights after we put the kids to bed any night we want.

Actually, now that I think about it the biggest benefit is definitely sleeping in on Saturdays J My daughters are early risers, and so is my dad. Instead of waking us up now, they go downstairs. He makes them hot tea, and they all go out on the porch and watch the sunrise together under a bundle of blankets. We get to sleep until at least seven o’clock every Saturday! (Our definition of sleeping in has changed a little since we’ve had kids…)

It takes a lot of work to live with three generations, just as any relationship takes a lot of work, but we have absolutely enjoyed our time together, and look forward to making many more years of multigenerational living work for us!


Ashley Coombe is a full time stay at home mom who has the awesome benefit of living with her parents. She has three little girls, Emma (5), Sophia (4) and Olivia (9 months) and runs an online boutique, TheShoppingBoutique.com. You can read her blog and more about her experience at AshleyBCoombe.com.