Tag Archives: living with parents

Cupcake = Sweet multigenerational connections

Prior to going on vacation, work had been very busy and super intense. Some weeks ago, during lunch, I decided to exercise some self-help; I treated myself to a cupcake.

As I stood in line waiting to be served, the woman standing next to me leaned over and said, “I just love Tuesdays!” She went on to explain she came to the bakery each Tuesday to pick out two cupcakes; one for herself and the other for her two-year-old granddaughter.

Of course I smiled and wanted to know more about this sweet rendezvous. I asked what they did on cupcake Tuesday and this proud grandmother beamed and said they had tea (well the granddaughter had milk in her sippy), ate their cupcakes, and then went to the park.

And then this grandmother said something that made my heart skip a beat, “I feel so lucky to get this one-on-one time with my granddaughter. She’s my only one and it’s so great for me that I live with my daughter and her family.


I asked her how long they had this multigenerational living set-up (they were entering their 3rd year), what made them come to it, and any other multigenerational related question she was willing to answer.

Turns out she had grown-up with her maternal grandmother living with her family (mom, dad, herself, and two siblings). She knew after her own daughter married she would move to live with them to help with any grandchildren. She said she feels it’s the best gift she could provide for her daughter and son-in-law so they have time to nurture their marriage, cultivate their careers, and raise happy children.

I couldn’t talk fast enough as I described my own multigenerational household with this wise woman.

Then the conversation ended, we smiled, and she gave me a hug.

Yes, a cupcake helped me make a multigenerational connection and get my sugar fix!

images 1, 2

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

Written by Kanesha’s mother-in-law.


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!


This Moment {5.20.11}

A Friday ritual. A single photo bunch of photos – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 


Inspired by SouleMama.

Getting your hands dirty is GREAT!

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Paris vacation {multigenerational adventure}

In 2008, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Of course we wanted to do something special to celebrate – and so we did.

We took our then 10-month-old, 8-year-old, and our two moms to Paris.

Yup, we went on a multigenerational – 10th wedding anniversary – vacation. When I mentioned our plans to friends, they thought we were nuts. They were thinking, “Why would you take your kids AND both moms/grandmas on a romantic trip to Paris?”

Well, hubby and I were not nuts. We had a clear plan. We wanted our 8-year-old to see Paris because she had started learning French and she was fascinated with French baking. I was still nursing our 10-month-old and I really couldn’t leave him for 10 days to go to Paris.

So hey, we wanted to make it work to give our daughter another stamp on her passport, keep our youngest thriving, and to romance each other. How could we make sure we achieved all of that…take the moms along!

Hubby was fantastic and pretty much planned the entire trip. In December 2007, he purchased packing cubes for all of us and gave them as Christmas gifts. He researched Paris apartment rentals, found the best airfare, assembled a family-friendly Paris guide, and ordered t-shirts for all of us.

My mother-in-law and I took a travel French class together. I studied hard and my mother-in-law scoped out the cute men in class. (Yes, that is true and accurate.)

My mother flew to Colorado a few days before we left for Paris. She has the tendency to over pack, so it was a hilarious spectacle to watch my hubby coach my mom in her repacking efforts. It took them about two hours to complete this task. I really wish I had videotaped it.

When we arrived in Paris, super late and the night before Easter, my mom was the only one whose bags made it from Colorado (well actually O’Hare airport). We laughed about it and I had to use my French and Spanish to describe all our lost stuff. My mom was fairly impressed with my language skills and announced she was pleased with the amount of money she and my stepdad spent on my undergraduate education. (Yes, it was random – but again, we all laughed.)

On Easter Sunday, my monolingual hubby and mom went for a walk with the baby. I don’t know how they managed this but they met a Frenchman (that barely spoke English) who gave them some diapers for our baby – because our bags were still lost. This generous Frenchman took my hubby and my mom to his home and gave them the exact size and brand of diapers we used. It was magically amazing.

We did a lot of sightseeing and loved when the admissions personnel moved us to the front of long lines because we had the baby. We ate great food, watched people, took a gazillion pictures, and had a fabulous time. Most nights we ate dinner at the apartment, and then hubby and I would go out while the grandmothers watched the kiddos.

It was a fantastic multigenerational vacation. We can’t wait to go back to Paris.

Multigenerational travel does not have to be difficult or cumbersome. Be sure to check out our tips and resources that will make planning your next multigenerational vacation easy and fun.

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Eiffel Tower

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt {Are Brad’s parents moving in?}

If any of you have been following it’s a full nest’s Twitter feed, you will know my mother was recently in town visiting for Easter. Two days after she left, my father-in-law arrived and I headed out of town on a work trip. (No, I didn’t plan my work trip like that on purpose.)

Yes, we do not like things to be dull or overly simple in this multigenerational nest.

My mother-in-law went on vacation (I have no idea where she went) while my mother was visiting.

My mother-in-law chose not to go away when my father-in-law showed up – so it’s been interesting around here.

It’s difficult for me to describe what I truly mean by “interesting” because it’s been just that. The energy is not negative but it is charged and a bit spicy.

So…I’ve been on the slow side in writing my post. (So many things I could write about – but not all are appropriate. ARGH!)

I planned to write about our multigenerational trip to Paris (stay tuned for that) – since it’s a full nest is highlighting multigenerational travel. When I finally got myself together, I was doing a bit of research and came across this article about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The first thing I thought was,

“Where in the hell have I been? How did I miss this celebrity news – and in February?”

My second thought was,

“Girl, Angelina! You and I need to sit down, stat, and let me tell you how to handle the in-laws living with you and über fine Brad…oh, and with the children too.”

Now, I’m not sure how true or reputable The Sun magazine is; I mean it’s not US Weekly.

I do love the idea of a glamorous multigenerational nest being created with Brad’s parents joining the ranks of my mother-in-law as grandparent nannies.

I mean, how fabulous would it be for my mother-in-law to have Skype sessions, with Brad’s parents, as they discuss multigenerational living, how awesome their daughter-in-laws are, the quality time they get to spend with the grandchildren, and where they wish we (the DILs) would get a clue.

And then Brad and my hubby could talk about how lucky they are that the wives/partners agreed to have live-in in-laws, how we (Kanesha & Angelina) have seamlessly folded the in-laws into our daily lives, and how challenging it can be when we (K & A) have our moments of holding our husbands/partners responsible for things that make us look sideways at our in-laws.

Yes – I let my brain go there.

Whatever the actual story is, I do wish Brad and Angelina all the best if they decide to go the multigenerational household route.

I also have some words of wisdom for Angelina if she does find herself living with her in-laws.

  • Brad’s parents, now that they are living with you, may revert back to treating Brad as a young lad. Don’t let that go on longer than the “multigenerational transition” period – about 2.5 weeks max. He’s a grown-up and his parents have to see him that way.
  • That’s great your in-laws will have their own cottage on your estate. Make sure you are clear when the in-laws can pop over to the main house. Just because they’re close in proximity does not mean they can drop in anytime they want (not including the time when they are grandparent-nannies.)
  • It will be nice for your in-laws to provide parenting tips, but Brad and you have the final say on how you want things to go down with your children. Don’t hesitate to lay down the law on how you want your children to be cared for. Some aspects of child-rearing cannot be negotiated.

  • If your in-laws will be dining with Brad, the kids, and you for dinnertime – expect things to be on the loud side. I’m sure you are already to accustom to the noise your children make. When you add the in-laws to this, you’ll need to be ready for some loud eating. No, I’m not sure why this is the case, but it just is.
  • Many mature adults have the tendency to smack because (1) they don’t hear so well, (2) the type of food may be giving their teeth or mouths a workout, or (3) they don’t give a damn and they will eat as loudly as they want.
  • Expect your in-laws to recall the past. For some reason, mature adults like to reminisce about things that are long gone. Be an active listener and pour yourself a glass of wine or cocktail when these nostalgic monologues take place.
  • Continue to get your groove on. You’re a couple and I don’t really see how you could keep your hands off Brad. With the in-laws in their amazing cottage, you’ll have a proper noise buffer.

To our readers who are living in multigenerational households, do you have any advice or tips for Angelina and Brad?




This Moment {4.22.11}

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

click on the pictures to enlarge them

Creating crafts, with grandma, from our recycle bin. Happy Earth Day!

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