Tag Archives: mother-in-law lives with us

Getting older – and liking it

Today is hubby’s 36th birthday. Yes, he’s a youngin’ and I’m a borderline cradle robber (3 ½ year difference between the two us – go me!)

This is the 14th birthday celebration we’ve had together as a couple, and the 4th celebration we’ve had, of hubby’s birthday, as a multigenerational family.

I have to give major kudos and motherly props to my mother-in-law as well. Why? Well, oh so many years ago, she gave birth to twins – my hubby and his brother. They were eight pounds each. No, I’m not exaggerating, and yes, my mother-in-law has an amazing uterus.

Thank you, mother-in-law!

When my mother-in-law turned 65 earlier this year, I asked her to come up with her “top 65” list. Tonight, it was hubby’s turn and my mother-in-law was ready to contribute her comical humor – just as my hubby had done to her.

Dinner was a bit raucous tonight.

Here’s hubby’s “top 36 list”:

1.  Enjoy the last days of summer – and look forward to autumn.

2.  Make popcorn on the stovetop – share with your family.

3.  Take a day off work – and go to the movies in the middle of the afternoon.

4.  Walk to the grocery store – but buy just what you can carry home.

5.  Ride your bike to work – but take a shower when you get there if you stink.

6.  Take a walk around your neighborhood at dusk – just to see what is going on.

7.  Admire your neighbor’s landscaping – and compliment them the next time you see them.

8.  Go to your local public lecture – and read about the topic before going.

9.  Plan an annual family “fun” calendar so that you can juggle all the things you want to do.

10.  Use your DVR/TiVo so that you can stay up late to watch trash TV – such an activity will make you feel really smart.

11.  Learn a good joke and tell it to the person you sit next the next time you fly on a plane or ride on a bus.

12.  Discuss the trash TV that you watched with your colleagues at work – this will make them re-evaluate assumptions they have made about you.

13.  Read a book just for fun – one that hasn’t been turned into a movie.

14.  Volunteer at a community event – others will notice and do the same thing.

15.  Take an adult education course – share your thoughts and listen to those of others.

16.  Make a nice sack lunch for everyone in your family – who cares that it is Saturday.

17.  Go to a baseball game – and get the cheapest tickets that you can.

18.  Commit to a staycation and pretend you are a tourist.

19.  Make your holiday plans early – including plans for your New Year celebration.

20.  Learn a new song – and get all the words right.

21.  Invite all your neighbors over for a barbeque in your backyard.

22.  Contact a local politician and thank them for their dedication and time they spend trying to make our world better.

23.  Get a magazine subscription related to one of your hobbies.

24.  Go to bed early – to have a fabulous day tomorrow.

25.  Shop local and introduce yourself to people working at the store.

26.  Wish people a Happy Birthday.

27.  Smile – it’s contagious.

28.  Floss – it’s more important than brushing – at least that is what they say.

29.  Buy flowers for your spouse – especially if they really appreciate it.

30.  Visit a blog – and leave a comment.

31.  Talk to yourself – especially if it helps you make better decisions.

32.  Buy yourself new socks and underwear – especially when the elastic starts to wear out.

33.  For your spouse’s birthday – iron your sheets – but let them know this is not a regular event and not necessarily their birthday – say it is an experiment.

34.  Try your best and don’t be too hard on yourself.

35.  Do what you love and love what you do.

36.  Life is short – so cherish it.


A 6-year old crush….

If you are a parent, you have likely noted a characteristic in personality, or a physical feature that reminds you of either your spouse or parents, or your spouse’s parents.

Having three generations in the same house, I think, sometimes exaggerates the characteristics of my side of the family.  And though I think my kids look a lot like both my husband and me, I am seeing more and more that our son has taken on similar likes and dislikes of my dad, his grandfather… 

Case in point:  I blogged several weeks ago about my dad’s need to be aware of all weather systems that might affect the places where our family live – Colorado, California, Oregon and New Mexico.  If there is weather that needs to be considered in these four states, my dad is your guy.

So imagine my interest in the conversation I had with my son, 6 and a half years old, last week.

He came into the family room and said, “Mom, can we turn on the weather channel?”

HUH?????   My reply, “Why sugarplum?”

“Cause when we leave for Scottsdale on vacation, I want to know how hot it will be” he said.

I thought about that a minute and said, “Are you concerned about the weather in AZ?”

“No, but Gampy said that if the temperature got above 100, we would all bake” he commented, bright blue eyes looking a little concerned.

“Gampy didn’t mean you would actually bake, like in an oven, it’s just a way of saying that it will be very hot when we get there – a lot hotter than Colorado – and it might feel like an oven cause we are used to cooler weather” I tried to clarify.

“OK, but I still want to turn on the weather channel” he seemed to be switching gears; understanding that we would not actually bake.  (Though that remains to be seen, considering we chose AZ for a June family reunion.)

“Is there something else that you are worried about?” I ventured.

“No, but I still like to watch the weather channel, the lady who shows us the maps is cute.”


independence for every age

It has been suggested by many people over the course of my lifetime that I am a very independent person.  It’s true; ask my parents, brothers, friends, husband – they would all agree.

I see this as a good thing; I left my hometown of Tucson, AZ for college in CA three weeks after turning 18, I’ve travelled all over the world, moved to cities where I knew no one and had a blast, and had no problems making my own life before marriage and kids.

For this, I owe my mom.

If there are words from my childhood that had an incalculable impact on me while I was growing up, they were, “Margot, it is my job to make you independent and to make sure you can take care of yourself.” 

Those were words I lived by and still do.  

And one of the best things about having my mom and dad live with us is that both of my kids have thier aprents and grandparents making sure that they hear those same words – often.

My second-grade daughter asked me a couple of months ago at what age I started making my own breakfast before school.  Honestly, I didn’t remember, so she asked my mom, and the answer was around 3rd grade.  My mom told her that I had all sorts of responsibility at that age. 

She must have taken this to heart because since then, I have not had to wake her up, ask her to get ready for school, remind her to brush her teeth OR make her breakfast.  (Her younger brother is a very different story, but he is only in KG.) 

I love her independence, and am glad that she sees the value in doing things for herself.  Lest you think it is this way all the time, it is not, but she is well on her way.    A helicopter parent, I am not.

This kind of multigenerational influence on my kids is a very good thing.


off topic – what the hell, Arnold?

Again, this morning, my parents were my news source…. 

Can’t hear NPR over the chaos in the kitchen at breakfast, making lunches for the kids, and coffee/breakfast for myself.

My mom was the one who came upstairs to tell me this morning about the news.  My husband loves his movies and at some point, we both thought he had a brain in his head.  Turns out, jokes on us…

Maybe it is more “multi-family” than “multigenerational” but in either case, it bears review….

You have all heard by now, that today, the former governor of CA, Arnold Schwarzenegger, admitted to an affair and fathering a child with a woman who worked in his house for over 20 years.  TWENTY YEARS!  Don’t I feel like an ass for voting for him when I lived in California. 

He claims that he decided to wait until he was out of office to tell Maria what happened.  Well, gee, I wonder why….

And this woman worked in the home Maria Shriver shared with her husband and four kids for the last 10 years – knowing that every day for those 10 years, she was as big a liar and just as deceitful and hurtful as Arnold. 

Talk about awkward.  She works in their house, she has his child and she continues to be employed by them for another decade.  That gives me the willies…

Clinton, Edwards, Spitzer, Gingrich, Livingston, Foley, McGreevey, Villaraigosa, Sanford and the list goes on and on and on; all men in national and international politics that have had affairs. 

Am I expecting too much from the politicians in this country?  What is it about people in these positions – are they so stupid that they don’t expect to get caught?  Is the allure of power so compelling that it overrides common sense?

Apparently…. Damn, what a disappointment.


International Mother’s Day {yes, more time to honor mom}

Did you think Mother’s Day was over?

Nope, not quite yet.

My father-in-law sends roses to my mother-in-law every year on Mother’s Day

Many parts of Latin America, specifically México, are celebrating Mother’s Day today. May 11 is International Mother’s Day, so we’ve still got a lot of celebrating to do.

I enjoyed an easy and relaxing Mother’s Day this past weekend. My multigenerational family planned a low-key and delightful celebration for my mother-in-law and me.

I was able to sleep-in until about 8:00 a.m. My youngest was eager to get the day started and he wanted to make some projects.

Hubby and the kids took me on a brunch picnic. It was a gorgeous day and we spent much of it outside enjoying each other’s company.

Visiting the new chocolatier was amazing. I was happy they had some non-dairy-nut-egg treats for the four-year-old. He was happy to gobble them up.

Taking a moment to cool off in the creek was a must. It was hard to get the kids out of there so we could go home for my afternoon nap.

Hubby and our 11-year-old prepared a simple and delicious dinner for my mother-in-law and me. We sat on the back deck, talked, listened to music, laughed, and ate – while the 4-year-old made mud cakes. The cards and gifts were mostly handmade – which is something my mother-in-law and I both cherish.

As I sat there observing my multigenerational family and watching them interact joyously, I felt content and blessed. I thought back to my amazing grandmothers and wondered how it would have been to live with them, as I grew up, full-time.

My hubby did have the opportunity to live with his maternal grandparents for a while and he has some great stories to share. (Maybe he’ll write a guest about this.)

Hubby’s twin brother – Grandma Martha (maternal grandmother)

So to all you amazing moms out there – I hope you realize and acknowledge your accomplishments in raising beautiful, healthy, and happy families. Cherish the mothers who helped nurture you to do this important work of mothering.

My mother-in-law holding her twin sons (my hubby is on the right) – Grandma Martha (maternal grandmother) – Hubby’s sister – Great-Grandma Sarah (maternal great-grandmother)

As your families honor you – remember to honor yourself through self-care and self-love. It may not seem like it – but there should always be time for moms to take care of themselves and to model this for their families.

Grandma Martha (maternal grandma) with hubby (center) and his siblings – family farm in Minnesota

If you feel you are falling short in this area (self-care & self-love) – stop and ask for help. Maybe your mother-in-law needs to move in to help you out.



Here’s a simple and fun craft project – Mother’s Day inspirational cubes.


Turning 65. Wisdom, insight, and giggles.

We celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday this weekend, and yes, she’s 65.

I asked her to come up with her “top 65” list and she looked at me like “are you for real, Kanesha?”

She didn’t think she could get to 65 things and I said “sure you can!”

So, hubby, 11-year-old, mother-in-law, and I sat down together to craft this list. I had the laptop out, hubby was handwriting things and my daughter was shaking her head at all of us.

We were laughing, gasping, looking at my hubby all crazy (he kept taking us off task), and enjoying all my mother-in-law’s wisdom.

I really wish I had given her a beer before we started this task. I can only imagine the “wild factor” of her answers after a few sips of Negro Modelo.

Here’s her awesome and fantastic list.

Happy Birthday, G!

1.       Clean your children’s room your way until they start doing it themselves.

2.       Don’t date anyone from Greeley, CO.

3.       You will survive.

4.       Sometimes it takes a little while to find the right one. You might as well have a backup.

5.       Baking bread is the way to a man’s heart. (My mother-in-law giggled and said she had a story to tell, but then my hubby would know too much. I’ll follow up later to get the juice.)

6.       Forget the 80s – let’s go back to the 60s. I can’t repeat the 60s because – been there done that (about fashion).

7.       The best way to eat strawberries is with brown sugar and sour cream

8.       Have amaretto on your birthday.

9.       Ignore husband.Listen to husband.

10.   Listen. Weigh it. Toss it.

11.   Everybody doesn’t need to know everything.

12.   Motherly control – exercise this when appropriate.

13.   How to give your granddaughter a heart attack – mention butt pinching men.

14.   [siblings] Don’t spoil your brother(s).

15.   Teach your sons how to cook so they aren’t dependent.

16.   Don’t raise a mama’s boy.

17.   I’ve always done what I’ve wanted – but then there were restrictions of time and of money.

18.   Eating a lot of whipped cream makes me…a bit sick. And no, it does not make me gassy.

19.   It’s weird how things come back to children’s shows.

20.   It’s weird knowing how after tomorrow (4.9.11) I can get on the bus and get the discount. I guess I should take the bus everyone.

21.   Pickled herring and wheat thins is a treat.

22.   People get locked into tradition which turns things into a big blur.

23.   Shake it up – hang your Christmas tree upside down at least once.

24.   Take the stuff from the past and bring it to the present (about fashion).

25.   Wear red boots.

26.   Change your hair-do up.

27.   Do you use eHarmony? No, it’s too expensive and it kept sending me guys from Greeley.

28.   1400 men within our zip code, in the age range of 58-72, are online with photographs (online dating reference).

29.   That’s a lot but when you go through them, you’re like OMG – and not in a good way! (online dating reference).

30.   Some of them you wonder why they can’t have someone take a picture of them so they don’t look like an escapee (online dating reference).

31.   Every generation has traveled so much more than the previous generation.

32.   People in my same generation have hardly left or moved from their birth town.

33.   My prize for selling magazines for the prom was a suitcase.

34.   Make it unique.

35.   Avoid head on collisions.  It is easier to work with someone than against them.

36.   Teamwork.

37.   Learn to read a recipe.  Learn to cook from scratch and clean up after yourself.

38.   Read current events.

39.   Stretch.

40.   Discover the power of forgiveness as early as possible in life.

41.   Hang out with kids.  Call them by their name.  Bask in their creativity.

42.   Keep a supply of art/craft materials on hand for moments of inspiration.

43.   Move your furniture as often as possible.

44.   Don’t be afraid of colored ceilings.

45.   Support education.

46.   Learn something new on a regular basis.

47.   Clean on a schedule that works for you.

48.   Support your local perfectionists: electricians, plumbers, etc.

49.   Know your grocery clerk by name.  And use it.  And thank them.

50.   Remember all the interesting things your grandmother let you do!

51.   Keep a journal.

52.   Don’t be afraid to read with a pencil in the books you own.

53.   Occasionally be the first one outside in the morning when it is quiet except for the birds singing.

54.   Buy good coffee.

55.   Let people change.

56.   Know all three of your grandson’s knock-knock jokes.

57.   Tell your grandchildren that they are the most amazing people you have been blessed to know.

58.   Eat your veggies.

59.   Travel.  But choose your travel companions carefully.  Or travel alone.  Round trips are optional.

60.   Sometimes you need to just stop and look to see how far you have come.

61.   Don’t be too hard on yourself.

62.   Believe in freewill.

63.   Just start down the road once – to make a point.

64.   Set a pretty dinner table.

65.   Support your children’s decisions.