Friday, July 29, 2011

This Week...

It's been one of those weeks that I want to turn back time...No matter what, "He is growing up!!!"

Monday:  Jay brought his first READING assignment home! (More on this later.)

Tuesday:  We bought school supplies. {Fun!}  I told Jay to color a picture to stick on the front of his binder.  He drew his new school...Since he usually seems to draw the whole family in every picture he draws.  I said, "Where are we in the picture?"..."Mommy, see how the windows are colored in...I'm inside

Wednesday:  We are playing Candy Land.  I scoop Bet up on my lap.  She says, "Mommy.  I don't want to sit on your lap right now.  I'm a BIG girl."  (Justin said I looked like I had been slapped....Please Bet, not THIS week.)

Thursday:  I go and fill out all appropriate paperwork to officially enroll my first born in KINDERGARDEN!  Complete with paying for school lunches, buying school t-shirts and getting his home room teacher.  I walked out of the gym with my head spinning, my heart beating FAST and my mouth dry.  Who is starting school, me or him?!

Thursday {night}:  I hop on my laptop and scroll through pictures of Jay through the past five years.  When people tell you that the time passes quickly...they are SO spot on.  Wasn't I just bringing home a newborn?!

On a brighter note, although I don't want him to grow up...he's handling all of this beautifully (obviously better than me).  And sometimes he says things that make my inflection of "He's growing up!!!" turn into a much more calm and proud..."He's really growing up."  Example:  A couple of weeks ago he said "Mommy, I have a really good idea.  How about we put a box in the house for others.  When we are finished with a toy that we don't want anymore we can put it in the box to go to other children that don't have any toys."  Hence our "Love Others" box was born.

Jay, although my palms are sweaty for you heading to "big school", I couldn't be more proud of the person you are growing up to be.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The best things in life are free!

There is a field near our house that we pass every day. It is typically planted with corn and we don't give it much attention. However, this summer it was planted with SUNFLOWERS! Unfortunately the heads faced east and the road was on the west, so the flowers seemed bashful.

That didn't stop us! We took a family adventure...complete with camera and march out into that field. It was SO worth it. Sometimes views of nature are just so pretty I can't stand it. And when you point them out to children they can't stand it either! How could they?  The flowers were as big as their little heads and there were MANY little bee friends to look at up close and personal.
I love how a simple walk into a field can spur so many conversations like...
  • God gives us pretty flowers for us...and enjoy.
  • These sunflowers were a type that faced east to greet the sun.
  • The bees are there to take nectar that they will use to make honey.
  • Our four sunflowers in our garden did not grow because birds ate the seeds too early.
  • When these flowers dry up they leave behind the sunflower seeds that you buy in the store.
  • The bees won't bother us while they are long as we don't bother them...

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Advice from our elders...

I scanned in this photo for this post because they look like they are up to something. 
This is one of many adorable pictures that Heidi took!  I just loved how they all turned out!
Gone are the days when mothers and grandmothers live in the same town as their children.  Giving them advice and helping their children, new parents, get it together.

This weekend my children stayed with my parents.  When we got them back on Sunday I received a bad report.  Some people may not want to hear when their children are acting up...Not me!

At their school I let their teachers know right off the bat that if they have a behavior problem I want to know.  They appreciate this and luckily it has only been a few times that they have pulled me aside and said..."Jay/Betsy did [fill in the blank today], it is not a big deal, and actually at the time we tried not to laugh, but I know you would want to know."  And I do.  When they get home, appropriate talks are had about how we behave as part of this matter what!

That being said, when I received a bad report of the weekend, I was frustrated, but grateful.  I said, please tell me what some of the main issues are and give me advice on what I should do?

Well, one of the main things was just spoiled rotten behavior...No pleases or thank yous.  Demanding one thing after another..."Give me a snack...I want to go outside...I want to watch a movie...Give me a drink."  You get the point.

I had been having the same issues and had been saying "Re-phrase." till I was blue in the face.  They would auto correct, but two minutes later would be bossing me to do something else.  I just hoped that it would eventually sink in. 

My mom gave me great advice..."If you see something is not working, change directions.  Try something else."  She suggested that when the little Neanderthals demanded something, simply say, "No.  But you can ask me again in five minutes.  (or for Bet, you can ask me again when the big hand is on the 3, 4, etc.)".  It's only been two days, but it is working marvelously!   They are using their manners beautifully and if we keep it just may stick when we are out in public...or with the grandparents (fingers crossed!).

I guess my point is.  I can read all the parenting books I want...but every child is different.  Sometimes it is best to turn to those who know us and our children best and just say "Please help me!".

Another thing to remember is to never take offense to something a grandparent or teacher says.  They love your child too and are looking out for his/her best interest.  If you put frustrations aside, together, you can come up with a solution.  Example:  I remember one parent/teacher conference where Betsy's teacher was saying how, when it comes to the long lessons, there are a few that Betsy will do, but others will not hold her interest.  She asked if I had any insight into this and had me look through the long lessons she enjoys.  I noticed that they all involved animals and I told her teacher that it makes sense because Betsy really shows interest in animals.  She had not noticed that and she said she would incorporate animals somehow into the lessons she doesn't enjoy and see what happens.  Problem solved!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little Girls.

I read this post today from Play With Your Family.

It linked me to this post.

Oh, how I needed to read this article!  It made me see so clearly how I have been handling cute little Bet all wrong.  She has so many talents, but so often what gets her compliments (from outsiders as well as me!) is her cute hair, cute clothes and cute expressions.

A result is that she's been quite a sass!...Pretty much three going on sixteen!

When I really think about who I want her to become...Do I want her to be noticed for her hair, clothes, sassiness?  Absolutely NOT! 

So why am I doing this?!  I really need to deliberate on what her real talents are and make sure I compliment her on those instead.

The simple things...

This is a repost from Jay's fourth birthday last year...

When I look through slews of photos and think of my favorite memories it is the simple things that I am drawn to.  It's the simple pictures I want to show.  It is the simple things I want to share.  It's the simple things that start routines and get your life together piece by piece.  It's the simple things that morph into traditions.

Jay's fourth birthday was a special day and we celebrated with special friends.  When he grows up he won't remember what was on his cake that year, what he received as gifts, maybe not even everyone who was there.  He won't remember the plates, napkins, food, flowers, the little details that I just think "make" a great event... 

He will remember that he was surrounded by people who make him feel special and loved.  When he gets older he may not remember the details, but he will remember that parades and fireworks make something in him feel extra special.  When he's grown and gone and "comes home" something about fresh flowers, tablecloths, and simple details will make him feel 'home'.  He will remember that we ate meals together and went to church as a family.  He will remember that his parents were best friends and bickered, like best friends do, but always made up quickly and never hesitated to apologize.

He will remember that when there was no thunder he played in the rain.  As an adult, something about swimming, swinging high, riding his bike, playing catch, painting, jumping waves in the ocean will make him feel young again and he will crave these things.

Something inside of him will know that he wants to read to his children and give them owl, lion, Eskimo, butterfly, freckle and people kisses at bedtime and they will be surprised with his vast knowledge of nursery rhymes, "Wee Sing" tunes and Aesop Fables.  It's the simple things that pass on and on through generations.  It hurts my heart when I think that some children don't get these simple things.  Making your child feel special and loved is our job as parents and, really, what a simple job that is.

I read a quote recently that I loved so much that I jotted it down..."Every child in the world deserves to have at least one person who is absolutely crazy about them."

One of my favorite books is Someday.  I cry absolutely everytime I read it.  Before his eyes close on his birthday we read a similar book that I gave him on his first birthday, On the Night You Were Born. Cover to cover.  In the cover I had written a special message.  Someday, when I'm not around, that book, such a simple thing, will mean so much and he "will remember me".

The wonderful, marvelous day you were born I became a mother and your dad a father.  This was a special gift that not everyone gets to experience.  It is a joy and love that is pure and selfless.  We loved you the moment we found out about your little life, we rejoiced the day you were born and every day that love and joy grow and grow.  You are so special.
Happy 1st Birthday,
Love, Mommy and Daddy


I am very selective about what TV shows the kids watch.  This is one area of my "parenting life" that I think is easy...and by easy I mean that I have complete control.  With pretty much everything else I can teach them until I am blue, but THEY control if they will do what is right.  With TV I control what they will watch (by using Kids On Demand, DVR or DVDs) and how long they will watch (1, maybe 2 if the weather is bad, 30 min shows per day).  If they bring up some sassy or violent show they have heard about somewhere else I just simply say..."Nope. Our family doesn't watch shows like that.  Your choices today are...blah, blah, blah.  We don't have to watch a show if you don't like the choices?"  Works every time.

I have "go-tos" on Kids On Demand (Bobby's World, The Berenstain Bears, Olivia, Wonderpets) or I DVR shows that I would think they would like (Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, The Adventures of Black Beauty).  We also have DVDs of shows like Lassie and Veggie Tales.

My selections generally have animals, adventure and a lesson of some sort and I'm always trying to add shows into the mix.  I don't really do "learning shows" as much as shows that teach a lesson ("moral shows?").

When we were in Charleston a few weekends ago we had the hotel TV on a channel that was showing Flipper (Not the one-hour Flipper...It is AWFUL.  The 30 min. one with Sandy and Bud).  I was thrilled!...I get really excited to add shows to our rotation.  It gives the kids some variety and choice.

The last two weeks they have been choosing Flipper as their choice every day.  I think he's our summer Lassie!  The shows I pick work well for both boys and girls, but honestly--with boats, planes, alligators, rescue missions, dolphins, Coast Guard, etc.---for a little boy it doesn't get much better than Flipper.

Teach FUN!

Last weekend a friend of ours turned two.  At his party was a massive inflatable waterslide!

Sometimes parenting is about being a "parent".  Teaching manners, chores, rules, etc.  But there are other times when parenting is about teaching FUN!  Like joining your children and their friends to do "cool tricks" on a massive inflatable waterslide!

When my children grow up I want them to remember ALL that I have taught them, especially that each day is a blessing...and FUN!