Monday, April 25, 2016

We're All a Little Bit "Two"

So, let's just get this straight. I LOVE two-year olds. Two year olds are so cute. They are little people who are developing their little personalities. And their attitudes. Attitudes.

 Image result for toddler free images tantrum      

If you've ever parented a toddler, you've seen these faces. Especially if you've been the blessed recipient of a strong willed toddler!

But let's be real. Don't you sometimes just want to make these same faces? And yell "Give me!" or "Mine!" or "Look at me!!!!" Or..."NOOOOOOO!!!!"

I know I do. I've come to the realization that we are all a little bit two. We've just learned to hide the "two". We just know it's not socially acceptable.

Sometimes you'll see the older people in your life revert to some of these behaviors. They might not look the same as the pictures above but the sentiment is there. And it may not be as cute. But let's get real. That's not the worst aspect of getting old-being able to be "a little bit two" again. Oh, and naps.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

I had the chance to take my kids camping with a fun group of people this spring break! We ended up only staying one night but the day and a half we had there were worth the work and the trip!

                           We did it! We hiked to the top of "Old Baldy" at Garner State Park.
                             Nathan is a trooper! He hiked right along with the rest of the group!
 The whole group-we did this neat thing, we asked some other hikers to take our picture as a group. No selfie stick needed! (I'm not a fan of selfies or selfie sticks)
                            Look at this girlie! At the top and energy to climb the tree too!
 The other kiddos went back a different route that was shorter, but Nathan and I wanted to see the cave! I didn't end up going in, but he did! (There were more people than I wanted to be in a cave with LOL)
 Nathan and Haley playing in the river. They are cuh-razy! The river is called the Frio River. It's always cold, but it's doable when it's 95 outside...notsomuch when it's 80 in March! Brrrr!
Nathan is getting brave! As the baby of the family, and maybe just his own personality, he's always been more timid-you know, "I'm not dipping my toes in that water without my life jacket." We didn't have a life jacket this time as I REALLY didn't think those crazy kids would get in that cold water.
 My pretty girl and me on our hike! When you look up to where we were from down below. *gasp* It is seriously straight up. Or down.

This kid! Seriously. That tree is not short. And I don't know if it will work as a video (but I'm no longer letting technical difficulties stop me from blogging!!!!) but he was doing some pretty fancy tricks off of that rope!!!! At one point I couldn't find him *gasp* (he is almost 14 and he was with a buddy but still...water, kid missing...ugh!!!) and when I finally found him...he was climbing that tree to jump off. Ummm. I might have been less scared when I couldn't find him! All's well that ends well though!
We saw some pretty amazing lightening on the way home (I miss that from growing up in Missouri!) and we got some video but I haven't figured out how to change that to screen shots.

Monday, March 14, 2016

There Is This Boy...He Stole My Heart

And he calls me mom. <3 p="">

Jared is almost 14. He is such a funny guy. And a hard worker-not always for me, but I *always* get told what an amazing worker he is by others! He's always loved to invent things. He draws very well but rarely shows anyone what he draws-we're working on self esteem.
He's good with little kids. (Again, lest I give you the impression he's faultless and therefore fall into the "fakebook" trap, he pesters his siblings to no end and they drive him crazy too). We have some friends that have a 3 year old and he will swing her and talk to her and listen. It's beyond sweet.
He's working towards his Eagle Rank in scouts (yes, at 13, he's ALMOST there--he has his Eagle project planned and the funds are ready! He has a few badge requirements to finish up on other required merit badges. We fully expect him to have his Eagle at 14!) despite the fact that many of the merit badges did not come easy for him...that picture above where he's giving a speech? That is beyond hard for him. We might have pushed him a little, but he got it done!
Do you see that puppy in the pictures? He supports that puppy. We don't pay for his upkeep. Jared does!
I'm so proud of this boy.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Baby!

Ok, so they're not babies anymore. But they were and they're still my babies! So I get to call them that.

So, I just have to say it. Isn't she beautiful? And she's beautiful on the inside too! (Don't get me wrong, we have our issues- I don't want to play into the fake "everything is awesome" way of living that social media encourages. We don't always get along. We had a disagreement today!)
We are coming up on 16 years with this girl. She's loves God, is funny, responsible, fun loving (that child will swing herself off of any zipline-see above pics-the longer and higher the better!), nerdy, and an amazing saver! She has more sense in her little pinky finger regarding boys than I had in my whole being at that age. Love my girl!
This year is so big for her and therefore for us! She is turning 16 and has worked hard to save for a car of her own. I feel 100% comfortable with her ability to drive and make good decisions. She has also been invited (by a boy!) to go to prom. Not the homeschool prom. The public high school one! *gasping emoji face* and we are letting her. With all the warnings (you know, if you have to leave your drink for one minute, don't drink it when you come back, get a new one; if you feel uncomfortable for ONE minute, CALL us. You will not be in trouble!) and the worry. We will worry. But we're letting go, one baby step at a time.
I think I'll do one "baby" at a time. Each one deserves his or her own post. <3 div="">

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tough Stuff and Teens

So, you see, as your kids grow up the issues get a little heavier.
When my teenagers were little I tried to remember not to freak out about everything. I tried to parent with this in mind, "will this matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?" If the answer was no to the weeks, months and really wasn't a battle I needed to choose. In other words, if it wasn't a character issue or a moral issue or a spiritual just really wasn't an "issue".

When they become teenagers it seems as if everything really will matter! I mean, who cares if they eat a little extra junk food, that doesn't matter....the movies they watch, the music they listen to, the people they hang around, the websites they visit...those all matter. A LOT. Are they being responsible? It matters. Because in just a few short years, they will be responsible for their own life-ready or not. A good work ethic? Matters so much! They cannot hold a job and take care of themselves if they are not good workers. (And let's be honest, it's pretty great to get compliments on your child's work ethic. To have people hiring them to get a job or two done even at 13 or 14!)

What if the kids they are hanging around are a bad influence? Or make them feel like they have the weight of the choices the friends are making on their shoulders? Like, feeling responsible and drug down by other people's bad choices. That's super important. It matters now and could very well matter in 5 years. And beyond.

I don't know what I've done right or what I've done wrong in this whole parenting gig...I mean I could have been more loving and less rule-oriented. I could have given more hugs. I could have sat on the floor and played with them a little more. Prayed with and for them more often for sure. But darn it, I must have done something right.

My beautiful daughter who is on the verge of turning 16 (wow! yeah, that proves that the days are long but the years are short!!) comes to me when things are heavy. She shares things with me that I imagine many (if not most) teenagers do not share with their old mamas. We have our differences, this child and I. But when it matters, she knows I'm here and that I am trustworthy. And that she can bounce ideas and concerns off of me.  We spent some time talking tonight and she has some concerns. I can't tell her exactly what to do about these concerns but we can talk it through and hash through ideas. I can sneak in a little, "remember when we talked about this or that? Do you see how this situation shows what I meant by that?" <----that a="" and="" anyone.="" appreciated="" appreciates="" as="" awesome="" be="" d="" discipline.="" discipline="" do.="" especially="" get="" have="" i="" if="" in="" is="" it.="" it="" moment.="" moment="" not="" nowhere.="" p="" parent="" rules.="" same="" sees="" she="" so="" sure="" t="" teenager.="" that="" the="" think="" told="" way="" we="" weird.="" why="" will="" with="" wouldn="" you="">
Keep talking with your kids and teens. With them. Not at them (I'm very guilty of this at times!). It will pay off. I've also told my kids more times than I can count "I'm not your friend, I'm your mom". At times I think they thought it was a mean thing to say. But I meant it. They can have 1000 friends (I mean, at least on facebook they can!) but I'm the only mom they have. Just one. I have a job to do. Sometimes it's a stinkin' hard job. But then I get to see the rewards.

The rewards are rich. So maybe I was the right amount of "rules oriented". The right amount of not being their playmate (I didn't want them to always be dependent on someone else-even me-for contentment or entertainment!). The right amount of discipline. Or else, God took my best, my good intentions and turned them into just what was needed.

P.S. There could be some gorgeous pics of my "little" girl if I had taken the time to put pics on my new computer! But I haven't. You'll just have to trust me.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wow! What a whirlwind of a year it's been. I can't believe I've been away from my little blog for so long. Since 2013! I love my little blog. It's my own little place. To write about my musings and silly things that happen in our life.
I've found that keeping up with 4 kids and homeschooling them and taking them to their activities has me so tapped out I have no "creativity" left at the end of the day! Add to that, my laptop was on the fritz for a year (sticking keys that you have to pound on to get to register what you type) and it locked up every time I worked on led to not being able to get anything done.
Finally got a new laptop! Yay! (It's a touchscreen HP, pretty basic, that I got on Amazon and I love it so far!)
Another huge happening we've had in life that has really thrown us for a loop is that my husband changed jobs. He'd been at his former job for almost 9 years and an opportunity came up for an excellent job with insurance for the family (finally!) and better pay and opportunities for overtime. No brainer, right? So, after much prayer and making it through the whole process to get hired at this company (seriously, you'd think he was trying to hire in with the CIA!) we felt like it was best to go forward and accept the new position. That was in August of 2014.
Here's the catch, the company was in negotiations with the local Union to get a new contract signed. Only the Union had no desire to sign anything. Unless they were given EVERY thing. But you can't have everything. I pretty much learned that in kindergarten.
And so there was a lock-out. (That's the opposite of a strike in that the company says the union can't come in and work until the issues are resolved). While my hubby is not a union member, he is in the same "bargaining unit" (meaning he benefits from their good negotiations and he takes the fall when negotiations break down). They cannot let the non-union members work if they aren't letting the union members work because it would be "discrimination" against the union members.
So, all this to say, this has been very hard on our family. Why would God give us this excellent job and then allow this to happen?
Why is rarely a productive question in these kinds of situations. (Only took me over a year to get that!)
Since the beginning of this year (2016) I am working on focusing on the blessings in my life. And there are a lot. God has provided so amazingly during this time. Our income has been less than half of what it "should" be. But we've lacked nothing. I mean, a few luxuries sure, but no needs have gone unmet. And every time I've been tempted to wonder if he should have kept his old job, he hears from a former coworker how slow things are there...he could very well have been downsized or had his hours cut.
So, busyness has reigned. And surviving.
To be continued....

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cost of Dreadfully Busy

I once heard someone say "We do what we really want to do." It was said in relation to someone saying they couldn't. Or didn't have time. Or any other myriad of excuses.

But it's true. If you really want to do it. If it matters to you. You will find a way.

Your calendar and your checkbook generally show EXACTLY where your priorities lay. We should order our priorities so that we give our best time and effort to what matters most... (Revelation 3:20, 17).

In the past I considered it very important to read to my children every night. I've often allowed myself to become so busy and TIRED lately that I no longer do this. It makes me wonder if my two younger children will have the same love for reading that my two older ones have.

We used to do a family game night...or rather nights! Every week. Just silly time to play games. And the lessons learned in family game nights can be VERY valuable. Learning to lose gracefully. Learning to win gracefully. Learning to enjoy what you're doing whether you win or lose...

Busyness distracts us from things that have real value.

I used to run a pretty reasonably ordered household. Not perfect by any means. And some days were more ordered than others. Most weeks though, we had a menu for dinners. And laundry was clean and dry-if not put away.

I feel like I've become so busy and so tired that these things have all taken a backseat. And so I become more tired. And harried. And dinner sneaks up on me every. single. night. Like I didn't know it was coming...again.

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Busyness produces fatigue.

When you're too busy you're too tired. Duh. (Yeah, Nathan would inform me I just said a bad word. And "whatever" is a "bad" word too!) Anyways, if you expend all of your energy running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you won't have energy for relationships. I'm not talking about physical energy....emotional and mental energy are huge. Absolutely paramount for relationships. I can carry on for quite a while with very little physical energy (sure, not performing at my best, but I can "function" and do the necessary things) but if I'm emotionally zapped...fuhgeddaboutit. There have been times that by the time my husband gets home I will think to tell him about something and when I open my mouth....I just close it again. It doesn't have to be anything significant-just relating a story or a thought I had earlier in the day...but it's just not worth the effort. Do you see the problem here? One of my top 3 relationships suffers. Because I haven't saved enough energy for it. 

So, what is the answer? I wish I knew. I wish I had all the answers. For me, something that has helped is just taking stock and realizing that while so many things are good, not all are good for US. And not all at once for sure.

  • We no longer attend every field trip through multiple homeschool groups.
  • We are not participating in co-op. It did not make this mama happy. And if mama ain't happy....
  • Sometimes we just stay home. And in our jammies.
  • Down-time is VALUABLE. Time when no one expects anything of you. 
  • Kids don't have to be entertained and drug from one activity to another. ----which is another post altogether!

I'd like to expand upon this this coming year. Remember my desire to live intentionally??  Well, this would be part of it. Time is a precious resource-in fact, for me, it's one of THE most important resources. "Quality time" is my primary love language (how I receive love, what I translate into "I am loved and valued")...more than gifts. More than being "served". More than words of affirmation. I don't want to hear that I'm awesome. ;) Those are words! Put your time where your mouth is and I'm feeling GREAT!

So, for this year we're going to see if we can streamline things a little more. Get rid of some of our "junk"!

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