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Facebook Parenting Sucks

So, I just posted this facebook status, “My little Leah-bear learned to tie her shoes today. (feeling old and proud).”

And then I had this internal debate.  What if someone reads that and thinks, Leah-bear can tie her shoes at x-age. Well, my kid tied their shoes at less-than-x-age, obviously my kid is cooler and smarter.  What if someone else reads it and thinks, my kid tied their shoes at more-than-x-age, obviously my kid is not cooler and dumber.  And this whole thing makes me really sad about facebook parenting.  It kind of sucks.  Why can’t we all just celebrate with Leah-bear that she can tie her shoes without it making us do a comparison of children’s accomplishments and milestones?  I’m certainly guilty.  I know it’s human nature and I shouldn’t blame facebook and all, but sometimes I(we) let facebook magnify things and multiply their occurrences.

All that to say, please celebrate with Leah-bear…or the next kid that you read about that accomplishes something.  Lets take back our minds and not let them turn other children’s accomplishments into mental debates that lead to pride or condemnation.

Also, can we all please celebrate with Leah-bear’s mommy who did not yell at her even though it took much longer to get anywhere today?!?  No yelling.  That’s an accomplishment in and of itself, folks.  Short-term slowness is still hard even when I know it’s long-term gains for speed and independence.

It’s a win-win in my book.  Two big accomplishments.  I may celebrate tomorrow, probably with sugar.

Christmas is NOT Cancelled, It’s ON!

So, I read this article/blog post about cancelling Christmas.

And then I got sad.  And then I panicked because what if I’m-a-lesser-Christian-because-I-haven’t-cancelled-Christmas-for-my-own-sinful-children.  They take after their mama.  But I’m sure not gonna cancel Christmas for myself.  Nope, I like presents.  I guess I’m entitled.

Now we did try the 3 symbolic gifts last year for gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And it felt very religious of us, but it didn’t feel right, for us.  We’ve certainly debated Santa (and the verdict is…he’s coming!).  In fact he’ll be arriving early.  He’s coming on the 22nd because he knows we have very special family that we like to spend the holidays with.  So he comes special for us so we can have our Christmas at our house and have Christmas with all our family.  He sure does like family.

And I’ve certainly debated how many presents are enough and how many are too many.  Should we do a set number or a set dollar amount?  Should we?  Shouldn’t we?  Should we?

And I think I’ve landed on the other side of the fence.  We’re doing Christmas!  The more the merrier, right?  You see, one of my love languages is gifts.  I love to give ’em and get ’em.  I plan all year for this, literally.  I put money aside out of our budget every month to save for Christmas.  I buy gifts all year long as I think of things and see things that I think the people that I love would love.  I have lists and lists for this.

But back to my children and the child psychologist that I am NOT.  They get two days a year, Christmas and their birthday.  Or, one, if you’re my Hannah.  I really just have a hard time believing that it’s going to completely ruin them and turn them into entitled sinners if they get too many presents for Christmas.  I mean, they’re already entitled little sinners before all this Christmas stuff even came into discussion, right?  So, maybe it’s not so bad for us to give them presents on Christmas (and their birthday and any other day we want).  Maybe it’s okay for them to know that they’re special and that people who love them spent time and money buying/making them presents.  Maybe they’ll be ungrateful.  Maybe they’ll be thankful.  Maybe they’ll cry.  Maybe they’ll laugh.  And maybe, in the end, it’ll all be ok.

And, honestly, I like to buy presents for my kids.  My kids, my entitled, selfish, spoiled, hateful, mean, and sinful children.  Why?  Because I love them no matter what.  Their getting of gifts doesn’t depend on their attitude or behavior.  You see where this is going, right?  I happen to think that I reflect the Father a little when I give good gifts to my children.  He certainly does this for me.  And the reality is that he outgives me every time.  (Matthew 7:11 “ If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”)  Now, I’m no Bible scholar or child psychologist and I’ve not done any studies or surveys, so surely don’t just take my word for it.  But, I think I turned out ok.  And we had a nativity and Santa growing up.  I love Jesus and Santa.  I mean, not in the same way or anything, but still, they both give me good gifts without me asking or deserving it.

P.S. – And please don’t cancel Christmas just because some chick and some dude in blogland did and it got posted on the Today show website.

A Trigger of Hope

Heartbroken tonight over loss.  A very recent loss of a childhood friend.

I am reminded of the loss that many felt on 9/11.  And the loss that many have felt in the years following.  Loss of soldiers, firefighters, police, medical personnel, and many other first responders on that day…and those that have carried on the fight in the years afterward.

This is a day that triggers a lot in our house.  It triggers memories, pain, helplessness, sleeplessness, and things we don’t even understand.  It impacts us still…years later.  It affects us in deep ways.  It has caused us to become numb to the pain that we should feel and to keep our guard up to protect ourselves against further pain.

It is so hard to look in the face of loss and not be affected.  I often feel helpless and hopeless against the evil, pain, sorrow, despair, tragedy, and even the toil of daily life that this world brings.  This world sucks in so many ways.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what this world is and forget who Jesus is and what He did.  It’s easy to desensitize myself against those around me so that if (and when) the time comes that I lose them that it won’t hurt so bad.  A lie at it’s best.

Today, the loss brought a new trigger.  If I don’t allow the Gospel to enter into this place then what good is the Gospel that I say I cling to.  Today, it was the only hope I had.  Hope that things won’t always be this way.  Hope that evil won’t always have free reign.  Hope that I can feel and love those around me without fearing the someday pain of losing them.  Hope that when Jesus said we are new, that we really are new and that we are continually being made new.  Hope that His story is one of redemption, love, grace, truth, and that one day…

Hope that He feels our sorrow, our pain, our disappointment, our hurt, our fear, and all that we feel.  Hope that His truth and grace and love can bring peace and comfort and HOPE to this world.  Hope that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He will do.  I have hope in Him.

It was a long day filled with tears, desperate prayers, memories, many stairs (9/11 Memorial Climb), anxiety, and yet, HOPE.  It took many moments of refocusing my thoughts and redirecting them back to Jesus and the hope that He offers.  Many times of reminding myself of the Gospel, that this world is full of sin (mine at the top of the list), His plan of redemption, the cross that Jesus endured, and the hope that He offers that this world is not our home.  It takes His truth to combat the lies that I’m so easily tempted to believe.  It takes His love and comfort to combat the fears and pain that I usually allow to reign.

His Gospel is a new trigger of hope.  And today, it’s a hope that He is here even on the painful days.

Comedy from the Blue-Eyed Blond

I was riding in the car with my little L-Bear and we were discussing her snack.  She chose apple slices.  The following conversation ensued.

L-Bear: “I like these apples.”

Me: “Good!”

L-Bear: “Why did you say good?”

Me: “Because you like your apples.”

L-Bear: “How did you know I liked my apples?”

Me: “Um, you just said, ‘I like these apples.'”

L’Bear: “Oh, yeah, I do.”

I couldn’t wait to tell my little sister!  (And the rest of you too.)

Life with My SWC

So, I’m reading a book, “You Can’t Make Me, But I Can Be Persuaded” by Cynthia Ulrich Tobais, because I believe there’s a slight chance that I have a Strong-Willed Child (SWC).  Um, that’s a joke if you know my oldest.  

Part of what I’m learning from the book is that a SWC “can take what was meant to be the simplest request and interpret it as an offensive ultimatum.”  In my house that means, once I put the request/command out there and once she makes up her mind…it’s a done deal.  She’ll stand her ground…NO.MATTER.WHAT.  Oftentimes it’s the most infuriating thing imaginable because all I want her to do is obey and do what I’ve asked…mostly to make my life easy.

Tonight was one of those times.  I simply asked her to help clean up her toys in the living room.   She did not respond well and I was immediately on edge sensing we were about to have a power struggle.  So I offered her a choice to try to “encourage” her to make the “right” decision…you know, the decision I wanted her to make.

I offered up the option to her that if she didn’t want to pick up her toys that I would do it for her, but that she would have to pay me $1.00 of her money.  You know, the money she’s been working so hard for to save up for a new Anna doll or Clover Leaf Mansion.  I mean, who wants to give up their money to mom, right??  

Ha  I should have known with my SWC that once she’d made up her mind to not clean up she didn’t really care what the consequences were.  She wasn’t going to be made to clean up.  So what did she do…she marched into her room, got down her ‘Spend’ jar, and headed back to the living room.  She asked me, “Mom, what would you do with the money?  What do you want to buy?”  I told her that I wanted a new quilt machine.

She handed me a $5.00 bill and said, “I hope you get to the buy that Mega Quilter!”.  I told her that she didn’t have to do that.  She hugged me and said, “I want to.  And I’ll help you clean up the living room.”

So not only did she give me more of her money than was required, she recognized that she now had only $4, she’d been listening and knew the name of the quilt machine I wanted, and she helped clean up.

Now how do you respond to that?  

It certainly doesn’t always end that way, but when it does I take it.  While immediate obedience and compliance isn’t the norm, and I’m often weary from negotiating EVERY.LITTLE.THING, tonight I was reminded that SWC have some really amazing qualities.  I was quite thankful the reminder.  

Getting Organized: the Kitchen and a Menu Plan

So, the theme for 2014 is going to be less stuff, more efficiency, and more time for family and friends.  I am the keeper of the stuff at my house and I’m tired of having so much to pick up, clean, and take care of.  So, I’m getting rid of it.  If it’s not essential and we don’t love it, then it’s gone.  (It’s also my secret plan to fund a fabulous girls weekend to Boston this summer!)

One of the areas I want to work on is my kitchen and menu planning.

I started by reading this awesome blog which helped me declutter my kitchen.  I now have one section of counter-top that is completely free!!  I even put away 3 appliances (toaster, bread machine, and food processor) by cleaning out my cabinets.  I LOVE it.  I used to think my mom was crazy for not keeping her toaster out, but as it turns out, she is not.

Also, I want a menu plan.  The problem is that I hate to menu plan.  Yep, HATE it.  For some reason it thoroughly stresses me out.  I finally decided that if I was going to have a menu and put in on my (newly cleaned off) fridge then it should at least be cute.  It is.  And I’m going to share it with you.  It’s pretty much the luckiest day of your life.  😉

Fridge with menu plan

Chalkboard Menu – blank  (a pdf that you can print and fill in weekly)

Menu Ideas (a word doc that you can edit to include your family favorites)

I used a white colored pencil to start with, but I think I’m going to need a white/silver marker.  How sad, I guess a trip to the office supply store is in order.  (Said in total sarcasm because a trip to the office supply store sounds like a great day to me.)

Please prepare yourself to be completely annoyed by my upcoming pursuit of less stuff and the fact that I might try to convince you to do the same.  😉


What are 10 things you could eliminate from your kitchen TODAY???


I Forget.

I forget the impact that it has on my house.  I forget that it changed my life.  But, here’s the timeline, in case you were bored.

September 11, 2001 – Now we know it as 9/11.

Mid-November 2001 – Chad & I met at a concert through some friends.

Early-December 2001 – Chad & I start dating.  We didn’t waste any time.

January 2002 – Chad deploys to Germany for 7 months.  And we date through letters and phone calls.

December 2003 – We get hitched!

January 2005 – Chad deploys to Iraq.

June 2006 – Chad comes home.

Fast forward to this morning.  I should have realized something was different when Husband was showing 9/11 tribute videos to the girls at 7:30 this morning.  I also should have realized that he didn’t so much respond to anything I said all day long.  I also should have realized that he was a tad on the short side with us.  I finally caught on when he parked it on the couch to watch more 9/11 tribute videos tonight.  And then again when he let our little Banana stay up to watch the Clydesdale’s Budweiser video and we all got teary-eyed.

You see, I forget.  I mean, I recognize that it’s 9/11, but I totally forget the impact that it has on people like my husband.  People who were first responders or people who went to war for it.  You see, our houses will never forget.

We are so proud to be Americans.  We love our country and we will raise our girls to love her too.

It’s been 12 years since 9/11.  It’s been 12 years since I met my husband.  It’s been 11 years since his first deployment.  It’s been 7 years since his second deployment.  And every Memorial Day, 4th of July, 9/11, and Veterans Day since then we remember.  We remember the lives, we remember the sacrifice, and we remember how our lives are forever changed.  We remember what we lost.

And we watch a lot of videos.  And we get a little crabby.  And we get a little sad.  And one of us goes to bed early.  And one of us blogs about it.

And I love my husband even more because he remembers.

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