05-21-16 Moms Night Out Scavenger Hunt

This evening was our annual Moms Night Out scavenger hunt with my MOPS group. This is our third year doing it and I always enjoy it. This year I came up with twenty clues for the ladies to figure out and they did great, getting almost all of them! Then we had dinner to go over our finds.

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Meanwhile Tim was very brave and decided to take the three kids to IHOP for dinner and then on to the store. They got home even later than me, but they are all in bed and it is time to finish Captain American before we pass out!

05-20-16 How does one describe a perfect day?

How does one describe a perfect day, because today really was.

I have been wanting to volunteer in C’s classroom all year, and as the school year will be over in a few short weeks, I decided to take the day off from work and spend some time there with her. I didn’t tell her I was coming, so it was great to see the look of surprise when I walked into the room. It definitely made her day!  I was assigned to the reading corner and I spent about an hour reading to different kids as they rotated through their stations.

After that, it was time to line up for lunch. Apparently if you are the kid whose mom spends the day in the class, all the other kids want to sit next to you at the lunch table, so we had quite a crowd at lunch. We talked and laughed.

After lunch it was show and tell time, and C showed a sign she made at home- on one side is the word stop written in red and the other side says go in green. She uses with Big E to play Red Light, Green Light.

Next was recess, so we all headed outside. We played Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and played on the swings until it was time to go inside. At that point it was time for me to go so I said good bye and got lots of hugs from a bunch of the kids. I gave C a special hug and kiss as she headed out of the room to go to art class. I’m so glad I spent the morning with her!

After leaving her, I headed off to the church to see Big E’s end of the year ceremony for his Mom’s Morning Out program. The kids got up and did the pledge and then they sang us a song.

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Sorry for the mostly blurry pic, but I don’t like to post pictures of other peoples’ kids without their permission. 

After the ceremony the kids had popsicles and played for a little bit.

Big E really loved his teacher this year!

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Next was a Mommy-Son date at Starbucks while we waited to meet up with the family that was watching Baby E. As we waited he told me all about his new bug collecting kit his teacher had given him. When Baby E arrived, we booked it back home to get C off the bus.

After she got home we went for a walk to the stinky bridge and gazebo park. The kids ran around for awhile trying (quite unsuccessfully) to catch bugs.

Once back, we played outside for a bit before going inside to order pizza.

After Tim got home, we had dinner and then met up with the neighbor cousins to go the boardwalk for the farmers market. This week there is also a carnival down there as well.

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We told the kids that they could each ride ONE ride. So, I took Big E on the carousel.

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While Tim took C on the Ferris Wheel.

Where the attendant promptly forgot about them, and after 45 minutes of them being on the ride, Tim finally had to ask them to let them off!! Ha ha! Meanwhile Tim had all the tickets in his pocket so Big E and I just watched and waited!

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Finally we gave up and joined up with the neighbor cousins for some dancing on the boardwalk!

The boys even tried out some break dancing.

We ended the evening with a few minutes on the beach (where I found 10 sharks teeth while the kids played in the sand and on the pirate ship)

And we topped it all off with some Rita’s. Whew! That was a long and busy day- And I loved every minute of it. (Except maybe the extra 30 minutes Tim was on that ferris wheel!) Now it is late and I promised Tim I would watch Captain America with him, so I’m about to wake him up from the couch. I’m guessing we will get about 20 minutes in, ha!!

 

05-19-16 Lunch Date

Every once in awhile my father comes over and meets me for lunch. We have staked out a favorite restaurant in the town I work in, so we never have to worry about deciding where to eat. I especially look forward to these lunch dates. We get to sit and talk… and we talk about everything- the kids, politics, religion, coffee… you name it, we’ve discussed it. It’s an hour out of our busy lives to connect and build on our life long relationship. I value his friendship and advice so dearly and truly enjoy his company!

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In other news, C’s spring school picture came in and she is such a cutie!

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This is her fall and spring pictures side by side. She is growing up quick!

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This morning, while waiting for the bus, I snapped a bunch of pictures of the kids. If you have kids, or have been around kids, or even seen them in the distance, you know it is impossible to get them all smiling at the same time… so I chose the one that had the least number of goofy faces.

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05-18-16 Brothers

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Ever since C started school in the fall, these boys spend a lot of time together. It is fun to watch their relationship grow. Baby E adores Big E and follows him everywhere. If he notices Big E crying, he will push everyone out of the way to get to him and hug him. He loves to cuddle and give him kisses and when he cannot find him he wanders around the house calling his name. I love that they are close enough in age to be good friends as they grow up.

Also, I have noticed that Baby E’s head might actually be bigger than Big E’s head!! Poor kid!

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After a long day of dragging that gigantic head around, sometimes you just need to lay on the floor in the hallway with your bottle. It’s all good.

05-17-16 Discipline

You know what makes me very sad? When I read stories online about parents choosing to use public shaming as a form of punishment. I don’t know how many articles I’ve read about parents who don’t like the actions of their children/teenagers and instead of dealing with the situation in a private way, they make them stand on street corners holding up signs with their offense, or they cut their hair and share the video on Facebook. When I see these kind of stories I think, What is wrong with these parents?!?! These photos and videos often have other parents chiming in with Good job! Why didn’t I think of that? responses that break my heart. I am so grateful that I grew up pre-social media and any stupid thing I did could only come back to haunt me after someone finished the roll of film in their camera and sent the film away to be developed, (and even then, there were only two copies of the picture, and chances were good they were out of focus anyways!)

Now, I have made a promise to myself to never blog about my children when they have made me mad and I am still in the emotional throws of the situation. It is not that I want to paint our home life as something happier or shinier than it really is, but rather I want to protect my children from shame and humiliation. And while my children are still very young, I want to develop the habit that we lift each other up and encourage each other. The last thing I want for my children is for them to carry the burden of guilt and shame. And if they find themselves in a situation that creates those things, is it loving for me to publicly broadcast that to the world? No, it is cruel and selfish. I want to use their failures and their shortcomings to create opportunities for learning- learning about life and learning about the grace freely given to them by their Father in heaven.

So as I mentioned, last night we had a rough night. Being at my wit’s end, I did not know what to do, so I sent the kids to their room while I sat on the floor of my kitchen and cried. When I was finally able to compose myself, I struggled with how to deal with the heart of the situation. How do I get them to understand how their actions affect the people around them. So, I grabbed paper and pencils and headed upstairs. We sat down on their beds and I asked them to each draw a picture of themselves being mean to mommy. They were taken back at first at the request, but then they set to their task. After a few moments, they were finished. I started with Big E.

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His picture is a little bit hard to understand,  but he explained it to me. That is him in the middle. The squiggles through his mouth are when he was saying mean things to mommy. He drew me on the left side with tears running down my eyes. The two lines on the right side represent when he was stomping through the house.

I was fascinated by his picture and the way he expressed his words as the jumble of lines at his mouth.

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C’s picture was easier to understand. That is her in the foreground yelling and that is me in the background crying.

When we finished this exercise, I asked them what they thought about their pictures and they both agreed that they were very sad and they didn’t like them. They earnestly looked at me and apologized for the evening. What could have ended as a horrible evening with yelling and fighting, ended with a remarkable moment to connect with my kids on a deeper level. Was I still frustrated? Yes. Did they still have consequences? Yes. But did we mutually learn something last night? Absolutely. And we were drawn closer together because of it.

Though I fail at this so often, true discipline isn’t about shame. It isn’t about guilt. It is about correcting a behavior and an attitude in such a way that the relationship is restored and healing can begin. It’s about pointing them to Christ and teaching them about grace. And it should always be done out of love.

05-16-16 You Win Some, You Lose Some

On the heels of an amazing evening last night, my children were in fine form tonight. I am going to blame the fact that we have had some late nights lately, and they were all a little more tired than normal. It was definitely one of those evening where I mentally calculated how many more years I have until I release them out onto an unsuspecting populace and then started to pray that we get our act together long before that!

With that said, here are some pictures from the weekend. They look happy. Everyone is smiling. This is good! Ha!

(Oh, and yes, Baby E is wearing his sister’s headband. He found it on the floor, claimed it, and now insists on wearing it quite often. Hey, at least it brings out the blue in his eyes!)

05-15-16 A Very Special Night

This evening we attended a special baptism service at our church. Sixteen people made public professions of their faith through baptism, including one of my nieces. It was such a beautiful service and a wonderful moment for all the families.

As I tucked the kids into bed this evening I asked them about baptism and what it meant. C started talking about how you got baptized when you believed in God and asked Him to be your Father and protect you in dark places. And then she said that she hadn’t asked Jesus to live in her life yet. I asked her if she wanted to tonight and she said yes. So when Tim came in, we sat on her bed, explained what she was asking to do, just to make sure she really understood. We talked about how no matter how hard we try, we can never be good enough on our own and how Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we don’t have to be. She asked me to pray with her, so I got the absolutely amazing experience of praying with my little girl to ask Jesus into her life.

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So Happy Spiritual Birthday, my sweet one. This evening, as I held your hand, you made an eternity choice. It is a choice that forever alters your future. But it is a choice that has to be yours for there is no such thing as secondhand faith. You are starting a journey, and for now you are a baby, but you will grow. We are privileged to travel with you as long as we can and we are here for you. Ask us your questions (even the hard ones.) Search for answers. Pray. And always remember that you have been bought with a very dear price. You are loved.

05-14-16 Night Out

We celebrated a very special woman this evening! My sister in law is heading back to work soon from her maternity leave, so we took the chance to take her out, have dinner, and enjoy some karaoke.

What a fun group of ladies to spend the evening with!!

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05-13-16 Fight Face

You can’t tell right now, but I totally have my fight face on.

If you have followed along for any length of time, you know that my family has had an awful time this year with sickness. Just short of ebola, I’m pretty sure we’ve had everything- and often more than once! So when I caught wind that nearly one hundred (yes, you read that right) ONE HUNDRED kids from C’s school were absent today and many of the remainders were dropping like flies from a GI bug, you better bet this mommy brain went into panic mode.

I hate stomach bugs. REALLY HATE STOMACH BUGS. And since I personally have had two this season, I really feel like finding a dark corner and rocking back and forth in the fetal position.

C’s school is less than 700 kids. That means one in seven children have this bug. Let’s think about this. These kids have been all over the school, which means even more kids are going to get sick this weekend. Many of those kids have siblings who also may or may not get sick. No doubt many asymptomatic children will be out in public, at the grocery store, in restaurants, in the park, and at churches around the community. So basically, if you haven’t gotten it yet, chances are good it is coming your way! Gah!

Sure, I’m being kind of alarmist, which further emphasizes my complete disdain of stomach bugs, but seriously, this is crazy. It’s like a cruise ship without the ocean.

Now considering my family had been pretty much sick all winter, you would think we would have the immune systems of genetically engineered lab rats, but we keep getting hit with illnesses, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if we succumb to this one too. So if you get a slightly incoherent text message from me begging you for ginger ale and chicken noodle soup, do this poor mama a favor and leave some at my door. (And then promptly wash your hands.)

And for those of you who have kids that attend school with C… all I have to say is…

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05-12-16 My love of British television

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, (probably multiple times) but I really love British television. Well, basically anything British based off of a classic novel (preferably Austen or Dickens, but more obscure authors will do.) My current obsession is actually not a classic novel, but a series of books written in the 40’s and 50’s about a character named Poldark, which is the name of the current series. Apparently there was a Masterpiece series that was really quite popular back in the 70’s but that was before my time and I had never even heard about it until I stumbled upon the current Poldark series on Amazon Prime. Now I am completely hooked.

What I like about British television-

1- Their films based on books are usually very long miniseries. Have you ever seen Pride and Prejudice (The Colin Firth one)? How about Bleak House? I love that the stories get drawn out, much like reading the books, and therefore you get the chance to really get to know the characters.

2- The accents- Let’s face it, British accents are beautiful.

3- The clothes and locations- The costumes are always beautiful and the locations are always stunning!

4- They don’t always use ‘beautiful’ people. In American films, you can pretty much count on the overweight character to be the comic relief, or the plain character to be the bad guy or the sad, single loner- but not so in British tv. They are much more likely to use people that look like everyday, normal people and they aren’t the butt of every joke. I find that very refreshing.

5- Comfort. We’ve all heard of comfort food. For me, watching period pieces is comfort television. I can have it running in the background while I do the dishes, I can lay in bed and watch it on silent with the subtitles running. It easily becomes familiar to me, and I like familiar! Tim always laughs at me that I watch series over and over again, but hey, I don’t have to pause it when he talks to me because I already know what is going to happen. 🙂

So I thought I’d leave you with a list of some of my favorite British shows and mini-series that you should check out. Let me know if you have watched any, which are your favorites, or if there are some missing from my list that I need to check out!

  1. Poldark (obviously, because that’s what I’m watching right now.)
  2. Pride and Prejudice- This is an absolute classic, a litmus test to compare all other book adaptations to.
  3. Bleak House- Based on Dickens’ greatest novel, it is kind of dark, but has a very agreeable main character. (And it also stars Gillian Anderson, who is of course awesome.) It’s also pretty quotable and you will find yourself saying things like “Shake me up, Judy!”
  4. As Time Goes By- A tv series staring Judy Dench that ran in the 90’s. It’s funny and nostalgic.
  5. North and South- Based on an Elizabeth Gaskell story that I think has a much better ending than the actual book.
  6. Wives and Daughters- Also an Elizabeth Gaskell. If you’ve ever been tempted to read this book let me warn you, it is huge. Also, I should also tell you that Elizabeth Gaskell actually died before finishing the book so it literally ends in mid sentence. (I had no idea when I started this book, so imagine my anguish when it just cut off!) However, the mini series is quite enjoyable.
  7. Little Dorrit- Another Dickens makes the list! It’s long, but enjoyable.
  8. Jane Eyre- There are quite a few versions of this one, but I recommend the one that came out in 2006. (BTW- this is one of my favorite books of all time.)
  9. The Paradise- This one a stumbled on a couple of years ago, and of course got sucked in. It’s set slightly later than most of the others on this list.
  10. Emma- The 2009 version definitely puts the american version to shame.
  11. Downton Abbey- I actually loved and hated this show at the same time. Some of the plot lines and characters were irritating, however it was beautifully shot and acted, and I think the pros outweighed the cons on this one.
  12. Sherlock- So very, very, very loosely based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novels as to be barely negligible as the same, however the show is excellent.

Well, if you are experiencing a television slump and have no idea what to watch, might I recommend something from the list above!