Thursday, March 15, 2012

No Kids Allowed

In the past year or so there has been increased attention on places that are enforcing "no kids allowed" rules. This, to me, is very strange. To be fair, I think that having kid-free locations can be appropriate, but general "no kids" rules seem to be the next "big" thing and I think it's horrible. 

Our children are starting out their lives being discriminated against RIGHT OFF THE BAT. What's next? Kids must occupy the back of a bus, use special water fountains and bathrooms, and must stay out of movie theaters? I think that this could get really out of control, and the really sad thing is that it's not only the kids who have to deal with this, but the parents as well. It's already difficult enough to take a kid to a restaurant, but to have restaurants NOT allow them AT ALL? That seems absurd to me. I sure hope the future of this fad isn't grocery stores banning children-I'd lose my most valuable helpers :( 

This is part of a bigger issue that I see, and that is the attacks on the family, and sometimes children in general. But my problem is this: people not being able to go where they want to go, or being forbidden from being somewhere SIMPLY BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE OR SOMETHING ABOUT THEM THAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE. That doesn't sit well with me at all...
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Then there are "those" days...

Today I'm having one of "those" days. I'm sure every person with a heartbeat has an idea of what I'm talking about...one of those days where you just...need...a...break. 

We're in the midst of some serious changes in my household. We've had to make a decision that we've never wanted to make, we're in the middle of figuring out how to move our household several hundred miles away, I'm in the last quarter of my college "career", and then there's all the normal craziness of single-parenting four children while my husband is away for work. Let's not forget the 7 year old's science fair project that's due in a week. Ugh. More work. Work, Work, Work.

I'm overwhelmed and I...NEED...A...BREAK! It's rainy outside, the kids have tracked mud through the clean house, there are food products and wrappers everywhere (my fault-I tried to escape for an hour and have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband), the kids are completely unruly and misbehaved. They just don't understand. I've been frustrated all day because their behavior is just awful. Why can't they just play nicely downstairs??? I NEED A BREAK!

And then something happened. I'm sitting here stewing about how awful today is, how overwhelmed I am, and my 7 year old turns on a TV show that I particularly enjoy and sits down. All the kids are quiet...

I really don't need a break as in a "vacation" or "to get away", I just need some cooperation. Some quiet. And that's exactly what's happening right now. The thing is...it's really not *their* fault. I am under a lot of stress and it can feel like walking on eggshells around me at times. I do my best to keep a light environment when the kids are awake, but sometimes the situation gets the best of me. 

Isn't that interesting? The *situation*is controlling ME. How bizarre...something that is nothing unless *I* make it something is controlling me, my attitude, my feelings. Do I really need a break? Maybe so...everyone needs some time to decompress. But perhaps I need to learn a more effective way of dealing with things. I need to learn to not let things get the best of me, to not become overwhelmed by what's going on. 


So frequently we like to say "My kids are driving me crazy!" I'm going to start challenging myself to examine what is *really* going on...is it my kids, or is it the situation? How many fights could be avoided if instead of projecting our frustrations or anger on to people, if we analyzed what was really eating at us, what the "real" issue is. I can say that more often than not, it's the situation, it's not my kids. It's the fact that my kids are loud when I want quiet, it's the fact that the kids have made a mess when I just got finished cleaning. Is it my kids, or is it the situation? 


Anyway...that's my random rambling for today...
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We're going "Bare Bones"

For the past 5 1/2 years, we have called this place "home". We've been proud to call it home; we've brought two babies home from the hospital here, watched first steps being taken, watched kids fight here...it's hard to leave a place that holds so much. 

However, this place holds more than memories...it holds stuff. Almost six years of accumulated stuff, to be exact. While we'll be sad to leave this place and the memories it holds, we're not sad to say goodbye to our stuff, and that is why we're choosing a "bare bones" move. 

I believe that Americans have an unhealthy attachment to stuff. After all, what do we really need? This is often a question I think we are afraid to ask ourselves. If you had 15 minutes to gather your belongings, what would you grab? First of all, you'd be surprised at what you can round up in 15 minutes...but I already know what I would grab. However, I have more than 15 minutes, I have about 15 weeks. In light of this, I need to get rid of a lot of this stuff. 

This isn't a popular view to take, however. Yes, it is expensive to sell everything and then replace it later, but when you have no intention of "replacing" it, when you genuinely plan to live on less, then selling is the way to go. And that is exactly what I intend to do. If it doesn't sell, it goes to goodwill. 

Currently I have about 13 bags ready for the giveaway truck, and I'll have more by the end of the week. I also have high chairs and other big items, and I'm sure that there's a hungry dumpster out there just *waiting* for all of our broken stuff and miscellaneous trash. But still, even my family thinks it's crazy that I'm just doing away with most of our stuff. But the fact of the matter is that this stuff has so little value, is it even worth moving? Not only little monetary value, but sentimental value as well. In fact, as I look around, I can name on one hand the items I'd like to keep- my dining room table, my vanity, my Playstation, and my computer. That's it! 

As I go through the motions of paring things down, I'm going to have to make some tough decisions, and I have a feeling that not many people could do a "bare bones" move because there's not only so much stuff, but often times, we let our "stuff" define us. When we throw something away, we feel like we're throwing away a part of ourselves; and when someone low-balls us on something that we're trying to sell, we often feel like they are devaluing *us*. The challenge is to not let my stuff define me and to no longer let it run or ruin my life...

So...Happy cleaning. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: The Blessing





The Blessing
John Trent and Gary Smalley
Five Stars

I have had the pleasure of reading The Blessing over the past several weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the authors did a phenomenal job in this revised edition of The Blessing  and I truly believe that every parent, or every adult child, should read this book.
The Blessing takes us through a few stories about children who have not been "blessed" by their parents, or who have otherwise felt not accepted by them. It briefly describes some of the ramifications of this non-existent support and explains the importance of a true blessing. 

Part 2 of the book explains exactly what a blessing is comprised of: five elements that are essential for a blessing, followed by a brief description of each. The rest of part 2 delves further in to each element of a blessing and gives examples of the blessing in both real-life situations as well as from Biblical events.  


Part 3 of the book gets in to what happens when the blessing is not received or when it is withheld. Once again, examples from real life as well as a reference to the Bible help to further the reader's understanding of what the authors are trying to convey. 


Part 4 is a "blessing challenge" that the authors put forward. Make a blessing for yourself and your children, live in the blessing, and again uses some examples from the Bible to illustrate. 


All in all, this is a *fantastic* book for parents of any age, as I believe it is never too late to give your child your blessing. I highly recommend it and give it five stars






Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Skool

I've had homeschooling on my heart for a little while, and while I briefly attempted to do preschool with my now-7 year old at home, at that point in time, I failed miserably. I never thought I'd be able to pull off homeschooling, but now I'm faced with a big decision and the opportunity to try my hand at it. 

With hubby working in a different state and us relocating there shortly, I have to decide whether I want to put my kiddos in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade in our new town when there is a high probability that we will move again in the next few years. Homeschooling actually seems like the logical choice, but it's still a scary decision to make. However, this is a small, small town. I doubt that there will be co-ops and groups and activities for homeschoolers...something that is readily available here. 

However, I'm really beginning to lose faith in the public school system. Even private schools aren't all they're cracked up to be anymore. I firmly believe that parental influence and involvement is a huge factor in school success, sometimes I think that a parent can be really involved, but the student just doesn't get what they need *at* school. 

Case in point: Straight A student cannot spell worth beans. What kind of straight A student can't spell? In middle school? This seems so incredibly backwards to me. This person...I don't think it's necessarily their fault, after all, if the teacher (or parent) never corrects improper grammar, spelling, or punctuation, how are they supposed to know it's wrong? However, how can a student go through school writing papers and speeches and still get an 'A' without being able to spell? 

I find this highly frustrating. 

At this point, said 7 year old son is struggling in school. Despite my best efforts, he just doesn't "get" it. My husband is dyslexic and I often wonder about my kiddo, determining what's normal and what's not. The teacher, God bless her soul she's a wonderful lady, but she's maddeningly unhelpful! I try my best and we get through some of it, but it's taken me awhile to realize that my son needs a different style of teaching. I'm not trying to sound conceited, but learning always came naturally to me, especially history and language arts. I couldn't understand why my son wasn't understanding what I was teaching him at home with his homework because I was teaching it *exactly* like his teacher. He would get frustrated, I would get frustrated. Step in Mr. Wonderful-scary-good-at-math-husband. He began going over math with our son and he picked it up almost immediately. The problem was that he wasn't teaching him the "right" way to do things. He said "I've always done math this way, I've always learned this way, and it's 'wrong' ?" 

That got me thinking...it's not necessarily wrong, it's just a different style. I can't help but wonder if my son would be less frustrated and understanding things better if he were taught that way instead of the way the school teaches? So, this gets me to thinking about homeschool-for one, because I think that the school system is doing our children a huge injustice if they're handing out 'A' grades to kids who can't spell, and for two because my son clearly needs to be taught a different style. 

I hate making decisions like this, especially when it affects my kids' future!