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Sunday, November 16, 2014

a Beverly Lewis book

I don't read much fiction because honestly when I find a good book, I forget all else, including meal times!  But a friend of mine recently gave me some of her favorite books by three different authors.  I watched Beverly Lewis' movie "The Shunning" on Netflix and enjoyed it, so was excited to read my first book written by her!  


I read The Postcard all day Saturday and thankfully my wonderful husband was home to help with the kids!!!  I curled up on the couch and read for hours, finishing it in one day!  Oh the Amish was a lovely little world to escape to!  I started the sequel but am pacing myself with that one!  LOL!

So if you're looking for a good book in the Christian fiction genre, I definitely recommend this one!!!  And if you live nearby, I'll pass these on to ya when I'm done!

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Funny

At our local mall, security rides around on these Segway things....

{photo found online}

I was with my kids at the mall last week and Lance announced:  "Look, security has a new thing to ride on!"  Oh my goodness... I laughed so hard... 


Just putting up Christmas decorations!  hahahaha!
I love kids!!!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

My issues with Halloween

We don't live in a neighborhood where people go door-to-door on Halloween and I don't like it enough to go to someone else's neighborhood to participate.  So for the past few years I have opened my home to friends who also didn't go trick-or-treating.  But this year, my kids wanted to go out.  I had planned to go with friends over where they live but as the date got closer, I just didn't feel right about it.

DISCLOSURE
It's not simply an issue because my faith.... because let me tell you, Christians have varying opinions on this topic depending on their own experiences and beliefs.  We could start a big debate but that is NOT what this post is about.  It is about MY OWN personal conviction and unrest with a certain aspect of Halloween that I do not like!  So the following thoughts aren't because I'm a Christian... any human being could have wrote this.

MY PROBLEM
The problem I have with Halloween is the gore and blood.  Many toddlers are afraid to even walk the aisles at Walmart!  Why is it ok to celebrate murder and expose our children to it?  I don't let my kids watch R-rated movies but suddenly everywhere we go in October they are bombarded by it!  My neighbor hung a bloody dead body wrapped in plastic from a tree close to the road.  My kids and I had to see this each time we passed by.  It was disgusting!


EXPLAINING THE DEAD BODY TO YOUNG KIDS
I had to explain what it was and why someone would want to put it up.  Do you know how bizarre it is when you try to explain all this to innocent and curious children?  I hate that we celebrate the grotesque and suddenly we're shocked when we read headline news about someone committing a gory crime.  We are a very desensitized society because we don't see how our "fun" is affecting us!  We should be more sensitive than we are to seeing a slaughtered, murdered human being - even if fake, because it looks so real!

WHY WE DIDN'T GO OUT
We didn't go trick-or-treating because I didn't want my kids exposed to the gross costumes that'd be walking the streets.  People in masks carrying bloody knives is NOT FUN to me or the kids!  I also didn't feel right going to someone else's neighborhood knocking on their doors.  I love the sense of community that Halloween can bring... in our own neighborhood, but that isn't an option for us.

WHAT WE DID INSTEAD
My kids were so understanding when I explained to them that we wouldn't be going trick-or-treating this year.  They didn't need much convincing actually because that dead body was all the evidence they needed!  We got together with friends for a playdate and the kids dressed up!


Later we did our own version of "trick-or-treating".   I went in the boys' bedroom and the kids knocked on the door.  I opened it with candy in hand to find them smiling BIG SMILES saying "Trick or treat"!  They were so cute!  I ran to the playroom and closed the door, they followed me giggling & knocking.  I opened the door, gave them treats and ran to Vienna's room, then my room!  More laughter.  More candy.  And a fun time!  Jay brought home pizza for supper and they got to enjoy their treats while we watched a family movie together.  We had a very fun Halloween and one we all felt comfortable with!

LISTEN TO YOUR CONVICTION
Again, I know people who don't do Halloween because of its association with the occult and the history of it and they probably don't approve of my kids doing what they even did!  I'm not trying to start a debate about whether we should participate in Halloween or not.  As I told my kids, the problem with ANYTHING when you live as a Christian, is doing something against your gut instincts.  When you do something that just doesn't seem right in your heart... that is the holy spirit convicting you.  You gotta live by the Spirit and listen and obey, even when it's against what the rest of the world is doing, even close friends.  I'm teaching my kids that if you ignore that little voice... ignore that whisper of conviction, it'll get quieter.  And I'm also teaching my kids that it's ok to be sensitive in a world that so often tells us to toughen up.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winter blues a comin'

When I talk about being productive, I don't always mean hit the ground running in the morning, staying busy, keeping a clean home, crossing things off my to do list and baking cookies all with a smile.   For me, some days my productive endeavor is just surviving and feeding my children!

I suffer from anxiety and I have a history of depression.  Some days the dark clouds loom over my head and it takes everything in me to just get through the day.  {And THAT is partly why I have this blog!  Why I write... and why I am so purposeful about things... trying to manage my struggles.}

I am seriously affected by weather and time change.  It's already getting dark in the evenings and I feel my anxiety building as we get ready to turn the clocks back.  I also feel the pressure of the holidays upon me... my mental to do list swirling in my head... 8 weekends til Christmas... Ahhh!!!  {Feel it now too?  Haha!  Sorry!}

I betcha I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and although I haven't been officially diagnosed with this disorder, I have seen someone in the past for my other issues!  I have some strategies in place to help me get through this time and I would encourage anyone feeling the blah to not ignore it and talk to someone!

Even with knowledge of what I can do to help get through these dark days, the blah always comes.  I wish it wouldn't but it does.  And fighting it is what my endeavor is right now.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sorry Kids... No sleepovers

My kids are 9, 7 & 4 and with age have come the invitations for sleepovers.  But we are that family that doesn't do sleepovers.  I know I know... sounds so strict and crazy but I have my reasons.  And after talking to other parents who I admire and who have older kids, I feel at peace with our decision.

I thought I would write about it in case there are people like I was... You have that nagging feeling in your heart but don't have the words to accompany it to explain why you don't want your kids going to someone else's house to sleep and wake up.  Or maybe you feel pressured because other parents are letting their kids do sleepovers but it doesn't feel right to you.  And the other reason I write... simply to give parents something to think about!

"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial." ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23


My reasons...

  1. My kids are young and need their sleep.  Sleepovers often don't involve sleep {go figure!} and the family has to deal with the consequences of overtired children the next day.  No thanks.
  2. Many homes and kids have the internet just a click away and some young kids I know have their own iPhones and iPads!  I used to look up "naughty" words in the dictionary never mind what kids could do now!  
  3. Friend's friends.  I trust many of my friends to take care of my kids and I genuinely like their children.  But we really need to think about those strangers who would be also spending the night with our kids!  Kids from families we don't know and that's something to think about.
  4. Possibility of sexual abuse.  It happens and is very real to me.  It happened in my family and I have friends who've been abused.  If we have to be the uncool parents to avoid this risk then so be it.  I can take a knock in my reputation to protect my kids from this nightmare.
  5. Nothing good happens after bedtime.  Truth or dare, freezing bras, sneaking outside, etc.. come to mind from my own childhood.  Sleepovers did not add to the quality of my childhood.  Some nights will filled with unnecessary anxiety and stress.  {I actually remember a friend of mine crying for her mom and how she was teased.  Not cool.}
  6. Sleepovers don't deepen friendships.  My kids aren't missing out on connections by not sleeping over at a friend's house.
  7. My kids are still pretty young.  As their mom and guide, I don't feel they have the skills to speak up if something is happening that they know is wrong or against our house rules.  I intentionally protect my kids from overexposure and one day I have to trust them to make decisions for themselves.  BUT at their current ages, I don't think it's fair for me to put the full burden on them.

clipart source

So ya, those are my reasons and my kids really don't feel deprived.  The older two have been invited to a couple sleepovers now but they have only attended one each, not staying the whole night.  The parties usually start around supper time and I just pick them up a little after their normal bedtime to give them a chance to enjoy the evening activities with their friends. 

Also, it's not like they don't ever spend the night at friends' homes.  Recently they stayed with friends while Jay and I went away for our first ever get-away since married!  Obviously we make exceptions depending on the circumstance but overall, sleepovers aren't a normal thing around here.
 
I want my kids to enjoy their friends and time with them but in the end, we are the parents and we need to trust our gut and make decisions that will keep them safe....  Even if that makes us the most unpopular and uncool mom in the neighborhood.


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

My get-away with my man

Before I can share about our fabulous get-away, you must know this.... Until we went away in September to film our segment on The Doctors, my husband and I had never left the kids to go away overnight together!  EVER!  It was partly because we had no official reason to get away and partly because those infamous babysitting grandparents that everyone talks about live too far from us!  Soooo we barely get out for dinner dates never mind overnight!
So when the opportunity first came up, we almost didn't go because they only wanted to fly me and Jay and I didn't know who could watch our kids.  But a certain amazingly awesome friend of mine gladly took all three kids so we could go away without any worry.  She's pretty special and if it wasn't for Kim, I don't think I ever would have done it!  *ROAR FROM THE CROWD*!!!

The trip was amazing!!  We laughed a lot and we talked without interruptions!  We ate fancy food and took our time at the restaurants.  We weren't tied to our phones because everyone knew we were away and we really enjoyed being together!!  That alone {never mind where we went} was AHmazing and it was a super awesome get-away for us!

We stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel right on the Walk of Fame.  We've been to Time Square in NYC and it reminded us of that but on a smaller scale.  It was very touristy.  We ventured out a couple times to walk around, look at the stars' names and to take it all in.  All I cared about was seeing Michael Jackson's star, which I found!

And as a special surprise, there was an impersonator.  That was fun!

We didn't have time to get to downtown LA, Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive or any other popular places that come to mind but we really enjoyed what we DID do!  Like Santa Monica....


We had one full day to ourselves with no travel or studio commitments and we used it to go to the Pacific Ocean!  We chose Santa Monica and we used Uber car service to get there. {Check it out because it's a great alternative to a taxi!!!}.  They dropped us off at the famous Pier - which wowed me at first view.  We walked to the end of it and we enjoyed the scenery, the different musicians playing, looking at the the midway rides {thinking the kids would enjoy them!}, stumbled upon a professional photo shoot, saw a sea lion in the wild! and the weather... aaaahhh such nice weather!

From there we walked down to the beach.  {See the Pier behind me?}  I walked in the Pacific Ocean and went in to my knees then a big wave hit me and got my butt wet, which I was NOT expecting!  We laughed and I didn't care much because I had big plans to plop on the sand and enjoy the Californian sunshine!  Jay went in to swim while I sat on the beach watching our stuff and taking pictures.  He got beat up by the most powerful waves he ever experienced.  I just LOVED the scenery!  So peaceful!

From there we walked up to Third Street Promenade which we hadn't heard of before but Jay was curious to check out.  Turns out it's a major attraction - haha!  Just call us the wanderers!  The weather was unlike anything I ever experienced.  I loved it.  Even while walking, it was perfect.  The perfect breeze.  No humidity.  NOTHING like Connecticut.  I can see why people love Cali so much!

While in a store we asked a local what he recommended we should see or do.  He suggested we explore Venice Beach.  Lots to look at he said and he was right!  Lots of vendors and artists!  We walked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach along the foot path by the beach.  People were walking, running, biking, rollerblading, etc.  I noticed how healthy everyone looked.  Not celebrity perfection, but just active and well.  I liked it!  Did I mention the perfect weather?

We were near the Pacific for about 8 hours and we walked most of the time.  Another perk to not having kids, we could walk and walk without worrying about tired kids. It was soooo nice!

Another reason I'm glad the kids weren't with us was because of all the vulgarity.  The shops had t-shirts I wouldn't want my kids to see which included the F word.  One beggar {well back in Hollywood} sitting on a sidewalk shouted:  "Don't you F'ing see me?" when I walked by.  I heard "suck my..." lyrics in music.  And cursing ALL around me.  Definitely not a place I would bring my kids, but I got a good laugh out of SOME things I saw like this shirt which summarizes why we were there in the first place.... "The Man.  The Legend."  hahahaha!

Before leaving we watched a west coast sunset.


God did not disappoint!  It was beautiful.

Loved our time away!  We will be celebrating 15 years of marriage come December so this was an early anniversary trip for us!  We really loved it and are so thankful to CBS and The Doctors for giving us this little vacation!!!  {And again to our amazing friends who watched our kids so we could go in the first place!!!}

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

New chores for the kids

Anyone else dread getting kids to do chores?  
Gah!  It's so emotionally draining to me!  So I confess, I have always just had my kids to do the minimum around the house to avoid unnecessary conflict.  They haven't had any regular chores but they do clean their rooms and help me tidy up the house when we are expecting company.
That's been about it.
Ya, not good.

THIS WEEK'S ENDEAVOR
So I've been noticing that my kids don't help as well as they used to.  And quite honestly, I feel like I've been doing too much FOR them.  Time for Momma to train her monkeys better so I am implementing a new chore system!  I want my kids be more productive and helpful people.  On top of keeping their rooms clean, they are going to have zones to take care of.


9 YEAR OLD
Vienna is 9 and her zone for the month is going to be the dining room.  This is no easy feat because it's where we do school.  She will be responsible for putting our books away and getting the table ready for supper each night.  She will dust and wash the windows weekly.  She also will be in charge of picking up the shoes by the front door and keeping the doorway clean since it's right next to this space.

7 YEAR OLD
Lance is 7 and his zone for the next month is the living room.  He has to put all the toys away and whatever else is out of place in this room.  He'll dust and make sure all the dishes are put in the kitchen.  Seriously... there is no need for me to be cleaning up after the kids or fighting with them to do it!

4 YEAR OLD
Colin's zone is going to be the upstairs hallway.  There always seems to be random toys and lego pieces laying around.  He also has to help keep his room and the playroom clean so he's not off that easy!

LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK
Since this is new territory for me, I would love to hear how other people actually carry out chores.  Do you have your kids do them daily?  What do you do if they don't do their chores?  I also would love specific ideas for age appropriate chores for my kids!  I plan to change it each month.
{If you leave a comment, just know that it won't show up right away, but no worries, you'll see it once I approve it!  Thanks so much!}

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