Children

Where did we go wrong?

Rise and Shine, Beautiful!Today started out like any other day. The alarm spoke, I resisted, it spoke again, and I begrudgingly listened to it.

I stumbled to the bathroom to get my day started and that’s when I called my own parenting into question. How could I have let this happen? How did this just slip by all these years with no guidance from me? I can’t believe I became “that person” and I knew I had messed up my child(ren) forever because of my own carelessness.

You think you have all the time in the world to nail down all the principles and base standards before the world comes along and tries to negate those teachings and infect the kids with alternative beliefs. In reality, time is so very short and I feel like I missed an opportunity I may not ever get back.

My mind began to spin on the damage control I can do…heck I don’t even know at this point who my “problem child” is! All I know is I HAVE to fix this…now!! Some may even say this isn’t a big deal, but it starts with the little things and just snowballs. I have to get my kids back on track before its too late…

So this is my new parenting goal…I have to solidify deep within the bellies of my children, nay, in their DNA.

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Toilet paper goes on the roll with the paper going OVER the roll, not under it for heaven’s sake. Seriously, I contemplated taking a personal day from work over this. You just can’t be too careful with these things!

 

 

Children

The “thinking place” of the tongue

18033545_10213179852878882_2872415697946636224_nIt’s so funny how kids work out things…like how to hop on one foot or how to skip.

The mental obstacle course is visible in the physical action that is taking place and it is hilarious to watch. Recently, girl child and baby girl had their ballet recitals and they both did awesome!

Girl child is in her fourth year of doing ballet so she’s learning new moves but overall has a good sense of her body and how to move her arms and legs in such a way that the general sense of grace and beauty is evident. Time and practice will smooth out the “childishness” of her dance.

Baby girl? Oh sweet mercy this is another story. This is her first year in ballet and it’s more a creative movement class that introduces the classroom setting, simple ballet steps, how to point your toes, etc.  There is nothing more adorable than tiny little ballerinas who have all the grace and delicacy of a bull in a china shop!

Actually, the girls were precious and adorable in everything they did. The hops and jumps were a little “stompy” instead of gentle and light-footed, but that’s to be expected. The real gem was when the teacher had each little girl show off a feat unique to this particular class of dancers.

You see, the girls learned something that isn’t usually learned in such a young class of dancers. Each little girl actually learned how to skip frontwards AND backwards! Can you picture it now? Skipping forward is complicated enough for such young little girls and you could really see the wheels in their brains spinning as they each had a chance to skip all the way across the stage. But backwards? Oh, the mental confusion! But just like the teacher said, every little girl could do it and every little girl was going to show us!

So on baby girl’s turn, she stood up and focused on the other end of the stage then waited for the signal to start. Skip one foot, skip the other, skip, skip, skip…she was doing it!! Hands on her adorable little sequined waist and she skipped gracefully (well, mostly) all the way across. And now…backwards.

DSC_0456Baby girl stopped to reorient herself and seemingly reprogrammed her mind to reverse everything she had just done. You could see the mental checklist as she prepared to start her backwards skip but something was missing.

Ah yes…her tongue. Her tongue was missing from it’s “thinking place”. So out it came and off she went.

Doing this thing that went against everything her little body told her she should be doing, she skipped backwards across the entire stage with her little arms spread open and her little toes pointed as they came up.

Never underestimate the power of the tongue in its “thinking place”!

 

Children, Poetry

Into the ocean you’ll go

Into the ocean you'll go

Someday you’ll be grown and gone from us, out in the world. Into the ocean you’ll go.
A world that is out to run you over with everything it has.
I can’t help but think
You’ll have to bob and weave all on your own
Using only the things you’ve learned in your time with us.

Sometimes things will look beautiful and peaceful
And sometimes things will seem powerful and nothing you do can stop it
Sometimes things will look ominous
And sometimes things will look vast and daunting
Sometimes things will make you feel small and unprepared

It’s all at once a thing of beauty, created for you. It can knock you off your feet when you least expect it and it can take you places you never dreamed possible. It can irritate you, yet it can also renew your spirit. It can make you pause and wonder or it can make you run away.

It’s all the same ocean and you have to navigate it the best way you can.

My sweet child, be in the world but do not be transformed by it. Do not let yourself sink by allowing the water inside your vessel. The waves will lap up against you, but the danger is allowing the water inside because it will surely cause you to drown quickly.

When you’re on your adventures, I hope you always see a lighthouse in me. I hope you rely on me to lend you a hand when the water gets too high; I hope you allow the tide to sweep you back to me now and then. And I hope you can sit with me and enjoy the view of your ocean before you once again return to it.

Children, Family

Pinch Me!

This day went like most others…not really anything to write home about.

Kids played, they did school, they played some more, they ran errands with Daddy, they made lunch, we all ate dinner together, they argued, they laughed they cried. They spent some time in time out. All normal things in the course of the day.

And then something amazing happened. Just amazing. This happened:

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Boy child decided that he really wanted to vacuum. In fact, he didn’t even come right out and tell us. I found him playing with baby girl’s Minnie Mouse play vacuum, just humming the motor sounds as he moved methodically back and forth.

I saw his technique and the dedication to his craft so I asked him, “Boy child, would you like to use the real vacuum and vacuum the family room floor?”

Oh, the joy in his eyes! He couldn’t nod his head quickly or harshly enough to convey how much “yes” he wanted to.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bribe my children, I told boy child to go brush his teeth and get his jammies on. If his teeth were sparkly and his jammies on, I would get the vacuum for him to use.

I have never seen such efficiency. Or quality of work. Or enthusiasm for cleaning. Pinch me! I have a child who wants to clean!!

Who is this boy? And what is going on?? You know what- doesn’t matter. He wants to vacuum, who am I to stand in his way?!

So I plug the vacuum in, and he insists on stepping on the release to bring the body of the vacuum down and he gets started. Man, he’s good. He’s got the wire in his grip so he doesn’t accidentally run over the cord and suck it up.

And then…he did something that made me speechless.

He started moving things around so he could vacuum underneath! Praise God, my boy is thorough!! He did a phenomenal job and his heart was full of clean, vacuuming joy! That is until he got to the best part…

Stepping on the lever that automatically winds up the long, twisted cord back into the hungry belly of the vacuum cleaner.

The smile on boy child’s face and his tip-toeing around his own handiwork was a sight to behold.

And just like that, he was off to something else he wanted to do.

 

Issues!

It’s not a threat. It’s just physics.

Untitled designSomething happened to me today on the way in to work that stirred something inside of me and took me down the path of figuring out why and what happened. Along my route is a school zone and the road is a two lane with a center turn lane. The road isn’t very busy, despite the elementary school being right on it and the bustle of parents and school buses dropping off kids.

Speed limit is 30mph. A school zone.

And yet, this extremely important lady decided that she was above the rules and passed me in the turn lane to zip on down the road, completely disregarding the school zone and consequently the very reason it exists.

Sadly, I met her at the red light at the end of the road so her expeditiousness and law breaking saved her no time whatsoever. And she didn’t appear to be in distress, in labor, or otherwise stressed. In fact, she was checking her phone, probably for her important messages and texts. So important.

So she potentially endangered walking children, other drivers, buses, school personnel for literally no reason.

What made her do this?!

What made this selfish woman think that the rules didn’t apply to her?

And this is where my mind went…because I think it’s been a ticking time bomb that’s based on the “you are important” mentality we are mistakenly instilling in our children. That we have been instilling in our children for quite a while now. Let’s all enjoy the fruits of this mistaken approach to encouragement.

In order to live in a society together, there must be order, rules, boundaries, etc. We cannot live only for ourselves or we will cause each other physical harm. If I made decisions just for me, without any regard for the people around me, someone will get hurt. I don’t care for red lights but if I didn’t care ABOUT red lights, someone’s gonna get creamed.

It’s not a threat, it’s just physics.

People a long time ago were put in place to determine things like road rules, ordinances, methods of decision-making, orders, etc. In addition, people were put into positions to represent the masses on the forward movement of the society that ensures the benefit of as many as possible. Heck, we even had the forethought to put in place a mechanism that allowed for the change of people if those said people were not performing on our behalf in the best way possible. How lucky for us!

Long story short…the rules are there to keep everyone safe.

Which leads me to this…and it might sting.

You are not important.

Well, you are important…of course you are, bless your heart you sweet thing.

But seriously, you aren’t important. You are unique…just like everyone else. There are many of us…and there are many more to come.

Parents are telling their children “You are a leader!”, “You are a strong, independent person…you will go far!”, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something!”.

You realize kids take this crap literally, right?? Where is the talk about when things don’t go your way?

“Hey, sometimes you will be on the bottom of the totem pole” or “Hey, sometimes you will have to clean the toilet”

It’s why they suck at being friends, getting along, enjoying each other’s company, generally socializing with other people, etc. And don’t tell me that’s not true. Kids today are snarky, rude, selfish, lazy…and we’ve been telling them they are special and important. They believed us!! It’s not their fault!

Sometimes you aren’t the leader…that negates the idea of teamwork when your mentality is built on always being the leader.

Sometimes you aren’t a strong, independent person… we actually aren’t all good at everything and each of us possess specific skills and abilities that should complement each other.

Sometimes you can’t do something…there, I said it. Sometimes you just can’t and that’s actually ok because sometimes someone else can. I can’t build a car engine, but by golly my brother could do it easily with his eyes closed!

Sometimes you will have to clean the toilet. Just a fact.

I feel like some mothers are putting this crap in their kids’ heads now to prep for the day they envision when their grown child is standing in front of the press giving credit to their success (and obvious subsequent wealth) and that child says, “I owe everything to my mom because she always told me I could be anything I wanted”. And that’s selfish.

We cannot be a society of leaders. An upside down pyramid does nothing to move society forward. Every hive needs worker bees and being a worker bee is not a bad thing. It’s honorable. It says you care about others in addition to caring about yourself.

So…in conclusion:

Don’t pass me in the turn lane of a school zone!!!

Children, Family

I’m kind of a thief!

9eea464898656e7fa5931defa7e5cfc610ff95dcThat’s right…a thief.

Well, thief is a really strong word. Actually, I collect my payment without bothering the debtor with the details of repayment specifics.

See, it’s much easier to just quietly collect my payment than to go back and forth on negotiation and who said what and terms of agreement. Let’s not get caught up in the details.

Of course, my little debtors don’t really know they are indebted to me. But they are. Oh, they owe me big time! But that’s ok…I collect when I can and they are generally none the wiser.

I’m kind of like a repo lady but I only repo perishable goods.

I think you know where I’m going with this…are you with me?? I go through my kids candy stash like it was my own. Of course, I leave the super awesome candy that the kids have already inventoried, bar coded and sorted. And I apply a percentage-type fee. So baby girl’s stash is a little less picked through than boy & girl child’s stashes.

There are three generally lucrative times in which I collect payment from my unsuspecting brood: Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

I do not apologize for this method of payment. I stand by my actions and I believe there are more out there like me! Which leads me to the following:

Children, Family

The irony of me

FullSizeRender.jpg-1Last night I got to do something I haven’t been able to do in a long time.

I got to play in the yard with my kids. And get this…my cell phone? In the house somewhere!! I know, right?

We had three kids, two soccer balls and a frisbee and a lot of laughter. It was so nice and I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to just be with the kids.

I wasn’t correcting anyone, I wasn’t scolding anyone…no one went to time out. No one was upset. The world fell away and for about a half an hour after dinner, I had the fun of just being with my kids.

The older two had their “world championship” soccer match in the cul-de-sac. They stretched before-hand and discussed strategy. It was a big deal. I have no idea who won or what the parameters were but they did and the game worked beautifully in their eyes.

My extra special treat was to actually play “kick the ball” with baby girl and she was in heaven to have my complete attention. And little did I know, she can actually kick the ball really good! She’s got some skill apparently.

As with all good things, this time came to an end and the kids scampered into the house- out of breath, cheeks rosy and hair stuck to their faces with hard-earned sweat. Today I sit all day, alone, doing mandatory grown-up things and think that I would so much rather be home actually playing with my kids.

It was just a typical evening of fun for them but it was so important to me. They won’t even know or understand the irony of what it is to be me. I leave them everyday, all day, to make a living- for them. I work and work to be able to give them what they need.

You know what they keep telling me that they need? Me.

Does this describe you at all? Tell me in the comments!

Children, Printables!

Get your kids working!

Raise your hands if you think many hands make for light work! Now it’s time to get the kids involved in helping out around the house and this chore list is just the ticket to get them motivated! My kids love a list they can cross off…I can get more cooperation out of them if I hand them a list.

So, in the spirit of manipulating your kids…I present this free printable chores list AND it comes with a few blank lines so go ahead mom and dad, add a few extra things to the list.

Chores Listfor
Our kids love a chore chart they can mark with check marks when they complete the tasks!

Printer-friendly version: Chores List
We also have other kid-friendly, kid-centered free printables that you can check out here: Free Fun for Little Kids

Newsletter

Our Best- Vol 1, Issue 1

Our first newsletter…we promise we’ll keep it short!

Sometimes the beginning of a week can be daunting. There’s so much on the horizon that needs to get done and often times, it’s only you that can get it done. From laundry, checkbook matters, bathing little children, appointments, traffic, weekly activities…it can all be so overwhelming.

Many times, the feeling of being overwhelmed is enough to reduce the quality of what we do. And that’s when we must remember why we do what we do. This is the maintenance of the family. It’s God-honored work and it’s always going to bear fruit. Try to find joy in what you’re tasked to do for the week. Fill your lungs with fresh air and organize your tasks and responsibilities. Then, complete them one by one.

In the days of smartphones and technology, paper seems so antiquated. But nothing beats seeing my tasks spelled out in front of me and the feeling of accomplishment I have when I see those items crossed off or checked off the list.

We are giving away this free printable to help you stay organized for the week.

It's all gotta get done!(Click link for printer-friendly version: It’s all gotta get done!)

So, get going on your week…write it down and watch the items get accomplished. You can do it!

Heather,
The Best for Our Family
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Children, Garden/ Food

Kid-Approved Recipes

Ok, so these recipes may not win on Top Chef and they certainly aren’t complicated. But you know what? They budget-friendly, time-friendly, kid-friendly and dear God that means they are awesome!

I can’t stand a long drive home to only have starving family waiting to see what I’m gonna fix for dinner when some of them have the patience of a fruit fly (ahem, baby girl:”why is this taking forever, I’m starving!!) Wait, I take that back…you know what’s worse? To go through hours and hours of traffic (I wish I was kidding), come home and spend time making a meal only to have the littlest critics turn their noses up to what I’ve served.

Pardon me for messing with your delicate palette, sweet young ones!

So…these recipes have been tested in The Best for our Family kitchen and have passed muster with our kids.

Check back often because we will keep adding on to the list! Click the link below:

Kid-Approved Recipes