Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Seeing the Positive

I know that it is actually Tuesday, but it has felt like a Monday.  It's been one of those days when lots of little things just didn't go my way.  However, I am trying very hard to follow the advice and example of one of our pastors whom I also consider a friend.  She posted on Facebook yesterday about looking for the positives.   I am also leaning on the advice and example from my virtual friend and fellow blogger, Robin, at Pink Dryer Lint who always has such a positive outlook on life.  It's not coming easily, though.  Maybe it's the dreary weather.  Maybe it's PMS (just being honest!).  Maybe I'm just tired.  Maybe it's all of the above.  Writing is therapeutic for me, so I thought that maybe I would write (type) the positive things I could glean from this day and gain a little perspective.  

So, focusing on positives:

1) This morning, I didn't take time to read an email thoroughly and ended up disorganizing something that had already been well organized by others. I do not like the taste of crow, but I had to send another email apologizing and correcting my mistake.  I also was chided a bit by my hubby for being "overly controlling."

Seeing the positive, though, I am thankful for people who can laugh with me at my flaws, forgive my mistakes, and love me anyway.

2) Later in the day I headed out to Target with a laundry list of items to get.  Par for the course, they did not have all the items I needed and one item had no bar code when I checked out.  Since there were about five other people behind me in line and only one other checkout lane open, I opted to just nix the item and move on.  I had time to go to one additional store and still could not purchase all the remaining items on my list.

Seeing the positive, though, I am thankful that I have money to buy the things my family needs and for a safe, reliable car so that I can travel wherever I need to go.

3) My two oldest children are currently arguing - again!!

Seeing the positive, though, I am grateful for healthy, beautiful children who bring me great pride and joy (most of the time!). 

4) I planned a simple dinner of chicken sandwiches and baked fries for supper tonight.  In order to please everyone, however, I had to bake three different kinds of chicken - typical breaded patties for the younger two, vegetarian patties for the oldest, and real chicken for the hubs.  It is only a slight inconvenience, but seems enormous on a day like today.  Then, the little one still turned up her nose and the vegetarian apparently "just wasn't very hungry."

Seeing the positive, though, I am grateful that I can prepare healthy food and eat while I sit around my kitchen table in a warm home with people I love.  I am grateful that those I love will all go to bed with full bellies tonight.

5) Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees and, today, it seems our money is just walking out the door.  Take into account the aforementioned Target list, a pediatrician bill that came in the mail, requests/needs from school for picture money, lunch money, field trip money, and jump rope team t-shirt money and I've been nickel and dimed to death almost.

Seeing the positive, though, I am grateful that we have the funds to pay for these things.  I am grateful for good healthcare, good education, and teachers who plan exciting enrichment opportunities for their students.

Sometimes, the happy and the positive things get buried under the busy, stressful, frustrating things.   The good things are there, but, like finding a buried treasure, digging them up can be hard work - especially on days when things just don't go your way.  In those moments and on days when I lose my way and can't find the positives, I just have to go back to the map and start digging again!

"Don't sweat the small stuff - and it's all small stuff!"
 - Richard Carlson

What are the positive in your life today?

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs. A Ranked & Rated Directory Of The Most Poular Mom Blogs

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heavy Conversations

When you have kids, you know that conversations about some heavy topics are in your future.  You know you'll have to the the talk and you assume other issues will arise.  When they are babies, though,  that future and those conversations seem far, far away.

My oldest is 10 and, lately, it seems those heavy conversations have been happening a little too frequently.  We have covered several topics that I wasn't quite ready to discuss with her.  However, circumstances and her questions have made them unavoidable.  These conversations have made me begin to wonder if these conversations are "normal" for a 10 year old??  They've made me wonder if she is ready to handle the content??  They've made me wonder if other kids her age are having similar conversations and if today's generation of kids really is growing up too fast??

So, here are some of the conversations we've had:

1) Puberty - I seriously don't remember girls "developing" so early when I was 10.  I certainly didn't.  However, research shows that girls can start their periods as early as age 8!!!  (Take a deep breath  - the average actual age is 12).  I wanted to make sure she was prepared "just in case," so we had a discussion about what it means to have a period and what else might be happening to her body in the not-so-distant future.  As she entered 5th grade last fall, questions started to arise about girls wearing bras and developing differently.  So, we reviewed the discussion and I think she understands the gist of it all - but, she's TEN!

2) Violence/Guns - It seems violence is everywhere.  We see it on the news and hear it on the radio.  We overhear conversations about it and it has even been mentioned in a couple sermons at our church.  Try as we may, we simply cannot keep our children completely sheltered from today's harsh realities.  After the Sandy Hook tragedy, my girls' elementary school, like many others, practiced a lockdown drill and there were discussions about why anyone would do such a horrible thing and whether it could/would happen in our school.  My oldest, who does not deal well with "crisis" situations, definitely had some serious anxiety over the whole thing (as did most everyone I know).  When she asked if it could happen at her school, I wanted to say, "No, never!"  Sadly, though, that is not the truth.  Earlier this week, she caught wind of the news story about the little boy, Ethan, in Alabama who was taken from the safety of his school bus and held hostage for almost a week.  She also heard something about Obama's gun control proposal.  All this led to revisiting the conversation and giving even more details about guns and gun violence.  It makes me so sad that I have to have this conversation with my children - or with anyone.

3) Politics - Of course, before the election, there were political ads every time you turned on the T.V. or radio.  We got phone calls touting this candidate or that.  My kids wanted to know, "What's the big deal?" Then, they wanted to know, "Who are you and Daddy going to vote for and why??"  There were also questions like "What is the difference between a Republican and a Democrat?" which led to terms like "conservative" and "liberal," which led to even more questions.  They had Kids Voting at the elementary, so the girls cam home telling me which candidate they had chosen - and which one many of their friends had chosen.  Then, Rachel went to D.C. for the inauguration.  Although, I certainly have opinions and ideas about politics, I am not one to discuss it much.  I truly found myself amazed at some of the conversations I was having with my children during that time - conversations I would have seriously hesitated to have with most adults.

4) Different Lifestyles - I frequently like to watch the show House Hunters on HGTV.  My girls like to watch it with me and I always thought it was relatively benign until it led to this question: "Why are those two guys buying a house together?"  Another similar show also once led to questions about interracial relationships.  These questions, of course, led to discussions about why some people have lifestyles that are different from the family structure we have.

5) Religion - We go to church very regularly and, as the girls learn more and more about religion - ours and that of others - they, naturally, have more questions.  We have had discussions that started with questions like, "Why do we need cemeteries if people go to Heaven?" or "Does God make everything happen - even bad things like tornadoes?" Recently, my oldest had a friend over who told her she is not allowed to play anything having to do with witches which led to a conversation about different religions and different beliefs about good, evil, and God.  I haven't had such deep conversations about religion with many adults and certainly never thought I would have those discussions with my kids this early.

6) Sex - This one had to be on the list, right??  The thing is we haven't actually discussed this one yet, but I know it's coming.  As I mentioned above, I have discussed puberty with my oldest.  Her class is studying a unit on the human body and is currently focused on genetics and DNA.  Just the other night, she said, "I know I have some DNA from you and some from dad, but how did it actually get inside of me??"  I avoided it at the time because we were in the car with my little one (and because, frankly, I just wasn't prepared to go there), but, obviously, it is on the horizon.

So, how old are your kids??  Have you had any of these conversations with them yet??  When do you think kids are ready to have these discussions??  Are there any others that I should get ready to have soon??

Monday, February 11, 2013

The only almost crafty Pinterest thing I have ever done

There are two things you should know about me in order to grasp the enormity of this accomplishment:
1) I am NOT crafty.  I don't scrapbook.  I don't knit or sew.  In general, I don't do crafts.  I simply do not have the talent, time, or patience for it.
2) I don't like Valentine's day.  You can read about that here.

With these two factoids in mind, check this out:

Impressive, huh???

I saw a link to this page a couple weeks ago while I was cruising Pinterest.  I thought these ideas were much better than the typical valentine cards and candy that my kids usually hand out to classmates. And, better yet, most of them were fairly simple.  For this one, we purchased bubbles at Party City.  We then used a business card template in Microsoft Publisher to make these little labels/cards.  A hole puncher and a little ribbon - then, voila!!  Cute valentine gifts for Emily's kindergarten classmates that don't involve candy and (hopefully) won't end up in the trash as soon as the kids get home like most of the cards.  My 8 year old also made some similar labels and used glue dots to attach them to some little packs of Skittles.  (The only down side, if there is one, is that it was a bit more expensive than a box of the standard cards.  In my opinion, though, it is worth it because it is more useful and more personal.) 

As you can probably guess since I'm including it in a blog post, I think they turned out to be pretty darn cute and I am pretty proud of this little semi-crafty project. 

If you click on the link, you will see many other ideas, but a few of my favorites are: 

  • individual bags of Goldfish with a tag that says :You're quite a catch, Valentine!"
  • individual bags of Teddy Grahams with a tag that says "You are 'beary' sweet!" or "I like you 'beary' much!"
  • Pop Rocks with a tag that says "You Rock, Valentine!"
  • An apple or an apple juice box with a tag that says "You're the apple of my eye."
What kind of Valentines will your kids be giving on Thursday??

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs. A Ranked & Rated Directory Of The Most Poular Mom Blogs

If you are proud of my Pinterest success, click this little icon to vote!!
You can also follow me on Pinterest and follow The Golden Spoons on Facebook!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bad Habits

We all have bad habits even if we don't like to admit it.  Do you bite your nails? Drink straight from the milk carton? Text while driving??

Well, we sometimes fall into bad parenting habits, too.  And, the thing about habits is that, once you start them, it can be very hard to break them.  We don't mean to form these habits.  Many times they "just happen" or it is something we do out of momentary necessity.  If you are like me, they may be things you said you would do "Just this once," but, then, it happened again and again.

Most of the time, we don't like to admit we have these habits because we think it makes us bad parents (or, at least, we think that we will be judged by others as bad parents).  However, this prevents us from getting potentially helpful advice from others and it makes us feel that we are the only ones experiencing these frustrations (which make it more frustrating!).  The truth is, we all have a bad parenting habit or two and I think we need to be more open about it.  It will make all of us feel better and, hopefully, lead to some useful advice.  I say, let's share.  

To make it easier, I'll go first.  

Here are two bad habits that we have overcome:

1) The pacifier - All three of my daughters used a pacifier, so I'm not saying that using a pacifier is a bad habit.  It is a bad habit, though, when your oldest daughter is approaching 4 years old and still uses it all the time -  as in won't take it out even when she wants to speak - all the time.  This fact was pointed out to us in a very not-so-subtle way by the pediatrician we were seeing at the time (in another state).  However, that pediatrician also gave me some very helpful information.   She said that babies originally do use the pacifier to quench their sucking instinct. However, sometime between 9-15 months, it becomes more of a comfort attachment - just like a blanket or stuffed animal - and they no longer need it for the sucking.  According to her, after that 15 month mark it becomes MUCH harder to get rid of it.  So, with my second and third daughters, we simply cut the tip of the pacifier (which causes it to lose suction) when they were about 12 or 14 months old.  Once they realized it was "broken," they lost interest pretty quickly and it was an easy transition.  Since my oldest was already past that point, we decided to go cold turkey.  It was not pretty, but we just had to commit wholeheartedly and follow through.

2) Co-Sleeping - This one is NOT a bad habit if it works for you.  For my family, however, it was not something we intended to do.  It was one of those "just this once" moments that happened when our first child had her first ear infection and had been crying all night long.  It quickly became a habit.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is any easy way to break this habit.  We did it through "sleep training"  which involved letting her cry it out.  It was awful - I won't lie.  And, to make it worse, we repeated the same mistake with our second daughter!!  We didn't let it continue as long, though, so it was a little easier to stop.

Now, here are two current bad habits with which we are struggling.  Suggestions???  Please share~

1) Too much sugar - This is one that has been building slowly over time, but sort of smacked me in the face a few days ago when I realized I was giving my youngest this for breakfast:
Yep - that's a chocolate chip pancake with extra chocolate chips AND sprinkles.
I think it started by us letting them have soda ONLY at restaurants.  Then, they started having them at home.  We also "encouraged" them to eat a good dinner by letting them pick a dessert from the candy bowl.  But, then they wanted the candy bowl for snack and after lunch, too.  I know what you are saying - "Just say no!"  But, we all know it is never that simple.  Like most kids, mine are picky eaters.  I think I got to the point where I just wanted them to eat something so I gave them what I knew they would eat.  Now, though, I wonder if this crazy, sugared up breakfast is really better than nothing?!?  So the real question is, how do you get picky kids to eat healthy food??

2) Lazy discipline - This is one that I am trying to overcome.  I often find myself giving in too easily in order to avoid an argument.  Don't want to wear a coat in the mornings??  Fine.  Just be cold.  Don't want to eat those vegetables?  O.K.  You'll be hungry.  Oh, you're five years old and you still want your blankie??  Well, not at school (because what would the teachers think of me), but anywhere else it's fine.  I know I am being a lazy mom; not putting forth the effort to be firm.  They always say to "pick your battles," though.   So, which battles are worth the effort and which ones can we really afford to be lazy about?  Is it really worth the fight to make them wear the coat? eat the veggies? give up the blankie?   (Of course, safety issues are non-negotiable.)

So there  - I have admitted two of my bad parenting habits.  Have any suggestions for me??  How about you - what are your bad parenting habits???  Please share and, maybe, someone will have some advice that can help you, too!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blogging Conundrum

I am a planner and organizer by nature.  But, if I am being completely honest, I have to admit that I started this blog 100% on a whim.  It was absolutely a spur of the moment kind of thing.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  At that point, three years ago, I had never really even read many blogs and was unaware that by hitting the "Publish" button that first time, I was entering into a community referred to by bloggers as the "blogosphere."  I was not tech savvy then and, although I have learned a lot, I still don't consider myself to be a computer whiz by any stretch of the imagination.

Since beginning my blog, I have begun to follow many other blogs.  Some of them have a huge following with hundreds of blog followers and thousands of Facebook followers.  Others have a more modest following, like mine.  (I currently have a whopping 16 blog followers, 39 followers on my blog's Facebook page, and each post averages about 50 pageviews- an number that, sadly, seems to be dropping).

So what's the conundrum you ask??

Well, on one hand, I would love to have the high level of followers and popularity experienced by some of the bloggers I follow.  Many of them enlist sponsors, utilize advertising, and/or write paid product reviews so their blogs actually generate income for them.  A few have been fortunate enough to write that one special post that goes completely viral and leads to a huge following, guest posting, or even a book deal.  When I see a blog that has only been operating for about a year and already has waaaaayyyy more followers than mine, I will admit that I feel some pangs of jealousy.

On the other hand, though, I don't want to get caught up in the popularity game and lose sight of why I really write this blog.  The primary purpose of it has always been to serve as a virtual memory book for my girls.  I want it to be something they can look back on when they are wives and mothers - something that will make them smile, make them cry, and give them comfort.  While popularity (and a little extra cash) would be fantastic, I don't want to compromise that main focus.  Also, in order to maintain that level of popularity, many of those bloggers post extremely regularly (like every day) and I'm not sure I want or need to add that kind of pressure to my life.

I am precariously teetering on the fence between really wanting the blogosphere prominence and just being content to do my thing without worrying about the popularity.  So, is there a happy medium??  Is there a way to increase blog following without compromising the purpose of the blog?

If you are a fellow blogger, I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you are a loyal reader, but not a blogger, what do you like about my blog?  What keeps you coming back?  What would make it better?

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs. A Ranked & Rated Directory Of The Most Poular Mom Blogs
Speaking of popularity, I had stopped asking begging for votes because, well, it was annoying.  However, my rating on the Top Mommy Blogs site has seriously slipped, so I would really, really appreciate it if you would click that cute little icon to cast a vote for me.  Thanks!!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...