G is for…

G
Good.

Good times. Good bye. Good morning. Good night. Good enough.

Good times are like the time we had this evening at a 70th birthday party. You wouldn’t think that someone turning 70 could have a rockin’ party. When the family is musical, though, it’s always rockin’. It doesn’t get much better than sitting around a sing along with a few guitars. Perhaps you define “good times” differently, but for us, this is our definition.

Good bye. Rarely are byes good. Really the only time a good bye is truly good is when it’s someone or something you are relieved at being gone. Good bye cancer. Good bye flu. Good bye freeloader. I read somewhere that’s textspeak from the 1600’s for God Be With Ye. That makes it just good enough.

Good morning. Are mornings good? I used to be a morning person. I used to have no trouble getting up at 6am for work. Now when I get up at 6 am for work I need a nap by 10:15. My internal clock, however, is set for 6. Fortunately, I also have an internal snooze button. Yes, they’re good mornings regardless, because I’m happy to see you again. Good nights are sweet. ‘Round here it’s followed by “Love you. Ugga mugga see ya in the morning. Like your face. Your the best person.” and a kiss. If it’s the kids, peace and quiet reigns. If it’s us, amen. How do you know you’re a grown up? You enjoy bedtime.

Good enough is the feeling we parents get sometimes when we feel we’re just scraping by with our kids. They’re fed (so what if it was chicken nuggets with mac and cheese). So what if they got 3 hours of screen time today. It’s when we’re doing what we need to do get by. We’re surviving. For the most part, parenting is lots of fun. We have plenty of laughs. But sometimes we hear “watch me” a few hundred too many times. Sometimes we’ve played make believe, or that one game, or listened to our kids once again recite more facts about pokemon characters. We need adult interaction. Real conversation. Yet, here we are in munchkinland doing “good enough”.

Good night. I’ll be gooder tomorrow.

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D is for…

DDoing.

We’re always doing something, aren’t we? Blogging. Sleeping. Eating. Working. Traveling. Nothing. What are we doing now? Well, the boys are in bed. Since there is no school tomorrow, the youngest is having a sleepover in the oldest’s bed. They chatted for 10 or 15 minutes before falling asleep. I think it’s one of the few times they simply talk to each other. So when they ask for a sleepover I don’t mind. Plus, it means they put each other to sleep and don’t need their mother and I to lay with them for a little while. I hope they’re learning to depend on each other in this way.

What were we doing today? We all had school, so there was that. Then we were babysitting a friend’s 9 year old afterward. Then, we dropped Bang off at church for his religion class while Crash went to visit his Nanny and Pop. It was date night for DW and I. We had an hour to ourselves. I bet you’re wondering how wild and crazy we were. How much did we let loose? Well, we went back to school for parent/teacher night.

Crazy, right?

Instead of asking their teachers what they’re doing? we asked how are they doing? Though, being teachers ourselves, we already know how they’re doing. We’re in touch with their teachers. We question the boys about their day. Of course, we have to be creative with the questions. Otherwise the only replys are “good” and “nothing”. The teachers gave us glowing reports on both boys. The youngest is a great writer and helps his classmates with their math. The oldest is doing much better focusing on getting his work completed and is using his time more effectively. DW and I both left the school glowing. Maybe we are doing this parenting thing right.

Needless to say, they are doing well. This makes us happy. While their grades are important because grades reflect how much they are learning and their level of effort, there is something slightly more important than letters on a report card.

Not only are they doing well, but they are doing good. They are helping their classmates. Bang helps his classmates with their math when they get stuck. His teacher wants to make sure she keeps challenging him so she asks him to help and he is excited to lend a hand. They are making and keeping friends. They are having sleepovers in each other’s bed and thereby helping each other fall asleep. They are helping a neighbor and Mother Nature by picking up garbage off the ground.  They are following directions, y’all.

Doing well is good. Doing good is better.

thomasjefferson1

A Very Giving Advent

 

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“Hand”made

Are you tired of the “gimmies” or the “can-I-gets”? I sure am. Especially when they’re so prevalent at this time of year with every asking, “What did you ask Santa for?” Teaching gratitude and empathy aren’t easy lessons. We’ve found a way to lighten the burden, bring joy, and provide a life changing experience. What nice little gift!

DW is brilliant. Have I ever mentioned that?

Well, she’s shining bright again with this fantastic idea. Granted, it wasn’t technically ‘her idea’ but she has adapted to our family to make her idea. Then she brought the idea to life. Well, technically, Woody and Elfis, our house elves, brought it to life.

We aren’t doing the Advent calendar this year. No tiny piece of chocolate every day. We’re not skipping it because it’s “unhealthy”. Who doesn’t enjoy starting the day with a yummy piece of chocolate after breakfast? It’s a tasty way to count down the days until the Jolly Ol’ Elf himself comes.

One little girl of 3 years of age was told that when the chocolates in her advent calendar were gone it would be Christmas. Later in the day they couldn’t find her. They knew she was in the house, yet she was nowhere to be found. Not with her toys. Not in her room. Not in the bathroom. She was in the closet and had eaten all her chocolates. She proudly announces, “It’s Christmas now!”

This year our elves have delivered a special gift, a package of tasks to be completed. There is one act to be done each day. Every single one of them is a random act of kindness.

So far the boys have:

  • Donated food to the food bank
  • Shared hugs and smiles
  • Paid for an order at Tim Horton’s
  • Made a new friend (sat and talked with an older gentleman at Tim’s)

Today’s task was to buy coloring books and crayons and donate them to a doctor’s office. While I would LOVE for the boys to be the ones purchasing these items (usually from the dollar store) they currently don’t have enough in their wallets. Crash can’t even afford to pay attention. Bang, on the other hand, has plenty, but it’s not exactly fair to make Mr. Penny Pincher pay for all the donated stuff. However, the food bank items they did pay for themselves. They each had been given $5 gift cards by the grocery store (thanks a million Superstore!) They spent it on food for the food bank.

I’ll leave a link to the files if you’d like to do your own Random Acts of Kindness. It’ll be my gift to you. I mean, DW’s gift to me that I’m regifting to you. Spread across 5 pages, there are 25 acts in all. The last page contains a few blanks so you can add your own. Just click the image to download it and print it!

The first rule of Christmas is “It is far better to give than it is to receive“.

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Click to download
Random Act of Kindness 1
Random Act of Kindness 2
Random Act of Kindness 3
Random Act of Kindness 4
Random Act of Kindness 5

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Things ’round here ain’t always pretty as a peach or happy as a lark. I’ve never hidden that on the blog. This parenting gig isn’t easy.

Unless you were my parents. They had it easy.

We all know the challenges and the struggles and the frustrations. We all know the messes and the dirt. Just Google “shit my kids ruined” and you’ll find thousands upon thousands of people who understand #TheStruggleIsReal.

But I don’t mind telling you about the times we snap. I don’t mind telling you that our kids know how to push us to the edge of sanity. Like last weekend.

I had the kids in the truck ready to go for a short hike to a waterfall. We were all buckled. That’s when I noticed the oldest had Crocks on his feet instead of shoes. I shut off the truck, run back in and grab his shoes and back out the door. It took me as long to get his shoes as it took you read that sentence. Yet, when I got back to the truck the youngest is crying because the oldest did something to the youngest because the youngest laughed at the oldest and the oldest didn’t want to be laughed at.

What the hell am I doing so wrong that I can’t leave them for 15 seconds without an assault and battery?

Yet, I know they are good kids. I see how they play with our neighbor’s 2 year old. They are gentle. They are kind. They take him to see our parrot but are careful not to let him too close (she bites). They jump on the trampoline with him until he’s laughing so hard he can’t stand up.

I know they are good kids. I witness their behaviour when we are out to eat. They treat the server with respect. They always use their pleases and thank yous. They ask for their meal of choice with their inside voices so nicely.

I know they are good kids. Their teachers rave about them. They tell us they are sweet and caring. They earn “best bucket filler” awards (that’s the award for doing nice things for others). They earn good grades. They have friends.

I know they are good kids. I look for the good in them. I believe in the good in them. However, sometimes I feel like Obi Wan believing in the good of a little boy named Anakin. We all know how that turned out. Even if he was good in the end, there was so much destruction to get to the end. The (only) difference between Obi and I though is that I don’t know how my boys will turn out. I can only continue the struggle, lead by example, and do what we parents do – keep up the good fight.

So I closed the truck door, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and promised I wouldn’t kill the kids. Then we went for a hike and that almost made it all better. The youngest was cranky with me because I apparently didn’t know enough about mushrooms.

Thanks to Modern Mommy Madness for inspiring this post and the belief in children’ s goodness.

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The Seastar Thrower

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*I heard/read this story long ago so I don’t remember the specifics. I have adapted it to my own storytelling abilities.

The beach was small and quiet, tucked out of the way. There were some small houses nearby, but nobody important. The surfer enjoyed the beach for its solitude, peace and waves that were just good enough. That’s how he found it that morning, surfboard tucked under his arm, sand in his toes. As he approached the shoreline he noticed something odd. Thousands and thousands of seastars lay on the cool, wet sand.

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