H is for…

HRaising kids properly. I’ve always said there are three requirements for successfully raising children. If they are happy, healthy, and educated then you’re doing it right. Naturally, it’s nearly impossible to hit on three counts all the time. Kids get cranky. Kids get sick. Sometimes we redefine what educating our children means. We have no curriculum, after all. So we make forward progress, always trying.

Raising happy kids is a tricky business. On one hand you want to spend your day with them, bending to their will. However, we know in the long run that won’t make them truly happy. When it comes time for them to be on their own they will flounder, lost without our help. So we need to balance bending to their will with allowing them to figure it out on their own. Whether it’s entertaining themselves or working independently or problem solving, they need to try it by themselves first. A couple years ago I heard a parent being described as a “snow plow” parent. I’d heard of crunchy parents, helicopter parents, tiger parents. A snow plow parent is one who pushed aside and solves all their children’s problems. Didn’t get the grade? Parents talk to the teachers. Didn’t make the team? Parents talk to the coaches. Didn’t get the job? Parents talk to the boss. It’ll make your kid happy now, but in the long run they won’t know how to handle disappointment and failure. So we walk the tight rope trying to balance what our kids need with what they want.

Another factor in their happiness is attention. There’s much to be said for positive attention. When you praise your kids for doing good, even if it’s something they do all the time, they start looking for more positive ways to be recognized. I know this, yet I still find myself nagging and barking at them for doing wrong. Attention is attention for them, positive or negative. I’m now working on catching them being good and verbally recognizing it. It’s making a difference.

Keeping them healthy is an entirely different issue. They’re going to sick at some point. Once they start trading germs like Pokemon cards it’s inevitable. Good parents nurse them back to health. Crazy parents wish they could take their child’s place in the sickbed and be sick for them. Hell no. Parenting is hard enough. We don’t need to be handicapped in parenting with the flu. Let them be sick and get your extra snuggles. Give them extra screen time and extra juice boxes.

Keeping them healthy also means feeding them properly. Real food. I know not everyone enjoys the kitchen as much as I do, but it doesn’t take much effort to make real food. Of course, there are cheat days when you don’t have the time, the energy, or the desire to make a meal so you throw in a frozen pizza, or nuggets, or whatever is easiest. Real food is a great way to save money, too. It’s cheaper to make a meal for four than it is to buy a meal for four. Plus you get leftovers. Unless it’s fish. We don’t eat leftover fish.

Keep ’em happy. Keep ’em healthy. The rest will fall into place.

You can also find some happiness on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

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The 12 Gifts of Autumn

On the 1st day of October autumn gave to me a sense that change was in the air.
On the 2nd day of October autumn gave to me an opportunity to change.
On the 3rd day of October autumn gave to me trees of red and gold.
On the 4th day of October autumn gave to me fallen leaves to kick.
On the 5th day of October autumn gave to me pumpkins with hopes of becoming jack-                                                                                          O’lanterns
On the 6th day of October autumn gave to me news that I had a job interview.
On the 7th day of October autumn gave to me Sunshine and un-autumn-like warmth
On the 9th day of October autumn gave to me Canadian Thanksgiving.
On the 10th day of October autumn gave to me a job interview.
On the 11th day of October autumn gave to me bad news about my interview.
On the 12th day of October autumn gave to me a rainbow in the morning.

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Things I Hate but Love

I hate that one man with many guns can inflict so much pain.
But I love that there are far more heroes than villains in times of conflict.

I hate that my kids can’t get ready for school or for bed without me watching me.
But I love that they secretly can’t because they want me to be with them.

I hate that my kids fight like Capulets and Montegues.
But I love that they stick up for each when the other gets hurt.

I hate having to cook every single night.
But I love it when every loves the meal so much I get I should be a chef. (HAHA)

I hate helping the kids with their homework (Just kidding. I’m a teacher I love it.)
But I love watching them learn.

I hate taking my kids grocery shopping.
But I love that they always want to buy broccoli.

I hate that we have to watch the same cartoons over and over and over…
But I love that they’re educational.

I hate packing lunches every day.
But I love that I know what they’re eating and it’s healthy (mostly).

I hate mowing.
But I love the smell and look of a freshly mown yard.

I hate bug bites.
But I love hiking through forested trails.

I hate long lines in stores.
I love it when a new checkout line opens and I get to be first in line.

I hate hearing all the bad news…
But I love hearing the heroes stories.

I hate that my kids only read at bedtime.
But I love that they can’t sleep until they read.

I hate our growing dependency on technolgy.

But I love all that it can do for us.

I hate the temper tantrums my kids can throw.
But I love it when they tell me “I like your face. You’re the awesomest person.”

I hate that we had to bring the hybiscus in because winter is coming.
But I love that it has the biggest bloom it’s ever had.

I hate it when my kids fight.
But I love it when they laugh together.

I hate when all the lights are red.
But I love that means we can rock out in the truck just a bit longer.

I hate all the annoyances, grievances, and bad news.
But I love all the silver linings.

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Jars of Positivity

Positive outlooks sometimes don’t come easily or naturally. Sometimes they aren’t readily visible. With our lives often hectic, looking for the bright side is like looking for a dolphin in the Sahara. We’re too busy. We’re too frustrated. We believe there is no bright side. Regardless of what we believe, there’s always a bright side. It may not be as bright as we want it, but it’s there. We just need to find those calm, brief moments to understand the positives in that situation. 

One way we found to help us find the positives was to leave each other secret notes. They were short – whatever could be written on a 2 inch by 3 inch post it note. A couple years ago DW set up 4 small, glass vials on the living room window sill. On each one was a letter respresenting each of the four family members. Also by the window was a pen and a pile of small post it notes. The idea was that we could write each other little notes at random and leave them in the jar for the family member to discoer and read. After reading them we’d place them in a bucket to keep for later. The jars were there for quite a while, maybe six months, and we accumulated a buckful of positives. For a year after we stopped writing, our secret notes sat in the small bucket behind the TV. During tonight’s run in the snow it came to me that I should take a look back and see what we wrote. I also thought I’d like to share them with you. 

  • You are loved XOXOXO
  • We love you because you helped build the park and give back scratches and I give her hugs
  • Thank you for filling the peanut feeder and keeping our crows, blue jays and grackles fed.
  • Santa loved your turkey soup!
  • I love you
  • You are the best mom ever!
  • I love the mudder cuz she builds a track with me and I love her wiff her glasses adn earrings on and I love so so much in all the world and I put my earrings on like the mother. And I actually snuggle her.
  • Santa was wondering if you could give him a push or two if he gets stuck when he comes on Christmas Eve. 
  • Love you lots- millions and billions to infinity and beyond! XOXOXO
  • Great job on your first day of school!
  • Even though you drive me crazy, I am thankful for you. Luboo millions xoxo Wifey
  • Thanks for getting the car sold!
  • You have a cute bum. Can I grab it?
  • You are mama’s awesome little helper!
  • Happy birthday Dad!
  • Santa was really happy to hear how well you played with your brother after school yesterday.
  • Have an awesome 8th birthday! Love you!
  • Luboo millions and billions! XOXOXOXO
  • Even though you drive me crazy, I am thankful for you. XOXO Mom
  • I love you!
  • I only drive you crazy because I love you. Happy turkey day!
  • Mrs. Claus thanks you for your cookie recipe. She is making some right now!
  • You are loved. XOXO
  • Mom, I love your boobies. They’re so cute. (from the then 3 year old)
  • Santa is really happy to hear that you aren’t stomping and screaming
  • Happy birthday to my hubband. I don’t say it enough (out loud) but I am grateful that we have you in our lives. Love you more!
  • Is the weather good for fishing? (refrence to “Number the Stars by Lous Lowry)
  • You have a cute bum! Love you- have a good day!
  • I love you XOXO Capten Mims
  • Thank you for my first day of work flowers and for cleaning the house and making supper while I’m gone and still lubbing me after 10 years even though I’m fat! Luboo millions xoxoxoxo
  • n Iaokd iiHaK (the 3 year old wrote his own note)
  • Happy 4th birthday my baby boy!
  • I love you!
  • Great job telling truth about breaking your cousin’s sword. Now we will work on replacing it. Proud of your bravery xoxo mom
  • Happy 10 year lover! XOXO luboo millions and billions
  • I love you. You’re my best boyfriend and my best brother and I like him to play trains (Bang to Crash scribed by Mom)
  • I like when we go in the zipper and we bounce on the tramperline wiff us and wiff daddy (by the 3 year old)
  • Happy Halloween! (fr:Crash)
  • Happy grading day! On to grade 3  – way to go! XOXO
  • Thank you for great notes from school. Keep it up! 
  • Great job listening and getting ready for school this morning when asked to get ready. Love you! XOXO
  • Great job mowing the lawn – it makes us happy when you help around the house!
  • I love Dad and he builds a track and plays trains with me and I love him so so much all the world, Love from Bang
  • Thank you for feeding my flowers and watering them. Luboo millions XOXO

    Whoo! I got this post written and published before midnight! (I still have 4 minutes to go)