Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Every Once In a While - We Get Something Right With This Whole Parenting Thing!

I have really given a lot of thought to this lately and I thought I would share.
Raising kids is hard, can I get an AMEN?? Sometimes, I really feel like I might be overly strict about stuff with the kids. We've really been instilling in them, while they've been with us in July, that life just isn't about them. It's about your family. It's about your friends. But more than that, it's about your future.
We are really trying hard to teach the kids responsibility. We are trying hard to teach the kids consideration of others. We are trying to teach the kids how to behave and be a person that other people want to have over to their home. And there are times that I just think, "They are 8! They are 11! They aren't adults yet, it's OK if they don't do this or that." But then I think, "All of this I am doing now is laying the ground work for this little person to be a good husband or wife someday. I am laying down groundwork for how to be a good parent and how to set boundaries. Everything we do on a daily basis is showing them examples of how to live on this planet with others."
It's a tremendous burden at times, this thing they call parenting. It's so hard to want them to like you, but to know it's not always about being liked. It's really difficult pushing them to do things they don't want to do in an effort to make them more independent. It's really hard to hold them accountable for little things that could very easily turn in to big things, when you could easily just look the other way and fix whatever it is they've done or just do it for them.
Tonight, it was Sophia's turn to do the dishes. She was emptying the dishwasher and I told her that I would do the rest, since it was a lot. Later on, she actually came up and thanked me and said, "Thank you for doing that for me." It took me off guard - neither of them ever thanked us for doing the dishes before. And that's because neither of them had really ever understood what a beating it was to wash them. But for her to genuinely say thank you to me, it gave me reassurance that making them do the dishes all these weeks, despite the whining and the opposition, they are learning an incredibly valuable lesson. That someone's gotta do it and we are a family here, and I appreciate when it's my turn but someone does it for me to be nice.
Every once in a while, God gives you that glimpse of satisfaction, to let you know you are doing something right. And boy, does it feel great.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Just Some Silly Pics of Avery

Avery is really in to the camera now, and really in to making faces.

Such a cutie!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

VBS at IBC: A Week In Athens

I really loved participating in VBS at church this week! I've never done that before and it was a wonderful experience. Our children's minster chose an awesome curriculum, which allowed the children to be transported back to Athens, where Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus.
The kids got to hear from Paul each day and got to visit a marketplace each day of shops, led by shopkeepers, some of whom didn't believe in Jesus. We had snacks that were healthy and "Greek", such as pita bread, grapes, yogurt, baked goodies, and nuts. (Since it was in the evening, I really appreciated that they didn't pump the kids full of snow cones and sandwich cookies!!) I learned a lot myself and was able to really understand how difficult it would have been to spread the news of Jesus to places like Greece, where they believed in a multitude of other gods and didn't like Christians who talked about the "one true God." I just thought it was so well done and such an excellent way to get the kids involved in an interactive experience!! We even all dressed the part and decorated the whole church to get the kids excited! Even Sophia and Avery got to dress up! (Jordan was too cool.)
We were divided into "oikos," or families, and all of us had a variety of ages. Our group started as 5 and grew to 9 by the end of the week! We were from Corinth (Corinthians!)
We got to play "arena games..."


We got to do some great worship songs with a flair of "Greece..."

The kids got to visit several shops, which included a toy making shop, law court, pottery shop, scribe shop, and petting zoo (among other things!) I got a lot of pictures with the animals, apparently.

We got to hear Paul preach (and our "Paul" did such an AMAZING job!!)

And some of us even got arrested by the guards. Jason is such a trouble maker.

It was a great week!! Our days were pretty cram-packed this week, but it was totally worth it! I was so excited when they said VBS was going to be in July this year. Every year, when we have the kids, VBS is usually in June, at every church, so we never got to take them. I noticed more and more churches in our community doing them in July! Now, Jordan is off for a fun-filled week of pre-teen camp with Faith and Isom! I am so excited he gets to go. As I was looking over his checklist and schedule for the week, I couldn't help but get transported back to the excitement I had before going myself. Such a great experience!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do You Say The Same Things in Real Life that You Say on Facebook?

I had a conversation on Facebook yesterday with a friend of mine about an article that a wife of a pastor wrote. The article wasn't becoming of a woman who was the wife of a pastor. It was a bad reflection on her church, on Southern Baptists, and on Christians. It really made me wonder what social media is doing to us as a society, but really as Christians.
During the abortion bill vote in Texas, my Facebook feed was flooded constantly with some interesting status updates. Some of the posts were incredibly inappropriate, even from friends I knew that are Christians. I look at comments left in online forums such as Yahoo, just judgmental, hateful comments. I believe in my heart that the more and more we are not face to face with each other, the more trouble we have controlling the things we say.
My question is this: would you feel comfortable saying the things you say on Facebook, in the same tone and verbage, to a person standing right in front of you? For example, the hatred some people had for women who had abortions - if someone was in front of you, making that choice or going through the process of making that choice, would you say those things to their face like you said it online? Or, during the Chick-fil-a debacle, would you say those things to someone's face who was homosexual?
I hate to say it, but social media is making more and more of the world opinionated, passive-aggressive people, requiring less and less accountability for the things that come out of our mouths. It is also making people remember things for much longer. We are writing these things down, for all the world to see, and they are staying there, forever. It's not like 100 years ago, where if you said something dumb, people would forget about it. People can look at your Facebook feed from the beginning of when you joined and see the things you've said and posted. What would a non-believer see if they read your posts, one after the other? Sometimes, I feel really badly about things I've written, either on my updates or in my comments, because I wonder what people must think of me. I wonder what type of impression I am making on them. It makes me think about stuff I say much more carefully now. Not to say I am perfect, but just more careful now.
I would really love to do a study about how social media is affecting our minds over a long period of time. It would be an interesting read.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's With The Inner Dialogue??

I read this article today and I just thought it was such a great read...
I would be lying if I said I didn't have inner monologue constantly going in my head about my self-image and body. In fact, at times, it is just so loud I can barely think of anything else. At times, I think I look pretty good and think I am fine with myself as it is. Other times, it is so negative that I just beat myself up over it and walk around with this aura of insecurity. Of all of the things I think, what I hate the most is how much hate I have for myself about being "lazy" or having no self-control.
It's not my tummy being soft, or my thighs being big. It's the fact that I seem to think I should be this superwoman, every week, every day. With the ultimate in self-control, exercising constantly, and never allowing myself pleasures when it comes to food. Why do I do this to myself? I am not lazy. I work a 40 hour a week job. For the last 3 weeks, I've actually been a "stay at home" mom and worked 40 hours a week simultaneously, while tending to three children at all hours of the day. I've done VBS every night for a week, traveled out of the state on a road trip with three children, participated in parties, given time to family and friends, and been to church. My life isn't lazy. While I do feel incredibly sedentary, it's not because I want it to be that way. I sit as part of my job and I really hate it. But, for now, I don't have another option, so it is what it is. And yet, I punish myself constantly for being this "lazy" person.
But, with all of that said, I can certainly relate to the author of this article. That has been a hard thing for me to accept, that even though I know my husband loves me and thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world, at times, I find myself cringing as well when he tells me so. Just like her, I also ask myself, "Why doesn't he see all of the stuff I see? Why can't he see how flabby and soft I am? How can he possibly think I look so beautiful when he sees me in a swimsuit?" And I feel such turmoil, to allow my husband to love me and admire his wife, the way he wants to, and to accept that admiration without questioning it.
It's hard to be a woman, yes? With all of this inner dialogue going on, it's a wonder we even have relationships and get out of the house at all. But honestly, I know that I eat pretty well, especially lately. I exercise when I have time to do it and I don't just lay around in bed all day long. I am raising children, I cook dinner for them, I do laundry, and I work. I need to give myself credit for that, that just because I am not a size 2 (and even if I was, I have a feeling I would still have issues with my self-image) I am still a beautiful person who contributes to very important things in this world.
I am going to work on this. Making the inner dialogue in my head positive instead of negative. And allowing the husband God blessed me with to compliment me, kiss me, and love me as much as he wants, without me turning away for fear of him thinking "my thighs are too fat." It's kind of crazy, isn't it? We spend the first part of our adult life looking for a guy who is kind, respectful, loving and cares about us without fail, and then once we get a guy like that, we spend the rest of our lives questioning his sincerity. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Colbi Morgan's First Birthday Party!

 I seriously can not believe that this little cutie...


At first, she wanted nothing to do with that cake, but she came around.
It was a Nemo themed party and it was adorable! (Those marshmellows were to die for!!)

And of course, she didn't know all of those presents were for her!

I am so happy for my sister and brother in law - they have such a beautiful and sweet little girl. It's been a joy to watch her grow up this last year....any moment now, she will be a walker! Maybe even by the time we go to the beach in a couple weeks?
I love you, Colbi Morgan!! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Do You Deal With Christmas Lists In July?

The kids came home from their mom's house tonight with their Christmas requests in mind. We were with them a total of 30 minutes and they spent the entire time talking to us about what they wanted for Christmas. One of the two asked for a Nook (she will remain nameless :-) ) and I told her that at my house, I don't think it's appropriate for an 8 year old who doesn't even like to read to have any piece of technology over $100 just given to them, especially when 8 years old can barely remember to take care of the stuff they have that costs a whole lot less.
We kind of got aggravated because that was all they talked about with us - I asked them if the second they saw us today, is all they saw dollar signs in our eyes?
I love Christmas. I do. I love buying gifts for the kids and I love watching them open gifts. But I HATE the inevitable requests and wants we hear for the 6 months prior. I hate hearing the same item mentioned, over and over, whether in a direct question, "Can I please have a Nook?" to the indirect casual conversation throw-in, "This book would be so easy to read on a Nook!" to the mentioning of places that have Nooks on sale, "Look, that Nook is only $50!" I mean, seriously, there is nothing I want to do LESS than buy a child anything they've asked me for 75 times. I can be a very generous person and I will more than likely surprise you with something I know you like or have asked me for once, especially if you are behaving and being pleasant to be around. But if you've asked me for something over and over and over, or if all you've done is ask me to spend money on you for days on end, or if you are acting awful, the last thing in the world I want to do is spend my hard-earned money on you for anything. Call me Scrooge, I don't care.
Christmas is a hard one. I think it's ridiculous to make a threat in July and say something like, "If you ask me for it one more time, you won't get it at all" especially if that something is an item you'd really like for them to have. So, I have kind of always been at a loss for how to handle it, but I think I've figured it out. I have a little box and I think I am calling it the "Christmas Wish List." When they would like to request something for Christmas, they can write it down and put it in the box, whenever they so choose. We then get to go through the list and decide what we would like to get them. It's not the request that bothers me. It's the constant asking. Do not get me wrong, here. I spent my fair share of hours gazing through the Christmas catalogs (yes, when I was a kid, it was catalogs, not internet!). I would daydream of all of the toys I wanted. I don't really remember if I asked for things a lot or not - not saying I did or didn't, just can't remember - but I am sure if I didn't, I spent a lot of time thinking about it. So I don't fault a kid for being excited about Christmas. But at some point, kids have to learn the valuable lesson of self-control and delayed gratification, especially at Christmas, right?
 Do any of you have this problem at your house? How do you handle Christmas wish lists?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day In the Life

I just took some pictures from our day yesterday. It was almost quitting time..Avery came in to "play video games..." I am glad I got this shot, because she only tried for about a minute.
Then she decided to make a mess with all of the puzzle pieces.

Sophia is putting together some puzzles...

The kids watched a movie...

And Bella just chilled.

And of course, our naked egg experiment!

All in all, pretty uneventful, nothing wrong with that!