Friday, March 17, 2017

Parenting Book #1

I have a list of parenting books that I'm reading through. Just when I was getting settled in with school age parenting I have a tween and the teenage years are looming!

I often am afraid that our screen time is out of control and some weekends it is, but, overall "growing up social" made it me feel pretty good about our 2 hour a day time limit. I liked how this book incorporated how screen time affects your child's love tank (based on the 5 Love Languages). There are also chapters for single parents for adults to evaluate their own use of screen time.

Here's how this book made a real life impact. Josiah plays games on my phone during Aliza's dance class. He is usually the only school age boy at the studio, but one week another boy his age was there. He had met this boy and gotten to know him a little bit. So I told Josiah that when he walked in to the studio he needed to say hi to the other boy AND ask him what game he was playing. Josiah wasn't sure he wanted to that, but he did. You know what happened? Josiah ended up sitting down beside him, they played the same game and talked the whole time. If I had not instructed Josiah, he would have walked past the other boy, sat down, played his game and wouldn't have said a word to each other.

Gaming is here to stay. So are phones and every other electronic device. My goal is to teach my children how to have relationships and be sociable within this new world that is so normal to them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

So. Much. Fun.

This was not quite an expected weekend to go to West Virginia, but when my friend Christie told me it would be a great weekend to hang out with her we made it happen. I wasn't sure if it would work out, but after we arrived, had supper and unpacked the car, I went over to Christie's house--alone--to visit. We drank tea, sat on the couch and talked. It was so good. I got back to the house in time to lay with Josiah. The girls had already fallen asleep!

Isaiah's new trick for the weekend: Jumping off the coffee table on to the mattress over and over and over.
Saturday morning we met at the library to play some family bingo. Each card had 8 animals on it and you filled up the whole card to win. Everyone had a great time. Oddly enough, Josiah, Isaiah and Karen each won a round.

After bingo, I introduced Christie to letterboxing. There was a series of letterboxes in the library that we found first. Christie and her boys were hooked. It was a little crazy walking through the adult non-fiction stacks with my littles.

 
I printed out a couple clues that morning in case they loved it and we used them. The  next one we found was a few blocks away in a chocolate shop. Isaiah lost all self control at that point, but it was a really neat letterbox.

Finally, we went over to the B & O Railroad station. It was freezing, but that didn't stop us! As soon as we got there a train came through which made the kids happy. Christie and I figured out the clue and she laid down and pulled the box out of the cliff. This little outing makes me want to print out a whole bunch more clues!
Josiah went back to Christie's house with her and her boys while I took Isaiah home for a nap. I took my girls and picked up Brandi and we went over to Christie's house for tea. My girls loved her teapots, teacups and decor. We could hear the boys playing upstairs having a lot of fun together. This was the first time Josiah really got to play with Graham and Liam in a really relaxed way. I think I can speak for Christie--our heart were full because we never dared to think that our boys were ever get to really know each other. Such an unexpected, sweet life surprise.
There was one more weekend promise made to the children--swimming in Joel and Brandi's hot tub. The air was so incredibly cold, but they lasted out there about 30 minutes.
The adults watched from inside--and I still shivered watching them!
Brandi made hot chocolate when they got inside and turned on the fireplace. (Brandi, it wasn't a long visit, but your hospitality was amazing and made us feel so special!) Isaiah and Joel had an epic rough housing session which turned in to all the children and Joel running in crazy circles around the house.
Playing Guess Who is always a requirement at Brandi's house. =)
Everyone was so excited and tired when we got back to Grandma and Grandpa's house. The kind of tired that makes it hard to fall asleep. After the kids were asleep, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. I didn't really want the day to end though. I had so much fun.

The next morning Jeremy showed me a picture of the dessert he made himself and I very much wished I hadn't fallen asleep so fast!!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Celebrating the Birthday Kids

The birthday celebrations were pretty simple this year. I think Aliza and Josiah still felt special and enjoyed their days.
Josiah had an outing with his Grandad--lunch and fishing. He wanted Domino's pizza for supper and fondue for dessert.
Aliza had her lunch with me the day before her birthday. We had a great time together. She was so shocked that I bought a book for her at Barnes & Noble. It totally made her day. On her birthday she kept me busy in the kitchen! French toast for breakfast, potato soup for lunch and Chinese for supper.
Jeremy and I thought and thought about what to give Aliza for her birthday. We finally settled on an mp3 player that also had an FM tuner. It was perfect. Jeremy loaded it with music he had and Aliza loved it. She loves to listen to KLOVE radio.
Aliza wanted ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries and double chocolate chunk cookies for her birthday dessert. I made a big plate for her for effect--she didn't eat all of it!
Aliza and Josiah wanted a big family birthday party so that what we did! It was in the afternoon and all I served was ice cream and cookies. So it was candles in the ice cream!
Aliza wanted to be a princess for her party. Her Grandma Karen gave her the perfect tiara and I curled her hair. It was the first time that she wanted me to curl her hair and she loved it. Her hair even held the curl pretty well.
An extra fun part of the birthday party weekend was that Joel showed them his brand new Nintendo Switch. They had a lot of fun with that.
On a whim I invited my parents to have supper with us, Jeremy's parents and Joel and Brandi. We had so much fun sitting around the table telling stories. There was lots of laughter and reminiscing. Aliza sat with us and soaked it all in.

The children all had such a fun party day that they were utterly exhausted by bedtime and proved to me that, in fact, they are not *that* grown up yet!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Joy Dare::February

4121. Scripture from a friend
4122. Aliza and Josiah working together on a science project
4123. Dad chatting about his family in the car
4124. Renee and Lydia have been great travellers
4125. Lydia snuggles
4126. Time in the car passed pretty quickly
4127. An audio book
4128. Just a quick walk through Wal-Mart
4129. Lunch with some of my cousins
4130. Sitting beside my Grandma
4131. Got a head start to home
4132. Hugging all my children and husband
4133. Jeremy capable and willing to take on the care of children and house while I'm away
4134. An exciting Superbowl game
4135. Getting back into the routine
4136. Warm enough for a bike ride
4137. A much needed nap
4138. Cousin soccer game
4139. A springish day is so good for our souls
4140. Talking with my cousin
4141. Comforting Isaiah during the first thunder that woke him
4142. Reading outside for a bit
4143. Snuggles with Sean
4144. Talented friends
4145. Soup on a cold, windy day
4146. Date!
4147. Aliza had so much fun at a birthday party
4148. Jeremy stopped and helped put out the fire
4149. Isaiah so intent on helping with Judy's puzzle
4150. Another night with cousins
4151. A lovely talk with Chrissy
4152. Weekend morning with everyone on the couch reading and watching a show
4153. Isaiah choosing to sit between his great grandparents during church
4154. Looking at pictures with Gramma
4155. A new school policy--hoping it has the desired effect
4156. Aliza so mature and taking care of herself
4157. Valentine's fondue
4158. Pink roses on the counter
4159. School finished so I could visit with Laura
4160. Successful evening in a new setting
4161. Didn't have to cook supper
4162. A book series that Josiah immediately got into
4163. It takes my involvement to streamline schoo
4164. Put some effort in making supper
4165. This:
4166. Girls playing with Barbies for hours
4167. Everyone crowded around Daddy
4168. An evening sitting beside Jeremy
4169. Celebrating Gramma and Grandad's 65th anniversary
4170. Banana splits and cupcakes
4171. Warm temperatures this weekend
4172. Trying out the new hammock
4173. Quiet family day that included work, rest and play
4174. Finding some signs of spring coming
4175. Outside read aloud time
4176. Josiah having a lot of fun outside building and creating
4177. The evening is much nicer when school is finished
4178. Isaiah walking into his CBS class by himself
4179. Everyone so excited for Wednesday night club
4180. Anna took off on her bike--no training wheels!
4181. Big brother/Little brother
4182. Second day of school outside on the porch
4183. That Friday evening accomplished feeling
4184. No one starved on the day before grocery shopping!
4185. Aliza fell asleep in my arm and she felt little and I didn't want to move
4186. Did a couple scrapbook pages
4187. Watching their childhood happen
4188. One more warm day
4189. French toast for breakfast was a big hit
4190. Francis Chan sermon
4191. Ordering pictures for Gramma
4192. Send the kids outside for a picnic = a lunch date for Jeremy and I
4193. A huge bag of new library books
4194. Rediscovered Uno
4195. Josiah's birthday morning excitement
4196. Won the battle of the temper tantrum
4197. Birthday fondue

Friday, March 3, 2017

Happy 11th Birthday Aliza!
How it is that I am now the mother of a tween?! Aliza and I had our annual Panera birthday lunch today and I sat across from her and just watched her while she talked. She told me that Sadie Robertson said in one of her videos that it is better to have a moment of awkward than a lifetime of regret. Aliza's examples were the awkward of saying "no" to getting in a car with someone who has been drinking that the lifetime of regret of being in an accident or the awkward of ending a relationship with a boy that the lifetime of regret being with a guy that's not good for you. On the other hand, Aliza is so excited to wake up to her birthday tomorrow that she had a hard time falling asleep tonight. 
My big girl and my little girl--I love her to pieces!
 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy 9th Birthday Josiah!
His favorite place to tinker and play is in the teepee fortress he has created.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Club"

I have been praying for several years now for a place where Aliza could connect with other girls and really feel like she has friends. In the past month or so I have watched this prayer be answered.

Through a series of soccer games and birthday parties, Aliza had the chance to get to know a girl from her dance class. Get to know as in this girl and Aliza talked non stop for the duration of the events. I talked to this girl's Mom and she said, "You know, Carla, you really need to come to Wednesday nights." This same mom had actually invited me last year to this same thing and I just couldn't see my way clear to add it to our lives. This year, however, I immediately knew that this was for us. I talked to the kids in the car on the way home from dance and all 3 of them were surprisingly positive and excited.

Wednesday nights we call "club." It is actually Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors at a baptist church. The evening starts with supper and then the girls have a class, the boys have a class, Anna and Isaiah are in the preschool class and Jeremy and I go to the adult class. It's only an hour and to say that my children are excited afterwards is an understatement. They are giddy! All 4 of them have so much fun.

The first week Josiah and Anna were crying during supper because they were so nervous. The second week all 4 children went running by themselves to class.

I love not cooking supper on Wednesdays! I could take or leave the adult class, but for an hour, knowing that my kids are having a great time and making friends, I can sit through just about anything.