Being Intentional… Again

I already wrote a post titled Being Intentional, thus the title of this post, Being Intentional… Again.  In my first post, I started out with this sentence:

There’s a lot of things I need to be more intentional about… mothering, eating well, exercising, bible study, etc.

Then I went on to write a post about being more intentional with my writing… because we all know writing is WAY more important than any of those other things.  Not!  (Have I mentioned that I’m bringing back “Not!”?  Because I am.  Geric and I just talked about it the other day.  We’re bringing it back.)

Part of the reason I’ve been so absent from this here blog is because I’ve been being more intentional in those other areas of my life.  And I like it.  So, I thought I would share.

EATING WELL:

I was living in ignorance.  And, as the saying goes, it was bliss.  Then I watched a little movie called Food Inc.  And another one called Food Matters.  And then I read a little book called Skinny Bitch.  And you know what, they changed me.  Number one, I felt nauseous. For days.  No joke.  What really got to me was the part in Skinny Bitch that talks about the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses.  Ugh.  So sad, and so disgusting.  I’m not getting into detail, because you should read the book, and because this is a family blog and I just can’t go there.  But honestly, to think that there are people out there that treat animals like that is just demented!  (Please don’t leave me a comment how there are people out there treating people like that, because yes, I do realize that, but it’s just not the topic of conversation right now.  Mmmm… kay?)

So, anywho, I went vegan for a minute.  That was rough.  I like cheese.  So, then I went vegetarian, and that lasted awhile.  I really like fruits and veggies, but don’t give me fake meat.  I’m now back to eating chicken once a week-ish, but I need to know it wasn’t in one of those dark chicken coops where they’re so fat their little legs break underneath them.  So, only free range and organic.

And we’re in the process of eliminating processed food.  Honestly, this one is really hard with kids in tow.  They’ll go Ghandi on you if you do too much too fast.  So, we’re easing into this one.

We aren’t food Nazis (there’s an example of people treating people similarly to the way people are treating animals in slaughterhouses, but still, don’t leave me a comment about it… maybe another post in the future… don’t hold your breath), we’re just trying to make healthier choices.  And so far, we’re feeling better about it.

MOTHERING:

This one is a biggie as far as my absence from this here blog.

Does anyone else feel like someone has pushed the fast forward button on life?  I mean, it was just yesterday that Caden was going to his first day of preschool, yet I just got a letter about ordering a cap and gown for kindergarten graduation.  (Which, by the way, is ridiculous.  Yet, I did it.  Because, God forbid my kid be the only one walking across that stage without them.  Yes, I still care what strangers think about me.)

So, I’m trying to relish the moments before they are gone.  And honestly, it’s changed my perspective a little bit.  I still have my days of wanting to rip my hair out (or pull my ears off, depending on the noise level) but mostly, I really, really enjoy my kids.  We went to the aquarium the other day, and I was caught up in a moment of realizing, These are my kids.  And they are great.  They are great people.  I really like them, and not just because I’m their mom and they grew in my belly and I have to love them.  I really like them.  I think they are funny, and smart, and compassionate, and joyful.  And honestly, I really like spending my days with them.

So we’re bringing back Family Nights.  Can I get a “woot, woot!”  (And not a girly “woot, woot,” more of an Arsenio “woot, woot.”  Thanks.)  The boys have been asking why we haven’t done one in so long.  So, I’m planning  Cinco de Mayo one ahora. (That means “now” in spanish.)

PRAYING:

I would LOVE to say I get up at 5am and pray and read my Bible, but then I would be perfect.  So there, you’ve found my weakness.  I like sleep.

But I am being more intentional about praying and reading my Bible.  And I’m kinda glad it’s not just a morning event for me.  It’s more of all day thing.  A moment to moment thing.  I’m getting good at listening to God’s voice and praying what He puts on my heart.  I also stumbled upon this blog called MOB Society (MOB stand for Mother of Boys.)  They are doing a 21 day prayer challenge that started May 1st, and it’s already so awesome.  Peeps, if you have boys, you must participate.  It’s that awesome.

The other thing that God has put on my heart is Honduras and my Teamer T, Robin.  I never wrote about it on the blog, but she lost her husband in a fatal car accident last December.  It was tragic and awful and all things bad.  But since then, she and Honduras have been on my heart on a daily basis, so when I was presented (that sounds so formal… it was more of a mention in an email about cakepops, but still) with the opportunity to go on a trip there with a team from North Hills Community Church, it was kind of a no brainer.  Actually, I had to make sure my babies would be taken care of while Geric works and that God really, really, for reals, not kidding, totally sure, write-it-in-the-sky, was saying to go.  And He was.  So I am.

But more about that in another post.

So, that’s what’s been going on.  Nothing big, or major, or earth shattering, but it’s good.

And just so you all know, I am planning on being more intentional about blogging, again.  And this is where I would normally say, “but don’t hold me to it.”  But you can.

And I’m not even gonna say “Not!”

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Homeschooling

So, I officially have two weeks of homeschooling under my belt (not full time homeschooling, just two days a week.  So, that would be a whole four days of homeschooling.  Which deserves some sort of an award.  Which is why I’m telling you all this.  Someone give me some praise, would ya???)

I’ve learned a few things in the last couple of weeks about homeschooling and I thought I’d share.

First, it’s not as bad as one might think it to be.  When I say “one” I’m speaking of myself.  I know, you’re thinking, Erin, aren’t you a credentialed teacher that taught full time in a classroom of thirty students?  Yes, yes I am.  Then why are you so scared of homeschooling your one measly child?  First, of all, he’s not measly.  Geez, that was rude.  Secondly, because teaching your own kid is way different than teaching other people’s kids.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret here… teachers rely on you parents.  They aren’t kidding at Back to School Night when they say that they are on a team with you.  We, as teachers, know that we will only have your kid on our class for one (maybe two) years, and we rely on you to fill in the gaps that may be missing or tie up the loose ends, if you will.  And if you don’t, well, it’s your kid.  We can only do so much, and if you don’t care, then we can’t really pass over that wall.

But with homeschooling, it’s all on me.  And that freaked me out.  If my kid grows up to be dumb, I can’t blame the public schools or government instated standards… I only have myself to blame.

But in the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized it’s not really that much pressure.  I think I’m blessed with a kid that really likes learning, so, so far, we haven’t had to fight many battles in order to sit down and get to business.  Also, the joy of homeschooling is that we can take breaks when things feel too stressful for him (or me) and I can always change my approach to teaching a new concept, because I can.  I love that!  Plus, I can see first hand what his strengths and his weaknesses are, and cater my lessons to those.  Love that, too.

The second thing I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks is that homeschooling can be anything, anywhere.  We went to the zoo on Tuesday for Caden’s birthday which is supposed to be a homeschooling day, and it still was!  Go ahead and try to tell me that trekking around the San Diego Zoo doesn’t count as PE.  I dare you.  And of course it was science.  We even came home and made a big elephant poster with all the pictures we took and the facts we learned during our bus tour, and he brought it to school to share with his class today.  Tell me that’s not awesome!

The last thing I’ve learned about homeschooling is that this here blog may suffer in the process.  Homeschooling is fun and I love it and I really think it’s the best option for Caden, but it requires some organization and thinking ahead and planning (even though his teacher sends me her lesson plans.) And on top of that I still have my regular mom duties (just like the rest of you.)  So, writing is taking a back seat.

Motherhood = Sacrifice

It’s a lesson I keep on learning.

So, I’m not getting rid of this here blog by any means, but just know that the updates may not be as frequent, then again they may be.  I’m just taking the bloggy pressure off of myself for right now.

Here’s a question for my fellow homeschooling mommies: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from homeschooling your kids?

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A Guest Post: Lunchbox Oops!

I’ve got another guest blogger for you guys!  I like hearing new voices here on my blog and this one is chalk full of GREAT ideas… that I am going to put to use immediately!  This is written by a friend of mine, Jenn.  If you like what you read today, go check out her site!

Hi all! I was asked by my friend and fellow Blogger, Ms Queen of the Jungle to bip on over to her blog and write a little something for yʼall. I am a mommy, wife, RN, and real foodie who loves to blog about health, nutrition, yummy clean recipes, and of course what goes on in our crazy household. You can check me out at my website/blog www.rnforwellness.com anytime you are looking for any of those things I listed above.

So lets get to it! Being a mom of two crazy boys and a real foodie means life is always interesting in our house. When you live the life of real food your ideals do not always match up with the ideas of a 4 or 6 year old. I am constantly faced with the challenge of getting my kids excited about eating clean healthy food over prepackaged salt and sugar filled treats.

My husband also struggles with this and it was quite evident the other day when he packed my oldest sonʼs lunch. Now because we have to do this lunch thing five days a week my husband and I share the dreaded task of packing the lunches. When we were new to eating this way I would assist my husband along but now that we are a few years in I let him figure it out. I do the shopping and food prep so I make sure there are lots of options in the house that would not only make me happy but Jake as well.

Sooooo that brings me to Monday two weeks ago. On Mondayʼs I help out in Jakeʼs class. At the end of reading lab all the kids grab their snack form their lunch or line up for a classroom provided snack. Jake came up to me and asked if it would be OK if he got the class provided snack instead of his own. Looking over I see that the class provided snack is a standard boxed cookie from the market. I let Jake know that he could not have a cookie (partially because those are for kids who did not bring a snack and because the snack was crap) and that he needed to get his snack from his lunch. He proceeded to glare at me, cross his arms, and stomp to his backpack. I ignored the mini-fit and headed out as well. When we got to his backpack he began to get more and more upset, tears were very close. I peeked into his lunch and this is what I saw:

1. Sandwich (turkey/cheese)

2. pretzels

3. string cheese

4. tangerine

5. water

UGH! I immediately thought Doug! are you kidding me? How completely boring and unappealing. I wouldnʼt want to eat this either. Of course Jake wanted the cookie!

Now because Doug and I always try to look like we are a united front I encouraged the string cheese and tangerine and coaxed him to the cafeteria. Jake followed suit and begrudgingly ate the snack. I reassured him that I would make sure daddy understood  that he needed to add some fun food in there as well. When I left the school I immediately called Doug and started with WTF buddy what are you trying to do get our kids to hate us and hate healthy food. I kindly reminded him of the most important key component to raising nutritionally sound healthy kids. As parents we need to make it fun, tasty, and appealing on multiple levels. He of course agreed (kind of ) and then said he was just being lazy. Well lazy aint gonna cut it big guy. So let me repeat again…

Key point!!! What you feed your child must be fun, tasty, and appealing on multiple levels. If it is not those things they will seek food elsewhere. And better yet, lie to you to cover up. I want kids to get to be kids and not feel like they are missing out. Now because I know we all struggle with this I wanted to include a few lunchbox solutions to help you out.

1. Snackanimal cookies

2. Kettle chips/sweet potato chips/veggie straws

3. Organic graham crackers (these do not have HFCS or PHO)

4. Yogurt (greek fruit in the bottom)

5. Applesauce

6. Different types of cheese sticks

7. Homemade trail mix (you can find a recipe on my blog)

8. Granola Bar (Kids Cliff or TLC)

9. Cliff kids twisty fruit bars/ Anneʼs bunny fruit snacks

For more suggestions you can check out the blog or subscribe to my monthly nutrition newsletter by emailing me at wellnessrn@sti.net.

Thanks Queen!!

Happy Birthday Caden

I can’t believe that six years have gone by.  No, six years have flown by since the day you were born.  Crazy.  Because I remember it like it was yesterday.

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I had done the whole “dress rehearsal” thing at the hospital the day before, and they had sent me home where I spent the whole day walking around the neighborhood with your Maw and your Auntie B.  But nothing happened until early the next morning.  I made really, really, really sure you were coming this time before I woke up Daddy and we drove to the hospital.  And 13 hours later (after some excruciating pain, that I swear I am not holding against you) you changed my life forever.

Not only were you born on my birthday, so I had a birthday present that could never be topped, but you completely shattered the world I once knew, in a good way of course.  You are my first-born.  You are the kid that made me a mommy, my best role in my whole life.  The one that will never be topped.  In the days after you were born, nothing else mattered, except our little family.

And you were perfect.  I had no idea (because you were all I knew) but you were such a good baby.  You rarely cried, and you even put yourself on a schedule… that I took all the credit for.  Don’t worry, your brothers both made me see that it was actually all you, and not me at all.

You’ve always been a Momma’s Boy.  From the get go. You always liked me the best.  (It’s true!)  I said it was because I was the one that fed you, but I think we just have a special bond.  Probably because for a good twenty months while Daddy was working, it was just me and you.

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Then your brother came along.  And at first you had a rough time with that.  To be perfectly honest, I was a little scared to leave the two of you in the same room while I ran to the bathroom, because you had a bit of a jealousy streak.  But eventually, you realized that he was a pretty fun guy.

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And now, he’s your best friend.  I’m sure of it.

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Caden, you have a heart of gold, my son.  Can you be impulsive?  Yes.  Can you get excitable and aggressive?  Of course.  But overall, you are our protector.  You never run too far away from mommy, and I don’t think you’re afraid you’ll get lost, I think it’s because you want to keep your eye on me.  You always know where you brother is at all times.  You never forget to pray for your friends and family.  You help your little buddies out on the playground when they are too small.  You have such a big heart, Monkey.  And I love that about you!

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You are also our little adventurer!  You definitely lead the way in the imagination arena around here.

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Swing sets are pirate ships, bunk beds are caves, and bikes are motorcycles that you ride to China!  Your mind is so creative!

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And your artistic abilities cannot be beat.  You have made me some of the most beautiful paintings and drawings.  If it wasn’t for you, I would have just a boring old white refrigerator.

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Your favorite place to be is in the water.  You started swimming when you were three years old, and you’ve never looked back!  You do back flips off the diving board and you swim in the ocean, when the waves are small enough.  Mommy and Daddy were both swimmers, so it makes sense that you’re a little fish too.

Then…

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and now…

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When Elijah came along, you could not be more thrilled.  You still had a hard time sharing me with one more kid, but you and Elijah had a special something between you two from the start.  You loved to sit on the couch and hold him and you’d ask me all these questions about him.  Once he was a little more alert, you could make him laugh like no one else around here!  He loves you!  When he wakes up from his nap, if you walk in to his room first, his face lights up and his bounces up and down in his crib.  I have no worries that he will eventually fit right in to the little posse you and Jacob have already started.

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I love you with all my heart, Caden Matthew, but you know you have a little bit of a naughty streak to you, as well.  You are a destroyer, which I think just comes with having testosterone running through your veins.  But you have been known to get in to things that I never would have imagined a child would ever get in to… like this…

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and this.

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I can’t forget the special relationship you have with Daddy.  You guys definitely do “man things” together that mommy has no part of.  You like to help Daddy with yard work,

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and you like to wrestle together, and try to conquer super Mario brothers together.  Lately, the two of you have been playing baseball together (with Jacob, too) and you are becoming quite the little athlete!  I love going to your games and cheering for you!

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One more special guy in your life has to be Pop.  I know this might hut Maw’s feelings, (sorry, Maw) but Pop is definitely your favorite.  Don’t believe me?  Remember THIS?  I don’t know if it’s because you’re the first or it’s because you’re the first boy (poor Pop only had girls!) but you guys love each other a lot!  Your relationship with Pop is one of the biggest reasons Mommy frowns when Daddy talks about moving to Australia.  Crazy, Daddy!

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Well, my Caden-boy, I love you more than words can say.  You amaze me everyday and I am truly, truly blessed that God picked me to be your mommy.  I know that He has big plans for you!  He has a destiny for you that is so great and so awesome, and I know that you’re going to run full force for it!  I know that you are growing into an amazing boy who will one day be an amazing man, and I am so blessed that I get to watch it all unfold.

Happy birthday, Caden!

First Day of School: Take Two

So, I officially unenrolled Caden from of his school today.

I don’t know if you remember or not but I was none too thrilled with Caden’s kindergarten experience from the start.  As time went on, I was becoming less and less enthused.  I realize that this may make me sound like a bit of a snob, and you are free to leave comments telling me so, and I am free to delete them.  Ha.  However, I’m always transparent on this here blog, so I don’t intend to stop now.

In the last couple of years the district has done some boundary changin’.  I’m assuming there were certain schools that were performing way below proficient.  So the district’s solution was to spilt up the kids that were going to these schools and bus them in (in groups) to schools that were performing well.  It would actually make sense if they took the kids that they bussed in and spread them out equally among the different classes, so as not to bombard one teacher with a lot of low performing students that don’t know english.  But at Caden’s school, that was not the case.

There was one kinder teacher that was the star, and everyone knew it, except me, so they requested her.  There was another teacher who was a little less of a star than the first, so I’m assuming once the first teacher’s class filled up, she was the next to be requested.  Then there was Caden’s teacher, who was perfectly nice, but coming down from 6th grade, which is a huge leap into kindergarten-land, so no one requested her.

How do I know this, you ask?  Because at the end of the day when I would pick up Caden the teachers would let the bus riders go first, and hardly anyone left for the bus from the first two classes I told you about.  Caden was left with five other students who did not ride the bus in his class.  Five out of 33.  Meaning 28 were bussed in.  Not cool.

I spoke to the principal, who was nice, but did nothing to remedy the situation.  I started getting a stomach ache taking Caden to school everyday.  It’s just not the kindergarten experience I had envisioned for my kid.

I know some of you are crying racist (although I did marry a man who’s part mexican), or socioeconomic-status-ist (have I mentioned we’re going through a foreclosure?), but unless you’ve been a teacher in a low-income area, I really don’t know if you have much ground to stand on.  I have.  I have taught in a class where there was a room full of low performing students that struggled to learn english.  And there were always about five of those students who were already fluent in english, and you know what happened to them?  They were forgotten.  They understood the language so they naturally performed higher, which made them able to work more independently, and you bet your bippy I took advantage of that, so I could teach Maria how to speak english… and then eventually her ABC’s and sight words.

I wasn’t about to stand by and watch my kid get forgotten.

So, I enrolled him in a charter school where he goes to school three days a week and then I… gulphomeschool him the other two.  Honest to God, I never thought I would homeschool any of my kids.  I mean, I guess I had contemplated it, but realistically I just couldn’t imagine it.  I was certain that if I took the leap into homeschooling-land it would be a very slippery slope into long jeans skirts and I just couldn’t have that.  Not to mention, I was afraid I would end up killing one of my kids as I was teaching them how to read.  (Honestly, that’s still a fear, but I think I’ll overcome it.)

But the school I am sending him to is amazing.  There is only one class per grade level and while the classes are just as big, they have teacher assistants.  And the fact that there is only one class per grade level, just makes the school seem small townish, like Stars Hollow.  I love that!  Plus, the philosophy of all of the teachers is personalization.  So, when we registered last Friday, we met Caden’s teacher and she chatted with us for 45 minutes… on a Friday afternoon… until 5pm!  That’s unheard of!  Not only that, but I have her cell phone number.  Her personal cell phone number.  She said to call her or text her if I have any questions.  He’s in class full day now, but the principal said that if it feels like too long of a day for him, to just let her know and I can arrange to pick him up early.  (I don’t think I’ll do that, but amazing that the offer was even put on the table!  Amazing that I’ve even spoken to the principal on three separate occasions now, when I don’t even have a concern!)

And the homeschooling part isn’t even that scary.  Caden’s teacher sends home some work, but there is an online program that has all the lesson plans already made up, and I just have to follow them, and it’s fun stuff!  I got to go to CM today and buy a calendar.  (That’s how you know you’re a teacher at heart… you get excited to goto CM.)  Going to tee ball practice counts as PE!  Math is totally hands on fun, and so is science.  He’s actually going to do science!  He picks a goal every week, just to learn, like “Why can’t I touch a meteorite?”  I’m lovin’ this stuff!  I really, really am.  I’m so glad we found this school, and even though it’s only 10 minutes from my house, I really can’t see putting him somewhere else even if we end up moving.

So, I had to take a new picture of him this morning before he left for the day.  So, here he is.

First day of school: take 2.

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Helicopter Parents

I am the first to admit when my kids are out of control.  Really.  I am.  I’ll usually roll my eyes, let out a deep sigh or an “Oh my word!” and quickly remove myself and my kids from the situation… after I’ve threatened them with their lives, that is.

Sunday, however, was not one of those days.

I had met my bestie at the mall and between the two of us we had six boys under 7.  (She had traded in her daughter for her nephew.) Anyway, the boys wanted to play on the playground, even though it was near 100 degrees out, but we allowed it as we sat in the shade and chatted. Soon enough, they came over all red-cheeked and we let them take their shirts off… because they’re boys and they can. That led to playing in the small fountain by the playground, which we also allowed, because like I said it was hellish hot.  I’ve seen plenty of kids play there and I knew it wasn’t against mall policy. We set boundaries; no standing on the fountain and no getting people wet that don’t want to be wet.

They had a blast! They were getting soaked and giggling and yelling with glee and running around chasing each other. Pure childlike fun.  Typical kid stuff, right?

Apparently not.

Apparently, their behavior was disrespectful. Well, according to another mom on the playground, they were completely disrespectful. And I know this not because she confronted either me or my BFF, but because she muttered it as she was walking past us removing her child from being around our little hooligans. She even went so far as to call security to come over. Lame. The security guy came (on his stand-mobile-thing-a-ma-jig) and told us that our kids would probably have more fun at the bigger fountain. He was right, but part of me wanted to stay just to bug this other mother, but we didn’t.

There’s a few names I have for this other mother. One I will not publish on my blog. Another is coward because she couldn’t just come up and tell us her concern. And the last is a helicopter parent.

What is a helicopter parent, you ask?  One that hovers.  One that never lets their child out of their sight.  Which is easily accomplished as a helicopter parent because they never actually let their child further than five feet from their person.  Their kids never take risks because they aren’t allowed… they have boundaries for goodness sakes!  Their kids never make mistakes, because their heli-parent is always there to protect them from failing.  Their kids miss out on a lot of natural kid activity; things like drinking out of the hose, riding their bikes in the street, or digging in the dirt… because God forbid they should eat a little of it… shudder!

One of the biggest problems with helicopter parents is that they are extremely judgy.  Case in point, heli-mommy at the park.  Because she has practically closed the lid on the teeny tiny box that she keeps her kids in, anyone that has slightly wider boundaries for their own children is wrong.  Their kids are misbehaved and unruly, she says.  If heli-parent isn’t a coward, they will probably actually step in and try to parent your kids for you, because Lord knows you aren’t doing a very good job on your own.

Calling them down from the top of a play structure, lest they fall.  Barking at them to slow down as they run through the park, not the mall, the park… a place for running.  Stepping in during disagreements when the children would have actually benefitted from using their own problem solving skills.  These are all things you can catch heli-parent doing as she tries to parent your kids.

What she fails to see is that these other kids, these unruly, disrespectful kids, they are actually normal.  They are exhibiting completely normal childlike behavior.  What she fails to see is that children are not mini-adults that need to be confined and restricted into behaving in a mature way all the time.  They can actually be free to be youthful, and childish, because they are children.      

The biggest problem with helicopter parents are their children that will one say become adults.  They are raising them in such a way that I believe they only have a choice of becoming two types of adults.

One, they will become spoiled brats.  They will think the world revolves around them, they never have anything go wrong, and mistakes are not an option.  The sad part is that things do go wrong, and mistakes will happen, and unfortunately these adults won’t have the tools to handle it.

Secondly, these kids will grow up to become very fearful adults.  Mostly because their parents instilled fear in them by never allowing them to take risks, never allowing them to step outside of their box, and once again never being allowed to feel failure or mistakes.

So, yes, that mom on the playground bugged the be-Jesus out of me and made my blood boil with her judgy attitude and her tattle-telling ways.  I guess I have to walk away thankful that my children will actually experience a real childhood, mudpies for dinner, and all.

Have you ever met a helicopter parent?  What do you think?  Maybe you are a helicopter parent… defend yourself!

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He’s been out as long as he was in.

My baby monkey is nine months old today.  

Nine months.

Nine months always feels like a big milestone, because it always makes me think that they’ve been out in the world for as long as they were in my belly.  And then my next thought is always, why does it feel like he was in my belly a lot longer than he’s been in the world?  

He’s mobile!  Hooray!  (There’s a slightly sarcastic undertone going on in the “hooray.”)  It’s always neat to watch your kids grow and develop, but mobility just makes my life a lot more difficult.  But it was bound to happen, right?  He started off worming around (or army crawling) but he’s just recently started really crawling, too.  Although he still prefers worming.  He can also pull himself up to stand, so I know cruising is just around the corner, and the next thing you know… walking!  Yay!  (More sarcastic undertones for you there.)

He’s sleeping so much better since we moved our rooms around.  He still wakes up every once in a while around 4am, but compared to how it was before, this is heaven.

In the last month he’s gotten his two top front teeth and I think he’s getting one more up there.  Unfortunately, this is really putting a damper in the whole breastfeeding situation.  I don’t remember this with Caden (and Jacob didn’t make it past six months… middle child) but my goodness those teeth are causing some pain.  (Sorry, is that TMI?)  Not to mention the yanks and the pulls when he hears the TV click on or the boys run the room.  I’m not a piece of taffy, my son. (Sorry, TMI again?)  Anywho, I’ve started introducing the bottle with formula today and I think I’m slowly going to wean myself out of the picture, which partly makes me sad since he’s my last one.  I’ll never nurse another baby again.  That’s kinda a big deal.  I need to sit with that for a sec.

Okay, enough chit chat.  Here’s the pictures.

He enjoys puzzles (as a snack) and still plays with his triangle thing-a-ma-jigger.

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Here he is standing up.  His thighs are getting skinnier.  Boo.

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Cutie pie in swim trunks.

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Hangin’ out in the rocker.

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He LOVES his big brothers and worms around to keep up with them.  He was so not interested in looking at the camera for me, because the boys were riding bikes behind me.

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Get out of the way, Mom!  I can’t see my brothers!

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Pure cuteness!

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Here’s a few movies for the relatives, and those of you with extra time on your hands.  The first is Elijah worming around.  The next is Elijah dancing and clapping to a little Jack Johnson.  (Here’s a tip, mommies.  Put “Raffi’ into Pandora and the fun doesn’t stop!  I’m not kidding.)  And the last one is Auntie B helping him to make funny sounds.

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Guest Post at Momma Be Thy Name

Awhile back I gave a shout out to my fellow blogger, Stephanie, over at Momma Be Thy Name for her fabulous post titled Why Our Parents Put Us To Shame.  (And I swear the rest of this post will not rhyme.)  Anywho, a few weeks ago she asked me to be a guest writer on her blog and of course I said yes!  So, here’s a bit of my post to entice you and then click the link over to her blog to read the rest.  (And, hey, leave a comment while you’re over there.  I have a reputation to protect here, people.  Make me feel loved!)

I live in one of the nine states that prohibit handheld cell phone usage while you are driving your car.  I get the premise behind it.  Holding a cell phone to your ear leaves only one hand on the wheel and distracts you from driving responsibly.  Although, if we’re going to ban handheld cell phones, we should probably also ban eating in your car, applying makeup in your car, and most importantly, driving in your car while children are present…  

Read the rest HERE

My Middle Child

Jacob is my middle child.  And not just by birth order.  He is truly my middle child.

Basically, middle child syndrome is when your middle child feels unimportant and not as special as their older and younger sibling.  The oldest gets undivided attention simply because they were born when no one else was around.  The baby gets special attention because they are younger and need it, as well as the fact that the third is frequently the last and therefore, cherished as the baby of the family.  The middle child grows resentful of their situation and may act out or try to become the ultimate people pleaser in hopes of receiving some attention.

How do I know this so well, you ask?  Because I am a middle child.

And, you know, when Jacob was born I was well aware that he was going to be my middle child and I was bound and determined not to doom him into becoming “my middle child.”  But he is.

Shame on me!

Last weekend, we were up north for my Gramma’s memorial (post will be coming) and I was telling my cousin’s wife that Jacob’s first year is a blur.  I was in “survival mode.”  And understandably so.  I had a 20 month old who made it known that he needed me!  And Jacob was kind enough to hang out until a frazzled mommy made her way over to him.

Guess who else sang that tune?  My mom.

And then, last week, Jacob started preschool.  It was his very first day of school.  Last year on Caden’s first day, I cried the whole way home from his school.  My baby was growing up!  This year, I barely batted an eye.  It helped that Jacob is at Caden’s old school with Caden’s old teacher.  But even that goes to show that he’s the middle child… not even special enough to get his own teacher!   

And then there’s the fact that I’m waiting over a week to get around to posting his “special” day.

But here it is, none the less.

Here is the first shot I took of him in front of the door.  He’s a nut!

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There’s a smile… sort of.

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And here’s the brother picture.

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Daddy walked him up to school.

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He’s in the turtle class this year, which really fits his personality.  I think there must be some prophetic placement going on over there at The Grove.  Last year, Caden was a monkey (of course) and this year Jacob is a turtle (of course.)  Kinda freaky, right?

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And here he is playing with blocks with Daddy before it was time to say good bye.

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He had a great first day!  Mrs. Jump said he was really good and that his blue eyes melted her… me too.  He’s already got a couple of buddies that he plays with on the playground, and he even knows their names.  That’s huge in the land of preschool boys.  And he loves having something special that’s all his own.

And I’m going to start to make a more concentrated effort to not destined my boy to middle child status.  But, if I do, at least we’ll have a very special middle child bond.

And I’ll pay for his therapy.

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