Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Traditions

If you have been following our blog for awhile, you know that I value family traditions. I love making birthdays and certain holidays even more special by partaking in family traditions. In my opinion, traditions add to memories. Now that I'm a mom, I try to keep certain traditions that we enjoyed when I was a child. Traditions such as driving around, looking at lights; searching for the German pickle on the Christmas tree; stocking filled to the gills (One of my most favorite things about Christmas!). Certain traditions we have not kept for various reasons- the "Orange Man" and cutting down a fresh Christmas tree; enjoying In N Out Burgers after looking at Christmas lights; falling asleep on a pile of wrapping paper Christmas morning. Other traditions we had made as a family- elf on the shelf; reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the "Birth of Christ" Christmas Eve; supporting a family in need. This year I realized just how important our traditions have become because P told his teacher about the German pickle. She was very impressed with this tradition and shared it with another teacher, after asking P more about it. I hope when the boys grow up and have families of their own they are able to keep our family traditions or create their own with their family. Traditions enrich our lives and help tie generations together!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Making or Breaking?

Maybe it's because I have a Bachelor's in Child Development (basically child psychology) or maybe it's because I am a mom to two very different kids. But, I've been thinking a lot this week about making or breaking a child. I have heard two people speak to two different kids in two different settings in ways that make my heart sad. I have no doubt that either person meant to hurt the child's feelings or harm them in any physical way but it's just made me think. I feel that adults (parents, teachers, coaches, etc) have an important job in a child's life. It's to help a child without tearing them down. It's to understand that a child does not cognitively have the same ability as an adult. It's to build self esteem, highlight a child's strengths instead of always harping on their shortcomings. It's to make them feel safe, to feel loved. A child should not feel that s/he has to earn love and praise. It should be unconditional.
I am by no means a perfect parent so please don't think I am pointing fingers. I lose my patience with the best of them. I make sarcastic comments and see the hurt I have caused. But I try. I try to love on both of our boys equally. I try to discipline them equally. I try to encourage their strengths equally. All the while knowing that our boys are as different as night and day. Both are smart and strong and brave in their own ways. I want to start acknowledging that more.
Here's why. By the time the boys become teenagers, their mental foundation has basically been set. What they have heard over and over again is what becomes engrained in their mind. It can become their focal point. I want those things to be positive things. I want both of our boys to feel they can conquer the world because that's what they've learned from the adults in their lives. I want them to be strong (mentally as much or more than physically) to handle what life throws their way.
I am not the type of mom to think every child deserves a trophy. I think that society has made kids too soft with that mentality. But I do think that it's vital to teach while nurturing. That doesn't mean to be soft. It just means to love. To build up. To understand. To give them your best. Because they deserve nothing less. They are our future.

**Scroll down to see our Southern Winter wonderland.**

Winter Wonderland

I thought my friends would be what I'd miss most about moving away from NV. But, as much as I miss them, it's not the thing I miss the MOST. I miss the weather. I REALLY miss the mild Summers and snow filled Winters. I miss a layer of snow covering the trees, making everything look like a Winter Wonderland. I miss sitting on my overstuffed chair, with a cup of coffee, watching the snow come down. So I was beyond giddy when I heard that the weather report called for snow today. I was even more excited when Rob woke me up at 6:45 this morning to tell me that snow was falling. We bundled up and went outside to enjoy snowball fights and building snowmen. For just today (and maybe tomorrow morning?) I got what I miss the most....a Winter wonderland! Merry (early) Christmas to me!!








Friday, November 24, 2017

A Winning Combo

I am not a gal who shies away from food. I love to eat. But, I have never been a big fan of Thanksgiving. I remember my mom starting the meal preparation around 5am and cooking all morning. Then we'd sit down and eat for 10 mins before spending an hour cleaning up all the dishes. Yesterday, however, that didn't happen. Rob deep fried the turkey, freeing up the kitchen for me to cook some new recipes. (Carrot soufflé and homemade pecan cheesecake, anyone?) I was in the kitchen for about 1 1/2 hours before putting all the food out. We had a feast and everyone seemed to love the new dishes I made (as well as some of our old time favorites). Then my parents and Rob tag teamed the clean up, giving us time to play football, watch football and do a little "Black Friday" shopping. It was the perfect day! I am thankful, not only for all the delicious food we had, but the teamwork that was put into making it happen.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thankful Catch Up

This has been a blog fail. So much for blogging every day this month. Between teaching, photography, football games and my parents here, blogging hasn't been a priority. But I will play a little catch up for the past week.
I am thankful for parents. In the past, parents have definitely not been my favorite part of teaching. However, that has changed since teaching at SCA. I recently had a parent-teacher conference and I was so thankful for the parents' support. I am also thankful for my parents, who have been visiting for the past week. They have helped in numerous ways- cooking, the boys, laundry, being my chauffer when I hurt my foot, projects around the house. It's been fun having them here, showing them around. I am thankful for parents and all they do for their kids, young or old.
I am thankful for the cool weather and rain. I have been waiting for a cool down since last Spring. There are very few things that make me as happy as wearing my UGGs so I jump at the chance to wear them whenever possible. I am so thankful that I've been able to bundle up in scarfs, hoodies and my UGGs this past week.
I am thankful for my camera! It has been one of the best investments I have ever made. It allows me to capture moments in time for our family, the school and my clients. It allows me to be creative, to think outside of the box. I have enjoyed it beyond belief!
I am thankful for "surprises" in the mail. I love going to the mailbox and finding an unexpected letter from a friend, or money, or a letter from a business that an issue has been resolved. I love opening the front door to find a package. Despite getting bills in the mail, one of the highlights of the day is when the mail arrives because you never know what's going to be in there.
I am thankful for friends. That goes without saying. But, I am thankful that some of our good friends will be making a 2 1/2 hour drive (one way) tomorrow to come have Thanksgiving with us. I am thankful that friends text me to see how things are going. I love hugs that friends give me when I see them. I love that friends are there and will listen, even if what you're telling them is not the most pleasant stuff. I love that my friends are my cheerleaders!
I don't think I have caught up on all the days. But at least I have caught up on a little bit. I'm forewarning you that I probably won't blog tomorrow. It's Thanksgiving so I'll be hanging out with family and friends, looking at the Black Friday ads, stuffing my face. You know? The usual! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Another 3 for 1

Nov. 14
I will be the first one to admit that I miss the snow, the cold weather. Come October, it's supposed to be cold enough to wear a hoodie. And, by November, you should be bundled in a coat and UGGs. But there's something to be said for putting on shorts and a t-shirt to do yard work. It's nice that the boys can come home from school and burn energy, playing football outside. It may chap my hide to turn the A/C on when we go to bed, but there are some things I enjoy about the warm weather.

Nov. 15
Three and a half years ago a little mutt darkened our doorstep. She wasn't the cutest dog I had ever seen. In fact, she wasn't even close to it. But something about her made us fall in love with her. After showing up for a few weeks, every day, we decided to adopt her and I am so thankful we did. P named her "Fetcha", which is funny only because she hates to fetch. Her toy of choice? A balloon. Other than that, she could care less about anything other than us....and the neighborhood cat that comes into our yard. Her only annoying habit is running out an open door and then having the boys chase her to get her back home. But, for us, she has been near perfect of a pet. She is connected at P's hip until he goes to bed. Then she split her time between me and Rob. She either lies on the carpet in the bathroom while I take a bath or she lays at Rob's feet while we watch TV. She is fiercely protective of her boys and, I have no doubt, would give her life if one of the boys was in danger. I am so thankful that she found us a few years ago because she has been such a welcome, and very loved, member of our family.

Nov. 16
I am a high school history teacher so, on more than one occasion, I have taught about how people traveled in the 1800s during the Westward Expansion. I teach how it would take months to get across the country, if the people even made it to their destination. So, today, I am thankful for modern transportation. I am thankful that my parents were able to get on a plane and travel across the US in a matter of hours. I am thankful that I was able to get the boys and drive to the airport in about an hour to pick them up. I have always been close to my parents. So, the thought of not being able to see them a couple times a year would be unthinkable. I am thankful that they are here for Thanksgiving, seeing our world.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Lunch Bunch

I'll be honest....making everyone's lunch every night is not my favorite thing. It's usually the last thing I do at the end of the day. By the time I make them, I'm ready to be done. So, most days I am not thankful for making three lunches (most of which will not be eaten the next day and will be thrown out). But tonight I realized that, although it's not my favorite thing, I am thankful for the opportunity to make them. I am thankful that we have the resources to provide a variety of lunches four to five days a week. I am thankful that I can drop little notes of encouragement and love in their lunchboxes. I am thankful that I can make them smile when I pack them small treats that I know they'll enjoy. I am thankful that I have three boys who may not eat their entire lunch but appreciate that I make them. Well, 2 out of the 3 appreciates them. This morning our 4 year old informed me that he wants Rob to make his lunch because I don't make them the way he likes. But, nonetheless, I am thankful that tomorrow, at lunch time, my boys will enjoy a token of my love when they reach into their lunchbox.