Posts filed under ‘kids’
proactive about forming traditions, or not; we all have them. i’m the type of person who despises routine, but cherishes the traditions that our little family has organically formed.
on christmas eve, we squish into the living room, and have a sleepover. there is always one gift opened, and that gift in itself is a tradition: footy pyjamas, and a toy made by me. we sleep late the next morning, and slowly get through breakfast, and reading the christmas story from the bible.
my kids are growing up, and so am i. they no longer “play” with the toys that i make them, and i no longer have the time to make weekly toys. so this year, i really struggled with what to make them for their christmas eve gifts. i didn’t want to break with tradition, but i also didn’t want to waste time and resources.
i brainstormed and consulted with friends and family, and came up with handmade ornaments. and now i kind of wish that i’d had the idea many years ago. the ornaments summarize the year that is coming to a close. in doing this, the kids can have a chronological record of their childhoods. practically, they can start a collection for their own trees in their own homes- days which are too rapidly approaching.
elliot has been into pokemon for years, but this year he was pretty focused on the release of a new game, and counted down the days for at least ⅓ of the year. given his history with pokemon (it was really the first “thing” he was into), i thought it fitting that his first ornament be a pokeball.
anne’s been in ballet for almost 4 years now, but this year she made the decision to focus on it more seriously. she doubled-up her lessons, and began daily practice at home. she’s even been teaching me!
tomorrow night we’ll continue our tradition of pyjamas, handmade “toy”, and a sleepover. i’m looking forward to seeing the reactions of my not so midgety-midgets when they see the new twist on an old tradition.
merry christmas to you all! thanks for reading!
just putting down a quick preventative blog post here about how i’m NOT pregnant. i haven’t gained weight, haven’t been vomiting in the mornings, haven’t had the irresistable urge to clean anything [ever]. the SOLE reason that my kids are insisting that i’m pregnant:
they randomly hug me, then kiss my belly and talk to “Addprofile”. they tell me about the plans that have for him/her, and ask me when little Add will be born.
i know they’re just being silly, and that they’ve lobbed onto what they think is the best joke of the century. if you see my kids talking to my abdomen or overhear them dreaming about their new brother or sister, you have to know: it’s a netflix baby. do not react.
i posted a brief note about how unbelievably amazing my kids are. somehow the post got deleted, so i’m trying again, but i’m feeling way less-wordy.
here are the pics you wanted!
good morning, friends. i’m really tired. i woke up at 4:30, which is more of a bed time for me, than a get-up-and-go time. since i’m lying in the dark with a gigantic box of tissue, and a myriad of reasons that my body won’t sleep, i’ll use the time to post a quick update or two.
update #1: anne’s birthday party.
i rented a hall, and schemed with anne’s ballet teacher, and together we threw anne a ballerina party with all of her friends.
despite my being super-prepared for this party, it was still chaos. i love chaos.
the guests arrived and ate, made their own tutus, had their ballerina hair done, and did their own makeup. then they got to work with miss maggy (anne’s ballet instructor) to learn, practice, rehearse, and finally perform a ballet for their parents. the girls all worked so hard, and miss maggy was a wizard with them. I also loved that entire families came to see the performance!
behind the scenes (and often the camera), my sister bernadette was a whirling dirvish of activity. we’ve started this tradition of helping each other out with our daughters’ birthday parties, and i really really really could not have pulled off the party without her!
did i mention there was also a blizzard that day?
okay, on to the next:
update #2: anne’s birthday gift.
her birthday gift from us this year, was an elsa dress, and tickets to see disney on ice.
we took the train into the city with a group of girls and their moms, and had dinner together, before walking to the arena for the main event.
when anne first received her elsa dress, she was ecstatic because she had been asking for one since first seeing frozen. plus she absolutely loves anything handmade. she looks past all of my sewing mistakes and genuinely believes that i can make anything. it’s simultaneously endearing and terrifying. when I told her about the rest of her gift (train, dinner, show), she was apathetic about the whole thing.
the day after the show, however, she was so thankful for her gift, and declared it “the best birthday present ever!” shout out to my friend rachel for being the most organized person in the world, and arranging the tickets & dinner!
i’m wordy before the sun is up! and also, so done. i’ll hopefully do another update before we leave for belgium (if you follow me on instagram or have noticed the theme in the sidebar– you’ve been counting down with me!).
going to try to nap now! i know this is totally morning for most of you, but it’s really not morning for me!
it took us about an hour to book a room, google directions, and jump in the car for our spontaneous vacation earlier this month. i had tentatively asked people to check in on the cats, and made sure laundry was all caught up- just in case. with a good chunk of time off ahead of derek, some money in the savings account, and snow in the forecast for home; we made the call to drive south.
i’d never been south before! i mean, in college we went whitewater canoeing down the BNR in arkansas, but i don’t really count that as the typical vacation that people refer to when they “take their families south”.
i’m talking about going south: watching the trees transform from dead brown sticks protruding from white earth. they bud, then bloom, then transition from oaks into palms. i’m talking about getting into the car with your coats and mittens, and shedding layers with every gas station you stop at. we knew we’d almost arrived when the shoes came off, and the sunroof slid open.
we checked into our resort late, and woke up to the sounds of waves crashing on the beach, and opened our eyes to an ocean view and sunshine. so much sunshine! it’s amazing how alive you feel when the air is warm and the sun is shining, and you realize what you were missing, without knowing you were missing it.
we were also severely lacking in family time, and definitely knew i was missing that.
the drive, and the first day were so disappointing because of the stress, arguing, whining, blablabla. i vented to my sisters over imessage, and declared our family vacation “a disaster”. they told me that arguing was normal, and to stick it out. so i did! and it was great! even by the end of that first day, things were looking up. it’s amazing the difference that investment makes. my family is so great, and i knew that, but i didn’t feel it so much before we headed south. it felt like we were fracturing, but having quality time glued us back together.
even though the thermometer dropped drastically, and the trees slowly turned back to brown, we drove home knowing that our time in the sun had been the right choice. being able to put our schedules on hold, omit the distractions of home, and just be together, was the best gift that our family could have given itself. mission accomplished!
here are some pics of the trip:
lately my few blog posts stem from a need to answer many people at once, combined with my desire to organize and record my thoughts. when i posted (on facebook) about not yelling at the midgets for a whole week, you wanted to know how. here’s the story:
the first “no yelling” article i read was about 6 months ago. i have no idea where the original article is, so i can’t direct you to it, but i can tell you what it did: it introduced a possibility that i had never considered. not yelling was a completely foreign and unexplored idea for me.
as is often the case, i read the article, hmmmd about it, and then dismissed it as crazy talk. when my kids aren’t listening, i clearly need to be louder.
through the next few months, there were several things said by people in my life who were in no way referencing the no-yelling thing, yet their remarks would recall the idea to my mind. the idea of not yelling at my kids was starting to assert itself.
at the same time, i noticed a pattern. here’s how it went down:
i would tell the kids to do something, and then raise the volume of my voice depending on their speed of obedience. they would respond out of fear, there would be crying, and the stress levels of everyone climbed exponentially. what’s more, yelling produced more yelling. it never solved the big picture.
also at the same time, i noticed another pattern:
yell at the kids, feel out of control, experience regret, and then (here’s the kicker) rationalize it.
this is the way decisions always work for me. i have to be pummelled from every side with conviction and proof before i’m willing to change, because i never want to be the person who makes a “life change” for 10 days. the final conviction came about 2 weeks ago, at the royal winter fair.
i took the kids, and we were having a great time. my expectations for a perfect day with my wonderful midgets were well on their way to being met. and then real life struck: we stayed too late, elliot lost his water bottle, we were all exhausted, and an epic argument exploded between myself and my boy. it was a perfect storm, and it ended with people eyeing us askance and i yelled at my son who totally deserved it.
we marched toward the train, me constantly scolding elliot for his character flaws the entire way. elliot crying, trying to keep up with my strides while maintaining a safe distance from my words, yelling back his retorts. i hated myself, but i couldn’t stop; he had been so bad!
but you know what? even after we talked it out on the train and hugged and said sorry and forgave each other, i still felt like dirt. no matter how i rationalized and excused it, i couldn’t get rid of my regret.
i could go into more detail about the wretchedness of that memory, and the feelings and words that i wish i could take back, but i won’t. i don’t even think i have to, because i’m not alone. if i was, there wouldn’t be blog posts popping up all over the place about how to not yell at your kids.
last week, i came across the orange rhino blog, as the idea of not yelling had already changed from a tiny bud of a dream into a full flower of hope. reading yet another blog where a mom had succeeded to not yell for a whole year, caused me to pluck that flower of hope and claim it as my own.
the conviction that has been growing for the last 6 months finally led to action, and i decided then to not trade one more moment of love with my children, for a moment of recklessness with my words.
that’s the why. the how, requires less words: God.
the orange rhino blog has some tips for how to stop. i don’t agree with all of them. some are great, but some are just not how i would approach the life change. #1- she continued to yell, just not at her kids (for the first bit, anyway). #2- she also told her kids her plan.
#1- one of the things i hate most about yelling, is the feeling of losing control. the bible tells us to be self-controlled many times, and in proverbs (25:28) it describes a person without self-control as being “like a city broken into and left without walls.”
broken. vulnerable. just waiting for more. that is what i felt, and what i don’t plan to ever go back to.
if you go looking for them, there are tons of bible verses that support not only self-control, but the power of your words (taming the tongue), and being slow to anger. there’s no end of biblical support to help you through this.
yelling into a toilet might have helped the orange rhino lady to get past her habit, but for me, i’m cutting my ties with yelling, and not going back.
#2- i don’t have biblical backup for not telling my kids. i have a mischievous little boy who would totally press my buttons if he knew i was trying not to show anger! i DID tell my derek though, because i want him to keep me accountable. i’m also not yelling at him, because if i don’t want to waste one more moment of this short life with regret, that involves all of the people i love.
i’m also telling you guys! please ask me how it’s going. my father-in-law taught me to be careful with what words i write down, because they can never be taken back. i spent a long time deciding what to share, what not to share, and i realize that i’ve been very personal with this post. i know that i’ve opened myself up to scorn from people who may not have the same struggles as i do. i invite you to consider your own imperfections and solutions, rather than to attack me, as i clearly already see my own flaws.
i hope this not only answers the questions that many of you had, but also helps you. each victory this week was a treasure, and the reward richer than anything i had imagined. it’s not only my relationship with my family that is being strengthened by this decision, but my relationship with my ever-forgiving Father, as well.
when i was a kid i loved christmas, because i loved sneaking and snooping! i totally turned into a super spy as soon as the christmas tree went up, and i spent tons of time looking under beds and into the backs of closets. i’d unwrap gifts and expertly rewrap them to keep my misdeeds secret. sometimes i’d take a toy out of its packaging and play with it for a while, before sealing it back up until christmas morning.
i was so good at my surprise face.
when elliot announced that he’d been snooping in my studio the morning after i’d stayed up late sewing gifts, my surprise face was authentic.
he had been so extremely close to finding his gift! i listened, horrified, as he told me all about the “half used bag of stuffing” that he’d found and “the cut up pieces of felt” that he discovered INCHES away from the blanket that his gifts were hiding under.
after i’d picked my wits back up off the floor and quickly wrapped the gifts that he had almost found, it dawned on me that my kid was MY kid. oi.
some of you have heard me complain about how elliot found his kindred spirit in the calvin and hobbes comics a couple of months ago. he’s had his best friend “cheetah” since he was one, and the calvin & hobbes characters are such a perfect fit for the two of them.
look how little my boy is there! also how stuffed cheetah is. elliot has loved cheetah from the moment he received him, and they’ve done absolutely everything together! so when eli read calvin and hobbes for the first time and realized that there was “another” kid just like him with a stuffed-yet-real pet cat, and a HUGE sense of mischief, he was hooked. it wasn’t long before anne became “suzy” and water guns were being squirted all over the house. he drew pictures of nagoobians, and i think he said i was an alien?
as much as i don’t enjoy elliot going crazy mcnachos and emulating calvin, i do realize that it is partly my fault. i didn’t read calvin & hobbes when i was a kid, but i’m pretty sure i didn’t need any help with my impishness (i once tried to convince my youngest sister to jump off of the railing of a second story deck because “you’re really adopted, and your alien parents are here to bring you home, but you just have to believe and jump first”). it’s pretty clear to me that i’m getting back what i gave to my parents and sisters (and friends, and teachers, and babysitters). so this christmas i’m super excited to give elliot this:
i know my exasperated mother said more than once “i hope you have a kid just like you!” and i’m so glad that i do!