Friday, March 29, 2013

Change Is Good

We interrupt the irregular programming of this blog to inform you...(drum roll, please)
 I'm now blogging over here  at my new site.
I hope you'll drop by and join the conversation.
Thank you!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Remember

It's Friday once again. How can that be? Come join us as we free write for five minutes on the word of the day...remember

Wanna join? Come on. If I can, you can. Click here for details.

photo courtesy of

It was December, we rode for what seemed like an eternity from Pennsylvania to Florida in my grandparents' sedan. Me stretched out across legs or squished against my sister, fighting with her over our new prized possession: a portable Pac Man game.
I remember the monorail and walking for miles, getting yelled out for spilling my soda. Probably because one little root beer cost $14. And I'd probably spilled my drink before. A lot. 'Cuz I was six and I was good at it.
My favorite ride was It's A Small World but my parents said we had to try other rides, too.
Space Mountain brought a whole new meaning to the word fear. Mom squeezed me so tight I was certain I would break. And the characters. The freaked me out, with their giant heads and perpetually happy expressions. I can still see a giant red headed one in my mind, dressed like she's going on safari. I was terrified and tried to hide somewhere. Anywhere. I've never figured out who she was supposed to be.
It's funny what sticks in your mind from an epic family vacation. We're going again soon to the happiest place on our earth with our little band of brothers and I can't wait to see what they love the most...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

My favorite sign that spring has arrived: the tulip trees are blooming in the neighborhood. 
I love the blooms, the amazing color, the promise of a new season. I raced around taking pictures this morning because its supposed to be 20 degrees tomorrow night and I don't know how these trees will look come Friday morning. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

On The Money: It's All About the Penguins

Since I started thinking about and researching the best way to teach the kiddos about finances, numerous "teachable moments" have presented themselves in our daily lives. Imagine that. While Steve and I thought we would deal in real currency, it seems the boys had something else in mind.
Penguins. Yes, that's right. Penguins. As in their school mascot. They earn perfect penguins for demonstrating good behavior, both individually and each classroom has a collective total, as well. In the upper grades, penguin passes become the currency of the classroom: both good behavior and high achievement can earn a penguin pass. On the other hand, passes are confiscated for incomplete assignments or poor choices.

In our house, paper penguins have become such hot commodities, certain members of the family have taken to swiping the coveted penguin (while one's brother is too sick to notice) and taking the penguin back to one's classroom to add to the collection.
I know. It's wrong on so many levels. But I must admit I secretly applauded his covert operation. And his guilty conscience got the better of him and he 'fessed up. Which led to much venom spewing on the part of the offended. Oy. Like I said, teachable moments are cropping up right and left.

This penguin madness got me thinking: is cold hard cash the currency little kids need in a society that's gone almost cashless? So many parents employ a variety of strategies: tokens, marbles, stickers, on-line money management sites, apps...
What about you? Do you reward your kids with an object they can later exchange for cash? Does it work or do you find that you get bogged down in managing/supervising?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rest

"This is where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here. Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right." -Lisa Jo Baker

The word of the day is: REST

photo by Jeanne Claire Maarbes

Rest. I'm craving it. This spring forward business was definitely not invented by a parent of young children. We can't fall asleep and then we drag ourselves out of bed in the morning. I've never had to wake children up to get to school on time and I must say it isn't at all what I hoped it would be. The late sleeping only adds to the chaos of our mornings. I'm weary from meeting the needs of others and aggravated by a mysterious virus in which the only symptom is a fever that comes and goes. Little boys with viruses are slowed dramatically but the trade off is an increase in bickering. I'm longingly staring at my rocker on the screened in porch and praying there will be time to enjoy it tomorrow, when the weather is supposed to be beautiful. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

Opening day for the sand and water table sans water. 
Because that sunlight is deceiving and it wasn't nearly as warm as I thought when I started this whole endeavor.
And I was too obsessed  focused on taking the picture that I missed that little gem dangling from his nose.
Just keepin' it real. Motherhood is messy, no? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

When You Long For the Easy Button

Back in the day, when our first baby was our only baby and the Mariners were still worth watching,  we would sit around watching television and daydream about his childhood. Because when you only have one baby and he's content to stay in one place and shove toys in his mouth for hours on end, you start to assume that maybe, just maybe you've got this all figured out. 
Well. True confession time: I never anticipated that third grade would be the thing to knock me off my high horse. 
Oh my word. The anxiety this year has brought. The expectations, the homework...FRACTIONS. Let's not even go there.
 A lot of mommy bloggers like to talk about how God uses motherhood for our personal sanctification. Let me just say that I think they might be onto something there. Nothing teaches me about dealing with my own anxieties like helping my firstborn prepare for his first presentation. 
He practices his speech with his notecards, tries on his outfit, rehearses some more, but I that deer-in-the-headlights expression remains on his handsome little face. 
My stomach clenches and I try to conceal my own emotions. 
What if the kids make fun of him? 
I should have driven all over town looking for a Fedora and bow tie. He needs a better costume.
He looks so grown up. How did we get here? 
As I'm making dinner and breaking up squabbles, his anxiety is evident in his body language. Isn't there an easy button, a formula, anything to fast-forward through the hard stuff? Quick. Let's go back to sitting on a blanket and drooling over plastic keys. That was better than this. Easy. Comfortable. The desire to shield and protect, to enable him out of an uncomfortable situation is overwhelming. And I'm embarrassed at how easily I forget God's promises of His faithfulness. A good mom would bust out a verse from memory, probably even kneel and pray. But tonight I'm not that mom. 
There's miles to go before we sleep and can't we just be done with this already? 

 He couldn't fall asleep last night and he woke up with dark circles under his eyes. Even though he looked quite dapper in his quest to impersonate FDR, my heart hurt a little as I dropped him off at school. Is this going to be a total disaster? I'm anxious for the school day to end. The carpool line starts rolling in seventy-three minutes and I can't wait to get there.

Monday, March 4, 2013

On The Money: Parental Supervision Required

Well. It seems our youngest missed the memo on spend, save, share.
I guess he isn't reading the blog.
Or maybe he inherited his mother's "spend" gene because he now owes us a Benjamin and change.
Yes, that's right. Our resident three year old tech genius downloaded more than $100 worth of upgrades to Angry Birds and Bad Piggies apps while playing the Kindle unsupervised. Who needs an $18 sling shot?
Apparently Eli does.
Can you say password protect in-app purchases? 
Good grief. I think we'll file this under epic parenting fail.