Thursday, October 26, 2017

Friendship for Grown-Ups

TURNING 40
I've had a really hard year emotionally.  I turned 40 in March and didn't get to celebrate as I wanted.  All I talked about doing for months, maybe even a couple years prior, was going out dancing for my big 4-0. Instead I had a reality check… I had no one to go dancing with….  Ok that is little lie.  I did have one friend who was willing to go with me but she lives an hour and a half away and logistically that wouldn’t have worked because of our kids and pets.  But she offered.  Instead I felt sorry for myself.  Even though my husband took the day off work and we spent the day eating out and shopping, a little dark cloud hung on my heart.  And even though my bestie and I got together for breakfast and she got a me a great t-shirt, it was my only gift and I felt sorry for myself.  Oh cursed Facebook {and why I cut back} you gave me a little hurtful jab when I saw people getting together and doing anything fun, especially dancing or celebrating birthdays or posting their little collection of thoughtful gifts from people who care about them. Nothing like social media to feed your worst insecurities and hormonal moods!

CHANGE IN FRIENDS
Something in my life had changed and I didn’t know why.
I used to have a very active social life.
When you and your friends start having families, it's fun getting together in those early days for play dates and momma breaks.  
But as the years go on, getting together with friends is harder.  Never mind all the kid activities, there is a shift that happens when kids age.  They want to hang out with their friends who may not be the children of YOUR friends.  Suddenly you find yourself only catching up at birthday parties.
Then you stop inviting each other to those parties.
And the months pass.
And the years pass.
And you realize that you haven't spent any time recently with people who used to be so important in your life and were fun to be around.

Sound familiar??  I've talked to a few people about this and I discovered that I'm not the only one who feels this way about their friendships.  There is a change for some as their kids’ age. Not everyone has a tight-knit group that does life together.  Some relationships were just meant to be a chapter of your life not a part of your whole life. 

It's been challenging for me as I transitioned from one church to another.... As we've gone from public school to homeschool back to public school and now homeschooling one.  With that I recognize and mourn the distance now between friends from previous seasons: the MOPS group, the Military MOMS group, bible study groups, preschool moms, homeschool co-op and field trip friends, old church friends, etc.  I used to do so much!  I was busy and knew lots of people to do things with.  I used to bring my kids out and about; now they bring me.

THE BOOK
I was processing all this and got a box of give-aways from a friend which contained Lisa Whelchel's book "Friendship for Grown-Ups".  

It helped me to see some things that I need to work on, and in other ways it simply encouraged me.  My biggest take away is that I’m needy, and that’s ok!  I want to be vulnerable with people and have deep friendships.  That’s just how I am.  So when those friendships seemingly end, I get sad sometimes.  Part of this is tied into feeling rejected and some of it is because I just miss certain people and their companionship.  Reading this book helped me understand what Lisa went through and how so many other woman go through these various seasons of friendship too.  It's perfectly normal!  *what a relief!*  I am trying really hard to invest the time I do have into the people who give back.  There are certain people that always reach out to me if they don't hear from me and vice versa. That's where I need to put my energy.  Especially since I'm an initiative taker and I appreciate when people reciprocate.  

CONFESSION
It's hard to write this because I don't want to sound pathetic.  I also don’t want the people I know in real life to feel guilty, but I felt really led to write this out.  {I actually rewrote this whole post because I knew I had to share this message instead of what I had planned.}  I think there are a lot of people going through a similar thing and I just wanted to put this out to say you are not alone.  
And I wanted to be a little transparent and share an update.

Finally, if you know me and are local to me and want to read this book, you can have my copy.  A friend gave it to me and I'd like to pass it on.  Please message me if interested!


Thanks for swinging by,
Mary

Friday, September 15, 2017

Book recommendation: Love & Logic

Back in the Spring our local elementary school hosted a seminar with this catchy flyer that got my attention!
{Flyer posted on school website}
LESS STRESS?!  YES PLEASE!
The seminar was based on the book Love & Logic which was on my "must read" list.  I learned a lot that night and now am the happy owner of these two books.  The original is orange and the green is for teens.  {They also have one for preschoolers which was recommended at the seminar if you have younger kids.}

One of the teachers at the school read the original book and tested the concept in her classroom.  After a year of success, she presented it to her team and now the whole preschool program uses it. The quick of it... It's all about having the kids make decisions and teaching them to be responsible for the consequences of their choices.

I love the concepts presented in the books!  They introduced me to what's called "consultant style parenting".  They wrote: "As children grow, they move from being concrete thinkers to being abstract thinkers when they are teens.  Children need thoughtful guidance and firm, enforceable limits. ..... Because of this important change in cognition, parents must adjust the way they parent to meet the needs of the new thought processes taking place in their adolescents. They step back a bit from being the enforcer of limits and let reasonable, real-world consequences do the teaching." {Orange book, pg.27}

I really think that is why so many people butt heads with their teenagers!  They try to make the kids do as they say and it doesn't work anymore. I know the teen years are full of emotions from hormones to growing in independence but I don't want to go through them battling every day.  I really liked this book and it gave me lots of practical ideas as they outlined a bunch of scenarios. I have tons of tabs and plan to refer back to them!  I'm so grateful for parenting books like these!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Schooling Changes

As we get ready for a new school year, we look forward to some changes!  


Our eldest, Vienna will be starting grade 7, our 10 year old Lance goes off to Middle School with his sister {eek.. it starts in grade 5 in our town!} and our youngest Colin will be staying at home with me for grade 2.  He's been wanting to homeschool since last summer but we encouraged him to stay in public school especially since he had one of the best teachers ever imaginable last year.  Even so, his desire to be at home with me remained.  His sister was homeschooled for grades 2, 3 & 4 and Lance was homeschooled for K, 1 & 2.  Colin was a toddler and preschooler at the time so he dove right in public school for kindergarten. He has been a great student in school so it's definitely not because he has had any problems.  In fact, our elementary school is pretty darn awesome.  But I'm keeping him home for a couple simple reasons.... We live in a country with many options and we can!  I want more time with my baby!  He never really had the chance the be at home with me and man does time fly!  

The other two were very supportive and both want to remain at their school.  One actually said that this will be good for Colin because he doesn't remember all the things we used to do together.  I look forward to the time I get to spend with him exploring and learning together.  He doesn't remember the Children Museums we frequented and I want him to have time to create and play and use that big imagination he has. Thankfully, Middle School gets out at 2:20pm so I'll have all my kids home pretty early. 

Time flies and we continually pray for guidance while raising these kids.  We are open-minded to homeschooling the others if that's what God leads us to do.  We always try to do what is right for them but right now this is what we have in front of us.  We are excited about the changes and I love the advice I heard.... Schooling decisions aren't permanent decisions.  We take it year by year and this year is no exception.

To everyone getting ready for a new school year, good luck!  I know there are so many emotions this time of year for parents and kids.  Good bye my freedom!  LOL!  I shall look back at the past two years with fondness.  haha!

Thanks for swinging by,
Mary


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Family-friendly media options

My kids are 12, 10 & 7 so I am careful to limit what they are exposed to and keep things age appropriate.  Here are some great resources if you are in the same boat.



NETFLIX
Each child has their own profile.  Within that, there are different levels of access they have.

Here is my 12 year old's profile.  She can view anything rated for teens and below.

For added security, we have a passcode for anything rated R or above.


PURE FLIX
Another option is Pure Flix.  It's a faith-based and/or family-friendly streaming service with a wide variety of Christian movies.  I'm not going to lie... sometimes the acting is a little hit or miss but I really enjoy the messages of many of these shows.  They offer a free month-long trial so it's worth checking out!  We're doing the trial now and have enjoyed "Bear with Me" which was a good movie that all my kids liked, which is a rarity!  My daughter and I watched "Touched by Grace" and it had a good message {I may or may not have cried}.  She and I watched "Jig" which was about Irish dancing, following specific dancers and we liked that.  The boys have watched VeggieTales.  There are documentaries and lots of other options.  I recommend taking a look using the trial!  Can't go wrong with that!
Pure Flix

JELLY TELLY
When my kids were younger, I used to subscribe to Jelly Telly which is produced by the creator of VeggieTales, Phil Vischer.  It has any faith-based shows for little kids.


PLUGGED IN
Sometimes we have movie night and I love this resource!  It's for movies, TV shows, books, music and games but I definitely use the movie info the most.  I love that it gives a synopsis of the movie and outlines the various elements of concern. We each have our own convictions so you may not care about language but want to know about a movie's violence or sexuality content.  The categories are clearly labeled in an easy to read format.  They review new movies playing in theaters too so this is a very up-to-date resource.


INTERNET 
Sometimes the kids want to watch things on YouTube. I keep restricted mode on but even safer is "YouTube Kids" or even "GodTube".  They have tons of video clips that kids love watching.  Also on my computer, I have Kiddle.com set as my home landing page.  It's a kid safe search engine powered by Google.


I used to have filter on my computer but found it was too slow.  If anyone has a recommendation on a great computer filter that'd work on a PC and apple gadgets, I am definitely interested.  Or if anyone has other resources that are family-friendly, please leave a comment and let me know!  I appreciate it.  We can't be too careful when everything is just a click away!

Be careful little eyes what you see.  

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