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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

20120826-094835.jpgHow is it that we’re already at third grade? Where did the time go?

I have a feeling I’ll be saying this a lot in the coming years, right?

New school, old friends & hopefully new friends
This year our school district shifted things around. There are two schools (West and Central), and they were both K through 8.

West is literally in our backyard, and for the past three years, the neighborhood has been filled with hundreds of kids walking to and from the school. Until now.

To better even out the distribution of students, teachers and expenses, the district decided to merge the two schools, making West 6 through 8 and Central K through 5. This means, the munchkin is now headed to Central, renamed Elementary.

This, as you can imagine, caused more than a little consternation on the part of my 8-year-old. We’ve tried to reassure him that all of his friends are in the same situation. The school administration has done a good job of helping the kids get acclimated, with field trips to the ‘new’ school at the end of last year.

We’ve also tried to explain that the students who had already been at Elementary are probably just as upset. They now have all these interlopers invading their space, their school, their teachers.

And the up side of this whole thing is the possibility for new friends. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All of this seemed to help, and the first two days of school went off seemingly without a hitch! Yay!!!

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a successful year! Here’s hoping your school years will be just as good!

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My son is going to be seven in June. He’s going to be seven, and he still doesn’t know how to ride a bike without training wheels.

Maybe you can relate. I know I can. You see, I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until second grade. Yep, that’s right. Second grade. and, it looks like my little guy is on the same path.

Now, not to make excuses, but there are a few simple reasons for this:

  1. We live on a hill, and the driveway is definitely not flat. It angles downward and ends up right on a busy street. Not an ideal place to learn to ride a bike.
  2. We have no sidewalks directly in front of our house. There’s a sidewalk to our left or across the street. Again, can’t really send the child out to practice riding up and down the sidewalk by himself, and the neighbors don’t particularly like it when you camp out on their lawn for a couple of hours. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. I don’t like outside. Yes, it’s true. I know. Whatever. It is what it is. I love the sunshine, the warm breeze blowing into the house, the windows open. Ahhh. Perfect. But…I do not want to enjoy all of that outside. I like screens, shade and the comfort of being inside. This is a bit prohibitive when trying to teach someone to ride a bike, and leaves the majority of the weight on the shoulders of my husband, who, by the way, loves being outside.

The Right Size

Now, with that being said. The munchkin has this really cool blue and green bike with training wheels…that is waaaay too small for him. My parents have a bike for him, which is really cool. (See the picture above? The one in front is the actual bike.) Unfortunately, we’re not sure there’s a way to attach training wheels to it. It’s a 20″ and many of those don’t allow for training wheels.

As we explained this to the munchkin, he was a bit distressed at first. You see, his current bike is a 14″ and an 18″ is still too small for him โ€“ those are the ones that allow for training wheels. The 20″ is what he needs, no question. So…what to do?

Definitely Not a Daredevil

While the little guy appears to be laid back and willing to try anything, this is definitely not the case. He’s extremely cautious, likes to think things through and is not willing to take risks when it comes to anything. Ah…like father like son.

So, back to my question: What to do?

He was totally freaked out when we tried the Daddy-will-run-behind-you-holding-on-to-the-bike scenario in the bike store the other day as we were getting a feel for sizes. That did not go over well at all โ€“ for either of them, actually.

In the end, we decided to see if we can find a way to fit the training wheels on the 20″ and go from there. Decision made.

The Plan

Enter, the plan. After we get back home and let the p’s know that we’re going to use their 20″ bike they got โ€“ even if we can’t put training wheels on it, the munchkin says, “Here’s the plan, Mommy.”

“Um, okay. What’s the plan? What are we talking about?” I inquire.

Using lots of hand gestures (he is part Italian, after all), he explains. “Okay. We’ll take my little bike with the training wheels and take them off. Since I can totally touch the ground easily on that bike, I can ride it without putting my feet on the pedals and instead get used to the feel of balancing the bike. Then, I can use the bike Grandma and Grandpa are giving me and have Daddy hold onto it until I get the feel for it. Then, I’ll know how to ride a bike without training wheels.”

He smiles and walks in the other room.

Alright then. Glad he has it all figured out. My little planner.

What plans have you or your children made to help you adjust to a new situation? I’d love to hear about them. Drop me a line below, and let’s share our Common Grounds.

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Every Friday my first grader has a spelling test, which we practice for each and every day up til then. The class was recently working on compound words. We ran through all the words like normal and finally got to “suitcase.”

“Hmmm. That’s a hard one,” says the munchkin. He attempts to spell it, fumbles over “suit” and completes “case” with no problem. After he finished trying to spell it, he asked to see the word.

Ah yes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this one. I’m a visual learner, and seeing something is how I better take it in, process it, understand it and eventually learn it. Like mother like son in this case. *Smile.*

So, I show him the word. He frowns a bit, and I can tell he’s noodling something in his little mind. After a pause he says triumphantly, “I get it. It’s just like ‘pursuit.'”

Huh? I turn around to look at him, wondering how he (a) knows the word and (b) comes up with this comparison. And then it hits me.

“Yes. Yes, it is. You mean from Pokรฉmon, right?” I ask. He nods and smiles.

You see, “pursuit” is one of the moves a Pokรฉmon may use, and he was drawing the comparison with the “suit” part. Well, I thought that was pretty good logic, and a great way to remember the word. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What clever comparisons, tricks or tips have your family members come up with to remember something? Drop me a line below. I’d love to hear about it.

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Quick: Pick one of your fondest memories from your childhood. Got it? Good. What is it? When is it?

For me, there are many. But the one that always springs to mind is my dad, my mom and me on vacation in Yellowstone National Park. I was in sixth grade (I think). I’m basing this on the fact that I still had glasses, and they were totally rockin’ โ€“ for the 80s, anyway. But I digress.

My mom snapped a picture of my dad and me. I’m sitting on the railing of the front porch of the log cabin my mom booked us into at a dude ranch. (Yes, a real-life dude ranch.) My dad is behind me with a funky hat on he always wore. That’s it. Nothing special about the picture itself.

It’s what it represents.

Watch for Falling Rock!

Every time I see it, I’m transported back in time.ย I’m 12 again, riding in the backseat of my parents’ car.ย We’d bought this rabbit puppet that was really cute. Somewhere along the way, Dad decided to have the rabbit “drive.” He’d put the rabbit on his hand and place his hand on the steering wheel. Then, each time a car passed us, he’d have that rabbit wave to the driver. I’m telling you, we got some pretty weird looks, as you can imagine โ€“ and we laughed hysterically.

And then there’s Falling Rock. Have you seen him? We’re constantly reminded to “Watch for Falling Rock.” Who is this Falling Rock, Dad wonders? We never did “find” him even though he was supposed to be everywhere we went. It’s still a joke in our family when driving through mountainous/rocky areas. Silliness, but it stuck with me.

We created a moment.

I can smell the crisp, clean air. See the cabin. Smell the smoke from the chuck wagon trip we took on horseback up the mountain a ways. I’m there. And yet, I’m here. And all it took was that one memory โ€“ even though the moment was fleeting.

Those moments will always mean so much to me. Laughter. Joy. Relaxation. Carefree fun. A sense of belonging. All being right with the world. Happiness. Love. Family.

Savor the Moment

And yet it’s gone in an instant. The time goes by way too quickly. Here I am more than two decades later, a wife, a mother and creating my own moments. I mean, it seems like last week that I brought my son home from the hospital, rocked him and held him.

He’s six. Where has the time gone? One of the best pieces of advice (so far, anyway) that I received from my mother was this: Live in the moment because the moment is fleeting and once gone cannot be reclaimed.

That’s why it’s so important to cherish each moment. To love each other fully, deeply โ€“ faults and all. 1 Peter 4:8-9 tells us:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

How will you live in the moment? How will you savor it? How will you create your own memories? How will you show hospitality? Love? What will your children remember from their time with you?

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While taking part in our nightly ritual of reading, the munchkin picked out his new favorite book, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, climbed onto my lap, settled in and began to read. Part way through the book, he came to a two-letter word and promptly stopped reading, focusing so hard on the word, I’m surprised a hole didn’t spring through the book from his laser-vision.

“Sound it out,” I gently encouraged him.

“Sss-ah. Sah,” he says, frowning. He tries again. “Sss-ah. Sah?” He says again even less convinced this time.

“Make it a long ‘o’ instead,” I instruct, thinking this will promptly result in the proper pronunciation of the word, “so.” After all, they’ve been learning about long vowel sounds and short vowel sounds at school.

Nope. Instead, I get: “Sss-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.” I think he carried the “long” vowel out for nearly 3 seconds, at which point I burst out laughing. “Not that kind of long vowel,” I get out through hiccuped laughter. “‘Oh,’ not ‘ah.”

“Ohhhh. I get it. Sss-oh. So.”

Bingo! What a nutball! Gotta love him.

On a separate, but related note, if you have young kids learning to read and have not been privileged enough to stumble across the Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas, I highly recommend it. It’s hilarious and up for an award.

Discovering Our Common Grounds

What funny stories do you have to tell? Let’s hear ’em! Drop me a comment below. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I don’t know about you, but I love walking into someone’s home that decorates for the seasons. It’s comforting, calming and welcoming. I recently read How Do You Decorate for Fall? on SomeGirlsWebsite. The post displayed pictures of Michelle’s home beautifully decorated for Fall (my favorite season, by the way).

In looking at the pictures, I found myself in awe. Where was the clutter? Where are the toys? Michelle has two children around my son’s age. There should be toys!!! Nope. No clutter either. What’s up with that? How is that even possible? I found myself longing for a home that was clutter- and toy-free.

I Will Never…

Which reminded me of the one thing I said I’d never do when I became a mom: “I will not be one of those moms who has toys in every room of the house. Toys belong in the child’s bedroom, and that’s it. *Disgusted sigh/eye-roll combo.*”

Yep. That was me. How wrong I was.

Fast-forward several years. You see the picture that accompanies this post? Yep. That’s my family room. My living room looks no better. In fact, the only room in my house absent of toys? My son’s bedroom.

Ugh. I’m doing exactly what I vowed never to do. And I’ve dug myself into a hole.

You see, my son is totally unwilling to venture upstairs to his bedroom by himself. Likewise, he won’t stay downstairs without knowing something is close by. Mabye it’s an only child thing? Maybe it’s our fault for letting him use that excuse? Whatever the issue, the damage is definitely evident.

All. Over. My. House.

So, what to do? I’m not sure. Technically speaking, his room just isn’t big enough to house his lovely collection of toys โ€“ most which were given to him by loving grandparents, aunts and friends. I’ve tried to buy cute organizers to declutter as much as possible, and yet? It still looks cluttered.

We frequently go through all of his toys, choosing which ones to put aside (rotate), trash, donate and/or keep. And yet? It still looks cluttered.

Discovering Our Common Grounds

So? I’m open to any and all ideas. All the declutter ideas I’ve seen โ€“ and even written about โ€“ just haven’t worked long-term for us. Can you help me? Please. Leave me a comment to let me know your cannot-fail decluttering ideas.


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Image by: S Baker

The other morning as I drove to work, I was marveling at the beauty of the world around me. The sun was rising, and it cast amazing hues of bright pink, rich purple, burnt orange and soft yellow on the clouds in the pale blue-gray sky.

As I continued on my way, I drove by several ponds, streams and winding creeks, all with thick layers of steam rising from the crisp, clean water. The birds seemed to be out in droves, all chirping and flitting around as if they hadn’t a care in the world.

And it occurred to me. Our Maker has sprinkled magic all around us. It’s in the cry of a newborn babe, the laugh of a child, the promise of first love, the wonder of marriage and the wisdom of old age. It’s in the air, the sky, the ground and the sea. It’s all around us, if we’d just open our eyes to the wonder of it…and pay attention.

Half the time I find myself driving to work on autopilot, taking for granted a shared smile with my spouse, a laugh with my son, a knowing look from my parents. And, yet, when we actually take the time to realize the true beauty of the world around us it’s nothing short of awesome.

So…as you’re out and about this weekend, remember to take a look at how God remembers to sprinkle in a touch of magic for us in this world before we join Him in His.

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