This has been an interesting week. I had what I thought was an eye infection and it turned out to be a reaction to my contact solution! This left me behind on my sewing and shipping. Turns out that you need your eyes to sew and drive.
Of course I think everyone is burdened by this weeks tragedy. It's these times and moments when you question whether bringing more children into this world is a good idea. Or how on earth can I protect my babies from the evil of this world?
The truth is, as much as I try, I can never protect my kids from everything. While I watch what the eat, how they speak, what they see, where they are I can never fully protect them. Sometimes when thinking about it anxiety takes over. I start thinking crazy thoughts about building sustainable compound and never letting them leave. But that is not reality. Reality is this world is broken. We can either let the brokenness of this world eat away at us, or we can chose to give our fears to the only one who can fix it.
I can't control what others do. But I can teach my children to love their neighbors as themselves. It is my life goal, my calling, to raise my children to be disciples of Jesus. We must teach them that while evil seems to overwhelm, death has already been defeated.
Pray. Pray for the city of Boston. Pray for our nation. Pray for our world. Teach your children right vs. wrong.
15 week bump!
Photo taken my Troy Vittum
I remember the nights clearly. We would wait for my mother to get out of work, being early November, the sun would already be down by the time our family left. We would climb in the car, or on particular warm days we would walk the short distance to our elementary school. People with signs would line the grass, handing out brochures, trying to sway your vote in the very last minute. After waiting in line, each parent would bring one child in with them to vote (this was long before my sister came). I remember being too short to actually see who they were voting for, but I remember the feeling of importance, as if what they were doing really mattered.
After all, it does really matter. Without saying to much about it, I must admit that I was not particularly thrilled about this year’s candidates. I feel as though we have two choices and we are forced to choose the "lesser of the two evils." However, no matter how strongly you dislike the candidates, these are our choices. We need to choose to exercise our right to vote, even if it is just to set the example for our children.
They are watching and they are observing, just like I did with my parents. My parents made voting a priority. They showed us that their voice and opinions mattered. If we don't teach our children how to vote, then who will?
Today I will be wearing Lady Petunia on my back; Mr. Daddy will pop Ballerina on his. As a family we will go to our local middle school and let our voice be heard.
Today's election is extremely important. Educate yourself. Vote where you feel morally led. Bring your kids, or tell them where you are going. Let the younger generation see how important voting really is. Explain to them how the process works, who the candidates are, even tell them who you believe will make a better leader. Get excited about our great country; tell them stories about family members who served our country to give us the right to vote. Raise up this upcoming generation to know that their vote does matter, let them see how important it is.
Most importantly, vote.
Parenting is hard. I mean for real, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. Before I was married with children I worked in child care. I thought being a nanny was pretty much the same as being a parent. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Parenting isn't just about "watching" your kids, and it's not a lifelong baby sitting job. No, it's so much more than that. It is raising children to be responsible, thriving adults. In our home, it is raising kids in Jesus, to know and love him, to spread his love to others. It's teaching our kids responsibility, grace, humility, compassion, and yes even patience.
Patience. It's a virtue. It is something I severely lack in. I mean just ask my husband. There is a reason why we bumped our wedding up from June to January. I struggle with keeping an "even" temper, I struggle with showing my kids how to calmly deal with situations. I think most parents do, all you have to do is mention whining to a parent and they shake their heads in agreement and share a story of when their child was bit by the whiny bug. So how do we deal with remaining patient and calm as a parent? I've compiled a list of tips and tricks that I do and want to do next time I feel my temper boiling over. Feel free to add your own tips in the comment section!
1. Pray- I purposely put pray at number one. Why? It seems to me like prayer is always our last resort. When nothing else has worked we finally give it over to God. I remember times when I have been so frustrated that I vent and unload to God. EVERY time after I always think "why did it take so long for me to go to him in the first place?" I feel like we could really eliminate a lot of frustration if we give it to God when it is small, rather then when it has turned into a mountain. Plus, the great thing about our savior is that it is NEVER too late to come to him.
2. Get out- If you stay at home like I do, it is easy to go stir crazy real fast. Often the little people and I are grumpy because we simply need to get out of the house. Even if you are just going to a walk, playing outside or going for a drive, the change of scenery can be a great mood booster.
3. Scrub it out- Organization and cleaning does not come naturally to me. I would much rather have my mom do the cleaning. But since she lives 12 hours away and I am the mom now I have to do the cleaning (don't worry, Mr. Daddy pitches in too). I have our days on a schedule that I now look forward to the morning "scrub." There is something about washing a pile of dishes, or wiping down the counter tops that calms me. Maybe it is because I am beautifying my home, or maybe it is because I am creating a safe environment for my children. Don't be afraid to hand your child an un-paper towel and let them have at it. Soon you both will forget about your crankiness.
4. Fill your tummy/ hydrate yourself- I can not tell you how many times I have been having a rough day, then to realize that I hadn't taken in enough calories, or had enough to drink. Your blood sugar and health are important, your body NEEDS energy to keep up with your brood.
5. Vent- Call a friend, your mom, your mother's uncle's sister's fiance, anyone that you trust. Choose someone who can give you perspective, that will tell you like it is while being gentle as they do it. I have a great group of woman that I have vented to many times. I don't think I would have been able to make it through parenting two with out them.
6. Be consistent- It is no secret that Ballerina is the most high spirited child I have ever laid eyes on. Everything, and I mean everything is a fight with her. She has a mind of her own and we are still learning how to guide her in the best way. Mr. Daddy and I have learned that we HAVE to be consistent with her. She needs to have clear boundaries and consequences laid out in front of her. I'm not saying she doesn't push those, because trust me when I say she more than absolutely does. I am saying it is easier to learn and less trying on our patience when the consequences are set in stone.
7. Give grace- "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Eph 4:32. Children are children. They are still people who need grace and forgiveness. Actually, they need MORE grace and forgiveness. Forgive them and move on, because that is what our father has done for us. He has clearly set the example of a loving parent. Let's follow his guideline and strive to parent more like him.
Parenting is hard. It is exhausting, and can be stressful. It is also the most rewarding job on the planet. We all struggle with setting an example of patience to our children, but don't forget that God has forgiven you. Do not walk in the condemnation of your sin. Simply learn from it, forgive, and try to do better the next time.
How do you remain patient and calm while parenting your children?
Here in New Hampshire we are expecting hurricane Sandy to hit us at any moment. Today I have been busy preparing for the storm by cooking dinner early, washing diapers a day early, making sure my basement is clean in case of flooding, breaking out candles/flashlights/ect, all the normal storm preparation.
However, my biggest worry with this storm is how the little people will react if the lights go out. Ballerina doesn't remember this ever happening and Lady Petunia is still too young to really grasp what may happen. While we have had conversations all day about what may happen I fear that this will really scare them.
So along with all of my normal storm preparation, I am making a list of activities for the little people to do, just in case the power does go out.
1. Crafts, crafts, and more crafts- provided we have enough daylight/ candle light, you really don't need any power to craft. We are stocked up on crayons, paints, play dough, clay, glitter the works really. I even have crafts like the picture below that I picked up at the dollar tree a few weeks ago.
2. Build a fort- Gather blankets, pillows, lovies, snacks, and build a giant fort in your living room. You can bring in flash lights and lanterns. Soon they wont be thinking about the lights being off, they will be picturing themselves camping deep in the forest of never never land.
3. Tell stories- Whether you tell you make up your own, reciting a fairytale, or sharing a story from your childhood. Your little ones will be engrossed in your tales. It doesn't matter if you think your story is lame, your kids wont! You can even break put the dress up clothes and act the story out!
4- Have a picnic- Invite Teddy and baby doll to a picnic! If you have already built a fort, what better place to have dinner? Let your little ones "set the table" and choose what they want to eat. They will love the idea of eating in your living room or where ever you decide to camp out!
5. Make up a game- I remember as a child we had a terrible storm one day. The lights were out for hours, my older brother and I were bored to tears. My dad found a bag of marbles and made up a game, which included finding the marbles with flash lights. Clearly this event is something I have always remembered. I hope to do something like this with the little people!
6. Play hide and go seek- Who doesn't love a game of hide and go seek in the dark? I know even the teenagers in our youth group love this game. Be sure to make sure no toys or shoes are on the floor, tripping in the dark is no fun!
7. Enjoy being a family- Power outages can be a scary time for kids and parents alike. However, it doesn't have to be. It can be a fun time that your kids always remember. Take the time while having the tv off, and emails unanswered to enjoy being with your family. Love each other and laugh lots to take the anxiety out of the situation.
I am praying that all of our fans and customers stay safe during this storm. I hope you enjoy your time waiting it out with your family.