Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Perfect Weekend

It's been a long winter... not because of the weather. I didn't mind the weather. It was long because of Mike's ridiculous work schedules. He's been working most evenings and lots of weekends. I was also working most weekends as well. We needed all the work we could get. Roofing is starting back up so things should settle down again and get back to feeling more normal. I'm looking forward to it!

This weekend seems to be the first in a long time where we were both home a lot. Yesterday we decided to kick things off by going out for breakfast. We ate so much food and it was so good. It was just really nice to be all together as a family. We stopped at the store on the way home to pick up bike helmets for the kids and a pump for their tires. 

Liza found a cool helmet that she can draw on with dry erase markers. Perfect for my crafty little girl!

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We came home and got the bikes out. The kids are getting better and my hope is that I can have them both off of training wheels by the end of the summer. 

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(We have a problem with Jason's head where one size helmet is too small and the next is too big.)

We played at the park. 
We rode our bikes some more.

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Mike had to work last night so I hung out and had a lazy night with the kids. 

This morning we woke up to cold temps and beautiful snow but decided to head to the zoo anyways. We showed up to find out that the zoo was having Zoo Hop Into Spring and there were lots of activities for the kids. Liza and Jason got to do some crafts and received plenty of free things. Liza's favorite thing was the games she got to play and she won several prizes.

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In this game they had to follow along with the dance moves. Liza won a tshirt. 

Then she played a hot potato game and won...

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Frozen. :)
We already have it so we tracked down the second place winner and were going to give it to him... but he already had to the movie too. Liza has a friend in mind to surprise! 

We spent several hours at the zoo today just enjoying the animals and talking about poop... because where there are animals there will be poop and kids will talk about it.

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These fish are so neat. They look like leaves...
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I think these are called glass fish... they are transparent.
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Now we are home and watching Frozen... because it is the only movie we watch anymore. 

A good family weekend was needed and we all enjoyed it! Hopefully we'll have another one soon where we don't have any work or plans. I love the laid back family weekends. They are my favorite. :)


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Life Is Good

TEEN LIFE

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MOM LIFE

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From time to time I find an article on the internet listing reasons why one should wait till they are out of their 20s to get married and have a family. One of the reasons I see over and over again is that you will no longer be able to do all the things you love. I believe that you CAN still do all the things you love... they just might look a little different. :)



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Good Entertainment

Seems like lately all the books and movies and tv shows are full of sex, people wearing very little clothes, crude jokes and way too much cussing. Really... the f-word used over 150 times in ONE movie?! That's a lot. Overkill really.

I use a great resource called pluggedin.com. It gives a detailed review and we check it every time we consider a movie. It allows us to skip those movies where the f-word is used 150 times.

Anyways... I'm over the crude jokes and sex-filled movies and maybe some of you are too... SO I thought I would share some good ones I have seen lately.



Captain Philips


Based on a true story. Full of bravery. Courage. Leadership. Pirates.
Intense!
I was on the edge of my seat for a good part of the movie.
I was inspired by the Captain's strength in a really difficult time.
And when the movie ended Mike and I just sat there. It felt wrong to get up and go to bed. Captain Philips is a hero and the movie is one well worth watching!



Take Me Home


A while ago I decided to use the free month of Netflix to see if I wanted to sign up. I decided to unsubscribe after that free month was up but then Mike started working every single night so I kept it. Take Me Home is one of my favorite finds.

It's a romantic comedy but not cheesy. It's a cute story. It's humorous without being crude. It's just a nice, clean movie. I enjoyed it so much that I watched it twice... and I'll probably watch it again.



Land Girls

This is a tv series that I was able to watch on Netflix. It was recommended by a friend and well... I got sucked in. It's about the women who worked the farms while the men were off fighting in WWII. I enjoyed the characters and I thought it showed the life changes and struggles they had to deal with well. There are only 15 episodes and I was sooo bummed when it was over!



And of course, our current family favorite...

Frozen

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We saw this when it was in theaters and Liza and Jason have been waiting ever since to see it again. We bought the movie yesterday. It's such a beautiful movie... the songs, the story, the characters. We are in love! Jason is totally crushing on Elsa. We'll have this movie memorized in no time!


Have you seen anything good lately?



Monday, March 17, 2014

Assessing the Situation

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The other day Liza and Jason were just getting on each others nerves... nonstop. I gave them several chances to work things out and play nice. It wasn't happening so I eventually sent them to their rooms to spend some time on their own and settle down.

Liza decided that she would start cleaning the living room to avoid going to her bedroom. I told her bedroom first, cleaning after that. She responded with her attitude all Fine. I won't clean when I come down then. And she stomps up the stairs.

They both sit quietly in their bedrooms for a while and then I hear the floorboards creaking. Liza is sneaking into Jason's room whispering (loud enough for me to hear her downstairs) Jason, I need to tell you a secret.

Mike and I sit on the couch listening. What are they up to? Do we punish Liza for leaving her room when we told her to stay in it?

Mike yelled up "What's going on Liza?"

LIZA: I need to tell Jason a secret.
MIKE: But you are supposed to be in your room.
LIZA: I know... but I needed to tell Jason a secret. It's a good one.
MIKE: Well you were supposed to be in your room. What do you think we should do about that?
LIZA: But it's a really good secret!

At this point I realized we should probably explore the situation a little bit more before handing out more punishment.

ME: Secrets huh?
LIZA: Yeah.
ME: What kind of secrets?
LIZA: I can't tell you. But do you want a clue?
ME: Sure.
LIZA: It's something that mommy hates!

It was said in a way that I knew that they were up to something good. When Liza asked if they could get out of their rooms I decided to say ok.

Liza and Jason came down the steps and immediately, with big smiles on their faces, started cleaning up the living room.

I, of course, made a huge deal about it. I DO hate cleaning! Oh my! This is so nice!

Big hugs all around and then they were off to playing together again. Smiles and laughter.

I'm really glad that I stopped to assess the situation before getting angry that Liza was out of her room. The point of me sending them to their rooms was so that they could settle down and adjust their attitudes. That had happened. They were no longer fighting and instead they were working together and coming up with a plan to show me that their attitudes had changed.

We all won that day. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Obedience

I was reading the story about Noah in the book of Genesis. "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (6:5) God was grieved and his heart filled with pain. He decided to wipe out mankind from the earth.

But there was Noah and Noah was a righteous man. Blameless among the people. He walked with God.

God decided he would save Noah and his family. He commanded Noah to build an ark. He gave him specific instructions for how big to make it, how to seal it, where to put the door. He instructed Noah to bring in the animals and to take food onto the ark and store it away as food for himself and the animals.

And then comes a small verse that can be easy to miss. One that would be so easy to read without really reading... but not this time. This time it grabbed my heart and challenged me.

Genesis 6:22
Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

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Everything.
Just as God commanded.

Noah didn't cut corners anywhere. He did EVERYTHING... just the way God told him to do it. He built his ark to the size God told him to. He sealed it up just like God told him to. He put the door where God told him to. He brought in the animals and the food... just like God told him to.

Noah did EVERYTHING.

JUST AS GOD COMMANDED.

So few words... so much meaning.

It left me asking myself if my obedience to God looks like Noah's. Do I do everything just as God commands? Or do I do it 90% how God commands and 10% how I think it should be done? Do I trust God completely... to the point where I would take on a seemingly ridiculous task... like building an ark... and do it just as God commanded?

Is my obedience 100%?
How much do I trust God?

When God asks something of me and I do as he asks... at the end of it could it be said of me that "Laura did everything just as God commanded her"?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Before Movie ~ Part 5

The last few books I read on the list were kind of eh. I was hoping for another good one with my next choice and I wasn't disappointed!

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The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is young adult fiction and a story I loved. It is a sad story. A story of sickness and death... but still a story very worth reading. It gave me a glimpse (even though a made up one) into the world of cancer and what it might like for those who live with it and the loved ones that walk life with them.

It made me think about my life and what matters. My actions and how they impact. My words and whether or not they are words that should be spoken.

As I read this book I hoped, I cried, I fell in love with the characters. I can not wait for the movie!!! And in the meantime I will definitely check out more books by John Green.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Life Lately...

I have a lot of half formed thoughts stuck in my head. Half written blog posts sitting in draft. So much I want to share... but none of it is coming out right or in complete thoughts so I'm going to have to save them for another day... for when the time for those posts is right.

So today, instead of all these deep and crazy thoughts running through my head, I'm going to share with you a glimpse of what our life looks like when the weather turns nice.

It's full of days spent outside with the neighborhood friends. Bubbles. Chalk. Imaginary adventures. And lots of scootering. I am certain that the kids have gone MILES on our stretch of sidewalk as they ride back and forth on their scooters.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let It Go

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A conversation I had with Liza last night...

LIZA: I kind of got embarrassed in front of the principal today.
ME: Oh yeah? What happened?
LIZA: When we had our fire drill a bunch of the kids were talking and we got in trouble. I tried to tell the teacher that it wasn't me and it was the other girls but she just said that it was everyone making too much noise.
ME: Did this happen by the principal and that's why you were embarassed?
LIZA: Yeah. And I tried to say who it was but they wouldn't listen to me.
ME: Well... we don't need to be tattle tales and tell on the other girls.
LIZA: But it wasn't me.
ME: I believe you. But telling on others isn't always a good thing either. Sometimes we do end up getting in trouble when we shouldn't because we were doing the right thing but that's when you have to decide not to worry about it. Just trust God and let him take care of you.
LIZA: Maybe I could take care of it myself.
ME: You don't have to. God wants to take care of you. You can just say, "God I need some wisdom. I need to know what to do right now." He'll help you know what to do and I bet a lot of times he might just say "let it go."
LIZA: *busts out in song* LET IT GOOO! *I join her* LET IT GOOOOOO! CAN'T HOLD IT BACK ANYMOOOOOOORE. LET IT GOOOO! LET IT GOOOOOO! TURN AWAY AND SLAM THE DOOOR!


And then I thought... isn't that how it really is? Isn't that what God wants me to do with my problems? Let them go. Give them to him. Don't let them hold ME back anymore. Cast all my cares on him and then turn away and close that door. Trust him to take care of it all.

It's always interesting how God teaches me through the simple conversations I have with my kids.

Today I am letting some thing go. I'm giving them to God and making the decision to not let those things hold me back anymore.


1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.



Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Joy of Wonder

WONDER
the feeling excited by something strange; a mixture of surprise, curiosity and sometimes awe


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I've been volunteering in Jason's kindergarten class. Two days a week. One hour each day.

This past week I got to go to the computer lab with the class. They have been learning in baby steps since the beginning of the year. Just some really basic things that will be the foundation to build on in the years to come. I remember the first time that Jason came home all excited because he got to type his name THREE TIMES! and print it out.

Well... they do more than just type their name three times now. They recently learned how to change the size and this past week they learned to change the font.

All the kids are sitting on the floor. Teacher turns on the computer and explains step by step to review what they already know. Then she makes her name really big and the kids think it's great. But then!!! She takes that really big name and changes the font and the kids go wild! They are excited! They are all making sounds like "WHOAAA!" and "Aaaahhhh!"

I'm pretty sure it was the coolest thing they ever saw. Changing the font style was AWESOME!

WONDER.


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Yesterday the kids were all curious about changing the clocks. They kept asking when it was supposed to happen and how it worked. I think they were afraid I would forget to do it. It's not an easy thing to explain to kids but I did my best. They at least understood why they needed to go to bed a little early... that's the important part!

Well... just before bed they were still talking about it so I took them in my room to my alarm clock. It was 7:30. I said "Do you want to see how we change the time?"

Yes and yes! They watched with eagerness and then I clicked the button and they exclaimed "NOW IT'S 8:30!?!?!?!" It was followed with giggles of surprise... and WONDER.


I think I'll look for more reasons to experience wonder in my own life. :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Giving Them Freedom

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My kids are growing up.
It's a fact I have to face... even though I don't always want to. But I must. I can't stop them from growing up. Just yesterday I realized that Liza's pants were short... again. This growing up stuff isn't going to stop.

And as they grow up I have to adjust their freedoms. Allow them more space. Teach them to be trustworthy.

A year and a half ago when we moved to this house I had a really hard time letting the kids play outside without me constantly watching them. We moved from a wooded hillside with very little traffic to a downtown neighborhood on a highly trafficked road. From our front door to the road is maybe ten to twelve feet.

But I knew I had to get to a place where I could let them play outside without having to sit there and watch them. I spent my time teaching them boundaries and watching them follow them. They were gaining my trust. Then I would tell them they could go outside knowing that I would be heading out there with them as soon as I finished the dishes. It was baby steps for ME. Eventually I would sit on the couch with the window open so that I could still hear them or just turn around and peek real quick... every two minutes of course.

It's hard letting my babies grow up.
It's hard to realize that they don't always need me as much as they used to.
It's hard to not let my own worries hinder them.

By the end of the summer they would play outside on our ten yards of sidewalk for HOURS.

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Today, I find myself working on a whole new set of wider boundaries... and it is not easy.

They have a neighbor friend that lives about four houses down but you have to cross an alley to get there. Liza and Jason wanted to go knock on his door to see if he wanted to play. I gave them instructions about crossing the road and then stood on my porch and watched them. When their friend came out I went inside. They have been over there... doing the same things that they would do in front of our own house... for well over an hour.

I sit here trying to suppress my worry. I keep telling myself I don't have to stick my head out the door every three minutes. Because let's be honest... there is another adult at the house in which they are playing in front of. Another adult who I know and trust.

I have to give my babies freedom and I have to give up my worries.

This is our neighborhood.
There will always be traffic.
There will always be people walking by.
There will always be kids wanting to play.

And so I work on broadening the boundaries... because it won't be long before they are playing at a friend's house around the corner where I can't just stick my  head out and see them.

Liza and Jason have always behaved in a trustworthy way when they are outside... I need to trust them.

For now though... I'm going to do something for the first time and that is stand on my porch and holler down the road for my kids to come home for dinner!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Teaching Kids To Deal With Life


Yesterday Liza came home from school and told me that it wasn't a very good day. She had gym class and it wasn't fun because they had to play basketball and she isn't very good at basketball. I kind of brushed it off figuring my uber-determined little perfectionist just doesn't like that she didn't pick up the skill immediately. She doesn't like not being able to do something.

This morning when I woke Liza up she told me she didn't want to go to school. She didn't like it. It's boring. A little more talking and she decided she could go to school today but she didn't want to go next time they had gym class because she didn't want to have to play basketball.

LIZA: I'm not very good at basketball.
ME: Me neither Liza.
LIZA: I have a hard time getting the ball to go in the hoop.
ME: That was always the hardest part for me!
LIZA: And I'm not good at dribbling.
ME: I just never got good at that either. But you know who was good at basketball?
LIZA: Who?!
ME: Grandma Ann!
LIZA: Ahhh.
ME: So how about next time you have gym you just go and do your best. You can't be super good at everything. You are good at soccer. And maybe you just need some more practice at basketball.
LIZA: Well... I don't want the whole team to lose because of me.
ME: Oh. Let's not worry about that right now. Let's just think about doing the best you can.
LIZA: But George (name changed) makes fun of me and yells at me because I'm not very good.
ME: I bet that hurt your feelings.
LIZA: It did. *almost crying at this point*
ME: Is George really good at basketball?
LIZA: Yeah... he's really good. I can't dribble the ball like him.
ME: Liza, you are really good at crafts. I think that's fantastic. And we can't be really good at everything. So it's ok that you aren't good at basketball and George is. Maybe next time you have gym class you can nicely explain to him that you are doing the best you can and you think he's really good at basketball and then maybe you can even ask him if he would like to help you learn instead of making fun of you... because he's good and he could help you get better!

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This afternoon when I picked Liza up from school we had a little chat on our short walk home.

ME: Was today a better day Liza?
LIZA: Yeah! I talked to George and we made a deal. I told him that maybe he could help me and we could work together. Because he is good at getting the ball in the hoop so I can get the ball to him and we will work together like that!


That's my girl. :)

My goal was to encourage Liza to face her problems instead of facing them for her. I wanted to equip her with the knowledge of different ways to handle the situation. I wanted to let her know that it's ok to not be amazing at basketball and that you can ask others for help.

I didn't expect her to go in and deal with it today already and to strike a deal and make peace... but she did. I gave her the tools and she put them to use.

Confrontation is a good thing to learn.
Learning to deal with issues as they arise is a necessary skill in life.
Take the time to teach your kids on the smaller things (like not wanting to go to gym class because another kid is giving him/her a hard time because they aren't real good) so that when the bigger things happen as they grow older they already have a great foundation and the confidence to confront things in a healthy way.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Before Movie ~ Part 4

Two  more books from the list of 16 books to read before they are out as movies this year...

Actually, both of these have already come out at the theater. If you have seen them I would be interested in hearing what you thought!


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 Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampires aren't really my thing but the book is on the list so I read it. It was ok. Very teenager gossipy love story. A good heroine. Good vs. evil. It's all there. And once the story got going I read it pretty quickly. Young adult books usually do go fast.

So yes... I did enjoy parts of the book but I definitely wasn't raving about it when I finished. And being a young adult book I was kind of put off by the swearing and sensuality. (Call me old fashioned if you want.) I'm thinking, depending on what all they decide to use from the book, that this might be one where I actually enjoy the movie more than the book... if I bother to see it.




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Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

If you are into people falling in love with escaped convicts and/or being trapped inside the mind of a thirteen year old boy going through puberty then run to your local library and get this book!

Ugh. It had the potential to be a good love story (and I am sure that many think it is!) but I just kept thinking this lady is either REALLY desperate or totally off her rocker. And perhaps she WAS really desperate but the whole thing was just too weird for me. (I know, I know... it's a made up story!) It didn't help that the story is told from the perspective of a 13 year old boy going through puberty. The way the character fantasized about sex and described what was going on in his body made me feel like a dirty creep. I actually stopped reading the book and skimmed it to see how it ended.

I could have done without this book.


Here's to hoping that the next book I pick on the list is better! And not all about sex. Geez...


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