Thursday, May 29, 2014

Toughen Up!

Bullying.
It gets talked about A LOT.
Anti-bully programs.
Kids committing suicide because of bullying.
Kids tattling "he/she is bullying me!"

I get it. Bullying is wrong and it happens far too often and sometimes there are tragic ends because of it. These things are real and it's important to deal with bullying.

But I think the world is going a bit extreme on what is considered bullying. What I'm noticing is that kids are claiming to be bullied when in reality it's just kids doing things that kids do.

Don't get me wrong... real, hard bullying is happening every day. Just ask my friend whose son was beat up on the walk home from school, had his backpack thrown in the creek, and is constantly harrassed on the days he rides the bus by the other students that are also riding. He gets bullied.

But when kids come running saying "so-and-so called me a name! He's a bully!"
"No. No, he is not bullying you. Kids call names. I bet you called someone a name before too. He's not a bad kid, he is just making bad choices today. YOU get to decide how you are going to deal with it. We know you are not what he called you so how about we just let it go and forgive him today?"

Not everything that happens against our kids is bullying... and we need to teach them that! We need to help our kids toughen up! Life is hard! We can't cry foul every time someone does something that upsets us a little bit. And we need to teach our kids the same.

We need to help them learn how to cope with life.
We need to tell them that
name calling happens... choose not to believe it.
kids will be mean... choose to be nice anyways.
people won't always agree with you... but that doesn't mean you are wrong.
you won't always get your way... so learn to give in sometimes.
life isn't easy... but it can still be good!
friends will come and go... be kind to everyone.
people can change... offer second chances.

We need to teach them how and when to stand up for themselves... and when to walk away.
We need to do our part to build their confidence so when the names and lies and gossiping start they know who they really are.
And we need to make sure that our homes are always a place where people are accepted, treated kindly and protected.

Teach your kids how to navigate the rough seas of life.
It won't be easy for us parents.
It will take patience and time.
It will take courage.
It will mean not running in to rescue them every time something goes wrong.
It will take dedication and perseverance.

It will be worth it.

We owe it to our kids to prepare them for life... and we start when they are young... dealing with things like name calling and not getting along. Help them to learn it on the less risky levels so that they can successfully do life when they are adults.

Teach our kids to toughen up a bit... brush things off and move on.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What a Weekend!

For years Mike worked holidays and weekends and we didn't know what a three day weekend was. But we just had it and the weather was amazing all three days and I think it was one of the best weekends we've had in a while! It's been so much fun to have family time together and Liza and Jason are such a joy. I love doing things with them!

Friday started with a play date for Jason during the afternoon. That always works out for me because I get things done when Jason has someone to play with. :)

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On Saturday we hung out at the house and did a lot of work outside. It was also the day we had fun with the mega bubbles!

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In the evening we celebrated Gabrielle's birthday party. It was such a cool party... circus themed. There were games and tickets and prizes and a pinata and a clown that made the most fantastic balloon creations!

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Sunday was another day spent outside. The neighbors were at the house all day and we are working on playing TOGETHER. There was a lot of bickering and whining and tattling. Boys are drama! But they eventually got around to figuring it out and giggling and laughing and having a good time.

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Sunday evening we took our first family bike ride. Mike borrowed a bike from his cousin since we haven't been able to find one yet that is the right size for him AND in our price range. We had a great time and the kids went further than they thought they would be able to go. It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again!

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We finished our day at Dairy Queen... because it just seemed right!

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Monday we went to the parade and picked up some friends along the way. Good times!

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We then told all the neighborhood kids to come to the house at 3:00 for homemade ice cream, mega bubbles and sidewalk paint! They came. We ate and played. Memories were made!

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There was also a lot of scootering, we grilled everything (strawberries and pineapple grilled... YUM!) and I planted my garden. We enjoyed the sun and all got a little tan... and some pink too. We ate, we worked, we relaxed and we had fun.

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I'm looking forward to more great times this summer!!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Giant Bubbles!

A week or so ago a friend shared a link with me that had activities to keep kids busy during the summer. Some of them were too young for my kids. Some of the ideas were just things I would never do. But the bubbles! OH! The giant bubbles! I knew I had to try it and I knew it would be a great thing to do on a day when the neighborhood kids were out.

Friday night we went shopping and bought all our supplies and on Saturday when the kids started coming around I made up the bubble wands and bubble solution and we started having some really cool fun!

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I might have had more fun than the kids! And I have to give credit to Mike for taking photos of me. He's not afraid of my big camera and actually learned how to use it in manual for me. :) I like him!

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This was a really easy and inexpensive project and we all loved it so much! I'm certain we will get out the mega bubbles at least a few more times this summer! They would be a great thing to put out for the family picnics and parties!

You can find all the info you need to make your own mega bubble wands and bubble solution HERE.

Some things I learned:
*You actually only need one dowel rod for each bubble wand because cutting it in half makes it manageable for the kids.
*If you are thinking "Cotton string!? Where do I find cotton string?" The answer... Walmart. Pick up some Sugar and Cream yarn while you are buying the dowel rods... which are in the craft section as well.
*The kids will likely get the wands all tangled from time to time. Tell them when they get tangled that they should just hang onto the sticks and ask for help. When they let go of one of the sticks it will just tangle more.
*You might want to have some baby wipes or a bucket of clean water to wash your hands in. When you help untangle the string your hands will get really sticky... not so good if you want to pick up the camera again!
*Make your bubble solution a little bit early. You don't want to crazy stir because you don't want all the suds in your bubble solution. It took about 15 of it sitting for it to all combine together and work.
*Don't do it on a day that is too windy. We had just a little bit of wind yesterday and when it blew it would just pop the bubble solution before we even got started. No fun!

Ok... now go have some fun!! And if you do please share some photos with me!


Friday, May 23, 2014

This and That

Hey guys!
Long time no write, yeah??
I still have lots of things in my heart and brain that I want to write about but I've been seeming to hit writer's block over and over. Instead of filling up this space with nonsense every day I've just chosen not to do any forced writing. Aaannnd... it's been feeling like summer and life is full of stuff right now. Why does May always get so busy?

Anyways... so let's talk about a few things that have been going on in my life...


1. It's wedding season. I had three weddings in four weeks. I didn't realize I did that to myself until it was happening! I finished the editing on wedding number one. I'm currently working on wedding number two but I'm running into problems... I can't get the photos from my second shooter to open on my computer because my editing program needs an upgrade but it's not compatible with windows 8.... or something like that. So I used HER laptop the other day to knock some out and then put them on a disc. It was kind of annoying because I have never used a Mac before and she has the actual full photoshop program. I was all kinds of out of my element but I pushed on and did some work only to find out I must have done something wrong in the saving or whatever because half of the photos won't show up when I put the disc into my computer. SO I will have to do those over and try again... or I could just buy the newest elements and that should solve everything... but I don't want to buy that yet. I'm comfortable with my program and it works for everything except my second shooter's photos this time! Ugh!

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2. Next, I'll get on to editing wedding number three. Thankfully I don't have another wedding until July! Time to get caught up!

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3. Of course, after I finish wedding number three I will have to edit a Bridal Shower. My friend Sarah is getting married this summer. Liza is flower girl and Jason is ring boy. Sarah hired me to photograph her shower. It was a fantastic shower!

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4. Life has been full of kids! It's rare that we don't have an extra kid here. I love our neighborhood and the kids are really cool. We love having them around. I need to stock up on water and popsicles!

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5. So... between weddings, showers, bday parties, picnics, end of school stuff and the neighborhood kids... I've. been. busy. But a good busy. The kind of busy I like to be. Because it's not so busy that I don't have time for people... it's a busy BECAUSE I have time for people. Does that make sense? We love celebrating our friends. I really enjoy volunteering at the school. (We have a fantastical school by the way!) I've always dreamed of being the house in the neighborhood where all the kids stop by. And I love photography. My life feels balanced right now... and full. We are making good memories just in our day to day life with friends and family.

6. We are counting down the days till summer! (10 1/2 school days left!) This morning the kids started their list of things they want to do. One thing was a summer party at the end of school. I guess I have about ten days to plan that because I think it's a fantastic idea! We'll invite all the neighborhood kids and have pizza (because Mike still gets 50% off at the place he delivered for this winter!) and dessert and some kind of summer filled gift bag! (Every time I think of summer I hear Olaf in my head.)

And that's some of what's been happening. I need to get my house cleaned up and then I need to plan to sit at my favorite bakeshop every morning that I have left before school is out because I won't be able to do that during the summer!

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day Weekend! We are excited because Mike will be home for three days and the forecast is looking amazing! We are dreaming up picnics, hikes, parades and more fun. Can't wait!




Thursday, May 15, 2014

Josie and Brady ~ Married!

Josie and Brady were my first wedding of the year! 

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It was a day with beautiful blue skies, puffy white clouds and blow me over wind. 

This photo was taken late in the day when the wind had died down a little...

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Needless to say... most photos were taken inside that day. But we made the most of it and it was a beautiful time full of love and laughter. (That's why wedding photography is my favorite!)

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(They asked for it! I loved it!)

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring?

It is spring right? I ask because I think Mother Nature forgot the order of the seasons. Winter was long... many will say they felt like it lasted FOREVER! And then winter went away and it was springtime! Glorious, long awaited spring! Except it wasn't really spring. Early spring doesn't usually give us 90 degree days. Kids are already complaining about the heat and wanting to sit inside in front of a fan while eating popsicles. What is going on here!?!?!

I do have to say though that we have been enjoying the nice days! It's so nice to be able to get outside... the neighborhood is alive again and it's so refreshing.

This is happening on our front porch...

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I've been enjoying stopping by one of my favorite parks in the area from time to time to see what's blooming. The lilacs are beginning to bloom and in a few days when more are open it will smell amazing! We took a walk this evening and just enjoyed some time together as a family. Liza and Jason used my little camera and I used my big one. Mike was there too... he carries my camera bag for me. :)

Rain is on the way again so I'm glad we've had a few nice days to enjoy being outside!

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