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Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Reflections 02.26.16 (and a giveaway)

drinking: a latte made with whole milk. Pure decadence.

listening to: Lauren Daigle's How Can It Be album. On repeat. All morning.

obsessed with: Kirkland brand Dark Chocolate Almonds with Turbinado and Sea Salt...dark chocolate, nuts, this is health food right?

just finished reading: Moms On Call (Toddler Book) Y'all. This book is SO GOOD. 3 of my 4 kids are already past the toddler stage, but I learned so much I can use with Jude. If you're in this stage, or approaching this stage (age 2-4) with any of your kids, this book has some wonderful tools for you. Picky eaters, sleep issues, the "NO!" stage, discipline, welcoming a new baby home...there is gold in these pages.  If you're not familiar with Moms on Call, check them out, you'll be glad you did.

just started reading: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

delighting in: the start of a fairy garden in our front yard. The sweetest reader sent a "fairy clothesline" to Britain this week, complete with adorable tiny tutus pinned onto it. The kids flipped out and started to build a whole little scene around it. Thank you Lynn!

working on: my fitness. I'm back to doing the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. Just finished Week 4 and I'm remembering now that Week 5 gets a lot harder. Woohoo! (sarcasm)

best homeschool moment this week: hearing Elijah voluntarily reading a bedtime book to his cousin

best mom moment: sitting here this morning listening to Jude name Mr Potato Head's body parts and place the tiny hat on his own head repeatedly. The simplest things can be the most sacred can't they?

worst mom/homeschool moment this week: when we were learning about Confucius and his adage to, "do unto others what you want done unto you," (I did not know he said that) and Britain took the opportunity to say, "yea Mom, like when you scream at us, you don't want us to do that to you, so you shouldn't do that to us." Um. Okay, I think "scream" is a bit of an exaggeration darling...but yes, point taken. Thank you Confucius.

looking forward to: a trip to the skate park tomorrow morning. We haven't been in a while and Elijah has improved so much. To see all the action, go follow B Daddy's Instagram account! He is putting together fantastic little videos over there each week. As an added bonus, new followers this week will be entered into a giveaway for...wait for it...a bag of Kirkland's Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds. YUM! Go get on that!!

What are you looking forward to this weekend? What was the highlight of your week? Thanks for reading as always...y'all are the reason I keep writing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How I Read 50 Books a Year

After reading my last post, a friend asked me over the weekend - how do you manage to read so much with four kids? As I got to thinking about it, I realized there are 6 reasons I'm able to read as much as I do:

1. I have an unfair advantage: I'm a pretty fast reader. 
I read about 625 words a minute while still retaining strong comprehension of the text I'm reading. This came in super handy during college. Now it comes in handy when I'm trying to get as much read as possible while in the bathroom. #sadbuttrue

2. I LOVE reading.
I read a ton because I enjoy it so terribly much. I remember favorite books the way most people probably remember vacations. I can check out a book for the kids that I haven't seen since elementary school and the pictures and words transport me back in time and space. I treat books like old friends -we added a custom bookshelf to our living room just so I could keep my friends in plain sight at all times.

3. I have an e-reader. 
I will never forget the day I first heard about the Amazon Kindle. Our pastor, Andy Stanley, was in the middle of a sermon when he went on a little tangent about this new thing he had that enabled him to keep his Bible with him all the time and also dozens of other books. I was stunned. He may as well have been telling us that man now lived on the moon for all I heard of the rest of his sermon. I spent the afternoon researching how I could get my hands on one of these Kindle things. Having an e-reader means I have multiple books at my disposal all the time without carrying around several bulky tomes. Plus I can buy digital copies of books and spend way less than traditional books or I can just use my library's website to borrow e-books. I'm currently on my 6th reader (I wear mine out and lose them like it's my job) but the Kindle Paperwhite is my very most favorite of all. I love its built-in light and the fact that it is JUST a reader. No internet shenanigans to distract me. If I pick up my Kindle, I'm reading. The End.

4. I believe anytime is a good time to read. 
Okay, so I don't read at the dinner table. But pretty much anywhere else is fair game. I'll throw my Kindle in my purse when I'm out running errands and pull it out if I find myself waiting in line. I'll read while I'm cooking dinner, read while I'm brushing my teeth, read while the kids are working independently on school. I don't wait until I have a large block of time to read because, well, I rarely have large blocks of time to do anything other than sleep.

5. I keep a running list of books I want to read.
You know how it is, you can think of a million books you'd like to read when you have no time to read, but the day before a vacation you fall into a complete panic because you have nothing to read and no idea where to find something. Or is that just me? Well that was me before I started keeping a "Books to Read" list. I prefer keeping mine in my bullet journal, but Goodreads has a great feature for this or just keep a Note on your phone. That way, when you get a little time to read, you have good choices at your fingertips. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book on my list: Looking for Lovely by the fabulous Annie Downs. (Which is available as of today for pre-order at Amazon and all your favorite book retailers.) I like to keep my "to read" list a mix of fiction and non-fiction so I can pick something I'm in the mood for when the mood strikes.

6. I take advantage of our public library's digital system.
This was a game-changer for me. When I discovered  that you could check out digital books from the library (thanks to you Texas Leipprandts!) I greatly increased the amount I was reading each year.    Here in Atlanta, the AFPLS (our public library system) uses Overdrive to provide a digital library to their users. All you need is a current library card to log-in and access an entire library of e-books. It's the convenience of Amazon with the free resources of your local library. No more feeling guilty about spending money on books! You can download titles to any e-reader with a few clicks and the best part - you return it with one click when you finish. If you don't bother to return it, the library wipes the book off your device when it is due back. Y'all. NO LATE FINES EVER! You can put bestsellers on hold and they'll email you when the book becomes available. I love it when I completely forget about a book I've been wanting to read and then I get a little surprise in my inbox telling me it's available. Overdrive provides digital books to over 30,000 libraries in more than 40 countries, so check to see if your local library is affiliated HERE

What do you think? Do you use any of the little tricks I mention to read more? (Is reading in the bathroom a trick?!) Do you love Annie Downs as much as I do? 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Week in Review: List Style

drinking: (almost) black coffee and enjoying it

just finished reading: Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

just started reading: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

listening to: Yann Tiersen radio on Pandora

Best homeschool moment this week: creating a working model of a Roman aqueduct

worst mom/homeschool moment this week: yelling at my kids over repeatedly spilling the water we were using to demonstrate our aqueduct. STOP POURING! STOP! STOP! MOVE MY PHONE! GET A PAPER TOWEL! GET A BIGGER PAPER TOWEL! GIVE ME THE PAPER TOWEL! GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN! Not one of my finer moments.

best mom moment: when the kids spilled approximately 2,000 of our 22,000 Perler beads on the floor of the playroom. (Spilling is a recurring theme in my life.) I calmly told them they couldn't come out until they were all picked up. It took them an hour and forty-five minutes. I watched 3 episodes of Gilmore Girls.

looking forward to: KidStuf Encore with the family tonight and RE/PROM date night on Saturday

Tell me- what are you drinking? Reading? Listening to? How was your week and what are you looking forward to this weekend?

P.S. Are you following me on Instagram? If not, I'd love to invite you to! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This is Why We Homeschool

"Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting." 
-Richard Paul Evans

There will be time for math. 

And time to learn how to read. 

And time to diagram sentences and label maps and memorize the presidents.

On the hard days (so many hard days) I forget why I'm doing this. 
I think life would be simpler if Elijah were in a traditional school. 
I imagine I would have more "me" time and the days would be less chaotic. 

But life is short and childhood is even shorter. 

This is why we homeschool.

This is not a manifesto on why I think you should homeschool. This is not a judgment on the choices you have made for your family. I trust you have made the right choice for your family because I trust you love your family. This is a reminder for me. 

How Do You Know When You've Entered Parenting 2.0?

The moment you give birth you officially enter Parenting 1.0.

Parenting 1.0 is defined by meeting the constant needs of your precious new child. When your baby cries, it is up to you to figure out why and make it stop. When your child is hungry, you're the one who has to feed them. Whether your child has only known a bottle or you are a hardcore breastfeeding mama, whether dinner is locally grown kale or Kraft mac and cheese, by the time your baby blows out the candle on their first birthday cake, you've got a firm grasp on how to keep them alive. Change the diapers, make sure the carseat is installed correctly, coerce them into a jacket when the mercury dips below 60. While I would never suggest Parenting 1.0 is easy (these have been some of the longest days of my life) it is fairly straightforward.

I think Parenting 2.0 starts around the time your child reaches age 5. By now they are using the bathroom all on their own and you've reached a truce regarding how much dinner needs to be eaten. You're no longer a slave to midnight feedings and you might even be one of those brilliant parents who've taught their kid how to turn on the TV in the morning.

Congratulations on nailing Parenting 1.0...and welcome to the murky waters of Parenting 2.0.

Parenting 2.0 is marked by the transition away from catering to the physical needs of your child. You still have to pay attention to the physical of course - did you brush your teeth? Have you eaten anything green today?- but far more energy is spent taking care of their emotional needs.

Parenting 2.0 is when people outside your family begin playing a bigger role in your kids' lives. This is the season you start to let go as they step out into the world on their own. When you have to watch from the sidelines when they stumble. When Band-Aids can't always fix the scrapes they get into.

This is the season you have to watch your son not make the team.

This is the season you lay awake late at night wondering how you can convince your daughter the mean girl at school is not really her friend.

When the big feelings in their heart comes out in words that you're supposed to do something with. Or harder, when the big feelings get lodged somewhere inside and you can sense them but you don't know how to reach them. You can see something going on but you're at a loss as to how to fix it.

This week while playing outside one of my older kids was blatantly disrespectful to a neighbor we know and love. And today my oldest child intentionally hurt a friend of his whose parents are dear friends of ours.

When our baby would wail at church and when I'd get a defiant NO! from my 2 year old in the middle of the grocery store, I felt empathy from onlookers. All infants cry, all toddlers throw tantrums. But my neighbor didn't smile and wave off my kid's sass the other day. And you can't put your 7 year old down for a nap and hope they wake up with a changed heart.

This is when we have to lean in harder. When bedtime becomes less about what song they want to hear from us and more about us taking the time to hear from them. Stealing a line from my pastor, I make it a point to ask my 6 year old nightly, "how's your heart?"  I try to take the time daily to talk about anything new that has gotten inside their hearts, to listen to their hurts and their hopes. To give them big kid tools to deal with the big bad world they are walking into each morning.

When the time you spend tending to their heart overtakes the time you spend tending to their body, you've officially entered Parenting 2.0. Welcome to the big leagues.

P.S. I have suspicions Parenting 3.0 begins at puberty. I do not know nor am I interested in learning anything about Parenting 3.0 yet so please leave me be in my ignorant bliss.

Monday, February 1, 2016

5 Lies Good Moms Tell Their Children

Yesterday I found myself telling my unsuspecting daughter the second well-intentioned lie I'd told her in the past 24 hours. And it occurred to me that this is something most moms do everyday - lie to our kids with the very best of intentions. I mean, there are times when the truth just ain't helping anyone. Am I right or am I right y'all?

Here are 5 lies I have told my kids more than once with a perfectly clean conscience:

Lie #1: I don't know how that got in the trash can! 
Truth: That is the 4th picture you've colored of Cinderella in the past 4 days. It is not a masterpiece and Mommy is not keeping it on her dresser.

Lie #2: I don't know if you'll be getting any shots today. 
Truth: Oh sweet child, my heart is racing at the pain you're going to be experiencing in a few minutes and I will not add to my own internal turmoil by offering up the truth so that you can scream and rage and refuse to be pushed through the threshold of the doctor's office.

Lie #3: Mom and Dad are still sleeping, we'll be out in a minute! 
Truth: This is the process that gave you life and one day you'll thank me for sparing you the details.

Lie #4: Sorry honey, we're all out of batteries. 
Truth: The background noise in this home is enough to make me lose my mind.  Your ridiculously, insanely, stupidly loud toy is now a silent toy. #sorrynotsorry

Lie #5: Coffee will stop your body from growing so only Mommy can drink it. 
Truth: This is the one thing keeping me alive today and no you can not have any of it.

What lies do you tell your children on the reg without feeling guilty?

P.S. If reading about the bad things other moms do makes you feel better about yourself, you should read about one of the more memorable times I swore in front of my kid - Dropping the Bomb.

P.P.S. If you like these list-style posts, check out The 5 Most Annoying Things People Say to Moms at the Grocery Store.  
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