Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Summer of Nostalgia

It has been another summer of big changes for us due to our move to a new military base.  We have adapted to our transient lifestyle, but that doesn't mean it still isn't tough for us.  During times of change my husband and I get all nostalgic and tend to reminisce about the past, which leads to reliving those past moments.

Simple moments in our favorite places that my husband and I loved when we were kids.

Leisurely bike rides
Trips to the fair

Cotton Candy as big as your head!
Roasting marshmallows
Camping in the woods
Fishing for anything we can catch
Rides on Grandpa's tractor
Boat Rides on the river
Swimming in the lake

Digging up clams
Catching water balloons
Ending our days with ice cream

We've been calling it The Summer of Nostalgia.  It hasn't been anything extravagant or costly.  Just spending time with our favorite people, and visiting with friends and family we haven't seen in a long time.

These shared moments are memories that I hope will create nostalgia for our kids.  These are great times for bonding, because you are doing something you love while you're with the ones you love.  It's these simple things that help slow us down and keep us grounded in a not so simple life!

What nostalgic things do you do with your kids?

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Calming Down

I have a daily battle with myself.  It's not a battle that you can see, but an inner battle, a struggle to stay calm when my children are not.  I fight this battle every day so that my boys can witness healthy ways to deal with anger, frustration, disappointment, or fear.  I don't always win this battle, but I keep "practicing," and continue to learn more about myself.  

There have been many learning opportunities, or "aha" moments in my life with my children; moments when I realize that I can choose my attitude, that I should never forget to play, that I am my own guidebook, because my boys are learning despite what I may not see, and that I have to keep going forward.  It's almost funny how they have each hit me in a different context, at the right moment, or even an odd moment....

One particular odd moment was during a workout routine I was following on my television in our living room.  It was almost over, and the instructor was covering the cool down/stretching portion.  My six year old noticed the instructor was no longer yelling over loud music...

"Mom, why is he talking so quietly?  Why isn't he yelling any more?"

Not even thinking about it, I matter-of factly told him...

"Its not as easy for me to cool down my muscles and calm down my body if he's still yelling things at me, so he talks quietly during this part."

W-H-O-A, and DUH! I thought to myself.  He didn't ask me anything more about it but it hit me hard.  I know yelling doesn't help my kids, it usually just escalates the situation even more.  When they are feeling out of sorts I have never seen them calm themselves, or follow direction when I am yelling, it only makes it harder for them to do it, they cannot be calm if I am not.

So I carry this little "aha" with me in my pocket, along with all the others, and I pull it out from time to time when my kids are yelling and I find myself yelling right back at them.

What "ahas" do you carry with you?

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Patience of a Frog

Why do some children run and scream when they see reptiles and bugs, but others scoop them up and get real close?  I believe that the more you are exposed to what you don't know, the more you understand it, or are more comfortable with it.

It's the season for frogs and toads.  They are hopping about underfoot while we play, little movements seen out of the corner of our eyes, until one of my boys scoops one up....then it becomes a free for all to see who can collect the most.

It wasn't always this way.  My older son was timid, and almost just as jumpy as a frog when he touched one, or if one landed on him.  His dad gave him tips, and showed him how to catch them without hurting them.  He was curious, and wanted to check them out.  The more he handled them, the more confident he became.  It took a lot of effort and patience to catch them, a journey that has evolved over several years.  Now he teaches his two year old brother how to catch and handle them, and he is just as eager, and able the more he does it.

Each time a toad gets away is another opportunity to be patient... 

another opportunity to practice being gentle... another opportunity to inspect their bulging bellies... 

and another opportunity to learn more about them.  

If it weren't for the patience of those toads and frogs being caught, poked, prodded, and squished (for an unfortunate few) over and over again, children wouldn't be as patient with them.  Children wouldn't know as much about them.  Children wouldn't appreciate them for what they are, and what they do... because nothing is cooler than watching a toad eat a bug!

Many times, it is the smaller things that teach us big lessons in life.  Patience is a virtue.

"Every journey begins with a single hop."  -Kermit the Frog

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