Friday, September 12, 2014

Building A World

Every now and then I am tempted to buy one of those "cool" play sets with the bright colors, the moving parts, the loud sound effects, and the large amount of floor space they take up.  My boys love to try them out in the aisle of the toy store; turning cranks, spinning wheels, and making battery operated noises that repeat over and over.

Then I remember why I don't buy them...

I don't buy them because there is an alien waiting to go down a slide into an unknown land on the back porch.

I don't buy them because there is a catapult sitting on a castle wall filled with Lego bricks, waiting to be launched into a box in the play room.

I don't buy them because the tallest bed that can turn into a house for baby animals is being built on the table.

I don't buy them because there is a tree house haunted by ghosts near one of our windows.

I don't buy them because we can create our own play scenes from our imagination.
We can change them,
add onto them,
knock them down,
start them over,
make them better,
make them different,
make them our own.

My boys are building a world they see through their eyes,
a world they are trying to make sense of,
a world they are trying to understand,
a world they are learning from.

What kind of worlds do your children love to build and create?

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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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