Ice Bucket Challenge

Like everyone else I have watched many people take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness.  I have honestly rolled my eyes at it and thought, “What a silly stunt”.  I started scrolling past them and thought it was just another thing we Americans did to do something stupid.  I didn’t bother to even research what it was.  Then I watched the special on Sports Center regarding Pete Frates and his story.  With tears in my eyes, I saw a young vibrant man overtaken by this horrible disease and then I understood the whole purpose of the challenge.  Sure to raise money but to educate people about it.  What a simple technique!  Pour a bucket of ice cold water over your head while being videotaped, challenge your buddies to do the same, and blam… it takes off!

I felt better and started to enjoy the videos but was thankful no one had challenged me on it UNTIL the other day.  I was challenged by my older brother.  He has picked on me since the day I was born.  Argh!  I am one of those donate quietly kind of people.  I rarely share about things that I do in regards to helping others because I don’t need the glory and I don’t like to boast.  I am not comfortable with it but I know my siblings and they would razz hard core if I didn’t do something.  I chose to take if publicly to avoid sibling razzing.  I’m weak.

I had to wait until my whole family was home to do it because I wanted them all be involved.  I wanted them to know and understand why I was about to pour a bucket of ice cold water over my head.  I had my oldest do the main pouring (I figured he would enjoy that more than he did) and the youngest “help”.  It’s not a flashy video, but I did it and we have donated as well.  I seriously did not grasp how freakishly cold that was going to be.  It takes your breath away for a moment.  If you care to watch it, you can do so HERE.  If not, that’s cool too. Just learn about it and donate if you can.  www.alsa.org

I am thinking there are a lot of subjects that our society need to know about and if pouring a bucket of cold water over their heads educates them, I say open up the faucets and go for it!

 

 

 

 

Parent Pouting Party

Parenting. Hands down one of the hardest things I have ever done. Most days are pretty good. There are minor things that come up and have to be addressed but mostly it is pretty good. The past three days have not been like this. It’s actually been extremely difficult.

Tonight my 14 year old is going on his first group “date”. I like that it’s a group situation but he is still nervous and honestly, so am I. It’s like sending out your kid into the world and hoping that all of the good lessons and manners you have been teaching him will actually stick with him. I hope he makes the right decisions and doesn’t act like a complete goob. His humor is different than most and he has a tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. This is a test for him. It should be an easy test considering I will be at the same exact place but “minding my own business” (not really but don’t tell him). I am anxious for him.

At the same time, my 4 year old has decided that this is the week he will push every single button I own. He will test me to every limit and honestly, he has succeeded. He has visited the naughty chair more times that I can count and is currently learning what “grounded” means. He has lost all TV time for the next two days. He loves TV and he is not taking to this well. The battle that is waging is stressful and I hate the tension that has overtaken our home. I don’t tolerate naughty talk, hitting, kicking, throwing, and purposefully going out of his way to be disobedient. He did every single one of these things TODAY.

It’s tough. I love these boys with my entire heart. I would give them the moon if it was the right thing to do, but it’s not. Parenting isn’t giving your kid everything they want or justifying their actions for them. It’s disciplining when they need it. It is following through on threatened punishments when an undesired action plays out. It’s feeling like crap because you spent most of the day trying your best to keep it all together and keeping calm in the midst of the storm only to explode in to a million pieces and falling apart. It’s asking for forgiveness when you do fall apart. It’s hugging your child to let them know that even though they are in trouble they are so so so very loved and wanted. It’s encouraging your oldest and letting him know that everything will be okay and that I have faith in who he is. It’s also giving him a little extra money so he can pay for the girl’s dinner if he feels compelled to.

It’s been a tough day and not one where I want to repeat any time soon. It’s one of those days where you think that a long weekend away would restore your soul. It’s one of those days where you pout all by yourself, in the bathroom with the door locked because that is as close as you are going to get to a quiet get away. It’s also one of those days where I sit back and focus on the good days that we have had. This is a cruddy day and all parents have them. As my Mom always tells me, “This too shall pass” and I know she is right, but for now… I am going to pout.

Turn it up!

I have been awake since 3:30 AM and I am currently in the stupid stage. The stage where I find everything funny and do stupid stuff. I know the crash is coming and it’s going to be awful. I’ve got peppermint & wild orange diffusing but it’s going to take a little more than that to keep me moving. I did the second best thing… I turned on my iTunes radio and found a fun station. I geekily chose the “boy band” station because I can not lie… I loved New Kids on the Block, N’sync, 98 Degrees, and I’m sure a slew of others that I can’t recall right now.

I have been dancing like a fool and cracking myself up. The looks from my oldest are priceless and my youngest is dancing along with me. I have no clue if this will make the crash worse but for now I am going to jam out to B2K (Bump Bump Bump) because… why not. Turning up music loud has been shown to lift up your mood and keep you energized. I’m hoping it works. Bedtime isn’t for another 2 1/2 hours.

Corn Flies

Write this one down folks! I am going to give you an amazing tip to help keep flies & ants away from the patio table while dining outside. Besides using TerraShield to keep mosquitos away, we found that putting eaten corn on a plate and placing it away from the table kept the flies from bothering us. The flies went nuts attacking the corn and seriously left us alone. It was awesome AND kind of gross because there were a lot of flies on the corn, but they weren’t bothering us so I won’t complain!

I am sure this could work with a lot of food, but we found they liked the corn best. It was good corn! Enjoy your next BBQ without flies bothering you. 🙂

Happy Independence Day

I hope you have an awesome day celebrating the day where America became a free country. A country that decided it was time to put the power and responsibility with the people of the country instead of just the Governement. The day we were free to practice our religion the way our heart believed, to freely speak against our government without fear of persecution, the freedom to protect ourselves from those who wish to harm us, and so many more freedoms. To me, it almost seemed like they were experimenting with common sense and it was the greatest experiment ever.

Today, it seems we have lost our identity and have messed with the Bill of Rights to the point where it’s unrecognizable. There are so many laws that honestly, it makes the Bill of Rights kind of fuzzy. What once seemed so simple and effortless has become a hot confusing and uncomfortable.

When I think of freedom of Government I must think of the freedom in Christ. Let’s be honest, our government loves power and we all know there are more laws that we can handle. We are probably breaking laws we are even unaware of because there are so many of them. They probably don’t even know what laws they have made. It’s this that makes me step back and breath a breathe of freedom. I honestly know what it’s like to feel free through Christ. When I accepted Jesus as my savior the void that was in my heart disappeared. It was as if His spirit filled it and I finally was free. God’s laws are way more simple that man’s laws. When the disciples as what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your sould, and all your mind. This the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) It doesn’t get any more simple than that. If we actually followed this law, then we wouldn’t need all the little, petty laws that contradict each other from our government.

Today I am celebrating with my family and sharing with my kids the history of our country. To keep the story and celebration alive so my kids will know what it means when we say, “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”. I am thankful over and over to those who gave their time, efforts, and ultimate sacrifice so that we may know what a free country is. They still fight today in lands where the people do not know freedom of religion, speech, security, employment, and even love. Honor the armed forces and their families. Lift them up in prayer. They are doing some ugly work in order for us to feel free in our country. Never forget this.

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There are all kinds of freedoms, but the one I lift up the most is the freedom I have in Christ. It protects me from the ugly of this world. Maybe not physically, but it protects my heart and my soul. The American soldier protects our Bill of Rights. Let’s celebrate them. Celebrate our founding fathers for having the courage to stand up against total control of the people. Let’s celebrate freedom!

Waffles are great!

Did you know have if you have a really picky eater and don’t go to the grocery store for a while, they will eventually eat something else? My youngest just wolfed down two waffles and keeps saying how great they are. It makes me not want to go to the grocery store today.

I have always heard that if they are hungry enough they will eat what you put in front of them. I am one of those who wasn’t willing to let him go hungry. Now, it wasn’t on purpose that he didn’t have his staples in the house… I just haven’t had time to get to the store. If I wasn’t responsible for feeding the others, I wouldn’t go BUT since I am the main one who feeds the family I guess I’ll need to do it.

Just thought I would share. He just asked for another waffle! WooHoo!!

Lessons learning

We all like to act from time to time that we know it all. Sometimes I will even convince myself that I am in a really good place of knowledge and wisdom. I am not suggesting that I’m the all knowing but I’m saying I get this feeling and then not long after this wonderful feeling arrives… it’s gone. I am back to the drawing board. It’s a good reminder that I am so freakishly far away from knowing much about anything (does that even make sense?).

For the past few days I have had a bit of a glimpse back at my teenage years. I have had to think back what it was like for me and how did I respond. Times were different then, obviously, but some things are still the same. As I have watched some older teenagers this week it has become evident that a lot of them seem to be unprepared to be on their own. I couldn’t wait to get out of the house after graduation and experience the freedom of life. My home life was great, my parents were great, and my life was good but I needed to be on my own. It took a while for it to happen, but when it did I made a gazillion mistakes! I also did a lot of things right because of the lessons my parents taught me.

There were things that my parents had me do while I was a teen, that at the time made me so mad, but as an adult I say Thank you! I was not given a TV in my room because I wanted one. I was not given a phone in my room because I wanted one. I had to have a job in order to pay for the gas and up keep on my first car, which was not a brand new car. It was an old car with no radio, the cloth on the ceiling was coming down, and the car shook when you hit 55 mph. It was freaking awesome! My parents making me get a job at 16 was the best thing that happened to me. It taught me the lesson of earning the things I desired (I totally bought a TV and a phone for my room…. BAM!). These are stupid little things but the point is, the lesson was learned. If I wanted it, I had to earn it.

Life obviously got tougher once I left the nest. I didn’t live in a really nice apartment with the greatest furniture (although I did have my awesome 13″ TV and telephone). I didn’t have everything handed to me… and I loved it. I have loved the experience of figuring out how to “get through this thing we call life”. Sometimes I fall but I pick myself right back up. Take note and try not to make the same mistake again.

I want my kids to know this experience. I make my oldest so mad all of the time because I challenge him a lot about having to earn the things he wants. My youngest is not coping well with the phrase, “What can we do to earn that toy you want?” because he says, “I want it so you get it.” Teaching my kids to respect their elders is so important to me. I have watched so many people think it is okay to take a seat from an older person or not offer theirs up to them that it breaks my heart. If you are young & capable… get up!

Chivalry is sleeping because so many people don’t teach it. We are working hard to to teach our boys manners, kindness, generousity, responsibility, and independence in a world that does not value these things. We have a lot to do and hope to teach it mostly by example (my husband is an awesome example of a good man).

I want to give my kids the world and every little thing they want from the stores. I want to always hold their hand and take care of things for them. I want to keep them from falling down. The biggest thing I want to give them is the gift to be able to learn from their mistakes. They may fall over and over but eventually they will get it. If I always fix it for them, they will never learn to trust themselves and become indepedent. The lesson I am learning this week is to stay on this course. It’s the harder course because you aren’t the most popular parent and you will see your kids struggle in the midst of a battle. You will also see your kids light up with pride that they figured it out and are ready to take on the next thing that comes their way. Their lessons learned are my lessons learned. And we are always learning….20140617-082839-30519964.jpg

Prefix obsessions

This is a very personal post today.  A post that I struggle to write because so many people have such emotional and warped feelings about it.  It’s a little about Adoption.  It’s about the obsession of titles for all of those involved in the triad of adoption.  It irritates me beyond measure.  A couple days ago I retweeted this

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I didn’t think anything about it.  Just retweeted it and made the comment that it’s totally true.  The reason why I bring this up is because I got a reply from a person asking if we should refer to women that give birth “birth” moms.  My thought was immediately that we don’t.  We call them Mom.  I went on to read a little more about this person and her description of herself was “I enjoy poking holes through people’s deluded beliefs.”  In short, she has nothing better to do than to stir up drama and arguments for no other reason than to be a pest.  With all of the negative people in the world, I blocked her.  Her ignorance got to me because it reminded me that there are so many ignorant people filling up life with their non sense. Regardless on how you become a Mom… you  are a Mom.  Kind of like how, regardless of how you become a part of the family… you are a part of a family.  When magazines write about Hugh Jackman’s kids or the Jolie-Pitt crew they always refer to their kids as their “adopted son” or “adopted daughter”.  These children are their children regardless how they came into their family.

I am a Mom.  I became a Mom through marriage & adoption.  My oldest is my “step”son.  I have had the honor of raising of him since he was 5 years old, when his father and I were married.  My husband has custody and for the reasons that are our own, I stepped up to the plate and filled the role of Mom in his daily life.  Four years after we were married, we welcome our youngest through adoption.  Both boys are nothing less than our sons.  They are loved, supported, and encouraged unconditionally.  I refuse for society to try to make them less because they were both adopted.  I refuse for those who are ridiculously against adoption, whatever their reason may be for it, try to tell me and countless other parents that they aren’t “real” parents because there are no genetics between them. Adoptees already struggle enough with their identity at times… society does not need to go out of their way to make it harder for them by labeling them.  N was asked one time by a classmate if he “knew who his real parents were” and his response was his own.  He said, “Yes I do.  I live with them.”  The kid was confused and said, “I thought you were adopted” and N responded, “I was, but you asked if I knew my real parents and they are my real parents.”

The prefix obsessions don’t end with adoption.  My older brother happens to be gay.  He is not my “gay” brother.  He is my brother.  I have heard people refer to him as my “gay” brother and I can’t get over the fact that he has to be labeled.  He is my brother and the only prefix I use is the  “older” part because it reminds him that he is older than me. 🙂  There are countless of other prefixes and labels we put on people and it’s not necessary.  We don’t need special titles for everyone in order to make someone else feel better or to justify a situation.  All it does it separate us even more. We are all human and all desire to be loved and accepted.  This is what I aim to do and I would hope you would do the same.  When I read the new commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples, it is pretty clear what he wants us to do.  I just struggle with why others find this so hard.

John 13:34 (NIV)

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

 Embrace it and love each other.

If I ever got a tattoo, this would be it!

If I ever got a tattoo, this would be it!

 

Be open, be honest, be kind, be considerate, be supportive,and be loving.  If you can’t be those things, then please be quiet.

 

Future Hope

Recently my husband and I were talking about all of the negative press in the world and the message it sends our kids. The message our kids hear is that the world sucks, they won’t be able to find a job, create a business, afford healthcare, have freedom of speech, they are not as smart as the rest of the world, they are spoiled, have no morals, etc… Nothing positive. Remember the saying that if you hear the bad stuff enough you will eventually believe it? Well… it’s effectively working.

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Our kids hear this in school, on the news, on the internet, and through others conversations. I admit that at some point our kids have heard us talk about the things we hear on the news. It’s never good. We stay confused about what is going on in our society, so we know our kids stay confused.

In our conversation we challenged ourselves to change the conversation. Instead of discussing the bad in this world (and there is a lot of it)… We are going to lift up the good because there is a lot of that as well. I believe there is more good than bad, we just hear about the bad ALL. THE. TIME.

This conversation change doesn’t change our discipline tactics or expectations of their behaviors, education, and overall being. It changes the direction in which their thoughts go. See, America was built on a dream and an idea. The dream doesn’t have to die and the ideas don’t have to stop just because we have had a government and media that wants us to believe we can’t do anything on our own. We can. We will.

We decided that we would speak only good and positive things around them. Not to protect them from harm but to encourage them to stay strong and have faith in the midst of the storm. So they will be able to look for the good in everything around us when most only see the bad. Our hope is that they will be a part of the solution and not the problem. Right now, they are in the same boat as everyone else. We are turning in our tickets and getting on a new boat going towards a new direction.

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Our hope is that our boys will be positively effected by this change in conversation and that a new dream will be awaken in their hearts. God created a beautiful people on this beautiful planet in this massive universe. He did not make a mistake when he created it. We aren’t going to let the wicked and negative minds of others ruin the hope for our future. We are going to lift up God’s promise and His message of light and love. We are going to give that message to our boys in hopes that they will drink it in and have that be their foundation of hopes, dreams, and ideas.

My husband and I are committed to changing the messenger. No more CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, Drudge Report, Drudge Retort, or any other news media outlet will be in our home. It’ll be a change, but it will need to be done to bring hope back.

I love the first picture above that reads, “it’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not”. They hear and then believe they are not good, and that’s not the truth. The majority of the world is good. That’s the truth. Here is to the truth and future hope!

5k Completed!

5k Completed!

My first 5K EVER was completed on April 19, 2014. It was an awesome time. There was a lot of good that came out of this day. First, my goal of running a 5K was met. Second, I beat my own time by 3 minutes. Third, I ran a lot longer than I thought I could. Fourth, I came in first for my age group (it was a small race, but I don’t care… I WON). Fifth, I realized that my fear and hesitation is what keeps me from actually doing something I want to do. I changed my thoughts and became a person who enjoys doing 5K’s! Last, I grew in my church as an active member and got to know some really cool people in the process. The Run for God program ROCKED it!