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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Goodbye 12, Hello Lucky 13!

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{That’s us, last week, in front of the signal mirror from the deck of the USS Enterprise, on display at our second* favorite museum, The National Naval Aviation Musuem (check it out here) It’s not the most flattering photo, I know, but Mike’s dad was a Commander on this vessel, so it’s both meaningful and FUN!}

Okay. It’s New Year’s Eve.

Sigh.

It’s all the rage to stop briefly on December 31st and ponder the year that’s ending. To stop and consider what went well, what sucked and how much we have changed – for better or worse. I used to love to think back on all the New Year’s Eves passed and compare: Where was I living? What kind of work was I doing? And in the years before Mike, who was I dating? (Sometimes these changes were monumental!)

But after 13 years of marriage and the addition of two kids the years now seem a muddled mess. Same house, same “job”, same unresolved resolutions. Really only the kids change now. I can’t believe this is Emily’s 9th NYE and David’s 6th. They are both old enough to kinda start understanding the idea of what a calendar year is and why we celebrate tonight’s rollover. Of course, they really don’t fully grasp the concept of time yet. And rightfully so… They just get up, eat, play, eat, make a mess, eat, bathe and sleep. (Nice work if you can get it, huh?)

But this year I want to do more with them in regard to looking back, being thankful, learning lessons and making plans to do better in the new year.

My years may seem like repetitive patterns, but theirs are just beginning to show remarkable personal changes every 12 months. The ever-expanding vocabulary, new interests, new friendships, old familiar friendships, and deeper memories!

Here’s part of my plan:

Over the next 30 days my kids, Mike, and I are taking the SendOutCards 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. Sending a card a day, for 30 days, to someone for whom we are grateful… teachers, friends, business associates, the guy who makes my latte, the folks at Publix… It’s a beautiful way to start a new year, don’t you think? If you’d like to take the challenge with us, click here or visit my website here. I think you’ll find that it’s a true win-win situation, as YOU gain immensely from showing gratitude (and only spend 62¢-a-day to do it!)

I believe the kids will learn to look at the people in their lives in a new way, by really examining the intangible gifts we receive on a daily basis, both big and small.

I sincerely hope your New Year’s Eve celebrations are joyful and safe and that your fresh start in 2013 is just the springboard you need to reach your dreams!

Happy New Year!

Lela

*Our favorite museum is our local gem, The South Florida Museum. Click here to check it out!

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Waxing Philosophical

 

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Sometimes Being a Parent is HARD. Period.

Okay, I debated it.

Hubby and I discussed it.

I sought council from friends, family, clergy, psychologists, et. al.

Then I did it.

I spoke to my children this morning before school about the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

I didn’t use gory language. I didn’t focus on the madman. I didn’t use the words shot, shoot, kill or gun. I simply told them that something sad had occurred on Friday. That a man was upset and made a poor choice when he hurt some people, including some kids their age.

I explained that kids at school might be talking about it or they may overhear teachers talking… [In fact, I wasn’t sure if the Principal might say something on the morning announcements (God forbid).] I told them I wanted them to hear it from ME.

First, I assured them they were safe. I assured them that the teachers and staff at their school knew exactly what to do. I told them these types of things have happened throughout history, but they are very, very rare, which is part of what makes them even more sad. I told them again they were safe and very much loved.

Then I shut up.

And the questions started:

“Is the bad man in jail?”
“Did people die?”
“How did they die?”

It was not a fun conversation. It’s not one a parent dreams of ever having with their brood. But, I must say, I loved their thoughtfulness and their eagerness to ask questions. And their questions were completely appropriate, which kind of surprised me, although it probably shouldn’t have.

We focused on the heroes of the day: The school’s principal, teachers, the community’s first responders, the doctors.

I kept reiterating that they were safe and they were loved and that God was in control and to be trusted… No matter how crazy it all may seem.

I advised them, if a kid starts talking about it at school, for them to hold up their hand (in a STOP sign) and say, “I’d rather not talk about that.” Now, will that happen? I doubt it. I was a kid once, I know how much – even now – I enjoy discussing stuff like this. It’s sensational. It’s bizarre. It’s exciting, especially to a child. But I am hoping they can muffle the ‘noise’ on the playground or the lunch table and help squash the gossipy mess that spills out of kids’ mouths.

So, as I go about my daily work I can’t help but wonder what the conversation will be like in the car after school.

I hope this tragedy doesn’t come up.

But, if it does, at least I know I was the one who told them first and not some smart-mouthed kid who has been allowed to watch CNN all weekend and has all the gory details memorized. That was my greatest fear. I grappled with not saying a word. But I know it can happen. Some boy told my girl IN KINDERGARTEN what sex was – in his own graphic, yet amazingly accurate way. She luckily thought it was gross and went on about her business, but to think of her hearing about this from that same child sends chills down my spine.

Why is parenting so hard? Because we know crazy and evil exist. The kids see some in movies and books, but this is very much real and they need to know it, yet not fear it. Walking the fine line between equipping our children to cope and protecting their innocence is what makes it so difficult. At least for me.

I would love your feedback on this. What did you decide to do in regard to this subject? Do you find this kind of parenting thing hard? If not, how/why? What’s your secret? We all have our own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to parenting… I’d love to hear some thoughts on this.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Waxing Philosophical

 

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Finding Time at Christmas Time

And the award for most creative use of a Santa costume goes to...

And the award for most creative use of a Santa costume goes to…

I can’t believe my last post was over two months ago… yet, thinking back on the last two months and ALL that has transpired in our busy lives, it doesn’t come as a big surprise, really.

Time is my greatest adversary. We fight constantly. Every day. I never claimed to be an excellent manager of time. In fact, I can’t recall who said it, but I once heard someone say (and I readily agreed) that one can’t actually manage time. One can, however, manage oneself  Either way, at the end of the day, my to-be-done list still looms large in my brain and keeps me from getting a good start on that thing called sleep. Which, in the time BC (Before Children) was never an issue. Now, though, I often lay there ticking off the things I need to add to the next day’s ever-growing list because I failed to complete them today (or yesterday, or the day before, as the case may be).

Oh well.

I envy people who are singularly focused. You know the types? The people who can focus on one thing and one thing only, with such laser-like focus that the thing gets done beautifully, gracefully and with oodles of style. These people make it look easy. Why? Because they can focus on the one thing.Easy, right? They aren’t trying to do all sorts of things all at once. They don’t have a myriad of interests and find themselves overwhelmed by all of their extracurricular hobbies. I am not singularly focused. I can’t even imagine having one passion. Therefore, I must accept overwhelm as a way of life. Or try to combat it.

Combat it. Hmmmmmm.

Did I tell you that back in September, I started to weed out the things in my life that weren’t serving me? I was completely overwhelmed, under-motivated and just plain worn out. I stopped going to meetings that seemed like time-wasters. I started saying NO to some things (which is hard for me). It was actually quite liberating… at least for a moment.

Just when I took my first clarifying, deep breath of freedom, I took on a Girl Scout troop.

Yes. The story of my life. While trying simplify things, I throw it all into a magnificent tailspin.

I didn’t take on an existing troop. No, that would have been much easier. No, I drummed up a co-leader and spread the word. I went through all the training. Did all the paper work and background screening. I planned a weekly meeting place, a time, activities, an Investiture Ceremony – all with ZERO start-up cash. (Note to self: seek sponsors next time.) I now proudly boast having 18 amazing young ladies in grades K-2 who look adorable in their little uniforms and run up to me in the school halls, excited for the day’s adventure.

I joke that the Girl Scout recruiter told me it was easy to be a Girl Scout Leader while handing me a 3″ binder stuffed with all the Rules & Regs. Yep. It ain’t easy. It’s a time-consuming, red-tape laden, legally absurd set of hoops to jump through. But it is rewarding. Sound like a cliché? Of course, but it’s true. To see the girls’ eyes light up when they see me, to watch them enjoy an activity together, it really is wonderful. I had a mom tell me that her daughter just loves coming to Girl Scouts. She loves it so much so that she is even willing to live with her grandparents while mom moves an hour away for a job. Hearing that made me realize it was all worthwhile. I honestly believe I’m making a difference. My girl even told me she was happy that I was the Girl Scout Leader! Uh-huh. That’ll tug at the ole heart-strings. {I’ll write more on this some other day… Girl Scouting has come through 100 years and although so much of it has changed, the core values are still very much there and so what our girls need now more than ever. It’s truly another topic for another day…}

Aside from school and Girl Scouts, since October we have been on a road trip to “luxury” camp with my parents at the beach, been to a Civil War battle reenactment where we actually dressed the part and stayed in the camp (boy, the smell of a wood campfire sticks to EVERYTHING), we celebrated three birthdays, Thanksgiving, and our 13th Wedding Anniversary! Add to the mix all the school functions, minor illnesses and a fun trip to a dear friend’s farm & art studio and it’s no wonder I hadn’t spent much time in front of the computer tippy-tapping.

So, tonight I just wanted to say hello. To let you know I was still here. Still kicking. Still trying to do it all. Still not finding enough time in the day to complete The List.

To make matters worse (albeit far more festive):

Christmas is upon us. One week away, actually.

This next week is so jam-packed with holiday parties, cookie exchanges, caroling, gift-wrapping, trip-planning, excitement-building, cocoa-sipping, light-gawking… It’s gonna be crazy!

And fun.

I hope you and your family enjoy every minute of it. I know we will. And if time gets away from us… we’ll just add it to tomorrow’s list!

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Just Because

 

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