Today is Thanksgiving. A day to remember what and, more importantly, who we’re thankful for. A day to watch Santa welcome in Christmas alongside giant balloons and Broadway dancers in New York city. A day to gorge ourselves into a turkey-induced sleep coma. All of which I will take part in.
One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how my kids have started to make their own memories. Audrey loves to wake up early and watch the parade with me. She never eats breakfast because she wants to have that much more room in her belly for turkey and mashed potatoes. Austen will sleep in, but will be 100% focused on family and potatoes once he is awake. Autumn has already placed her hot chocolate order so she can sip along with me on the couch before everyone else is up.
My kids have great relationships and friendships with each other. Of course they have their moments where they fight, disagree, argue. In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s the norm. It’s not, but when they’re all at each other, because they out number us parents 2 to 1, it’s a lot. But at the end of the day they love each other and know how to show it. In fact, they have started telling each other “I love you.”
I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I NEVER said that to my siblings. Of course I loved them. I still do. But the fighting between me and my younger sister was more present than it wasn’t. I remember my mom sometimes crying over us because we fought so much. I never would’ve imagined how my relationship with my sister would turn out as it has.
Michelle, my two-year younger sister, is now one of my best friends. She loves my kids the way I love my kids. She supports me, loves me, and is always available if I need her. Michelle has a lot going on in her own life. She is a single mom of two kids and works in the legal department for one of the countries largest companies. She is strong, courageous, brave, and someone I would put on a pedestal. Yes, my sister IS better than your sister.
Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006
But what I love most about my sister is that she is my sister. We will always have each other and for that I am thankful. We’ve gone through a lot together in the last few years, but we have a stronger relationship, friendship, than I could have ever dreamed. Michelle, I want you to know just how much I love you and how much I cherish our friendship. This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!
I did a craft! Notice the excitement in my tone? That’s right, I, the most unsuccessful, least crafty mom you will ever meet, did a craft! AND, not just one craft, but 3!
Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most mommies. In fact, it’s pretty common within the mommy-community. But like I said before, I have never been your typical SAHM mom. Even when I was a SAHM with just two kids, the most I ever did was decorate cookies, and they were usually the Pillsbury ones that are already cut out with the frosting that looks like toothpaste (I cringe as I actually admit to that). And I’m pretty genetically inclined to be crafty. My mom was the macrame queen (yes, I grew up in the 70’s) and my sister could scrapbook and sew dresses in her sleep.
Being the not-so-crafty-mom, I learned a few lessons today:
1. It’s OK if you don’t get it right the first time. Just like anything there is a learning curve. While some things come very easy to me (I can cook up a gourmet meal like nobody’s business using only ingredients that I have on-hand and never need a recipe), it is just fine if I struggle with a few things here and there.
2. I am creative. Maybe I’m not the mom the creates the fun things that go on Pinterest, but I can adapt anything to fit my personality and lifestyle. And that still makes me feel like I have a teeny-tiny creative bone within me.
3. I’m not, have never been, or ever will be the mom who can make a memory book, darn a sock, til the garden, and make a pot roast from scratch all before the kids get home from school. Working outside the home gives me a little more of an excuse, but even when I was a SAHM, I didn’t do those things. I’ve learned to accept it and focus on my positive mommy/wifey skills. Besides, I can wear 3″ heels to a field trip and still keep up with twenty 12-year-olds with no problem!
These are the Valentines that Autumn chose to make for her class party.
What are your strengths? What can you do better than anyone you know? Focus on those and be happy with what you do and are! And maybe in the midst of it, try something new. You never know what you can accomplish, even if you think you’d never be “that girl.”
Posted in Family, Holidays, Kids, Parenting, Uncategorized
Tagged bake, cook, craft, garden, mom, mommy, scrapbook, sew, shoes, sister, strengths, weaknesses
I’m sure our family is like most families. Our kids get along great at times and not so great at other times. Sometimes it feels like the not so great out-weighs the great. Especially during the summer when we’re all together all the time. So what does a parent do to maintain peace in the house?
Autumn, Audrey, and Austen all snuggled up in 2008 right after August was born.
Last year my children’s pastor husband came up with a great idea. We call it the honor chart. They each earn points during the day for either being honorable or dishonorable. The goal is not for them to treat each other with “normalcy,” but with honor. There are a number of ways that they can earn honor marks. Offering to do someone’s chore. Offering to help one of the younger kids with something. Doing something cheerfully and right away when they are asked by an adult. If they get 5 honor marks in a day then they earn something the next day. My favorite was when my 10-year-old, Austen, wanted to use his honor marks by snuggling with my for 30 minutes before bed. But it usually has something to do with extra X-box time or an extra TV show (they only get a 1/2 hour of each).
On the flip side, they can also earn dishonor marks. This happens, obviously, if they are dishonorable to each other. Arguing, yelling, short tempers. If they earn 5 dishonor marks in a day, then they lose something the next day.
The goal is for them to earn 5 honor marks each day for a week for an ultimate prize. So far only one of them has earned this all summer. Austen chose to use his honor week by going to Shnoo yogurt with his dad. Of course, Duane didn’t mind either.
Here’s what we’ve found by using an honor chart: they will go above and beyond being nice and decent to each other. They are happy to show honor to one another and to us. We originally started doing this for the older 3 kids (5 1/2, 10 1/2, and 12), but August (2 1/2) has joined the honor bandwagon, too! If he is helpful with his brother and sisters he gets an honor mark. But the best thing about that is watching him react when he finds out he earned one. Jumping, clapping, and cheering are among his rituals for behaving more than kindly to his siblings.
I guess the big idea is that we want our children to be more than nice to each other, to their friends, and to us. Treat each other with honor and your rewards are more than Shnoo. More than game time. The rewards are peace and harmony in the house all based on biblical teachings. Good habits are starting to be realized which brings joy to this mommy’s heart. And that is the best reward for me!