Too Cheap to Have Fun?

Posted 02-19-2012 at 08:45 AM by Krista

As I have mentioned before in previous posts, my husband and I grew up very differently. My parents had two girls and both of them worked. It seemed like there was never enough money to go around. We skimped by keeping the air conditioner off in the summer and the heater off during the winter.

My husband was an only child off a well-off family. For a long time the concept of not having designer clothes and the newest hot toy was foreign to him. He has seen the entire United States as his parents traveled frequently as was in many extra-curricular activities. The idea that our own kids might not have such things bothers him.

He often accuses me of being too cheap, and while I usually shrug the accusation off I have recently began to wonder if he’s right. The reason for this is that sometimes I miss out on the fun of something just to save a buck. But allow me to elaborate. Recently, his mother offered to buy our daughter a Halloween costume, and thinking of saving the money, I readily agreed. This really disappointed my husband, who had been looking forward to helping her pick out her costume.

Another example is that I buy all our Christmas presents year-round, so by August I am finished. This has always worked out fine, but now that we have children J gets disappointed by this practice. He doesn’t think as far

Diaper Swapers

Talking to Your Kids About Death

Posted 02-18-2012 at 07:30 AM by Krista

We were babysitting our nephew awhile back when he told me that he wanted to die. He was four, for God’s sake! I don’t think I’d ever been more shocked up to that moment. I told my husband, who talked to him about it. We weren’t sure where it was coming from, and he couldn’t articulate it. We weren’t even sure how much he understood about death, so my husband tried to explain it in terms he would grasp. He actually did a little experiment.

My nephew loved power rangers at that age. They were his prized possessions, so much so that he had brought a few along with him for his stay at our house. My husband took him to the backyard and had a burial ceremony for one of his beloved power rangers. My nephew apparently thought it was great, because he wanted to dig him up and reenact it, but J told him that the power ranger was dead. He couldn’t bring him back up, he couldn’t play with him anymore. That was what it meant to be dead.

I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do, but as adults we can only try our hardest and hope that we don’t make any major mistakes. Only time will tell in the end. Now we have kids of our own, and as my girls get older I have begun to think of this and wonder what the right way to talk to them about death—when the time comes—is. We have a dog, and two cats. Sometimes I idly wonder how the children will deal with their deaths, followed by quick prayers that they live for a long, long time.

Parenting: You Are Doing It, Right?

Posted 02-17-2012 at 11:41 AM by HollyRay

The past two days I’ve had the same video shown to me via e-mail, facebook, and reddit at least a dozen times, and I just feel the need to voice my opinion. In this particular video a father shoots his daughter’s laptop because she posted something on facebook and sounded particularly spiteful and ungrateful. This blog isn’t my arguement for the daughter or the father, but more of a “really?”.

Many parents have posted various “punishments” online, often generating a following on social networking sites where other parents applaud there parenting valor. When I have turned to other mothers to help me with issues of rebellion I have been told to spank, put in time out, or generally lay down the law in some brute like fashion. There are times when “laying down the law” is a necessary action, but before we continually go down the “I’m the parent, your the child route” we may need to rethink the parent-child relationship.

As a teenager I often felt unappreciated as a member of the family, I would do chores only to be told that what I did wasn’t enough. I would try to talk to my parents about my life and such, only to be pushed away because they were busy, then later told I needed to stay at home for family time because I never opened up and shared my life with them. My homework wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t as clean or pretty as my sister, I was too much like one parent which irritated the other, I was okay at a lot of things but I wasn’t great at anything. I’m sure that many teenagers have felt or feel this way, just as I am sure that my parents felt that I didn’t do enough and never talked to them, but perception is in the eye of the beholder and reality and perception are two different things.

Preschool Anxiety

Posted 02-17-2012 at 11:33 AM by Krista

My oldest daughter will turn three in a matter of weeks. My husband and I have decided that in the coming August she will begin pre-school. It has been decided for awhile, so I was surprised when I couldn’t stop thinking about it last night. I was overcome with how deeply it saddened my heart. Before, I always laughed at mothers who cried when they dropped their kids off for their first day of school. I thought it was silly and overly sentimental. What a fool I was to think I wouldn’t count myself among mothers that mourned the passing of time.

I lay awake half the night and tossed and turned, asking myself the same question over and over. Did she really have to go to school next year? I mean, August feels so close! When my husband woke up at six for work I found myself awake with him. I asked him the question that had been plaguing me.

“No, she doesn’t,” he said, but my heart didn’t feel any lighter. “But I think it’s what’s best for her.”

And that’s why I had been struggling: I know she doesn’t have to go to school next year, but she should. She needs the

Expressing Love

Posted 02-16-2012 at 03:38 PM by whitneywalters

My husband and I grew up in very different homes. My parents are very emotional people, I saw my parents kissing, holding hands and being lovey towards each other for as long as I can remember. My Dad would bring my mom flowers for no reason, they went on dates and I really thought all married people acted that way for a long time. My husband’s parents are the polar opposite. My husband told me he has never seen them hold hands, can count on one hand the times he has seen them kiss and they have not even slept in the same bed since he was a child. He was down right shocked when they danced together at our wedding.

Now that we are married and have four young kids of our own we want to make sure that we are giving our kids a good example of a healthy and happy marriage. I do have to say I am lucky, my husband I do not really argue about much, we get a long really well and I am still as madly in love with him now as I was when we got married in 2005. Adding kids to our family has changed our relationship but for the better. I think we understand each other more now and have more respect for each other.

Friends For Life

Posted 02-16-2012 at 09:19 AM by Krista

Some days are just one of those days. You can’t find your keys. You’re late for work. You spilled coffee on your blouse and have to change. There are one hundred and five messages on the phone, all of which are urgent.

You get the point. Today was on the verge of being one of those kind of days. I had a few errands to run and the kids were getting restless. I bought each of my girls a little toy (which are seventy five percent off right now. Score!) and despite that, of course my oldest has to have a meltdown in the checkout line. Come on, you’ve had those moments. Right? Right?!?!

Here she is, screaming and kicking on the floor in front of a packed line of people. Great. I told her to get up, and got the kids in the car and back home without further incident. I can feel my temper flaring, and as we pull into the driveway I know I am annoyed. I get the girls out of the car, barely paying attention as my youngest waddles over to where her sister is standing. Then Alison takes the hand of her sister and they walk off together like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

My heart melted. The black cloud lifted, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I have never seen them do it before, but they acted like they’d had a lot of practice. Ali even stopped a few times when walking over the more difficult terrain (stepping stones) so that her little sis could get her footing. Don’t you love the power your children have to utterly amaze you? To lift your spirits?

Parenting Your Parents

Posted 02-15-2012 at 09:17 AM by Krista

Currently, my parents are both in moderately good health of the body and mind. I am aware that this could change at any time. My cousin, who is about two decades older than me, is dealing with a mother with Alzheimer’s and she is having a very hard time.

The terrible disease runs in my family, on my mother’s side. I was young when it took hold of my great-grandmother. For as long as I can remember, she seemed like a sort of joke to me. I was a child, and she acted like a child. One minute, she would play with us, and the next she would be telling us to stop acting so foolish. It felt strange to my six year old self. I am ashamed to admit that we (my sister and I) played a practical joke on her from time to time. She died when I was ten.

Now, my great-aunt, who I have many more memories of, has succumbed to the disease her mother once had. She is the youngest of my aunts, and to see her…it is hard to describe. It reminds me that the world is a fleeting thing, and that one day we will all realize how fallible our minds and bodies are.

My own mother makes references to it from time to time. She will see an elderly man walking with the support of a cane, and she will turn to me and say, “That might be me one day.”

An Ode to the Best Present Ever: My Nikon 1

Posted 02-13-2012 at 11:15 AM by Krista

As I wrote recently, my camera has been out of commission for a grand total of three weeks now. That is a long time to go without taking pictures for someone like me! I am a big believer in capturing the moment—much to the chagrin of my friends and family. I have gotten many wonderful shots over the years that the subjects would rather not have been captured.

In any event, I have been going crazy while waiting for my Olympus to get fixed. At first it wasn’t a huge deal because I preferred my Mother-in-Law’s Nikon, anyway, and borrowed it often. It captured pictures faster and with a higher quality than any camera I’d ever owned. With kids, you need something with fast shutter speed! However, the high price tag that such cameras carry have always forced me to look elsewhere.

My husband had been talking to me about a new Nikon on the market that was supposed to be just as fast as the other models, but in a more compact size. He thought this might interest me as the one complaint I had about my Mother-in-Law’s was the huge size. I rarely took it out for lack of place to put it! While I was intrigued with the idea of owning a Nikon, I had one to use and my camera would be fixed soon.

Not three days after my camera had been shipped off to be fixed the borrowed Nikon stopped working. I turned it on, took some shots as usual, and then switched it off. The next time I went to use it, it simply wouldn’t take pictures. Period. Nothing I did made a bit of difference. It has been returned to my in-laws, and neither of them have been able to get it to work, either. So began my forced vacation from photography.

Balancing Act

Posted 02-13-2012 at 09:43 AM by whitneywalters

My husband lost his job last summer shortly after the birth of our fourth child and to help out with the bills I have been working part time.  I feel like my life has become a balancing act and everything is one tiny amount from tipping and crashing down around me. This being said it is time to make some changes that are going to make my life simpler and more balanced.

Being a mother of four, working part time and still trying to do everything I did when I was a stay at home mom with only three kids is not only exhausting it is impossible. Now that I have finally come to realize this I am doing some things to make it easier on myself.

1. Meal planning
- I was already meal planning our dinners but now I am meal planning our lunches and most of our snacks. It not only makes it easier to know what I am cooking each day but it makes grocery shopping easier also since I know what I need for a full week.

2. Sharing cooking
- I am having my husband cook two lunches a week. This frees up some of my time before I go to work to do a few others things I need to do. My husband is not the best cook in the world so those are the days I plan easy meals like grilled cheese or left overs.

The Gift of Time

Posted 02-13-2012 at 09:19 AM by Krista

More and more I realize that there is something I used to take for granted before I had children: free time. During the holiday season my in-laws, who are both in the education field have time off and volunteer to watch the kids for a little while. They were gone a blissful thirty-six hours while I read, soaked in the tub, watched TV and did little to no housework! Of course, without kids around the housework doesn’t seem to pile up as much. Hmm, I wonder why?!

I felt guilty for enjoying myself so much, but a woman’s gotta make time for herself, right? Even the best moms need a break. J and I exchanged gifts with close friends tonight. We got them Family Guy glasses and a Thomas Kincaid mug with hot tea and cookies. The gift they gave us could not be wrapped, our friend explained, because it was just that awesome. We laughed when she said it until she revealed the gift she had in mind for us: two tickets to see a play, a dinner date, and they would watch our children.