Quality vs. Quantity

Every year at this time I remember how appalled I am by the commercialism of Christmas and how the true meaning of Christmas has been lost in this Country. While I am all for presents and making a child’s Christmas memorable, I am also all for creating those memories for doing things with family and friends vs. giving stuff.

I am the first to admit my son is spoiled and wants for little, however, I think we have done a fairly good job at making him appreciative of what he has gotten. Most of the things he has he has had to earn, which in itself is backfiring but that is another story! Having just finished Christmas though I realized we have hit a breaking point. This will be the year of quality NOT quantity.

At our house we do pretty good and limiting the amount of stuff we give. It is hard since we are sale shoppers and can buy more “stuff” with our budget, but walking into my mother-in-laws house on Christmas reminds me how appalling I find the gift giving part of Christmas. While I love my mother-in-law and know in her mind she is showing her love and affection by giving stuff, I do wish she would pick three or four thoughtful gifts that we would all enjoy and then donate everything else to Toys for Tots or the Salvation Army.

All these gifts leads to our issue this Christmas, appreciation. I find it difficult to teach my son to be appreciative of gifts that take him hours to open and he is still looking for the “gift” he asked for. While my husband was so frustrated on Christmas with his attitude I was sad. Not sad by the way he was acting but sad by the situation. My son would say thank you for each gift but would then move right on to the next one. At six he was not interested in the clothes and was only looking for Star Wars toys and Lego’s, the things he asked for.

This leads to my goal for 2013. Quality NOT quantity. While I am not sure I can change my mother-in-law and her giving ways, I am hoping to encourage her to give her grandchildren the gift of time and spend her money doing something with them and getting them the one or two things they want rather than just buying them stuff to buy them stuff. And even though I cannot change other people, I will be changing the way Seth and I give gifts to not only our son but all family members and close friends. This is the year of creating memories through activities not through giving Barbie’s, Lego’s and match box cars.

Please consider changing your family giving ways to activities and not stuff.

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Don’t Judge

As most of you know, kid don’t come with manual when they are born. There are hundreds of books written about how to raise your children, but really unless you live with that child you don’t have a clue!

I will admit that I used to judge parenting based on a kids behavior. And while I still think that some behavior is definetely related to parenting, some behavior is just who the kid is. I have become much more understanding and nonjudgemental the past two years about other people’s parenting as I have become more aware of mine and how people might judge me.

Not everyone agrees with me but one battle I don’t fight is food. I refuse to force my son to eat anything (although he has to try it). I also don’t require an empty plate. I have had food issue personally for as long as I can remember and I am not going to pass that on to my child. Yes I still fix seperate meals, yes my child has to use one utensil for each food item and yes at some meals he has multiple plates.

Some people give me a hard time that he is so stuck on brands of food and how he eats. However, that is just who he is. It is nothing I did or didn’t do. He ate all kinds of food as a baby and toddler but once he hit three he became dead set on eating the same thing, the same way. It is just his personality. I can spend my day fighting it or jut embrace that is who he is.

I will admit it drives my friends nuts that he won’t eat peanut butter at their house if it is not he same brand, or drink their boxed apple juice because it doesn’t look right, but sorry that is what it is.

It is not a taste thing for him, it is purely visual. How do I know this? Becuase I am the mother that has been refilling the same syrup bottle for years.

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For those wondering, he did try it in the Golden Griddle bottle and claimed it was too sweet and not the same as Aunt Jemima. However, once it came out of the “right” bottle breakfast was eaten!

People may judge my parenting but until you have spent hours, days, and weeks with my son don’t judge me.

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Squirrel Houses

 

Before we went camping a few weeks ago I looked on pintrest to find some activity ideas to keep 3 boys age 4-6 and 3 girls, 3 and 10 happy, quiet and content so the parents could chat! All over pintrest were fairy houses, which while cute were definitely not what boys were going to create.

It didn’t take me long to realize the boys could build squirrel houses and what a hit it was. The boys spent hours building squirrel houses, they made rooms, decks, roofs and even provided food for bedtime snacks.

This was such a great idea I will be doing it again with the kids next time we camp with friends.

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Crayon Rocks While Camping

All over Pintrest and Google there are blogs and website that talk about drawing on hot rocks with crayons and watching the wax from the crayons melt. The blogs I found all talked about putting them in your oven. However, I thought this would be a great activity to do while camping. Not only can kid’s collect the rocks on hikes, etc. It gives them something to do at night while the adults are sitting around the camp fire.

Simon loves collecting rocks, so I knew it would be easy to get him to buy into this project. He bought into it so much so I have a huge bucket of rocks for next time! He also had to heat rocks and color them every time we built a campfire.

Not only do you need rocks, you also need something to pull the rocks out from the fire with (I used tongs) and crayons!

Here is Simon coloring his rocks:

Daddy even joined in the fun too:

And all the rocks we colored!

 

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Unanswered Prayers

I am sure you are probably singing the Garth Brooks song “Unanswered Prayers” in your head right now! I remember this song in high school and it has definitely been my mantra over the years. However, it was not until this weekend that I fully understood the words “Unanswered Prayers”.

I know I am not the only parent who when you are pregnant wish for certain characteristics for your child or for your child not to inherit certain characteristics of yours! My list was rather long of traits I did not wish to pass on to my child. I am very aware of my flaws such as: talk before I think, talk too much, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, issues with food, quick-tempered and the list goes on.

After months of carrying a baby inside me and finally meeting my son August 30, 2006, I was sure he was too perfect to have any negative characteristics. However, as the next almost 6 years have evolved my son has inherited every one of the traits I begged God to not give to my son. I have also spent the past almost 6 years wondering why me and what had I done in a prior life to deserve a son who had so many of the traits that I despise in myself.

I have been praying, wondering, reading, begging and asking God why. Why was I not a good enough person to get the “perfect” child? Now I know you are saying there is no such thing as a perfect child. However, I thought with the right parenting a child could be calm, reasoning, emotionally stable, etc. Yes I am naive!

However, this weekend I finally had my “ah-ha” moment!

A friend who I have admired for a number of years for her creativity, strength and belief system writes a blog that is inspiring. A few weeks ago she wrote about “listening” and how we need to spend more time “listening”.

This leads me to my weekend. While we were camping at Round Lake in northern Idaho I finally Heard God.  I stopped talking, begging, praying and just listened. Really listened to what God and my family was trying to tell me.

I finally really understood why Simon was the way he was. God gave my weakest traits to my son so I could see from another perspective how my weaknesses affects those around me and myself.

Now that I have listened and heard what I need to do, I promise to God, myself, my family and my friends that I will be the person I was born to be 36 years ago and trust God to help me get there. I know it will not be an easy road to change the aspects of my life that have tormented me for most of my life, but with help and prayer I can be the person I was meant to be.

 

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Clay Volcano

What boy or girl for that matter does not like watching stuff foam, run, explode? We have made a “volcano” in a test tube before but I thought it would be fun to make a volcano out of clay and then create lava.

We started with an empty yogurt container and red and white clay from JoAnne’s.

The first day we wrapped the container with the clay and then it had to dry for 72 hours (which was a good lesson in patience for Simon!).

After our volcano was complete:

 

we took it outside to set it off. We used a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. I could not find an exact recipe as our container was larger than most of the containers on-line. I filled the container about 1/4 fill of vinegar and then we poured in baking soda to get the desired result. I also added some red koolaide to make it look more like fire.

Here is how it looked with approximately 4 T of baking soda:

 And here is after I just kept pouring!

I read on-line you can also create lava  with diet coke/pepsi and Mento’s and also using salt. We plan on trying them all out this summer to see which method creates the most lava flow.

 

 

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Creepy Crawly Exlporing

If you had told me six years ago that I would be digging through dirt looking for bugs to collect I would have told you “no way”! However, that is exactly what we did today.

Simon has a great safari vest, as he calls it, complete with everything you would need to catch bugs. Today we put it on and explored my flower beds to see what cool bugs we could collect to make his own habitat.

Within 10 minutes he had collected enough bugs to satisfy him. We collected some ants, spiders and other creepy crawly that we still have to look up what they are!

Digging through the rocks also led to a discussion on how rocks were formed and what all the different types of rocks are, so tonight I will do some research so tomorrow we can learn all about rocks!

 

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