If You Need A Laugh

It just seems like I can’t get it together these days.

I needed a laugh.

This is funny, yet true…especially about sending our kids to a third world country.

We just have to laugh about it sometimes.

Have a beautiful day,

Dealing with the Election Aftermath in Your Family

What now?

For those of us who did vote for Mitt Romney and are struggling over the outcome of this election what do we do now?

First of all, I’m here to say that it is completely okay and healthy to have some grieving time.  Months have been devoted to this election.  It would be difficult to just keep on going without showing emotion and dealing with those emotions.

This election has been a family affair.  We have discussed topics for months now.  My kids stayed up with us last night {well, 1 actually fell asleep} as we watched the results.  My kids witnessed the tears streaming down my face.  That is perfectly okay.  It is within the realm of ‘normal’ to be disappointed {there’s that word again} and we don’t need to hide our emotions from our kids.  If we hide our emotions we are teaching our children to hide theirs.  Don’t we want to know when something is bothering our children?  We should support and comfort one another in our families.

This brings me to what I want us to remember and ponder on.  Our kids are watching us.  They need to know we can make it through this disappointment.  The worst thing we can do as parents is belittle or talk badly about our current president or those who voted for him.  Doing this breeds a future generation of hate.

This goes for those of you who did vote to keep our current president…don’t say things like “In your face sucker, we won!” {hopefully you wouldn’t ;)}  Belittling in any way does not help either side.  Show some consideration for those of us who did not share a victory.  We are sad.

Pointers for Parent’s and Adults

  1. Don’t talk badly of those who wanted to keep our current president
  2. Let your kids talk about how they are feeling.  Tell them it is okay to feel sad.
  3. Don’t hide your own feelings.  If you are angry, go yell into a pillow with the door shut.  Don’t take your anger out on those you love.
  4. Pray as a family for our country’s leaders.
  5. Continue to teach your children about values and the importance of being a shining example to others.

Last but not least, I think Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan with their families deserve a well needed vacation!

Our kids are watching us,

When Smart Keys Go Dumb

It’s all about the technology these days.

But what about when technology fails you?

I’m writing this as a warning and a heads up…this might happen to you if you have a vehicle with a smart key.

The hubster & I both have cars now that use smart keys.  I think most people are familiar with smart keys, but in case you are not, a smart key is a keyless remote provided in some new cars.  This means you do not have a normal key to start your car.  Instead, you are given what looks like in the above photo.  It’s basically a remote control.  As long as you have the smart key in your purse or pocket, put your foot on the brake pedal and push the start button, the car will start.

At least that is what is supposed to happen.

Up until Friday, this is how I started my car.

Friday I received a message from my car on the panel saying “smart key not found.”  I called hubby to bring his smart key thinking maybe I wore out the battery in my smart key {from my 7 month old vehicle.}  Anything is possible, right?  Guess what…his smart key invoked the very same message, “smart key not found.”  You know what this means?  It means I can not drive my car.  Nope!  My smart keys were no longer SMART!

I’m not going to mention how this ruined my whole weekend.  Roadside assistance came to tow my relatively new, unharmed {not in an accident} vehicle to the nearest dealership which is 2 hours away.  I am very grateful this did not happen when we were on vacation.

It is Tuesday and I still don’t have my vehicle.  Not sure about these smart keys anymore.  Somehow the vehicle no longer recognized my smart key.

DH always likes to surf the net and see if anyone else has experienced what we have.  Thinking of our new car history, we have a horrible knack of having highly unusual things happen to our cars.  It’s pretty infuriating as we buy new vehicles in order to NOT have to deal with car trouble.  {Guess Murphy’s law continues to prevail.}  Anyway, so we found this video which pretty much shows what happened to us, yet we were not able to drive the car like he was.  It is very informative, especially if this happens to you in the future.  If you have a smart key, it might be worth your time to watch this. {Parent’s: before allowing kids to watch with you, I might consider this video PG for language…he uses a few bad words.}


Honestly, this guy cracks me up. I really like how he mentions repeatedly he’s glad this didn’t happen to his wife.  He is a smart man.  My husband will attest to how irate I was when this happened.  {So will the salesman who sold us the car.}

Now, before y’all begin asking me the make and model of my vehicle, I want you to know my intention is not to slam or slander the car maker.  My intention for this post is to make smart key users aware of this possibility.  It might make you think twice about purchasing a vehicle with this technology.

I sincerely hope this does not happen to you.

Consider yourself warned ;),

The Art of Saying No to Your Child

Not long ago I shared a post about the difficulty of seeing our children experience disappointments.  This was a huge eye opener for me.  Even though it is difficult and quite heart wrenching for us as parents to watch our child experience disappointment, it is quite necessary for their future as a healthy adult member of our society.  That particular post titled Re-experiencing Life’s Disappointments the Second Time Around I focused on disappointments that are out of our control.  For example, not making a team they tried out for, not becoming first chair in the band, not getting the part they wanted in the school play, etc.

Today, I want to focus more on the disappointments our children face we as parents DO have control over.

I was reminded of a time when I was in elementary school.  I’ve always been social.  My friends and I enjoyed having sleep overs at each others house.  One day I asked my Mom if I could spend the night with a friend of mine and she said, “no.”  I think my friend and I had already talked about all the fun stuff we were going to do together that night, so I was very disappointed my Mom said I could not go.  In my mind I was sure I was going to miss out on what would be a life altering time with my friend.  I felt I was going to die.  I remember pleading with her over and over to please let me go to my friends house.

My Mom finally said to me, “You can ask me until the moon comes home and the answer will still be no.”

Has anyone ever heard this phrase before?  Where in the world did that come from?  The moon will not be coming home, which I’m sure is the exact point, but still…funny thing is…I found myself saying the exact thing to my Daughter when she would not take no for an answer.  Has something similar happened to you?

Over 17 years of parenting I figured out there are other ways to say No besides using the actual word No.  The word No usually solicited a horrible response from my kids, especially when they were younger.  More importantly, it was good to use these tactics while in public.  I’m not the kind of Mom who can tune out their kids whines and tantrums, nor do I want to be inconsiderate of others and make them witness my child’s fit.  Who wants to go shopping only to hear a child screaming in their ear?  I certainly don’t.

Shan’s tactics on saying No

  • “If it’s under $___, yes.”

For example, recently my youngest asked if I could buy her a book she found while we were at the store to buy groceries.  I knew how much the book was.  I think it was about $10.  So I told her, “If it’s under $5 I’ll buy it for you.”  She looked at the price and put the book back on the shelf.

I’m a firm believer in NOT buying your child something every time you go to the store {even if you have the money.}  If you do, you are potentially breeding entitlement.  If you begin the habit of purchasing something for your child every time you go to the store they will expect it.  What does this teach your child?

  • “I’ll think about it.”

Even if in my mind I know the answer is no, I’ll say “I’ll think about it” so as not to illicit a meltdown.  Since my kids do read this blog from time to time, I have to say that not every time I say “I’ll think about it” means I’m thinking no.  For the sake of this post, when I do know the answer is no, saying this phrase gives the child time to ponder the possible answer will be no and it alleviates an immediate tantrum or argument.  I find the kids are more likely to take the no answer after using this tactic…basically time.

  •   “Not today.”

This says, we aren’t going to get ice cream today after school but we will in the future.  Pretty simple, but not having to use the word No.

  • “Maybe”

This one is very similar to “I’ll think about it” and gives the child time to contemplate the reality of a possible no answer.

  • “Absolutely NOT.”

This is used in severe cases like when my Son asked me for an iPhone.

  • “Let’s do that next week.”

I use this when we are having a busy week and we really can’t fit the activity they are requesting into the schedule.  This could also be “let’s do that tomorrow” or “let’s do that next month.”

  • “I don’t have enough money.”

Early in our marriage and family we didn’t know if we could pay all the bills.  We had a budget and we tried diligently to stick to that budget.  When kids are young they don’t understand what a budget is.  As they get older I believe it is important to explain what a budget is, explain what a checking account is, explain what a credit card & debit card is.  The younger they are the more likely this answer will not be a fit preventive.  But as they get older and understand what this means, what more can they say to that?  It is completely okay to share with your children if you don’t have the money to pay for frivolous things they want.  I heard this phrase as I was growing up and I appreciate they saw fit to teach me about money.  Do not ever let your pride of not making enough money put you into debt because you don’t want to disappoint your kids.  One day they most likely will be where you are and they need to realize it’s okay; that you can make it through the tough time of making ends meet.

  • “You don’t have to like it.”

This is used when the kids say, “I don’t want to do _________.”  There are SO MANY things we have to do in this life that we don’t like to do.  It doesn’t matter if we like it or not, we have to do them to survive.

  • “Let’s do _________ (this) instead.”

This is a good one because the child doesn’t feel like they are losing anything.  And really it’s the art of compromise which is essential in relationships.

For example, it’s Friday and your child asks, “Can we go bowling tonight?”  Maybe you are tired from a long day at work and you don’t feel you have the energy to throw the bowling ball down the lane, so instead you say, “let’s go to the movies instead.”  Another example: “Mom, can we go to the mall and get me some new jeans?  The ones I have don’t fit anymore.”  You know you can’t afford mall jeans or you don’t want to go to the crowded mall on your day off.  Your reply could be: “Why don’t we check out the consignment store downtown instead?”  OR “Why don’t we go to T.J. Maxx {love that store} instead?”  OR “Why don’t we check out the garage sales tomorrow instead.  There are supposed to be some good ones in the neighborhood.”

  • “Sure, you can use your money to pay for that.”

Nothing like teaching your child the value of money then by allowing them to make purchases with money they’ve earned or have been given for a birthday gift.  I can’t tell you how many times I have said that to a child and they reply, “no, I don’t want to spend my money on that.”  They learn quickly how they can live without something if they have to buy it using their own money.

  • “No, no, no, no, no, no!”

This was my reply to a recent Son’s text about getting an iPhone.  Sometimes you do just have to say NO. 😉

Hopefully these No tactics can help you when you need them.

See the big picture,

“Are You In There?”

Tonight I have been preparing a lesson I will teach for our women’s Sunday School class tomorrow.  I am so grateful for this calling.  I learn so much from my studies/research and while teaching {or rather leading the discussion} I am taught by the students.

Being the visual person that I am, sometimes I like to involve media in the lessons I teach.  I finally found the perfect video to share that goes along with the lesson.  After it ended, another video began.  I was very touched by this video I happened {definitely not coincidence} upon.  It’s not related to the lesson I’m teaching, however it is indeed applicable to what I’m going through as a parent.  I’ve mentioned my struggles on here lately…I worry, maybe too much.  It’s been really rough.  So rough, I haven’t been blogging on a regular basis.  Even though it’s been rocky, my faith keeps me afloat.

I know Heavenly Father wanted me to see this video and it was a gift from Him to me.  He loves us so much…Oh and how grateful I am to know this…to FEEL this.

I believe we can all benefit from this precious counsel:

Be present for your family,

Re-experiencing Life’s Disappointments the Second Time Around

Who else thinks it’s WORSE to witness your children be disappointed than experiencing disappointment for yourself?

However, how else would we be able to relate to our children experiencing their hopes being dashed if we’ve always got what we hoped for in life?

I’m pretty sure experiencing disappointment is inevitable in this life.  Mainly because we are human and imperfect.  Furthermore, we live with other human and imperfect people.

Personally, the most difficult disappointments to recover from stem from my expectations of other people.  And maybe even more so, the expectations of myself.  Being disappointed with yourself is a tricky thing.  It can lead to depression or it can be a catalyst for change and growth in yourself.  I have experienced both of those outcomes and definitely prefer the latter.

So how do we teach our children to overcome disappointment in a healthy way?

Point to ponder:

Is it possible that many of us parents have perpetuated “entitlement” in our kids because we don’t want to see our children disappointed?  We don’t want to see our children in pain or hurt, so we do what we can to protect them from that.  However, instead we have created a monster of a generation…kids who feel entitled to anything they want.  I’m ashamed to admit I have done this a time or two.  I hate to see my children hurting.  It seems to be more painful to watch my children experience pain, frustration or hurt more than it would be for me to experience it.  Why is that?  Yes, of course, because I love my children.  But maybe, just maybe, it is because I’ve had my fair share of disappointments in life so it is easier to deal with them and therefore I’ve created the skill of coping with them.  Which leads me back to… what happens to our children if we shelter them from disappointment?  Are we helping our children or hindering?  I would have to answer that by sheltering our kids from experiencing disappointment, {by not saying No to their desires, if it’s within our control} we are hindering their capacity to cope with inevitable trials and setbacks that WILL come in life.

My initial purpose of this post is not about the disappointments that come from when we as parents withhold something from our kids.  But, it is something to think about and ponder.  Instead, I am talking about the disappointments that come to our children where we have absolutely no control over.  These are the worst!

Out of Our Control:

You knew I was going to give you examples, right?

One

The last couple of weeks 2 of our 3 kids decided to run for student council at their schools.

My Son ran for 8th grade Vice President.  I was happy he wanted to do this.  We worked on his campaign flyers & posters together.  He came up with a catchy slogan: “Everyone says, {his name} for vice prez.”  Here’s one of the posters we came up with:

Unfortunately, he did not win the election. 🙁  I was and am still sad for him, but I am proud of his courage to try.

Two

My Daughter ran for 4th grade Historian.  However, apparently 50 other kids wanted to run for this office.  The school decided to have a primary election and narrow the candidates down to 3 per office.  They were asked to write a paragraph of why they wanted to run for that office.  According to my Daughter, they read the paragraphs to all the children in the school {1st grade through 4th grade} and the students voted last Thursday.

The kids had Friday off last week for Parent Teacher Conferences.  My Daughter deducted she would find out if she made the top 3 on Monday, today.  Here’s the deal…the counselor called me on Friday and left me a voice mail, “I’m sorry she did not make the top 3 for historian.”  She said she didn’t want her to worry about it all weekend.  Well, I’m sorry, but I didn’t want to ruin her weekend with that news.  This was a big deal for our Daughter.  She was hopeful and excited about this opportunity.  She already informed me that if she didn’t make historian she wouldn’t cry as long as she got into the top 3.

I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t tell her. {gasp!}

I sent her to school knowing she would find out there…knowing I wouldn’t be there to witness her heart break, her hopes spoiled.  I debated all weekend about it.  I even spent some time trying to find a good story to share about a child being disappointed with a good outcome in the end.

I don’t want to know if you think I’m a horrible Mom or not because of the choice I made.  Either way, whether I told her the news or the school did, I am going to be there to give her a hug and do my best to comfort her when I pick her up from school.  Hopefully, she will have had some time to process the news and it won’t be as bad when I pick her up…HOPEFULLY.

Three

The last time my youngest Daughter experienced a serious disappointment was this summer when we entered her into a local pageant.  I debated letting her do the pageant because it was not your usual beauty pageant for her age group.  It was basically a fundraiser for a local organization where they paired young girls up with the teen beauty pageant contestants.  The young girls, the pageant calls “stars,” were paired up with the beauty contestants and walked on stage with them during the evening gown competition.  Each star decorated a shoebox.  At intermission, the audience was asked to put money {donation to the local organization for charities} in the box of their favorite star.  In other words, I knew she would not win.  It is a known fact that parents usually donate thousands of dollars to ensure their child wins.  We told her up front she would not win, but that this would be a great experience for her.  I debated her doing the pageant because I didn’t want to see her upset when she didn’t win, but I figured if we were up front with her it would be okay.  It was a wonderful experience even though she didn’t win.  However, she did cry herself to sleep that night.

I’m afraid I don’t have any easy answers on how to ease our pain as parents seeing our children’s hopes spoiled.  I have realized through writing this post the importance of our kids having these experiences.  Disappointments are vital and the ONLY way our kids can learn coping skills for experiencing real life and the setbacks they will face.  If we deprive them of feeling pain and disappointment, we are only making their future adult life much more difficult.

Time to pick up the kids.  I might cry with her, but that’s okay, isn’t it?  Wish me luck or say a prayer or two for us.  Thanks.

It’s going to be OKAY,