Friday, November 30, 2012

Making a list and checking it twice....

A very good friend of mine is a list maker.  She is very organized when it comes to taking trips and so I thought I would learn from her example, as I tend to forget at least one important item every trip we take.

This next week, we will be going on a family vacation and now that we have three small children, packing is much more involved.

So here is my list so far:



As I write these things down, I feel a little silly.  Who would forget to bring clothes, underwear, a toothbrush?  

Well, unfortunately, I have.

So, this year, I will have my list and I will check it twice, so that we are not scrambling at bed-time to find a diaper in the hotel or brushing our teeth with our fingers.  In fact, just writing this post reminded me to put down two more items on my list...so I better go before I forget :)

Lots of love,
Niki


Do you make lists?  If so, for what?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Putting on Hats...

The other morning, my amazing, adorable Lia was eating breakfast while wearing this hat.  




It made me smile.  

She brightened my day by the simple fact that she didn't care what anyone else thought, she just wanted to wear a fun, blue, yellow and smiley faced hat while eating her fruity cheerios.

Lia is still at an age where "what people think" doesn't really cross her mind before she does something.  She wanted to wear this silly hat, and so she did.

That got me thinking, when did I stop putting on my silly hats?  

When do we, in life, give up being a child, and begin putting away the child inside us?


I read this quote and though it may seem a little harsh, I believe there is truth there: 


“When we are no longer children we are already dead” 




I think I am going to try harder to put on my silly hats...and enjoy each moment as we should.

Lots of love,
Niki


What are some fun things you still do to bring out the "child" in you?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A little girl's dream

I remember growing up, playing house, or playing dolls and pretending that I was a mom. I remember dreaming about how many kids I would have, would they be boys or girls?  What would they look like?  What would I name them?  And as I got older I dreamed about how I would tell my family when my future husband and I were expecting, I thought of ideas to surprise them and share the wonderful news with them.  But life didn't ask me what I wanted.



I saw this quote today and it got me thinking.  No, of course this was not in my dreams.  Never, once, did I think this of this.  My mom and dad had gone through infertility, no way would I have to go through that too.  I was already gypped from having siblings, God wouldn't gyp me from having kids as well.  

(Now, I will say that I have come to understand that God didn't do this to me.  But at the time, I wanted Him to fix it.  I wanted Him to give me a brother or a sister my whole life, but that never happened.  So when I found out that I wasn't going to be able to have kids either, I blamed Him.  And I am sorry for it.)

However, regardless of who is to blame or why these things happen.  Life never really goes the way we dream it to go.  Sometimes life is better, sometimes it is harder.  Either way, we don't have much control over such things.

Now, just because I didn't dream the dream of going through IVF (I didn't even know what it was).  It doesn't mean I haven't been able to live my dream of being a mother.  Whether we go through infertility treatments or the amazing miracle of adoption, motherhood was still possible.  

I am grateful God did not give me the dream I dreamed.  I could never have grown or developed the way I have from this awful, amazing experience.  God knows me better than I know myself.  He loves me more than I love myself.  He will do what is best for me in the long run.

No, I never dreamed of being an IVF mom or and adoptive mom.  But I am proud that I am.  And I wouldn't change God's dream for me, for anything.

Lots of love
Niki

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tis the Season

Okay, so over the years I have come to find that many people have very strong opinions when it comes to decorating for the holidays.

I, personally, love both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Really, if you were to ask me to pick between the two, I wouldn't be able to.  



I love Thanksgiving, well, because I love food. I love the turkey, the ham, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the veggies, the rolls, and the pies.  I love to eat good food and I love to eat food with those that I love.  Thanksgiving also happens to be right around when my birthday is, so I think that has something to do with it as well; however, the older I get the more that reason seems to fade.  

Christmas is truly wonderful as well.  The smells, the decorations, the giving to others, the food (once again a day of feasting), family and friends, Santa Claus and most of all the Christian World seems to come together to remember the One who made all of this possible.

So here is my conundrum  while I LOVE Thanksgiving, I am not a huge Thanksgiving decorator.  We have the cute little signs and such, but nothing like when it comes to Christmas decorating.  So every year I get the Christmas decorating bug right around the first of November.  Yeah, I know.  I would love to listen to Christmas music all day while decorating everyone's homes all year!  



So when is too early?  I will admit, I started my Christmas decorating today.  I know, I took down the few turkey decorations and put up Santa Claus.  


When do you put up your Christmas decor?
And do you think before Thanksgiving is too early?

lots of love,
Niki

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chalking up Kindness...

If you read my previous post, then you will see how I feel about the, Twilight Saga.  And if the movie, with my best friend, last night was not enough for me, I was blessed with the love of these awesome ladies in my neighborhood!

They have been the most loving and welcoming bunch of women I have ever met.

I am so grateful for them!

This was their message to me, on my driveway, when I had to leave right after the movie:


You have all made my day!

Love you all!

Lots of love,
Niki







Thursday, November 15, 2012

Team Twilight

So most of my posts have been, well, deep as of late...I thought I would shake things up a bit with this one.

I have a guilty pleasure. 


And my pleasure is:



I have had some people look at me in total shock when I reveal this side of me.

Maybe it is out of character...I am not sure.

But, let's put the "judging me" aside and see why I love, and yes, I did say love, this series so much.

First: The story is unlike anything I have ever read.  I love to read.  And I read all kinds of books.  But I mostly like books that are original and imaginative.

Second: They make me feel young again.

Third (and last for this post): Being a mom every day, doing mommy things: cleaning, changing diapers, folding laundry, playing Candy Land for the 32nd time, watching princess movies or Finding Nemo for the 87th time, cooking, washing dishes, caring for and dealing with naughty children, reading about how Barbie is a good vet or and good friend for the 946th time, and all the other wonderful, yet taxing daily tasks of my daily life are all taken from me for the one hour or 30 minutes I get to read.  And Twilight takes me out quickly.  It recharges me (that may sound crazy) but it does.  I get to escape my wonderful, amazingly blessed life that is truly daunting every once in awhile and be in a world where magic and true love exist. Where there is no way any of what goes on in this book would be okay in the real world.  And To be honest, I don't always like the real world.

So yes, I am excited about the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn part II (I will admit I LOVE the books and only LIKE the movies)  But, once again, this is just a fun, guilty pleasure that I am proud to have and tonight I get to enjoy that last movie!


What are some of your, "hard to admit" guilty pleasures?


Lots of love,
Niki

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We are a judgmental people...

While judgement is something we as humans seem to do so often, we really are not that good at it.

I just read The Alchemist by  Paulo Coelhoand this is on of the ideas I liked best from this book:

“If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” 


In my life I have been given many chances to judge others.  Sometimes I get it right, but most of the time I get it wrong.  I have found it much easier when I try to love my brothers and sisters for who they are, and not for what I think they should be, or should have done, or didn't do and so on and so forth. 

Who am I to judge someone when I myself am far from perfect?  And yet, I do it everyday.  I wake myself up and I put on my judging glasses and look to see what I can find.  And do you know what I usually find?  In all of my judging glory, and in all of my self-righteousness, I find that I didn't see a thing at all.

I hope that I can improve my way of seeing others.  I pray that as a nation and hopefully as the human race we will follow this wonderful council by a man who is dear to my heart:

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” 



I always love to hear your thoughts.

Lots of love,
Niki





Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Say cheese!!!

For some reason, getting family pictures, is about as much fun as going to the dentist.... 

(no offence to any dentists out there)  



No matter how much you prepare or talk yourself into believing it won't be that bad, once you are there, you are hit full on with the actual reality of non-cooperation, posing and hair dilemmas, fake smiles and promises that you would never give in any other situation and probably can't even keep.

My family is no exception.

My two older girls have come along way, and I have come to love and accept their little fake smiles.  The worst thing we can say to our kids when they are getting their picture taken, is: "Smile pretty."  Or "Smile normal".  When this is said, all hope is lost.

I try not to say things that relate to how they are smiling.  Tell a funny joke or say a funny word.  Let the photographer know ahead of time any inside jokes that will make your kids laugh.

And when it is time for your kid's portrait, make yourself useful and do a silly dance, make funny faces.  Kids will laugh every time and the photographer will get what you were looking for, a natural, fun, happy smile :)

Like I said, family pictures with little children, for us do not run any smoother what you are used to. Granted, my kids are used to having a camera shoved in their faces, but with young kids, you never know what you are going to get.

Here are a few examples of what happens in our photo shoots:



Not to be out-done by....drum roll, please....


So if you are stressed out about getting family pics... just try to relax and know that you are not alone :)

lots of love,
Niki






Monday, November 5, 2012

The Honey Boo Boo Standard

I am sure we have all heard the word, "No" from each one of our kids.  I will admit, when they say it, and you know they understand it's meaning, it is a shocker.  How do we, as parents, guide our kids into understanding the child/parent role these days?  I feel that we as parents have created a generation of kids who feel the world revolves around them.  Our ability to find moderation in how much we give to and protect our kids and how much we allow them to learn and suffer has been swung from one end of the pendlem to the other.

Back in the early days, our parent's days, kids feared their parents.  Spanking and using the belt were not frowned upon as it is today.  Kids respected their teachers, and were even punished by them.  My own father was smacked in the hand with a ruler every time he wrote left handed (as they thought is was a learning defect)  So now he writes right-handed, but does everything else left-handed. Parents ruled with an iron fist....



....And today, kids, by and large, are allowed to defy their parents, their teachers and bulling is at an all-time-high.  Kids are lazy and full of themselves.  They feel that the world will provide for them without having to lift a finger.  Parents are quick to give and slow to punish.  Just look at what is on TV today.  Honey Boo Boo, for example is what we watch.  According to the New York Times, Honey Boo Boo has 2.7 million viewers! http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/honey-boo-boo-has-the-ratings-if-not-the-critics/

This just drives me crazy.

How can we, as a society, put up with this?  Filling our time with selfish brats on TV has become one of America's favorite past-times.  And our kids are watching.

My little Lia, picks up on everything.  Being gifted, she has a photographic memory.  Her little brain remembers EVERYTHING.  This is, of course, both good and bad.  But just for her sake alone, I have to be super careful every time I turn the TV on.  She follows and emulates anything she sees.  This is one of my greatest challenges with raising a gifted child.  Her defiance of what we are trying to teach her creates havoc in our home.  This was said about gifted children and defiance,

"But for the gifted child, this quality can often go beyond that of standing firm on her own convictions, or a habit of simple disobedience, because her thought processes function so much differently from others. She will look at a problem from several different angles all at once, and because she thinks in a fairly mature and complex way, she will feel that her decisions are well thought out and, necessarily, right. The gifted child will not stop challenging after a few times, but will remain obsessed with fairness, with logic, with their own feelings at that moment in time, which are neither developed nor mature enough to be trusted."  http://www.christianity.com/1229632/ says:

I hope for the sake of all of my children, our society will start to see the issue there is with this kind of indulgence, even if all we do is turn the TV off.  Our kids are watching. They are testing our weaknesses.  I hope that we can find a middle ground where kids respect adults, not out of fear, but because we love them enough to not give them everything they want.

This article is great about the effects of over-indulgence: http://www.register-herald.com/columns/x670919597/Over-indulgent-parents-hurt-kids/print

Here is just a clip from it:
"Psychiatrists are now saying that over-indulging kids is actually a form of child neglect.
Over-indulgent parents give their kids too much of everything — money, automobiles, material goods, freedom, adult privileges.
The last one is perhaps the most interesting.
Teenagers, in particular, have come to demand their freedoms without any strings attached. In other words, “What can you do for me and forget you.”'

What will our world be if we are run by people who feel this way?

I pray we can help our kids by not giving them everything they want.  I pray that we can raise the generation that was taught with moderation in all things.  I hope our kids learn how to work and how to love, how to save and how to give.  It is up to us as parents to change who our kids will be.

Lots of love,
Niki