The Big 1-2!

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How Gabby greets each day =)

Today my oldest is officially 12. How?? Seriously people,. yesterday she was learning how to ride a bike and teaching herself to read!

Gabby is a super silly, extremely responsible, interesting and unique kid. She knows what she likes and sticks to it, not caring if it isn’t the popular thing. She finds kids who are in need of a friend and befriends them, caring only that people aren’t lonely because they are different. She cares about animals, especially dogs, and hasn’t swayed from the idea of becoming a dog trainer and an artist. German Shepherds are her favorite dog breed, she melts when she sees them! Legos, Five Nights at Freddys, Jurassic Park & World… these are her favorite things. IMG_5400

 

I am so proud of how mature Gabby is. Klint and I have a lot of overlapping job obligations and so Gabby has picked up the slack a lot and watches her sisters almost every day for a little bit. (She gets a generous allowance as compensation for this, her time is worth something and it is important that she recognizes this) She also has become a really great cook and makes a lot of meals for the family. I love seeing her get excited about learning a new recipe!

I can’t wait to see what this year brings for my oldest girl, more opportunities to learn and grow for sure!

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Money Smarts

One of my goals this year is to get a real hold on our family finances. We have made a lot of dumb choices in the past and while we have learned from those mistakes there is a lot that I know we could improve on. Getting the kids on board with cutting back on expenses is part of this goal so I decided to create some printables to help the girls actually see how savings and spending works.

The girls have jobs that are non-paying as they are for the good of the family as well as paid jobs. While Gabby is very good at saving her money, she often forgets how much she has. And Amelia lets money run out of her hand like water, more often because she doesn’t have a saving goal in mind.

Feel free to save these for your own use and let me know how they work for your family!

Allowance Sheet blank Family Job Sheet Goal Sheet Paid Jobs Sheet

Growing Up Mighty

Today was a day I hope my girls will remember. A day where they got to see and hear me stand up for their likes, individuality, and for others like them. Today was another building block in their childhood that will help my mighty girls stand tall when others try to censor them.

This morning we were driving in the car, listening to a morning talk show, when a story caught our attention. It was about a little boy named Grayson Bruce who was bullied for liking My Little Ponies and carrying a Pony lunch bag to school. Instead of the school solely dealing with the true problem of the bullies, they told Grayson he had to keep his special lunch bag at home. Essentially asking him to align his likes to what the bullies wanted.

Now mind you I have heard about this story the past couple of days. But it was what one of the DJ’s was saying that made me really upset. He basically agreed with the school that if your child is being bullied for a specific reason then eliminate the cause to save your kid the hassle. Ugh!!! Not what this mama was wanting to hear!

So I did something out of my comfort zone… I picked up my phone and I called the radio station. I tried a couple of times and when I got through my heart was racing! What was I going to say? Was I going to sound stupid? How could I put into words that this DJ’s line of thinking was basically victim blaming. But I waited for the DJs to get to me, hand shaking, and found my voice when I heard the cue.

I told them that it was wrong to make a child change because someone doesn’t like their lunch bag, hair, shirt, house…. that there is a flip side to this. There are little girls out there who like ninja turtles, super heroes, zombies, and other “boy” things. This issue is not about just about a My Little Pony lunch bag, it’s about children being allowed to like whatever they want, without fear of being bullied for those likes. Making a child leave home their favorite things only gives bullies more power. It tells them that they control other kids and to keep up the behavior.

That’s was as far as I got before the DJ said his piece disagreeing with me and then went to commercial. It was over quickly but at the time it felt like forever.

I hung up and looked at the girls. Gabby had such a look on her face, like she couldn’t believe I was just on the radio and she actually got to hear it! Lol, she’s used to her mama being outspoken but never like that. I quickly realized that what I just did wasn’t a simple opinion blurb on morning radio. I showed my girls, firsthand, that if you believe in something strong enough you need to take whatever action you can. Maybe what I said will make one person think a little differently about this boy who likes My Little Ponies. And for my Ninja Turtle loving girl, it reaffirmed to her that I’ve got her back!

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This Mother’s Day

“You don’t need direction, you know which way to go
And I don’t want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow
You’re the one who taught me you don’t have to look behind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine”

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A mother’s job is always evolving, changing, growing. You enter this with certain ideas in mind about what you want for your children, who you want them to be, how your days will be spent. Then you realize that more than likely your vision of your future children is far different than the reality.

When I imagined my children I pictured dark haired, tan, pixies dancing about. Little girls with big dark eyes who loved to sing and perform like me. Lol, imagine my surprise when I ended up with 3 little carmel haired girls, one of which has blue/green eyes! One of my daughters hates it when people watch her, is not into dance or singing, and prefers Legos over musicals. Another daughter is destructive, messy, and adores glitter and dancing. It didn’t take me long to realize that these girls of mine have their own personalities, a wonderful mix of sass and individuality. And it was in both our best interests to just let them be who they were instead of who I thought they should be.

Too many mothers waste precious time and energy trying to change their little ones. Trying to tame wild energy, push quiet sensitivity, restrict uniqueness. For what? For an ideal in our head of what should be. So much could be accomplished if instead of fighting with our kids we embraced, encouraged, simply loved. It is something that I am working on as well, but have seen how much of a difference it makes in my relationship with my children.

Everyday I thank my lucky stars for these little girls in my life. They are healthy, happy, and know that they are loved. This Mother’s Day, instead of expecting gifts and special treatment, I am reflecting on what kind of mother I want to be and how incredibly grateful I am to be a mommy. Happy Mother’s Day dear friends!

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I Am NOT a Thing

“I am NOT a thing!”

These words came out of my 8 yr old’s mouth when I was talking to her about why I was upset about underwear. Underwear created by Victoria’s Secret supposedly for college aged women (according to a statement on their Facebook Page), but in reality 15-16 year olds (according to a statement by Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer), and by associations younger teens and tweens. The slogan for the new line of underwear is called Bright Young Things.

Things. Not girls, women, ladies, chicks… things. Ponder that for a moment. You are no longer a girl or a woman but a THING. Feel free to start to get mad now…. A THING doesn’t have feelings, a THING isn’t a person who can be violated. A THING can be used, discarded, laughed at… without feeling remorse.

I explained to Gabby that it had nothing to do with the actual lace and cotton, but about the words on that lace, the girls who the underwear are meant for. Girls who shouldn’t have inappropriate messages on their underwear to be cool and who shouldn’t worry about being sexy. And while I know that other companies have tries to tap into the tween demographic by using over sexualized products to sell, Victoria’s Secret is a lingerie company that also happens to sell sweats and tee shirts on the side. They are in the bra and underwear business.

Maybe you still think that parents are over reacting and that this line isn’t aimed at tweens, that college women are the target audience? How about the fact that Justin Beiber was the performer during their fashion show in November. I know tweens…. I have classes of them who very loudly vocalize their music preference, and Justin Beiber is their guy. College girls? Not so much.

Today alone I have read at least 5 blog posts, watched 2 news reports, and listened to a live conference regarding this topic. I am happy to see people talking about this because so much is at stake. It is not about the underwear alone. It is about the message we are sending to young girls about their body and their self worth. It is the message we are sending boys about the value of our girls. Is a girl only worth something if she is sexy?

Many commenters blame the parents. “If you don’t like it then don’t buy it” was written by many. And to a certain degree I completely agree. But companies need to take some responsibility for their marketing and products. Specifically marketing padded swim tops to 7-11 year olds, makeup to 8-12 year olds, and high heeled sneakers to 6-12 year olds is wrong.

It is a slippery slope of little girls wanting to be older younger and younger. Your 8 yr old daughter comes home and tells you the “cool” girl at school got her legs waxed and that she now wants her legs waxed. You explain that it isn’t appropriate, that body hair is normal and natural, and you let it go. However, at school your little girl is now getting made fun of for having hairy legs, she gets called names and is picked on. And thus the unattainable beauty standards viciousness begins.

So what should you do if you are a concerned/pissed parent? Well go here and sign the petition to start. Boycott companies whose products oversexualize young girls. Write letters, blog, and spread the word about this serious matter. But most importantly educate your girls about the importance of just being a kid and why it is better to wait for grown up stuff until she is grown up more. Say no to padded bras, mascara, high heels, thongs, and such to tweens and even young teens.

Want more resources?

This book is a good place to start, along with this one.

Also, this tee shirt says it all to me- a message I would be proud to have my daughters wear.

Stomach Bugs

For the last week we were infest (again) with the stomach bug. We all got it in mid December pretty badly so I figured that we were all good for the rest of the winter… wrong! I woke up to poor Miss Moira throwing up on me (again) and also got a text from Klint that we was also getting sick at work. Yuck! A day or so later and poor Amelia was really ill with it, poor thing. And now it seems that I am hit…. ugh!

I am a fan of the TV show The Neighbors, a cute show about a family who moves into a townhouse community of aliens pretending to be people. The latest episode is one where the humans get a cold and explain to the aliens about getting sick. It is funny when the poor mom, who is also sick, is taking care of everyone and yells at her husband for not being helpful in the caring of the sick kids. It is how I, and many other moms, feel- when everyone is sick we are expected to care, attend to, and help our family. But when we are sick, well the world keeps turning and we must soldier on.

We are typically a very healthy family, rarely getting even normal colds. But this stomach bug sucks! Everyone I know has it or has had it recently, most more than once. Hopefully it will die down as the days get warmer… and I am hoping that everyone is better for my birthday on Monday.

So I leave you with this adorable photo of Miss Moira, who sorely needed a bath after getting sick all over me and chasing me around the halls wailing when I went to get new sheets. =) Here’s wishing you all very VERY healthy thoughts!

Miss Moira

Library Adventures

We go to the library every week most of the time. I try to get the girls to branch out, challenge themselves to discover something new, and most importantly enjoy being there. There are, however, adventures to be had at the library I just discovered. Gone are the boring trips of wandering down the aisles aimlessly. Here is wonderful list of 25 adventures you can have at the library, originally posted here at Mama-scout! I can’t wait to do the famous author one, quotes, and simple drawing…. so much fun and adventures!

25 Library Adventures

What adventures will you choose today?