17 Thanksgiving Games Your Kids Will Obsess Over…(not my title)

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Okay—I must admit.  I sat down to find a simple activity for today for my kiddos.  Today, in Poland, is All Saints’ Day.  It’s a day that families spend time together at the graves of their family members and later with family.  It’s a very peaceful day.

Because Max has pneumonia, we have decided to stay quiet at home.  My husband just arrived home Monday night.  Tuesday night, Ada had half her class over for a Halloween party, and then there is today.  A beautiful day of rest.

We have played Sorry.  We have cuddled next to a fire.  We are currently coloring around the table.  We have made sugar cookies.  We are loving each moment.

But I thought—Why not start today being thankful?

I know many of you do the entire month.

I do not.  I am not that organized.

So I sat and Googled and found this:  Woman’s Day Thanksgiving Activities for Families

It really has fun and simple activities.  I can tell you—we’ll probably only do about 3.  But those that will do will be fun!

Maybe you’re more proactive and active than we — so I hope you REALLY enjoy this site!

Happy 40th birthday to my brother, Casey!  Happy All Saints’ Day in Poland.  And Happy beginning of a beautiful month of thankfulness to YOU and YOURS!

xoxo b

Did you know? REJECTED TWICE!

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Yea, Baby!  I find great pride in these two rejections.  Do you know why?  It means that I am actually DOING SOMETHING about what I really want to do!

Now, mind you…I have about 8 more that I am still waiting for.  Rejections, that is.  And that is okay.  Part of growing is learning.  Part of learning is being rejected.  Part of being rejected means that you have PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE to be targeted.

Oh, yeah, Baby!  I’m a walking target with a bullseye on my back.

If my back is my story.  And my story is my back.

I have actually submitted a children’s book.  And I have also submitted a portion of the chapter book I am working on for young readers.  Two different parts of me that I am personally proud of—I have sent in to other people to dissect and have the option of rejecting.

Two have wholeheartedly agreed that my book is definitely not for them.

You would think that would make me sad.  In fact, it puzzles my oldest daughter, Adelyne (age decade plus 1).

I told her excitedly one day after she arrived home from school, “Ada!  Mommy’s book was rejected!”

Scrunching her face up into what can only be described as utter confusion, she proclaimed, “You were rejected!  How can you be so happy????”

Sometimes kids just don’t get it, right?!

I replied, “I may have been rejected—BUT THAT MEANS I DID SOMETHING TO REJECT!”

Walking away muttering to herself (probably something like CRAZY WOMAN!), I giggled after her.

You see.  Rejection is not failure, it’s strength.

You did something brave.  You put yourself out there.  And you got results.

Perhaps they were not the results you desired.  But there were results.

Next time may resemble the previous time.  But there will be a day when the No will become a Yes.

Because you did not waver in strength!

So, go!  Be brave.  Be strong.  Be crazy.  And don’t be afraid of a little rejection.

After all, it’s not the 9,999 times you fail.  It’s the 1 time you succeed that matters.

Just look at Thomas Edison and his lightbulb!

***

Here’s a great article from Forbes titled “How Failure Taught Edison to Repeatedly Innovate”

Worms on the ceiling…

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I wish I was kidding.  I am not.

Besides the mice that seem to occupy both the upstairs and downstairs of our home, we have had a huge trail of worms on our ceiling for the last week.

Like a trail of them…crawling.  Across our kitchen ceiling.

It’s so delightful.  NOT!

Sometimes you think, “Momma don’t have time for that!”

And then worms appear.

Crawling across your ceiling.

Yes.  This is how seemingly life is handed to people, eh?

If it’s not children in and out of doctors.  It’s mice pooping everywhere.  Then it’s camping baths for at least a week while they convert your home from coal to gas.  Lastly there are worms.

You can make a list similar to mine.  Well, hopefully not the hospitals and mice and worms.  The camping baths are okay.  A good bucket of hot water can help a momma get kids clean…

But I know you have this list.  And you think, “Do I REALLY need to stand on a stool and KILL these worms—or can I just let them continue to crawl?”

Or, perhaps, “Is it ABSOLUTELY necessary for me to discover WHERE these worms are originating from???”

You may even give yourself a few days to just let everything overrun your home.  And that’s okay.  It’s called rest.  Believe me.  If you don’t sit and take it, life is not going to get any cleaner.

And after that coffee and rest you may FINALLY muster up the courage to try and find the source of the worms.

You may EVEN be married to a brilliant man that actually has an epiphany, “HOT CHOCOLATE!”

That’s when you both rush to the cabinet above the sink and open it up.  Out fly moths.  Out crawl worms.  And at the bottom of that shelf is a bag of natural “homemade” fruit tea dried compote.  Hence the worms.

With great rejoicing that you have found the source, you dump the entire contents in the trash and begin the new process…

Clean up the mess on the shelves and get rid of the worms that were beginning to turn into moths.  Because you know what moths do?  Destroy.

Yes.  Worms on the ceiling.  It is a thing.  And perhaps you have them, too.

I hope you are able to find the source of your frustration, get rid of it, clean it up, and begin  the next moment fresh!

Because, after all, this isn’t really just about worms, is it?!

Listen to your children when they talk about their bodies…

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“Adelyne, what is your greatest fear right now,” I asked my 11-year-old over a private Italian dinner we were eating, just the two of us, following the EEG she just had in Poznan, Poland.

“My biggest fear,” she repeated the question.

“Yes, with all that has been going on in your life, what is your current greatest fear,” I wanted to hear the heart of my daughter, and I had her alone, no little brothers or sisters to distract her.  Just Ada and Momma.  Together.

“The fear of being afraid,” she replied.

It makes tears come into my eyes right now.

If there is one thing we want to do as parents, it is to protect our children.  To be their stalwarts.  To be their walls.  To be their protections.  To be their everything.

And then you realize you can’t.

Unless you lock your child in a bubble, never letting them escape the house, you will quickly come to realize that you cannot be your child’s everything.

With the very act of living, they will experience many different joys and pains.

And sometimes, in that living, they experience very scary moments.

A little over a month ago, my daughter experienced at school what she describes as a heart attack.  She then spent the next three days in a foreign hospital, hooked up to heart monitors and enduring multiple blood draws and tests to see what is going on with her body.

Then, not even 3 weeks after that, she experienced what is described as seizure-like behaviors before slipping in and out of semi-consciousness.  Once again, at school.

This daughter of mine.  It’s not that she is completely fearless—but, out of EVERYONE I know in the world, she is the bravest kid that I know.  She has traveled the world. She has surfed.  She has crossed borders.  She has been surrounded by machine guns on territory where we literally have NO voice.  And she hasn’t even batted an eye.

So for her to say that her biggest fear is fear itself, makes me, as her mom, sad.  The freedom for her to live a life of great adventure is the greatest gift I wish to give her.  And now she is wondering if she will be okay to ride her bike.  Or swim.  Or paddle board.

Will she surf again?

Can she jump off a mountain like she plans in February?

Can she jump out of an airplane, like she tells us she’ll do at 18?

Afraid of being afraid.

It’s a life-changer, for sure.

And I hold her hand and tell her that we are doing everything we can to eliminate a bunch of scary stuff in hopes that we find out she is perfectly healthy and just had some bad stuff happen to her for reasons unknown.

But that doesn’t erase what happened.  And it doesn’t change the fact that now she may not live quite as carefree.

And I need to listen to her.  I need to listen to her body.  I need to listen when she speaks.  Because she is the one living inside of her body, and she knows how it feels and needs to be able to communicate that to me.

A childhood friend of mine recently watched her son go through his third concussion.  And, with that concussion, his entire life changed.  Now, together, they are realizing that life has a different journey than the one he was walking.  And it is something he must do to remain healthy and able.

She listened to her son.  Now together they are fighting for his best life.

Here is his recent news interview, telling his story:  http://www.azfamily.com/story/36611797/chandler-hs-senior-quits-football-due-to-concussion

Here is a second story on concussions and high school sports:  http://www.azfamily.com/story/36162154/concussion-study-reveals-most-valley-parents-will-let-kids-play-football

Here is another childhood friend, Dr. Javier Cardenas, speaking of concussions and how to identify one in your child, as well as an App that can be used to teach children about concussions:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHm4RPFgwEM

In the end, all we can do is live and teach our children to do so, as well.  But, in living, we also need to stop and listen.  What is our body telling us?  What is our children’s bodies telling them?

Growing up, we learn that if you ever catch on fire, you are to do three things:  Stop; Drop; Roll.

I find myself in this same position with my daughter:

Stop.  How are you feeling?

Drop.  Let’s stop everything to figure out why you feel the way you do.

And Roll.  Let’s put out this “fire” in your life, so you can go on to live your best life possible.

It may be with a little more hesitation than before.  But it’s still living.

And, in the end, that’s what counts the most!

 

Infertility and Adoption

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There is absolutely nothing that makes “no sense” (even using a double negative to write my point) more than vicious commenters on news stories in regards to someone that is suffering through infertility and then horrible commenters writing about one’s need to not have their own biological children because there are children in the world waiting for adoption.

Both are huge.  Infertility /the want for a biological child.

And adoption.

Both = huge.  One does not erase another.

What does get me, however, are the evil commenters out there making their personal remarks so callously about one person’s real life.

Gabrielle Union is in the process of releasing a memoir, writing that her “body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant.”

Here is a woman, Gabrielle Union, that is sharing honestly her struggles with infertility and the suffering and loss that she and her husband have gone through to get to where they want to be, and all I read are the evil people out there spouting statistics on your body, how many eggs you have, how many children need adopting, and everything in between.

As a woman that suffered multiple times through infertility and struggled with adoption, nothing in either case is easy.

First of all, it is absolutely normal and okay for you and your body and your spouse to want a biological child.  THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON.  This makes you real and human and all the feels in between.

If it was not such a heartbreakingly real thing, then women would not suffer through desperation, depression, and all sorts of medical invasions to become so.

My biological clock really began ticking about 3 years after I was married, nearing 30 years old.  It was very hard to absolutely never prevent a pregnancy and yet watch everyone else have one.  And then another.  And another.

Eventually my body and my tumor (pituitary), must have found a common ground and decided to work together to give us our first sweet miracle.  And, we, of course, give God all the credit — especially in timing, as we were in the process of opening our transition center for homeless and recovering men (The New Life Center).  But it did not take away from the despair that was within me.

That despair made me human.  It made me a woman.  It made me real.

I love adoption.  I have the BEST family members ever because of this beautiful gift.  And they make me happy.

My husband and I have always wanted to adopt and still plan to.

But NONE of that should take away the pain in my very soul that I felt when I was struggling through infertility and wanting more than anything in the world for my body to bear my/our own child.

If you are one of those horrible little people out there that like to comment on the statistics of adoption and wanting children out there, take it to your journal and comment to yourself.

The world knows the statistics and works extremely hard to find people and homes that are open to bringing in children from the United States and all over the world.  And God bless each home that opens for the orphans and abandoned in the world.  God bless them greatly indeed.

If you are one of those horrible little people out there that like to comment on the statistics of the hungry and suffering, take it to your journal and comment there.

There are good and righteous people all over the world finding, feeding, and trying to save these children.  And may God bless them.  Bless them all.

But what you do from the keyboard of your computer in the littleness of your vile mind is build up hatred and unwarranted sentiment towards people that are suffering real pain.

Shouting adoption will never erase the pain of infertility.

Shouting statistics will never eradicate the pulse of a heart of a woman yearning to bear her own children.

Shouting your self-righteous opinions will not change the tears that will flow down infertile women’s cheeks month after month as they realize another chance has passed.

I suffered infertility.

5 years for our first child.

5 years for our second—that we did not get to keep.

And in consecutive years of 12 and 14 years of marriage, God gave us two as I approached 40.

Just as my egg basket became emptier, our home became fuller.

Sometimes in life, infertility does not just strike those that you “deem” waited too long or are “too” late.

Sometimes infertility just strikes.

And that is a very real thing.

The 504 Plan for your allergy kid

The allergy world is scary enough—but even more scary when you are preparing to put your child into school for the first time.

What are your options?  How can you best help your child?  Will the school accommodate you?  If so, how do you go about seeking this help and safety?

Today’s blog over at Allergy to the Max addresses and shares sites that should largely help you answer all of these questions.

Please have a read and make sure to share with your family and friends that also many need a 504 Plan for their children, too!

Source: The 504 Plan for your allergy kid

To new mothers, I have news for you: You will not receive the Mom Award

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I was told last night at dinner by Josephine that she was not going to give me a “Mom Award” if I made her eat her dinner…

I looked at her with eyes of Superman steel, pointed to her seat, told her to get back in it, and that with or without that “Mom Award” I would survive just fine.

She sat back in her chair and told me that she “Doesn’t love Mommy and I wouldn’t get a cookie,” to which I replied, “I will also survive.”

She knew she was not winning any battle with her words, so she sat.

Mom Award?  That’s right, I’ll give it to myself.

The three year old sat, ate, and even climbed in my lap for books, where she promptly snuggled up and went to sleep.

In Mom’s arms.

Josephine may not have awarded me the Mom Award last night, but, you see, we did not become moms for awards.  We became moms to raise little people right.  To be their moms.  Not their buddies.  Not their friends.  Not the coolest person on the block.

Now, mind you, our block only has 3 houses, so I just may be the coolest person on the block (smile and wink in exaggeration, of course).  But you get the point.

So, if your children do not award you the “Mom Award,” don’t run to your room crying.

Don’t beg them for it.

Don’t bring them the paper to make you the Gold Star to go on top.

Just accept it.

They’ll cuddle into your arms later, no matter what.

Because, even award-less, you are still their safest place.

And that is award enough for me.

***

Free hint: When I am not using personal photos or photos my husband took, I use the site Pixabay where you will find copyright-free images.  Check it out.  I hope it will prove to be a useful site to you, too.