Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Reality of Sharing

Cora is crawling now. Well it's more of a scoot than a true crawl. Needless to say, she is mobile. And that has turned E's world upside down. I would even venture to say that this new development has been a harder transition for E than when we first brought Cora home from the hospital. She wasn't touching his stuff then. Now it's "Oh no! Cora has my (insert whatever toy here)." Then E will take it away and Cora will cry. On the positive side, E will replace whatever he has taken away from Cora with one her "baby toys" as E likes to call them. But of course those aren't near as fun for Cora as what her big brother has. So there's been a lot of talk about sharing and modeling what taking turns looks like which can be exhausting. And honestly, it's kind of comical watching the two struggle over toys as long as I can step in before a complete meltdown from either one happens.

Mike and I agree that we don't think our kids need to share everything. That's just not a reasonable expectation to set for our kids. As adults, we don't share everything and me being an only child, I really don't share everything. Some things are mine and only mine and that's ok.

A while ago I read a story about a mother criticizing another mother at a park for not teaching her child to share. I can't remember what publication this story was in but the gist of it was that a child brought a truck to the park to play with and another child wanted to play with the truck too and the child was not sharing. The mother of the child with the truck did not intervene and make her child share. That's when the mother of the child without the truck made the criticizing comment about how that little boy must not have been taught to share. The mother defended her choice not to intervene because she felt her child had made a conscience choice to bring his truck to the park to play with and that's what the child was doing. Why should he have to give that up just because another child was upset he didn't have a truck to play with?

I find myself agreeing with this mom's logic. As adults we aren't required to share just to make someone happy. Why should we teach our children this when it's not reality? For instance, if I'm reading a book and someone sits down next to me and wants to read a book too but doesn't have one, I'm not going to automatically share my book just because sharing is the nice thing to do. There will be disappointments in life and not always getting what you want will be part of that. And yes, as an only child, I have on the rare occasion experienced the disappointment of not getting what I wanted.

Mike and I are trying to teach our children that some things we do share but it's ok to have special things that we don't always have to share. For example, E's blanket that he sleeps with every night, he doesn't need to share that with Cora. That's something that is very important to him. But when it comes to blocks, those we share. Mike and I use the phrase "that's a sharing toy" a lot. As we navigate through this lesson of sharing, I'm sure it will create some confusion for our kids on what to share and what doesn't have to be shared. It certainly is easier to teach them to share everything. But I'm hoping our approach in the long run will teach E and Cora to stand up for what is important to them but also know the importance of sharing what we have.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Basement Space

Our basement is done, well almost done if we're being completely honest. Done enough that we have been practically living down there. All we have left is a few trim boards to put up and finish up the closet that is behind the couch. We love it! It may have taken us Mike along with his dad and my dad a while, but it was well worth the wait. The amount of extra space it provides our family is priceless. Instead of having all the toys crammed into our tiny livingroom, we are able to spread out downstairs. I don't think my family could survive another long Minnesota winter without this additional space. We now have a place to play basketball and race cars. I also love that I don't have to constantly pick up toys. I can simply shut the door to the basement on those days when there just isn't enough time to get organized.

Not only do we have an amazing play space, but we've created a cozy area to watch movies and relax. During this season, we've been watching more TV than normal with all the Christmas specials. It's so fun to be cuddled up in our new basement watching Christmas shows and eating popcorn. Mike and I find ourselves spending time down here as well after the kids have gone to bed.

We've also created an office area in one corner which helped Mike and I get somewhat organized with all the paperwork one seems to accumulate. And now we finally have a space where we both can comfortably write, Mike with his books and me with my blog.

After growing up in a big four bedroom farm house with lots of space inside and out, I never dreamed that I would be able to raise my family of four in a small two bedroom house, but I'm doing it. We love our location. There's quick and easy access to the city and all it has to offer and I'm reasonably close to my work. Our experience with the school district has been great and we've found a church that feels like home. We know eventually we will outgrow our home but having this basement space will help us stay in our house longer until we are truly bursting at the seams and need to make a move.

As you can see from the pictures, we get lots of use from our basement, everything from farming, jumping, and folding clothes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Last week, we had a great day for sledding. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm enough you didn't need a hundred layers to stay warm. Mike and I wanted to take E sledding. He loves the snow and big slides so we thought sledding would be right up his ally, WRONG! We were gone for about 10 minutes and E only went down the hill once.

Let me back up. When we told E we were going outside to sled he kept saying, "I want to shovel." The kid loves to shovel snow. He talks a lot about shoveling snow and gets excited when it snows. "It's really coming down." he'll say. "We'll have a lot of snow to shovel." So when E told us he wanted to shovel instead of sled, we should have known that this sledding thing was going to fail.

However, Mike and I persisted and got both kids bundled up in snow suits. Anyone who has ever done this knows what an event this can be. By the time everyone is ready to go, I'm carrying my coat, hat, and gloves because I'm sweating.  Despite the crying from both kids, Cora was tired and E wanted his shovel, we were finally loaded in the car, ready to make the two minute drive to the soccer field where there were perfect sledding hills. I even packed some snacks because I envisioned us sitting on top of the hill taking a break from all the sledding we'd be doing.

When we got there, I plopped Cora in the baby sled and pulled her to the hill so she could camp out and watch. Mike was pulling E's sled and he was slowly following behind still talking about his shovel. Mike was talking to him about sledding, really pumping it up about how cool it was going to be. There were other kids sledding and we said, "Look at those kids, doesn't that look fun?" E wanted nothing to do with it. Mike decided to take a turn to show E how fun it would be. Still nothing. I took a turn and he still just wanted to shovel. Time to bribe, we thought if E just tried it, he'd like it. We told him to go down with Dad and then he could shovel. He quickly jumped on the sled with Mike and they went down the hill. When he walked back up he said, "Ok, now can I shovel?" How can we argue with that? We brought his shovel but decided it was pointless for the whole family to just stand at the top of the hill and watch him shovel. So we loaded everyone back in the car and made the two minute drive back home and E shoveled the yard, happy as can be.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Social Media Cleanse

I went off of social media for the month of November. It really was only Facebook and Instagram since I don't Twitter or use Snap-Whatever. I did continue to read blogs because who has time to read a book these days so that's my "reading" time. I still was on Pinterest because I do actually make a lot of the recipes I pin. I don't do much with the other thousands of things I pin but I can dream.

What prompted my cleanse was a new low I hit, I was scrolling through my newsfeed while brushing my teeth. That's low. I also would check my newsfeed and nothing would have updated, Facebook wasn't broken, I was just on it that much. Not to mention the countless minutes I was wasting. Minutes I could use wisely by being productive or heaven forbid spend time with my children. Yes, it was time for a cleanse.

I also found myself getting annoyed and even competitive by some posts from people. People I barely knew anymore. My gosh, just typing that sounds pathetic. This should not be effecting me the way it was. Again, time for a cleanse.

So today is the day I jump back on Facebook and Instagram. Did I miss it? Not really. What I missed was the connection I felt with my close friends who live far away. I miss seeing pictures of their kids and random updates about their lives. Yes, there are other ways to stay connected to those we love; email, texts, or dare I say even a phone call. During my social media cleanse, I did try calling my best friend who lives out of state. I had no idea what she or her family was up to, I missed feeling connected to her. It took us two weeks and four phone calls before we actually spoke. Who has time for that?  Facebook is easy and quick. And when my closest people live far away, that's what I want.

After my cleanse, I will be using social media differently. I like Instagram for pictures, it's a great record of daily moments and I don't follow many people on there. Honestly, I mostly follow celebrities on Instagram, it's my celebrity gossip fix. I'm going to clean up my Facebook "friends" so I'm truly connected with people who are friends. I don't care what that girl I had one class with freshman year of college is up to. I don't need to be updated on that guy who graduated from high school two years after me. I care about my friends, the real ones. The ones that it doesn't matter how much time has passed since the last time we saw each other because we pick right back up where we left off. Besides, I don't want to risk pissing them off by defriending them...they know to much about me.