Thursday, June 28, 2012


i can't even remember if i talked about our trip here or not. whatevs. tomorrow theMr and i leave for five days in DC! woo hoo! this is monumental as it will be our first kid free vacation.  ever.  as in, we took a nursing baby on our honeymoon. (note to self: this is why God intended you have kids after getting married~!)  we have had a few weekends away over the years, but not a real trip. i can't even tell you how excited we are. our 12th anniversary will fall on sunday and we'll celebrate there. yay!! the kids are staying at our house and various trusted friends and family members are staying here with them. it makes things so much easier to not have to pack for them. i have a million and one things to get done before we leave, pray for me!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Post on dating!

i'm so excited to share this guest post. over the past few years, as we've (tried) to prepare for having teenagers, we've given a lot of prayer and thought to how we would handle dating. theMr and i made some really bad choices as single people, including a child out of wedlock and the repercussions that go with it. we made a decision a few years ago to not allow our children to date until they graduate high school. in the time since, we've asked many parents of teens how they handle this issue. one of those i have practically grilled on the issue is my friend Jen. the reason? she has fantastic teenagers. three of them. they are smart and funny and polite and delightful. i find myself gravitating towards people with teens like that and trying to soak in what they are doing. everyone has "advice" on parenting but the proof is in the pudding. find people with great kids and watch them!  in the midst of these discussions, the dating issue came up. as it turns out, they have the same views about dating as we do. i asked Jen to do a guest post because she has a lot more experience in this than i do! i'm just getting started in the world of raising teens. i'm so glad i did, she expressed it perfectly. enjoy!
I am the mom of 3 teens. They are smart (straight A’s). They are talented (the 3 of them practically have their own band).  They are funny and kind. They’re really good-looking. And none of them has ever been on a date.
            The dating thing? It’s by choice. From the time our kids were little, we wanted to figure out a way to avoid the whole teenage dating scenario. Our own dating experiences caused us to take a good look at what the purpose of dating really is. But how could we raise kids who were ok with not dating? Was it possible to help them avoid the whole dating scene and still be normal? I’m happy to tell you that not only is it possible, but I believe that waiting to date has actually freed my kids up to enjoy their teenage years and helped them be mentally, spiritually and physically healthy.
            I have no problem with families whose teenagers are dating, because every family has to decide what works for them. But in case you’re wondering how & why any teenager would choose to be dateless, here’s some of the philosophy & strategies that worked for us. Just a word of warning, though: if you’re the kind of person who likes to be conventional, you should probably just skip the rest of this post!
            The foundational idea for our dating philosophy is that we believe the purpose of dating is to find a spouse. Whoa, you might say! That’s way too intense for teenagers to have to worry about. What about just letting them have fun, explore relationships with the opposite sex, etc? Well, here’s the bottom line: biology dictates that as soon as kids hit puberty, their hormones demand that they begin reproducing as soon as possible. You can’t fight it. It’s the way we were designed. So when you have a couple of teens alone  for hours, “exploring” their relationship with each other, you have the human equivalent of a spark and a match. It’s just a matter of time before something will ignite. This is not a bad thing. Like I said, it’s the way we were designed.
            So if the hormones of puberty are what kick-starts our path toward the opposite sex, then what lies at the end of that path? That’s easy: marriage. The whole point of becoming interested in someone else is so that we will ultimately find a life partner.
Here’s a radical idea: no one is ready to find a life partner at 12! or 15! or even 17, for that matter! 
            I can almost hear the skepticism. “What about just letting kids have fun? What about letting them go out in groups so they can get to know each other? I dated my husband/wife all through high school and we turned out fine! You’re taking this way too seriously!”
            Let me give you a visual. What would happen if you glued 2 pieces of paper together and then changed your mind and tried to pull them apart? The papers would rip. At best you would have one piece of paper that was really thin in spots where a layer of it was still stuck to the other piece. This is what happens when kids give their hearts away by having romantic feelings and experiences with the opposite sex. Every time your child develops feelings for someone else, he/she leaves a little bit of his/her heart with that person.
            I don’t want my kids offering their future spouses a ripped-up heart.
            So what do you do then? How do you keep your kids from dating?.
            Well, basically you don’t keep them from dating. What you do is begin to build a wise view of dating into them from the time they’re little, so that by the time they’re teenagers, they get it so thoroughly that they have no desire to date (ok, realistically they might HAVE the desire, but they don’t act on it because it’s so not part of who they are, and what your family values are).
            Some practical strategies:
            1. Always link dating to marriage. When our kids were little, whenever we saw a teenage couple on TV or in a movie, we made a joke about it. “Look at those two! Do you think they’re old enough to get married?”... followed by a huge laugh, as if this was the funniest thing we’d ever heard. The kids quickly figured out that the purpose of dating was marriage.
            2. As your kids get older, point out examples that will hit them personally (and if it embarrasses your kid, all the better!). We have relatives in North Carolina, a state in which you can get married (with parental consent) at 14. When our kids hit 14, we of course teased them that they could get married in NC. They were so horrified that they didn’t think this was funny AT ALL! Point taken.
            3. Go on “dates” with your opposite-sex children. Moms, take your sons on dates. Dads, take your daughters on dates. Do not underestimate the power of these times together. For years our girls have gone on an annual father-daughter dance. It has become their prom. They dress up, do their hair, etc., for their dad. It’s the coolest thing ever. Doing these special things builds up your child’s sense of how to be treated by the opposite sex and affirms what is special about their gender. It insulates them against the huge affirmation that so many teens try to find in the opposite sex. Kids who are affirmed by their opposite sex parent won’t need nearly as much affirmation by their peers. If you are a single parent, find a relative or close friend who can help you out in this area.
            4. Don’t be afraid to limit technology. Kids have access to each other 24/7 in ways we didn’t. Remember that technology should function as a tool, not a noose. Ask yourself how cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet can be helpful to your family. If they’re not helpful - if you’re not comfortable letting your kids  talk/text/facebook with the opposite sex, great! Just say no. You are the parent. However, I believe it is important to explain your reasons to your kids, and even get their input so they feel heard and will know you’re limiting things because you care and not because you’re just trying to drop the hammer.
            4 ½. Some Facebook tips: if you’ve decided to let your kids be on Facebook, one simple way to monitor this is to tell them that whenever possible, whoever is their friend needs to be your friend too. This way you will see all the things their friends post. Sometimes it isn’t possible to “friend” all your kids’ friends, so make sure your child knows you have the right to log onto his/her account anytime you want. In our house this is nonnegotiable. Also, know your child’s password. For that matter, let your kid know your password too. Everyone in our family knows everyone else’s password and can log on to each other’s accounts if they want.
            5. Get some good resources to back you up. One popular book about this subject is I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. Find friends who share your philosophy. This will be really important when your kids are teens and need to know they’re not the only ones not dating. Having a few friends in the same boat will help them not feel weird.
             Ok, I have to throw this in: Don’t be afraid to be different. Being unconventional means you are thinking for yourself. Be proud of that without being obnoxious. You don’t have to go around defending your position, but you also don’t have to make converts, either. People will notice that your kids are happier, more well-adjusted, and allover nice people when you make decisions that promote their well-being even if those are not the popular choices.
            Parents, we have an awesome responsibility. We also have an amazing opportunity to shape our kids’ lives. Don’t be afraid of this, but take hold of it with joy, knowing that whenever you think through parenting decisions, you’re trying to do what’s best for your kids. In the end, that’s what counts.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

our visitor

the kids came and woke me up this morning to tell me there was a rat in the house. we get mice every spring, so naturally i ignored them and went back to sleep! when i got up, i sat in my favorite spot in the sitting room with my first cup of coffee and my laptop. while i'm basking in the few moments of quiet (the kids were upstairs starting their chores) i have a little surprise... something running across the floor in front of me. at first, i thought it was a giant rat. then i realized it was a small possum. so i'm standing on the couch screaming, Aliyah is standing on the coffee table screaming, Esme is chasing it saying "come here, kitty!"  i opened the front door and after a few minutes Isaiah was able to chase it out! i think it was more anxious to get out of this crazy place with screaming females and a toddler hell bent on putting it in a baby carriage!  after all of our adrenalin subsided, i realized i was actually relieved that it was a possum as opposed to a rat. i mean, when have you ever heard of someone having one rat? i have no idea how it got in and i sincerely hope it never manages to do again. i never thought anything would be a more effective wake up tool than my keurig. guess i was wrong!

Monday, June 4, 2012

more facebook... i can't resist!

when i wrote my original post about facebook, i thought it was comprehensive. little did i know that the lovely form of social media would just keep giving me more and more material! i've been trying to fight writing this post for a few weeks now, in an attempt to not offend my last few readers! but i just can't keep my mouth shut any longer! i must let it out!! so in no particular order....

~ is there something in the fb rules and regulations that states this as the perfect venue to offer condescending, unsolicited advice?  here are some things i've seen recently:  a picture of an adorable toddler standing up in their crib for the first time set off a storm of comments about lowering the crib mattress. the mother of this toddler has three children. i think she knows to lower the mattress. take a deep breath! similarly, someone posted a pic of an adorable baby sleeping in a carseat, strapped in appropriately. but wait! one darling "friend" inspected the style of the carseat and determined that it must be an older model and therefore is NOT safe for that child. seriously? you should put those super detective skills to work somewhere else. like maybe where people actually care to hear your opinions.

~vaguebooking.... we've discussed in our last post. but it cannot be repeated enough. this is NOT a status "pray, bad things, can't share more."  followed by three days of nothing. is this person dead? did someone steal their wifi? are they in the witness protection program? if you can't share then ...... DON'T SHARE.
whew, i'm getting really really shouty CAPS over here and we're only on the second one. i better take a few deep breaths.

~ok, i'm under control now. i will not be under control if i'm forced to continually see my mom's friends posting uber cleavage-y pics of themselves taken in the bathroom, with their lips stuck out like they are a cast member on the Real Housewives of the OC.  let's just legislate some guidelines here: if you are over 21, do not take pics in the bathroom. if you are over 30, do not put your girls on fb.  if you are a teenager, just remember that the internet is forever and someday you may want a career. just sayin!

~bashing your place of work, especially when it is a non profit ministry.  it's ok for you to be unhappy there. it's ok for you to vent to your friends about your unhappiness. it is NOT ok for you to bash that institution repeatedly online. it is super offensive to the many parents of students there. it is also not a very good representation of your character. put your big girl pants on and take your issues to the people that can address them. that's called maturity.

~while we're on the topic of bashing, the above rule also applies to spouses, in laws, and your children. don't say terrible things about your family. just don't. keep it to yourself.

~and since we mentioned husbands, let me also clarify that details of your sex life are totally unnecessary. like really. i do NOT need to know that you both had sex when you woke up this morning. nobody needed to know that .  but thanks for sharing.

~and lastly, the business facebooker. look, i'm glad you're making some extra money. i truly am. however, i feel i should disclose a few things. if your statuses are always about your product and how wonderful it is, i will "hide" you. please stop inviting me to every party you have. or worse, asking me to host one. if i wake up tomorrow and want make-up or purses or jewelry or cooking supplies or a vacation package- I'll call you!

have we finally covered all of the bases yet??? somehow i bet not....