A Little Secret

Can I tell you a little secret?

Something about a little indulgence of mine?

Well here it is, I have this love for hand soaps. I tell you everytime I go to Burkes or any place that sells fancier soaps than WalMart I have got to check out their hand soap selection. Now I am not a germ freak, though I do love clean hands. It’s just this little not quite obsession that I have with pretty, fresh smelling sink items.

IMG_2135

To me, a nice little soap bottle (while the one on the far right is not pretty it works and smells great!) can dress up a sink for just a few dollars. I generally don’t refill the bottles. This is where the germs get me. Yes, I do wash the bottles themselves too.

IMG_2136

Shhh…when visiting someone’s home I will sometimes sneak a peek and sniff at their hand soaps. I know weird, right? Otherwise, I am a private person and don’t look in medicine cabinets and stuff.

Advertisements

Before Pinterest​

I think we need a new way of dating history.

We have BC=Before Christ and AD=After Death. However, I think it’s time to add BP & AP. You know, Before Pinterest and After Pinterest.

All joking aside, so much of our lives are really based on what we see and pin on Pinterest.

*Our meals and how we photograph them and of course post them to social media. More and more our meals are from Pinterest, the iPad up and open while making dinner.

*Our photo shoots. I tell you, I have a pinboard just for photo shoots for large families.

*Hairstyles, Home organization, Quotes, traveling with kids, furniture, crafts, hunting, plumbing, gardening…

*I even have pin boards on Camping…I really don’t even like to camp! Then there’s a board all about pallets. Will I ever use it? Probably not.

While these and most of my pin boards have been more than helpful, let’s talk about where Pinterest can raise the bar too high.

How did us mommas throw a birthday party for our kids before Pinterest? How did we manage to cook a decent meal for our family? How did we know how to decorate our homes?

I raised our older two kids pretty much BP. Their birthday parties were based on our budget and imagination. Our younger four are AP. I have to be honest with you I feel the pressure to provide a Pinterest-worthy party each time. Maybe it’s just me.

Our home and it’s decor, again for many, many years was based on our budget and creative imagination. While there are a lot of DIY on Pinterest, there is also a bar that has been raised on how our homes need to look. If you can’t afford it or just aren’t a good DIYer then your home well not be Pinterest-worthy.

Again, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so, we need to use Pinterest as a tool and not a standard.

 

Boom Chicka

IMG_2134

(This is not a paid endorsement.)

If you have ever tasted Boom Chicka Pop’s Kettle Corn, you know the meaning of the word addiction. I can’t buy them…I will eat the whole bag!

BUT I did buy this. I mean how could it be bad. It has all the key ingredients, such as dark chocolate, sea salt, and kettle corn! Plus the bag has all of those “good for you” labels.

Sadly the new popcorn trend failed to satisfy. It was a bit on the weird, too sweet side of food. Three members of our house like the concoction. For me, I will stay with the occasional bag of their regular kettle corn.

Gratitude

IMG_2132

We just got done with a series on Gratitude at our church. What an eye opener, a heart changer.

Gratitude…while on the surface I may seem like a thankful person, just peek under that surface and you’ll see just how much of a struggle it can be for me to truly be grateful.

One statement our pastor said stood out to me. It was this: “We don’t need to be grateful for the bad things that happen. We need to be grateful despite them.”

During the Sunday School series, I was challenged to start a journal of what I am grateful for. It took me a bit to actually do it, but once I started I had to limit myself to only write around ten a day. This is a pretty flexible goal and I haven’t written every day.

Added #47 today, which reads: “When plumbers show up earlier than expected. *When your toilet is clogged it is NEVER too early.” Can we all give a shout out to plumbers?! I tell you it was a chore to get anyone just to come by the afternoon. Everyone so super booked.

A few other random things I have written down are: Telephones, Birds, Indoor plumbing, My hubby, Our older kids who help watch the younger ones.

While I have only begun this gratefulness journey I have already begun to catch things that I can be, should be, and am grateful for. I am becoming more aware of the good things, no matter how small, in my life. I am hoping that this process doesn’t stay on paper hidden in my journal, but spills out into real life and I truly live with a grateful heart and attitude. The benefits are way too many to not be grateful.

What are you grateful for? Do you keep a journal of the things you are grateful for? If you do please share. I’d love to hear.

Good Parenting ISN’T Easy

The other day at my 60 something appointment since February I got two comments, in regards to our big family, ones that I get too often.

“It must be hard.” and “You seem so calm.”

First of all, parenting brings the best out in a person but it can bring out the worst as well. My husband and I are no more “special” than the next parent. And trust me we have been pushed to our limits more than our fair share on this parenting journey. So if you think I am calm…thank you. But really you are looking at the work God has done in me or you just caught me at the right moment.

Second, of course, it is not easy. Good parenting is never easy. Raising a child into a functioning, civilized, caring human being, one who knows they are capable of reaching their potential takes work. That is raising them from day one, with your DNA. Throw in someone else’s’ DNA and all that goes into raising kids from foster care and no it is not easy.

Today I see things in a different light. I used to take so much for granted when I only parented our bio kids. Sometimes it takes a broken mirror to show you just how important the little things you did really are. So many of the little moments, just talking about the everyday things like “Oh, look at that bird,” all of the small touches, the little everyday connections, if missing can really affect a child. Not to mention when bad stuff happens.

My husband and I truly feel no different than the next good parent trying their hardest. We have no special super powers (though I wish we did, they’d sure come in handy). We haven’t taken any over the top intense training to prepare us for this. A lot of it has been off the cuff parenting, a LOT of praying and yes, a lot of failing.

Moms and dads, don’t let the media or those around you pressure you into feeling like you are not a good parent. None of us are great…well okay there are those among us. None of our lives are Pinterest perfect. (At least no one I know.) We all make mistakes, we all yell at times, we all lose it and you know what…that’s okay. We are showing our kids that it’s okay to be human, to be less than perfect. It’s okay it mess up. They get to see how we handle failure, how we handle a stressful situation, a major plot twist in life. To me, that is what real parents do. If you don’t have laminated ABC’s on your walls…it’s okay. Your kids don’t care. They want your time and attention. They want to be bored and discover things on their own. They need to fall and figure out how to get up on their own.

Parenting isn’t for sissies for sure, but I really haven’t met too many of those, so you are more than likely going to be just fine as a parent. So pull up your big girl/boy panties and stand your ground, spend time with your kids, make the hard decisions (I have said this more than once, “I want you to be safe more than I want you to be happy.) Make your kids do chores, teach them to forgive, show them how to notice and accept others around them. Give them new experiences in and out of their comfort zones. Let them cry, let them feel pain, let them know the depths of messing up and being forgiven. Show them grace, give them order, hold them accountable.

Parenting is hard. Parenting sometimes sucks. But parenting is also very worth it.

 

 

 

Vacation

IMG_2062

We took a vacation, a road trip to see family in California and Arizona. It was LONG, it was fun, and the memories made were well worth it.

IMG_1896

Our Miss D’s (Nana) suitcase fell out of the cargo shell onto a very busy highway about here. Cabazon…115 degrees, SUPER windy, hence the windmills. Long story but her poor suitcase got shredded and it’s contents scattered all over the busy four lane highway. It wasn’t until some sensible drivers moved over that we were able to retrieve her belongings. Up until then I was at the mercy of the wind made by the speeding vehicles to blow her clothes my way.

IMG_1902

Family tradition, the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Since I was a little girl we have taken pictures here. Now all six of our kids have been here.

IMG_2260

Huntington Beach…never seen this young gent so happy!! Seriously. The beach was a hit for sure. If I could bottle it up for him I would.

IMG_2032

Tried new coffee. It gave Hubby and I a few minutes alone. Grateful for even mini-dates.

IMG_2034

Went to La Brea Tar Pits. I hadn’t been there since like fifth grade. Lots of fun. Very informative, which I eat up. The kids had fun spending some Christmas money at the gift shop too.

IMG_2035

IMG_2063Los Angeles, CA traffic!! No thank you.

 

IMG_2072Can’t tell you how much we all needed this little guy to nap and nap long.

IMG_2073Cousins and one uncle.

IMG_2075

Family in Arizona. Good times. So blessed to have a family who not only accepts our kids but sees passed their skin color and their past. Everyone of our family members has been so good to our kids. God is SO good.