Posts Tagged ‘family’

Another Birthday

Today, we celebrated another birthday as our oldest daughter turned fourteen. Gosh, we’re getting old(er)! As is tradition, we gathered around the dining room table, dimmed the lights, and sang the birthday song. Burning candles were extinguished, pictures were taken, jokes were told, and cake and ice cream were dished out to everyone who wanted some. I passed for the time being, but made no promises to lay off the cake on a long-term basis.

Birthdays are always so special to us. While we’ve had parties on the rare occasion that the kids request them, we always spend time celebrating as a family. There’s something to be said for not commercializing the birthday experience. Birthdays are celebrations of life and we praise God for allowing us to be here for a new day.

I am thankful for having four very healthy children and grateful for being able to celebrate another birthday in my family.


Thank You for giving me another day with all of my children. I praise You for choosing to keep them all safe and healthy and ask that You continue to bless them abundantly. I pray that the birthday girl continues to draw closer to You and will someday make the decision to be baptized in You, so that she may be born again and may enjoy celebrating a new kind of birthday. In Jesus’ name, Amen!



I love looking back at family pictures to see how the kids have changed over the years. They’ve grown tremendously, broadened their horizons, developed their own personalities, and taken risks.

A picture of the boys playing together when they were just one- and three-years-old takes me back to a time when all that they needed to have fun was a log tunnel through which they’d crawl and scoot in and out of both ends – peeking to make sure that I noticed their latest adventure.

Images of a dual-themed Arthur and Hello Kitty birthday party bring back fond memories of my then 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter excited to bite into their cakes and open presents.

Our once tiny tots have all blossomed into smart, funny, beautiful, and handsome people. The still images of days gone by are vivid reminders of how far they’ve come since the days of toddling around the house, clumsily clinging to a favorite toy as they ventured from one room to another.

Our home server is full of photos that bring to life not only actions from years ago, but memories of our recent past…

Pulling off the highway to pose for that perfect photo op with rolling hills as the backdrop,

Skating and bicycling at our favorite spot near the river,

Pitching in to help with various home improvement projects,

Hiking through a community park and literally stopping to smell the flowers,

Performing at dance recitals and music concerts,

Accepting awards for academic excellence,

Advancing to the next Boy Scout rank,

Exploring new places,

Living life.

I am thankful for pictures and the memories that they help to recall.


Thank You for blessing me with great kids and for helping them to blossom into beautiful young people. I cherish every moment that I have with them. As still photos help to flood memories from yesteryear, I pray that Your Word will serve as a picture that constantly reminds them of your promises, your faithfulness, and your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen!





Activity Burnout

Our family of six is busy like most modern families. Work, school, dance, scouts, church, friends, etc. all compete for the very limited resource of time. We do most of our activities, because they are fun and bring us joy, but others things like work and school are simply necessary.

I don’t know if it’s just my family, or if others out there are going through the same thing, but we’re in desperate need of a break! The cold, snowy (and lately) rainy winter doesn’t do much to help adjust our attitudes.

Thank goodness spring break is just around the corner. Otherwise, we just might go stir crazy. We’re looking forward to being unplugged from the usual rat race. No office or home phones ringing. Cell phones will be off or on silent. Computer usage will be limited to getting ideas on where to go and what to do at our vacation destination. Facebook is forbidden. We plan to just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Old school entertainment like board games will become the new norm for our vacation this year. The low-tech board games, not the new ones. :-)

Do Your Children Have Chores?

I often hear parents grumble about the abundance of chores around the house, but am astounded at how many families don’t require children to do chores.

Now, I didn’t have children, so that I could have little maids and chefs running around. I had them, because my maternal instinct told me that it was my primary purpose in life. Nothing else I accomplish will ever rate higher than being a mom. That said, children a part of a family unit and where I’m from, each family member chips in to keep the household running.

The children’s television show Barney made cleaning up popular for the young crowd with the annoying, yet highly effective, Clean Up song. This song inspired the preschool and elementary crowd to “do your share” of cleaning up after themselves.

Teaching children to clean up after themselves shouldn’t be considered punishment. It’s simply instilling responsibility and providing skills that will follow them for a lifetime.

When I was in grade school, teachers rewarded students who had clean workspaces. The same held true for summer camp where we earned “golden nuggets” (spray painted rocks) for working with our fellow campers to ensure that our cabins were clean. In college, we had weekly room inspections. Failure to regularly pass room inspection was punishable by eviction from the dorms. Ouch! In places of employment, clean workspaces help keep us organized and productive.

Helpful strategies for achieving chore success:

  • Post a chore chart in the heart of the house (family room, kitchen, etc.) and meet with your chidren often to discuss their roles in completing household chores. Put your chores on the schedule as well, so that they can see that you, too, play a vital role in keeping the house clean.
  • Do not complete your child’s chores if they decide to throw a tantrum. Doing so will send the wrong message. Instead, remind them that their help benefits the entire family; remember to praise them along the way and immediately after.
  • Give your children age-appropriate chores. Don’t expect a 5 year-old to make a perfect and neat bed. Instead, praise them for doing their best. In time, they will perfect the art of making a bed to your liking. Maybe.

Need help determining age-appropriate chores? Annie Stewart of WebMD suggests the following:

Chores for children ages 2 to 3

  • Put toys away.
  • Put clothes in hamper.

Chores for children ages 4 to 5

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Make own bed.
  • Fix bowl of cereal.

Chores for children ages 6 to 7

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Sort laundry.
  • Help make and pack lunch.
  • Keep bedroom tidy.
  • Pour own drinks.

Chores for children ages 8 to 9

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Put away groceries.
  • Vacuum.
  • Make own snacks.
  • Wash table after meals.
  • Put away own laundry.
  • Make own breakfast.
  • Cook simple foods, such as toast.

Chores for children ages 10 and older.

Any of the above chores, plus:

  • Unload dishwasher.
  • Fold laundry.
  • Clean bathroom.
  • Wash windows.
  • Cook simple meal with supervision.
  • Iron clothes.
  • Do laundry.
  • Mow lawn.
  • Change bed.

Remember to balance the amount and difficulty of chores with other obligations, such as homework, extracurricular activities, work (for teens), social needs, and family activities. Revisit the chore schedule periodically to determine whether or not it is effective. Talk to your children to get their input, tweak the schedule, when necessary, and be sure to announce any changes during your family meeting.

Do your children have chores? If so, are tantrums, tears, and headaches part of the routine? How do you overcome those challenges?

Let’s chat!

Love to all!


The Hot Food Blues

I am truly honored and blessed to be able to cook for my family, so please don’t take this post the wrong way. I struggle with finding the desire to cook a hot meal for my family each night. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t have the gift of culinary creativity or it’s because I am not confident about being able to appeal to the palates of six people with different tastes. If I hear, “Mom, I stopped eating that months ago” one more time, I may just quit my chef job!

Who knows? Maybe I have underlying issues that keep me from wanting to walk over to the stove each night. Whatever the reason, I seldom look forward to making dinner.

I’ve tried creating monthly meal plans, then I chopped those plans down to just two weeks. All the planning in the world won’t help me to whip up one key entree, the desire to actually cook what’s on the list. Sometimes, I procrastinate so much, I end up in a fast-food drive-thru or online submitting a to-go order at one of our favorite full-service restaurants. The lowest of low is when I tell everyone that tonight’s dinner will be a free-for-all. A FFA is pretty much how it sounds: everything is a possible meal, so grab a bowl, spoon, and milk. Don’t want that? It’s OK. Just open a can of something. Another handy dandy alternative, a couple slices of bread with whatever your heart desires.

Is there a secret to finding motivation to put a hot meal on the table each night? If so, please share!

Love to all!