Throwback Thursday — Childhood Fun

TT.2-11-2016Hi and Happy Thursday.  Today I have a great picture for Throwback Thursday.  My sister Cindy and I are on the swing set in our backyard.  I am the one upside down.

My sister, my brother, and I loved to play in this back yard.  I don’t remember how I happened to be upside down, but I love that I was.  We had so much fun and made so many memories.  We were able to walk to school since we were so close.

I love how this picture sums up childhood, when life was simple, we had no worries except for when dinner time was, and getting our homework done.  My family also had chores to do around the house and we always had to listen and eat what was served.

Still, it was so carefree.  I only wish my younger self had known to savor each and every moment of being a kid.  Now I look back fondly and wish that I had, but it’s hard to see at the time.  Since life was pretty good, I could have taken things for granted. Our parents helped us to not do that.

I was quite shy as a child, almost painfully so.  Needless to say, I was a late bloomer and took things at my own pace.  Things worked out at the right time for me, but it did take time and I thank my parents for helping me along and helping me to find myself.

I had a real and fun childhood and am so thankful to my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who were a part of that.  I also appreciate our pastors, teachers, Camp Fire leaders, Vacation Bible School and Sunday School teachers, and all other adults who helped me to become who I am today.

Now that I am a parent, my husband and I are trying to give Ian the best childhood we can.  That doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that he asks for or giving him all that he wants.  Instead, it means having plenty of time to play, complete his homework, help around the house, enjoy the library, Cub Scouts, having plenty of food, and so much more.

I am aware that some families don’t have that.  We are teaching that to Ian as well and to have him be cognizant of others and be helpful.  We had a food drive last week at school and Ian helped me choose the food and deliver it to school.  And, at Christmas, he chose gifts for a boy on our Angel Tree at church.  He is already learning and I am so grateful.

There are a few things that I think children need to know they are loved and safe:

  • Unconditional love
  • Discipline given in love not anger or hate
  • Routine and consistency
  • Regular and healthy meals
  • Running water that is safe to shower in and drink
  • Parents and other adults who want the best for them
  • Time to play
  • Learning to read
  • Being told I Love You
  • Being read to
  • Being listened to
  • Having family traditions
  • A quality education
  • A safe living environment
  • Knowing they can count on their parents

May we be able to provide this for our children.  If we can’t on our own, may we seek help from others.  And, may we always love them and take care of them.

I will close with a few quotes about childhood.  May we as parents enjoy it with our children.

  • “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
  • “Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” ~ John Betjeman
  • “Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.” ~ Robert Brault
  • “It is never too late to have a happy childhood.” ~ Tom Robbins

Monday Musings

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday.  Happy Cinco de Mayo!  And, yesterday was Stars Wars day when a lot of people said, “May the 4th Be With You.”

On this Monday, I have some rambling musings/thoughts of items on my mind or that have touched me in recent days.

My heart goes out to people struggling.  First of all, the news that two weeks ago, more than 200 girls were kidnapped to be sold is heartbreaking.  I can’t even imagine what they and their families are feeling.  I hope things can be done very soon to bring them back.

The fact that certain people have no regard for others is appalling and amazing to me.  Life is so precious and our young children so very special, I honestly cannot fathom treating girls or boys like this.  And, the sad fact is that this treatment is far more common than we’d like to think.

May those with voices do something about it to inspire action and change and realization that all life is to be respected and honored. My heart and prayers go out to these girls and their families.

I am also praying for one relative and one friend who are undergoing chemo treatments.  They both have wonderful outlooks and are positive that they will get better.  I know they have rough days and times of intense pain and discomfort, but they also have many great and fun days too.  Love to both of them.  They inspire me so very much.

On Good Morning America this morning, they had their annual Breakfast in Bed tribute to two mothers.  One is a NICU nurse and the other works for the show and had daughters who this nurse took care of.  My applause for this nurse and others like her who take care of our smallest babies.  The story of both women was very well done and showed they are friends.

I couldn’t help but think of when Ian was in the NICU the first four days of his life.  He wasn’t a preemie but had to be there for breathing issues and problems with sucking.  He was treated well and the staff was wonderful with him.  It was such a blessing to bring him home.

And, finally I recently heard an amazing quote on the news from someone who was terminally ill.  It is very inspiring and brought me to tears.  It said that each day when this person woke up, she chose to be happy.  Knowing that you don’t have long to live and having that attitude is so amazing to me.  When I am having a rough day, I will try to keep this in mind.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Freedom and being free
  • Waking up each morning and hugging my family
  • A child who is safe
  • Friends and family members who inspire me
  • Love and forgiveness
  • Being able to pray in times of need

I almost forgot to mention.  This photo was taken during our field study to the zoo.  It was a lovely morning and a fun day.

I wonder what new things will inspire me or touch me.  I look forward to finding out.

Throwback Thursday – Ian’s First Christmas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday. Today I decided to share several photo for Throwback Thursday.  They are of Ian’s first Christmas.  He was nearly 3 months old when these were taken.

I love his smile and he seemed so happy in his Santa hat.  We were having fun looking at each other.  That is my face in the top right.  When he was born, he was just under 10 pounds so he had grown quite a bit already.

He was posed by the tree with a place mat on his tummy. He constantly had his hands in his mouth when he was this age or his pacifier, paci, as we called it.  Now he’s 6 years old, tall for his age, and full of fun and energy.  It is amazing to think this is the 6th Christmas we have celebrated with Ian.  Each one has been special in its own way.

Early on, he just enjoyed smiling at people and looking at all of the lights and ornaments.  Then, he was happy with the gifts that we picked for him and played with them.  In recent years, he has been asking for items that he wants to receive.  Isn’t it amazing how quickly that changes?

Now, this year he has been curious about Advent (the season preparing for Christ’s arrival), is enjoying his Advent calendar, and knows what the meaning of Christmas is and why we celebrate it.  He is also discovering what we celebrate. At school, he has been learning about different traditions around the world.  You can see in my blog from yesterday that he gets it.  I am so proud of him for that.

I just can’t believe all of the changes in the last 6 years.  Here are a few more photos from his 1st Christmas.  Mr. Smiley was actually cooperating. I am ready to take a lot of new photos this year of him and the wonder of Christmas morning.

I wonder what his favorite part will be this year?  I can’t wait to find out.  I wonder how many happy tears I will have.  I imagine quite a few.

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Five Minute Friday – Present

5minutefridayToday I am taking a day off from the Photo-A-Day challenge to write my Five Minute Friday posting.  I will be back to the photos tomorrow and may even post today’s then.

Today’s word for Five Minute Friday is Present.

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Now GO …

presentA present is something precious. The thoughtfulness of a special gift that a loved one has bought for you is a treasure.

Watching my son open an anticipated gift on Christmas morning or on his birthday is a real treat.

He is so thrilled and appreciative and then loves to play with the new item.  Most of the day when a new gift is received is spent playing with and learning all about the new item.

More important is the here and now — not the past or future but the present.

Until I had a child of my own, I didn’t totally understand the concept of living in the present.  I would spend a lot of time thinking about the future and the past.  Ian helps me live in the moment and savor each and every second.

It is amazing that kids can totally be engaged and consumed (in a good way) with whatever is in front of them at the time.  They don’t worry about the next meal, having power in the house, or missing a favorite tv show because a bill can’t be paid.

I think we can learn a lot from a child.  The gift of time is an amazing present and one that I try to make the best of.   And, I do my best to always be totally there in the moment.

I wonder if we can truly live in the present and savor the excitement, wonder, and possibilities of each day like a child does.  I am sure going to try.

Now, STOP!!!

To read other blogs from the Five Minute Friday community, please see http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-present/

Jokes By Ian

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAFor being only 5 years old, my son Ian has a great sense of humor.

Here is Ian pictured in 2011 being a ham at the beach.  He loves to be silly for the camera!

He loves to laugh and loves to be tickled.  In fact, he told me that being tickled makes him happy.   I wrote a blog about that in 2011 — entitled “Tickling Brings Out My Happy.”

Ian is an active and lively boy who likes to have fun.  For that I am thankful.

And, he is pretty good at telling jokes.  Well, at least for someone his age.  Here are few jokes that Ian told me about one month ago.  They may be more questions but he was giggling when he told them, so I did too!!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.  His delivery was great with these — which is part of telling a good joke or funny story.

***What jiggles in a house when people are eating it? —   Jello

***What has two wings, glides across the sky, and has a driver? —  An Airplane

***What skittles side to side, has claws and a shell? —  A Crab

***What buzzes around and has wings and is yellow and black?  —  A Bumble Bee

After telling these jokes (questions) to me, I told him I enjoyed those a lot and that he was pretty clever.  As you can imagine, he grinned from ear to ear.

He then said, “Mommy, I am going to tell you a funny tale,”  which was a tale about someone named Drack Drack who had a long ponytail.  Get it?!

Ian is also good at making up stories and will often tell them to me before he goes to bed.  He has a very active imagination.  I love that he is creative, happy, and loves to laugh.

My son is a real blessing and brings joy to me each day!  I thank the Lord for him.

There is a quote that says Laughter is the best medicine!  I do believe that is true.  Having Ian in my life so adds to that medicine.  I hope that you too have someone in your life who brings you joy and laughter.

A few quotes about laughter:

  • Laughter is an instant vacation. ~Milton Berle
  • Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge
  • What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. ~Yiddish Proverb
  • A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. ~Irish Proverb
  • A good time to laugh is any time you can.  ~Linda Ellerbee
  • Carry laughter with you wherever you go.  ~Hugh Sidey

Children Are Precious!

childrenIn light of the events of Friday, I wanted to post a poem that is included in my Mom’s Devotional Bible.

It is a poem that really touched me about children and what we can learn from them.

Children are precious gifts from God!  Here is a picture that I found in Power Point’s Clip Art.  Isn’t it a neat picture? I thought it went along perfectly with the poem.

The poem is called “On Raising Children” and is by Mary Hollingsworth.  It states:

“Children are the best teachers in the world.  They teach young women how to be mothers and young men how to be fathers.  They teach older men and women how to be grandparents.  They even teach other children how to be brothers and sisters.

“Think about all the skills children teach people.  They teach moms how to be nurses and dads how to be heroes.  They teach brothers and sisters how to share… toys, rooms, dreams and cookies.  They even teach teachers how to teach in creative and fun ways.

“Children teach the world how to love.  They teach us to look past a person’s skin color right to his or her heart.  They teach us how to be honest, open and innocent.  And they teach us how to hug and laugh and be enthusiastic.

“Children make us keep our promises because they never forget one that we make.  They even make us into scientists and professors by asking “why?” about everything that moves and many things that don’t.

“Isn’t it interesting that while we are teaching our children to be adults, they are teaching us how to be children?  That’s especially important when we remember what Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).”

Thank you Mary Hollingsworth for these amazing words about our children!  We truly can learn a lot from them.

May we always remember how precious they are!!  Let’s remember to love our children!!

Happy 5th Birthday Ian!

Five years ago today at 9:44 a.m., a sweet boy entered into our lives.

On October 2, 2007, Ian Cates was born.  He weighed in at 9 pounds 15 ounces — a big baby, that’s for sure.

Here are Kirk and I pictured a few days before he was born.  I was rather large!

After his birth that morning, we saw him for a few minutes before he was whisked away to the local children’s hospital.  He’d had some trouble breathing and held his breath when he got mad.  So, they thought he needed to go.  Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves.

As a new mom all I wanted to do was hold my baby and teach him to nurse.  That was not to be the first day.  Instead we saw him get into an incubator and leave us.  My heart was broken since that was the first time in 9 months that he wasn’t with me.

Since he was so large, he almost didn’t fit in the incubator since they are normally for preemies.  That was something we were able to joke about later, but not that day that he was born.

Since I wasn’t discharged from the hospital until the next morning, I asked Kirk to go and check on Ian.  He went with my father and his mother.  While they were in the NICU, Ian grabbed his daddy’s finger.  He knew it was daddy.  Isn’t that amazing?!

The next morning I was able to go and see him.  This picture is of me feeding him formula at the hospital.  We worked on nursing but that was to come later.  They kept telling us that he wasn’t eating enough — actually drinking enough.

The first week was a blur and the hardest thing was not being able to have our new son at home with us!  Each day we went to the hospital, scrubbed in, and held him for as long as they would let us.

On Saturday, October 6, he was released and we finally brought him home.  We were beyond excited and little bit scared.  Now, he was ours totally and 24/7 and our responsibility.

The first few months were amazing and daunting, and the most important times of my life!  I was sleep deprived but I had the pleasure of watching a new life grow and change. What a blessing to see.

When he was a week old, we took Ian for his first visit at the pediatrician.  This wonderful doctor discovered that his tongue was attached and therefore, he couldn’t physically suck enough to get an adequate amount of milk.  He then snipped it with scissors and Ian was off and running with his suck reflex.

I was a bit surprised this wasn’t discovered in the NICU, but mainly glad that someone had discovered the problem.

My life has certainly changed since he arrived in our family.  I went from being a full-time professional to a stay-at-home mother that I am still doing today.  I wouldn’t trade any of the last five years for anything!

I have missed my friendships that I made while working outside of the home and some of the creativity.  But now, I am trying to have more contact with people and have this blog for the writing aspect.

Today is all about Ian and spending time with him.  He opened his gifts from Mommy and Daddy this morning and loved all of them.  It was great to see his dimples as he opened the items that he had asked for.  He truly did appreciate them.

Then we ate our breakfast together and watched some cartoons.  He has also had a bath, and soon we’ll be having lunch and then other fun times this afternoon.  We will be making cookies and dinner with my parents.

I saw a quote recently stating that spending time with a child is more important than the money that you spend on them.  That is so true so that is why today is all about the birthday boy.  Just being with him is fun!

Here is a picture from June of this year.  He has grown into a very handsome boy with a lot of fun and joy of life.

Time to get back to birthday fun!  Happy Birthday to my dear and wonderful son!  Mommy loves you very much Ian!

Ian, Willie, and Pirate Day

As a funny show once said, Kids say the darnedest things.

I know that to be true since my son continues to amaze me with what he says.

I love my son, Ian.  He is the one pictured in the new header.  He was investigating the ocean at a young age with hat on and pacifier in his mouth!  He is a lot of fun and full of wise and wonderful thoughts and comments.

To the right is a picture I took of Ian, Kirk, and myself during a recent family outing.  We were having fun and are all smiles in our shades, as you can see.

A few days ago, I wrote about Willie and that I hoped that I could do the stories justice of this amazing character that I’d loved so much while I was growing up.  A dear friend and my sister encouraged me in continuing to let Ian know about him.  And, as I’d mentioned, I have told Ian a few of the stories.

Well, what do you know, I discovered yesterday that just like his great-grandpa, Ian is a story-teller.  I discovered my journal entry from this summer.  It was dated July 19:  “Ian told me a wake-up story about a rainbow-making truck, a guy named Willie, and another truck.  He said that rainbows come from God.  He also mentioned Thin John Little (who was a character from my grandpa’s stories) and that Willie had gotten stuck up in a tree with a parachute.”

Reading this entry made me smile and tears of joy came to my eyes.  Ian had been listening and made up his own take on Willie!  How cool is that?!!!

And, I love that he has an answer for Willie’s constant question of where rainbows come from.  “Rainbows come from God, Mommy,” he told me.

After all those years of hearing that question, in one quick and short sentence, my son has a fantastic answer.  How did he get so smart?  Aren’t kids amazing?!

—————–

As you may know, today is the 10th anniversary of Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Yes, it is a real day.  We have been talking like pirates, arg, all morning.

Ian likes pirates — well the cartoon versions of them anyway.  He likes Captain Hook and regularly watches “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.”

In the spring, we went to see “Peter Pan” at the local playhouse and Ian was fascinated seeing the story come to life.  He even got to meet the cast members, but unfortunately not Captain Hook, who was his favorite.

Ahoy mateys.  Should be a fun day of talking like a pirate with a fun boy!  Hope you have a great one too!!

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Thanks to all of my followers and those of you who like my blog!  Your interest really means a lot to me!!

I so appreciate the readership and comments from you as well!

940 Saturdays

In a recent issue of Reader’s Digest, there was a short item titled, “940 Saturdays.”

This caught my attention because it said, “940 Saturdays is the number of Saturdays between the day your child is born and the time he turns 18.  The phrase might serve as a reminder to cherish the time you have with your child and to use it wisely.”

Despite being very short in length, it was a very powerful article in a great magazine.  And, I have been thinking about that time frame ever since I read it.

So far, I think that Kirk and I have made the most of our almost 260 Saturdays with Ian.  He will be 5 years old in October so that will be the 260th Saturday give or take.  I figured that by multiplying 5 years x 52 weeks that we have in a year.

Already that many have gone by?  Wow!!!  How is that possible?  It seems like he was just a baby, then learning to crawl, learning to walk, learning to write his name, learning to use the bathroom (still being worked on but great progress has been made).  And, we have enjoyed hundreds of other new experiences with him.

I know that as Ian starts school, these weeks will go by even faster.  And, that makes me a bit sad, I must admit.  How about you?  On the other hand, it is a joy to see him learn new things, find his own voice and thoughts, and discover his world.  Ian has his entire life ahead of him and that is very exciting!!

When our kids are young, I think that we feel we have all of the time in the world and that having them grow up will never come.  Day-to-day and year to year sometimes are very hard and we may feel that it’s a struggle to get past.

But reading a number like that made me realize that the time isn’t endless.   We have a limited time with Ian as a young person to teach him what we can and have as much fun with him and make some amazing memories.

An important job for a parent is to teach our child or children how to take care of him or her self or themselves and be able to live away from us one day.  At this stage in Ian’s life, I can’t even fathom that.  There are so many steps to get him from here to there.  But, I know that it is coming one day.

We have a great life in front of us and I am excited and honored to be on this journey with Kirk and with Ian!  I look forward to us savoring each week as we make the most of our time together!

And, I also look forward to knowing Ian as a man and hopefully meeting his family one day.  I hope to regularly see him and spend time with him throughout his entire life.

Even after the end of these 940 Saturdays, there are so many more to enjoy with him!!  I can’t wait!!

I wonder if we can truly realize how precious this time is!  I am going to make a conscious effort to do just that!  How about you?

Childhood Friends

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with one of my best friends from childhood.

We were best friends in elementary school and junior high school and had so much fun together.  Then when we were in 8th grade, she moved away.  That was hard on us but we survived and stayed in touch and are still friends to this day.

When Kirk and I got married, she surprised me and arrived for the wedding and rehearsal dinner the night before.  It was great having her there and meant the world to me.

We talked throughout the afternoon and enjoying hanging out together and it was like no time had passed.  We picked up right where we left off the last time we’d seen each other.

Two years ago was the last time and all of our kids have changed quite a bit in that time.  It was so fun to see them interacting and having such fun together.  It is great that the next generation is having as much fun as we always had together.

I am so happy and blessed that she is still in my life.  It is awesome to have known someone as long and as well as I have known her.

Tammy, thanks so much for your continued friendship!  You are awesome.