Thursday, May 25, 2017

TBR pile

Well friends, we've done it.  We've survived another school year.  Tomorrow is the last day of school for us.

My favorite thing about summer is the chance to do some more reading.  I love to read! I've been on a nonfiction kick for a while now.  And the theme this summer will be leadership. Here's my current TBR (to be read) pile:

I think I'm most excited about the first book on the pile.  The Myth of Balance by Frank Bealer.  It looks like I'm going to be taking on additional responsibilities at school next year. Add that to my Valuable ministry, writing and full time momma-ing and my plate is full.  I want to make sure I am able to give what each role needs when it needs it.  

Visioneering by Andy Stanley and Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland will be next on the agenda.  I want to be a good leader. I want to be a leader that speaks life into people instead of draining them.  I want to make people better.  I'm hoping these books will help me develop my leadership skills. 

SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal is about gaming life.  Several summers ago, I read Jane's book Reality is Broken and loved it.  McGonigal writes about how to take aspects of gaming and apply it to our everyday lives.  I'm not a gamer but I love her writing style.  I'm looking forward to the implications this book might have for education.  

The book not on the pile that I'm currently reading the Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  It's the book that inspired the Broadway musical Hamilton that I am obsessed with! It's a detailed and think volume.  I don't think I'll finish it this summer because I'm going to be reading it in between the other books.  But I do enjoy it.  It's right up there with Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a book about President Lincoln.  

Are you a reader?  What are you reading this summer?  Tell us in the comments.  I'll keep y'all updated on my progress as well!

Note - the links above go straight to Amazon for your convenience.  They aren't affiliate links, I don't make anything if you buy one of these books.  I'm not that sophisticated :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Facing Our Fears

the anti-bee get up
I've written before about B's fears, specifically stage fright.  B has many fears but the longest term one has been bees.  He is so afraid of being stung that he will get all covered up just to go outside.  I'm talking sweatpants, a hoodie and gloves.  In Texas.  In May.

As a result of this fear, he usually asks me to go outside and watch him walk to the neighbor's house.  I don't understand it.  Am I there to jump in front of a bee if it stings him? Am I there for moral support?  What is the point?

I guess I was feeling a little ornery Sunday afternoon because I told him no, I would not go outside and watch him walk next door.  This lead to a show down of epic portions.  I didn't really mean it to but once it started I was committed.

I told him I'd watch him out the window but I would not go outside.

I tried to explain to him that there was a very low probability that a bee would sting him.

I tried to point out the flaw in the idea in the first place.  How could I possibly save him from the bee anyway?

He was really upset.  I was amused actually. He comes up with some great lines when he's desperate. He cried.  He screamed, "I'm just a young boy! How do you expect me to go out there?"

This showdown went on and on.  He put on his sweats to cover up.  I thought he was going out.  Nope.  Still wanted me to go out and watch him.

There really was no reason that I couldn't go outside and watch him except that it was ridiculous.  But once I put my foot down, I figured I better see it through.  I knew it would help him in the long run.  He can't be trapped by his fears.

After a while, he gave up.  He stomped off to his room to find something else to do. I decided to take a nap.

Fast forward to yesterday.  After school B decided that he wanted to go hunt for critters.  Again,  he wanted me to go with him.  Again, I did not want to go.  Again, he puts on his sweats.  More begging ensues.  I tell him "I'm not interested in catching critters.  If that's something you're interested in, you have to do it.  I will watch to make sure you're safe but I don't want to catch or touch bugs or small animals."

catching bugs
Then all of a sudden, he's out on the sidewalk catching bugs.  Yes, in his sweats, in May, in Texas.  But he was out there without me having to be right by his side.  He caught 2 bugs and came inside to show me.  Once inside he realized he hadn't got any grass to put in the box.  So he went out all by himself to get more and pick up a beetle for good measure without even batting an eyelash!

After listening to everything he knows about his new bugs and sending a picture to his buddy, I pointed out what he had done.  "You faced your fear, buddy.  You went outside by yourself and you didn't get stung!"

He didn't really respond.  He just kinda looked at me like 'duh, of course I did'.  It didn't seem like a big deal to him anymore.

Most of our fears are like that, don't you think?  In the moment they are huge and overwhelming.  You think there's no way you could possibly survive it. You lose sleep. You over analyze. You drive everyone crazy obsessing over it.  Then you do it and it doesn't seem like that a big a deal at all.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No - not as many

Life with B, actually life with kids in general, can be a long series of saying no.

"No, buddy, you can't wear that."
"No, not right now."
"No, don't say that."
"No, not everyone is interested in hearing about that."

At times it seems like all you're doing as a parent is crushing little dreams.  B has such amazing thoughts and I find myself trying reigning his in a lot.   Why?  Sometimes for his own good but lots of times because I don't want to be embarrassed.  I don't want people to feel bothered by him or think he's weird.  I'm not proud of it, but it's true.

Monday morning B was up and dressed before I came to the kitchen for my coffee.  He didn't match.  He does this a lot.  He thinks that if his shirt is orange and his shorts are orange, he's good to go.  He doesn't care that they aren't the right shades of orange.  He and I have been arguing about his choice in outfits most of week.  Sometimes I can tell him he doesn't match and it handles it very well.  Other times it really sets him off.

Monday morning he's wearing a green shirt and teal-ish colored shorts.  I made a conscious decision to not care.  We didn't even discuss it.  And guess what happened?  Not one darn thing.  No one told him he didn't match.  No one called me to bring him something else to wear.  The world kept turning.
We did argue about a big box Monday morning.  He's been creating "toys" lately.  Which means he draws characters and then cuts them out.  Apparently, he's made a bunch of these paper toys for his friends they needed to be transported to school in a large box.

We went round and round.  I tried to find reasons to stall him. I tried to compromise on with something else.  I was getting no where.  I finally decided it wasn't worth it.  I let him take the dang box to school.

And guess what happened? Not a darn thing (that I know of ;). No one called from school to tell me what an idiot I am for letting him bring this giant box.  I do know that his teacher told him he couldn't leave it at school so he brought it home.  That's totally reasonable.  It's kinda what I did.  Make him take care of the box.  This may not be the whole story but, it's the story he was able to tell me so we're rolling with it.

This is why I love the summer.  I don't have to tell B no as much.  I kinda let him roam free. During June, we take a break from schedules and I let him lead.  By July he starts getting antsy so we'll start back on a schedule.  But for the month of June, I'm going to try not to tell him no as much on things that don't matter!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Free Enterprise Day

Last week, B got to participate in a really cool project at school.  His class, actually his entire grade level, had been learning about wants and needs and supply and demand.  To help the kids see the concepts in action, the entire 2nd grade would have a Free Enterprise Day.  Kids would set up stores with goods or services and the other kids would shop using their classroom money.

Getting to Free Enterprise Day was an exercise in frustration.  I wrote about it last week in this post Butting Heads.

As with most things that I get frustrated and upset about, Free Enterprise Day turned out just fine.

B woke up that morning so excited.  He dressed himself "like a business man" in a polo style shirt.  This shirt has a really cute pair of bright orange shorts that go with it but I couldn't convince him to wear the whole outfit.  I decided to pick my battles.

When I asked to take this picture he told me he needed to "stand like a business man".  For whatever reason this meant grabbing the front of his shirt.  It was super cute!

I was worried that B wouldn't sell all his tic tac toe boards since they were terribly overpriced at $2 each.  He tried to explain to me that it was fake money and would be ok.  I tried to explain to him that money is money.  Real or fake you only have so much and no one wants to spend $2 on a hand drawn tic tac toe board and 12 bingo markers from Mardels.  I, of course, lost and the boards stayed priced at $2.

When B got off the bus that afternoon he was so happy!  He said he sold most of his boards.  "Lot of adults bought them for their kids".   I think this means that lots of adults love him and didn't want him to be disappointed.  He thought that meant that the adults really saw value in his creation and wanted their kids to have one for themselves.  I don't really care, he was happy!  His principal tweeted about Free Enterprise Day and included a picture of B's group.  He looks so happy in the picture.

I've been thinking about all the hassle leading up to Free Enterprise Day.  Should I have let him make his elaborate board then deal with the consequences?  Except for paying for all the supplies, it might have been easier.  Definitely the path of least resistance.  But the path of least resistance isn't always a good parenting strategy.  Kids have to have limits. I don't want squash B's dreams but I also don't want to shell out $50 in supplies for homemade board games. I don't want to think that I stifled his creativity.   I'd like to think that I did B a favor by helping him learn limits.

Yea, let's just go with that!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Congratulations Mommas!  You have survived half of May.  Well done!

Jen Hatmaker posted about the craziness of May last week and it really struck a chord.

This is all May's fault. May makes us crazy. December we're prepared for. August? We know to get our ducks in a row. But freaking May. Comes in like a wrecking ball and makes us act like lunatics.

I mean, for real.  Can I get an AMEN?

All the things happen in May.  End of year everything.  A million performances.  A thousand places to be, mostly at the same time.  It is some serious divide and conquer time for us.  Life devolves into a complicated military exercise.  "I'll go here. You take this one here.  I'll get Nene to go with the other one."  It is organized chaos at best.

But be watchful.  Stay on the lookout.  Some awesome things happen in May and you don't want to miss them.  In the midst of all the chaos, God will give you a moment of reprieve and show you why you do all this.

Mine was last Friday night.

Nene and B had cooked up a sleep over plan earlier in the week.  Our high school baseball team was in the playoffs.  Sam and Zac both wanted to go.  I wanted to sleep but I wanted to hang out with them more.  Ryan will watch baseball in any form at any time.  Perfecto!

We dropped B with Nene and took the Bigs to dinner.  Something amazing happened.  They talked.  Everyone was relaxed and joking about their day.  I noticed but didn't say anything as not to jinx it. the game was not great.  I'll just skip over that part...

On the way home we pulled in to Sonic for ice cream.  Zac decided he had to go to the restroom.  Did you know Sonic has bathrooms?  It's one of the many things I've learned being B's momma.  As soon as Zac closes the car door, Sam starts giggling.  He wants move parking spots to freak Zac out.  We pulled around the building looking for a spot on the same side so Zac wouldn't freak out too much.  He walked out of the into the parking lot just as we were passing by the bathroom.

Maybe it was the May delirium.  Maybe it was the ice cream high.  I don't care.  It was funny. I love being with my silly boys.  I tried to pause to take it all in.  In the middle of our chaos, God gave me a gift.  And I am so thankful.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Momma

Sue Gheen is my momma.  She is The Momma.

She has taught me so much about how to be a good momma.  She is always there for me.  I am younger than my siblings so they were grown up, married and out of the house before I started high school.  In high school people would think I was an only child.  Until my nieces and nephews showed up ;).

My mom and dad did a lot with my high school drill team.  They were at everything, all the games and contests.  I'm sure I didn't tell them enough but I loved that they were there.  When I left for college, Momma made sure I had plenty of mail.   That really helped me get through those rough, home sick times.

Momma is so generous! If she has something she thinks you want or need, it's yours. We rarely go to her house and leave empty handed. Lots of times, we leave with food. She's an amazing cook. She can make up a recipe and it will be delicious!  Just the other day she texted me "Made the best stir-fry today. Can't wait to cook it for you guys". She always thinking of us!

But, I did not realize the depth of my love for my mom until I became a mom.  When I started caring my for boys, I leaned on her to help me know what to do.  She's always so good at helping me without being too bossy.

Sue Gheen is also the best Nene.  She's Granny to my nieces and nephews.  But Sam had a little speech impediment so Granny became Nene.  She didn't sweat it.  She embraced being Nene and Granny.  She didn't try to make Sam feel bad or try to get him to say Granny instead.

She's as involved with my boys as she was with me.  She's at their games and special events.  Or she's keeping B-man at home so I can enjoy their games.  Last week she went on a field trip with B-man.  I couldn't go because it was during state testing and I had to be at work.  Yesterday she went to Zac's National Junior Honor Society induction.  I was supposed to be there but I was home with B, he was sick.

I pray my boys love me as much as I love my momma.  I hope I'm as good a mom to them as she is to me.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy Blogiversary

Well, lookey here!  It's been a year since I committed to writing everyday and posting 3 blogs a week.  And I've done it!  I've posted 3 blogs a week, every week for 52 weeks.  I'm kinda proud of myself.

Thank you all for reading and supporting me on this journey.  I have really appreciated y'all reading what I write.  I enjoy crafting stories and lessons and sharing them with the world.  Thank you for coming along on my journey.

To celebrate, let's look back at this year!

My favorite posts 
Life Well Led - about my sweet Grandpa Mays
Sorry, Not Sorry - when I decided I'm done apologizing for B being friendly
Screwing Up - Ryan messed up and I was so proud of him (still am)
Square Pegs - don't damage my peg
Overcoming Stage Fright - B's Veteran program at school
Cure or No Cure - why I don't want autism cured

Your favorite posts
Through God's Grace - B shares in church
My Daddy - about my awesome Daddy
Racism -  loving one another
Thank you, JCPenney - JCP's wonderful sensory shopping experience
1460- the number of weeks our kids are in high school

Thanks again for a great first year! Here's to many more!