Saturday, August 18, 2012

85. Improve upon your best. Don't worry about anyone elses.

Sometimes God calms the storm.  At other times, he calms the sailor.  And sometimes he makes us swim.  ~Author Unknown

Coach Brad gives out Rainbow ribbons. A rainbow ribbon is a ribbon you are awarded for beating your own time. 

Daddy and I LOVED this idea.

You earned a rainbow ribbon at EVERY event this season.

While you only placed once in a race, we appreciated this reward system for the very principle that we wanted to teach you.

We are not worried about how the other kids do.

We want you to set goals for yourself - and reach for them! 

Improve upon your best. Don't worry about anyone elses.

84. Never be limited by what people think you should do simply because you are a boy or a girl.

Pumpkin has been dying to visit Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General hospital for years. Technically, she's been - she just was too little to remember the adventure!

We took a field trip there late this spring.

Before we went, Bubbe, was torn - to get a doll? to not get a doll?

After talking with him, I figured out he wasn't sure if 8 year old boys were supposed to get dolls.

This is one of my HUGE soapbox issues with society - and has given me many heated run ins with moms over the years. When he was 2, I shouldn't have let him dress up in Cinderella dresses, high shoes and wear tiaras (as the little brother of a true Princess - he wanted to be "just like her" and explore what she played). When he was 3, I definitely shouldn't have let him cook in the toy kitchen and pretend to clean the house. When he was 5, kids made fun of him for his trendy pink polo shirt and that he used pink/purple crayons to color flowers for me at kindergarten.

This issue of what is "acceptable" for boys has bothered me throughout the years. Toys are designed to allow children to explore the adult world on their own level, and to learn. Why wouldn't I want my little boy to learn about cooking? Cleaning? Fathering?

I'm sure that a future wife of his definitely wants me to teach him some domestic skills!

Playing with dolls, toy kitchens or coloring with a pink crayon makes my rough and tumble, baseball playing boy no less of a boy.

Just like the Pumpkin is as girl as they get - though you will see her swinging on tire swings, building with legos, and enjoying a good book where potty humor and boys adventures are the main themes.

So, on this trip to the Cabbage Patch hospital I told Bubbe - if you see a doll that you think belongs to you - then get one. If not, then don't.

He fell in love with one he picked out of the patch - and named him after baseball players, Tristan Gehrig.

Over the last few months, Tristan has alternated with sleeping with him - and being lost for days whilst Bubbe is interested in other adventures.

As both of you grow older, I hope you will never be limited by what people think you should do because you are a girl or a boy, but rather guided by your heart and your interests.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

83. Be kind. Be randomly kind. Be purposefully kind. But always be kind.

Our tradition for the last few years has been to do Random Acts of Kindness for my birthday.

We spend a week or so before my birthday brainstorming and preparing for the big day.

These times of preparing with you - these are some of my favorite memories. You are both so kind. So generous. So thoughtful. You always have great ideas of people and places that we can visit for our day.

Our first year we called them Random Acts of Kindness. Mommy took some criticism from the virtual world as perhaps our tasks weren't random, and others were things we might do an ordinary day.

The objective isn't to please or impress anyone - virtual or in real life. But rather, to provide you both with a tradition. A little character education.

A memory - of how I enjoy spending my birthday. Being kind. Randomly kind. Purposefully kind. But always kind.

1 - We wrote out bible verses and cards for all the people on our church's home bound prayer list. We included notes letting them know we are praying for them.

2 - We make lunch for Sweet Daddy every day. You two take turns making his lunch or writing notes to include. For my bday, we went and bought Sweet Daddy's favorite cookies - sugar cookies, and included those in his lunch box.

3 - For our family, we made this cool sign. Since Sweet Daddy was at work, he was the first recipient. I hope that we will pass this amongst ourselves - sharing how we appreciate each other.

4 - Our mailman (Jerry) is an annual recipient (actually multiple times a year if you count our Advent Random Acts of Kindness this year). We bought an extra box of Trefoil girl scout cookies this winter when Pumpkin sold them, and saved them for our mail carrier. They are his favorite.

5 - I took the time this week to write a letter to one of my graduating seniors. I've spent a lot of time with this young woman over the years and wanted to share with her how proud I was of her accomplishments.

6 - I wrote a card to encourage a dear friend.

 7 - We made home made bookmarks using cardstock, yarn, and your favorite stickers. We went to our local library and you put them in all your favorite books. I enjoyed this one - Bubbe even took the time to find his favorite part in one of his favorite books and hide it there!

8 - Pumpkin wrote two cards to encourage two of her friends who she adores.

9 - Bubbe mailed some cards of encouragement to family.

10. We dropped off non grocery items here - hand soap, air freshener, etc. This was a really touching stop for both Bubbe and I (Princess stayed in the car on this one). When we went in to drop off, families were lined up waiting to get food. It was moving to see that our donations were needed and would be used immediately. This will become a regular stop for us.

11 - We left popsicles and this "cool" sign on a neighbor's porch for them to find after school.

12 - We filled all the candy and toy machines with quarters - ready to be used!

13 - We left "please enjoy this random act of kindess" cards and change in the rides at our local Walmart.

14 - I picked up the team trophies for Bubbe's baseball team to save someone else the drive.

15 - We left "A gift for you. Yes, YOU! (pick me up)" gifts in the car buggies at Publix.

16 -I left feminine hygiene products in several local restrooms. I chose ones that were "one stall" bathrooms.

17 and 18 - We took treats for the nurses, and an activity Spiderman bucket (filled with stationary supplies, stickers, markers, etc.) for the waiting room at the local Hospice center.

19 - An annual favorite. The kids hid dollars near their favorite dollar store items.

20 - We stopped in at our favorite library and Bubbe cleaned all their tables. They needed it! He then wiped them down with antibacterial wipes.

21 - We stuck a "random act of kindness" card and a note that said "Please put this $1 toward your Disney trip" in each of the Disney guidebooks at our local library.

22 - We gave out some $5 Starbucks gift cards to random strangers - always fun to see their face!

23 -We left car air freshener cans around the vacuum stations at a local car wash.

24 - We left Spray n Wash bottles in the local laundromat.

25 - We left plastic eggs filled with stickers on one of the kid's favorite playgrounds.

26 - We dropped off food items at our church's food bank. Bubbe's two favorites - almond milk and mac n cheese!

27 - We left activity books with colored pencils in the ER waiting room of our new local hospital.

28 - We left change on the vending machines in the ER at our local hospital.

29 - You two made a "Top 10 About ______" for your youth minister.

30 - We took a small token and card to the receptionist at our church who always smiles and is so kind to us each week.

31 -We left an extra 37% tip for our waitress at lunch (57% total). Sneaking in a little math on our RAK day!

32-We took home made rice krispie treats to the workers at our local UPS store. They help us out when we need assistance making copies all year during school. They are always friendly and nice to us. Pumpkin - this was one of your favorites. You came out and said "The girls were so excited!"

33 - We hid 37 pennies at one of the parks in the poorer area of town. You two always love to find a penny and thought other kids would as well.

34 -We returned all the big Sam's buggies back to the store.

35 -Pumpkin worked really hard to make a new friend at Swim Team - someone whose grandmother had mentioned to me needed a friend.

36 - Bubbe helped Sweet Daddy get Nana's mail and feed her dogs.

37 - I chose to cook. Because I knew the kids really want to see The Avengers movie this weekend and the only way we could afford to do that would be to not eat out this week (the bday lunch was covered with coupons we only spent the "tip" money). So, I cooked my own birthday meal. And cleaned up after it.

82. When given an award, walk tall and smile big!

Right is right, even if no one else does it.
Juliette G. Low


There are so many moments throughout your childhood that I have been unbelievable proud of you. And knowing you, there will be many more.

This day is one of them.

This day we drove to Gainesville so you could be presented with your Bronze Award in girl scouts.

The Bronze Award is the 3rd highest award in Girl Scouts (followed by the Silver, and finally the Gold).

For your bronze award, your troop made sand scarves for the soldiers over seas. As we have many relatives who have served overseas, this was a project that was special to us. 

81. The heart is the strongest muscle in the body. Use it.

Cousins are those childhood playmates who grow up to be forever friends.

 We celebrated Rylan's first birthday this year.

This was such an emotional day for me. 

I remember the day your Nana called to tell us Rylan had been born. 

It was a day of great uncertainty.  

I was honored that your Uncle Brian took me back to meet Rylan that day - in the NICU. He was so tiny, though he looked like the NICU bully, being so much larger than most of the other babies. He was surrounded by machines.

But I knew the moment I saw him, that I would love him forever. He holds a special place in my heart.

And, yours too Pumpkin.

From the time we knew that your Uncle Brian and Aunt Beth were expecting, you prayed for their baby. You wrote a slip for the prayer wall each week at church for their baby. Steadily.

At the time I thought it was sweet that you were so concerned for your Uncle Brian, who you have always adored.

Now, I see that Rylan needed each of those prayers. And continues to need the prayers we say for him daily. 

You love him in a special way, just like me. I can see it in your eyes when you see him.

The heart is the strongest muscle in the body. You love fiercely with yours! 

80. When on a date, always open her door. Car door. Restaraunt door. All the doors.

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom. - Henry Ward Beecher


I look at these pictures, and still weeks later, smile.

The Chick Fil A near our home has offered father daughter date nights for years now. Never mother/son. We have been on many dates through the years - we do love to enjoy a good Mexican meal together. This year the CFA offered a Mother Son Date Knight.

You were so excited. You kept asking me to make sure I signed us up. 

The day finally arrived - you insisted that we both get dressed up. To eat at CFA. So we did.

I wore my best only dress. You wore your jeans, new skater polo shirt and your cowboy boots.  

You held the door open for me as we entered the restaurant. 

We arrived, were seated and waited on by a lovely young hostess. You had the spicy chicken sandwich, fries and a lemonade. I had a Cesear Coolwrap, fries and a sweet tea. 

And great company. 

While I would love to think you will only date me forever, I know at some point - you are going to want to date someone your own age. Whose not your mother. When that time comes, I hope that our dates will have taught you how one behaves on a date.

You ask questions - about the other person. 

You make eye contact - you don't stare at technology or gadgets.

And you always open her door. All the doors.