Friday, May 22, 2015

Post-vacation fun

Disney has a new feature that films part of your ride - here we are on the Tower of Terror. I love roller coasters. Rides that just drop? Not a fan. The things we do for our children... I look so calm at the 11 second mark. At :22? Not so much. Also, I needed more hair spray.

A few favorite pictures of the week:

There's a new bear at Disney - Duffy! We had to meet him. You should have seen us in line with all the little kids. People weren't sure what we were doing.

On Test Track at Epcot - I can't remember the other guy's name, but I told him to smile because he was going to be in our photo album.

Someone took the Buzz Lightyear ride very seriously.

We weren't very successful at taking our own pictures, but after several tries, we got all five of us and the Epcot golf ball in this one. I believe this was the 6th attempt.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Do you know this wizard?

Momentous occasions call for tears. Like seeing your baby roll over for the first time, or witnessing those first shaky step, or sending her off to school (kindergarten or college – you pick). I've cried at each of those events and fully expected the tears. I did not, however, expect tears when a wand was especially selected for Rebecca in Ollivander’s Wand Shop in the middle of Diagon Alley at Universal Studio’s theme park.

Rebecca and I had gone through the tour of the shop where one of the wand specialist selects someone out of the crowd, performs a personalized wand assessment then bestows the special wand on the participant. Never one to be the center of attention, Rebecca was happy she was not selected for the assessment during the tour.

As the group filed out of the wand room, Rebecca was the last one because she kept looking around the room at the thousands of boxes of wands. The Universal employee signaled for us to get a move on, but the wand specialist noticed Rebecca and motioned her over to his desk. He waved off the Universal employee and spent five minutes talking to her. He performed a private wand assessment, selected a wand just for her, and presented it to her. 
Rebecca was absolutely thrilled. And I was absolutely thrilled. She is such a huge Harry Potter fan and when we planned this trip to Harry Potter World she was so excited to select a wand. We had no idea the wand would select her.

Unfortunately, Sean, Michael and Amy didn't see the special show. We’d gotten separated in the line and they ended up in a different room. When we met up again, I tried to explain what happened, but I could barely get the words out. As silly as it seems, I was moved to tears (which I know some of you are saying doesn't take much) but it was such a special time for my kid.

As you can imagine, I've thought about those moments a lot since Sunday. And each time I think of them, I’m reminded how a small gesture can mean so much. That man didn't have to notice Rebecca; he could simply have considered his job done when that show was over. Because it was. But he was aware of his surroundings. He took the time to notice what was happening around him. And his five minute act of kindness will have years of payoff.

When the wand specialist was finished I tried to speak to him, but at that point the Universal guy was really hustling us out so we hurried on and I never got a chance to say thank you. If you know anyone at Universal who could figure out who this man is, please let me know! And if by chance you know who this man is, please contact me!

If only I could apparate back to Ollivander’s and thank him personally. Maybe Rebecca can figure out a spell with her new wand…

Thursday, May 14, 2015

You are not the center of the universe. You're welcome.

I'm on a bit of a parenting kick - hope you'll enjoy this throwback to May, 2011. This post got a ton of traffic on BlogHer and generated lots of comments. The post may be a few years old but the thoughts included are timeless, if I do say so myself!

On Friday night, Sean and I took Rebecca to see the new Disney documentary African Cats. It was filmed on the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, one of the stops on our Kenyan adventure last summer. We thought it would be neat to be able to say, “We've been there!” Of course, we didn't plan to say it during the movie – that would be rude. Unfortunately, the mother and five-year-old boy behind us had no such misgivings about talking during the movie. And they talked and talked and talked through the entire thing.

I didn't think much of it during the first few minutes. Sometimes it takes a bit to get settled, and if this was the young boy’s first movie, I wanted to cut him and his mom some slack.  But at the 30 minute mark they were still jabbering away.  And for the rest of the move they continued to talk, despite being shushed and asked to stop.

It was clear this mom saw the movie as a learning experience for her son. She explained everything – and I mean everything – to her boy: which lions were the girls, which were the boys, how many cubs mamma cheetah had, what the elephants were doing, why the wildebeest were running through the river, why the daddy lion scared off the mommy lions during feeding time… If it was on the screen, there was an explanation to be had.

Y’all, I’m a homeschool mom. My attitude towards education is that learning can happen anywhere: the grocery store, church, driving down the road. I firmly believe learning should have happened in that movie theater for the little movie-goer behind me. And the lesson should have been, “Movie time is quiet time.”

But that mother felt her son needed to have his questions answered more than he needed to respect the people around him.  His mom did not help him understand the movie theater is not a place for conversation, that talking would disturb his fellow movie watchers. Because in her eyes, answering her son immediately was more important than providing a quiet environment for the rest of the people in the packed theater. 

We are raising a generation of narcissists.

Here’s what I’d like to tell that little boy: Dear, you’ll notice that everyone around you is quiet. That’s because a movie theater is for watching, not talking. All these people around you have paid their money and are expecting to watch the movie in a quiet theater. You need to be respectful of them by being quiet. We’ll talk about your questions afterward. And if you can’t wait, we’ll leave the theater so we can chat without disturbing those around us.

And here’s what I’d like to tell the mom: Have you heard of DVD’s?

(Okay, that’s not all I’d like to tell her, but we’ll leave it at that…)

Parents, the world does not revolve around our children and it is not child abuse to tell them so. We need to teach them that hard truth while they’re still under our roofs. Because if we don't, the real world will come as a mighty big shock to their fragile psyches. And they'll rightly blame us for a gross lack of preparation when life doesn't go their way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dad for the win

I’m passionate about parenting – the older I get, the more convinced I am that intentional parenting matters. It is hard work, it takes time but boy, is it worth it. So when Sean told me a story about a co-worker who has this parent thing down, I just had to share.

When Mark's son was in high school, he was on the wrestling team. At one point, he was between weight classes, so he decided to go down a class and wrestle there. Going down a class meant losing weight. And as anyone who’s ever attempted weight loss knows, being hungry tends to make you grouchy. And Mark’s son was grouchy. Very grouchy.

After one particularly grouchy encounter, Mark told his son that if he didn't have a major attitude adjustment, he would not be wrestling in the next match/game/event (clearly I do not know wrestling lingo). But apparently the son did not believe Mark, because Mr. Grouch kept on going. One day after the warning to get a grip, Mark came home from work to find his son complaining at his mom. It was Grouch Central in his kitchen.

Mark calmly walked over to the phone, called the wrestling coach, and within earshot of his son, informed the coach that his son would not be participating in the next match/game/event thingy. And on top of that, Mark required his son to attend the match/game/event thingy with both him and his mom. He didn't get to ride the team bus; he had to ride with his parents and sit in the stands with them.

People, that is how you win at parenting.

Clear direction was given. The son received a warning. He was informed of the consequence of disobedience. When he did not obey his parents, the consequence became reality.

Too often we give threats with no intention of following through with real, actual consequences. Give enough empty threats with no follow-through and you’ll have kids who don’t believe a word you say.

Pretty sure that’s not an issue in Mark’s house.

I'm calling this match/game/event thingy for Mark. Dad for the win!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday Fun

Michael and Amy come home this weekend. I think I'm as excited as this dog:

And two funnies in honor of Mother's Day:

Hah! Mother's Day Card
(HT: Etsy)

Mother's Day
(HT: Wanelo)

Happy weekend - and don't forget your Mom!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Welcome to womanhood

A friend recently told me she tells her youngest (a junior in high school) that he's not a baby any more but that he'll always be her baby. That's how I feel about sweet Rebecca. It's easy to forget that she's a teenager because I still think of her as my baby. But last week she did something that reminded me she's not baby - she entered the world of womanhood: she had haircut regret.

She's been looking at pixie cuts for months. She thought she'd start by taking a few inches off, which she did three months ago. It was a success! She looked adorable (no surprise there) and felt good about the length as a mid-way point.
Last week she took the plunge and went all the way to the pixie:
As soon as she left the chair, she thought it was too short. Oh, honey. Do I know the feeling! What woman hasn't left the salon and regretted either the length or color she just paid good money for? I was 16 when I first felt the pangs of hair style regret. And my mom said the magic words that every woman has uttered to herself or a friend, and they're the words I said to Rebecca as she ran her hand over her bare neck: It will grow.

Thankfully, Rebecca just had to get used to the short feel. She's now thrilled with the outcome and thinks she may go even shorter next time. 

Dear Rebecca, you'll always be my baby, but clearly, you're no longer a baby. Welcome to womanhood. And the next time you have those stabbing pains of hair style regret, just remind yourself that it will grow.

Tattoos are forever, though, Don't forget that.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Better visit next time

Knowing our kids’ friends has been a highlight of being parents, and thankfully that hasn't completely changed since the older two have moved on to college. During his three years at school we've gotten to know a few of Michael’s buddies and we’re getting to know some of Amy’s college friends, too. So when Amy told me she was bringing home a friend last Friday night I was thrilled.

But last Friday turned out to be a crazy, confusing, schedule-changing day and by the time Amy and Meg were supposed to be home, I had to take Rebecca to a dance rehearsal. As I pulled out of the neighborhood, I passed Amy and Meg on the road right outside our subdivision. Ugh. Strike One.

I thought I’d get to see them Friday night – they went to see another college friend (hi Katie!) in a show. But by the time Amy texted to say they were on the way, she said they wouldn't get home before midnight. I had to be on the road to a soccer game with Rebecca at 7:30 the next morning. I tried to stay up didn't make it. Strike Two.

I thought Amy said she and Meg were getting up early Saturday morning so Meg could get home for the rest of the weekend. I figured I’d at least get to see them then. But early to them was not early enough for me – I had to take Rebecca on to her game without seeing them. Strike Three.


While I didn't get to see Meg, I did see evidence of her being in my home. For example, this is where she slept:

 These are her flip-flops:

 That’s her car:
 I saw her stuff – just not her. Total bummer.

Meg, hope you enjoyed your brief stay at our abode. Next time you come, I’m canceling all plans so I’ll actually get to see you! (Bring Katie, too!)