Stay With Me

My kids are three of the most important things in my life.  Ever since they were born they relied on me, their mother, for everything.  While they were young, there were times when that was exhausting.  If you are a parent you know exactly what I am talking about.

  • Late night feedings
  • Middle of the night illnesses
  • Waking up early because as soon as the sun hit their window they wanted to bound out of bed and play
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Playing whatever they want
  • Watching whatever they want, as many times as they want
  • Teaching them everything you can about life and the world

Exhausting?  YES!  Worth it?  ABSOLUTELY!!!!!  I have delighted in being there every single step of the way with our kids.  Luckily I was able to be at home with them or on the same schedule as them for over 10 years while they were young.  This made them rely on me even more for things though, since there were a lot of times that Daddy was at work and I was there with them.  I was the first one they asked to do something or for something.  I was also a lot of the time the one that they wanted when they were upset about anything.  I was at all of the school programs, and PTA/PTO meetings.  I wanted to do everything in my power to give my children everything they wanted and even more.  Isn’t that what all parents want for their children?  Of course it is!

Sure there were moments during all of the craziness and stress that I just wanted and needed a break.  But I never once wanted my children to not want or need me.  Even when I was not with them, I was still thinking about them no matter where I was at the time.  Each of them was always on my mind.  I wanted to know what they were doing, if they missed me, if they needed me, and if they would be upset that I had been away from them for this period of time.

The emotions that I described in the above paragraph has not changed. I still feel exactly the same about my children.  When they are at school, or at a friend’s house, or when I’m at work … I miss them. My heart aches to spend more time with them and to enjoy every moment.  Actually, my heart hurts for this time even more now than ever before.

My oldest daughter is turning 16 in a few short months.  She is a sophomore in high school.  She used to want to sit with me and sing songs, color, play games, watch TV, and just snuggle.  Now she is busy with her friends, extra curricular activities, and looking at colleges.  She is in the beginning stages of making plans to leave the nest.  She is strong, confident, and independent.  She asserts her ability to think for herself and make her own decisions and be her own person.  That’s exactly what we wanted for her, right? We wanted to teach her how to grow into a strong, caring, compassionate, intelligent, hard-working, and all around amazing adult, right?  Then why on earth does it hurt so badly?

My son is 13, and he is such a funny character.  He used to love to spend his time in my lap or snuggled up under one of my arms doing just about anything.  He would run and play and laugh at just about any given moment.  Now he is about to finish up his 8th grade year and embark on the journey that is high school.  He is already talking about what college he might want to go to and what team he will want to play fro when he gets drafted in the NBA.  He’s got big dreams, and a big personality to match.  Once again, he is growing into all we had hoped he would be.  And still it hurts …

My youngest daughter is 11, and she is quite the pistol.   She has always been my snuggle baby.  She was constantly wanting to play, or learn new things and be with me no matter where I was.  It hasn’t happened all the way with her yet, but I’ve now been through it twice so I see all of the signs.  She’s growing up just like her siblings did, and she too is pulling away from me and becoming so independent.

They are all doing exactly what they are supposed to do. They are growing up, and becoming independent.  They can’t rely on me for everything forever.  But the thought of them leaving and going out into the big, bad world all on their own is more than terrifying.  Not because we haven’t prepared them for it, but more because I know what’s out there and I want them to just stay with me …

“Stay with me, the world is dark and wild.  Stay a child, while you can be a child … with me.” The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Here’s hoping that we can enjoy lots more fun before they all run off and leave me behind in the dust to move on to all of the bigger and better things that life has in store for them.

Advertisements

10 Great Games for Family Game Night

For the past few years, my family of 5 have had a weekly family night. I am sure we had family nights before this, but it was not necessarily a weekly occasion. This family night has become something that our children look forward to each week. We chose Friday as our night for family night. It seemed to work best for us and our schedules.

Since starting our family night, we have done a variety of things to enjoy this family time. Our favorite thing to do by far is play games! Playing games together is such a wonderful experience. It is a great time to teach your children about life, and a great time for you to learn from them as well. Here are some of our favorites.

Yahtzee
The game of Yahtzee has been around since 1956. It is a classic dice game. The object of the game is to get as many points as possible by rolling 5 dice into certain combinations. Some of these combinations are 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, full house, straights, and Yahtzee (also known as 5 of a kind). There is also another way to earn points with the dice, by rolling as many of each number at a time as possible. If you were to roll four ones, you would choose whether or not to count that as 4 of a kind, or as your score for your ones. The game is over once all of the score boxes are filled. If you do not roll a certain combination then you take a 0 for that score box. This game is by far our families favorite game to play on family night. The kids learn about numbers, counting, and winning and losing. They have a blast rolling the dice. Even our youngest enjoys the game! Amazingly, she wins most times that we play. It must be beginners luck!

Uno
This card game was introduced in 1971. You must have a special deck of cards in order to play. The deck has 4 different colors and special cards. The object of the game is simple, be the first one to use all of your cards! Just don’t forget to say “uno” when you only have one card left, or else you will have to draw two cards. This game is a great game for all ages. My almost 4 year old can play with only a little bit of help. This game can be long, so make sure you are prepared for that. last time we played I was hoping for an early night and we played Uno for several hours. It was a blast the whole time though!

Life
That is the game, of course! This game was first on the market in 1860, however was revamped to the version we all know today in 1960. This was one of my favorites when I was a child. You get in your car and literally move your way through life. You go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, the whole nine yards! It is so much fun to play with your children even when they are small. They giggle and laugh about all of the different things that The Game of Life throws their way.

Pictionary
This team play game is a blast for those families out there with artistic ability, or even families without it! Your team has to guess what you are drawing. This can be much more difficult than you would think!

Scattergories
This game is best for families with older children. The rules say it is for ages 12 and up. This is a fast paced game where you must think of items in certain categories that all start with the same letter. It seems easy, but it is actually rather difficult at times. It is so funny to hear what each team comes up with each round. I have played this game and laughed so hard I was crying. It truly is a blast for any family to play!

Charades
To play this game, you do not need to buy a special deck of cards, or even a board or dice. It is all about your own creative imagination and how well you can act out your thoughts. This is also a better game for older children. I have tried to play it with my younger ones and it seems to just frustrate them more than they enjoy it. This is another game that will have you all laughing until your sides hurt.

Battleship
I know, this seems like it is not a family game. It is originally meant for only two people. However, my family of 5 loves playing this together. We will get into teams and play against each other. The teams decide together where to place the ships and where to hit next. It really is a great game to play as a team. the game doesn’t take that long to play either so you could even play more than one round if you wanted!

Twister
This is one for everyone to get up and get moving with! It is a mat with different colors and you have to contort your body in order to put your hands and feet on the right colors without falling. The last one standing wins. Of course, many times this winds up in a big pile up which is just as much fun as winning! This also should be played with players that are all about the same size. If there is an adult falling onto a smaller child, someone could be hurt.

Sorry
The game is called “The game of sweet revenge”, it is family night need I say more? What family member won’t enjoy sabotaging another family member’s game? It is just a blast to play this tricky board game!

Jenga
A tower of toppling blocks make for a very tense time! Each player takes turns pulling out a block from the tower. as long as the tower doesn’t fall the game is still on. You make the tower fall and you lose. This game is great, because each time you play there is only one loser, so everyone else wins. Plus the game does not take a long time to play, so several rounds can be played in the same night.

No matter what game you play, whether it is one of the games I mentioned above, or some other game that your family enjoys, Family Game Night is the perfect way to spend time together as a family!

Product Review: Fisher Price Tuff Stuff Tape Recorder with Voice Warp

My kids are big music lovers. It is so much fun for them to listen to music and sing along. My in-laws had an older tap player with a microphone attached to it. Each time we went over to visit at my in-laws house that was the first toy that the kids wanted to play with. They would play for it for hours and never tire of the toy. It made sense for us to get our own toy like this one. We found the Fisher Price Tuff Stuff Tape Recorder with Voice Warp and thought it would be perfect.

After we added this tape recorder to our toy box my mother in law gave us tons of tapes of children’s music for the kids to use. The kids could not wait to get started playing with it at home! They were just thrilled to not have to wait to be at the grandparents house to play with a tape player.

First let’s go over the basics! The cost of this tape player at Toys R Us was $34.99. Not an inexpensive toy, however it also wasn’t the most expensive tape player on the market either. The age range on this toy is supposed to be ages 3-5. However, all three of my children have played with this since it was purchased. My youngest was not quite 2, and my oldest was 6 at that time. Even though only one of my children fell within the specified age range on the package, all three of them found tons of enjoyment from this toy!

Tape Play
We have never had any trouble out of the tape player. All of our tapes, both new and old, have played without a problem.

Durability
This toy is probably the most durable toy among all of my children’s toys. I am constantly amazed at what abuse this toy can take. My youngest was not able to carry the toy when we first got it. Therefore, she would drag it around by the microphone instead. the cord never stayed stretched out, and it never broke off the unit either. As with any other children, when it comes time to clean up, all the toys get thrown into the toy box with out any thought to organization. So this toy has had several other toys thrown on top of it, and I am sure it has been tossed into the toy box a time or too as well. It still works like it did right out of the box.

Battery Life
This is probably the only negative that I can find with this toy. Of course, this is probably my only complaint with any toy! The batteries are almost eaten by the toy. Now mind you, I am not replacing batteries daily, but it is much more often than I would prefer. I do always use Duracell or Energizer batteries in our toys so that does help us get more time out of the battery life, but still I feel like the batteries could last longer in this toy. One plus is that a DC adapter available for purchase as an accessory for this toy. I have not purchased this accessory, but it may be a wise investment.

Even More Good Things!
I just like any other parent think that my children’s voices are the most beautiful sound in the world. However, there are times that I need some quiet from the children’s music and sing-a-long by the kids. This tape player has a place to plug in headphones. It is only one plug in though, so this makes it difficult for more than one child to play with the toy while using the headphones. However, it does also have a volume control.

Voice Warp
The largest bonus to this toy for my children is the fabulous voice warper. Your child can speak into the microphone and hear his or her own voice come out of the speaker, or they can ‘warp’ their voice to make it sound like a monster, a robot, a chipmunk, or an alien.

I have to say that this is probably the best buy for the money. The only thing that I wish I had done differently is purchase the DC adapter to go along with it!

5 Must Do Tips For a Pirate Birthday Party

I have written several articles with tips for children’s birthday parties. With this article instead of doing a step by step guide, I decided to take a different approach. If you are looking for a step by step guide, please see my other birthday party articles.

This article will have several tips for making your pirate birthday party a huge success. My son’s pirate birthday party was a blast for all in attendance, not just the children.

Tip #1 – Give everyone at the party Pirate names! This is just too much fun! You can do a search for Pirate Name Generator and come up with several sites that have this silly feature. All you need to make this work is a list of everyone coming to your party, and a box of name tags. We got our name tags ready the night before the party. As soon as guests arrive give them their new pirate name tag and watch the fun begin! We all were having a blast checking out each other’s pirate names and laughing at how funny they were. If you don’t like the names generated by the first site that you go to, then try another one. They all come up with different ones, so try a few out until you find the one you like the best!

Tip #2 – Get creative with the cake! As popular as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies have become you are sure to find a pirate cake at your local bakery. However, I suggest getting more creative with your cake choice. You can go to a cake decorator store and purchase a pirate shape cake pan. You could make a sheet cake and decorate it like a pirates flag with a skull and cross bones. you could also decorate a sheet cake like a beach with treasure on it, or like a treasure map! You could also use a loaf pan to make a cake and turn it into a treasure chest! Plus one of the coolest cakes I have seen is shaped like a pirate ship. Amazingly, it is very simple to pull off too. Just make 2 standard round cakes, cut them in half to form 4 half circles. Then put the circles on their sides, round side down. You will have to trim the bottom of the curve to keep the cakes from rolling around. Hold the pieces together with icing, then decorate like a pirate ship! What a huge hit that would be!

Tip #3 – Have a treasure hunt! Scavenger hunts are always fun party games. With a Pirate party, the scavenger hunt becomes even more fun! Use the party favor bags as the treasure and have the kids hunt for treasure towards the end of the party!

Tip #4 – Have other fun pirate activities planned. A scavenger hunt at the end of the party will be fun, but other activities need to be planned as well. You could have everyone make their own pirate flags, or some other pirate craft. You could also have them color pirate themed pictures. You can give them a blank canvas and let them use their imagination, or you could print out or purchase pirate coloring pages.

Tip #5 – Watch the movie! If the children at the party are old enough, you could turn the party into a movie viewing pirate party. Everyone can watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and pretend to be pirates on Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew! You can purchase pirate hats, and other pirate related costume pieces for everyone at a party supplier.

Follow these fool proof pirate party tips and your pirate party will surely be a treasure in your child’s memory forever!

2 of the kids playing in the tent

image

Life Plan

Make Some History

The Seeds 4 Life

Seeds of Inspiration, Wisdom, and Positivity

Sincerely, James

The Life of a Teenage-Traveler

The Ninth Life

It's time to be inspired, become encouraged, and get uplifted!

Stay Calm, Have A Cupcake!

Handling life one sweet treat at a time.