Megan's Ponderings

Contemplations from a Blessed Life

Archive for the category “Family”

Back to School Time

It’s that time of year when students return to the hallowed hall of their academic institutions (a.k.a. schools) and look back at a summer gone by too quickly. For me, this time of year has, and will always, hold a nostalgic place in my heart. I spent 19 out of my 33 years as a student, and 5 years were spent in the role as teacher. I remember the excitement and nervousness that encompassed the first day, and how I looked forward to it and dreaded its coming at the same time. The start of a new school year always signaled the return to routine (and getting up early…blah!), focused time on academic material, and meeting new friends or rekindling friendships with those from the past.

In a few weeks, Ryan and I will start “school.” I have goals for his learning this year, but I’m not pushing him too much. We’ll focus on letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, as well as his weekly AWANA verse and other topics that peak his interest. We’ll go places and see new things, have playdates throughout the week, and maybe do a craft or make a new food every once in a while. My hope isn’t that he can spell or add or read a book by the end of the “school” year. My hope is that he’ll enjoy learning and seek to find nuggets of knowledge in everyday life.

To all of you, whether student, teacher, or parent, I hope this is a great year of learning for you and yours. Happy Back To School!

 

 

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A Lesson from Potty Training

Today was a breakthrough day! Ryan finally went #2 on the potty. Now, I know some of you are saying, “Woohoo. Another crazy mom telling me her son’s bathroom habits.” No, I’m not boring you with the mindless details of this developmental rite of passage in my toddler’s life. What I will tell you is something I learned by observing Philip’s and my actions when it happened.

I can’t begin to tell you how much we celebrated this little event. Philip and I were clapping and cheering like fools, but it made Ryan feel so good to see our enthusiasm. This started a thought: why do we lose our excitement over the little things in life as we get older? Why don’t we high-five each other when we make small strides towards a large goal, or forgo a habit we’re trying to break (even for a day)? Why do we shy away from celebrating those small victories that lead to greater achievements?

So today, I’ll celebrate your small victories too, whatever they are:

Great job!

Keep going!

You can do it!

Awesome!

Thanks, Ryan, for showing me that celebrating the small things in life is really worth it.

 

Almost 3: A Very Fun Age

Ryan is almost 3, and I’m enjoying every (well…almost every) minute with him. His speech has developed over the last few months. He’s excited to talk to us, mostly about fire trucks and airplanes.  His imagination is running wild, and he’s fascinated with Curious George. He’s also remembering more events each day. So, what does this have to do with me? Well, I get to listen to his discussions about “John Fire Trucks” and “Mr. Glenn’s airplane.” I also get to watch him play with Evan, mostly pretending to be in various situations. I’m also very aware that he’s becoming more independent, needing to “spread his wings” more often.

I’m learning a few lessons from my almost-3-year old:

1. I thought I was pretty laid back, but I was sorely mistaken. Having a child who wants to walk by himself or do another task on his own is enough to bring out the helicopter parent in me. I’m more of a hoverer than I realized. I’m learning that Ryan wants independence, but he also needs clear cut boundaries. I’m ok with that, as long as he stays within an arm’s reach away from me 😉

2. Focus is key when talking to Ryan. If I’m distracted by something else, he will say my name constantly. We are working on patiently waiting for me to be done with my task, but I’m also aware that I need to give him my attention the first time and not wait until I can’t handle the “mommy” call anymore.

3. Ryan wants to be involved in projects around the house, a.k.a. helping. I appreciate his helpfulness, and I’ve learned to take the time to teach him about the task I’m completing. Right now, he puts away silverware, helps load laundry, and wipes up spill. He’s also fascinated by any DIY jobs Philip tackles throughout the house.

4. Ryan is more affectionate than I though. For example, he nuzzles his way under my arm while we read books or watch a cartoon. He gives lots of hugs and kisses, and is starting to say “I love you” without being prompted. (I’m glad I’m writing this down so I have something to remember when he’s in the yelling/non-affectionate stage of life.)

5. We are not without tantrums, “my way or the highway” attitudes, and “mine…mine…mine”. Philip and I are learning what works and doesn’t work. Even when dealing with the selfish behavior of my son, I’m realizing I need to apologize (at times) for my own failures when confronting those behaviors. I’m definitely not a doormat for my children, but there are times an “I’m sorry” is warranted.

If you have children, what are you enjoying about them right now? (Taking a nap is an acceptable answer!)

Mommy-Son/Daddy-Son Dates

Since the boys are now old enough to enjoy time alone with Philip or me, I’ve instituted Mommy-Son (or Daddy-Son) dates once a month. These times are carved out of our normal routine to give individualized attention to each of the boys. Earlier in June, Ryan and I went strawberry picking for the first time. Today, I took Evan to the library and the store while Philip took Ryan to the Rail Festival at Carillon Park. Later this month, I’m taking Evan to the park to work on his climbing skills.

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Why am I doing this? Well, I look forward to any one-on-one time I have with my sons. I spend time with both of them all day long, but I discover new idiosyncrasies when I’m with them individually. It’s also fun to go to new places or try new things, especially when it’s something that interests the boys. I don’t know how, but I also feel like a better mom after individual time with Ryan and Evan.

What are some parent-child dates you do with your kids?

Vacation Time!

We’re a week from Memorial Day, which signals the beginning of another vacation season! Philip and I will be returning from our vacation to Outer Banks, NC later this weekend. For us, this week’s been a time to be with family and relax. These are a few highlights from our trip:

-Celebrating the 40th anniversary of my parents’ marriage: There’s no better way to celebrate than at the beach! We rented a home overlooking the ocean, and just relaxed the week away. This was the first vacation with my parents and brother since the boys were born, so it’s been fun to watch their interactions this week.

-Visiting sites in the Outer Banks: We’ve visited lighthouses, state parks, other surrounding islands, the aquarium, and of course, the beach.

NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island

Currituck Lighthouse

One of the best visits was to the Wright Brothers’ Memorial. Of course, we had to wear our Dayton shirts to represent “The Birthplace Of Aviation”.

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-Tasting the food of the Outer Banks: Outer Banks has very few chain restaurants, so we had to try local restaurants. (This is one of my favorite parts of going on vacation. Why eat somewhere that you have at home when you can try something different?) If you ever come to the Outer Banks, I’d suggest you check out Duck Donuts. These are no ordinary donuts. They’re prepared to order. It starts as a simple cake donut, but the frosting and toppings make this a food experience you’ll never forget. They’re warm, delicate, and delicious! I’d also suggest you check out Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant. They had amazing food and great views of the water.

I’d highly recommend Outer Banks, NC as a vacation destination!

We’re already thinking ahead to next year’s vacation, and are open to suggestions. Where do you like to vacation?

The Self Study

Philip and I have embarked on a journey that is both scary and exciting all at the same time. We’re in the process of becoming foster/adoption parents in the county where we live. We’ve been at this process for about 2 months, and have about 4 months left to go. We’re almost done with our training classes. I’ve met with our home assessor twice (Philip once), and we love her already. Everything’s been going really well until now. Let’s just say: SELF STUDY. Ah yes, the dreaded self study. This is the document to end all documents: 36 pages of nothing but questions about yourself. As I write this, I’ve just ended another session answering more questions and wondering if what I said was sufficient enough, or did I sound crazy. How should I approach the questions – as a formal document or a friendly conversation? Has my life been ok, or do I need to talk to someone about hangups that have occurred?

All these questions come with the process to foster or adopt. I’d want someone to be thoroughly interviewed before letting my children live with them, so I understand the reasoning behind it. However, I’ve had to think about my life differently because of this process. What will I do for someone to experience the love of Jesus in our family? Am I willing to sacrifice time with my own kids to show love to a child who may never know it apart from being in our family a short time? What will my sons learn from this? Am I open to learning a WHOLE lot about myself, even after the interviewing process is over, and face some of my “issues” head on and change?

You know, this process of becoming foster/adoption parents is a humbling one. There’s a lot of prayer that goes into this decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Matter of fact, you may come away a changed person.

Now, back to the self study…

Snow Day!!!

Yes, it is springtime. And yes, we’re supposed to be enjoying the warmer weather. But, as is common with Ohio weather, we will not be enjoying that warmer weather soon. But, I am NOT going to complain about it. Why? Because I was able to witness an event I’ve been waiting to see all winter long.

When someone goes through chemo, one of the side effects could be an extreme sensitivity to cold. Philip experienced this during the last few months. For example, on chemo weeks, Philip would drink “cold” beverages without ice. When cold rain hit his face, it felt like electric shocks on his skin. Needless to say, cold and snowy weather have not been kind to him this winter.

Today, Philip was able to enjoy the snow with Ryan for the first time this season. They had a blast! They built a snow family, sledded, and even put a snow “Evan” in our large window. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them play and do things a father and son should do.

Now, I’m not praying for any more snow. And I’m certainly ready for the warmer weather. But, I am thanking the Lord that Philip and Ryan were able to experience the snow together before spring comes.

Snow Day Snow Day Ryan and Henderson Snow Family Snow "Evan"

Celebration Week!

We are heading into Philip’s final week of chemo! For those who don’t know, Philip was diagnosed with cancer back in August 2012. Thankfully, the tumor was found and removed quickly. Cancer was only found in 1 lymph node. We are celebrating God’s faithfulness through this whole process. This week, I’ll be sharing some lessons I’ve learned, as well as blessings we’ve received during this process throughout this week. For now, we are praising God that this part of his cancer journey is coming to a close.

1st chemo pic

Chemo Countdown Pic

Chemo Countdown

#12 is finally here!

Garden anyone?

Recently, I’ve considered growing a garden. Now, I don’t have the greenest thumb in the world but I’m willing to work at that. It’s too cold to get the garden ready, but I’m a planner and I’m starting to plan for the garden now. If you garden, what tips do you have? (FYI…our house faces fully east/west. Our backyard gets great sun after noon!) I don’t want to plant too many veggies, but I want a good variety. We also have lots of creatures (mostly bunnies and squirrels) that visit our backyard regularly. What tips do you have for keeping them away?

This will be an ongoing post, especially as I start this project. I’ll post pics too, so you can see our progress!

Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day! Yes, it’s a day to celebrate love, but I also celebrate friendships. The next few days bring fun activities that observe this special day. Today, I’m hosting a friendship party. Some ladies from our small group, and their kids, are coming over for a more fun playdate. There’s a small craft (I’m hoping it’s small and not much hassle) and plenty of food. On Friday, my in-laws are hosting their annual Valentine’s Day dinner…always a good time!

On this day of love (and friendship), I want to thank each of you for your friendship. Maybe you’re a family member, a friend I’ve known for a while, or someone I’ve never met, but I appreciate your faithful reading of this blog and leaving your comments. You are all an encouragement to me!

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