Sunday, June 22, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Fathers Day was such a great day.  Lots of good food, fun and family - my favorite!
Pete had a great time in a water war with his brother's against the younger Scheibmeir's.
The younger ones stole their water source and won.  The Dad's were ready to call it in anyway - until next time!!!

Cousins!  They played, and then ate, and then played again. *and then ate again*
 Every single child was worn out from a fun day!

Once the water play was over, Uncle Phil began teaching the kids new card games.  Card games are a big deal in our family and everyone enjoys taking part.  

I just wanted to make sure I got these memories placed here.  

Isaac's High School Graduation

Isaac graduated high school on June 7th

His graduation brought our season of back to back graduations to a close.

He plans to attend our local community college and then transfer to a 4 year just like Noah did.  Isaac amazes me with his mad math skills and no surprise, he wants to pursue a career as a Math teacher.

His high school graduation was one of the best I've ever been to.  The valedictorian speech was the best ever, and we all enjoyed seeing this class shine.  One of their classmates who had some physical challenges was there in a wheel chair but then walked across to get his diploma - the entire student body gave him a standing ovation.  I love these kids!

We could not all be there for Isaac, but this rowdy crew made up in cheers for what we didn't have in numbers!  Congratulations Isaac, we cannot wait to see where you go in life.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Well Fed & Well Rested - What Works For Us!

Leila posted a fantastic article about boys.  I love her no nonsense wisdom and her loving way to impart the practical.  Leila is my hero.  I tell people to throw out their multitude of parenting books and either find a family you admire that will let you hang out and ask dozens of questions (like I did many years ago) or if you can't find a good example just go read everything at Like Mother Like Daughter.  Even better, do both!

I was inspired by her article to expand upon the concept of 'well fed and well rested'.  I agree wholeheartedly with her on the point that no parenting tactic or discipline strategies will work unless the children are well fed and well rested.  What does that look like though?

It does not look like this:
Cereal and pop tarts or some other convenience item for breakfast....wait, toddler is screaming and I barely finished cleaning up the mess.  Hand them fruit chews and buy myself 10 mins of peace - wait, that wasn't even 30 secs.  Schlep along until lunch where more 'easy' food fills their plate.  Pray they take a nap (and they might if they are in enough of a sugar coma).  They wake up from nap and since you are in better spirits thanks to the down time you offer them ice cream, little snack cakes or some other treat.  This leads you head long into the arsenic hour of trying to prepare dinner with babies and toddlers hanging off of you left and right screaming and snacking (for your sanity) until you all sit down at the table for dinner and suddenly the constantly hungry, cranky kiddos are picky eaters, hmmmm.

It does not have to be that way.  A warning though, even under the best of nutrition, calmest households, order and beauty that would make a Pinterest board swoon - children are going to be cranky, and challenging on many days.  I want to encourage young Mom's to prep themselves for success and most of all to leave off this notion that if you do everything perfectly you will get perfectly behaved children.
Free will doesn't work that way.
Illness doesn't either.  While I can attest to a diet with little prepackaged and prepared foods (convenience foods) helps children ward off many illness's - they still get sick.  Illness is not a pass or fail in parenting.

I know from experience. 
 I was the Mom who purchased all the convenience items because I'm a sucker for good packaging and cute 'eye catchers'.  I justified the basket of 'goodies' and enjoying of ease because I was either pregnant or nursing for many, many years.  I was perpetuating a cycle of disaster.  I met a Mom while living in Virginia who had a large family and would literally bring a loaf of homemade bread, apples and a huge block of cheese for their breakfast after daily Mass if we were heading straight to our co-op.  The kids drank milk or water (mine always had some cute little juice box).  I was intrigued.  These kids almost never got sick, all glowed with health, and also didn't seem to be prone to the melt downs my boys were having on an almost constant basis.  
I learned quite a bit from this Mom by simply observing, she was from a large family and had learned many good habits about raising children.  One thing she passed on to me was that convenience foods do not buy you time, they buy you trouble.  Those fruit by the foot - buy them apples instead.   Cute little boxes of raisins - buy a canister of raisins/craisins and teach them to share and divide.  Corn dogs/chicken nuggets/fish sticks/ boxed mac & cheese - her kids really had no idea how often other families ate this stuff.  She fed REAL food all the time and insisted on LOTS of outdoor play and work.
I began to switch our diet and my kids learned to let go of thinking everything should come served in an individual style container.  It was a revelation to me.  My mornings went (over time) to the first version I shared to this:

Wake up and prepare scrambled eggs, sausage, and grits or steel cut oats or some other protein & fruit strong breakfast.  After all my kids were over 5, I let go of serving a morning snack.  Lunch consists of leftovers from dinner, or soup & sandwiches or a big hearty salad loaded with protein.  Just read through my recipe links to see how I feed them.  Afternoon snacks are more often than not cheese and crackers, veggies with homemade buttermilk dressing,  Take one day to prep many days worth of vegetables.  Go ahead and get all the fruit washed and ready to go.  It isn't that we don't enjoy treats, but they are few and far between.   Dinner is very often prepared at breakfast and placed in the crockpot.  I worked hard to reduce the difficult moments between the hours of 4 pm and bedtime.  The whiny, cranky, frazzled kids and worn out Mom all did much better when the real food and keeping us all well fed and hydrated became my focus.  

As to well rested.  
Do not ever give up nap time!
Guess what, my oldest is about to turn 22 (in 3 days) and my youngest is 7 - we still have quiet time after lunch EVERY.SINGLE.DAY that we are home.  The kids actually would sleep up until age 4 with a few stinkers who didn't think they needed it (but still had to stay in their room quietly).  Around the age of 12, my older kids came to look forward to this down time every day.  No electronics are allowed.  I set the timer, kids go to their beds (except the adult children) and read or rest or draw.  Everyone is quiet.  It is renewing to the whole family.

Bedtime is also a big deal around our home and always has been.  I read a study in my pre-internet parenting days (the early 90's) about how little sleep we get here in America and how it is affecting our health and our children.  When Pete and I had young children we craved that time in the evenings to have for each other.  We stuck strong to the whole 8 pm bedtime.  Once older, they boys got to stay up until 10 pm.  Unless it is a weekend or special occasion, this house shuts down at 10 pm.  I have adult children living at home right now, I do not insist on quiet time or bed time only that they respect what is happening in the house.  They may still be up at 11 pm, but they are quiet and do not wake anyone up.  Since the internet shuts down when Pete and I go to bed, they are usually up reading.
Small children need lots of rest to be at their best, but so do teenagers!!!!  Teens are growing at such a rapid rate and have so many changes taking place within them, adequate sleep is imperative.  I honestly believe that many a surly teenager would be less surly if they were not exhausted too.  Just a thought!

Trust me, well fed and well rested will help you take your family from this stage of the game
to this one, 

with less stress and better attitudes all around!

*a disclaimer - I came to understand the concept of well fed and well rested because I've truly done everything backwards or wrong first.  My poor family.  I've been blessed by learning a lot from older, wiser Mom's who let me ask, observe, and learn.*

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Family Movie Night Ideas

*This post contains affiliate links*

I thought I would put together a list of some of our favorite family movies.  There are many more (we absolutely enjoy a good movie), I'll continue to update this page as I remember them. Feel free to share what your family enjoys in the comments and I'll try to add them as well!

Follow Me, Boys!
This movie is probably one of our most loved from this Classic Disney Genre!

 The Happiest Millionaire

  The Court Jester

 The Trouble With Angels
There is a scene with the girls smoking, just so you know.
We've watched this many times - none of my kids have started smoking.
The more recent movies possibly have a curse word, but over all we love these and find them very entertaining!

Wild America
This one does have a few words and one beach scene with a brief implication of reckless teenage behavior.
I still stand by this movie, we LOVE it and it is based on a true story. Perhaps it is because I have boys, I love the brotherhood shown here in all it's love/frustration and rawness - it is real.  The only bit that we find (as parents) a little bothersome is one of children 'teaching' the parents a lesson, I usually steer clear of that type of theme - Which is why I  never show The Little Mermaid (instead I chose to read the actual version to my children).  I find this story an exception to my rule, because I also don't agree that parents are perfect, I know I'm not and there have been times that my children have taught me a thing or two but not ever in the "I'll show you" way or even with the motive to teach me, more of a "love and humility teach us many lessons"
 Back to the movie, I genuinely love this one despite the occasional language etc...



Nancy Drew (2007)
There is a detail about the mystery involving a baby born out of wedlock to a movie star, and the search for this baby, now grown.  This has never been a springboard for questions of 'why' from my 9 year old daughter, she loves Nancy Drew and all the details of her solving mysteries.  I just wanted to share that disclaimer because it could possibly open a can of worms with your children.


Tuck Everlasting
We first listened to an audio version of this book while day camping at Andy Guest state park in practically our back yard while living in Virginia.  The river was low and the boys swam while I burned through batteries playing this on a portable CD player or maybe even cassette - I forget.  We all remember this very fondly and very idyllic.  It was a beautiful setting for this story, and watching the movie brings back those memories.





I hope you enjoy these suggestions, I will keep updating this list.
I also plan to create a page of my favorite movies as well as movies that are springboards for discussion (particularly with older children, like A Few Good Men or To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary Edition )
We love books and reading more than anything, but movies are also a very large part of our family entertainment.  We love to discuss the movie, discuss the actors, discuss the costumes (okay, I love to discuss  and my family puts up with it), as well as sets, designs etc..  The creative process fascinates us and if the movie is based on a true story we always go in search of more knowledge about the people, the facts etc..  

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