Life Right Now

I am so guilty of this quote except I always say “after this month” or “after this season”. things will slow down a bit. Lately it’s been- when school lets out things will slow down a bit. When school lets out I will get together with my friends, and I will blog more, and I will do that project I’ve been putting on the back burner… The truth is I know summer will go by in a blink!

The reason life has been so hectic lately has some to do with working full time now, for sure. But it’s also soccer season for two of the kiddos.

Some weeks that means we have soccer every single day.

Most weeks it’s only six days a week but that’s still overwhelming. Z has been busy doing exams some of which have college credit riding on them! He also applied for a job and did his first job interview, so there are a lot of big time adult things happening there.

Today the song “Don’t Throw Out My Legos” came on. It’s about growing up, and it made me tear up big time. He’s only a sophomore so I know I need to get a grip. Do they have grips on Amazon? Because I am not sure I can get anything without two day shipping these days.

Lastly we can’t forget the baby of the family. Elle made the cheer team.

Actually she didn’t have to try out or make the team, but it sounds nice. Cheer uniforms are pricey, like I’ve been told to save up for my kids college educations, or maybe my daughter’s weddings but I think they need a 529 for sports uniforms. As someone who is no stranger to buying things second hand (I would say 90% of our clothing and furniture is previously owned) I joined a Facebook group that is exclusively for buying and selling cheer gear for our team. We tried on four different uniforms without success. Eventually I bought the jacket from one person, the skirt from another, and the “shell” (which is like a vest or a shirt) from a  third seller. They often come as a set but that route wasn’t working for me.

All that to say the Busch family is keeping busy.

We have two weeks left of school and after that things will slow down about and then I’ll be able to blog more. Insert winking emoji here.

By |2024-05-27T02:45:25+00:00May 20, 2024|Family, Motherhood|0 Comments

Mother Daughter Trip to Sedona Arizona

I am going to overshare for this post. Sorry not sorry.

First of all it took so many miracles for this trip to happen and I am just so grateful. Also, I like to share details and links for those scouring the internet like I did, looking for suggestions and experiences before traveling (as I always do).

The trip came about because J and I have always had this idea that we would take a one-on-one milestone trip when each of our children enters the teen years. Z went to Chicago with his dad when he turned 13.

For SJ’s birthday it was my dream to show her the city of Sedona which is what she was named after. There were only two major problems with my idea.

1. Our budget is small

2. I am still struggling with PTSD from the major car wreck I was in 4 years ago. I have a hard enough time driving around locally. There is not a chance I am going to rent a car and explore another city.

That’s where Mémé stepped in (my mom and SJ’s grandma).

She worked for Delta and still gets flying benefits so we were able to get the tickets at a rock bottom price flying standby. Not only that, but because my mom travels all the time she was comfortable with driving us everywhere. This was such a blessing and the trip definitely wouldn’t have been possible without her help. So first and foremost thank you to Mémé for everything! The trip was a dream come true!

A couple of days were spent traveling so we were only in Arizona for three days, but we packed them full and thankfully the weather was wonderful!

We flew into Phoenix and stayed at hotel the first night. Then we had a two hour drive to our Airbnb so we stopped along the way at a place called Aqua Fria which was a wonderful hiking adventure.

It was mostly just SJ and I the whole time and it was so peaceful, but we bumped into a couple of other people along the trail. One friendly hiker was named Vick and he gave us the local rundown of the area and Sedona. At the end he also mentioned a John Wayne movie called “Angel and the Badman” that was filmed in Sedona and featured a baby which was played by none other than Vick himself!

I looked up the movie which turns out is now public domain and available in full on Youtube. It was neat to see the Sedona scenery in black in white. It made me a little teary eyed because my father-in-law loved to watch westerns. I’m sure he’s seen that movie and it would have been nice to talk to him about that experience. It’s sad, but I smile thinking about him.

The Airbnb we stayed at was in Clarkdale AZ. It’s called the Bitter Creek Villa and it’s just outside of Sedona in Clarkdale. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

We didn’t get to take advantage of the free kayaks because it was too chilly, but I absolutely loved the peaceful tranquility of the place.

There was a picturesque pond and wildlife everywhere you looked! One my all time favorite Airbnbs for sure.

We also visited Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. It’s basically a 900 year old living structure built into the rocks by the Sinagua people. That was fascinating!

The whole trip we kept gasping in awe of all the beautiful scenery!

That night I insisted SJ get dessert at the Mexican restaurant we went to (Conchos in Cottonwood). She was being very indecisive and the waiter was encouraging her to try flan. She still wasn’t certain but our waiter went from “you’ll love it” to basically ordering it for her. It was funny, but he was right! She LOVED the flan! We didn’t have much room after dinner so we took it back to the Airbnb


We ended the night with relaxing in the hot tube under a sky full of stars. Talk about the perfect ending to an amazing day.

The next morning was SJ’s birthday and she woke up to a view of the sunrise with Sedona in the distance. I couldn’t have planned it that perfectly if I had wanted to!

Then we headed out to another incredible restaurant called Crema Craft Kitchen. I got a cappuccino with rock candy on top and SJ got a pommegranite lemonade. Both were delicious.

When the server found out it was SJ’s birthday she brought her a free cinnamon roll and it was HUGE!

For the first Sedona hike we went to Fay Canyon trail. The plan was to do a photoshoot at the top. It was the most incredible view and we had a blast!


SJ is a tomboy by nature, but she has a girly side too and she picked out this new dress, jacket and shirt.


It was a fun photoshoot for both of us. That hike was my favorite part of Sedona!

Afterwards went to a few shops at the Tlaquepaque village and the Sedona Secret Garden cafe for lunch

Then we drove t0 the Airport Mesa Overlook which were jaw dropping views.

This shot is of the keychain J made for SJ for her birthday. Next up on the agenda was Chapel of the Holy Cross. That was a pretty epic chapel.

I’m so glad we stopped by and even got to go inside and pray. Last but certainly not least we hiked at Bell Rock tower. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the views were epic.

 

The majestic scenery went on for miles and miles. The next day I got some shots of the sunrise.

Even though it was winter there were still hummingbirds that stay in that area year round.

After we checked out of our Airbnb we had an amazing  breakfast at the Flat Iron in Jerome.

Jerome is and old mining town that is now a ghost town. It’s really cool and full of fascinating history.

After poking around Jerome for a bit we were ready to head back to Pheonix. The standby flights were looking dangerously full (which meant we were at risk of not getting on) but in the end we made it back by the skin of our teeth. I was sweating it on the flights to Arizona and Cincinnati. We’ve all flown standby plenty of times, especially my mom, but for some reason this trip was especially a close call. The thing that kept going through my mind though was nothing ventured nothing gained. We took a chance, went for it, and all the risk was 1000% worth it! I know this is a birthday she’ll always remember.

By |2024-03-02T03:27:08+00:00March 7, 2023|Family, Frugal Living, Uncategorized|0 Comments

2022 Christmas Card Reveal

It’s that time of year! Time for the Busches annual Christmas card. This is our 22nd Christmas card and it’s pretty pun-ny, if I do say so myself. Ironically I had picked out holiday ensembles for the whole family (I didn’t go shopping for clothes, this is just a conglomeration of stuff we owned) but in the end most of our outfits weren’t even visible in the card! For the record we actually had cute boots and red shoes.

Anyway, drumroll please. Here it is…

Merry Christmas from the Bushes with a “C”. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s supposed to be. I can’t even take credit for this genius idea. Years ago (I’m talkin’, probably 8 years ago) when I was handing out Christmas cards one of SJ’s teachers said “You know what you should do? Merry Christmas from the bushes and be popping out of some actual bushes”. This year I needed that kind of silliness in my life and so we went for it. Only since our name is actually spelled B-U-S-C-H and not b-u-s-h I bought a wooden C to be in the photo with us. When people ask if we are Bush like the president we always have to clarify. No, it’s actually Busch with a C. Or we say Busch like the beer, but I didn’t think that would be a good theme for the card.

 

Stamp prices are outrageous, but I still like to mail some of our cards to friends and family far away. One of my favorite traditions is when we do the Christmas card assembly line.

However, I also love to hand them out and hear peoples’ reactions. It brings me so much joy to see the smiles and hear the laughter. In the words of Buddy the Elf (which we just watched for the third time this month) “Smiling is my favorite” and also “I don’t care who knows it!”

And one final word to all of the people that don’t send Christmas cards, or just didn’t do cards this year. That is okay! One of the most common responses I got with women my age when they received my card was this look of shame and a confession of guilt about not doing Christmas cards. It’s something I am just as guilty of doing, except not about Christmas cards. I act like this when I  just recently did the same thing when my friend got me a present and I didn’t get her one. Oh the horror. It’s cool though, because as soon as I started trying to explain myself I realized I needed to take the same advice I give to others. When I give a card to someone and they start to apologize about not having a card I always smile and say “You don’t have to give a card to receive one.” I also unnecessarily self-deprecate by explaining how it’s our one and only tradition and I am not really consistent at anything else in my life. I should probably stop doing that. Whether you sent cards or not here is our Merry Christmas to you! I really hope that it’s the best one ever. 



 

 

By |2023-07-12T12:39:28+00:00December 21, 2022|Crafts, Family, Laughter, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Messy Mom Christmas Time Finds

I’m a decorate-after-Thanksgiving kind of girl. Which means Christmas time is just two days away and I am SO EXCITED!!!

This week I have a THREE products to promote that will fit right in around the tree this holiday season. One will be perfect to wear when you are hanging out around the tree, one you want to wrap up and put under the tree, and one is actually for the tree!

Let’s start with something I am wearing right now, my fuzzy red Aromasoles.

Aromasoles are a line of super cozy, scent-infused slipper socks that have been flying off shelves for years. All are made with natural therapeutic oils with scents like lavender, rose, cinnamon, and neroli, and they come in an amazing variety of colors!

The aromasoles are my new favorite socks. They are cute, warm, comfy, and smell divine. I recommend picking up a set for yourself and your mom, grandma, teacher, sisters (anyone with feet). They are the perfect companion to watching Christmas Hallmark movies or doing your online Christmas shopping. Speaking of shopping, this three piece gift set is only $20.00. So cute!

Another recent discovery for me is the BlendJet 2.

You may have heard of this amazing portable blender. If not, let me fill you in because I’m loving my new BlendJet. Unlike other blenders, which are uniformly monochromatic in color, BlendJet 2, the original portable blender, is sold in a wide variety of colors – everything from ocean to geode to leopard print.

It’s powerful too – and BlendJet even offers a range of must-have accessories, including 20oz and 32oz jars, insulated sleeves, and carrying totes.

I love so many things about the BlendJet 2. It’s so perfect not just for smoothies but other items that I would use a food processor for. I’m really not a fan of battery operated cordless items, because the cost of replacing batteries adds up quickly, but the BlendJet 2 is rechargeable. 

 



The cord is a USB too so you can plug it just about anywhere.

I’m thrilled with my new BlendJet and I know it would make a great gift for a college student, health enthusiasts, or any family that is on the go a lot.

The last item I want to rave about is The LightKeeper Pro and LED Keeper .

This time I’m not talking about something for under your tree, but for if something goes wrong with your tree! With just the press of trigger, these tools can fix broken holiday lights – so you can make sure your decorations are always colorful. If you already decorated and noticed some faulty bulbs grab the Light Keeper Pro today, or if you are like me and are about to throw your tree up you can have it on hand and use it year after year. This gadget has been featured on NPR, USA Today, Real Simple, even Steve Harvey! Every home needs a Light Keeper Pro.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, a successful Black Friday, and a delightful Holiday season all the way around!

 

By |2022-11-22T15:51:37+00:00November 22, 2022|Crafts, Family, Home, Projects, Uncategorized|0 Comments

10 Years Later

Yesterday was the ten year anniversary of when SJ was diagnosed with profound hearing loss.

I wrote about that day in 2012 in a post called “Processing the Diagnosis

Then in 2015 I wrote a post called Living in Holland (thought from a  special needs mom) and if you have a special needs child you are probably familiar with the Welcome to Holland poem.

In that blog post from three years into our hearing loss journey I posted this graphic and said “We spent just over two years living in the old normal, there was probably a year of living in shock and just doing my best to stay afloat. The last two years have been transition and we’ll be here for a while. I feel pretty darn close to “New Normal” but we still have such a long way to go.”

Then four years later in 2019 I shared how I almost missed the anniversary of her diagnosis. This was a time of year that was always a major trigger for me so the fact that I didn’t even think about it was a big deal. I was processing that reality and described how it felt like a new chapter and that maybe we had reached the new normal.

Now here we are another three years have passed by and we’ve had a lot of significant breakthroughs recently.

SJ told us she wanted to be baptized.

She accompanied me in a sign language video we posted on YouTube and people we would never be able to reach in person watch it everyday.

It’s not at all viral, but I know from my YouTubeanalytics that there are new views from people in other countries every day and to think about that kind of impact is really cool! A friend of mine saw the Gratitude video and invited SJ to be a part of a ballet performance incorporating sign language and worship. She will perform at two locations this week! It’s so awesome. I can’t wait to share more about that.

SJ also graduated from speech and language therapy and is no longer on an IEP. This is huge!

Then in a couple of weeks she will be on an alumni panel from her deaf school to answer questions from parents and students who are about to transition into public school. The privilege of watching the Lord move in her life and use her story to touch so many is priceless.

Today I was listening to a podcast. Full disclosure, it was a true crime story. I am one  of those weirdos that listens to select true crime podcasts. Anyway, they were talking about how this heinous crime split time for this small community into two parts, before the tragedy and after. I immediately thought of how I used to think of SJ’s diagnosis that way. I heard another mom whose child is blind describe it that way. There was life before diagnoses and after. It’s two different worlds.

Except I don’t see it that way now. I see SJ as our little girl who is courageous, talented, beautiful, thoughtful, and deaf. I also see her as an equal part of our whole family. If I were to describe my life as two parts it would have to be life before kids and life after. That feels like two different worlds to me, but to think of SJ without hearing loss now is an incomplete puzzle or a warped photograph.

I feel like it’s been important for me to write about this entire process the past ten years. It helps me, but I really hope that it’s helpful to others. I forget the rawness that I felt in those early days of this journey and when I have it in writing it gives me empathy. Maybe someone will stumble upon this blog post who just had their world split in two, before diagnosis and after. Maybe this blog post from a mom ten years down the road will give them hope.

By |2022-05-02T12:16:55+00:00April 30, 2022|Special Needs, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Supporting Your Kids’ Home School Needs

How has your experience with home school been? Maybe you’ve got on really well? Or maybe some ups and downs? Home school has been a bit of a mixed bag for all of us, and that’s why we need to talk more about how to support your kids through it. After all, whether your children are being home schooled by choice or by necessity, it can be hard to support their academic needs from the comfort of your living room. 

 

Even when your child is in traditional school and requires a bit of outside support, you can still tear your hair out over what to do! But that’s why we’ve collected together the tips below; sometimes all you need is an idea to find the right solution for your child. 

 

 

Vary the Schedule

 

Kids need routine and structure, of course, but every now and then they also need something fun and spontaneous to do. So make sure any home schooling schedule you put together has some free spots on it; save these for special days, like Mondays and Fridays, when your child is going to have a lot more energy to waste. 

 

In these ‘free spot’ segments on the timetable you could do activities like storytime, or watch an educational program, or take them down the park as a little treat. You could also get them into the kitchen to do some hands-on practicals, whether you build a volcano together or simply bake a cake. Just do something different! 

 

Download the Right Software

 

It’s hard to be everything to your child at all times, and sometimes you’re going to need qualified, outside help to really support their schooling needs. So don’t be afraid to get online and see what kind of help is out there; it usually exists in the form of remote software, often recommended by your child’s teachers themselves. 

 

Indeed, kids tend to respond better when you’re using laptops and tablets to teach K-12 classes, so liberally apply this principle to your own home school classroom. Your child will be able to connect to subject tutors outside of your own areas of expertise, whether for mainline schooling or simple homework purposes. Better yet, they can do so whenever they need to. 

 

Keep an Eye on Your Child’s Natural Passions

 

What does your child really love to do? Play soccer? Draw and color? Maybe they’re a fan of going for a walk and picking up every leaf and bug they see? Well, if you want to refine your home school syllabus a little, make time to include these beloved activities. 

 

When you support your child’s natural passions, they blossom in so many more ways, simply because you take time to cater towards their interests. As a result, they’ll be far more willing to complete ‘boring’ subjects, such as Math or English, because they’ll have more energy for the school structure as a whole! 

 

Supporting your kids’ home school needs just takes a bit of thinking!

 

By |2022-02-08T15:58:34+00:00February 8, 2022|Education, Family, Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Schooling|0 Comments

Tips for Helping Your Child to Read

As a mom, one of the hardest things to face is the fact that your child may not be progressing as quickly as they should. If your child is not reading at the correct grade level and you are a bit worried you don’t have to panic.

You can teach your child to read and do it successfully. However, you must be prepared to learn as much as you can about the reading process.

There are varying opinions about what works and what doesn’t. There are also opinions about what age children should be able to read.

 If all this difference in opinion has you wondering, “When do kids learn how to read?” find out the answer to this question and discover some of the best reading strategies that you can use to help your child.

Use Nursery Rhymes

A nursery rhyme will capture your child’s attention. Children will hear rhymes and syllables in the words they are reading. This will help to build their phonemic awareness skills.

Phonemic awareness is the skill that allows your child to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that are found in the spoken word. You and your child should clap to the rhythm of the rhymes together.

While your child is having fun they will be setting the stage for developing solid reading skills in the future. Nursery rhymes are a great way for children with speech problems to learn how to pronounce words.

Make Word Cards

You can buy word cards but it is so much fun to make them. Begin with three-letter words and ask your child to choose cards and then call the word. Ask your child to identify each of the sounds they hear in the three-letter words.

Examples of good words to use are cat, cup, and pig. Try to choose three-letter words that lend themselves well to pictures since this will make it easy for your child to remember the word.

Creating cards takes very little time and they are a great way to build your child’s decoding skills. If your child is starting to learn the alphabet then this is a great activity to use to introduce them to the sounds each letter makes.

Make Your Home Print Rich

You should make it a practice to label everything in your home. In this way, your child will learn that everything has a name. This helps your child to connect words to concrete things and this makes it easier for them to learn.

When you are out with your child, make a conscious effort to point out printed words in the environment. A good place to start is by drawing their attention to signs that you see.

You can sound out the letters for them that make these words. You can begin by focusing on the sound of the first letter in the words you see. Ask your child to tell you the sound of the first letter and what word rhymes with the word you pointed out on the sign.

You can also begin using the word in a sentence right away and let your child repeat these sentences. This is the best way to subtly help your child understand the meaning of a word.

Children Love Games

Children like to play and word games are the perfect way to capture their attention and keep it. These games should help your child to identify and manipulate all the sounds they hear in a word.

Another great way to get your child interested in learning new words is to write and use sand or wool to outline them. Let your child close their eyes and use their sense of touch to guess the word they are feeling.

Let them tell you the sound of each letter they have identified in the word. 

Know the 5 Skills 

For your child to read and comprehend what they have read, there are five skills they need to develop. Once you know what they are then you should do all you can to research them and find learning materials that will help to develop each skill.

The skills that your child must master are the following:

 

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fluency

 

The first hurdle you need to cross is phonemic awareness. Next, you need to develop your child’s skills in phonics. When your child begins to understand the connection between letters and the sounds they make then they are well on their way to developing their vocabulary.

 

Comprehension is probably the hardest skill for many children to develop. This is why as soon as you can you should have your child use the words they have learned in sentences this will ensure that they have a solid idea of the words they are reading.

 

Fluency will develop when all the other skills are developed. Fluency happens when your child is confident in identifying words. This brings speed and accuracy.

Use Technology

One of the easiest ways to grab a child’s attention is to use videos. With so many videos available on the internet that teach phonics and developing reading skills, it is up to you to choose the one that is right for your child.

 

Pay attention to your child’s expressions as they learn from the videos. Ask them questions afterward to see what they have grasped.

 

Once you find a style of video that works then you can use it often to make your child develop reading skills.

 

There are also software, apps, and learning academies online that will help you to teach your child. The wonderful thing about the internet is the amount of information it provides. You don’t have to go it alone.

Model Good Reading Habits

 

If you are that parent who doesn’t like to read then it is time to change all of that. It’s good for your child to see you reading since this will help them to develop their interest in reading. Aside from this perhaps the best reading strategy you can use is to read to your child daily.

Read a variety of books to your child. This approach will help you to introduce a lot of different stories. Make sure you read books about things your child is interested in since this will make it easier for your child to relate to what is being read.

The next thing you should do is buy read along books. Those that have picture clues are the best ones and make it less likely that your child will fail at recognizing a word. This will help them to develop confidence.

Help your child to select books that they are likely to succeed with. The five-finger test is an excellent way to know if a book is too hard for a child. To do this test open the book to the middle.

Ask your child to begin reading the page. Every time they see a word they don’t recognize they should raise a finger. If by the end of the page five fingers are up then the book is too hard for them.

Time to Read

Now that you know some of the main things you should be focusing on it will be a lot easier for you to get your child to read. 

Once you notice your child’s strengths work to develop them even more. The same is true for any weaknesses that you notice. Be consistent and patient because every child develops reading skills at a different pace.

 

5 Word Puzzles Apps To Challenge Your Brain

Christmas is over and winter is in full swing. To be honest, this season can feel glum and sometimes you wonder if you brain is turning into mush!

Word puzzle apps can be a great way of challenging your brain and keeping you more alert! On top of helping you to expand your vocabulary, these word puzzles can test your mathematical and logical skills. They’re great for keeping your mind sharp as you get older and can equally be great for helping kids to develop their vocabulary and logical skills. There are hundreds of these word apps available to download from Android and Apple app stores. Below are just a few of the most popular word game apps to try.

Scrabble

Based off of the popular board game, the Scrabble app allows you to compete against other players online by building words and collecting points. On top of trying to reach the highest score in each game, you can compete with other players to build the best overall score. There’s also an option to play against a computer if you don’t want to play against real players (or simply want some practice). There’s also an in-built dictionary feature that allows you to search up words beforehand to check that they’re real words.

Wordscapes

Wordscapes is a popular app that challenges you to build words out of a selection of letters. As the rounds get higher, the selections of letters get harder. It’s a fairly simple and intuitive game that anyone can play and takes you across lots of relaxing landscapes in the process. The game gets quite hard as it progresses but if you get stuck on a level, you can find Wordscapes cheat codes online. There are also many guides and tips online to understand the points system. 

Alphabear

Alphabear challenges you to select letters on a puzzle grid to create words and collect bears. The more letters you use, the bigger the bear. It’s a unique word game with a fun bear theme to it (there are animated cartoons that play.throughout the game). A sequel to the game was released in 2018 that features even more bears to collect. Kids will love this game (as will adults!).

Typeshift

Typeshift is an anagram puzzle game that challenges you to create words stacked together. This makes it very unique to other word games. You’re given a new puzzle every day – the puzzles get harder throughout the week. For those looking for a game that’s slightly more challenging, this is the app for you. Like other games listed here, it’s completely free to download. You can find tips for playing Typeshift here. 

Word Search Pro

Love word searches? This app challenges you to solve a range of word searches in order to find the hidden words. You simply swipe up, down, left, right or diagonally to mark the word. The game allows you to select your difficulty and can be surprisingly challenging. This is a great game for honing your vocabulary and is a game that all the family can play!

When I am needing a moment to myself these word game apps are a great way to decompress for minute. Not a bad idea for the kiddos that have extra time to kill on dreary winter day. Do you enjoy word puzzles? What apps are your favorites?

By |2020-12-30T17:24:11+00:00December 28, 2020|Education, Family, Lifestyle, Schooling|1 Comment

Ten Ways Develop a Child’s Attention Span

10 ways to develop a child’s attention spans for long term success.

10-ways-to-lengthen-kids-attention-spans

I just got back from Word Camp which is a conference for people that use the website platform Word Press. The crowd there was extremely diverse, but we all had one thing in common: websites, or more specifically Word Press websites.

One thing I heard over in over in the sessions was about the latest research on the attention span. The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish. The point of this information was that we have to have eye-catching designs and content that will grab our visitors attention immediately before they move on. We want people to stay at our websites and we have less than 10 seconds to make an impact!

While other attendees are nodding and taking notes the mama bear in me is thinking Let’s back this truck up. Did I just hear that humans attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish? And we are supposed to be catering to that!? This is an epidemic! Not just because I am old school and want everyone to go back to the slower paced lifestyle of the 1950’s. I am a major multi-tasker and I love my modern, fast-paced conveniences. I do have one major concern though and that is the selfish implications that come with short attention spans.

The selfie lifestyle.

The entitlement mindset.

The era of entertain me now.

YUCK!

That is not what I want for my kids and I think we can do better.

Phil Vischer did an interview 6 years ago about the effects of certain types of media on our children and it has always stuck with me. He says:

What we’ve learned through recent brain reseach is that the part of our brains that process facts and data can be trained to go faster, but the part of our brain that process emotions and make emotional connections can’t be trained to go faster. So in some of these cases, like churches where they are wanting to speed things up because kids are used to faster tv, we are discovering that while they can collect the data faster they can’t have a feeling about it faster. So if we are trying to teach kids values or help them have compassion for people in worse situations than they are we have to slow them down. 

When I really think about it, it sounds like common sense. You can teach a kid reading fluency or to do multiplication tables at a rapid pace, but you can’t teach them to hurry up and feel compassion! Our generation is better than ever at multitasking, but you can’t multitask true empathy.

That’s what concerns me about the lack of attention spans. We aren’t taking the time to pay attention! So I thought about how to cultivate an attitude of long term attentiveness in the next generation.

Please keep in mind this list is not for short-term attention span improvement. It is also not professional help for those with actual attention deficit disorder. I have plenty of loved ones, adults and kids alike, in that category. There is no shame in that. This is just a list that I thought would apply to my children and might be helpful to some others.

1. Discomfort

It’s easy to want to shield our kids from feeling uncomfortable, whether it’s boredom, not wanting to share, or detesting chores. I’ve read two books on this subject that I love. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch and Cleaning House by Kay Will Wyma. I recommend either one.

2. Focus on Others

Putting our attention outward through community service or acts of kindness is a great way for children to pay more attention to the details and needs around us.

3. Sleep

This is a practical way for all of us to increase our attention span. On a side note, you sleep more peacefully without electronics in the room.

4. Exercise

Robert Melillo, a professor and specialist in childhood neurological disorders says “Lack of physical activity in early childhood is actually the biggest single problem that will hurt the growth and development of the brain.” Melillo talks more about this mind-body approach to attention span in his book Disconnect.

5. Passion

I’m not so stuffy that my whole list is going to be about diet, exercise, and chores. Help your child find what skill or hobby that they are passionate about! This is a great way to increase attention span in a healthy way.

6. Hydration

Drinking water has been shown to improve focus while dehydration can impair your attention span, memory, and motor skills. 

7. Reading

Reading helps us to use our imagination, ask questions, think about other points of view, and with practice can definitely lengthen our attention spans.

8. Turn off electronics

I’m not anti-technology at all, but this is the biggest culprit of our shrinking attention span and it has to be balanced. Hamlet’s Blackberry (excuse the outdated title) is a fantastic book about how technology isn’t awful and the addiction to it is not even necessarily a new problem. However, it does have to be balanced with time unplugged in order to get the most out of it.

9. Prayer

I’ve read a lot about using meditation to improve attention spans and I am sure that helps, but as a Christian I think prayer is even better! When we teach our kids to pray, they begin to process the world through communion with God which brings peace, purpose, and clarity.

10. Old Fashioned Playtime

Puzzles,  board games, dress up etc. The simpler the toys the more focus for the child. We have to tone down all the stimuli.

 

I admit I am preaching to myself with this list. I am the worst when it comes to going to my computer to look at my calendar and two hours later I have been on Pinterest, Facebook, and Email and forgot to ever even look at my calendar. I am also guilty of reaching for my phone when I’m  on the toilet for more than 12 seconds (TMI? Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about).

The goldfish information was a wake up call though. The good news is I don’t think this situation we find ourselves in is irreversible. We can expand our attention spans and I hope to be the first to model this for my kids.

 

By |2017-11-17T10:32:51+00:00November 16, 2017|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Weaning Feelings and Other Big Emotions

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Elle has been weaned from breastfeeding for almost one week now. She is still a little restless at bedtime as she transitions into a new routine, but for the most part I think we’ve completely crossed over. And to put it bluntly I’m all dried up, so that ship has officially sailed.

I am done having babies and nursing. The goat picture will make sense in a minute.

I was talking to my friend with 5 kids, the one who has walked this motherhood journey with me from day one. I was there with her when her first daughter was born and vice versa. She asked me sympathetically how I was feeling, knowing that Elle is our last baby and I will never breastfeed again. I told her I was sincerely fine with this change.

I’ve been pretty vocal about our family planning on the blog, mostly because it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about and sometimes it’s a random blogger on the internet that makes you feel a little less alone. I know this because I’ve gotten comments and emails from women who have opened up about the confusing emotional decision to not have anymore children.

In our case,  I knew Elle was the last one when I was pregnant with her. Shortly after her birth we took the leap into having a permanent birth control procedure. We would love to adopt some day so that makes our finality of being finished having kids a lit more murky. Do I save that cute little dinosaur costume in case we adopt a toddler? But back to the topic of breast feeding, that’s something I know I will never be doing again.

I was ready to be done with breastfeeding. It wasn’t sad for me. I nursed each of my four babies for well over a year and Ezie and Elle were basically two years. So I have paid my dues. I was even starting to resent it a little. That’s how I knew it was time to wean Elle. She’s definitely old enough so that’s not the issue. At this point it is a matter of comfort and bonding. For me I was very uncomfortable being woken up at 2:oo am and I don’t think a disgruntled mother scowling  and murmuring is the most positive bonding experience either.

I worked on a goat farm a long time ago and remember watching a not so tiny kid try to get to its mothers teat. As the mother was trying to back away from her child she would turn and bleat. She was done and the kid was old enough to stop. I feel ya momma goat. Even in the animal kingdom some kids need a little extra push and sometimes mommas gotta bleat.

As far as Elle turning two soon. I’m okay with that too, but I am a little wishy washy in my emotions about no longer having a baby. On the one hand I get sad thinking about aging and grown kids. I reminisce about how cute and innocent those precious early years are.

It’s the end of an era, and even with all of the exhaustion it brings, it is a sweet and delightful era.

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After I had Elle I was so hormonal watching her daily changes and rapid growth that I was really grieving the thought of not experiencing any of that ever again. So I made a list. A tangible list. I wrote down dozens and dozens of reasons why I look forward to having older kids and no more babies. Eventually those sad emotions just went a way and I swung the other direction. I started counting down the years until I would no longer need a babysitter to leave the house for a moment. I dream about running in and out of stores alone.

I had a conversation with friends recently that made realize how lucky I am to have four really awesome empowering pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding experiences. Still, after spending the past decade pregnant or nursing I am just ready for this next chapter. It’s time.

I have so many more thoughts on this transition, but I’ll just have to do part two, or three, or four even, because I may feel different after Elle turns two. I may feel different again when she turns three and I’ve crossed the threshold for longest time I have gone without being pregnant. Sigh. I’ll just keeping feeling and blogging.

Onward we go, upward they grow. Thank you God for this incredible journey.

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