Greetings to you from our family! I hope this finds you well.
I am writing in response to some recent news that has traveled from my third graders' mouth to my ears. I felt it might be necessary to inform you that your child is a brat. In addition, I also thought it might be helpful for you to know that no matter how badly your child treats mine, I refuse to teach my daughters to get back at your child, to treat her the same way, to talk meanly to or about your child.
If I must be blunt... your child is definitely getting the good end of this situation. I will never stop teaching my daughters to be kind. To treat other kids respectfully and as she would like to be treated. And I will certainly never, ever, find it acceptable for my child to act like your child does not exist. Now none of this means that I am actively teaching my children to be doormats for your children, however, kindness and acceptance will always win in our family.
I've heard the phrase "The one who cares the least has the most power in the relationship". And while that seems to be a very accurate statement about human nature, and my husband and I can pick and choose when it is appropriate to embody that defense mechanism in our own lives, I know that my small daughters are unable to discern the proper times to enact that attitude. Therefore, even though I really, REALLY want to teach them this horrible truth, I will refrain. I will also refrain from teaching them to be self-absorbed and only care about how things affect them. I find it appalling, really, that most grown-ups don't understand the effect that their actions have on the greater picture so I will do my darndest to teach my children that their actions affect all the people around them.
Again, I find it necessary to point out that your child is really benefiting greatly from my parenting. Not only does your child get to act however she wants, not only does she only need to care about herself, but MY child will treat your child with respect and kindness regardless of your child's behavior or attitude. Congratulations on all of the advantages that your child has now and will always have in the future! She will forever be lucky.
I'm sorry that she won't have the opportunity to build character that will be noticed by others. I'm sorry that she won't have the opportunity to cultivate meaningful relationships with other people. I'm sorry that she won't be trusted in her adult life because she hasn't learned to take responsibility for her own actions. Those are tough prices to pay, but hey - she's pretty special in third grade, right? Thats what matters.
So I guess this is really a thank you note. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to teach my children these wonderful things. My heart hurts tremendously and I have shed many tears, but my children are being refined by the fire that your child has lit. Thank you.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Hello there, friends of mine :) I have been absent for a long time. No good excuse really, except that I've been getting life back to a routine since school began and I'm painting my kitchen cabinets AGAIN (that would be the third (and final) time in 3 years).
In the hiatus, I have secured a printer that actually is compatible with my computer and I can finally print stuff. Which has been the excuse I've used for not doing more coupon shopping - I couldn't print the good ones. Well, no more excuses. After some trial runs, I finally went for a big(ish) one tonight. And let me just say - this took a good amount of time to plan, but I executed it perfectly, right down to getting in the car and figuring out that they didn't give me my $5 instant savings on two of my transactions, going back into the store and getting my $10 back (yea for me).
I've been a bit nervous about this whole deal and I have some internal conflicts about it. I don't normally feed my family some of this stuff as a lot of it is quite sugary, but if I save for treats/after school snacks, I'm okay with it. My girls don't snack a lot as it is so I think we're going to be okay. In addition, I'm going to squirrel some of this away for birthday treats and such.
Here is what I did:
2 frosted miniwheats = $2.50/ -> used $1/2 coupon from newspaper insert
3 Kellogg's Fruit Snacks = $2.00/-> used $1/2 from insert & $1/1 printable
3 Poptarts (12pks) = $2.50/ -> used $1/3 from insert
2 Keebler cookies = $2.50/ -> used $1/2 from insert
Total was $19.03: paid with $5.00 catalina + $14.03 in cash
Received $10 catalina (off your next order) for buying 10 participating items
$14.03 out of pocket
2 Pillsbury Grands biscuits = $1.50/ -> used $1/1 printable
2 Pillsbury refrig. cookie dough = $2.50/ -> used $1/2 from insert
4 Pillsbury French Bread Loaves = $1.50/ -> used $1/2 printable + .40/2 from insert
2 Yoplait GoGurts = $1.50/-> used $1/2 printable
Total was $16.05: paid with $10.00 catalina from previous transaction + received $5.00 instant savings for buying 10 participating products (what I went back to the store to get back)
Received $3.00 catalina for buying 6 participating pillsbury products
Received 50 Box Tops for Education
Out of pocket: $1.05
2 Yoplait GoGurts = $1.50/ -> used .75/2 from insert
1 Bisquick pourable pancake batter = 1.00/ -> used .50/1
2 Green Giant Fresh Valley Steamers = $1.50/ -> used $1/2 printable
5 Chex Mix = 1.00/ -> used $1/2 printable + .50/2 from insert + .50/1 printable
Received 50 Box Tops for Education
Total was $10.85: paid with $3.00 catalina from previous transaction + received $5.00 instant savings for a total out of pocket of $2.85
Out of pocket for tonight: $17.93
AND I received 130 total Box Tops for Education for the girls' school (100 from the bonuses + 30 from the products - I tried to buy the items that had 2 on them if possible).
Compared to some of these blogs that I follow, this is nothing, but I consider it respectable AND it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be.
Special thanks to mashupmom and Couponing for 4 for the ideas on your blogs!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
editorial note: decided I should finally finish this up. It will come with a lot fewer photos and links because I'm tired and sick of the photo uploading situation... made a Yosemite photobook online yesterday and it took me ALL.DAY. and I am desperately sick of dealing with the photos. You can see the photobook here (I think).
Today was our trip to the Valley. Everything that we read prior to coming out here said that the Valley is very busy and crowded. And it was. We had been told by several people in the area that we should at least go see the Ahwhanee Hotel, so after talking with a guy at Glacier Point, we decided to go there for breakfast. This required us to leave the room early to get down there for our 9:15 reservations. The goal was 7:15, but we got out at 7:40. We missed our reservations by 15 minutes, but they seated us without question in their grand dining room.
I have to say, the hotel is beautiful, BUT, because I'm not a visual, artistic, architectural person, the amazingness of the place was a little lost on me. I could definitely see why people think it is so incredible, however, I would not have missed out on anything if we had skipped it. And the breakfast, while decent, was not worth the price we paid ($80 for the 5 of us to have the buffet).
After breakfast we parked the car in Yosemite Village and began our walk to find a place to swim in the Merced River. This was not pleasing to the girls at. all. This was not a hike in the mountains with areas to explore, this was walking down the road or on a bike path to a place and they were sick of it and none too pleased. We managed to ignore them well enough to reach our destination and everyone changed into their suits and we got to the beach.
The beach was very rocky and the water was very cold. That didn't hinder Cornbread and Nodie from doing a little swimming, although they didn't swim for long. Bugly also got in eventually, but was much more hesitant in doing so. Skipper and I decided that going into the water to our knees was quite enough. Cornbread tried to teach the girls how to skip rocks and I don't think he was successful, but he skipped several really well. At one point Bugly and Skipper had asked him to bring them to a tree in the middle of the river and during the transport Bugly's flip flops came off of her feet and started floating down the river. Realizing that lost flip flops would equal a barefoot trek back to the car - or a piggy back ride to the car - I took off after them as fast as I could and got much wetter than I originally wanted to in the process.
From the Merced we took a different route back to the car and stopped at a gift shop in the Village to buy some souvenirs. Nodie's whole life became complete when she was allowed to purchased a small stuffed raccoon (earlier in the week I had told the girls that a souvenir did NOT = a stuffed animal, so she sat in the store for a long time and longingly played with the stuffed animals while the rest of us found our souvenirs... I finally got so sick of her attitude and the crowdedness of the store that I told her to just pick it out and lets go. Her world brightened and she was happy for the rest of the walk). We made our way back to the car and out of the valley, with a quick stop to snap some photos of Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan.
On the way back to the car it was decided that Cornbread would take Nodie fishing near the lodge and I would take the other two swimming in the pool. This plan pleased everyone. The girls and I hung out at the pool with Grant and Jana and Lane & Josie, while Cornbread and Nodie tried to fish at Bass Lake, but ended up swimming instead. We all met back at the room for baths and showers and went down to the firepit area for our Farewell dinner.
The girls actually ate some of the dinner this time around as it included a kids buffet, and we sat with the McGraws again and asked them way too personal of questions :) They are a wonderful family from Iowa whom we really clicked with. Nodie and Lane (6 1/2) spent the evening climbing the hill and sliding down, Bugly and Josie (4) spent the evening trying to lick each other (and succeeding) and dumping dirt on top of each other (did I just mention they took baths before we went?) Skipper was in on the Bugly/Josie thing, but also succeeded in getting Daddy to make her the perfect s'more - and then wouldn't eat it or let anyone else eat it. It was a fun night, we met a few other people, but mainly hung with Grant and Jana.
I had gotten most everything packed before dinner, so we are set to go. We decided today that we are definitely Yosemite'd out. Had enough. Every one of us. And we're missing our Woof.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Today's plans were to drive out to Tuolumne Meadows. Tuolumne is in the high country of Yosemite and we knew to expect a long driving day - possibly 3 hours to drive there. We decided to go in via Yosemite Valley (this is the big touristy area of Yosemite and is very crowded and busy) and out via Mariposa & Oakhurst. The drive there was not bad. We hit some construction and had a short wait, but because we were reading Harry Potter, it went by quick. Right at the start of the valley we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls. This is a gigantic waterfall and I have no idea why it was named Bridal Veil Falls. At any rate, we hiked the 1/4 mile to see it and then climbed the rocks near the bottom to get a better look. There were a whole lot of people there and it was quite crowded for 9:30am. We stayed for a while and then continued our journey to Tuolumne.
The rest of the trip took about 2-2 1/2 hours. We wound through some terrifying turns on Tioga Rd, but had some great views along the way. My favorite view was approaching Tenaya Lake. We could see a bright turquoise patch near the road up ahead. It was beautiful from afar, but it was spectacular on the shore. The water was dark turquoise and the lake was surrounded by granite mountain walls and distant mountain peaks. We stopped and had lunch on the small beach and then Cornbread and Nodie went for a swim while Skipper, Bugly and I took a small walk along the shore. We also collected a bag of sand because it has flecks of gold flakes and sparkled brilliantly in the sun. I plan to put it in a pretty jar on my book shelf as a book end.
From there we got back in the car and drove to Lyell Fork, which is a fork of the Teneya river. Cornbread and the girls wanted to do some fishing and the book we were using said this fork would be particularly good. But alas, there was no fish to be found by our family. And I was very irritated... not so into fishing, especially when it doesn't look like a fish could survive in the current of the river. I'm sure there was probably some fish in there, but in my opinion it was a waste of time and the two little ones were antsy to go back to the lodge and go swimming (which was 3 hours away). Skipper and I did some exploring along the river looking for a watering hole that they could swim in, but we didn't find anything without a current that was too strong for me to risk letting them go in over their waists. I had to take the time to explain the situation to Skipper (that if she went under the current could keep her under and carry her away) and I think when she asked if I could survive it and I told her that I probably couldn't, she finally got it and resigned to the fact that she wouldn't be swimming in this river. She was fine, but I think she was bored because the fishing was less than exciting.
On the way home we read some more Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets and I could not be happier that we brought it along with us and have been reading it in the car. The drives are going so smoothly, with little to no complaining and no one asking if we're almost there or how many more minutes or any of the fighting or horsing around that usually happens in the back seat of the car on long road trips. This book has been a miracle worker! In the time that I am taking a break from reading they are even playing Harry & Ron and Hermione back there :) AND, I <3 Harry Potter and Ron and Hermione and am more than thrilled to have an opportunity to read this with the girls.
The weather today was 100% perfect. The sky had 2 clouds in it - I actually looked around for some and saw just two off to the side. It was a brilliant shade of blue, the sun was out, but it wasn't hot. It was gorgeous. We have been blessed with spectacular weather this week - not too hot at all. It is lovely out here.
Cornbread and I have said several times that it would have been cool if he had gone on to grad school and gotten a job working in a national forest like this. It is amazing to be completely submerged in God's creation. Everywhere you turn you see something of incredible beauty and wonder. It would be a haven for someone like me to spend significant time in these trails alone talking with God.
But then again, if he wasn't working for Jones, we wouldn't have the opportunity to see God's creation at Steamboat or Cabo. Both places that are equally as spectacular and beautiful albeit in different ways. We really are blessed to be treated to these amazing trips.
Friday, August 06, 2010
This morning we picked up our friend from home, David, to join us in Yosemite for the day. We were thrilled that he wanted to come with us as the girls - and we - absolutely adore him. After Cornbread and the girls picked him up we headed out to the park. Our plans were to get to Glacier Point today, but Cornbread had stopped at the concierge to find out if there were any kid friendly hikes near Glacier Point and had gotten a couple of ideas of some hikes to do before getting to GP.
|We set out on the path, but quickly veered off in our own (Bugly lead) direction. She definitely lead us astray:) We had fun exploring, though, and thought we had gotten to the top of Sentinel Dome (we had no idea what we were doing or where we were going) and were thinking, really? so what?|
Once again, three little girls continued to amaze us. It was not the hardest hike, but it certainly was not an easy hike at all. And each of them breezed through it like it was a piece of cake. As we got near the base of the dome, I got pretty nervous with wiggly children who like to run and one especially who tends to fall all.the.time. But they were great. I think they understood our nervousness and the potential danger of the situation and really stuck close to us and listened when we told them to stop doing something or to come by us. The base offered some pretty cool views of the Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and of Half Dome, but the best was definitely yet to come.
|At the base of Sentinel Dome. David looking over the valley, Nodie making her way to see what he was seeing.|
|David and Nodie at the base. Upper Yosemite falls in the background on the right.|
|View of Half Dome at the base of Sentinel Dome.|
We continued up the dome... it was a pretty steep climb that was completely on rock. We were so happy to have David with us because he was an extra person to hold one of the girls' hands and help them climb up - we each had one girl to help.
When we got to the top, it was breathtaking. Seriously. Honestly. Breathtaking. Like nothing I could actually describe. We could see the whole Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Falls, another waterfall, the Sierra Nevadas on the other side. Mountains and peaks as far as you could look. Nothing but mountains and God's creativity. Nothing but amazing creation.
|Our hiking team: Me, Cornbread, Skipper, David, Bugly and Nodie. Half Dome in the background.|
|Nodie taking in the view of Half Dome.|
|Cathedral Rocks on the left and El Capitan on the right. El Capitan is the largest granite monolith in the world - just a giant wall of granite.|
|View of Upper and either middle or lower Yosemite Falls from the top of Sentinel Dome.|
After eating lunch at the car, we got in and drove to Glacier Point, which was another spectacular viewpoint of the valley. This view was a little lower, so we could see the layout of the valley a little bit better. It was also beautiful and we were happy we did it after Sentinal Dome because we may not have taken the time to hike the dome otherwise.
|Yosemite Valley as seen from Glacier Point.|
|View of Half Dome from Glacier Point.|
On our way back to the Lodge, I read a few more chapters of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. We have been reading whenever we're driving for more than 10 minutes and the girls are completely engaged in this book. It has made the driving portion of this trip so incredibly enjoyable. The girls have been remarkably well behaved and good - I was definitely not anticipating things to be this great and easy.
We ended our evening by having dinner with Dave and Gramma at El Cid, a Mexican restaurant in Oakhurst. We are again going to crash before 9:30.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Monday, August 02, 2010
Today promised to be a horrible day... On Thursday, when I was supposed to be packing for a 1 week vacation in the mountains (read: summer clothes AND fall clothes) for our family of 5, I was actually bringing 3 children to the Minute Clinic to find out why they were coughing so much. Five ear infections, 1 case of bronchial spasms, and 12 prescriptions later I was finally home. The babysitter I had planned to have that afternoon to occupy the girls while I got the house cleaned and all of us packed got cancelled and instead I fit breathing treatments and antibiotics in between everything else. I ended up with everything done and that was all that mattered. BUT, our flights were leaving at 6am the next morning and we had to get up at 2:30am... so not much sleep was had by anyone in our family.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Over the weekend we had a chance to hang out with some family that we haven't seen in a while. One of Cornbread's cousins told us that she had gone skydiving for her birthday. She mentioned that it was an item on her bullet list and talked about how she and her husband feel like they need to live now - not wait.
Jana: Hmmm. I don't know. I don't really have a bullet list.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Recently, Cornbread and I have been talking about enjoying our journey - rather than focusing so hard on what we hope the end result of the journey is. I feel like this is something I need to work on in so many areas of life. Of course there is the seemingly constant struggle of our financial/Edward Jones journey - I feel like that is a continual process of one step forward and two steps back. Once we get a few months of stepping forward, we're reminded that - HEY! HEEYYY! This isn't so easy. You're not going to get off that easy - you don't get 5 years of struggle and then all of the sudden the struggle is done. You may get a reprieve here and there, but its not over, honey. Lest you think you might be past the hard part, here's a little reminder for you.
That journey has gotten exponentially easier... all three of my girls are pretty independent. I don't feel so smothered all the time anymore. Life IS easier in that regard. But right now-summer- is always difficult because of the lack of routine and the need to cart around 3 extra people in order to do anything and the boredom that they feel at times. So my continual struggle THIS summer is to enjoy each day instead of counting down the days until this thing or that thing. Luckily for me, we have quite a few plans for the summer so its broken up really well into 2 or 3 week segments until the next big family even occurs. That DOES makes summer-as-a-whole easier, but I still need to stop and enjoy the journey of getting there.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Friends of ours are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. They've gotten her picture, they're loving her from here. I try, but I can't imagine how it must feel to know that your child is across the world and you want to hold her and love her, but because of this thing or that thing in their government, you have to wait. And wait. And wait. They will be traveling to Ethiopia to go through the court process - they will meet her and hold her and love her and then they will leave her and go back a few months later to pick her up. Can you imagine?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday morning reminded me why I do not drink a lot or very often. Ugh. A couple of hours of sleep, a headache, dehydration. Ugh. It was rough, but when the kids are involved you don't get the option of giving in and laying in bed for the morning. Its fine - I wouldn't want to waste my day like that anyway. We got up, got everyone ready and went to breakfast.
Monday, June 21, 2010
The girls were so tired on Saturday morning. I had to wake them up to get breakfast (it ended at 9) and each of them begged to go back to bed instead. Being as mean as I am, I insisted we go to breakfast, so we went. Peek was showing that my dad's genetics have cleanly passed down to her as she commented over and over that it was "all you can eat" and had NINE pancakes and TWO little boxes of cereal. This child has the cutest little body and she can put food away like no one expects - I've had other parents tell me in amazed voices: "She ate SIX pieces of pizza" or "She had FIVE cupcakes". So she was very excited to go up by herself and get more and more and more. Sometimes I think the freedom is more exciting than the food.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I'm sitting here at the end of Day 2 and even though there have been times when I've wanted to literally throttle one or two of my girls, on the whole this has been a very, very enjoyable mini vacation for our family. I enjoy going on vacation with the family, but it adds a layer of stress when there are so many other people that we want to spend time with and haven't seen in a while. The girls have been awesome and Peek and Skipper are old enough to go off on their own in the waterpark and the three of them together are old enough to be in the room by themselves if we're down the hall.