7 Things Every Parent Should Know

7 Things Every Parent Should Know - www.stage-presents.com

  1.  Every child is different.  I think sometimes we base our parenting styles and decisions on how things worked the first time around, or how our parent’s raised us. I have three children and they couldn’t be more different.  Growing up, I remember thinking that my sister had it so much easier, because I had already gone through all of the hard things.  And, that my mom favored her over me, which.. well I am still not sure that isn’t entirely true, lol.  But… now that I have children of my own I know that what worked for one of them wouldn’t necessarily work for the other.
  2. There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  Even though it is what we all aspire to be, we would save ourselves so much time right out of the gate, by acknowledging from the very beginning that we are human, and therefore flawed. There will be times when you have to say you are sorry.  You will not always be right.  You are charged with shaping these little lives that have been entrusted to you, but try as you might you can’t mold them into your own image.  (Trust me I’ve tried, lol)
  3. Quality and Quantity.  I know you probably thought I was going to say  Quality over Quantity.  But Nope.  Here’s is my reasoning you are probably never going to be able to please everyone see #1.  And, even though you will most likely try to find things that everyone is interested in and or try to give them as much one on one time, as possible.  That simply may not be the way that they remember it.  So do you best to spend as much time as you can, whenever you can.  And hope that it is enough.
  4. Routine. Routine is the key to any well oiled machine.  Bed times, chores, expectations, etc.  As I mentioned before, I thought my parents were too strict.  But, the thing about it is that looking back I see now that knowing what was expected of me and how I was to conduct myself played a large part in shaping me.  I can see now that a lot of the heartache that my friends went through I was lucky enough not to have experienced, because I simply didn’t live that life.
  5. Enjoy it.  I will be the first one to tell you that parenthood is NO WALK IN THE PARK.   You love your babies and you can’t imagine life without them.  But, sometimes you do.  You imagine what it would be like to pull your hands through you hair, throw on some bright red lipstick and skinny jeans and just jump in the car heading off to God knows where and for God knows what reason.  But, you know those days are over.  So once you are back from your pity party.  Make sure to enjoy these days.  One day you will miss it.  Since my oldest is 20 and my youngest is 6, I have a unique vantage point.  I can see the other side while still in the trenches.
  6. Document your days.  This is a controversial one for some people, because if you are snapping pictures then maybe you aren’t present.  I guess I have mixed feelings about this, because I see things from behind a lens that I am not sure I would notice otherwise.  Or maybe it’s that the things that I see make me want to pull out my camera to preserve the memory.  Like taking my daughters to the beach last year, and watching their faces so go from fear, to fun, to frolicking.  It was amazing to sit there and watch them grow before my eyes.  To me, it’s equally amazing to look back on those pictures and remember that day with joy in my heart.  I think I have always taken a lot of pictures, but when my son was little there were no iPhone’s and such, so there are way less pics of him than of the girls, and it is one of my biggest regrets.
  7. We Time and Me Time are a necessity.  Before they came, it was just the two of you.  And, before you became the two of you, it was just you.  Every relationship needs cultivation, even the ones we have with ourselves.  And, I believe this with all my heart.  If you are depleted at some time in some way, it is going to come out.  I am lucky enough to have my parents close by and when I need a break they are more than happy to afford us that luxury.  But, even if you don’t have a support system close by, little things mean a lot.  Can you both get off work for a couple of hours while the kids are at school, for lunch or for a movie or both?  Can you schedule a babysitter, and make a night of it?  Or maybe you just need the peace and quiet, or solitude of a massage, or mani-pedi appointment.  Figure out what feeds your spirit and your soul and do that, make time for that.

“TODAY’S LITTLE MOMENTS,  BECOME TOMORROW’S PRECIOUS MEMORIES.”

Spring Break – Perfect in It’s Imperfection

our “perfect yet not so perfect” spring break

Recap of Spring Break 2016 - www.stage-presents.com

Spring Break is over and things are getting back to normal around here.  I have been out of pocket for a few days, that normally happens over extended breaks.  The blog and the business run around my family life and not visa versa.  Last week was Spring Break, so I spent as much time as I could hanging out with my little ones.   I am always trying to teach my kids lessons that I am still learning and yes,  I know just how hypocritical that sounds. But, I guess it’s in hopes that by teaching the lesson, they  will avoid some of the same mistakes that I have made in my own life.  One of the things that I am always telling them is that they have to roll with the punches or that certain things are beyond their control and they are.  But, it is a lesson that I struggled hard with and for a  long time.  My mom always tells me that God will keep teaching me to be patient and understanding until I am both.  Spring Break was an exercise in just that.

Our trip to Florida for Spring Break was great!! But, I am not sure that you would have agreed taking it at face value.  I have been back and forth to Florida three times in less than 30 days.  Now, my sister lives there, but that has never happened before.  As I am sure you remember me saying in my last post, we lost my sweet niece on the 15th.  So, I went down when she was sick and was there when she passed.  I went back for the service and then I returned for Spring Break and to physically lay eyes on my sister.  Saying this to say there was a melancholy under tone to our trip, but we were determined to make some good memories, in spite of it.

The first night there we had date night.  We left all the kids with the nanny, and we went out and enjoyed some grown up time.  It was great to spend some time with my sister and her hubby that was just light and fun.  The next day we took the kids  to the Central Orlando zoo.  Now, if you know me at all, you know that outdoors and heat are not my thing, but the kids had a ball.  The highlight of the trip was to be our trip to the beach.  After all nothing says Spring Break like the beach.  On the day of the beach trip it was COLD… Yes, I said cold in Florida.  But, we went anyway thinking that maybe the weather would warm up.  When we arrived at the beach, the tides were so high that they actually closed the entrance to drive on to the beach.  After circling around we we were able to get in, and when we got on the beach and out of the car the wind was so fierce and sand was blowing everywhere.  So we had to vacate.  Talk about three disappointed girls, yes I said 3 because I included myself.  So pouts and all we packed back into the truck and headed to go get something to eat.  The plan was that we would eat and stay in the area for a while in hopes for a change in the weather.  But, the change never came so we ventured back to my sisters house.  On the way back, we decided that since they were already dressed to get wet we would take them to the “Splash Park” not too far from where we were.  By that time it was getting warmer, and though a little apprehensive at first, with each splash the beach became a distant memory and we once again in their good graces.

Since we paid for admission to the beach, hubby and I managed to escape back there later in the day, the kids stayed with my sissy and we got to have some one on one time.  I will consider that her anniversary gift to me this year.  Yesterday made 7 years since I married this man.  And, still just a couple of hours alone with him ALWAYS refresh my soul.  Even when I don’t feel like I need it.  So Shout out to him today + this was the first year that he was able to take off the entire week to spend with us.  Another Spring Break survived and enjoyed and now back to our regularly scheduled programming. (P.S. – I know there were no pictures of me.  But, you know how that it is, I am always the one behind the camera. #mommylife)

Time Spent with Family Quote - stage-presents.com

What did you do to celebrate Spring Break this year?  Feel like sharing, we would love to hear your story in the comment section below.

Check out Our Previous Spring Break Shenanigans Here.

Fun Friday – All About V-Day!!

Free Valentine's Day Pencil Tag #valentinesday #valentinesdaygift #valentinesdayideas

Wow, did this week fly by for anyone else but me?  Today’s Fun Friday is ALL about Valentine’s Day!!

Do you miss those days when it was just the two of you?  But, that just isn’t the case anymore, now that you have little people running around, who seem to be sapping your romantic flow.  But, you want your guy to know that he is still #1 in your book.  No matter how tired you may be.

Most men are simple.  And, most men don’t really give a hoot about Valentine’s Day.  Even still, you care, so make sure he knows that you do too.  Keep in Mind, that this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday (what a treat). So, you have the whole day to make your love feel special.

Here are a few Quick & Hopefully Not Too Dirty Ideas:

Start with Breakfast — In Bed or Out (your choice)

It doesn’t have to be anything GRAND, you know your guy. Add a Sweet Card, a Love Note, or even an IOU (for later fun).  Running low on time in the morning, consider prepping your guys breakfast the night before.

Breakfast in Bed for Valentine's Day

Babysitter or Not –

Can you get a baby sitter to stay with the kids so you can have some alone time? What works better for your family?  Are you going to hit the movies with your honey during the day, or are you going to make it an official date night and don the heels and flirty dress??  Whatever you do, make sure the plan is put in place long before that weekend.  Remember reservations are nearly impossible to get around this time of year.

Of course, if a Baby Sitter is not an option for you, then you have to either plan V-Day around the kiddies, or include them.  When my oldest daughter was much younger, we both dressed up one year and had dinner with my hubby.  It was super sweet and we all enjoyed sitting at the table together for dinner. She enjoyed being included and making a Valentine for her Daddy.

Here are some fun ideas for sharing V-day with your little ones, that I found around the web.

12 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Kids

4 Sweet Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Kids

To Dine –

If you are lucky, maybe you are one the of the couples who manage to get time alone, reserve your table far enough in advance, and are dressed to impressed for a Night On the Town.  Leave everything else on the back shelf for the night.  You have pulled off a major coup!!  Make tonight only about YOUR LOVE.  No talk of work, daycare, or diapers.  Relax and Enjoy Each Other.

Every Day is Special with the One You Love, but Valentine’s day should be even SWEETER.

V-Day Stories –

Sad Valentine's Day Story

Funny Valentine's Day Story And, if you got all the way through this post, Good For You!!

So as promised, here is your Free Valentine’s Day Pencil Tag (PDF File) with instructions.  Click to Download and Enjoy!!

Valentine's Day Pencil Tags

How to Capture Memories with a Yearly Family Photo Book?

Capturing Memories with Yearly Photo Books

Four years ago, I decided to start putting together a Yearly Family Photo Book.  The years were going by way too fast, and I wanted to document it . The thing about digital photography in my opinion, is that the memories get stuck either on your SD Card, Your Phone or Your Camera.  And, then the ones that get uploaded only seem to make it as far as Facebook.(Well at least in my case.)

The first two years, I struggled through a year’s worth of pictures, trying to decide which ones were worthy of a spot in our Photo Book.  The process was tedious, and frankly more than annoying. So last year, I decided to try to stream line my process.  Hopefully, it will save you some aggravation should you decide to do this for your family.

1.  Cataloging – At the end of every month, I download all the pictures that are on my various devices.  Then, I take my time and go through them and weed out the duds. Then I save them on my Desktop to a specific folder named for that month.  As I save them, I try to give them names that would inspire captions for the book.

2.  Uploading – After I have completed that, I upload them to Shutterfly and then make sure they go into the My Projects Folder, so that I can come back to it the following month.

3.  The Finished Project – At the end of the year, or realistically at the beginning of the following year.  I give my Saved Project the once over.  For the most part, you should not have much to do at this time.  But, most likely you will want to add some pics of the Holiday Season to complete your project.

Capture Life

Photo Credit: Colorado Senior Life

Note:  I use Shutterfly for pretty much everything photo related, but there are several options out there.  I love Shutterfly specifically, because several times during the year they offer a coupon for a free photo book, and in that case you will most likely only have to pay for shipping.  Unless you are like me and you have so many pics that you go over the allotted page requirement.  But, even still its worth it!!

Do you have pictures that you lost or wished that you had printed?

Shutterfly Evergreen 300x600 - Capture Memories with a Shutterfly Photo Book

Our Delayed 2014 Christmas Home Tour — Welcome In…

This Year’s Christmas Tour was delayed, obviously.  But, things got so busy leading up to Christmas that there honestly wasn’t enough time to post.  This years Tour will be more pictures than words.  Welcome to our Little Piece of Heaven — Enjoy!!

Our 2014 Christmas Home Tour

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Front Foyer

Kid's Tree - Decorated with Kid's Handmade Ornaments

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Holiday Mantel

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Joy In The Kitchen Window

2014 Christmas Tour - Formal Living Room - Decorator Tree & Front Door Area

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Decorator Tree + Stage Presents Exclusive Holiday Deer Pillow

Coffee In Front of The Tree - 2014 Christmas Home Tour

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Putting Gifts Out Under The Tree

Decorating brings me much joy, but decorating for the holidays brings me enjoyment on another level.  This time of year is still wrapped in magic for me, even now.  Watching the excitement on my children’s faces as the whole house comes together, and knowing that we are creating life long memories leaves me totally blissful!!  I believe that my love for decorating and this time of year, was passed on to me by my amazing mother and I only hope that it is something my kids will do with joy, for their own families years from now.  Our whole family, hubby included gets wrapped up in the excitement, of the Christmas Elf, Santa, and the real reason for the season.  I hope that you all had an amazing Holiday and wish you Only the Best for the Year to Come.

— Sheree

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Halloween Round Up 2014

Ready for some Ghoulish Awesomeness!! 18 Days Until Halloween!!

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There are so many amazing Free Printables and Party Favors this time of year. Here are some of the ones that I have found (that are actually free).  I hate those not really FREE LINKS.  These Links will take you directly to the source.

Countdown Calendar with Candy Corn Pieces courtesy of Yellow Bliss Road Halloween Countdown free printable title

Halloween Lollipop Holders/Gift Tags and Gift Wrap courtesy of Living Locurto

Free-Halloween-Printables

3-D Halloween Bat Banner courtesy of the celebration shoppe

Free-Halloween-Black-Orange-Bat-Banner-Kim-Byers

 

Trick or Treat Party Boxes courtesy of Bird’s Party Blog

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I saved the best for LAST!! I admit that this is the first year that I have heard of the Boo’d Phenomenon.  But, I thought it was truly adorable.  Here’s how it works.  You and your kids pack up a bucket, or bag with lots of Great Halloween Treats, and Leave it on your Neighbor’s Door Step, unbeknownst to them. Now, originally I think you were supposed to ring the door bell and run, but that’s not such a popular thing to do these days.  So, I say, use your discretion, lol.  Along with the treats, you provide them with some quick directions and an explanation and it’s up to them to keep the FUN going!!

Boo’d Banner and Boo’d Game courtesy of Classy Clutter

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My oldest (18), was a really big fan of Halloween, probably a lot longer than he should have been, lol.  The little ones, not soo much, they still find it scary, but I thought this is something cute, I could do with them.  At least, it would make Halloween a little less grueling.  But, I am not sure how hubby is going to feel about that.  The bottom line is that all these Holidays are just about making fun memories and spending time with your family.  So get out there and enjoy them, while they still let you!! (smile)

Mommy Taxi Cab Confessions — The Summer Edition!!

Blogging over this summer is proving to be quite the challenge.  I feel like I need to get a voice to text app and start recording my thoughts in the car since that’s where I’m spending most of my days lately.

My 9 year old started her extended school year this past Monday.  And, as always, at least in our house, with change comes anxiety.  We had been talking about this since before the regular school year ended.  But, as the days grew closer, I could sense the “stomach clench”, maybe because mine was doing the same thing.  The days before were filled with lots of questions, which I tried my best to answer with the information I had.  The morning of we got to the school early, and as we sat outside and waited, I could see the tears welling up in her eyes.  New School (not her home school), New Teachers and New Kids. Ugh!!  And out came her teacher Ms. D.  She was a ball of sunshine and energy. And, even though she was scared, she took her hand and walked into the school.

Less than an hour later, I got a pic of a Happy Little Girl and I breathed a Sigh of Relief.  The next 4 days went perfectly and she told me she made a friend.  And, just like that, all is right with the world.  Whew!! These Growing Pains are as hard on the Parents as the Kids!!

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I have also spent a great deal of time driving my 17 year old around trying to help him find a job.  And, finally he scored a gig at Chick-fil-A. – Insert 1 Happy Momma!!

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The only person relaxing this summer is my little one.  She rides with me when she feels like it, and hangs out with Dad when she’s tired of the running around…

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So there you have it!!

I walk the line…

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As a Mom and even as a wife, there is definitely a line of demarcation in the sand.   You want your family to be independent, but you also want them to need you. You want your children to be able to enjoy their childhoods as much as is possible, but you also want to teach them a sense of responsibility and accountability.  What falls into the arena of things that they should be responsible for and what are things that I should be responsible for?  And, like most things that come with raising kids, there is no manual.  We are left mostly to our own devices.

With my oldest, I held his hand way longer than I should have probably.  But, I blame that on the fact that he was an only child for almost 9 years.  Rounding the second trimester of my second pregnancy, I realized that I couldn’t possible take on the responsibility of being a new Mom, and continue to hold his hand too.  So, we went through a crash course on things he could do himself.  To my surprise, and probably my relief, he already could do most of the things that I had been doing for him, but wasn’t, simply because I was doing it.

Fast forward 9 more years, and that little baby I was pregnant with is now 9 years old.  And, I find myself in a similar predicament.  Except there are other existing variables.  1.  I have a 4 year old, who I think was born independent. 2. My oldest daughter has an significant speech delay   Because she had such a challenging road ahead of her, I again I did most of the things that she should have started doing earlier.

But, now that we are coming up on the other side of her circumstances, I find that we are constantly having to remind her to do things, she should know how to do already.  I even think she has gone backwards a bit, because Mom always swooped in and saved the day.

I know.. I know.. Bad Mommy. Hubby and I have had to stay on both girls to make sure that they keep their rooms cleaned, do their chores, don’t leave their things all over the house, etc., etc.

All of this had me thinking about exactly what kind of children I want to raise. So, I started doing some research talking to other Mothers that I admire, Mothers whose children have succeeded in life and excelled, and even Mothers who gave their all and had their kids go left instead of right.  I was shocked at what I learned, or at the very least humbled.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will share those findings, books, printables, and conversations that I have had. Hope you all will let me know what you think of my findings, what wisdom you want to impart to your own kids, and what worked for you, and even what didn’t.

Creating S.M.A.R.T Monthly Goals for Yourself and Your Family!!

WorkPersonalLife Our S.M.A.R.T – Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Time Bound

Goals for January 2014

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Personal Goals:

Ride my Exercise Bike 3 times per week.

Lower my Carb Intake

Take My Daily Probiotics

Start my day off with Daily Wisdom for Women – 2014 Devotional Collection

Finish Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody

Reread “Their Eyes Were Watching God” – by Zora Neale Hurston

Family Parenting Goals:

Finish Reading Amelia Bedelia Storybook Treasury with the Girls

Help Morgan(3) to Write her Whole Name

 

Teach Jai(9) to Make a Grill Cheese Sandwich (Fostering Indepence) and Work On Vocabulary Words and Start Working On Science Project

Complete Valentine’s Day Cards — To Avoid the Mad Rush in February!!

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Business Goals:

Blog @ least twice a week

Write/Research Daily

Decide on Items (First Installment) for On-line Store

I also, created Relationship Goals (which I will keep to myself, but, it helps to carve out time for you and your honey).  We try to do at the very least two date days a month, even if it just means that we get a babysitter and watch a movie.  ALONE.

Don’t forget Valentine’s Day is coming up!! So, even if you aren’t going to do anything extravagant, do something thoughtful.  I am a big fan of Photo Books.  I do one each year for my family.  I have also done DVD Montages through out the course of our relationship. It’s great to look back at all the amazing moments you have shared over time.

Some Other Categories that I Included on a More Personal List were Financial – Spiritual and Of Course Marriage Goals.  Only you know what areas you want to focus on… so Happy Picking and Planning!!

I feel like I kind of started some of these GOALS mid month(though not really).  So, I should get some extra time, lol.  But…. I will update my progress at the end of the month anyway.

Hope this gives you some ideas for your very own GOAL List.  If you would like to share what you come up with please feel free to do so in the comments.  I got the idea to do these Monthly Goals from Money Saving Mom.  Check out her 2013 Goals Here.  I hope to be as ambitious as her in my Goal Setting one day!!

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Did you read our Last Blog Past?? No Time like the Present – Catch Up Here

 

Road “Tripping” with Kids

Recently my family of four packed into our SUV for a 7 hour trip to Orlando. I have had several people ask me how I did it.  I’m not always sure how to answer that question. Since (a) They are too young to stay home alone (b) Gas vs. (4) Plane Tickets is not really a comparison (c) We do what we have to do.  That being said, if the destination is not somewhere I really really want to go (as was the case this trip), I would most likely opt to stay home.

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All that aside,  just like everything else I have a process.

1.  Plan Plan Plan – which for me translates to list list list.  Which brings me back to Springpad (A SP Fave App).  I have a running list of what each member of the family needs for trips, this way I don’t have to constantly recreate the wheel.  I pull up that list.  Add or Delete depending on the length of the trip, conditions, etc.  Then print each list and use it to pack and prepare.

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2. Matter – Things that Matter – when traveling with little ones you need stuff.  Toys, Books, Crayons, Markers, DVD’s, Pillows Blankets, Tablets, iPads, Mobile Hot Spots, etc etc.   Even if you pack what you think is an arsenal, at some point be aware that the novelty of all these items new or old will wear off.  And, if you have children like mine you will have to deal with some bickering, whining and maybe even some tears.  Disclaimer: My little ones are 8 and 3.

3.  Bathroom Prep – I so love this subject, NOT!!  Let’s face it Public Bathrooms generally SUCK. Hubby and I have talked about creating an App just for this very reason.  But, since I have yet to find it, if its a route you have traveled before make note of the cleaner more pleasant bathroom stops.  And, then BE PREPARED.   I always travel with Lysol, Wet Wipes, Toilet Tissue, Paper Towels and Garbage Bags.  I wanna add gloves but, I don’t want you all to think I am OCD!!  Even if I am, a little.

4.  Snacks and Drinks – Last. but not least, because this is the most important part, sometimes the only way to get some silence is to put food in their mouths.  Think ahead, try to get the snacks that will create the least amount of mayhem and mess.  Use your own discretion,  I go for Individually packaged snacks, snacks lower in sugar, drinks lower in sugar, and smaller fluid oz, so as to avoid several bathroom stops.

It is by no means, the Road Trips of yesteryear with your girlfriends.  But, even through the tears, you are making memories just the same.