Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

Connection is the name of the Game

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week at work, but I did take Friday off to hang with my kids even though they’re too cool to hang with their mom right now. They’re teenagers after all. 😉

Children go to school

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I’m worried about how this pandemic is affecting them. Especially since they haven’t been able to get together with their friends like they used to. So, I’ve made a concerted effort to get them away from their computers. I appreciate the fact they still listen to me. When I tell them to go outside and get some fresh air, they usually do it. They grumble at first, but they usually go.

I’ve talked to them about finding other interests besides their games, but my youngest pointed out that there’s nothing else to do, and unfortunately, he’s right.

So, tonight he was shooting baskets and I went out and challenged him to a game of horse, but he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to play one on one. Now, I haven’t played basketball in years and it shows. My youngest ran circles around me.

Four People Playing Basketball

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But the thing is, we had fun. We were laughing and giving each other grief. It was good to connect with him on a different level than parent and child. He didn’t trash-talk me too bad. He’s kind and has a good heart. I hope the world doesn’t hurt him. He’s a good kid.

Well, our laughter drew out my oldest and the three of us ended up playing horse together. They ganged up on me, of course, I knew that would happen. But it was nice to see their camaraderie. My youngest ended up winning the game, and he did gloat a little bit, but what I liked was how he was careful of his older brother’s feelings. He said, “It just goes to show that we’re both better than Mom.”

Baseball glove

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He didn’t rub it in to his brother that he beat him, too. That made me feel so good because when my hubby and I are long gone, all they’ll have is each other, and one of my goals with my kids is that they have a good relationship. I know life is hard and things aren’t always going to be easy, but I hope they know they can count on each other when things get tough. That’s what family is all about.

Children sitting together with parents and laughing

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It’s so important to connect with your kids. I believe by participating in something they’re interested in you strengthen your bond. One good thing about this pandemic is that it has brought us all a little closer. We appreciate each other more and I think my boys feel the same way.

Has the pandemic brought you closer to the ones you love? How has it strengthened your relationships? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, quarantine

Quaratine Update

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope quarantine is going well for you. I’ve been working from home, so my days haven’t changed too much. I have finished my story and now I’m editing it. That’s the hard part. I don’t want to get rid of some of the words because I love them, but I must because well you know. 😊

We must kill our little darlings, right? 😉

 

Enough about that, though. Today, I’d like to tell you about what I’ve been watching during quarantine. The first is an amazing series hubby and I have been binge-watching. It’s titled “Killing Eve” and it’s about an assassin and the task force who’s trying to catch her. For a dark story there’s lots of humor and you can’t help but like the assassin even though she’s a psychopath. Let’s face it, she’s not all bad.

 

Then there’s Eve, the woman trying to track her down. Eve is the investigator on the case who’s trying to track down the person behind all the seemingly random deaths. During the chase, we see Eve’s dark side emerging and the attraction between Villanelle (the assassin) and Eve is undeniable. You can’t stop watching. Will Eve catch Villanelle? Will Eve’s dark side take over before she catches Villanelle? Will she cross over to Villanelle’s side? These are all questions that need answers, so you have to keep watching.

The next series is near and dear to my heart because it was written by the same writers who wrote “Breaking Bad.” I loved that show. I loved watching the transformation of Walter White. This next series, I’ve spoken of before and it’s called “Better Call Saul.” There’s a new season upon us and it’s a great show.

 

It’s the story of Saul Goodman the lawyer from “Breaking Bad.” He’s trying to be a good guy, but in the end, he ends up being kind of a shyster lawyer. He’s always on the fringe of the law. It’s a great story because it gives you the backstory to some of the main characters in “Breaking Bad” like Gus and Mike. It’s fun to see Jimmy or “Saul” get into scrapes and what he does to get out of them. If you need some entertainment during quarantine and you like great writing and fleshed out characters, then “Better Call Saul” is for you.

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I hope you’re doing well during quarantine. If you can recommend a series to binge watch, please do. I’m always looking for a new series to keep me occupied during quarantine. It keeps me from doing housework! 😉

 

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal

Focus on Your Dreams

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a snow storm this weekend. It started Friday night and hasn’t really stopped snowing or raining since then. We’ve gotten close to nine inches of snow. Perfect time to write and I’ve been doing just that. I’ve finally arrived at the big scene where everything comes together. Finally!!

Photo on VisualHunt.com

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about the meaning of success. Success is different for everyone. Everyone has a different definition based on the goals they have set for themselves. Achieving our goals is an element to achieving our happiness. The problem we run into is when we compare ourselves to others who are on a different path.

Sometimes we get caught up in chasing the competition instead of our dreams. We try to copy or compete with a person instead of focusing on our journey and the steps we need to achieve our goals. I’ve seen this many times and it results in unhappiness. Why? Because we’re trying to be like someone else and who can be better than the original? Right?

So, we need to remember everyone’s journey is different, and not to fall into the trap of comparing our journey to someone else’s. We need to focus on the milestones in our own journey and celebrate them. We need to celebrate each one because they are important. We also need to teach this to our children. It will help them build their resilience when they run into the pot holes of life.

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By focusing on our own journey, we allow others to focus on theirs, and when they achieve their goals, we can be happy for them. This leads to stronger relationships and more happiness, just because we chased our own dreams.

Is it selfish to chase our own dreams? No. We all have a purpose in life and it’s our responsibility to pursue it. We all are responsible for our own happiness and when we take that responsibility seriously, we let our loved ones be responsible for theirs, and we’re all happy chasing our dreams.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

I know what you’re thinking. How simplistic. But it really is that simple, isn’t it?

What are your dreams and aspirations? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

Parenting: It’s not for Sissies

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know I did. Although, it seems like the holidays fly by faster and faster every year. I love the holidays and it’s always great to get together with the family and catch up.

I was also productive with my writing. I got a couple of scenes done and I’m getting closer to the end. I’m hoping I’ll get this done by the end of the year or maybe even January. Cross your fingers for me. It’s getting close. 😊

 

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the sadness of watching your children grow and become more independent. I know they’re supposed to grow up and move away, but I get so much joy just hanging out with them and hearing their stories that it makes me sad to think about the time when they won’t be there. I’m sure every parent experiences this, but for some reason, I’m becoming more acutely aware of it every year that passes.

Photo credit: Ted’s photos – For Me & You on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I enjoyed all of it, watching them grow and watching their personalities develop. That’s why when I hear statistics saying that the suicide rate for teens has doubled. It scares me. I don’t want to lose my kids to something like that. So, I talk to them about depression and anxiety. I tell them that anxiety runs in our family and if they’re feeling anxious, they can talk to me or the hubster. But I worry. I worry that talking about it isn’t enough.

So, I try to tell them about coping mechanisms they can use to relieve their anxiety or stress. I tell them how exercise is a great way to calm your mind. I’m hoping to get them into the habit of exercising at least three or four times a week. Right now, they have gym class so it’s not a big deal, but later in life exercising a couple times a week will help them manage their stress.

Photo on Visual hunt

I’m trying to prepare them for every situation that comes down the pike, but this is an impossible task. Some things we can only learn through experiencing them first hand.  I hope I’ve given them enough so they’re resilient when adversity strikes. I hope. I hope. I hope.

I know every parent has these thoughts and feelings and I’ll get through them, but I miss those years when they were younger, and they came to me with all their problems. Those years went by so fast. In the blink of an eye they became teenagers with smart mouths and sassy attitudes. I love to hear them stand up for themselves though. It does my heart good to know they’re not afraid to voice their opinion even if they’re different from mine.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

Parenting is a tough gig. No one prepares you for when the kids start to leave the nest. Sigh. They’re not there yet, but it’s coming, and I can tell when it happens, I’m going to be a mess. Thanks for reading my rambling post today. Do you have any ideas on how to handle your kids’ growing independence? If you’ve got some advice, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal, Teen

The Book Every Parent Needs to Read

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy weekend of writing, family time, running, and cleaning. Yes. I was able to get all of that in in one weekend. LOL! Plus, a date night with my hubby! 😉

I also picked up a book recommended to me by one of my friends, so I thought I’d pass the information on to you. It’s called “The Stressed Years of their Lives.” It’s about helping kids handle the college years and beyond.

 

From two leading child and adolescent mental health experts comes a guide for the parents of every college and college-bound student who want to know what’s normal mental health and behavior, what’s not, and how to intervene before it’s too late.

“The title says it all…Chock full of practical tools, resources and the wisdom that comes with years of experience, The Stressed Years of their Lives is destined to become a well-thumbed handbook to help families cope with this modern age of anxiety.”
― Brigid Schulte, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author of Overwhelmed and director of the Better Life Lab at New America

All parenting is in preparation for letting go. However, the paradox of parenting is that the more we learn about late adolescent development and risk, the more frightened we become for our children, and the more we want to stay involved in their lives. This becomes particularly necessary, and also particularly challenging, in mid- to late adolescence, the years just before and after students head off to college. These years coincide with the emergence of many mood disorders and other mental health issues.

When family psychologist Dr. B. Janet Hibbs’s own son came home from college mired in a dangerous depressive spiral, she turned to Dr. Anthony Rostain. Dr. Rostain has a secret superpower: he understands the arcane rules governing privacy and parental involvement in students’ mental health care on college campuses, the same rules that sometimes hold parents back from getting good care for their kids. Now, these two doctors have combined their expertise to corral the crucial emotional skills and lessons that every parent and student can learn for a successful launch from home to college.

 

 

In our society, suicide is the second largest killer of our young people today. Let that sink in. It’s the second largest, know what the first is? Accidental overdoses and alcohol poisoning. I don’t know about you, but these statistics scare me. What is happening to our young people today?

I compare my teen years to my kids’ teen years, and it is a totally different era. I know it was a long time ago, but still. 😉

I was so much more active than kids are these days. We used to play kick the can and capture the flag with our neighborhood friends until dark. Summer was a magical time. I was outside all day. Kids these days are not. We have become the indoor generation. I try to get them outside for at least an hour a day, but when the weather’s bad or it’s too hot. It isn’t always possible. Parents are caught between providing for their kids, meaning both work or making sacrifices, where one spouse stays home, and maybe having their kids apply for student loans to get through school. Then the kids are strapped with thirty thousand dollars or more in debt when they get out of school. No wonder our kids are stressed.

 

Photo credit: Mitchio on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

 

According to the authors of the book, we are in a constant state of striving. Striving toward our goals, striving to be the best we can be, and striving to live our best life. So, our kids lack the skills of self-care and behavior management that they so desperately need, and they are woefully unprepared for college life and beyond. I agree with this statement. I remember the high anxiety I felt during those early years. Fear of making a mistake and becoming a failure before the age of twenty-five.

As parents, we need to teach our kids reasonable expectations. They aren’t going to have it all by the time they’re twenty-five. They just aren’t. It might take them a few years to find that perfect job or the right spouse, and we have to teach them there are going to be bumps in the road. For example, room-mate issues, nasty break-ups, and sometimes getting fired from a job. We have to teach them to manage dealing with a bad boss, because sometimes you have to put up with that because you need the job. They must learn the world is an imperfect place and life just isn’t fair. We must teach them strength of character, grit, and resilience. They must learn how to overcome obstacles, deal with rejection, and learn to keep moving forward.

 

Photo credit: Sangudo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

This book is going to give me insight on how to do just that. I’m hoping it’ll give me tools to help my kids manage their fears and anxiety, so they don’t become paralyzed when dealing with some of the issues I’ve mentioned. And lastly, and most importantly, it will help me convey to them that when life does become too much to bear, like a nasty break-up or getting fired from a job, that they can reach out for help. Help from parents, grandparents, and even professional counselors. So, I will keep you all posted on the golden nuggets I get from this book and I urge you to pick up a copy yourself.

Do you have any tried and true methods of helping your teens deal with anxiety and depression? What are they? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Where is Summer?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hectic week. Over the weekend, we thought our youngest had broken his foot. Even the doctor said he had a fracture. So, when hubby came home from taking him for his check-up, I found out that he didn’t have a break at all but a bad sprain. Yay! But boy that first diagnosis caused some stress!

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on VisualhuntCC BY-NC

But enough about that. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things with my writing and I’ve accomplished quite a bit this week.  I’m almost finished with an important scene and hopefully, I’ll be able to spend a lot of time this weekend on my story.

But I don’t want to talk about that either. There is one thing I want to know, and that is where is my SUMMER??

The whole month of June all we’ve had is RAIN, and as much as I like a good thunderstorm, these bleak and dreary days are sapping me of my motivation to get outside and run. Well, get outside to do anything at this point. We’ve had sixty-degree weather and rain this whole month. Ugh.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

I want hot weather and sticky humidity. I want it so hot that we complain about the heat and we forget how horrible our last winter was.  I want to head up to the lake and watch the sun rise and set on those steamy days when it doesn’t get dark until ten o’clock at night.  I can’t wait to stare up at the night sky and see all the stars. It’s amazing when you gaze at them while standing on the end of the dock, with the sound of the waves lapping the shore and you don’t know where the sky ends, and the water begins. There’s such a feeling of vastness. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Photo credit: PeterThoeny on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

How about you? Are you wondering where your summer is?

According to weather gurus there’s been a shift in the Gulf Stream, at least that’s what the experts are saying in the UK, so there’s nothing we can do about it at this point except hope and pray there’s another shift that sends hot weather our way.

The reason this is so upsetting is because I have plans for this summer. I’m going to sit in the sun and tackle some of the books on my TBR pile. Then when I get done with that, I’m going to write like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve got three books floating around in my brain and it’s time to get them out.

Photo on Visualhunt

I also want to hike more this summer because it’s good for me and I enjoy it immensely.    We’re planning on going up north and spending a week on the shores of Torch Lake, but no big trips until next year.  So where is my hot, sticky weather?

How about you? Do you have plans for this summer? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Lessons from Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and I apologize. I’ve been busy with work and kid events. My youngest has decided to play tennis, and it has been great fun watching him. He is improving every time he plays and that has motivated him to keep practicing.

Photo on Visualhunt

I’m so thankful to the coach who asked him to play. His father and I had been trying to motivate him to try a sport because he’s very agile, but whatever we suggested he just wasn’t interested in that activity. Sometimes it takes another adult that you respect that makes all the difference, and for my youngest it was his math teacher who was also the tennis coach.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So, I am very thankful for his teacher who recognized a spark in my youngest and motivated him.

 

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about something I’ve noticed in nature, and that is, every species seems to work together to take care of each other except for humans.

For example, there is evidence that trees in a forest can communicate with each other through their root system. When there is one tree that is doing poorly, the other trees send nutrients and healing antibodies (for lack of a better word) to the one that is sick.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another example is elephants. Did you know the females stay with their mother their whole lives and help raise the babies? When one of the weaker elephants falls and needs to rest, the other females circle it with their tails facing their fallen friend and ward off predators until their friend can continue her journey.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Did you know the only species that kills within their species is humans? Sure, animals fight for positions within their herd, pride, or tribe, but they never reach the point where one of them dies. Why is that, I wonder?

Maybe we’ve gotten too far away from nature and need to go back. I wonder what kind of world we would have if we all tried to cooperate and look out for each other? Instead of competition we’d have cooperation. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I know, it’s an unrealistic thought. There’s always going to be competition. It’s the way humans are wired, but if we can, we should take a lesson from nature and do our best to look out for each other. 😊

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!