Posted in Holiday Posts

Thank You Veterans

 

 

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’d like to take a few minutes today and thank our veterans for their service. I am truly grateful for the freedom you have fought for and protected for us.

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Even though our country has issues, it’s still one of the best places to live. I’m grateful for my freedoms. I appreciate them every day as I watch my kids get on the school bus. I’m thankful for the dedication of their teachers and the guidance they provide when I’m not there.

I’m thankful for my kids. They are sweet, amazing, and smart. I love that they still come to me with their stories and pick on me in the ways only they can. I appreciate that I’m able to laugh and share with them even though they’re growing more independent.

 

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I appreciate my family. My mom who listens when things don’t go my way. I appreciate my friends who have stood by me through thick and thin. I don’t get to see them as often as I like because we lead busy lives, but I appreciate them nonetheless.

 

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I also appreciate the online friends I’ve met along the way.  The writers and bloggers who support me and lift my spirits with their posts and kind words. I wish I could meet many of you in person, but since we can’t, please be aware I appreciate your presence in my life.

Photo on Visualhunt

All this being said, none of it would be possible if it weren’t for the veterans who have protected our freedoms through the years. Some of them paying the ultimate price. So, again, thank you veterans for your service. One day of acknowledgement doesn’t seem like enough.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Stay at Home versus a Working Mom

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while. Life sure has been busy. 😊  Next week is back to school for my kiddos and I’m just as bummed about it as they are. Summer was way too short this year. At the end of July, we had a great vacation up north. I love that area and it was awesome to get away and relax, and I got a lot of vacation writing done. I love that!

Photo on VisualHunt

However, enough about that. Today, I’d like to reflect on the difference between being a stay at home mom and a working mom. Both are hard work and stressful, but I believe being a stay at home mom is harder. Why? There are many reasons.

Photo credit: Diamond Farah on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

I’ve found that since I’ve been back to work, I feel better about myself. Delving deeper, I realize I’m getting many more positive affirmations from my co-workers and my boss than I did when I was a stay at home mom, but it’s not only that. It’s nice to have co-workers to chat with. Being a stay at home mom is isolating and it’s rare to get any acknowledgement of the hard work you do. I loved being home with my kids, but there were times when it would’ve been nice to have another adult to talk to.

Another reason being a stay at home mom is harder is because you’re not bringing home a pay check. There’s the guilt of not helping provide for the family, but I feel I made the right choice even if it was sometimes a struggle. I have a great relationship with my kids, and I wanted them to learn the value of relationships and how they’re more important than money or possessions. I hope I accomplished that. That being said, I do enjoy bringing home a paycheck again. I’d forgotten what that little piece of independence felt like and boy is it sweet.

Photo on VisualHunt

Also, I get a break from my job. I get to go home after eight hours and hang with my family. A stay at home mom never gets a vacation. Even when she goes on vacation, she’s usually taking her family with her. She is on twenty-four/seven for at least the first five years of her child’s life.  Once they start school, she gets a little bit of a break and believe me she deserves it.

There are usually no positive affirmations either. No one says thanks Mom for cleaning the kitchen three times a day, or for picking up the toys in the living room three times a day. Stay at home moms tend to forget to take care of themselves. They put their needs last. So, it’s no wonder that sometimes they get a little depressed.

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I remember those years. I was exhausted the entire time, but oh the memories…it was definitely worth it.  So, when I look back would I do it all again, even though there were days of loneliness and major exhaustion? Absolutely.

I miss my kids every day when I’m at work. I want to hear about their day the moment they get home from school, but I also want to send them to college, so they don’t have debts to pay off when they’re done. A compromise must be made, and this is the time to do it. They’re enjoying their independence and pulling away from Mom. This is to be expected, however, I want them to stay my little boys just a little longer.

They still tell me things and when I’m late coming home, they wonder where I’m at and that’s nice, but I miss those baby hugs and the way my oldest used to play with my hair when I fed him his bottle or read him a story. I miss how my youngest was so rambunctious and quick to learn. I remember that moment when he started reading by himself and how we would sit and read an entire book (chapter book) in one sitting, because he wanted to impress me. I remember how proud he was of himself and how proud of him I was.

Photo credit: srsphoto on Visualhunt /CC BY-NC

I was there for all of it. I’m so excited to see the men they will become. They are such great kids. I know life is going to throw them some curve balls. I hope I’ve taught them to be resilient and strong during those times, and I hope I’ve given them enough good memories so when tough times come, they’ll remember those hardships are temporary and good times will be back once they weather the storm.

In conclusion, staying home is the harder of the two. So, if you are a stay at home mom, it’s important for you to take care of yourself and make sure your spouse understands your needs. He needs to give you some accolades and support when you’re having one of those days. Also, you need to take time away from the kids and get adult time. It’s essential to your mental health, but you probably already know that. 😉

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, do you agree with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, raising kids

Protecting your Kids from Predators with Friendly Faces

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of kids, work, and laundry. I’m waiting for summer to begin. We’ve had cold temperatures and rain through most of May after a horrendous winter, so I’m ready for some hot weather. How about you?

Photo credit: CMy23 on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

But enough about the weather, today I’d like to talk about a scary statistic. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s 2000 children a day.

 

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This is upsetting. The world is such a dangerous place right now. My hubby used to give me grief for being over-protective, but how can you not be? When pedophiles become troop leaders, teachers, and coaches, how can we be anything but over-protective?

For example, look at what happened at Seton-Keough High school in Baltimore Maryland. The headmaster of the school, Father Maskell, and his group of priests and police officers were abusing the students. Reports were ignored. This abuse has been documented in other Catholic churches as well. The church chose to move these pedophiles from one parish to the next, protecting the abusers. This abuse had been going on for years. We can’t even trust priests. (For more information about the abuse at Seton-Keough high school, check out the Netflix documentary “The Keepers.” It’s very well done.)

 

So, how do you protect your kids? In my research, I’ve found that these pedophiles are smart and manipulative. They prey on kids whose parents are stressed out and can’t be as involved as they’d like to be. The more involved you are with your kids the more likely the pedophile will leave your child alone. They prey on kids who come from one parent homes or there’s alcoholism or drug abuse in the family. They find the needy kids. The ones who need a role model in their lives.

 

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One sign that your child is being groomed by one of these sick individuals is they’re getting special attention from them. The abuser may be buying them gifts or taking them out to dinner. If this is happening, you need to step in and take control of the situation.  This person is being “nice” for a reason, and it’s not a good one.

It’s sad when you can’t even trust a person for being nice to your child, isn’t it? So, the best thing you can do is to be involved with your kids. The better relationship you have with them, the less likely a pedophile will be able to get their claws into them.

The same goes for abusers who kidnap kids to violate and then discard. These people watch and learn your child’s schedule and when they find them in a vulnerable position, they snatch them up. That’s why I’m with my kids at the bus stop. It’s usually dark because they have to be at school so early in the morning, but it’s also not well lit. I wouldn’t let my kids stand out there by themselves, waiting for the bus on such a lonely road.

Photo credit: Thiophene_Guy on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let’s change this horrible statistic by protecting our kids the best way we can. Thanks for reading my post, I kind of picked a frightening subject to write about. Sorry about that. I’ll write something a little lighter next week.

Do you have any ideas on what we can do to change this statistic? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, Personal, raising kids

Ten things you can do to Ease the Pain of your Children’s Growing Independence

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. This has been an incredibly busy week. The kids’ last day of school was Friday. My youngest has graduated fifth grade and he’s on his way to middle school. I’m proud of both my boys. They’re getting good grades, they have awesome friends, and they’re both well adjusted.

They’re just growing up too fast. Sob.

Today I thought I’d talk about what to do when you’re kids start to become independent. When they don’t need your hugs and kisses or your undivided attention like they used to. It can be a little disconcerting at first. You might be like me and try to cling to those sweet, innocent years and refuse to believe they’ve grown up, but they’ll start to squirm under this parental love and even start to fight against it. (Gasp!)

To avoid becoming one of those clingy moms and ease the pain of my boys’ abandonment…I mean their growing independence, I’ve put together a list to help snuff out that agony for us moms.

 

  1. First and foremost, I’ve increased my writing time. My writing has improved and I have some amazing stories coming down the pike.

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  1. I read. Now that both boys are out of diapers and don’t need as much supervision, I’ve been able to increase my reading time. This has been an awesome stress reliever for me and something I enjoy immensely.

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  1. Start binge-watching movies and TV series. There are some awesome shows available now and it’s kind of fun when I need some down time to relax in front of the TV. You can always add drinking wine to this one. Just an FYI. 😉 I do this more in the winter than summer. It’s one of those seasonal things.

 

  1. I’ve increased my running time. This has had such a positive effect on me. Any type of exercise is good for you and it’s especially important for writers to exercise because writing is such a sedentary thing to do. I find exercise has helped my attitude and increased my energy. I get more writing done! That’s always a good thing!

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  1. I’ve started painting. I get together with my friends and we have a painting party. It’s a great way to relax. You can also add wine to this activity as well. Just sayin’ 😉

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  1. Before I had kids, I used to do Yoga. It’s such a tremendous way to increase your flexibility and it’s good for that mind-body connection. I plan on starting this up again.

 

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  1. Get together with friends and play cards. Again, before kids, I used to do this about once a month. It was always a great way to get away from the pressures of life and be social. You can also add wine to this activity, too. 😉

 

  1. I’ve increased my hiking time. There’s nothing like getting out in nature. It’s so relaxing and good for you, too.

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  1. I haven’t done this one yet, but my plan for the summer is to spend more time in the kitchen and find some new meals for my family and I to enjoy. I don’t know about you but sometimes we get stuck in a food rut and we need to expand our meal repertoire.

 

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  1. I also plan on working in our yard. My plan is to plant some Hosta plants. They’re such hearty plants and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. Digging in the dirt is always a fun activity.

 

So there you have it ten things you can do to ease the heartache of your kids’ growing independence. It’s a good thing. Good for them and you. 🙂

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you do when your kids don’t need your undivided attention anymore? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Protecting our Kids from Abuse

 

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a nice Easter holiday. I know I did, and it was just what I needed to get back on track with my writing. I’ve been working on my revisions, and I’m excited about the way my story is coming together. But enough about that. I’m back today to talk about a serious subject.  One I feel strongly about, and that subject is protecting our kids from abuse.

Our children are innocents. They don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with a predator when they come across one and let’s face it, most of them look like you or me. Some of them are doctors or priests. (Don’t get me started on the Catholic Church and the abuse they covered up for years.) They’re adults and they know how to manipulate and control their victims. To a child these people look trustworthy and they are everywhere, online, in schools and in our churches. So how can we protect our kids?

Photo credit: Stijn Goris via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

First of all, let’s look at what type of victim predators look for. It’s the same type of victim whether the predator is a pedophile, a human trafficker, or an abuser. The type of child they look for is someone who doesn’t have a strong support system. A loner. A kid who doesn’t have a lot of friends or a strong family unit. They’re looking for a kid who’s emotionally needy. Someone they can ply with compliments and gifts so the kid becomes dependent on them for their self-esteem, and that’s when the abuse starts.

So how do we make sure we don’t raise victims? By being an involved parent. These predators don’t go after the kid whose parent is present watching baseball practice and cheering their youngster on. They don’t go after the kid whose parent is there picking them up from school every day. They go after the ones who don’t have a strong role model. The ones where the parent maybe is dealing with issues of their own, the death of a spouse, a divorce, or a mental illness.

Photo via VisualHunt

So how do we protect the kids whose parents are going through a divorce or a sudden death? That’s when we have to look to our community to help out. If you can’t be at the bus stop to pick up your kid, ask a neighbor to watch them to make sure they make it home, or if you can afford it, hire a babysitter. Someone responsible enough to be there for them.

Photo via Visual Hunt

If there is strong community support, predators can’t get in and our children are safe. Let’s face it. If our kids aren’t safe then we all lose, wouldn’t you agree?

Also, talk to your kids. Teach them to be suspicious of adults, who aren’t in your family, who buy them gifts and seem to give them a lot of attention. Teach them to be their own advocate. Tell them it’s okay for them to tell an adult, “I’m not comfortable with this. Please stop.” And tell them they can yell it if they need to. They won’t be punished for it. Let’s keep our littles safe.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I feel strongly about this and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas on ways to protect our kids you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

The Dark Side of Social Media

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the dark side of Social Media. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being able to stay connected to all my friends and colleagues. It’s great to be able to chat with someone I haven’t seen in years. Social Media is an amazing tool.

I’ve used it when I’m researching information for my stories. I contact people who are experts in their fields and pick their brains. That way, I know what I’m adding to my story is accurate. It makes my story more authentic. Please understand, the people I contact, I’ve already established a relationship with them. I just don’t follow them or add them as a friend and then start bombarding them with questions. 🙂

This is an incredible way to get information, and I can see my kids using social media to do research for papers when they get older, but there’s a dark side to the internet as well.

Not everything on social media is as it seems, and we must teach our littles the difference. First of all, social media is the image someone wants to project. People usually post only about the positive things in their lives. This is okay, no one wants to hang with a Negative Nancy, but it’s only half the picture. Everyone experiences happiness and struggles. We need to remind our kids about that so they don’t get caught up in the world where likes and follows become more important than real relationships.

Photo credit: Kris Olin via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

          It’s sad to say, but it goes even deeper. Teens are using social media to hook up. That means to get together and have sex. They send out a tweet or a post asking if anyone wants to hook up. If someone responds in the affirmative, they make the arrangements. They’re even sending naked photos of themselves via the internet.  Isn’t that scary? In my opinion, social media hinders our ability to connect emotionally as human beings.

Photo credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, Hiking.org via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

          We need to be cognizant of this trend and turn it around because if we don’t, our kids may never learn to make that emotional connection. We don’t want to lose that because it would mean we’re losing a big part of what makes us human, wouldn’t you agree?

A friend recommended this book to me and I’ve just started it, but it inspired this blog post. I believe it’s important for every parent to read, to understand the climate our kids are trying to navigate today. The cover and blurb are below.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by [Sales, Nancy Jo]

Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women is the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.

With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls. 

Provocative and urgent, Ameran Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

Like I said, I just started reading it so I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on the topic at a later date. 🙂 So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I appreciate it! What do you think? Do you think Social Media has a dark side, or is it all sunshine and unicorns? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Personal, Public Service Announcements

The Hover Board Incident: A Public Service Announcement

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Public Service Announcement. My boys had friends spend the night over the weekend. This has become a weekly event, even when I told them last weekend no one’s spending the night next weekend, we still had kids spending the night. I really don’t mind all that much just every once in a while we (me and my hubby) need a kid break. But I digress.

Anyway, we had a couple of extra kids over the weekend and one of them got a hover board for Christmas. He brought it over and all the boys went down into the basement. (Hubby just finished it and we had carpet installed over the holidays. I don’t recommend this by the way. Your house is torn up when you’re trying to have Christmas. Not fun. We don’t have furniture down there yet, so it’s a huge open space, perfect for hover board shenanigans.)

black x2 hoverboard by swagway
It looks so innocent and uncomplicated, doesn’t it?

The boys were having a blast, I could tell by how loud they were. My two came running up the stairs to where I sat on the couch, writing my story. “Mom. You’ve got to try the hover board, it’s so much fun.”

Then my youngest piped up. “Dad did it.”

That’s all it took because if Dad can do it, I can do it, too.  So I got up and went down into the basement.

The young man who the hover board belonged to, climbed on and demonstrated how to ride it. It looked so easy. I was positive I could do it.

I should’ve remembered the first time I went rollerblading and broke my arm, but I didn’t.

So, I tried to climb onto it and I found it was hard to balance. That should’ve been a warning sign, but I ignored it. I finally climbed on by holding on to the wall.

I rode it around the basement and it was fun. I enjoyed it and told the kids I wanted to get one. I did another lap and another, enjoying the slight breeze that ruffled my hair. I felt like a kid again. You know the feeling you used to get when everything was possible. Yeah, that feeling.

I decided to stop and get off. This decision was my undoing. I stepped off without the help of the wall and landed flat on my back. It was instantaneous. I didn’t have time to try and maintain my balance or anything. It was just BOOM!  I fell in front of my kids, the neighbor kids, and one of my son’s school friends. Oy!

This isn’t me, but I’m sure this is what I looked like falling.
Photo credit: zbdh12 via Visual hunt / CC BY

I laid there and remembered the first time I went rollerblading and broke my arm. That’s when I realized I don’t do well with wheels on my feet. Sigh.

The boys didn’t laugh. I thought they would. I probably would’ve if I were their age. What nice kids.

Luckily, I wasn’t hurt, but I did learn a valuable lesson. I’m not a kid anymore although my maturity level says the opposite.  🙂

So when one of your kids tries to get you on their hover board just remember what happened to me. It’s not as easy as it looks. Maybe if it came with poles? I don’t know. Just a thought.

Photo via Hans via Visual hunt

 

This has been a Public Service Announcement. 🙂

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe

Family Hike: A Slice of Life Post

 

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. I fear this last weekend is going to be our last weekend of nice weather. It has turned windy and chilly here in Michigan and I’m anticipating cold weather in the days to come.

I’m glad we took advantage of our nice weather and got out onto the hiking trail. We went as a family and it was nice creating a memory with the kidlets. We went in the early evening before dinner. The sun rested, near the horizon, a fiery orange ball in the clear sky. We traveled along the path enjoying the peacefulness of the forest.

Photo credit: Christian Arballo via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

There was no humidity and very few bugs. A perfect time for a hike. We stepped along the sandy trail planning one of our trips for next summer. There were a few mountain bikers whizzing past, but for the most part we were undisturbed.

It was a nice way to end the weekend.

My boys gave me a hard time, though, claiming they didn’t want to go on the hike. They wanted to play their video games, but I insisted. We needed some family time, and they enjoyed our walk even though they’ll never admit it to me. How do I know?

They laughed and giggled as they climbed the trees along the path.

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They also asked for a bedtime story that night. They haven’t asked for one of those in a long time, not since they were little. Sniff. Maybe they’re not in such a hurry to grow up after all. 🙂

It was a great weekend of memories and I look forward to making more. 🙂 How about you? Did you make any memories this weekend? Please share! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you’d like to check out other Slice of Life Posts click here.

Posted in Family, Slice of LIfe

Living without Regret: A Slice of Life Post

 

Write. Share. Give.

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life post. I have one more week before I have to go back to work, and I’m sad my summer is almost over. It went by way too fast.

I’ve been watching the Olympics. It’s amazing to see these young people achieving their dreams. It inspires me to believe that I can achieve mine if I work hard enough.:)

Photo credit: ClaraDon via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

I’m encouraging my youngest to watch the events as well. I’m hoping they’ll inspire him, too. He’s quite agile. I can see great talent in him. He’s already doing front and back flips on the trampoline. He’s got that gymnast build, too.

He also has the drive. He sticks with something until he masters it. I remember when he was just a wee lad, how he’d get these transformers and work so hard at getting them to transform. Some of them were quite difficult. Tears of frustration would run down his face, but he wouldn’t give up.

I think it’s the same drive many of these athletes have. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be watching my little guy at the Olympics someday.

Photo credit: jdlasica via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

I have to be careful though. I have to make sure that I’m not pushing my dream for him onto my little guy. I want him to choose his own dream. I don’t want him to look back on his life and have any regrets.

Living without regret is an awesome thing, and I want that for both my boys. I think that old saying is true. “We only regret the things we didn’t do.” These are very wise words. How about you. Are you living without regret? Is there something you wanted to go for, but didn’t? Maybe the timing wasn’t right? Now might be the time to do it! Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

To read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

 

Posted in Personal, Slice of LIfe

Slice of Life: Memory Lane

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back with another Slice of Life Post, and today I’m talking about my kids. You see, my oldest will graduate fifth grade this year and it’s a tradition for the parents to organize a big party for them.

One of the parents volunteered to put together a slide presentation of the kids with snapshots from previous years, and she also wanted a baby picture of each graduate. I thought this was an awesome idea.

So, this weekend I went through our pictures. It was a walk down memory lane. It was so precious. I had so many pictures. I think I got almost every toothless smile my firstborn gave. I got his first graham cracker, his first tooth, and his first lost tooth. He grew and changed before my eyes, and I remember he had the sweetest disposition. He still does.

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Isn’t that just the sweetest face?

I remember how my firstborn wouldn’t eat baby food. He wanted to eat what we were eating. It brought back those memories of making mashed potatoes, mushing up bananas, and grinding up carrots.

Looking at those pictures, I realized how much my little guy has grown. He’s almost as tall as me. He has my eyes and a wacky sense of humor, and he’s kind. Both of my boys are. I love that about them.

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Another sweet pic of my oldest!

I’m so glad I took so many pictures. There were photos of my two boys playing together, already developing that sibling bond. They’re very close now. In fact, when one of my firstborn’s friends invites him to spend the night they almost always include my youngest, too.

I love that about my son’s friends. That’s such an awesome testament to their parents and the kids themselves. I’m looking forward to this summer when we can make more memories and take more pictures. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading my Slice of Life Post! To read other Slice of Lifers you can click here.

****Just an FYI, I’ll be doing a post about my youngest next year when he’s a fifth grader. I’m not playing favorites! 😉