Monday, November 19, 2012


I heard an adolescent girl at church last night saying that her parents hadn't had "the puberty talk" with her yet. She continued to say that she didn't need it--she had heard it all at school. Now I don't doubt that her parents have had some version of "the talk" with her--maybe not just as she expects it should be.

It was a reminder for me, though, that as a parent I need to be the source of information for my children. Not the only source, and maybe not even the main source, but I definitely need to be talking with them. If my wife and I aren't talking with them, then our kids are getting all their information elsewhere: "the puberty talk," drugs, alcohol, racism, etc.

So talk with them. Tell them the things they need to know. Tell them your expectations.  Tell them why. Tell them why not. Tell them your stories. But talk.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Birthday Party

Confession: I let my youngest son (who just turned six today) do all the work for this birthday party.

Not all the work. But he really had it planned out well. Last year I had made an obstacle course for his super-hero themed party. Apparently that was a big hit. He had spent weeks drawing out one for this year. Then he made a 3-D model of it. Seriously. He did. It involved string, cut-out paper folded dimensionally, and a few other things. Unfortunately, it rained a bit last night and the morning was quite dreary (we initially were told we'd have a big winter storm today), so we didn't set up the course. But then 15 minutes before the party started, we decided to do a short version of it. The sun came out and it ended up being 65.

He had also planned a game of "Pin the Head on the Lego Guy" (a version of the donkey game). He had drawn a Lego guy and made cut-out heads for the kids to put on it.

He had brought home some of his recent works from school, so he decorated by taping some of those on the walls.

He had also requested a Lego cake. You might have guessed there was a Lego theme going on. The boys learned at some point that if the presents their friends bring often go with the theme. So they come up with themes based on the presents they want. Shameless, I know. We didn't even announce the theme ahead of time; apparently he had told all his friends that it was a Lego theme. Which I guess works--the other parents don't have to guess what kind of present he might like.

We had also picked up some crafts at Michaels for them to do. Which, we should have thought before hand about having to have six Kindertarten-and-under kids trying to put together a wooden model...they required a bit of help with that. But over all it turned out pretty well.

And I never like coming up with activities, so it worked out well him having put it together. I heartily recommend getting the birthday kid involved in planning their party.

Happy birthday to my 6-year old!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Of Babysitters, Grandparents, and Blessings

Confession: I get jealous of the parents who live close to their families. I am envious of having "built-in-babysitters."

If you have your own parents living nearby, be thankful. We live 4-5 hours from either of our families (with the exception of my sister who is a half hour away--she used to watch our kids a bit, but she has three of her own now; she is still very willing to watch them, though). When our eldest child was born we lived less than an hour from my parents. We didn't see them too often, but they were always willing to come babysit when we needed it.

We've got great friends who help watch our kids, and we're very thankful for them. But there are plenty of times when we need someone to watch the kids when both my wife and I have to be at work or at a church event (when most of our babysitters are also at church).

If jobs were more abundant in the areas where either of our families lived, we'd consider moving closer. They're both in small town areas (which I would prefer to live and raise kids in). And not just for the baby-sitting but for our kids being able to be around their grandparents more frequently.

Now I write all this not to try and sound whiny, but to bring awareness to the blessing of having family living close to you. Not only is it great for you, but it's great for the kids (which all of this is obvious, I know).