Kids Say: What makes you mad?

September 15, 2014

Landon recently moved up to a new room at school – the 4’s room and as part of his move, we participated in the Open House at his preschool.  All the parents sat in a short meeting and during the introduction, I noticed a easel board behind the teacher with their discussion and activities of the day.  It seemed like the day was letter “M” day because there were a lot of “M” items in the room.

Then I saw on the easel that they did an interactive question with the kids, “What makes you mad?” and each kid shared something that made them mad.


I couldn’t help but chuckle outloud when I read my sons response.


When my daddy steals the ball from me during basketball“.  The teacher even commented: (haha :) )

All the other kids had things like, when I’m left out, when my mom yells, when I have to go to bed early, but not my kid.  Nope, he gets mad at dad when dad doesn’t play fair.

And it’s even funnier because sometimes I’ll tell the hubs to go a little easier on boys when they are playing, and Dean will just dunk over and over while Landon and Brooks barely get a turn.  Dean says he’s trying to “toughen them up” so they can play with the big kids.

Of course, all the other parents were laughing when they saw Landon’s answer.  There stood my introverted husband (aka BALL HOG), who usually sneaks in and out without much of a word to anyone at pick up/drop off, taking heat from the other parents.


Toddler Travel Tips

September 12, 2014

We headed to our family reunion in Maine just two weeks ago and had a great time with family.  Of course getting there meant that we’d be doing some travel both in the airplane and in the car.  In planning our trip, I did a couple things to help make our travel experience as easy as possible.  These were my travel tricks and tips:

1. Think about your kids normal schedule as you plan travel.  I purposely didn’t take the 6am flight or 9pm flight knowing that there was a good chance my kids would be in meltdown mode if I did that. I picked times that were their usual naptimes, that way they’d still be sitting and having a rest time, even if they didn’t sleep.

2. Bring a stroller.  You can gate check it right before you board the plane and it’s so nice to have a place for your little one to sit when you’re walking through the airport.  We always had Landon (4 y.o.) walk and Brooks (2 y.o.) in the stroller as we headed through the airport and walked the .7 miles to the hotel from the shuttle.  There’s no way Brooks could have made the journey safely on foot and my arms were full with other things and a 2 y.o. would have been too much.

3. Pack treats.  My kids don’t get treats all the time, so for me to pull out a pack of fruit snacks or a lollipop on the plane made their trip.  Whenever I felt them getting a little antsy, I tried a new activity or handed a treat.  Brooks ate 2 lollipops on the way up and 1 on the way back and they both got a pack of fruit snacks. Just enough to get another 5-10 minutes of calm!  (Also, sucking lollipops can help with ear popping during take off and landing!)

4. Bring a variety, and bring something new.  I grabbed a couple of their favorite things for the journey – dinosaur flashcards, and Cars figurines.  We also just got the Planes movie and we loaded that onto the ipod and let them watch it on the plane.  That was a hit and gave me about 20-30 mins per kid.  Also Cars movie on the laptop was a clear winner.  They watched about 60 minutes straight. It is their favorite. Even buying a dollar store trinket that would work great at your destination (i.e. blow up float for the pool) and wrap it so they can open it on the halfway point. Who doesn’t love presents?

5. Don’t miss naptime every day.  If your kids are like mine, they like a semblance of routine most days and when they don’t get their downtime, afternoons can be tough. When we missed naptime, I made sure the kids got to bed a little earlier that night and then I made sure we didn’t miss naptime the next day, so we scheduled a beach morning or park afternoon to make sure that we could keep them on their normal schedule most of the days we were gone.

6. Do special time with your kids each day.  Whether it was reading a book right before bed, or letting them go with Gigi and Papa to the candy store to pick out a treat, let your kids know that this is a special and fun time.  I wanted my kids to know this was vacation and so it was a little different than our normal day off.

7. Expect the worse and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As is my motto in almost anything, if I think about the absolute worst that can happen and then expect my day to go that way, I’m often pleasantly surprised when it goes better than I expect.  And at least I am not in a tailspin because my not-a-cloud-in-the-sky overly optimistic plan gets ruined and dampens my mood.

8. Talk it up in advance.  Our kids knew months in advance that we’d be riding on airplanes to go to Maine.  We went to the airport and watched planes take off and land and we let them know how fun it would be to look out the window or get a special juice on the plane.  We even did an airplane countdown on the oven at home and ripped a sheet off each day as we traced the days.

9. Fly nonstop if you can.  Once the fun starts wearing off, it can be hard to talk up another plane ride plus sit around during the layover, so if it makes sense financially, try to choose a nonstop flight and get there as quick as you can!

What else would you add to the list to make your trip as fun as possible for the little people you travel with?


Figuring out my 30’s

September 11, 2014

Life in your 30’s is a different animal.  With my 20’s spent figuring out who I was and where I wanted to go in life… my 30’s were focused on accomplishing some of those dreams I made for myself as a freshly minted college grad.

And I don’t mean just the usual – married, kids, house… of course, I’m always working towards my goal of being a rockstar mom, wife, friend, daughter, etc.

But what about the other things I always envisioned for myself:

The visions of how I was going to make a difference in this world.
The dream of traveling the world and learning about other cultures and people.
The desire to be settled and ahead of the game in my career path.

I guess when I was in my 20’s, I’d always looked at women in their 30’s and figured they had it all together.  I’d see women in their 30’s who were just nailing it in their role as a wife and mother, ladies rocking their job in big ways, women who seemed to have a clue about how to navigate life.

I thought… by the time I’m in my 30’s, I’ll have it all figured out. 

Now I’m there and know that I’m not as far along as I expected.  Now I look to women in their 40’s and think… when I hit 40 – I’ll get it together.  I’ll make bigger dents in my goals. I won’t feel so all over the place all the time.  I’ll get some of my bucket list covered. 

But, I imagine that truthfully, I won’t have it all figured out by 40 either.  I guess that’s what your earlier years are for… all the dreams and goals you set for yourself and then your 30’s are for realizing that the goals and dreams you set way back when are probably life goals (not 10 year goals). Things I’ll probably always be working towards.  And that’s ok. As long as I’m making progress, it’s ok if I don’t “have it together” yet.



Poor Prayer Pal

September 10, 2014

Our church (Elevation Church) does a great job in their kids program – keeping the kids engaged, learning about Jesus and wanting to come back each week.

Recently, they handed out Prayer Pals in Brooks’ class (the 2 y.o. class).  They passed out instructions on how to implement the Prayer Pal and use it as a reminder tool to pray with and for our kids each day.  As we were leaving, I held it and said… “wow, Brooks, look at your new Prayer Pal.”

He responded with, “no, that’s Caterpillar.”

Ok, no tricking this guy… it was a caterpillar-shaped prayer pal.

We brought him home and the first night it was all love and snuggles for Prayer Pal/Caterpillar.

prayer pal (2)

However, after the first night Brooks decided he wasn’t going to be cuddling Prayer Pal anymore. I’d bring the soft, snuggly guy into his room during prayer time and Brooks would declare, “I don’t want that Prayer Pal. Put him in the playroom.”  So out he would go.

I decided to give up on using Prayer Pal after a few nights of trying – we still did our normal tuck in prayer time, just without the cuddly friend. After all, Brooksie’s true love is his green blankie so nothing else has ever stacked up to it.

Fast forward to this past weekend:

Dean had washed Brooks’ blankie and so at bedtime it wasn’t available.  I told Brooks I would bring blankie in later once it had dried.

He was still a little whiney about it even after he was tucked in, so I told him I would get something else.  I went into the playroom and brought him Prayer Pal.

He seemed to take it without any fuss so I quickly left and went back to the laundry room just across the hall.

Not 10 seconds later, his door opened just an inch or two and I looked over, preparing myself to give a strict warning and tell him to get back to bed.

There was no need.

His small hand slid out of the tiny door crack, Prayer Pal was dropped on the floor, the door shut and two little feet scurried back into bed.

prayer pal (1)

Yes, Brooks is VERY particular about who he invites into bed with him.  Oh Brooks!


The best parts of my marriage

September 9, 2014

Many who are married know the ups and downs that come with being a spouse.  It’s hard when some of the things you really loved about your mate before you were married (the “quirks”) tend to become annoyances after you get a few anniversaries under your belt.

Like, if your spouse is always late… cute, when it’s the predictable 5 minutes when you were dating. Now that life is hectic, you see it as unreliable.  Or the way he/she always falls for the 2 for 1 sales at the store… it was a joke when you unpacked those 4 bags of chips back then… now, it seems wasteful.

Yes, there are always areas on marriage that you aren’t going to see eye to eye with your mate.

We are doing a marriage sermon series at our church (Elevation Church) and it is really good.  One of the best parts in the message this past weekend was a discussion on people who get frustrated with the 20% of their spouse that frustrates them for the sake of the 80% they love.

This was such a great reminder for me. Yes, there are times that I nag my husband or get frustrated by how he’ll handle a situation and tend to dwell on it, instead of remembering how much I love the other 80%.  (And he’d tell you he’s more like 94% awesome and 6% frustrating!)

In honor of the message this weekend, I bring you some of the 80% I love about my husband:

- Dean often knows what I’m thinking when crazy stuff happens around us.  And because he knows my mental crazy tendencies, he will often pre-address it… “Ginger just because XYZ happened, doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen in our family.” I love that he knows me enough to know when I need a reassuring word, even if I don’t say much about it.

- His manliness.  He loves doing the manly things around our house. He takes the trash out 98% of the time, he handles the lawn and maintains the cars. He YouTubes anything he doesn’t know how to do and often can figure it out that way.

- When we can laugh about the same things.  We get into silly conversations sometimes and he comes up with the craziest and funniest commentary.  Laying in bed and just chatting with him (laughing about situations of the day, talking about our kids, planning our week ahead, sharing funny stories…) is one of the best parts of our marriage.

- Sharing our frustrations together.  I’m lucky that we can commiserate on a tough day or just share enough to know that the other person needs some leeway and grace because they are having a hard week.

- I love that we work hard together on doing a lot as a family.  Traveling together, supporting each other at events, watching our kids do things, running errands. It’s often the 4 of us and that’s important to me.

- My husband is so quick to apologize and he freely forgives.  The amount of grace he gives in our relationship is amazing and I know that I am so blessed to be on the receiving end of it.  At times when I want to hold a grudge or fight for something, I remind myself of the countless times he’s given me leeway or forgiven my offense without another word and it makes me want to be a better forgiver to him.

I am so lucky for the great 80% (or 95%?!) that my husband brings to our marriage.  I want to remember to appreciate it often and not get hung up on the 20% because 80% sure is a great number!


Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu Roll

September 5, 2014

This recipe came about as one of those… “I have a pastry dough leftover from making baked brie, what can I do with it?!” moments.

I knew I would have to use it quickly so scanning the pantry and fridge, here’s what I put together.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is sooo quick.  And the concept is there to make it into many other types of Rolls.


1 Pillsbury pastry sheet (There were two in a pack and I had one left over that I’d already thawed)
2 TBSP mayo
2 TBSP sour cream
1 can chunk chicken (like the canned tuna – but chicken and it’s larger)
Ham slices
Swiss cheese slices

I mixed together in a small bowl the chicken, mayo and sour cream… almost like making chicken salad.

Then I laid out the pastry dough on a greased cookie sheet.  I topped that with a couple slices of ham across the middle (about 5-6 total), then I topped it with sliced swiss cheese (about 3-4 slices). After that I spread the chicken mixture down the middle:

cord 1

Then I rolled the sides over the mixture to make a little roll, while pinching the ends shut to seal:

I baked it at 400° (preheated) for about 20 minutes until it was golden:

Then I let it cool for about 10 minutes, sliced and served:

I will say that while it was ok as a leftover… it tasted really great when it was super hot and the dough was flakey and tender.  It was hard to replicate the dough when it was reheated in the microwave the next day.

With this concept, it would be so easy to make other kinds of rolls… ham, pork, mustard and pickles for a Cuban style, or ham, pepperoni, provolone and banana peppers or antipasto for an Italian style.


Why I worry…

September 4, 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I worry so much about things that may never happen.  I go through spells where I’ll think the craziest thoughts.

“What if my kids get cancer and die?”
“What if Dean is running late because he’s in a wreck?”
“What if I got sick and died while my kids were still young?”

I’ve always wondered why my mind wanders into these crazy thoughts.  It seems to happen during times where I don’t feel I have total control over the things going on.  Maybe something is crazy at work.  Maybe Dean and I have been in a little funk and not in sync like we usually are.

My natural inclination is to expect the worst in things… prepare for the worst and I’ll always be pleasantly surprised when it goes well.  This is my natural thought process… and it often helps because when I plan for the worst, then when crazy things happen, I’m prepared for them.  For example, bringing about 27 different activities for my kids when we fly on the airplane, that way I’m prepared for something new to entertain them when they act up.  And I am also pleasantly surprised when they do 500% better than I expected them to during the flight.

But why do I think this way so often in just my everyday life – when I’m driving the car or laying in bed trying to sleep?

I had a revelation.  I think my overwhelming and worrying thoughts come from the fact that I think my life is better than I deserve.  I know me and I know what I expect of my life and for where I am now, I am often amazed at how great my life is… I love my husband, I love our boys, I love where we live, I love my family, I love my friends, I love our church, I love my job.  There are just so many great things going on in my life and with my naturally pessimistic personality, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to spin out of control.

I think with the easy access of social media these days, I get to see at a glance everything that is going on in people’s lives… more than my close network of friends but a list of Facebook acquaintances.  And there is a lot of hard things going on out there, cancer diagnoses, kids who are sick, health people dying suddenly, divorces, infertility, and the list goes on.

So often these hard things happen to good people – people I love and people I admire.  And in my head I think, if it can happen to them, it’s bound to happen to me.

I can’t possibly deserve all the good that is in my life.

So my mind wanders. And I think of all of the “what if’s” that could relegate me to the same hardships I see all around me.

But I don’t want to live that way. I don’t want to waste my time worrying about things that may never happen.  And if they do happen, I don’t want the good times up until that point to be marred by this stress.

So I’ve been trying to free my mind lately.  If it happens, it happens.  God will be there to walk me through anything that comes my way.  And for now, I’m just going to continue to bask in the blessings of my life and enjoy the good things we have going on right now.



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