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A weekend change of pace.

July 27, 2015

Sometimes you need a change of pace on the weekend.  A weekend with no chores. No errands. Only fun or relaxing things planned.

This was our weekend.

We hung out with family.  We hit the pool (twice!).  We played with friends. We served at our church.  We watched Redbox movies. We snuggled on the couch.

We didn’t vacuum. We didn’t go grocery shopping. We didn’t scrub toilets. We didn’t exercise. We didn’t try to get all the little things crossed off our to-do list.

We just had a great relaxing weekend.  A slow weekend.

Most weekends seem to fly by because our days our packed. But this weekend took it’s time.  And I’m grateful for it.

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Motivators

July 23, 2015

It’s funny what you can get your kids to do for you at a young age.  I’m not against dangling a reward out there in order to motivate them:

“Landon, I’ll give you one Hershey kiss if you put your and Brooksie’s underwear and socks away in your rooms.”
“If you have green (which at school means great) behavior all week, we’ll watch a dino YouTube video on Friday.”
“Brooks, you can stay up an extra 15 minutes and snuggle with dad in bed if you eat all your dinner with great manners and without goofing around.”

I know, they are 3 and 5 so it’s easy right now.  But I was thinking about how I’ll have to revisit my negotiations with my kids as they grow:

Ages 10-12
“If you try hard at your ball game and don’t give up, we’ll hit Red Robin on the way home.”
“If you keep your room clean all week, and get your homework done each day after school, we’ll go to Carowinds this weekend.”

Ages 16-18
“If you get all A’s and B’s this semester you can go to that summer camp you’ve been asking about.”
“If you follow through on your 20 hours of charity-service this month, we’ll get you those expensive sneakers you’ve been eyeing.”
“If you get a scholarship to college, we’ll get you a car.”

Who knows what the bribes motivators will really be, but I can almost guarantee that a Hershey kiss isn’t going to get me very far for many more years!

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I’ve taught him…

July 21, 2015

Yesterday, I shared a few of the ways my husband has shaped me over the past several years. Ways I WANT to be better because of the example he sets for me.

I like to think this is a two-way street and we are both inspiring good in each other.

Here are some of the ways I think I’ve influenced him:
1.) Trying new things.  Whether it’s traveling to new places, spending the day trying a new activity or even making new foods he’s never eaten.  I love to try new things and over the years I’ve slowly opened him up to enjoying new experiences. I love when he surprises me by being on board with trying something exciting and I don’t have to do my salespitch on him ;)

2.) It’s ok to look a little crazy in public.  My husband is very even-tempered – especially in public. I have no problem cartwheeling down the aisle of Target but he’s anti-gymnastics-in-stores.  But I will say that over the years, he’s come to be more ok with looking a little crazy in public.  I think this one really might be a combo of both me and the kids, because let’s be honest – trying to wrangle two kids in the toy section during a missed nap can get a little crazy and I guess you just learn to go with it!

3.) Fiscally conservative. I know that Dean has pushed me to splurge at times when I didn’t necessarily want to, and I’ll say that I’ve definitely tightened Dean’s wallet over the years.  I think he knows what to expect when it comes to extra expenditures and he knows I’ll ask “do we really need this?” or “we could use this money for _____ instead.” He’s definitely cut back on asking me for lots of expensive things because he knows that I think it’s really wasteful.  But he’ll be thanking me when we retire with our bazillions in the bank and he is playing lots of golf instead of bagging groceries at age 65+ to make ends meet ;)

I’m so thankful to be in a marriage where we are constantly wanting to be better – for each other, for our kids and for ourselves.  I appreciate all the ways my husband quietly molds me into a better person and hopefully he appreciates me in the same way.

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He’s taught me…

July 20, 2015

Marriage is a funny thing. It’s always interested to see how your spouse rubs off on you and changes you for the better in certain ways. My husband likes to call this process “molding” and he routinely jokes about how much he’s molded me in the years we’ve been together so that I can be a better wife, mom, and all around-person. He’s smoothing out my rough edges!

And I think it really goes both ways. There are many ways he makes me better and several ways I think that I’ve rubbed off on him.

My husband has taught me:

1) To be a little more filtered.  I’m not saying I’m good at this yet, but when we are out with friends, I tend to be an open book with my opinions and values.  Sometimes, he’ll share with me how I might have been too harsh in what I said or how I said it. I know he wants me to be aware of ways I may intentionally hurt someone’s feelings.

2) To have more patience.  My husband is definitely the most patient person in our home.  And there have been times I’m getting frustrated and at the point of screaming at the kids because they aren’t doing X, Y or Z and he’ll remind me: “Ginger, you screaming at him isn’t going to make him move any faster.” And sometimes I take his suggestion well and other times I just flip out on him. But definitely an area that I wish I could be more like him in.

3) Figuring things out.  Dean can figure out most of the things he tries to do, whether it’s setting up a computer system, fixing the lawn mower, changing brakes, fixing one of the kids toys, etc.  He just spends time working on it until he gets it.  It may take a YouTube video or some Google help, but he usually finds the way.  And I know this has rubbed off on me. More than once, I’ve chosen to push through something frustrating because I know that Dean would try harder to figure it out.

4) Splurge – at times.  In our home, we run a pretty tight ship financially.  And I have the hardest time spending a lot of money on things – like a pair of $150+ sneakers is outrageous to me.  I don’t see the value in buying a ton of the latest gadgets – especially when they first come out and are at max price.  However, there have been times when my husband has pushed me to splurge a little bit and just get it.  And when we splurge at times, it always feels fun and extravagant to go a little more than we normally would.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some of the ways I think I’ve done some of my own molding when it comes to Dean.  And isn’t this what marriage is all about anyways – making each other better?!

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Pinterest: How To – Carnival Games

July 16, 2015

I posted last week some of the details (here and here) from our Carnival themed party for the kiddos.  Two of the things activities for the kids were games: Prize Pong and Punch a Hole.  Today, I’ll share a quick behind the scenes of how these came together.

Punch A Hole:

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Here’s how it was made:

1. Used some scrap plywood that came with a recent furniture purchase.  It worked well.
2. Spray painted with some leftover teal paint which worked with our teal, red, yellow color palette.
3. Used monkey glue to attach some spaced out dollar store paper cups.
4. Made a quick sign on the computer, mounted it on fun paper and attached to the plywood with wood glue. Also filled the cups with small, light (don’t get heavy prizes! this game isn’t that sturdy!) dollar store trinkets. When I was at the dollar store I kinda tested in the store to make sure my prize would fit in the cups before I bought them.
5. Cut squares out of tissue paper that are slightly larger than the cup diameter.  Attach with rubber bands.  (This was key for us because we needed to be able to reset the game in between parties so that it looked great and was easily refilled. We didn’t want Party #2 friends to see a completely busted up game!)
We just set it up on a chair outside so that it was easy for the kids to reach.  They each got to punch out a cup and take the prize!

 

Punch

Prize Pong:

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We set up this game on a folding table and it was played similar to Beer Pong.  Kids stood a couple feet from the table and threw the ping pong ball into the water filled cups. Whichever color cup they landed in, they got a corresponding prize from the other side of the table. We had orange paper, green paper and blue paper with prizes. Prizes went up in value so orange were least valuable to the green which were most valuable since there were less green cups than orange. (Who’s kidding though, they were all dollar store items, so some were just 25 cents while green prizes might be a full dollar! Big spenders, I know!)

They were super easy to set up. I just took craft paint in three colors and painted the outside bottoms of the cups. I didn’t paint the inside because I didn’t want the water to wash away the color.

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And as I mentioned before, we made the most orange colored, some blue colored and just a few green so that we could make value of the prizes also tier.

Prize Pong 2

Super easy and fun. For the little kids party – 3 year olds – they were VERY close to the table when shooting – i.e. 1 foot away!  The big kids – 5 year olds – were a few steps back.  They loved being able to pick a prize and especially if they got the green cup!

 

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Preschool Graduation

July 14, 2015

Yes, I’m the mom who gets teary eyed at all her kids events.  I can’t help it. It’s adorable.  But even more so, it’s a reminder of how quickly this journey is going. A reminder that they are only my boys for a limited amount of time and I have to work with what God’s given me.  It’s also a reminder of how far we’ve already come. From the mom who had no clue about baby anything heading home from the hospital to a mom who now has no clue how to teach sightwords and reading!

At the boys school they do a sweet graduation program at the end of the year with a bunch of the classes participating.  Brooks class was also part of the entertainment.

He was really into the song at the beginning, with the hand motions and routines:

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And the slowly fell off the wagon and began ad libbing his own Magic Mike-esque moves on stage.

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And he was too busy checking out his props to actually use them!

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All in all, a great three year old performance! Our boy sure does bring spice and life into anything he does! :)

Then the Pre-K class hit the stage to get their diplomas and sing some songs.  Before they got in there, the kids did notes to their family.  Of course, Landon showed his true Bradbury DNA with lots of food items:

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The Pomp and Circumstance got me teary eyed. I totally envision this to be exactly what Landon looks like 13 years from now at his high school graduation. A little devious smile. A sweet grin.  This will probably go in his senior year graduation ad!

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They did superlatives for the class and Landon is expected to be a success.  I concur! That little boy is driven and I hope he continues to love learning and trying to do new things as he grows.

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And finally, some pics on stage and with his BFFs (P.S. the girl in the picture – besides his cousin Harleigh – is a high school friend of my sister and I’s growing up. So cool that our kids are also growing up together!)

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The GRAD:

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My sister and I with our graduates. By this point they were all pictured out.

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Yes, he seems delighted with himself!  Or just really ready to finish with the picture taking and get to the class party!

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Landon, while Pre-K graduation isn’t a huge milestone, the true milestone are all the life lessons you’ve already picked up on in your short 5 years. You’ve learned patience with friends. And how to show grace to other kids who may not deserve it. You’ve learned to respect your teachers and others in authority. And worked on showing other kids respect and asking for forgiveness when you needed to.

So no, cutting paper and reciting your alphabet wasn’t what this graduation was really about. I think it was more to show us you’re ready for school – to make new friends and to be a friend to others. We are so proud of how you’ve grown and cannot believe that you’ll be in kindergarten in just one month. What a blessing this ride has been so far, and I’m sure even more excitement is to come!

 

 

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Baby You’re A Firework.

July 13, 2015

We tend to keep our 4th low-key. We don’t really do the hustle and bustle of the uptown fireworks or try to find a big event to attend.  We haven’t done the lake and often even skip the pool (because it tends to be overly packed).  This year, we went to my brother and SIL’s to have a good ole campfire with marshmallows, sparklers for the kids and the men set off some small fireworks.  And it was perfect. We didn’t have to go far or fight traffic. We got to hang out with those we love the most in an intimate environment and the kids had a blast!

We even did a practice run of sparklers a couple months ago with some neighbor friends so the kids would be well prepared for 7-4-15.

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What –  running with sparklers is bad parenting!?

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So Landon and Brooks were both ready for the big day.

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Of course there was plenty of time to mug with their cousin!

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Then the crazy trio sat down while Papa started the show.

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At “intermission” Gigi led a sparkler parade around the yard.

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And we capped off the night with sweet, sticky treats from the firepit. It was a great 4th!

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