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Reed’s First Ride

This past Saturday, we went over to some friends house. They have some land and on their land they recently built an arena. They actively rope horses as a father and son team, as well as their oldest daughter, who from my understanding is awesome. Mike has about 12 horses and among those are a couple of very gentle horses perfect for beginner riders.

Mike asked Reed if he wanted to ride and he was ready to go. I thought he was going to ride with him, but he just put Reed up on the horse without hesitation and began to pull him around the arena. Reed was into it. He wanted me to walk along with him, which I was going to do anyway. It is a little scary seeing your toddler up so high, but I knew he was in good hands.

He had so much fun, riding horses, go-carts and four wheelers. Thank you to our great friends Mike and Tiffany for having us out for the  evening and entertaining our boys.

 

Pretend Story, Pretend Kid

This may have happened or I could be totally making it up.

Kid: Can I hold hands with Girl at church tomorrow?

Me: What do you mean? Like while you are praying or just sitting there? Tell me the situation.

Kid: Well when we are in the back rooms in the church.

Me: Um, why are you and Girl in the back rooms in the church? Are you alone?

Kid: Haha Mom, your funny. No, we are with all the youth listening to our youth pastor.

Me: Oh, okay, well it really is your call, Kid. If it is an appropriate situation, then sure, you can hold Girl’s hand.

Kid: That’s right it’s my call.

Kid: Can I kiss her?

Me: Why are you asking me all this if your going to do it anyway?

Kid: You always have something funny to say and might have good advice.

Me: Okay, thanks.I guess.

Me: But, no you can’t kiss her.

Kid: Right mom. Thanks. (pure sarcasm)

I remember when I was the exact same age as said pretend kid. I had this boyfriend and he would come to church with me, my friend and her boyfriend sat next to us. We would cross our arms and hold hands with our opposite hands. Can you even picture it? It’s quite funny thinking back to it. It was innocent as can be, we just wanted to hold hands.

So,if said pretend kid wants to hold hands with his girlfriend at church and he is at church and he is telling me about it. I feel pretty confident in his judgement.

Funny story that may not have even happened.

Need some tips on hand holding? Yes, they are out there – Bwahaha! Check out this 10 step guide to holding hands.

Tip #1? Figure out who it is you want to hold hands with, and if they would let you. Good advice, people.

Sea_otters_holding_hands

Sea Otters holding hands. Cute story.

teaching kids to color in the lines

Coloring is such a wonderful activity for children and preschoolers. Kids of all ages really. It allows them to be creative and use their imagination while developing coordination and fine motor skills.

Reed loves to color, although at times it can be difficult for him to sit for long period of times. I have noticed he does well with activity books — the kind that you color with an erasable marker and eraser. These will entertain him a little longer and he likes putting the caps back on the markers. Most of all he loves erasing his art and starting over – I do have to watch him closely to make sure he stays on the board. I definitely recommend large ones with different pages.

The challenge for me has been teaching him to stay in the lines. I have never focused on it and just let him scribble color to his heart is content and when coloring on paper he gets the honor of placing it on the refrigerator with his favorite magnet. He beams with pride and that is really what it’s all about. He has confidence and pride in his work.

Tips on teaching our little one to stay in the lines.

Choosing a coloring book with large pictures and very little detail and discussing the page with them.

Purchase large sized crayons, which are easier for little hands to grasp.

Outline the picture with a crayon and point out the inside and allow them to choose the color they want to use. I usually do not focus on whether the brown dog is pink or blue. If he wants a blue dog, so be it.

Encourage them to color inside the picture and let their juices flow.

Repetition is key – the more they practice the more they will become.

Praise, Praise, Praise!

It will come and they will be coloring in those lines in no time.

We have a new favorite book – or should I say Reed has a new favorite book, but his mommy is quite hooked on it too.

Fred Visits the Emeral Coast

He received this book as a Christmas present from his grandmother. One of the neat things about the discovery of this book is that my mom purchased it at the North Texas Kids Expo event I was working in November with She Is Dallas. She had met me up there to pick-up Reed to watch him while I was attending my booth. Before they left, she walked the expo from booth to booth and came across one with some children’s books. She met and chatted with the author, Diane Shapley-Box of Rockwall, TX, who according to my mom was “just lovely and a delight”. My mom fell in love with her books and was immediately drawn to them by the amazing illustrations done by Shapely-Box herself.

Reed received Fred Visits the Emerald Coast written and illustrated by Diane Shapley-Box and she also purchased another book, Tator’s Race for my niece, Miss C.

I am a firm believer of the power of reading and doing so from birth. I myself love a good book, have always enjoyed reading and am just tickled when I find wonderfully, beautifully written and illustrated books for my children. This book, Fred Visits the Emerald Coast, is about a sweet little frog, Fred, who visits the beautiful Emerald Coast with his best friends. While venturing off exploring alone, he runs into a sea turtle and a starfish who are frightened and in need of help. He bravely helps them without pause and in return they both tell him, “No matter if you live near or far, I will be your friend wherever you are”.

The next day, Fred and his friends from home go sailing and he runs into trouble, falling into a chest which locks and is thrown into the sea. The sea turtle and starfish hear his cries for help and swiftly run to his rescue. It ends with Fred reciting the same sweet words his new friends said to him, “No matter if you live near or far, I will be your friend wherever you are”. 

The story is followed by a Fun Facts page highlighting the sea animals mentioned in the story – a fun and educational addition to an already brilliant book.

Shapely-Box has done a wonderful job with rhyming verses and glorious illustrations. This is a beautiful book about friendship, kindness and goodwill. My son enjoys it as much as I enjoy reading it to him, turning the pages one by one admiring the beautiful sea creatures and greenish-blue water of the Emerald Coast. I strongly encourage you to add one of these endearing books to your child’s collection. She is right here in Dallas/Fort Worth and you can easily order her books online.

I can not wait to pick up the other two books to complete his collection and we will anxiously await for more to come out.

Diane Shapley-Box

New Year's Eve Drinking

Pretty picture, ay? Sure is. Cocktails look fabulous and deliciously refreshing. A fun night ahead? Let’s party.

Do you have a driver?

Here is one good reason why – will it change your mind about your choice of transportation?

Tarrant County is stepping up their efforts to prevent party-goers from drinking and driving this upcoming New Year’s Eve.

The district attorney’s office will post on its website the names and ages of drivers arrested on suspicion of drunken driving between Friday night and Monday morning.

Would you want to be publicly humiliated in that fashion? Not only is your name listed on a very public website, but if you are arrested for this offense then you are facing trouble with the law, with your family, financially and so on. Is it worth the risk?

I think not.

So instead of drinking and driving this holiday season

Take a cab

Get a hotel

Designate a Driver

Stay home

Don’t drink

Make up your mind before you go out that you are not going to drink and drive. Have a plan. Keep that plan. Put the plan in motion.

You could save your life.

You could save someone else’s life.

No jail time.

No humiliation.

Just don’t do it.

It’s not worth the risk.

It doesn’t take a huge post with lots of writing and mumbo jumbo to get the message across. Do what you know is right and don’t drink and drive.

Enough said.
Happy New Year.

Photo courtesy of FoodChannel.com. Check out Food Channel for great recipes and New Year’s Drinking Do’s and Don’ts.

A Brother’s Bond

When you have children you pray they will get along, love another, coexist in the same environment and most of all be friends. Reed and the boys have a 10+ year age difference – which pretty much eliminates any competition, girl fights or arguments over toys. This is nice!

Reed loves his big brothers Oh! so much! It makes me so incredibly happy each time I see them sharing a special moment, especially when they do not know I am watching them. Those are the best. Pure, unplanned and true.

It is a feeling I can’t quite explain. A feeling of accomplish by me maybe – have I successfully engaged them to where they love one another unconditionally? Nah, they just share a special bond.

Now, do not get me wrong – it’s not all roses and butterflies here. They fight. Battle. Exchange words. Even at three (on the 25th) Reed can hold his own. He does have two older brothers of which  he has watched very carefully every day of their lives over the past three years. They do not give him any slack either – which is why he is so tough and independent.

At the end of the day, they all share a very unique, special bond and always will for years to come. I pray this bond only grows stronger and follows them into their adult lives. That they will always care for one another, can count on the other for help and their lives will forever be connected.

Jingles: Our Elf on the Shelf

Reed is really into all things Christmas this year. It is such a joy to watch him discover Santa Claus, ask for presents for Christmas, decorate the tree and anticipate the arrival of Christmas morning. My favorite part of Christmas since parenthood has always been seeing my kids anxiously await Christmas and the pure joy and delight on their faces when the morning finally arrives. It sends a wave of good, happy holiday warmness through my body and not much compares.

This year we have a new addition in our family which has brought lots of daily excitement. Let me introduce you to Mr. Jingles.

Jingles Elf on the ShelfJingles, our Elf on the Shelf, first came into our lives post-Thanksgiving. Reed has just loved him ever since.

If you are not familiar with the Elf on the Shelf – A Christmas Tradition, then let me tell you a little more about this fun, family tradition.

Have you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice? The Elf on the Shelf – A Christmas Tradition is the very special tool that helps Santa know who to put on the Naughty and Nice list. This interactive holiday hide-and-seek tradition is perfect for children and families of all ages.

The tradition begins when Santa sends his scout elves out to Elf Adoption Centers. Waiting for their families to bring them home, these patient elves hibernate until their family reads The Elf on the Shelf, gives their elf a very special name, and registers their adoption online. Once named, each scout elf will receive its Christmas magic and become a part of the family’s Christmas each and every year. 

Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!

Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot!  While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.

On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy. 

Elf on the Shelf

We have so much fun each morning trying to find where Jingles landed after he returned back home. Reed usually finds him pretty quickly but lately Jingles has been goofing around quite a bit… landing just this morning in the Fruit Loops cereal box and making quite a mess leaving Fruit Loops on the counter to clean up. Silly elf!

We have registered Jingles through the adoption center and have an online scrapbook so that we will have a collection of all his hiding spots, pranks and good times to share and look back on. Reed even received a letter from Santa explaining the Elf tradition and reminding him to behave this holiday season. You can never have to many reminders, right?! In addition, we also received his adoption certificate. We read the book almost every night and even were able to catch the animated version: An Elf Story on TV the evening Mr. Jingles arrived. I am so glad they did the animated show, it is absolutely adorable for one, but I think it sealed the deal for Reed.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? What is his/her name? I would love to hear your story about how your elf came into your lives.