Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yeah, We're THOSE Parents

Today I was reading a few posts on Facebook.  Yes, I still get on it.  Yes, I like it, a lot.  I'm also my daughter's secretary & administrative assistant, so I have to get on to update her business page.  :)  There has been some chatter about cell phones and social media on Facebook the last few days.

ESPN did a story about Madison Holleran, a U of Penn runner that committed suicide.  Everyone was shocked because on her Instagram page she looked so happy.  Hey everyone, news flash here, most people only let you see their "good side" on social media.  Do I post pics of myself or my fam looking bad?  Of course I don't.  (well, except when I posted one of Henry getting his braces & he had that mouth thing in, but it was hilarious!)  Do I want people to think I've got it all together all the time?  Of course I do!  For those of you who already didn't know, social media is not real life.  For those who post selfies, how many do you have to take until you get the "perfect" one?

I mentioned above that I really like social media.  You know why?  I can see pictures and videos of friends and their children.  I can find a good _________ (fill in the blank) in my town.  I can sell things on FB trading sites.  It's great.  Their are lots of pitfalls as well.  Social media will suck your time down a black hole.  It can make you feel "less than" others.  It can make you feel left out and unloved by friends, or you can find out people you thought were friends are not really friends at all!  And that last sentence is the most hurtful of all!  

I'm about to tell you a little about how Hopson & I parent, so if you don't want to read it, just skip to the last paragraph.  If you're interested or just a little curious, by all means, read on!  We are strict about cell phones & social media.  There are some rules that we have that we don't bend on, and we have very specific reasons behind them. So, here you go.

Cell phones:

  • If you are a child in our home, you don't get a cell phone until you turn 12.  Would it have been better for Henry to have one at 10, yes.  He's the youngest of 4 & I was driving around all over town & it would have helped if I could text him to let him know I was going to be a few minutes late, but if you're not 12, no phone, period.
  • A cell phone is not = to a smart phone.  You can have a flip phone when you turn 12, not a smart phone.  I don't care if it costs the same or less, and I don't care if you're the only person in middle school without one.  I can't think of one good reason for a tween to have a smart phone. 
  • You can get your first smart phone when you are a senior in high school.  There are several reasons for this.  
  1. You can text from a regular phone, and that's all you really need to do.  You can check email when you get home.   
  2. You need to spend more time talking face to face with your friends, not playing games or getting on YouTube or Instagram or Facebook or Snap Chat.  Look them in the eyes and converse with them, I know it's a novel idea, but you ought to try it, because it's really amazing!
  3. You're not going to use all our data up watching stupid videos or playing games when you could be talking and playing face to face with your friends.
Social media:

  • You may have a Facebook and Instagram account when you enter high school.  I will be your first friend & if you don't like it, so sorry.  (not really)  You can only get on it from a home computer anyway.  Do people really like seeing 5K duck faced selfies?  There are a lot of studies about selfies & what it's doing to this generation...makes for some interesting reading.
  • You don't need to be on social media all day.  Hence, why no smart phone until you're a senior.  I had someone tell me that they were astonished at how much time tweens and teens spend on their smart phones.  It has handicapped their social skills.  Don't believe me, just sit back and watch.  When you tell a group of teens to talk, they equate it with being on their phones.  It's like they're two years old again & are engaging in parallel play.  The whole goal when children are 2 is to help them engage in appropriate interactive play.  Playing WITH someone, not beside them.  Don't believe me, just watch.

Yes, Hopson and I realize that we are those parents.  If I've offended you with this post, first off I would tell you that what you do with your kids is your business.  Second, I would ask you why you're offended.  These are the policies for our fam.  We have found that they have helped our children be able to converse in an adult's world.  We found that it has helped them not be narcissistic & realize that the world doesn't revolve around them.  But that's another post for another time.

Celebrating life!
~ashley  

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coming Up for Air

It's May.  If you are a mom with multiple children at home, you know what that means.  It means it's crazy, and you don't know your name; your children's names; or really what day it is.  Most of my mom friends will tell you May is worse than December.  We all have to stick together to make it through to the last weeks of school, sports, dance, graduation etc.!

Sports teams are starting to wrap up.  If you had rain outs during your season you very well could end up with 4 games in a week...because we all have time for that.  There are team parties, coach's & team mom gifts.  Don't forget teacher gifts, dance teacher gifts, bible study leader gifts, Sunday school teacher gifts...well, you get the idea.  If you have a graduating senior, hold on tight, because it's a world wind that everyone just expects you to know about.  Parties, gifts, gifts and parties, there's a little school thrown in too.

Today, I sat down for 2 minutes and came up for a little air.  I was about to read my online hometown daily news & it dawned on me, today is May 7th.  May 7th doesn't have the dread it once did.  It's a day I have to really think about remembering.  23 years ago today my dad passed away.  You've read the story.  Wow, 23 years.  He's be dead for more years of my life than alive.  Yes, I know it's a depressing thought.  But you know what I've learned?  Life goes on.  I can sit around and wallow in my grief or I can remember him with a smile, be thankful I had as much time with him as I did, and see him reflected in the life that is around me.

First off, he and Hopson would have gotten along so well.  I could really see them doing things together.  My dad was a fixer and builder, and so is Hopson.  They both love the lake and Auburn.  I know daddy would have loved my husband.  I know he would love being around his grandchildren.  I think he would love that Hop is not afraid to branch out and try different things, that he is about to be a junior at Auburn and loving life as a college student at his alma mater.  I think he would love that Harry is going to be an Auburn freshman in the fall & would laugh at his crazy personality, and how he can work a room.  I think he would be giddy that his granddaughter, Elizabeth, is tough and sweet at the same time (and doesn't do to shabby in the classroom).  I think he would love that Henry is named after him and loves to build and fix things like he did.  I try to keep him alive to my kids.  He may be gone, but he's not forgotten or unloved.

So, now that I've come up for air, it's time to dive back into the pool & rock the rest of this month.  I do have a graduating senior... :)  Remembering with a happy heart full of love!

Celebrating life!
~ashley

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fighting & Winning

This is going to be short & sweet b/c it's April, and it's lacrosse season, and I have about a million and one things that have to be done tonight.  Know I have lots of postings rolling around in my head, but not enough hours in the day to sit down and spit them out. :)  With all that & a graduating senior that is just the way it is.

Here are a few big things:

  • 1st ~ So proud of my alma mater & my kids' high school!  They raised over $250K for Relay for Life.  That's over a quarter of a million dollars y'all!  Since both of my parents died from different forms of cancer, I'm super excited about how this money will be used for research.  Speaking of research, if you haven't seen the new immuno- treatment breakthroughs for certain kinds of brain tumors & skin cancer, google them.  Exciting things for sure.   

  • 2nd ~ I met an amazing young mom of three that has tested positive for the Alzheimer's Dominantly Inherited Gene.  You can read about Carrie here.  She is an amazing woman fighting for Alzheimer's patients everywhere.  We always think about how it's older people that suffer from Alzheimer's, but that is not the truth.  

I hope you have all thawed out from winter & are enjoying a beautiful spring.  It's been raining here so much we thought our toes were going to begin to web.  :)  I need to give 2 birthday shout outs!  1 to my sister Amy (29 & holding) & 1 to my niece LJ, who is 1 today.  Love you both bunches & hope that you have had great days.

Celebrating life & fighting hard & winning big!
~ashley

Sunday, March 8, 2015

When I Grow Up

For the last 24 hours, Harry has had the Real Care baby from his Family Consumer Science Class.  He came in my bathroom this morning asking if we could watch church from home.  He REALLY didn't want to walk into church with a baby doll in an infant carrier.  Reluctantly, we decided to watch church & it's a good thing we did.  The baby decided to cry three different times during the service.

If you're not familiar with the Real Care Baby, it is supposed to simulate...a real baby.  (insert shocked face with wide eyes)  It cries, and you have to figure out if it:  needs to be fed, or needs its diaper & clothes changed.  (hold on the baby just started crying.  Ok, I'm back.  She is hungry.)   It goes off at random times.  Some people have babies that will wake up a ton during the night & others have quite a bit of work during the day.

Now in reality, this is just a taste of what parents go through when they bring a newborn home.  There is so much no one tells you.  But after "babysitting" while Harry is at work, I've found out that I'm going to be a great mom when I grow up.  I've had an easy time with this baby.She sleeps and eats well and doesn't need to be burped.  She hasn't needed a second diaper change immediately after I just put on a new diaper.  I haven't been barfed, pooped or tee-teed on while I've been babysitting.  I don't really need to talk or sing to her.  I don't need to hold or bounce her.  If she cries, it will only be one of three things that she needs.  Cake.Walk.

I'd like to see some of these kids with a baby that wakes up every hour and a half to be fed or one that has colic.  (Ashley M. I'm thinking about all the walking Jim did with Hannah.)  Hold on again, the baby is starting to cry.  Diaper...  Anyway, this has been good practice for a mom that hasn't had to deal with a baby in a long time.  My baby will be 13 in June so I'm a little rusty.  But, at least I know I could pass the Real Baby Challenge.  :)

Celebrating Life & rockin' the momma thing,
~ashley

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Time Offers Great Perspective

My dad, close to the same age
as Hopson is in the
picture below.
The day my dad passed away he was 44 years, 1 month & 15 days old.  It's amazing how time offers perspective.  A 20 year old sees their 40+ parents as a little aged.  Yeah, they have their moments when you can see them as they were 20 years ago, but they are still old.  Time has made that 44 years seem younger and younger.  I'm sure my kiddos think Hopson & I are older than dirt.  Hopson & I don't make a habit of acting like we did in our 20's in front of our children.  So, I guess in some ways were are old mature.  :)  I've been thinking about all the different aspects of this for the last few weeks.  I was so distracted by it one day that I may or may not have accidentally run a red light.  

February 15th Hopson will be 44 years, 1 month & 15 days old.  The exact age as my dad was May 7, 1992.  The day of his death.  Hop is the same age I was, Harry the same age as my sister Amy & Henry is the same age as Cotton.  I can't imagine losing Hopson at the age he is now.  There is so much life we have to live together.  There is so much we have to do.  We have children to raise and grandchildren (God willing) to spoil.  We have trips to take and life, precious life.

I can't image my mom's heartbreak.  She had known my dad since they were 5.  They dated throughout high school; were married when they were 20; and became parents at 24.  They had bumps along the way as all marriages do, but they stuck by each other for better or for worse.  I watched my mom care for my dad for 3 years as his health declined.  I watched her honor him in his last months, weeks and days.  I saw their love when I was home, and I saw her comforting people after he died.

Hopson close to the
same as my dad
pictured above.
So, to honor my parents and to honor Hopson on his 44th year, 1 month & 15th day I am choosing to live.  Live the life my parents didn't get to.  I will love a little bigger and laugh a little longer.  I will not take this day for granted.  I will live this day because I'm not promised tomorrow.  One of my desires is that my children can look back on their childhood and say they were raised in a home full of love and laughter; and that they were taught valuable lessons that will carry them through life.  I hope it is a family tradition they will pass on to their children.

I want to do all this "because the greatest of these is love".

Celebrating LIFE,
~ashley

  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Woman, Know Thyself

This is an older pic but it's one of my faves.
My favorite daughter, E.
Yesterday I posted Rules to Date my Son.  I'm sure some people didn't think it was very funny.  Was it meant to be satirical?  Yes.  Was it meant to be serious?  Yes.  Hopson said I was a little heavy on making my sons' girlfriends miserable.  (Note to self, 1x is plenty.  And, I'm not really going to be that mean, yeesh.)  I don't want or like to be mean.  It takes to much energy.  I like to be the happy me.  :)  See, I'm smiling...sorry, rabbit trail.

We are living in an age where there are many who want to feminize men.  We want them to express their feelings.  We want them to be more nurturing.  Well, if a guy is already that way, great.  But if he's not naturally that way, don't try to force him to change.  (Hence Rule #6)  I don't expect the young ladies who date my sons to be more manly.  It's just silly to expect the sexes to be the same.  We're different.  And different is good.  It's a great thing when two different people can work together to make marriage and family run smoothly.  I don't feel threatened in the slightest that Hopson is better than me at a lot of things, because I'm better than him in other things.

Lest you find me a hypocrite, know that the rules listed for dating my sons, are being taught to Elizabeth.  We want her to be those things listed to the man she marries.  We want her to bring honor to her new family.  We want them to love her because she is a kind, loving and a strong woman.  We want her to be confident with herself to know who she is and that she has a lot to offer, and not be afraid to express her opinions.  If you need a great example of what we want for our sons, and what we want Elizabeth to be, see Proverbs 31:10-31.  We want her in-laws to feel fortunate that their son found such a wonderful young lady.

I was talking to the best hairdresser in the world, who just happens to be mine, and who has been cutting my hair since I was 8.  She has always given me sound motherly advice about life, love and raising boys.  Her second son was just married a few weeks ago; her oldest son has been married for 1 year, and you should hear her gush about her new daughters.  She loves them.  Like, you're now part of my family, and you are my daughter now too.  You know why?  Because on the rules list, they pass all the things listed.  Her new daughters bring honor to her sons & their family.  That's what I want.  I want the love in my family to grow as we add new members.

Isn't that what all parents want for their children?  I understand that I will be entrusting the love and care of my son to another woman, and that I have to let go of being the #1 woman in his life.  And I'm ok with that as long as she is a woman who knows herself and knows how to love him as a man, faults and all.

Celebrating life & living out love,
~ashley




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sister, You Got Rules Too


Hop & some of his Dance Marathon
friends in college.
 Everywhere on the web you can find rules to date my daughter.  And, I do mean everywhere.  When you start typing "rules to date" in Google, 4 of the 5 will be female related.  It's true, we do have to watch out for our daughters, but in all honesty, I'm also worried about my sons.

The one & only Harry...
Sometimes you don't see straight when the love goggles are on.  We've told all our children that if we say something about someone  you bring home to meet us, it's not that we don't like them.  We may see a level of crazy that you can't see through said goggles.  Hopson & I are pretty doggone good at finding crazy.  And no, in this case it's not "it takes one to know one".  We're weird, not crazy; they are two very different things.  But beware to all who come to my home, I'll find out if you're crazy...

Henry (on the right) & his friend Ethan.
I think the reason I think about my boys dating, is because there are some skanky (and crazy) girls out there who just want to land a husband.  Let me tell you girls something, we're raising MOG around here, and, rule #1, if you can't figure out what a MOG is, stay away from my boys.  My boys are special to me & I consider them gifts from God, so if you're a bad girl, keep you mitts off.




Here are some rules I've come up with if you want to date any of my 3 sons.

  1. We're raising MOG, if you don't know what that is, my boys are not for you.
  2. If you are high maintenance, a drama queen or diva, my boys are not for you.
  3. If you are materialistic, don't let the door hit you on your way out.  Nobody has time for that.
  4. Respect is something that is earned and is mutual, and is very easy to lose.  Earn yours.  
  5. I expect my son to treat you like a lady because he has been raised to be a gentleman.  So, make sure you act like a lady.
  6. My sons are not girly, so don't expect them to act that way.  They can carry your purse and even talk about feelings every once in a while, but some things need to be between you & your girlfriends.
  7. My sons are not your doormat.  If you even think about treating them as such, I can make your life miserable. :)
  8. I love social media & I know A LOT of people.  I will stalk you & ask everyone & their brother about you.  If I see/hear anything I don't like, bye bye.
  9. We want to get to know you, so don't be shy.  If you're acting sketchy, I'll assume you're hiding something & I will have to find out what you are hiding. (refer back to rule #8)
  10. Trust me when I say that I can be intentionally & extremely mean.  If you even think about hurting my boys, I will make your life miserable. :)
  11. My son was not put on this earth to be your sole means of entertainment.  (or ATM)  Make sure you have some sort of a life in case he decides you are not for him.
  12. Remember I loved him first, and you have to earn my trust before I will let you have him full time.  
There you go.  Those are the first 12 rules I could think of.  I'm sure y'all could add many more.  I could have added that I have a gun, but the B factor is just as effective, maybe even more.  :)   This list is meant to be somewhat funny & also serious.  I want my sons to have happy healthy marriages to wonderfully Godly women.  They deserve nothing less.

Celebrating life & loving my boys,
~ashley