Monday, July 23, 2007

The View From Where I Sit.....

So today I decided it was "time" for a little blogging. My little village of bloggers has been strangely silent as of late. I am confident that this is because of the incessant busy-ness that can dominate in the summer months. I also know that wherever you all are, and whatever it is that you're doing, you're probably having a wonderful time making memories with your respective families. And I look forward to all the reports when life settles down a bit.

We have had storms. Glorious, magnificent, earth-drenching thunderstorms. Like good, old-fashioned Florida squalls that smell divine. One evening, while the children were tucked away upstairs playing, I sneaked out onto the front porch for just a second to deeply inhale of it. Just a second alone.......but alas, Mommies are never alone! Sure enough, Lauren caught me in the act, and was aghast and very indignant that I would be out in a storm. (her daddy has lectured her about staying away from windows, etc., during lightning storms.) She insisted that I come in. I was chastised. "Mommy, maybe sometimes parents should take their children's advice, and come INSIDE during storms!"

During one such storm last week, our computer cable was struck by lightning, despite being plugged in to a surge protector. So, apparently the USB thingy was destroyed, and I can't get online. One reason why I haven't blogged much lately. Today I am using the church computer.

We have begun a new sort of "tradition" around here that is developing into something really special. At the beginning of each month I mark a date for each one of the three older children to have a "date with Daddy" and a "date with Mommy." This means twice each month they are each getting some one-on-one time with each parent These dates are not anything earth-shattering or expensive. Usually involve a carry-out lunch to the park (or, Sophie had her Daddy take her to the local scrapbook store to do a 'craft'; all her idea and very cute!). Anyway, I can't believe how much this practice has affected attitudes and behaviors for the better. While this is intended for just some quality fun, it is also a great opportunity to have good talks about personal concerns and questions. And to share values. When you have a family of six, it's not always easy, but vitally important. We have been glad that the effort has paid off so well.

I'm one of those weirdos who has deprived my children of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. By that, I simply mean that when my kids ask me if those characters are real, I tell them the truth. Not because I'm a stick in the mud or have some conviction against either one; only because I have a hard time keeping up the charade to make my kids believe in something that's only gonna let them down a few years later. For any of you parents who pull off a convincing Santa ruse, more power to you!!! I said all that to say that I have indulged my kids belief in ONE single solitary fairy tale: the Tooth Fairy. Don't know why, exactly. Just don't see the harm in it. And when they ask if there's really a tooth fairy, in good conscience I say of course there is. (I am the Tooth Fairy, after all.) So now you think I'm nuts. It's okay. You've probably suspected for a long time anyway. :) A few days ago, Cameron got a little cut on his finger. It's been bugging him like crazy. Today, we're driving down the road and he pipes up from the back seat, "Mommy, is there a Finger Fairy?". "WHAT in the world are you talking about, boy?!?" He wanted to know if his finger-tip fell off would she take it and get him a new one. Are you all sufficiently concerned for the welfare of my children now??! **I feel I should clarify that I am a lover of and a believer in fairy tales. We read them and enjoy them for exactly what they are. My kids have my genes are well-rounded in their dramatic and imaginative capabilities. This disclaimer is compliments of Marty's chiding~I think she has me pictured as the mother on the original Miracle on 34th Street!!**

Reagan has been enjoying his first servings of cereal, and eats from his spoon like a little pro. He's five months now and a big 'ole boy. So I started him on solids a little sooner than the others. He's also been getting his exercise in his new Exersaucer that his Jam bought him. I have great pics of these momentous events, but they're on my own aforementioned computer that is wounded. I wonder if Reagan will have a more difficult time in life when everywhere he goes and everything he does won't draw a crowd to celebrate it. Around here, his every move is "oohed and ahhhed" over by his brother and sisters. They think he is really something great. And he loves them dearly in return. Lights up like a Christmas tree (oh, yes..I DO allow one of those!) whenever they come around.

So that is a little of the view from where I sit. Hope you've found something enjoyable in it!

Blessings on you all this week.

16 comments:

Sonja said...

Thanks ever so much for the report. You're right, the community has been a bit quiet lately. Probably actually a good sign. We have lives outside the blogging world! :) Anyway, bravo to you and Derek for the "date" thing. My dad did this with Brent and I pretty religiously. (We still do it from time to time.) And it made a huge impact on our lives. I know that you guys are making memories that will stay with your kids forever, and they are hearing things from you that will stick with them for life.

So...you're the Tooth Fairy! I've always wondered who she was. :) Love ya!

Marty said...

Wow Tara,

Now that was a HEAVY blog! Where do I start...NO SANTA CLAUSE? What are you thinking? You are to use the same "logic" that you are using for the tooth fairy...YOU AND DAD are Santa Clause...I found that Dr. Dobson has a good point to the whole "make believe" thing. Look it up and read it! Ha! Listen, I'm not a parent who lies to their children either. We make sure that our children understand that Christmas is when we celebrate Christ's birth, and it is fun also to celebrate Christmas with the idea of a Santa Claus. My boys if their were to tell the truth, they know he doesn't exsist...but I like them using their imagination to wonder about a flying deer! Ha! I really don't find to many children that are devasted when they find out the truth...they are just happy to get new toys!
NO, I'm not offended that you choose to omit the santa thing! Just interesting how contradicitive your reasoning is! OOOOHHHH, I will get a response about this one! Please NO ONE get offended by imput! Remember, I HATE ZOO's! (Sorry, Sonja!)

Can't believe that Reagan is getting so old! Can't wait to see pics!

Sorry this comment is so long....Enjoy thinking of a good comment for me! Love ya!

Toots said...

I was paying bills online and thought I'd do a real quick skim of a few blogs. Enjoyed your newsy post. Sounds like you're making some wonderful memories with your precious little ones, taking good advantage of the time you have them under your influence. It goes so fast.
It has been crazy around here! I hope to post again once camp is over.
Blessings!

Tara said...

WOW! Quick responses here; I guess we're all blog-deprived! Good to hear from you all as always.

NOW MARTY...my dear friend...you have misunderstood my comments about the fair Santa. Either that or I really did a poor communicating job! I am well aware of Dobson's stand on it, and whatever's good for Dobson is sure good enough for me. I mean only that I don't have the energy for playing the Santa game. Tooth fairy is MUCH easier. Round up some change and sneak it under a pillow. I thought I made this clear; I am not trying to be contradictory in my reasoning. I have only chosen to play one and not the other. I have nothing against Santas. And have shared the story of the 'real' St. Nicholas with my kids. So they know where the legend comes from and why it's still fun for so many people to think about. Christmas is such a prime time to focus on other things that Santa is not one of them in this house. Like I said before, if you have the energy for Santa, go for it!! WHEW! I did not realize I was opening a can of worms here: just looking for a creative way to share my "finger fairy" story and look what it gets me~ HA!

AnitaD said...

Okay...do you want to hear about a blonde childhood moment?

My Dad was very strict about making sure I didn't believe Santa was real. He simply said, Santa is fake. So, when I saw Santa in the mall with children sitting on his lap....I thought he was a robot. :/

Tara said...

Ha! LOL! Thanks for the laugh, Anita! I'm glad to hear from you. I was gonna visit your blog to make sure you're okay: seeing coverage of the terrible flooding in England. Is this near you?

Kimberly said...

Loved the finger story...and I really don't have much of an opinion about Santa/etc.:)

It has seemed quiet lately..but maybe good to "break" the addiction a little..afraid it hasn't worked, though:)

Really enjoyed the storm paragraph..great writing! Definately appreciate your view! Love Ya!

Kim M. said...

Hey I can understand about Santa. We have always allowed our boys to believe in Santa, but I had this big conversation last Christmas with Michael about how we at least needed to "minimize" his importance. We always emphasized Jesus, but I want Him to be more exalted. Not saying there is anything wrong with Santa either, but I want to have some new and better traditions that lift up Jesus to greater heights in the eyes of my boys. I really am not saying that I will completely boot Santa out the door but he will be only a small part of it if he stays. Thankfully I still have a few months to think about what I want to do. I have heard of several neat ideas anywhere from having a birthday party for Jesus to nailing a special nail to the Christmas tree in remembrance of why Jesus came in the first place. Not sure if I will use either of those but they were good ideas. We will see I guess. Thanks for directing my thoughts in that direction. Cute finger fairy story! Justin just lost a tooth the other day so I'll have to tell him about that one.

Kelly S said...

Hi Tara. You're right, it has been quiet and I've missed everybody and missed blogging myself! It's so fun hearing updates such as this. It gives us just a little glimpse into your life and your family. Fun.

I guess I'm wierd too and don't do the Santa thing. Actually, I too do the tooth fairy, but my kids have figured out it's me.

Marty - you hate zoo's?!

Juwah said...

Tara;

I think Santa is evil and he's really a terrorist trying to take over the world!! :) I couldn't resist. I do have to disagree with Marty on the fact that convincing kids of Santa is just as easy as convincing them of the Tooth Fairy(hereafter referred to as TF). It has to be easier to keep up the TF ruse. After all, you don't have to explain how the TF gets to everyone's house in the whole world in one night, why there is one on every corner on the same day, at the same time, and the TF requires no chimney. She is much easier to fake kids through.
Dr. Dobson stopped by my house and we had coffee and he evaluated my kids and told me that he didn't think even a belief in Santa could help them. "They haven't a chance at being normal anyway with parents like theirs". Honest, that's what Jim-Bob James Dobson said.

Tara said...

Well, I confess I hadn't intended for this to be a sort of Christmas debate post; I did, after all, have other things that I talked about! But this was the sound-byte for the day, so I will jump in.
A couple of things we have done for the Advent season is to recognize with our children why we have the tradition of gift-giving. We're blessed to receive gifts in honor of someone else's Birthday! Year by year, we've been trying to 'take it down a notch' with the level of gifts. It's a little hard to do because our kids are the only ones in the family and tend to be lavished upon quite a bit! But even my parents have recognized the need for scaling it down and last year was especially good for quality vs. quantity. Derek and I sort of feel like even Jesus only got 3 gifts, so what's good for Him is good for our young'uns too! We typically do 3 gifts each. One main nice gift and then 2 others. So that's our take on that.

I also want to share about something else that we've started that we really enjoyed as a whole family. I had picked up some literature at our local Christian bookstore, and we decided to try it. It's called Operation Christmas Child. It's under the umbrella of Samaritan's Purse (Franklin Grahams' org.). This is where you fill up shoe boxes with all sorts of creative small gifts and things we take for granted, like toothbrushes, socks, soap, etc. Then there is a National Collection Week in November all over the country. You drop off your shoebox(es), and they are shipped all over the world to needy children. I even saw some coverage of the Gaither Homecoming group distributing some of these boxes with Frankin Graham in S.Africa last year. It's very moving. Our children VERY MUCH enjoyed shopping for the items, packing the box, dropping it off at the location center near us, and then imagining the little child who would open it. They prayed for that child faithfully last year to know the love of God through the love that we had 'packed' into that box.
So that's an idea some of you may find of interest. Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!

jenny said...

In regards to thunderstorms: we sorta missed the lecturing the kids about standing at the window during thurderstorms instruction with our kids. Thankfully the tree that fell in our last storm did not hit ME and the kids who were standing at the window to watch the hail. I've got one little meteorologist who was mightily interested. What can I say there must be blond roots somewhere under these dark tresses--why look at Isaac, he's snow white blond--now there's the proof!

In regards to Santa: yea, we've never done him either. Not from any moral high ground but just because in general it seems to be hard to separate him from materialistic motives. Celebrating St. Nick's day comes earlier in December and truly is a great story about helping others.

Glad to see you back, Tara, I was worried maybe you weren't feeling well again. So glad to hear it was "only" the computer. I can definitely relate on the computer woes--I am still highlighting to read your text, proof I am a LOYAL "gentle reader".

Marty said...

I knew I would get everyone awake with my comments! I SO GOT what you were trying to communicate, Tara. I just thought that I would play devil's advicate...and it worked! (I'm learning alot from Larry's habit) I like to see where comments will lead the discussions! I know Tara and Derek are well rounded parents and have not deprived their children of ANYTHING that they need to grow up to be well balanced Christian Adults! I'm sorry, blog world, if I came across negative toward Tara's decisions for her parenting! NEVER MY INTENTIONS! Please forgive me?! Love you Tara!!! Unfortunetly, those who know me well know that I share my opinion far to often, this time only in jest! It is hard in this 'bloggin' world to know the attitude behind the words...if we were all sitting around a room I think my point would have gotten a few pillows thrown at me in laughter!

Ok, now that issue is all clear....

Toots said...

I just have to jump back in with a Christmas suggestion that our family thoroughly enjoyed and plan to do again as soon as we can. One Christmas(2005) we suggested to my folks and my brother and wife that we take the money we'd normally spend on gifts (plus a little extra) and take a Christmas trip together. We didn't buy any gifts that year, but my girls have memories for a lifetime, and they would do it again any year! They loved it. Even though my family is all in the same town, we so seldom are together-just the 8 of us-for any extended period of time. It was a special ten days.
We flew to south Texas-Houston-and rented a mini van, stayed most of the time in Corpus Christi (right on the beach), visited Padre Island and San Antonio. It was wonderful. That year helped us break out of the (too many gifts) syndrome, and our girls still talk about it fondly...just in case someone might be looking for another option. : )

Juwah said...

Tara;

I was laughing last night with Matt about the fact that your blog wasn't even about Christmas and look where it went? :) We do the 3 gift thing too. It's just another reminder to our little guys of what we are celebrating. The gifts are even a reminder of Jesus. BTW, is there a Finger Fairy? If so, I know a few people who have been ripped off.(Toot's Bro. and Pop to name a few) I would think in your house there would be a foot fairy, since you have such an obsession with feet. (I'm feeling for you Lauren)

Marty;

I think you were understood, at least on my part, my comment was the "verbal pillow" being thrown your way. :)


Jenny;

I've been blaming my hubby for our boys being blonde, but it makes perfect sense that perhaps the blondeness comes from their mother after all. Thanks for this revelation.

Tara said...

Marty: Not to worry...been friends too long for a little verbal sparring to be an issue.:) Besides, it's really nothing new if I remember correctly......!!!!!!

Jenny: I am very sorry that you missed in Parenting 101 about storm lecturing to your children. I hope they are not traumantized for life! Seriously, though, when reminded about your tree debacle I realize that my front porch excursion might not have been so smart after all. Maybe parents SHOULD take their kids advice!

Laura: I think your family trip was a great idea. My family has kicked that notion around several times. This year we're giving it a little bit of a trial run; we're all going to FL together the first week in December, not necessarily in lieu of gifts, but definitely planning to cut back on them! Thanks for sharing your story; Texas sounds like a fun, unique destination for a family trip.

Julia: Thanks for the laughs on both comments! I was just imagining the thoughts going through your conniving little brain! :) What a hoot that the B***ey men have been ripped off from the Finger Fairy! That cracked me up!
BTW, if I didn't have the Slickmans coming this weekend and a bridal shower I'm giving Keri next wkend, I would have loved to come for a couple days to Camp. I should really do better planning. Hope it's a good camp for ya'll.