How to Entertain a Toddler on an Airplane

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Don’t Do It

Alright y’all, I am about to give you some very good advice. If you have more than one child, especially more than one young child, you really need to listen to what I am about to say. I can’t really relate if you only have one child because I don’t remember what that’s like. Did we ever only have one child?? Oh yeah, for about 7 months until I found I was pregnant with baby boy #2. 

Needless to say, I don’t remember much about that concept, but I’m sure if you only have one child you may be able to relate to what I’m about to tell you as well.

Ready? Ok, here goes. If you have a trip planned, and it is in drivable distance, DRIVE. For the love of all that is holy, do not fly with those people (i.e. your kids) if you don’t have to. And when I say drivable distance, I mean anything up to around 10 hours or so. For real. I drive ten hours with my one and two year old’s on a regular basis, by myself, and it is quite doable. Flying with them, with my husband there to help = JESUS. AND. WINE. It is not doable.

Ok, it’s doable, but it will seriously make you rethink this parenthood thing, only, it’s way too late to rethink this parenthood thing, so just don’t do it. 

Y’all, if you drive, they are RESTRAINED!! Need I say more? And if you tell me there are seat belts on planes or that you can put your child’s car seat on the airplane, you’ve never had two toddler boys where one has his own seat and one is “in arms.”

Exceptions

Exceptions to this rule: You have one child, or you have girls. I have quickly learned yes, there is a huge difference in boys and girls, and unless you have both or have been around both on a consistent basis, you probably think I have no idea what I’m talking about.

I keep telling myself that boys are hard while they’re younger and will grow up to be easy, but girls are easy while they’re younger and then their parents will have to deal with all their nonsense when they’re older; therefore, I’m just getting the nonsense over sooner rather than later. Sorry parent’s of girls, I forewarned ya. If you have both and know this actually isn’t true, please don’t rain on my parade and tell me I’m wrong. Thanks in advance.

Seriously?

My husband seriously asked me if I wanted to meet him in Orlando at the end of his conference so we could take the boys to Disney World. Yeah, that sounds great and all, except for the fact that I’d be flying with them both by myself. No thank you. Have you ever tried to change a toddlers diaper on an airplane? Much less two toddler’s diapers because let’s face it, I’m not letting the “potty-trained” toddler wear underwear on the airplane. And y’all, that’s just the diaper changing issue. Don’t get me started on all the other issues. I’m pretty sure I looked at Chad like he had about six heads. He got the memo pretty quickly. Next time, Disney World. Next time being when they are capable of going to the bathroom by themselves on the airplane, and, or when we live somewhere that is in the before mentioned drivable distance to Disney World.

Believe it or not, the whole point of this article is how to keep toddlers entertained on an airplane, if I haven’t scared you from trying it yet. Both of our boys have actually flown several times, so you’d think we would have it down by now, but not quite so much; however, I have had a few friends recently ask me how they should keep their kids entertained on their upcoming flights, so I started thinking I should just write down my suggestions and share. 

Can I add that one of those friends kids did well and one of those friends kids slept on the first flight? Maybe it’s time I just start coming to terms with the fact that maybe it’s just my kids? 

Airplane Activities

Now, I must say, I personally think these are all great ideas, and if we had one child, or only girls, or toddlers that weren’t uh hmm… spirited, they may work better. I must say though, I really think for our upcoming flight next week (please start praying for us now), I am going to rock this whole flying with toddlers thing. Side note: the only reason we are flying is because it is a 15+ hour drive to see my husband’s family in Kentucky, so that’s when I give in and we fly. 

Here’s what I have in the Mary Poppins’ Airplane bag for our flight:

  1. Finger Crayons – Ok, I mean these are just way cooler than regular crayons, and they’ve never used them before, so they’ll be amazed by them. Don’t forget a coloring book or paper – mental note to self, I haven’t packed that yet! We always take crayons with us wherever we go, and we always get at least a few minutes of entertainment out of them.
  2. Grab and Go Book to Color – I know I just said crayons, but if you can’t find finger crayons, get one of these grab and go color books. They’re already in a bag that zips, which is perfect for a plane ride!
  3. The 3 Little Pigs Felt Book – So this was actually a steal I found at Target, and I can’t seem to find the same one online, but you can google “felt story books” and there are many things that come up. Plus, if you’re super creative and a mom of the year, you can make your own. In this house, ain’t nobody got time for that!

  4. Felt Counting Pizza – This was another Target steal that I can’t find online, but this one would be super easy to make, and even though I said, “ain’t nobody got time for that,” I could/would make this one pretty quickly. Motor skills, math, interactive – check, check, check! Toddlers love to learn new things, so learning activities are great for little ones. If you have an elementary kid, maybe not so much. Just give them your iPad.
  5. Play N’ Learn Puzzle Pairs – So I know you’re thinking a puzzle on a plane, no way, but hear me out. These are puzzle pairs, meaning there are only two pieces to each puzzle, so you can give your child 2-3 puzzle pairs at a time, let them match, then give them 2-3 more pairs. We have these and these.
  6. Glow Sticks – New pack of glow sticks? Yes, please. They can enjoy popping them to make all of the colors show up, they can connect them and make bracelets, they can wave them in the air like they just don’t care. Bottom line, kids love glow sticks. This will knock a few more minutes off of our in air time countdown.
  7. Gel clings – Ok, this one is a must. Get a window seat and give the child these! If you have a Target, you can usually always find some in Bullseye’s Playground. This will knock more than a few minutes off the clock, unless your toddler puts everything in his mouth like our 19 month old, then they may eat them all, but really, this one has been a lifesaver for us. Get over your germ issues, they will drop them on the floor, and they will be nasty, but let’s remember the end goal here: minutes. off. the clock.
  8. Painter’s Tape – I’ve written a few times about painter’s tape and how my kids love it, but really, they love it. Give them pieces of painter’s tape and let them stick it to everything around them. It comes off easily with no residue. Cheap entertainment.
  9. Don’t forget your go-to’s that you know your kids love – Download some apps on your phone, download their favorite movie on your iPad, buy a sticker book, and let them put stickers all over you. They think it’s hilarious.
  10. SNACKS – When all else fails, bring out the ridiculous bag of snacks you always carry with you as a mom because snacks are always a win!

Bonus Tips

I also must say that I think part of what will make this successful is that the boy’s have not seen the majority of these activities yet, and they won’t until we get on the flight. New things are always more exciting than things they’ve seen before!

Also, I bought this handy, dandy, organizer that has these great pockets to put everything into! All I have to do is put the folder down into our carry on, and we are set to go! Think about all of the stuff you’d take for entertainment, and one folder organizer really doesn’t take up much more room.

For more great ideas, go check out my mom blogger friend at Beautifully Imperfect Mama, and see how she entertained her little one on their last flight when reality set in!

Wish us Luck

So wish us look, say a prayer or two, and I’ll let you know how our next plane adventure goes 🙂 How do you keep your toddlers entertained on an airplane?

Disclaimer: I don’t really think I have it harder than girl parent’s or parent’s of only one child. Parenthood is hard regardless of the gender of how many there are! I’m simply bringing humor to the reality of life with wild, toddler boys. 

The Greatest List of Summer

The Greatest list of Summer Must Reads

Hey y’all! I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring you some summer blogs you must read! This is a list of great summer recipes, activities, travel advice and more to help make your summer months easier and more enjoyable. Scroll through the list and be sure to click the links below to see their amazing summer blogs!

Recipes

 

Easy Peasy Pinwheels | A Boy and His Mom

Link: http://aboyandhismom.com/recipe/pinwheels/

With summer parties and BBQs in full swing, here’s an easy recipe that the other guests will not only enjoy but ask you to bring again.


Quick and Easy Freezer Pops | Happily Ever Hauser

Link: http://www.happilyeverhauser.com/2017/06/10/freezer-pop-party-favors/

Summer is here!! This means celebrations, birthday parties, BBQs and more! Here’s a quick and easy party favor idea to add to your next summer gathering!


Summer Italian Treat: Affogato | Viva la Dolce

Link: http://www.vivaladolce.com/2017/06/summer-italian-treat-affogato.html?m=1

The summer is here and that means sunshine and lots of gelato (ice cream)! Check out this delicious recipe for an Italian twist on the classic summer treat!


Summer Crab Salad Recipe | Ordinary Stephanie

Link: http://ordinarystephanie.com/summer-crab-salad-recipe/

Summer is here and the temperatures are already rising!! If you are looking for a yummy and fresh salad recipe check out this one out! After all, who wants to turn on the oven or stove on these hot summer days? Enjoy!

Summer Activities

Disneyland Time-Saving Tips from a Local Mom | Mom and Carrot

Link: https://momandcarrot.com/disneyland-time-saving-secrets-from-a-local-mom/

Are you heading to the Disneyland resort this summer? Here are great tips from a local mom for seeing the resort when you are short on time, including how to beat food lines and how to go through security check-points quicker. This post will help you see more and do more on your next trip!


Minimalistic Beach Days | Live Love Learn Gracefully

Link: http://livelovelearngracefully.com/minimalistic-beach-days/

Whether you live at the beach or visit one throughout the summer, beach days are a blast on hot summer days! If you add kids to the mix, you’ll more than likely be taking everything but the kitchen sink with you! Here are some tips and my top 5 favorite things to take to the beach!

Disney Summer Play Days | New Adventures in Mommyhood

Link https://newadventuresinmommyhood.wordpress.com/

The summer is a great time to take on new adventures and try some new activities; specially as the kiddos start to get restless.

Did you know that the Disney Store offers a free annual summer long weekly event?


5 Things to Research Before You Head Out This Summer | A Life with a Little

Link: http://www.alifewithalittle.com/2017/06/19/5_things_research_summer_activities/

This summer means fun in the sun, barbecues and hot dogs, cool drinks, exploring with the kids, and enjoying some much needed relaxation. But before you get out in the sun, check out this list of 5 things you should research BEFORE you head out on your summer plans! Here are 5 things you might not think to research about the places you’ll go, so give it a look and see what you need to think about before the kids drag you out of the house!

Fun Activities At Home

#PayFunForward Summer Fun – Surprise Packs | Travels With Tots

Link: https://travelswithtotsblog.com/2017/06/12/payfunforward-summer-fun-surprise-packs/

Summer is finally here and it’s a great time to spread some cheer around your neighborhood! Here’s how we did it and how you can, too!


Summer Activities for Kids at Home | Jesus and Wine

Link: http://jesusandwine.com/summer-activities-to-do-at-home/

Summer is officially here, and we’re celebrating by listing 10 different summer activities you can do with your kids at home this summer! The best part? They’re inexpensive, involve little prep work, and they’re great for kids of any age! Keep your kids entertained and enjoying summer with these fun activities!


Top 5 Best Water & Sensory Tables of 2017 | Little Bit of Learning

Link: http://www.littlebitoflearning.com/top-5-best-water-sensory-tables-2017/

It’s hard to stay cool during the summer and keep your kids actively engaged in play. That’s why I love these water tables! Your porch will be the hit this summer with these engaging water tables plus some ideas for great sensory add-ons!

 

I hope you and your family enjoy these great summer ideas! What are you doing fun this summer?

10 Summer Activities for Kids to do at Home

The following post contains affiliate links. 

Summer is Here!

Summer is officially here! Even though I stay at home with the boys, there is still something special about summertime actually being here. Vacations, family, and friends all come to mind as just a few of the exciting things to come, however, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns all the time.

Keeping the Kids Busy

I have said for awhile now that I totally have James pegged as to what kind of student he will be. He is going to be the kid that if he is finished with what he is supposed to be doing and you don’t give him something else to do besides read or free time, he’s going to be in trouble. God bless his teachers. Really. They’re on my permanent prayer list.

I know this because the same is true at home. If he is not kept busy, trouble is only a second away. This could be anything from playing in the “baby proofed” cabinets to hitting his brother to jumping off the tables or more. Yesterday, I went to change brother’s diaper and came back to a room that smelled like Febreeze. James was sitting nicely in his chair with a very innocent look. He calls Febreeze “spray,” so I asked him why he sprayed. He very matter of factly told me because it stunk in here. Insert mega eye roll. I guess I should give him bonus points for having everything put back up before I made it back into the room. I guess he thought I’d never notice.

Trying to keep him busy every second of the day can be exhausting because let’s get real, who can plan something every minute of every day to keep their children entertained? Not this girl. If you know someone that can, please give me their info.

Summer Activities to do at Home

Of course we look forward to the big, fun adventures we have planned, but the majority of the time, we are at home per the norm. This means I have to be prepared to entertain the little ones at the house, so I’ve come up with a few, inexpensive or free activities you can do with your kids at home this summer. Not only are these ideas great because they’re cheap and easy, but they’re also great because you can do them with your kids regardless of their age.

1. Have a picnic in your backyard or at a park. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle of loading both kids into the car to go to the park for Weston to simply put all of the litter in his mouth. In turn I have a slight anxiety attack thinking of all the diseases he just contracted, so we opted for our backyard on this one.


2. Make ice cream in a bag. This one is so fun! The boys and I have done this several times, and it never seems to get old. The great thing is nine times out of ten, I have the ingredients/materials I need already on hand, which makes this an easy impromptu activity. There are so many different recipes out there, but they all pretty much consist of the same ingredients. I have been using this one. I will say that it calls for rock salt, but I have been using kosher salt instead because I didn’t have any rock salt.

3. Play water balloon basketball. We have a toddler basketball goal which is perfect for this activity. Simply fill a bunch of water balloons and pretend they’re basketballs. Kids always love water balloons! If you have more than one child, have one sit under the basketball goal so the balloon will pop on them, which of course, they love because they get wet. It could just turn into a water balloon fight, which is always fun too!

4. Paint outside. So originally, I had it set up for my kids to finger paint outside, but they quickly decided it was much more fun to body paint. I didn’t care because while yes, it was messy, it kept them entertained! Since I had everything set up on a tarp, it was an easy clean up. I just hosed them down, which of course they loved! It then turned into a slip and slide which you can read about in my next activity.

5. Grab a tarp and make a slip and slide. If you have an actual slip and slide, that obviously is great too, but I’m all about using what you have, and we don’t have one, so I grabbed an old tarp. I sprayed in down with water, put the sprinkler on top of it, and the boys had a blast. This kept them occupied for a good 45 minutes, which for a one and two year old, that is AMAZING! We’ve done this a few times, and it never disappoints. I will say I made the mistake of adding soap the last time to make it a little more slippery. If your kids aren’t old enough to figure out how to keep the soap out of their eyes, don’t. do. this. Just trust me. They also thought it was necessary to put all of their toys on there with them, but hey, who cares? Time off the clock, remember?



6. Play in the sprinkler. You can always forgo the tarp completely and just have your kids run through the sprinkler. I remember doing this all the time with my sisters in the backyard. Seriously y’all, kids love anything that will get them wet and dirty, so this is an easy one that is sure to take some time off that clock of keeping them busy all day long.

7. Plant flowers! We took a trip to Lowe’s the other day, and I let James pick out a packet of flower seeds he wanted to plant. I already had a pot to plant them in, so the only other thing we needed was a small bag of potting soil. I had the boys help me plant them this week, and we get to water them daily. This is always a great way to teach them responsibility and how to take care of things. James has asked me every day where his flowers are, so the only downside to planting the actual seeds is that a waiting game is involved. You could always buy some plants that have already bloomed and have your kids do the same process.







8. Make a bird feeder. We seem to have tons of birds in our backyard, and the boys love to watch them. There are so many different ways to make your own bird feeder, but the simplest way is to take an old toilet paper roll, cover it in peanut butter, and stick bird seed to the peanut butter. You’ll either want to attach a string to the toilet paper roll to hang it, or you can simply put the center of the roll through a branch itself and hang it that way. My kids have short attention spans, so I am all about easy, however, if your kids are a little older and better at crafts, this website has LOTS of cool ways to make homemade bird feeders.

9. Make homemade popsicles. My boys are loving popsicles this summer. Of course more of the popsicle melts on them than they actually eat, but they enjoy them nonetheless. Here is a website with tons of homemade popsicle recipes to try. I am excited to try some, as there is an adult popsicle to make to where you add your favorite wine. Mom win!

10. Make treats for those who provide you a service. It is so important to teach our kids to be kind and to think of others. One way to do this is to talk to your kids about those important people that provide you with a service: the postal service, waste management, recycling services, etc. These are just a few that come specifically to our house each week, so they’re easy for my kiddos to associate with. If your kids are older, it would be a great lesson to teach about people that provide products vs. people that provide services. My boys LOVE our mailman, Mr. Jason, so we try to have a treat for him every so often. When we bake cookies, we will put a few in a bag for him as an afternoon treat, or on extra hot days, which seem to be every day here in Houston, we make sure we have a cold bottle of water for him when he comes by our house. James has already gotten to the point where he’ll ask Mr. Jason if he needs some water today, and that makes my heart happy. He’s two and already learning to think of others. I try to do this anytime a repairman is in our house as well. I remember my mom always doing this, and it is something I want to teach my kids too.

Enjoy

Hurricane Cindy is catching up with us this week, so we will have lots of rain which makes these activities difficult. If you’re getting lots of rain too, be sure to check out my Rainy Day Activities post for some indoor fun! I hope you and yours have a fun summer doing some of these activities. What are you doing at home to keep your kids entertained?

During Times of Tragedy, Why Not Hate Less, and Love More?

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My Heart Breaks

A controversial subject I know, and I usually stray away from controversy, but it is something that is weighing heavy on my heart, as I see this same situation play on repeat. During tragic events, why can we not hate less, and love more?

You see, there have been two tragic accidents, yes, accidents, that I have seen in the news this week. Though I am sure there are hundreds more that have happened around the country as well, these are the two that had my heart breaking:

The first tragic accident happened in Jackson, Mississippi. A sleeping, six year old boy was left by his mom in a running car sometime after midnight. She ran into the store, and when she came out, her car was gone. Three young males had stolen her car with the child in the backseat. When they found the car, the young boy had been shot and killed. This breaks my heart.

The second tragic accident happened in Houston, Texas. A two year old child drowned in her home pool when she wandered off. There are some reports that say the parents were asleep at the time, and there are some reports that say they were talking with friends when it happened; however, it has been reported that there was no foul play. It doesn’t matter to me the circumstances, as the results are the same. A poor child lost her life, and again, my heart is broken.

My heart breaks for the victim’s families, the lives lost, the suspect’s and their families, and for our country.

Hatred

You see, I didn’t even have to read the comments below the articles to know what they said, but I did, just so I could be factual in my writing. Here are just a few:

“…complacency is how things like this happen…”
“…It seems like this ‘tragic accident’ was preventable.”
“…died as a result of stupidity!”
“…it was her fault. Bottom line.”

Y’all, I had to stop reading. Those are just a few of the hundreds of comments on these articles. Given, not all of the comments were negative and placed blame. There were several kind hearted people offering their condolences and prayers, but it made me sad that the hateful comments were there to begin with, as you know these were the comments that were focused on the most.

It Could Happen to Me… and You

Maybe there were bad choices or mistakes involved in these accidents, but we all make mistakes, and I am sure these parents are putting enough shame, guilt and blame on themselves without us doing it for them. Can you imagine what that’s like? To know that if you would have done one minor thing differently, your child could still be here. Those parents will replay those tragic days in their heads over and over again for years to come. I know I can’t imagine what that’s like, and I pray I never have to know, but the thing is, I am human, I make mistakes, and it could indeed happen to me. What everyone needs to remember, is it could happen to anyone. We have to stop responding with, “I would never ______.” How would you like people to respond should it ever happen to you? Grace, compassion, love, and respect are only a few of the emotions that come to my mind.

You may be saying, “Well, I would never leave my child in a car,” or “I have a fence around my pool.” That’s great, really. I commend you for those precautions you are taking to keep your child safe. But what about the thousands of other choices you could make that could ultimately cost your child their life? What a difficult question to think about. Sure, most parents would never do anything intentionally to harm their child, but that’s why we call so many tragedies, accidents. The intent was not for someone to be harmed, or in these cases, killed.

Just the other day, I was unloading the car. I had brought both boys inside, and the back door that opens up to the garage was open as I was carrying things in. Well, don’t you know one child locked the door, and the other child shut the door. Want to know where I was when this happened? I was outside with one child, and the other child was inside and couldn’t unlock the door. Sure, he was only in there for 5-10 minutes, but do you know all of the horrible accidents that could have happened to him during those 5-10 minutes?

Regardless of the baby proofing in our home, the boys still manage to get in every single cabinet and every single door. What would people be saying about me should something horrible have happened? Do you think I intentionally locked myself out of the house with my 17 month old inside? It was an accident, much like these, that thankfully left no one hurt.

We Don’t Know the Facts

I understand that there is anger, frustration, and sadness, as their should be, but why should one choose to be hateful in their words and actions to the parents that have just lost their world? How will that help them? What will that change? It will only make them feel worse. Is that the goal of the hateful comment? If so, that is very disheartening. If not, why make the comment to begin with?

The fact is, 99% of us do not know all of the facts of either of these stories, and we probably never will.  That is ok.  And it is also ok to be upset and angry.

Be angry with the suspect’s that ended a child’s life, sure, but even then, should we spew anger towards them or their families? I don’t think so. And I’m sure by now, many of you are red in the face with disagreement and anger towards me. You know what? That’s ok. God created us to have these emotions and feelings; however, there’s a right and wrong way to show those feelings, there’s a right and wrong way to disagree with someone, and there’s a right and wrong way to react to stories as these. The right way is not to show hate. The right way is not to place blame. The right way involves grace, compassion, love, and respect.

The Church

Immediately after reading the comments on these articles, the following verse came to my mind:

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you which is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'” – John 8:7

Another thing that really saddens me about this is the public claims these people make about their personal lives. I’m not going to lie, I did a little bit of social media stalking on the people that were making these comments just so I could see exactly what I thought I would see. These are people openly saying they are Christians. These are people with First Communion pictures posted. These are people saying they’re “born to love.” Ironic isn’t it? No wonder Christianity gets a bad rap. Had I not already had knowledge of the Church and a relationship with God, I wouldn’t want to be a part of a Church either whose first instinct is to run and place blame instead of to run and show love and empathy.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am a sinner. I have judged others. I have shown hate. I am horrible at forgiving people, as I tend to hold a grudge. I know I have not always shown a great example of Christianity. I want you to know I don’t think less of these people for the comments they made. I don’t know these people, and I wish them no ill will. I will chalk it up to they made a mistake in their words. They let their anger and sadness get the best of them. I am simply saying that the way our world has decided to handle such tragedies breaks my heart.

Hate Less, and Love More

We would be in a much better place if we stopped saying, “that would never happen to me,” and start saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss. You must be devastated. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.”

You know what the best part of that statement is? You can say it to everyone involved. Clearly you can say it to the heartbroken families that lost their child. You can say it to the suspect’s families, as they are no doubt heartbroken over these events as well. And you can absolutely say it to the suspect’s themselves, as they have undoubtedly lost a lot, such as their freedom for starters. If they aren’t clinically diagnosed with a mental health issue, they are probably devastated in some form, and they probably need your prayers more than anyone. Sure it wouldn’t be easy, but then you can pray for yourself that you may find the strength to forgive and the heart to show compassion. I know I have had to pray that same prayer myself and will have to continue to pray it in the future.

Let us be the change we want to see. Let us hate less and love more. And most importantly, let us show our children how to treat others with grace, compassion, love, and respect. 

As Ellen Degeneres says at the end of every show, “Be kind to one another.”

Rocking Motherhood

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Some Days

Some days, I feel like the day is never going to end. Some days, I am counting down not only until bed time, but also nap time. Some days I feel like I am nothing but a WWE audience member (sometimes in the ring), mediator, and a robot programmed to feed, change, clean up and repeat.

But then there are the days that everything goes right. The days where no one goes to timeout, there are no tantrums, and everyone is happy for the most part. Those days are few and far between, but by the grace of God, they do happen every now and then.

Rocking Motherhood Challenge

On Mother’s Day, I was approached by an amazing mom blogger, Beautifully Imperfect Mama, to be a part of the Rocking Motherhood Challenge. I’m not going to lie, I may have possibly accepted the challenge before I fully knew what it entailed.

You see, the whole basis of my blog is to be real and authentic. I strive to show the reality of parenthood through our everyday life. It’s not pretty. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. We definitely don’t have it all together. We don’t even have half of it together. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. I yell too much, I lose my patience, I hide in the laundry room (just til I count to about 30 and regain my cool), and I usually have no idea what I am doing.

So when I realized that with this Rocking Motherhood Challenge I would have to write down ways I am in fact rocking motherhood, I panicked a little bit. It was too late to back out, and that meant I would have to brainstorm. I mean reallllly brainstorm. It is far easier to think of ways I am failing motherhood than rocking it. Added note: I hate compliments. I don’t take them well, so to give myself a pat on the back makes this even more challenging.

Reasons I’m Rocking Motherhood

So after my brainstorm session, these are the reasons I came up with as to why I am Rocking Motherhood:

  1. I am teaching my kids manners, and they are indeed polite. We strive very hard around here to teach and demonstrate how to use our manners. We have taught please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, I’m sorry, it’s ok, and a few more. We are from the Deep South, so we also teach our kids to say ma’am and sir. The reason I know I’m rocking is because one, we were in the grocery store the other day and ran into someone turning the corner. The first thing our two year old said to the person was, “I’m sorry.” It was completely unprompted. Also, we were in Hobby Lobby yesterday, and as we passed each person, he would say, “excuse me.” Mom wins right there y’all.
  2. I am educating them, and they are learning. When we moved to Houston and decided that I would start staying at home with the boys and no longer teach, I felt like I lost my identity a little bit. It was not an easy choice, as I love to teach, but it was best for our family. Over time, I have realized that I am still teaching, but now, I am teaching my own children. What a special opportunity I have been given. The most rewarding part is when you see what you’re teaching them actually sinks in. When James busted out with “diamond” the other day as we were practicing our shapes, or when Weston all of a sudden makes a new animal sound, I realize I am succeeding.
  3. They’re loved fiercely, and they know it. Through our good days and our bad days, I try to tell each child multiple times throughout the day that they are loved. I also will ask them, “How much does momma love you,” and they will respond with arms opened wide saying, “thiiiiiissss much!” That turns all bad days around. More importantly, we teach them of God’s love for them and the relationship He desires to have with them.

My Challenge

So even though this was absolutely the true definition of a  challenge for me, I am grateful to Beautifully Imperfect Mama for nominating me. It allowed me to think of the ways I am actually Rocking Motherhood, and I know if you sit down and think about it, you are too! Let me know how you are rocking motherhood.

To continue this uplifting challenge, I am nominating some fellow mom bloggers out there to tell us how they are Rocking Motherhood:

Bohemi Mama
Brooklyn Boy Mom
New Adventures in Mommyhood
My Own Unexpected Journey

Click on their names to visit their awesome blogs and follow their motherhood journeys.

If you want to learn more about the Rocking Motherhood challenge or would like to take it yourself,  visit White Camellias for more information.

Shape Activities for Toddlers Using Our Learning Tubs

The following post contains affiliate links.

Learning Tub Series

Next up in our Learning Tub Series is a look inside our Shape Tub. If you missed the others posts thus far, you can get a look inside our Alphabet Tub here and our Animal Tub here. Also, I have written about shape activities a couple of times in the past, but many of those are larger activities that don’t necessarily go in our Learning Tubs; however they are super fun for little ones!  You can check out those fun shape activities here and here. We could spend a whole day just talking about shapes around here!

Sidenote

Sidenote: Can you just take a minute to celebrate with me that BOTH of my boys are playing independently right now?? And they’re happy doing it. That NEVER happens. They always want momma right there with them. If I get more than three feet away from my two year old, he always asks, “Momma, where are you gooooinnng?” Insert why I need Jesus and wine many days.  Love them fiercely, but wear and tear y’all.

Want to know how I achieved this? I simply emptied their toy baskets on the floor and let them go. They have all of these toys and never play with the majority of them. Sure, I have a GIANT mess to clean up, but they’re happy, and I’m getting things accomplished. Sometimes, the mess is worth it. Instead of feeling guilty about this, I’m going to remind myself that them learning to play independently is an important skill.

Shapes are Fun

Shapes are fun because you can see them everywhere! To help your little ones learn about shapes, you can simply go on a Shapes Hunt around your house. I use to do this when I taught first grade. It’s really fun when they get to be about six, as they’ll start learning about 3D shapes, and as you know, there are many 3D shapes around us; however, if you have toddlers like me, you can simply look for those flat, 2D shapes.

A Look Inside our Shape Tub

I am all about simple, easy activities that allow me to teach my child an important skill. Let’s face it, I don’t have the time (a one year old an a two year old) or energy to create anything too fancy. I am also all about using what you have at home. It’s not easy to put everyone in the car just to buy one material to create an activity that will probably be eaten or destroyed at some point. As always, should my kiddos master what’s inside the Shape Tub, or simply need something new to engage in, I can rotate the activities inside them to spice it up a bit. I never thought I’d being saying “spice it up a bit” in regards to shapes… my how life changes when you enter the kid phase of life. Without further ado, here is a look inside what we have in our Shape Tub right now:

  1. Books – If you’ve read any of my past posts, you know I try to always start activities with books that relate. It’s the teacher in me. Literacy is sooo important, and I want my boys to love books like me. I actually don’t have many shape specific books, but that’s ok because there are many books that don’t necessarily pertain to shapes but have illustrations that provide great shape practice.These are the books currently in our Shape Tub: Brainy Baby Shapes and Colors (Use this link and this book is only 25 cents right now! Added bonus you can work on colors too!), Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses (This is not a shape book, but on just one page alone, I found ovals, rectangles, a pentagon and a circle. Not to mention, I LOVE  Pete the Cat books!), and Little Dino’s Egg. The last book is not a shape specific book either, but it is one of James’ favorites right now, and as you can see by the picture below, it has lots of shapes you can talk about in the illustrations! If you use that link for this book its less that $1.50, which is a STEAL! Such a cool book.
  2. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks – My boys love these blocks, and they teach so many skills besides just shapes. They help with fine motor skills, they help teach kids how to sort, and they’re different colors, so you can work on not only shapes, but colors as well! We also have used this blocks to make shapes out of play dough in the past. I would use play dough more if my boys would decide to stop eating it.
  3. Craft Stick  Shapes – All you need for this activity is some craft sticks (I like the jumbo size) and some velcro (I like the precut round velcro – less work for me). I simply put the velcro dots on the ends of the craft sticks, and James puts the sticks together in various shapes. Clearly, we can’t make a circle or an oval, but we can make squares, rectangles, rhombuses, pentagons, trapezoids, etc. The trick here is to make sure you have the correct velcro pieces on the sticks to make sure they can match up to form a shape. I suggest preparing by making one shape at a time yourself so you can make sure they can be put together as a shape. You can then keep the pieces sorted in baggies to make it easier. If you get the colored craft sticks, this would make the process easier, as you can know all the blue sticks make a square for example.
  4. Sweet Shapes – Again, another activity in which you only need two materials – toothpicks and marshmallows. Depending on the level of your child, you can either build shapes yourself out of the toothpicks and marshmallows and have your child identify the shapes, or you can have your child create the shapes themselves. You can even start off doing it and showing them and then make they would be ready to do this themselves. Added bonus: they get a yummy snack along the way. Simply use the marshmallows at the corners of the shapes to connect the toothpicks together. The toothpicks will act as the lines of the shapes. Go over shape corners and lines as well as an extra lesson with learning shapes.
  5. Shape Sorting – The last thing in our Shape Tub is an activity that I found on Pinterest here. The materials I needed: sharpie, construction paper, card stock, and glue. We started off doing simple shapes like a circle, triangle, and square, but as your child learns more, you can do the same activity with more difficult shapes. Again, discuss lines and corners or how circles and ovals have neither. This was fun and allowed James to practice gluing which was great fine motor skill practice.

As Always

As always, I hope you enjoy! What shape activities are you doing with your little ones?

Animal Activities for Toddlers Using Our Learning Tubs

Learning Tubs

Incase you missed yesterday’s blog, I have decided to do a series this week about the Learning Tubs that I do with the boys. Yesterday, I gave you a look inside our Alphabet Tub, and today, I am going to give you a look inside our Animal Tub, which includes several activities you can do to help your child begin to identify animals and their noises while also working on their literacy and motor skills.

Meeting Children’s Needs

I think one of the biggest adjustments going from one child to two is that you can’t meet every need of both children at the same time or at the exact moment in which they want or need something. Sure, I meet their needs, but one child might have to scream and cry for a minute or two before that need is met. Or said child may have to play independently when they don’t want to while I’m working with the other child. They both want my undivided attention all. the. time. I need a clone.  

Go ahead and cue that Mom Guilt; however, I have become very good at blocking out crying and tantrums over the past 17 months. I’m totally ok with that because to me, you don’t want to give attention to negative behavior anyways.

With all that being said, I have found it more and more difficult to teach James and Weston at the same time. Y’all, they’re only 15 months apart. Again, how do those homeschool momma’s do it?? Weston can’t do the things James can, but he WANTS to. This means if James is working on something at the table, Weston is pulling it off the table. If I am sitting in the floor showing James something, Weston is sitting in my lap knocking it out of my hands. If I give up and try to give Weston the same thing James is doing, Weston eats it. Jesus. And. Wine.

Differentiation

Oh it takes me back to teaching. Differentiated Instruction. For all 23-30 students. You are to meet every child’s needs, by yourself, without the resources you need, with kids on a minimum of three different grade levels, but you better get it done and you better make everyone happy in the process. It’s called differentiation. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED teaching, but that is the reality of what a teacher does day in and day out.

One of the things I loved most about the last school I taught at is that we truly did do whatever it took to meet the needs of every child. We wanted to meet those needs, and we did, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Some days though, that seems easier than meeting the needs of my own two kids. At least no one was throwing things at me, having a toddler tantrum, or throwing down because I gave them a blue plate instead of a purple plate.

Animal Tub

So within our tubs, I try to put activities that either both kids can do and enjoy, or I put in activities on different levels (differentiation – see what I did there) so that they can be doing different things at the same time – ha, in a dream world anyways, you know that doesn’t actually happen. Animals are a little easier to do this with, as it’s a great skill for Weston to work on, as it’s more on his level. It’s much easier for me to enrich an activity for James, as there are some things that Weston just isn’t cognitively ready to learn yet.

Here is what we have going on in our Animal Tub this week:

  1. Books – As always, I start off reading the boys books on whatever subject matter we are discussing. I’ve been doing this with James since he was born, and now he loves to read! Weston isn’t to that point yet, but hopefully, he will be the same way. We are really enjoying Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Noisy Farm, baby’s very first noisy book farm, and I Spy in the Jungle (Jellycat Book). The boys especially love the two books with the noisy buttons they can push, because well, toddlers.
  2. Puzzles – We have multiple animal puzzles the boys enjoy, but we have two specific puzzles that are great for younger toddlers to start off with: Fisher-Price Growing Baby Animal Activity Puzzle and a Melissa and Doug FarmWooden Chunky Puzzle similar to this one, only with different animals. We also have this puzzle, which is made of several mini puzzles. It is better for James, as it is more difficult. Not all of the mini puzzles are of animals, but I sort the animals out and have James piece them together. There are only 3-4 pieces per mini puzzle, and it allows him to see the different sections that make up the animal as well as the spelling of the animal.



    You probably can’t tell, but this is an example of brother pitching a fit he can’t get on the table to do what James is doing.
  3. Fisher-Price Little People Farm Animal Friends – These have been great for both James and Weston. Weston uses them to practice animal recognition and noises, whereas James using them to match the animal to either animal flashcards or the animals we are reading about in a book. For instance, if we are reading a book and it shows a cow, James will pick out the cow farm animal and show Weston that they correspond with one another.
  4. Beach Ball Animals – So we use a beach ball because it’s what we had, and I’m all about using what you have. Don’t reinvent the wheel people! But you could also make a cube out of paper if you’re crafty to have the same results. I simply put a picture of a different animal on each section of the beach ball (just google a picture and hit print). We throw the ball back and forth and which ever animal it lands on (aka whichever animal James feels like doing), has to be named, and he has to tell me what noise the animal makes. I also have him act out how the animal moves. This is an easy activity to differentiate as well, as you can interchange the animals and make them more difficult as they progress. WARNING: If your kids like to destroy things like mine, there will be a small window of time before they rip the pictures off. Shocking, I know. Just being real. 

These are the things making up our Animal Tub this week! I will alternate books, puzzles, and activities as the boys start to master them or disengage in the current ones. What animal activities do you do with your little ones?

A Look Inside Our Organized Learning Tubs

The following post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Teacher Voice vs. Mom Voice

Since I’m staying at home with the boys now, they aren’t in school daily, so I try to make sure that I am teaching them the things they would be learning if they were in daily school. Let me tell you from experience, I think it is much easier to teach other peoples children than your own. You homeschool mommas deserve a medal. Isn’t it amazing how with someone else’s kids you can totally mostly keep your patience?

I definitely had my “teacher voice” when I was in the classroom.  Just ask my husband. He didn’t like when I used it on him, unbeknownst to me that I was using it.  Anyone that has ever taught knows what I’m talking about. That voice where you don’t have to scream or yell, but the students know you mean business and willingly comply. Why can’t there be a mom voice? Oh wait, there is, it’s called yelling at your kids and they still don’t do what you ask of them. Sounds like a double standard to me. So you’ll listen to the teacher, but not me? Ok, cool. Even though in all reality, I would MUCH rather my child listen and behave for a teacher than for me if they can only choose one.

Teacher Supplies

This past weekend, Chad and I started going through our garage. Our house in Houston doesn’t have as much storage as we had in our previous house, so we had a lot of boxes stored in our garage. To get rid of some clutter, we pulled out all of my teaching boxes (the majority of the boxes in the garage to begin with), and I started going through them. It’s hard to get rid of stuff if you teach because you are always thinking about the fact that one day you may need that binder filled with materials from a specific program at that one school you taught at five years ago. The struggle is real.

I was excited to go through the boxes, because I was looking for two specific things: my flair pens, and my hot glue gun. I didn’t find the hot glue gun, but I did find my beloved flair pens, and that made my day. If you don’t have any, they’re amazing, and you should definitely invest in some. I found some other exciting things that I pulled out to use with the boys, and that made me start thinking of different ways I could work with them at home.

Teacher Mindset

One of the easiest ways for me to get in the mindset of teaching my own boys at home is to remind myself of things I did when I taught in the classroom. Many teachers, myself included, would do what we called “tubs.” When I say tubs, think of centers. It is basically different activities that students are doing pertaining to a subject you have taught them. They are called tubs because the materials you need to do the activity are in a plastic tub type container, or in my case, plastic green baskets.

I mostly did tubs during math time. For instance, if we were working on multiplication there may be six different multiplication tubs. Each tub would contain an activity that would help the students practice the skills that were taught, i.e. multiplication on the iPads, a multiplication game with dice, a multiplication art project, etc.

Most teachers do tubs their own way depending on their teaching style and what works for them. I am super Type A and like routines and an organized classroom, so my students didn’t rotate, the tubs did. That way, everyone did every tub at their own desk and I didn’t have to worry about how everyone got to the next place and if they had all their materials and if so and so went through their desk, etc. Trust me, you have to think about these things, or there will be total chaos. Side note: Just typing this out and talking about classroom management really makes me miss teaching. I’m a dork.

Our Toddler Tubs

I started thinking about how implementing tubs with my boys would be a good way to keep things organized and also a good way to make sure they are working on the skills I want them to be learning. I keep the tubs packed with the materials we need to learn about a certain topic, and I can easily change out the materials when the skill is either mastered, or the boys need a change up. I of course make sure to include books on each topic as one of our tub activities.

Instead of focusing on one skill in my tubs such as a specific math skill, I created one tub for each of the topics I want to focus on with them at the moment: shapes, colors, letters, animals, and numbers. Now, throughout the day, we do other activities that focus on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, independent play, arts, etc., but those aren’t in the tubs.

With all of this being said, I thought I would break our tubs down and tell you what we have in them and what we have been learning about lately. Today, I’m going to give you a look inside our Alphabet Tub. Subscribe here to make sure you see the next blog post with a peak inside the other tubs!

Alphabet Tub

It always seems so easy to find skills to work on with James and so difficult to find things to work on with Weston. Weston can’t do the things James can, so I have to keep him occupied when I try to work with James. Then, when I try to give him an activity to do, it inevitably goes straight to his mouth. I’m just telling myself he is hearing everything I’m telling James.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, so don’t tell me otherwise.

Clearly, Weston isn’t quite ready to learn his letters yet, but he can listen as we sing the ABC’s, read the books with us, and he enjoys playing with some of the activities in the tub while I’m working with James, even if he is just chewing on the cards or throwing the letters.

Here’s a look at what’s inside our Alphabet Tub:

  1. Books – We always start each tub by reading books that go along with the topic. Here are some of the alphabet books we are enjoying right now: Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, LMNO Peas, ABCer’s, and Litter Critter’s ABCs. The best part of all of these is that they are great for toddlers, and they are all less than $10 on Amazon!
  2. LeapFrog Magnetic Letters – These are great because you can change out the letters, and each letter sings a song using the sound(s) that letter makes. I have been working on letter sounds with James lately, so this is great for him. They are meant to be used on the refrigerator, but I let the boys play with them on a cookie sheet so that we can use them during our tub time at the table.
  3. Little Hands ABC Flashcards – These are amazing because they aren’t just your typical flashcards. They are touch and feel cards, so it is a great sensory activity as well.
  4. ABC Matching – This activity is super quick and easy to make. You simply need wooden craft sticks and wooden clothes pins. I wrote uppercase letters on both the craft sticks and the clothes pins. If your child is older, I’d write uppercase letters on one and lowercase letters on the other so they can learn to match the corresponding letters. I wrote the letter on the clothes pin going sideways so that when we clipped it on the matching craft stick you could see both letters to reinforce that the letters matched. Added bonus: this is a great fine motor skills activity. It is difficult for Jame to open the clothes pin, but it’s great practice, and he loved this activity! Although he isn’t identifying his letters yet, he is becoming familiar with them and is recognizing which letters look the same.
  5. DO-A-DOT Markers – If you’ve read some of my posts in the past, you know I love these markers! They can be used for so many different activities. I simply take a piece of card stock and draw a large, uppercase letter on the paper (top to bottom). I then have James pick a DO-A-DOT marker and have him dot along the lines of the letter to help him practice making that letter.
  6. Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Splash Cards – Y’all, I know I put these on my Rainy Day Activities post, but that’s how great they are. Not only are they mess-free, but they also have this set of alphabet flashcards that your child can “paint” and the card reveals an animal that begins with that letter.

ABC Activities

I hope you enjoyed a look inside our Alphabet tub! What letter activities are you doing with your little ones?

 

Rainy Day Activities

The following post contains affiliate links.

Rainy Day

So, one of the worst things around here is when our two very active boys cannot get outside. They would live outside if they could, especially James. I’m not going to lie, I love being outside too, so it makes me go a little stir crazy when I’m stuck inside all day.

Today is going to be one of those days where it is supposed to rain ALL. Day. Long. Not only that, but tonight is a night where Chad has to work late (past the boy’s bed time), so that means an already long, rainy day is that much longer.

Passing the Time

I hate those days where you look at the clock and it seems like time is creeping by so slowly. Sometimes, I have to find activities that make the time pass a little more quickly. Seeing as we will be stuck inside all day, I knew I was going to have to come up with some rainy day activities for us to do to make that clock tick a little faster. I know, I’m horrible for even saying that, as I should be “enjoying every second” because time goes by fast, but y’all, let’s be honest – sometimes as a toddler mom, you do wish time to go by a little lot quicker. That’s the reality, so let’s not sugarcoat it. Add a very grumpy, teething toddler into that mix, and I’m counting down til naptime too! Just give me all the Tylenol, people.

Rainy Day Activities

So here are some activities we have on the agenda today. Some we have done before, and some are new, and I’m most certain that a few, or all, will not go as planned and have a few tantrums along the way, but hey, that’s life as we know it.

  1. Oobleck – I loved making Oobleck with my students when I taught first grade. Dr. Seuss books are some of my favorites, and when you have a fun activity to go along with a book, that makes it all the better. Now, trying to read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to my one and two year old would be a nightmare in itself, as it’s long and their attention span is not, however, they loved playing with the Ooblck, and what a great sensory activity! For older ones, it is fun to talk about how it is both a solid and a liquid.The recipe is very easy – it’s a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch and water. Two parts cornstarch, one part water. I used 1 cup of cornstarch (that’s all I had on hand), and 1/2 cup of water, and that was plenty for my two boys to play with. Of course when I did it in the classroom, we added green food coloring to go along with the book, however, I let James pick what color he wanted, and he chose orange, so we played with orange Oobleck. A fun activity that took time off the clock!

  2. Let’s Go Fishing! – James has really been into fishing lately, which is kind of funny, as he’s never been fishing, and my husband doesn’t fish. I’m  not sure where he picked that up from, but regardless, we put these fun fishing poles in the boys Easter baskets this year, and they are loving them! They’re meant to be used in the bath tub, which we do every night, but today, I just plopped the boys in the empty bathtub in their jammies, and they went fishing!
  3. Painter’s Tape Highway – I. Love. Painter’s Tape. It is amazing, and I find so many ways to use it with the boys. I originally saw a picture on Pinterest that I piggy backed off of. I would link it, but the link no longer works. The picture showed painters tape going over the furniture and carpet like it was a road for the cars. We happen to have a large open space between our kitchen and den that was perfect for making a road with painter’s tape. So, I made a road, a garage for the trucks/cars, a helipad for the helicopter, and I put the boys play tunnel on the road for the cars to go through. The boys loved this activity! James even rode around on their Mickey car like he was driving on the road. Help us all when that kid can drive.



  4. Painting – Pretty simple, get out some paint and create a project. We use this paint, and it is a very easy cleanup. We do handprint/footprint art all the time because their little hands and feet are so cute I figure I might as well do as much as I can now for keepsakes down the road. Plus, they love to have the paint on them!
  5. No-Mess Painting – We have three great no-mess painting activities that James really loves. We have the Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reveal Pads Set, Melisa and Doug Water Wow! Splash Cards Set, and the Crayola Magic Water Paint set. All of these are amazing and they only need the brush and water!
  6. Window Markers on Pyrex Dishes – We have these Window Markers, and the boys love them! Now, they aren’t quite responsible enough to take them and only draw on the windows, so I let them draw on a Pyrex dish. The clean up is pretty easy if you wash it off as soon as they’re finished. Then, just stick the dish in the dishwasher for additional cleaning.
  7. Tupperware – Y’all, my boys LOVE to play in my tupperware cabinet. When I’m cooking or need to get something accomplished, I let them pull it all out, and it keeps them busier than most any activity I can do with them. They stack and build and create and honestly, I think it’s a great hands-on, creative learning experience for them. Without prompting, James told me he was building a castle. I didn’t see it, but he did, and that’s all that matters! It allows them to use their imagination and their problem-solving skills. Win-win for mom and kids!

  8. Popcorn and Movie Party – Let’s not forget what a rainy day is best for – popcorn and a movie! I know, I know, this involves screen time. A little is ok, sometimes a lot is ok if you’re having one of those days, which around here, happens. If yours aren’t ready for popcorn, just substitute their favorite snack. Make a pallet on the floor and enjoy some quality time. Attention span around here isn’t very long, but I have found that my boys LOVE this movie, and this movie, so maybe yours will too!

What Rainy Day Activities Do You Do?

I hope y’all enjoy some of these activities on your rainy days! What activities do y’all do to pass the time when it rains?

Why We Take Our Kids to Church

Easy Like Sunday Morning, Only Not

People always refer to the Lionel Richie lyrics “easy like Sunday morning,” only I can’t help but think that Sunday morning isn’t easy at all.

During church this morning, and even after church this morning, I sit and ask myself why we take our kids to church? It certainly isn’t an easy task. It definitely leaves me frustrated, and it may be paranoia, but I feel like everyone is looking at me and wondering why I can’t control my kids. To top it off, I usually don’t leave feeling like I’ve heard the message for the day. Instead of listening, I’m fetching snacks, crayons, and sippy cups. Instead of praying, I am juggling kids between arms, saying “shh, be quiet” and trying to keep said kids from tearing up the hymnals. Instead of joining in fellowship with our church members, I’m counting down how many songs we have left until mass is over. And let’s not even discuss all of the preparation it took to get to church in the first place and how we are always running out the door.

Needless to say, all of this has me contemplating why we go through the same routine of taking our kids to church every Sunday morning when it leaves me asking for Jesus and wine, when I should have gotten both of those things at church. Joking about the wine at church, people. I’m fully aware that’s not the purpose of the wine at church.

Let’s Get it Over With

We either go to 7:30 mass or 9:00 mass on Sunday mornings. I’m not going to lie and say we don’t sometimes enjoy that 7:30 AM mass because it allows us to go ahead and get it over with. Terrible, right? But it’s true because we know the ordeal that it is to take two toddlers to church. Let’s not even discuss that family that has seven kids under the age of about 12 who all sit so perfectly quiet like little angels from heaven. I NEED their secret.

Our kids usually wake up pretty early, so if we go to 7:30 mass, that means we are home around 8:45, and we have the morning to play, and the boys seemingly do a little better at that time of day. If we wait and go to 9:00 mass, the boys usually end up hangry and tired, and we usually end up alternating kids in the cry room or the atrium, or when it’s really bad like today, we end up outside because even the other people in the atrium and cry room with their kids are looking at your kid.

Expectations

Chad and I both come from devout Catholic families. We both attended Catholic school, and I taught at a Catholic school. There were certain behaviors that were expected of us growing up, and in return, we have those expectations for our kids. That seems to make church even more difficult sometimes. We have to remind ourselves that they are only two and a half and sixteen months, however, there’s a fine line with saying that. At what point do you stop saying, “They’re only ____.”

A couple of weeks ago, we were both standing in the atrium with both kids, so yeah, they were both acting up, and he looked at me and said, “Do you think we expect too much out of them?” and I answered, “Yes, probably so.” But truth be told, I’m ok with that. I want to have high expectations for our kids in every aspect of life. I expect them to behave in church, I expect them to behave at school, I expect them to be kind and friendly with good manners. Those expectations will continue and only be met with more and higher expectations as they grow older. I will expect them to do chores, I will expect them to do well in school, I will expect them to work hard at everything they do. Because if you don’t have high expectations for your kids, they will never meet them, and they will never reach their fullest potential.

So Why Do We Take Them To Church

So, that brings me back to my original question, why do we go through the trouble of taking them to church when it is anything but easy? I’m not going to lie, I had to sit and think about this. I had to ask this question to Chad. He always seems to have better answers to questions like that than I do. Thankfully today, our answers pretty much lined up together.

Here is the list of reasons we came up with as to why we take our kids to church:

  1. First and foremost, we take our kids to church for the obvious reason – to know God and to learn to praise, worship, and celebrate Him. We pray with our kids at home, they know about God and Jesus, we read Bible stories with them; however, they need an understanding of God’s house, the sacraments we celebrate within the Church, and our church family that joins together with us in a weekly celebration of our Lord. They need to learn about the Sabbath and how to keep it holy. We want our children to grow up in the Catholic faith as we did, and to do that they must be present. The only way they can truly learn about these things is by taking them to church and showing them exactly what it means to be present.
  2. Simple, it goes back to expectations. If we take them now, they will know what behavior is expected in church as they get older. It is a little more difficult with our sixteen month old, as he’s too young to really understand why he’s being taken out, but we can already tell that our two year old is starting to figure it out and starting to behave better overall. Not only is he already learning how to behave, but he is also learning about the liturgy. He already dips his hand in the Holy Water and does the sign of the cross, he already shows us his prayer hands, he already does the sign of peace, and he already repeats things the priest says. Imagine if we took them to church for the first time at five. Sure, they would understand you telling them to sit there quietly, but they would be asking a million questions because the whole concept would be foreign to them. Hopefully by five, we have children that are taking part in the service and asking about the meaning behind the different parts of the liturgy because they will already know how to act in church.
  3. If we don’t take our kids to church, what will happen to the church? Think about that for a minute. What would happen to the future generations of the church if no one takes their kids? There are so many answers to that question, and none of the answers are good ones.
  4. We want our children to grow up with a faith community just as we want a faith community for ourselves. A community they can have that supports them in all aspects and helps them to grow in their faith like we need a community to support us. We want to see others bringing their kids to church too. We want to support others by saying, “Hey, we get it. It’s hard. I see you battling your kids like me. Let’s do this together. Let’s raise our kids to show each other the same support and love for their faith that we are showing each other.” How comforting is it when you see another parent battling their child look at you with that face that says I get it! The struggle is real! It is beyond comforting for me because I’m reminded I am no alone. I am part of a community of believers.

Our Desire

I’m sure if I sat longer and contemplated, which I’m sure I will do later, I could think of several more reasons as to why we take our kids to church. Regardless of the exhaustion and battles that comes with bringing our children to church each week, we will continue to do it. We will continue to do it because we are raising kids that we hope not just know who God is, but have a true understanding of how much He loves them and how much he desires a relationship with each of them. We want them to be true examples of showing others Christ like love and forgiveness. What better way to learn that than in His house with fellow believers?