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going on over here


i posted this picture on Instagram a couple of weeks ago.
talby called me after she’d left with sean for school and said “MOM! HURRY! GO OUTSIDE! There’s a FULL RAINBOW! HURRY!”
so i ran out to the driveway in my pajamas and saw THIS!
i mean – whaaaaat?!
and just as i was taking the photo it began to rain.
the rain lasted about 2 minutes and the rainbow was gone.
but i was beaming with joy about it for hours.


and this was the sunset on the way home from ball games later that same day!
the sky was getting so fancy for a plain old tuesday!


we have a new kitten.
there have been many names thrown around for her but i chose Yzma from Emperor’s New Groove.
the kids still disagree with me but no one will make up their mind any other way so Yzma it is!


talby’s club team has a tournament every weekend for like… ever.
but it has been SO fun to watch them find their stride.
it’s a really great team that talby loves to be with – which makes me happy to see too!


we were in lawrence for a volleyball tournament and decided to catch a KU game the same day.
(omg – the guy behind us!) ha ha ha
we had just the youngest two kids with us which is always fun to change the dynamics a little.


it was a GREAT game!
craig was loving every minute.
watching a game in Allen Fieldhouse is always awesome – A L W A Y S !


another great sunset last week!


i made these monster cookies last weekend.
yummmmm!
i already bought everything to make them again.


more volleyball tournaments and more hugs.


in the last week i have seen all three of these movies.
YOU MUST go see them!
all three of them!

ok… my list for the week is slightly depressing.
i just want to snuggle into bed and not be prodcutive… is that so wrong?
🙂

Emily - Double rainbow!!!!

Ashley Pera - Made the Monster cookies for Super Bowl Sunday… Sweet Jesus!!!! They were so good. Quick question… I noticed in the picture that you were making them regular size??? Do you cook them any less? Thanks in advance…
Ashley from Tennessee

Teyonce - I always love catching up on your blog, it’s like we are sitting down chatting cause I can hear your voice as I read. I really love that. We should probably do it in real life…like soon. love you!

KWolff - I think your week sounds pretty awesome! We are in the early stages of volleyball tournaments. It was a whole new world for me. It was a lot of fun though. Your KU game was against my Texas Tech Red Raiders – it looked like a blast to be at! 😀
Thanks for sharing the pretty rainbow/sunset photos. They are so gorgeous on a dreary day!

kristin - Monster cookies for Super Bowl Sunday! Thanks for posting 🙂

Teresa - Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Allen Field House is the only place to watch college basketball!

Sandra K - Oh how I ADORED La La Land. It was so wonderful and it is a movie that has stayed with me. Now I’m listening to the soundtrack on repeat. I have to go see Hidden Figures soon. Happy Wednesday to you! 🙂

Jenny B. - That is the cutest kitten!! Makes me want one. 🙂

Lisa - That kitten oh my is that the cutest thing every!!! Thanks for sharing your week, looks wonderful!

anna - so i have to ask what was your thoughts on the ending of la la land??? my friend and i went and we were crying at the end. and then we laughed so hard because we were crying so hard. then we started crying again. and on and on. we stayed in the theater until all the credits were done and the lights came back on. we were so shocked!!

Lori - That rainbow is gorgeous and those cookies look amazing!

Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More - Your kitten is so darn cute! I really like the name, too.

I’ve never been to a game at KU, but several at KSU and MU. So fun! I’m probably not allowed in Lawrence. 😉

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photography + friends = awesome

6 years ago i went to a GoPro Workshop to learn about photography from Wendy & Tyler of Blue Lily.
i don’t think any of us could’ve imagined when we signed up for those workshops that we would end up with a friend group like this but i am SO grateful for all of them!
The next year they started GoPro Reunions for anyone who had participated in any of the workshops and it’s continued ever since.  I have been only been able to make it twice – one in Utah and one in Colorado (you can click on those and see the crazy stuff we did!)

but this year… the reunion was at the Craft House!

it was so special for me to get to share my real world with these ladies.
and i really had fun being at the craft house and to not be the one in charge!

it was so wonderful catching up with these ladies.
each love photography and have their own unique style.
they are from all over – from maryland to washington to new york to california and everywhere in between.
i think my friend summer said it well, “we come from a wild variety of backgrounds and beliefs, but all share a mutual kindness and respect that makes a truly beautiful friendship.”

i left the weekend feeling so honored to be included in this group of women.
what a gift they are to me!

and i have to say… i have never seen a group like them out at the antiques barn.
it was “Photographers Gone Wild!”

i like every single one of those girls!

( i didn’t take ANY of those photos – credits go to all them)

NOW…  you need to get on Wendy’s photography calendar for your family’s photos!!
Blue Lily is EVERY WHERE!
they take pictures all over the world!
find a date that works for you and get it scheduled.
you will not regret having family pictures of this stage right now – whatever this stage is – because they are ALL special if the they include people you love!
here are the four sessions we’ve had with Blue Lily over the years:


2010 – when i was taller than all five kids!


2011 – when it was cold!


2012 – the paint fight insanity


2014 – the hug fest

and we WILL figure out a time and a way to do it again this year!
because everyone changes SO quickly and i love every stage!

Lori - Love seeing your family photos!

Patty - OMG, I teared up looking at the photos of your family growing up…. <3 It looks like you had so much fun with your photography group!

Sue - What a lovely fun post.

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deep thoughts on parenting…

i have been thinking about blogging for weeks but my thoughts have just been very jumbled.
i couldn’t come up with words about living rooms or paint colors or recipes because…
ya’ll… this raising big kids thing is no joke.
parenting kids at any age is no easy job but this whole tween/teenager/semi-grown kids phase???
dude.

i love my kids to the moon and back.
being their mom has been and will forever be the best thing i ever do.
i think they are fabulous.  i think they are smart.  i know they are a gift straight from the Lord.
but oh my heck… sometimes it’s craaaaazy!


it’s not any one particular child or circumstance that is tough.
no one is perfect and i would never expect that from them.
One of the biggest challenges for me continues to be how different every single day can be!!!
i never know what to expect!
between the homework, teachers, practices, coaches, peer pressures, mean girls, mean boys, bosses, emotions, hormones, chores, cars, deadlines and 50 other things… it is always something to get your heart rate up in one way or another on a daily basis.
sometimes its for good things where you are super proud of your kid’s accomplishments and other times it’s… not.
sometimes i am so mad at the way my kid has been treated.
sometimes i am so mad at the way my kid was treating someone else.
and on and on and on.

i have been a mama for almost 22 years.
i have messed up so much.
so badly wish i could go back and know then what i know now.
i look back and think “how could you not see that megan?!”
sighhhhhh.
i wish i had responded with much more grace to poor behavior.
(but in defense of that mom back then… she hadn’t slept a full night in a decade soooo…)
not that i was a wild screaming dictator before but when my kids were little i felt i could “fix” things with a time out or a nap.
and a loud voice too.
so when they got older… my voice got louder & naps and time-outs turned into grounding.
and lots of frustration – from me and from my kids too.
all these years later i can see that “bad” behavior is something that can be met with questions, discussions & gentleness instead of shouting, anger & consequences.   i just could not wrap my mind around that before.
if you had told me several years ago in my own words what i just said i would have told you that you were naive & clueless and your kids are probably walking all over you.
i still believe in consequences but quite often the natural consequences are enough.
an example could be if a child didn’t do their homework & the coach says she can’t play in a game that week – that is a natural consequence.
instead of me laying down more punishment on top of that i can say “what is your plan to not miss your homework again?  how can i help you meet that goal? why do you think you didn’t do that before? how can you do things differently now”

in the past when there were poor choices made i would get mad.
mad at the kid.  mad at the choice.   just plain mad.
it was all reaction and no responding.
and then somewhere along the way i just got tired of feeling mad all the time.
something switched and now i have a desire to understand their thinking, talk it out calmly (or attempt to) and asking where they are struggling and if they know why?
it doesn’t always work BUT i feel so much better after we have parented in that way.
it feels right!
i can lay my head on my pillow at night knowing that i was calm… i was loving… i wasn’t manipulating guilt or pouring on shame… and i was honest.
(of course i still fail at this often because i am human)
because no matter what i want my kids to feel SEEN & HEARD & LOVED even if they screwed up majorly.
and if i am always mad – HOW would they feel those things?

when they were younger i didn’t really understand that all these little shorties running around my house were PEOPLE.
that sounds ridiculous i know but we just had baby after baby and it was kind of a decade of survival mode.
not in a traumatic kind of way but in a sleep deprived, out numbered, monotonous eat-cry-sleep-repeat kind of way.
there wasn’t a lot of thinking about their teenage years.
i could basically control their whole world… our entire day was doing whatever i wanted us all to do.
and when they got a little older – suddenly they didn’t always want to be part of my plan.
letting go of control was and still is hard!
but it’s necessary for them to become their own person.
i don’t want five little Meg robots who are just like me.
i want happy kids who feel awesome to be themselves even if (and especially if) they are the opposite of me or their dad.

each of us is given free will – even my own children! (gasp!)
no matter how much i try to instill my values onto my kids – they still get to choose their own path.
period.
i have to remind myself time and again that a bad choice does not equal bad kid.
nor does a poor choice equal a crappy mother who is to blame.
and instead of scrambling to fix it or rescuing them from the natural consequence or laying down my own consequence on top of what has already happened… i can step back, assess the damage, try to understand why it happened and ask where is the lesson in this situation?
and if necessary – issue a consequence that is fair and not made hastily in anger.

OH HOW I WISH I COULD HAVE PARENTED LIKE THIS 20 YEARS AGO!!!

there is nothing that can be done to change the past.
i can apologize when i am wrong (something i suck at!) and i can strive to do better in the future.
i can be honest with my kids and with my husband.
i need to confide in my girlfriends and listen to their advice.
being fake helps no one.
i can change the conversation in my home about choices, actions & expectations in love and not anger.
and therapy helps everybody.
it’s true.
everyone should go to therapy… it’s good for the soul.

if i was excellent at this parenting gig – i wouldn’t need Jesus.
I am so glad i don’t have to do this on my own!   i am so happy i have a Savior who is also my friend.
i can pray for His grace to cover the mistakes in my mothering.
i pray that i’ll show His love to my kids and when i don’t do that well that HE would love them even harder.
i pray that He will relentlessly pursue my kids’ hearts in whatever way He chooses.
that He will give me faith to trust His plan for my family in the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

parenting big kids is way harder than i expected and 100 times cooler than i ever thought.
i had no idea teenagers were so much fun!  obviously it’s not fun all of the time but way more than i ever knew to expect.
it’s a roller coaster of feeling all the emotions to extremes practically every day.
as a mom to 5 older kids – i am exhausted and exhilarated all the time.
i’m not awesome at it but i’m not going to give up trying.
i am overjoyed to be their mom.

Cassandra - I just came back to read this post a second time. Thank you for this post, my oldest is 6 so I have a ways to go with this parenting gig I appreciate truth from those “ahead” of me. And thank goodness for God’s grace in it all!!

Rebekah - I rarely comment, but this just spoke to me! The thing about controlling our children’s behaviors is–we truly can’t, even when we think we can. Control is always about ME making MYSELF feel less anxious about getting assignments done on time, or about ME being less embarrassed by their mistake, or less worried that they’re going to end up in juvi or homeless or a not nice human being. Control is a technique I wrongly employ to help ME! Why is that my go to parenting? I don’t know. But your message resonates with me. Love, parent, discipline, but give up the control. God has me and them all in His hands anyhow. Thank you so much, Megan. I love your cheerful, happy corner of the web!

Laura - SO. VERY. TRUE.

Thank you, Meg for putting into words what us older moms know to be truth. May younger moms use your words to benefit their families.

Leslie @Farm fresh Fun - This is gold and why I’ve been following you for years as your kids and mine grow!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Laura - Such truth! My kids are 12-25 and I tell people all the time I thought it was suppose to get easier! It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. Their problems are so REAL and BIG! Parenting big kids isn’t for wimps, that’s for sure. Thankful every day for God’s grace and peace. Keep soldiering on 🙂

Heidi Garrett - Oh how I needed to hear this today! I have two teenagers and two littles, and somehow 3rd grade homework and preschool drama are NOTHING in comparison to raising teens. I am winging it!!! It is wonderful, but so tricky and new. Thank you for your encouraging post!

Bekkah - Hi Meg :]

I have been following your blog for a few years now, and it’s so crazy to see how old your children are now!! Especially Annie because she was so little when I first started reading, and she always reminded me a little of myself. 😛

Thanks for sharing this! I am particularly sitting with this line: “i still believe in consequences but quite often the natural consequences are enough…”

because that’s what God has been showing me about his heart towards me. Bless.

Have a good weekend!! xo

jennibell - I hope I have time to come back and read more of these comments. . .but as it is it has taken me 5 days to get around to this one — and I’ve been motivated to read it b/c I knew it would be chock-full of “good stuff”. Meg, love your heart and your honesty and your thoughts. Thank you for them. We have 4 ages 13-18. . .I have followed your blog for YEARS and taken MUCH of your advice b/c you’re right — we cannot do this “alone”. Listening to friends is very important (is that weird that I consider someone I don’t know IRL a “friend”?). Anyway, I shared this on my FB b/c last week I shared http://amycarney.com/blog/walk-away-from-doing-these-8-things-for-your-teen-this-school-year/ and got (some) flack. . .I’m a MS teacher and Amy Carney’s thoughts just hit me right. Your post was more about Jesus and love and mistakes and grace and a good balance — I agree with and will continue to refer to both posts often. Thank you for taking your time, opening up, and letting us know that we are not alone and encouraging us to be “better”.

Iris Brown - This is powerful & heart wrenching. I recognize myself in the shameful before & after. This post highlights that we are in a position to make changes so we are not reacting when we only have fumes (which is often) & to make provisions by complete dependence on Jesus.

I made these harsh & unfair judgments on my mother raising 3 girls by herself in even more dire circumstances. Only when I started raising my own kids I realize I need to cut her some slack and now towards myself.

OMG this was so good & so helpful so powerful! (Sigh) I need to chew on this for a while.

Lindsay Soetaert - THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom with us!! I had 4 children in under 6 years and I totally resonated with your statement about having baby after baby and how our mind has to shift into realizing they are actual people. And I certainly don’t want little robots of me, or just robots in general. I LOVE their personality and fire and everything else that makes them unique and wonderful and at times challenging. I have printed out a few of your blog posts in the past as reminders, and this one will definitely be one of them!

Carrie - Oh goodness this is appropriate for me. My oldest is 9 and we have entered an unusual phase. My sweet and happy little girl is a moody and often disrespectful little girl. Not to anyone outside of our family but nevertheless it has left me floundering. We have talked to her gently and my husband tends to react before thinking but I finally had it tonight. I told her that I knew that she was going through a lot and that she might not always be in the best mood but that being disrespectful was stopping today or there will have to be consequences. I told her that instead of snapping at me, using unkind words, or rolling her eyes that she needed to let me knew she was not in a good mood or that she was having a rough time. I tell her a lot that we are both learning this tween stage together and we need to figure it out. I have not lost my cool but I actually think that might happen soon and it might be a wake up call to her. But currently my 6 year old is a breeze!

Tanya H - I have thought about this a LOT lately. Especially the natural consequences, vs adding my own. Isn’t life challenging enough?? Sheesh mom!
I have kids close to Talby and Annie’s ages and a newborn. I am SO much calmer now, with all of them. I care so much less about how other mom’s do “it”, and what other people think I should do, and so much more about what my kids think and how they feel about things. Maybe it comes with age, or just the time spent being the mom… But I love your post and agree with everything. Nice to know we’re all learning and improving… 🙂

Lori Tacchino - I love this so much, Meg! Thank you so much for being real and honest.

Kimberlee - I love you.
That is all.

Annie - This is so good. I’m struggling with yelling and resentment, quickly followed by guilt and despair. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing.

Louise - Oh wow, Meg, I needed to read this today. I have yelled too much today and reacted poorly to my boys’ poor behavior. Thank you so much for the opportunity to press the reset button, apologize, and try again. So grateful for you.

Andrea - AMEN!
My oldest, who just turned 22, was home after graduating college in December – but just before she moved 2200 miles away to be on her own. She saw me dealing with our youngest and said “where was that Mom when I was little?” It made me cry later (I didn’t want to cry in front of her and make her feel guilty) because she’s right. The yeller, the mom who is tired and frustrated would yell and ground and threaten and use guilt, and that mom isn’t here any more. I think the hardest thing about her moving away from home to be her own person was letting her go, and for me knowing the wrong or right, her childhood is her past now. I wish I knew then what I know now, like you said. Adult kids are awesome and cool and so much fun, and the worries are there but different, so I’m not done being her mom, but I do have a different kind of importance now. God’s got us, Meg.
Great post!

cathie w. - Ditto everyone’s positive comments!!!!

While reading I kept thinking YES….This is how I feel and what I am striving for as a mother.

Thank you for putting this into words and sharing so opening.

Lisa - I remember the moment I realized my 5, where little people.
It changed me. After I quit crying.
Remember no one is perfect, no one is the mother that they really want to be, we’re too human. And how would kids even survive life, if they have that perfect upbringing?
I don’t know you, but I know you are a good mom.
When you’re having doubts,,, go to walmart, look around, observe. Or watch the news.
We’ve experienced, that about the time our girls have left the nest, they get feisty and critical of their parents. The mature ones have said, hey, you did what you knew to do,nobody’s perfect.
The less mature ones, well, they’re still feisty. Their choice.
Don’t get discouraged.
The lord, he knows our hearts. He understands.

Jen - Oh Meg, THANK YOU so much for this post. I feel like I’m walking around MAD too much and I don’t want to be there! I love your advice about meeting bad behavior with questions, discussion & gentleness; that is something I am going to try much harder to do! Blessings on the rest of your week!

Elisa - From what you shared, I think you’ll like these two things:
book: Seven Desires of Every Heart
Instagram, blog, etc: Danny Silk – loving your kids on purpose https://instagram.com/p/BO9zyigDjXT/

kensie - love.
I’m a mom to a 1, 2, 3 year old.
Stuff is tough.
Thanks for the perspective and rubber-meets-the-road advice.

I’m a little afraid of feeling all of what I feel now PLUS what you say is on the way.
Oy.

Thank the Lord we have Him.
Love your writing- Kensie

LIsa - Oh Meg –
I just clicked over to your blog today on a break at work and
I think you wrote this JUST for me!
I also need to remind myself that my kids are not robots of me.
and they have their own free will (double gasp!).
It WAS so easy when they were little and we could plan their days!
We have really great kids , but the ups and downs and change of plans each day/hour can be exhausting. I feel like numerous texts come in each day about new plans with friends or projects due, etc…..
Today our second daughter turns 13! So fitting to be reminded of great ideas for raising great kids!
Thank you, Lisa

Kristin F. - This was so, so good and something I absolutely needed to hear. I’m a yeller and the more frustrated I get, the louder I become. Just last night I had to back down on some consequences because they were too harsh for the action. Thanks for helping me keep myself in check. xo

Sally Carne - GREAT article. I also have recently switched to the “let’s sit down and try to understand the choice made” instead of punishments for my teens and step children (we are a blended family with 6 kids, all tweens or teens). I finally figured out that in the end I will feel better about trying to parent out of love than expectations, but getting here was rough, just as you explained above! I have been one of your original followers of your blog, and I have loved every entry over the years – I found you while searching for the rainbow cake oh so many years ago. Thank you, I enjoy your experiences!

Jennie - my son (my first) is ten months today, and i soaked up every single word of this. not that i’ll never get mad. but thank you.

Kristin S - Meg, I just shared this on my Facebook wall. That’s a lot of guts since I don’t even have kids! BUT so many friends have teens and I just couldn’t not share. It’s the same people I screenshotted (when did that become a verb?) your podcast with Kendra last summer and sent it to them. Friends who need hope. I love your perspective from experience and love and Jesus.

Thank you for sharing!

SC - Needed this today. I opened up my computer during lunch today to google “how to discipline my 15 year old boy”….I was out of ideas..he does so well most of the time then out of no where -BOOM….he’s made a poor decision that has landed him in trouble…and it makes me so angry… I start blaming my parenting….I worry about what he’s teaching his younger siblings,..it just a hopeless cycle and I end up MAD…and he knows I’m mad…and I know he feels guilty but what good does that do? My first instinct is to “discipline” by punishments…taking phone away, grounding, no social media….but I realize it doesn’t work… today I was out of ideas…I realize my google search was on how to punish… not how to nurture, teach and be loving when my child has done something wrong. Thank you for the lesson today.

Christin - These words spoke right to my heart. Thank you

Courtney - yes. thank you for these words. I needed them. I feel like I want to laugh, cry, smile and jump up for joy all at the same time. this parenting thing is NO joke!! (6 kids. 2 adopted. ages 15-6 years old.)

Kim B - Well said! Thanks for sharing!

Routhie - Thank you for being so honest and sharing your wisdom. I’ve got a tween and a teen and I find myself forever wishing things were done differently. Sometimes, you just need to hear from someone else the obvious thing to do.

Amy - Yep. I am right where you are. I have 7 children 21,19,17,15,13,10 and 8. It’s a roller coaster I never expected. In a lot of ways it’s harder parenting with more sleep. The things you worry about seem more serious. Instead of worrying if they should eat chicken nuggets I am worried they will drive carefully. I am a worrier by nature and so teenage years are especially hard for me. And wow I am amazed how times have changed. I am the old fashioned mom that still gives her teenagers curfews, don’t allow them to spend the night with the opposite sex, and gives the consequences for messing up grades or attitudes. But I am learning to let them have control and show them trust in situations that make me uncomfortable too. That has been hard. I think like you said it’s a control thing. But giving them rules and trust is turning out to be a great balance. I am working on not flipping my lid in situations. Being graceful is so much better but more important than that is admitting my mistakes and apologizing. I think that has helped our relations with our teens to show them we are trying to figure this out with them and we get things wrong too. We aren’t the dictators and demand respect. We have to show them respect just like what we want from them. Thanks for writing this post!

Ella - Our kids are ages 20, 17, 16, 15, 6 & 2. I’m so grateful to see my own motherly ruminations here today. Busy moms have trouble connecting regularly with other busy moms in those deeper & so meaningful discussions these days. I needed to see/hear what I had rolling around in my own grey matter in order to fully process it. I was an angry mom for years when my eldest was transitioning from elementary to middle school. That was on the heels of a very literally smoke & mirrors crazy custody battle regarding DH’s DD. It wasn’t until I took my eldest for some needed counseling that I realized how angry I’d become & how dysfunctional our parenting was heading as a result. My biggest take away was learning to let go of all the things I truly had no control over. That included my kiddos mistakes weren’t mine & I didn’t need to own them any more. I just needed to help them figure out why they made them & how they could do better the next time they were faced with a similar situation. I don’t believe I’ll ever stop learning & growing. These kids are constant teachers & God’s grace is amazingly generous.

Whitney - I love this. Thank you! I hope you never give up blogging completely.😊

Shannon - Thank you for this post. I’ve been struggling in some areas lately….and this was good to read! Thank you for your raw and honest words! Mothering is a very hard AND rewarding job! There’s a whole lot of “if I knew then what I know now”….! I get that!! I will treasure this post in days to come!! Thank you!

Ann - Best post ever. As a mom of littles I take all the wisdom of more experienced moms that I can get. Thank you!!

Nina - Awesome article! I’m just getting into the older kid stage, my oldest son just turned 11 and he has three brothers 5,7,9. I feel like I’m mad a lot and I hate that! I also struggle with their poor choices being a reflection of my parenting.

LindaP - Love this. Plain and simply love it. Having 2 teen boys right now is the hardest and greatest thing ever and you captured it all. We don’t do ourselves any favors by pretending it’s all good all the time. The day in and day out can be tough but the overall is the best!

Alice H - Being a parent is so HARD!!! I agree with everything you wrote.
I have a senior daughter who is getting ready to graduate and leave me for college, a sophomore son, and then I started over and have a first grade boy also. Every day, every age, every stage is a different struggle.

I have been struggling with the homework situation with my sophomore boy. I was so mad. I finally had to step back and let go. I told him I knew what he was capable of. And that if he needed help, all he had to do was ask and I would get him tutoring, etc. So hopefully now with me off of his butt, he will realize what he wants to do.

Kristen - It looks to me like they love having you as their mom, as much as you love being their mom. Thank you for the way that you share your family, and God’s role in it. You inspire me to be a real-er mom to my 4 kiddos, and I’m grateful for you!

Tina - Its like you KNEW that I needed this post. Thank you. I never thought that when I was struggling with 5 babies in 6 years that anything could possibly be harder….then I had teenagers. I want to be more compassionate and understanding, but I’m also walking a fine line with a couple of kids who have behavior problems that sometimes puts them in danger. I also wish I had known when they were younger how lonely parenting teens can be. There’s always a village when you need advice about diapers or potty training or feeding or bottles, etc, but I find that my teenagers problems are not mine to share with others. Its a little isolating.

Thanks again for the great advice.

Kimberly - Your blog is my favorite!! I love all of it– and I especially love these parenting blogs because I have 3 little ones 5 and under. It’s nice to hear from someone further down the parenting road than me. Someone besides my mom– who’s is wonderful, but, you know– it’s good to hear from a neutral party. Thanks for sharing this!

Lee - Oh Meg! Hugs from one mom to another! Transparency, wisdom, truth and on and on . . . . . You said it all so well. Other moms will be encouraged by your words! My girls are adults now raising their own children and I will be encouraging them to read this blog. (one of my daughters & I came to a craft weekend & loved it!) Blessings and grace to all moms!!!!!!!

Amy - All that you wrote are my thoughts exactly! I struggle with wishing I could go back to when they were little and parent differently. I struggle with trying not to be to demanding of them and knowing that they have to learn from natural consequences and that I cannot control or fix everything they do. I miss when they were little but this age is so awesome too. Parenting is HARD!

Ruth - Thank you Meg, for starting my week off this way! With 3 in the same stages as yours I very much relate, am grateful for your can do and say amen to every word! Much Love.

Jennifer - Really great post. Thanks for sharing and thanks for being honest. Wonderful words of wisdom and insight. I’m fast approaching the teenage years and this helps with perspective. You’re doing great! Can’t wait to see you next month!

Cindy - I have 2 teenage girls and this is just so good! Thank you for sharing with us.

Brady W. - Aaaaaannnnd….cue the knife to my heart. Your (should I say God’s??) timing couldn’t have been better with this post. I just had a yelling match with my 5 year old son last night that resulted in both of us in tears (pathetic, I know–who fights with a 5 year old?!?). As I was yelling at him, I was arguing in my head about whether or not that was the best way to handle it. “But if I don’t yell, he doesn’t listen or do what I say. I’ve explained it nicely 15 times!” “If I just stop yelling and hug him, will this fight be over?” “But if I hug him, is he going to understand that what he did is wrong?” It was a CONSTANT back and forth and I realized last night more than ever that all I did was frustrate myself and my son and make the devil dance with joy that he was winning. It’s SO hard to know the “right” way to parent. The sad part is it takes making so many mistakes to figure out what works the best–thank God for His grace and that my kids are so forgiving! I’ll be praying for you (and myself-ha!) to have wisdom and grace and forgiveness. Mommin’ ain’t easy! Hang in there!

Maureen - Yes! Parenting older teens is a whole new game! I, too, have parenting regrets and parenting wishes and “why didn’t I?” and the whole rush of emotions of having these boys-almost-men in my house. Feeling nostalgic many days and proud and afraid of what the future holds and excited all at the same time. Thank you for your post. Mothers unite!

Patty - Amen to that lady! My kids are 23 and 27. It is so cool to see them be the awesome, successful adults they are and enjoy them as such, but you still parent/give advice which they take into account and act on/don’t act on… When my daughter was in middle school I’d send her and her friends off with a “Make good choices girls!” (think Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday) It started as a joke, but when moments were right I’d follow up with a deeper conversation. “Life is made up of choices. We make them sometimes good, sometimes bad. Learn from your choices. I hope you make more good choices than bad. Most importantly, I just don’t want any bad choices to affect you, or someone else for the rest of your/their lives.”

Cara - this was an answer to prayer. thank you, thank you, thank you for being real, honest and vulnerable on the internet. God wanted me to read this today. i don’t know you but i am extremely grateful for your obedience in stepping out and sharing your heart on this matter. bless you and your sweet beautiful family!

Andrea - Thank you, thank you, thank you! I arrived home last night from a weekend away with several older christian moms and grandmothers but somehow felt more overwhelmed and discouraged than ever because I don’t have it all together like they do. Your honesty was the best encouragement ever!!!!!! The timing of your post was amazing and so God speaking through you!!! Sharing your heart has helped me more than ever! I am so glad you shared!!!

Trina - AAAAHHHH! This had me in full fledged ugly cry mode! I’m in the “toddler mom” stage of life and I feel so defeated a lot of days. I feel like I yell too much. That I’m not patient enough. That I expect too much. And while all of that is something I will struggle with on the daily (because I’m human), this post was soooo encouraging to me, because it reminded me of things I already know, but things I still desperately need to hear. Jesus covers my mistakes and His grace is what I need to lean on. Grace is also something I need to bestow upon my children…and honestly myself when I’m disappointed with the amount of times I’ve lost it with my kids that day. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting something that is super poignant for me at this point in my life!

Gevay - I love this. This is a good word. It’s humble and honest and raw. Thanks for sharing your heart and your wisdom to those of us on the cusp of this.

Abby - I think I have been holding my breath for this post for a long time. thanku. I am a mama of 5 children also we are very slowly climbing out of the babyhood trenches (our youngest is 2 and our oldest 10). I have felt the need to shift away from anger and timeouts but not sure what to do. I have felt that there is a better way to discipline my older children. Thank u for shining a small light on the path I need.

se7en - Isn’t this post the truth!!! Love it… Parenting littles is exhausting in a completely different way than parenting teens, which is definitely not for sissies!!! I had this idea that they would grow up and sleep and become more and more capable and sleep(!)… and then kind of slide out of home… its nothing like that. Their needs are bigger and can’t always be fixed with a sleep… they do sleep, but not before two in the morning and if you want to stay close with them… then that’s when they chat!!! It is a giant rollercoaster of the best of times and the most trying times, all in a state of fatigue!!! Is it worth it? You had better believe it, they may not be the people I expected them to be, but I really like them, just as they are!!! Of course I am their mother so I love them completely… but I really like them. I want to hang out with them and spend evening playing games and catching up with them… the ultimate achievement is to get through all this growing up, for all of us and out the other side and still be liking each other totally!!!

Christy - Thanks. Your post was just what I needed to here this weekend. As a mom newly experiencing the “older kids” years I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately by the same things. I find myself looking back with regret at decisions I made, responses I had, etc. hoping they know I meant only the best for them. That I love them so much it sometimes physically hurts. Instead I need to be looking forward and praying for more grace on both sides, more understanding and patience.. My girls are amazing and I often find myself tearing up over the idea that they will soon leave my house one minute, and just wishing for a moment of quiet the next. It is hard, and crazy, and an emotional roller coaster, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Prayers for all of us moms out there!

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My calendar

since january is usually the month where we make big plans to get organized, i thought i’d share what is working for us.
i am not an organizer.
i do not get excited about planning or purging or goal setting.
but by necessity i have to attempt to be at least SEMI-organized to keep us from missing practices, appointments, birthday parties & deadlines.
and because i am a grown up.
#lame

last year i bought these big dry erase monthly calendars.
these have been great for me because i am very visual.
if i see it on the calendar – i usually don’t forget that event (not a guarantee… but 90% of the time it works).


at the end of each month i erase and then add the next month so we can always plan in three month segments.
(in theory i do that… sometimes i forgot)
it’s not fancy or pretty but it’s what i need to keep up with these people.
i just pinned it to the wall with thumbtacks.
simple!
it’s hanging right in the kitchen so everyone can easily see it, add to it & answer their own questions about when & where events are.


we use wet erase markers which is important because if someone walks by and wipes their hand on the calendar or leans onto the wall… it doesn’t erase!
can you imagine?! that would be terrible!
these have each been erased many times and the calendar still looks very clean with no staining.

i ordered this set of markers at the same time as the calendars and just pinned the whole set to the bulletin board so i didn’t lose any.
my black marker is missing because a certain basketball coach borrowed it and didn’t put it back…


pretty planners are awesome! I love to look at them! but in reality that hasn’t worked for me.
phone apps are awesome too! my husband only uses his phone for all organizing & that’s a great system for him!
but what works for me is WRITING it myself and SEEING it often.
and seeing several months at a time.

happy january!

source – calendars / markers / bulletin board

 

Joy - I totally agree with you! I need to see it right in front of me daily without effort. I bought a planner at the end of last year thinking it would be so handy, but it hasn’t yet been touched. Deciding on a personal system and sticking to it always seems to work the best!

sharon / tpt - HAS to be on my calendar. From little to big.

Stephanie L. Robertson - Meg,
I’m with you on all this, Girl. I’m not inherently organized, but had to learn to be when I got out in the “real world” a hundred years ago. And yes, it is a wife/mom-requirement.

I’m also very visual and have to write down stuff so that I can remember it, too. I’ve got all of these little yellow legal pads to help out. As long as I don’t loose them in a clutter pile, I’ll be ok. 😉

Best of luck in 2017!
-Stephanie

Jenny Logan - My husband is always telling me to just put stuff in my phone. I’m like you though, I need to see it and it definitely helps if I write it down. I’m glad I’m not alone! I love the dry erase idea, that way when things change you don’t have scratched out writing!

Sharon - I’m a pen and paper on the wall girl. I was at Michael’s yesterday oogling their day planners, wishing that I was actually the kind of person who used these gorgeous inventions. But what works for me is a calendar with big squares, in a high traffic area. If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. Love your blog! 🙂

Lisa - That is a great idea! I HAVE to see my stuff hanging on a wall, as well!! 🙂

S - I am the same as you – I have to physically write it, see it, refer back to it in order for it to stick in my brain. What works for me is my wall calendar to capture activities and appointments and school events and then right near that calendar is a dry erase week at a glance sticky – each week I write it out and add reminders (lunch account $$ for A, library book for B, pick up C at 4:45 – don’t forget water bottle) on the day we have to remember something that wouldn’t really “make it” on my regular calendar. I also use a separate dry erase board for a running grocery list so the family can add to it. Love that your black marker is missing – good thing the thief is your favorite guy ever!!

Jackie O'M - Back in my Mama days, each family member was assigned an ink color so I could tell at a glance who had activities each day. 🙂

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