Okay, I admit it, I am not a blogger. I was going to say a "good blogger", but being that I haven't posted anything since like...more than six months ago, then I must face the music. My blog doesn't even have a real pulse.
What do I have to say for myself?
Well, it's pretty simple. I've started teaching again (8th grade English); a close family member passed away last month (father-in-law); I have a house to clean and I recently took in a homeless relative. Did I mention that our house was struck by lightning, zapping the circuit board of the AC unit just three weeks after we had the unit repaired? That was the major loss of the event anyhow. Our transmission died in the mini van on the way to my baby sister's wedding....the list keeps going of course.
But the real reason I decided to check in and write something is because of a great idea I came across in another blog. It was things to do with your kids while they are young. Basically, the writer presented 7 Great Ideas to do with your kids while they are kids. I liked her thinking and admit that I've tried and do many of her ideas already (lunch dates & interviews). Still, it got me thinking. So, here are six of my ideas fresh from the "seat of my pants"...(one or two may already have existed in our-myself & husband Larry's- list of ideas):
1. Go For a Drive. (Make sure the car is in good repair:) Take just one kid on the drive and let them pick the direction. You could even come up with a final destination (like a favorite restaurant or ice cream parlor), but get creative in getting them there. Listen and communicate. Get good at open-ended questions. I have fond memories of driving at night in my Dad's old pickup with licorice bites and Roy Orbison blasting on the radio. Another twist would be to blindfold the chosen child with a favorite place in mind and have them guess where they are going along the way. I did this once for an anniversary dinner in my husband's hometown, but no matter how many turns, pointless side streets or detours I took, he knew exactly where we were! We've also let our kids drive down our road from about age 12 (but if you turn me in, I will claim that I was simply making a creative statement for ratings:). In a farming community (or anywhere), the more hours behind the wheel, the safer the driver. I plan on creating an obstacle course for each child to go over defensive driving in their 16th year too. I just need some open space, a few safety cones and maybe a cow or two:).
2. Wardrobe Master- Assign a child the daunting task of choosing everyone's attire for the day (you may want to go with a Saturday with little plans or just go for it and trust their instincts for the next family photo or event). The rest of the family has to go along with the choices or the parents get full rights at the next shopping date for the less than cooperative child's newest clothes. I'm just guessing here, but stubborn teenagers may need to be paid off for cooperation. Be sure and snap a photograph. You could even add another twist and let one child at a time decide on everyone's Halloween costumes each year. Encourage their creativity and frugality. Instead of going with a trendy Disney lineup, set a budget and use as much from around the house as possible. I'm envisioning great things here, like two rival football teams, classic book characters or refrigerator condiments that go with the big "Daddy" hot dog ( I don't know where that came from).
3. Interior Design- Many of us have let our kids choose their bedroom colors and decor, but what about allowing a child to decorate the front room, the kitchen or the back yard? I think that with a little guidance, our children would surprise us. This can be given a little guidance, such as a Better Homes and Gardens magazine concept or a favorite Website, such as Pinterest.
4. Vacation Planner- Here's a novel idea that I came up with eons ago, but still have yet to find the funding and spousal approval for. Let one child at a time plan the next vacation. I remember like it was yesterday the first time our daughter Niki went to Disneyland at about age 5. After an exhausting day in the magical land of make believe, we were on the long walk back to the hotel. She blurted out, "You guys call this a vacation?" Without missing a beat, her father looked at me and said, "I hear ya Niki; you're preaching to the choir!" So, why not let those little imagineers take the realm? I would love to see the outcome of each and every one. But please, please, please, I hope no one chooses Greenland or Outer Space. I don't want to freeze to death or break it to anyone that we don't have the budget to cover a trip to the moon.
5. Menu Master- Take just one child shopping with you, but do some homework ahead of time with a cookbook or favorite site online. Let the child choose the meals for the week. Of course, let them help you purchase the ingredients and help prepare each meal. They can even make a menu and play restaurant for several nights (as the cook or waiter). While I have never enjoyed taking the entire crew of four grocery shopping, I have found my young-ens extremely amiable when they don't have a sibling to compete with.
6. THE DEBUT- We've already started this one and call it "The Debut" (mainly because I love Jane Austen and this sounds like a name she would come up with). Each child chooses a location where they will go exclusively with their parents. The oldest chose Washington D.C. and surrounding American landmarks. Our second oldest has chosen New York. While we have yet to get the second one going from it's early planning stages (we are in Nursing School, so ease up), the age must range between 13-15. In short, the trip must be taken before the child turns 16. The idea and logic here is to go while they are still young and about to leave their early teenage years behind. Sigh... that will never happen, right?
To sum up, as doting and loving parents we once dreamed of showing the world to our children, but somehow we get caught up in the day to day worries, debts and catastrophes. There will never be an ideal time to do these things, and yet, they grow older and smarter as each hour and day goes by. Don't waste another minute. Save up starting tomorrow. What are you (and what am I) waiting for? Go and find the world with your greatest treasure, and take them one at a time...