Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer Shopping

Winter has . . . wait, let's not jinx it!
Here in New England, we had a rough winter. (Well, just a lot of snow all at once)

Now that we don't need boots, hat, coat, gloves & sweatshirts. . . we have moved on to the shorts, tshirts, sneakers and bathing suits (Almost!)

However, having a 9 year old boy . . . (a very stylish one) . . . makes the change of seasonal clothing difficult. Everything we bought last year, doesn't fit this year! Ugh!

So we took a special day and went shopping.
I consider myself to be frugal, while Daddy is very careless (when it comes to shopping)

Junior and I went to a few stores during April vacation.
We picked up some shorts & tanks. We even grabbed some flip flops.

A week or two later, I hopped on The Children's Place website. (Not advertising for them)
And I was able to find a bathing suit, flip flops, sunglasses, and a hat for $18 shipped!!

Now, I did need to go and return a bathing suit that we paid $14 for (at another store) because I thought we did so well shopping online. The package arrived and Junior started modeling.

Thank You to The Children's Place for not emptying our bank account AND putting a smile on our child's face!!

Where do you buy quality but financially friendly clothing for your growing boys? (and girls!)

Summer Pouting OR Summer Reading

I wonder if these 4th grade teachers understand what they are doing to us parents. . .

While Junior is going to a new district this 2015/2016 school year, we are challenged with our first Summer Reading assignment, and he MUST read one of the three choices on the list. Unfortunately, he does NOT enjoy writing about what he has read! Even worse than writing, he does NOT enjoy being told what books to read. Lucky for all of us, Junior does enjoy reading!

The book they must read is Frindle (for his reading level) and they need to write about their thoughts while reading each day. Of course, he just wants to read and get it over with, forget about the writing part.

I've allowed Junior to take 30 different books home from the library and read.
I've also allowed him to share reading with Daddy & myself. (taking turns reading a page)
I've bribed encouraged reading for 30 minutes = ice cream!

My biggest fear is that this book is not going to be completed (along with the notes packet) before school starts in August.

The point of this post. . . .
I'm hoping that some parents will respond and let me know what they have done to encourage their children to read books they are not interested in. Even as a previous teacher, it's difficult for me to come up with creative ideas to encourage reading Frindle. What do you have for ideas?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Step-Parent" Struggles to Overcome

Dating a man with a son from a previous relationship has been difficult since day 1.
Speaking from my own experience, of course!

I use the term "Step-Parent" for multiple reasons.
  1. Daddy and I are only boyfriend & girlfriend (for five years now)
  2. I'm speaking about step parents in general (not just moms)
  3. Any dating situation that involves children from previous relationships IS complicated.

We have been working (diligently) on this area for almost two years, after moving in together as a family. There was a major struggle with discipline because the child was not mine, and he was a very well behaved boy. As he has gotten older, we do struggle with minor back talk, a limited amount of disrespect, a lack of manners, and taking responsibility for his own actions. As a step parent, it is very difficult to discipline a child that is not your own. Especially when biological parents don't get along. Daddy and I agree on punishments, but I struggle to follow through with them when it is just me and Junior here alone. I've learned over the last 6 months that I need to be confident & consistent in order for him to respect me. This is one area we have vastly improved!

As a nine year old boy, Junior does not like to take responsibility for his actions. We often hear "Well its not my fault." Along with not taking responsibility for his actions, he has a difficult time remembering things that HE needs to do. There is a chore chart that he needs to complete daily, as well as regular rules to follow (respect is most important) As a parent in general, I think it is very frustrating when a child refuses to take responsibility for their actions & when they are forgetful (mostly distracted). However, there need to be repercussions for inappropriate actions & forgetting things that are important. We have come up with a chore chart & a list of consequences. Junior HATES to write, especially when it is about his behavior, so that is our punishment when he forgets his agenda/homework, breaks something, forgets to do something he was asked, etc. In my situation, it has been a struggle for where to draw the line of what is acceptable and what is not. I feel that if it were my own child, I would be MUCH more firm.

Step Children VS Biological Children
Which brings me into this topic. There are thousands of situations where I don't know how to respond, because this child is NOT my own. Even though he is with me all day & night, I really struggle to treat him as my own (except for the loving & spoiling). Junior is the only child in the house (for the time being) so I don't have any children of my own yet. But I fear that it will be extremely complicated to explain why Junior is treated "better" or has less rules than my own children. I will not hold back when it comes to my own children (because I wont have any fear about stepping on another's toes.) How do you handle children from different parents? Blended families are much more popular now than they were before, so its not uncommon to have children from multiple parents living under one roof.

My boyfriend works a lot! When school papers come home, I fill everything out for Junior, wait for dad to come home and sign them and then they end up in the junk mail pile, or tossed to the side and missing for a day or two. (I confess, some have accidently been thrown away when cleaning the kitchen table for dinner) The other intense paperwork and responsibility is medical stuff (insurance, doctor, allergist, dentist, etc.) When you are only "Dad's Girlfriend" you might as well just be non-existent when it comes to the school/medical/legal things. Unless you are the child's legal guardian, you won't get anywhere! But, wait . . . You are with the child 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (except for school) and drive him to/from school, sit in his doctor/dentist appointments with him, pick up his prescriptions, fill out all his paperwork, and care for him full time. So what's the big deal? The big deal is that my signature means NOTHING! My presence means NOTHING! And I feel like a nobody. So frustrating. But mom isn't involved in any of the above, and dad works more than 12 hours a day. As his caretaker/dads girlfriend, I am unable to make any real decisions. How do you change this? Oh yeah, you don't! Not even by being married. What do you do? Anyone?

Right now, these are only a few of the obstacles I am trying to overcome.
However, they are  not easy. Not even the slightest bit.
I'm not a very confident person (but the first to admit it!)
Confidence, Assertiveness . . . Neither one are in my personality traits list.

And quite frankly, I am a little fed up with the "NOBODY" status lately. Kicking off summer 2015, and just not excited about it.

I apologize for the venting, but does anyone else experience this stuff in a blended family?

To wrap this post up on a positive note, Junior does ask dad (too often) when he is going to marry me because it will be EASIER to just call me his step mom. Ha! Gotta love the honesty!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Online Safety for Children

Junior turned 9 this weekend.
And he is a young nine.
By that I mean, he is too young for what he WANTS to watch, play & do.
Whatever us adults claim is appropriate for him, he believes is too childish.

After reviewing a "vlog" on youtube that he has been watching, I was in shock!
I swore I heard the word vagina and then read the word porn.

Well, my eyes and ears were NOT playing tricks on me.
I also learned how to style a "metro" hair-do (after watching only two videos)

Daddy and I reviewed the listing of videos by a specific "youtuber" as our 9 year old calls him.
And we were in shock together. Actually, Daddy was disgusted!

We now have put a ban on youtube, unless one of us is present while viewing videos.
(along with the parental controls already set on the ipad)

What do you do as parents to protect your children while browsing online?
Do you make sure to sit with them when they are watching videos? 
Is there certain criteria that you use when evaluating what the kids watch?

Please share!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Are We There Yet?

"Are we there yet?" is often a phrase we hear over and over again in the car.
Most of the time, we have surprise days where only the adults know the destination.

Surprise trips are best for the adults (selfishly)
But no matter where we are headed in the car, we need something to entertain the Junior!

I will admit that I love reading! And I will admit that I have tried to listen to audio books in the past.
However, I enjoy reading much more.

Last week while at the library, Junior and I walked by the audio books section.
We found some "Magic Tree House" books and "The Cricket in Times Square"
I figured we would give the audio books a whirl. . . .

Unexpectedly, they were a huge hit!
(Even Daddy and myself enjoyed the Cricket one!)

This morning, on the ride to school, we popped in the "Magic Tree House" one.
I don't care for this one as much, but it is still cute!

Morning radio is definitely not appropriate for little ears.
These audio books (cds) have really helped over the last week.
I hope to find others that interest Junior.

Any audio books that you have listened to?
Any that are entertaining for kids? (young and/or old)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Arm & Hammer (Smiley 360 Mission)

Loving the Arm & Hammer product I've received for FREE!

I've already shared with close family, friends and strangers face to face.

But now, I am reaching out to the online world (Can you hear me?)

I've received the following, for Free . . .

And this product is AWESOME!! :) Check this out!

Click here for more info:  http://h5.sml360.com/-/mwnd

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Online Classes

Thinking back to the days of  Community College.

I was rushing through courses to just move on to the next college!

Today, as I sit here taking an online course . . just for fun . . I am taking my time and still manage to pass the module one test!!

I purchased a course for myself.
Made the time to complete the module and the test.
BOTH in one day!

I may not complete a novel after this course, but I will have fun taking it!

I've promised to do MORE for me . . . here's to a new year!