Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Lying Game

As a mom of four kids, I quickly learned that dealing with lies is just part of the parenting game.

We don't want to deal with it and we fully believe that our beautiful, innocent babies will NEVER tell a lie, but guess what?  It happens. That's just the harsh reality of parenting.

Sometimes you don't even realize your precious child is lying, but other times, it is blatantly obvious.

Case in point: My oh-so-innocent 3 1/2 year old recently told her first lie, after I discovered she dumped out an entire bin of toys just before we left the house.  When I asked her why she did it, she told me she wasn't the one who did it.  She told an elaborate story about how her friends came to our house while I was in the bathroom for THIRTY SECONDS, dumped out the bin, and left.  Her face was so serious that I was almost convinced she fully believed that was what happened. Unfortunately, she found herself picking up toys, which made us late for her playdate.  Lesson learned.  At least, I hope.

I later found myself laughing about it as I shared the story with my friends, but the important thing was that there was a consequence for her actions.  It's still hard to believe my sweet little girl would ever lie!


At age 8, Lexie doesn't lie much.  When she does tell a lie, it's usually just a partial truth with a few omitted facts, usually in the form of tattling.  She always comes clean!  

We can tell when Lexie is lying.  The guilt shows on her face and is evident in her voice. All it takes is one repeat question of "Are you SURE that's what happened?" and she spills the beans.  We always thank her for telling the truth, but she knows she will get a small consequence. We're always very reasonable with her, and she admits that she understands wrongful actions result in a consequence.  She really is a good kid.  She better stay that way as she grows! 

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Dylan is 10 years old now.  We're walking on that rocky slope of parenting a tween.  He is still a very sweet, polite, well-behaved boy, but every so often a "harmless" lie will slip out to cover up his poor choices. 

He recently had a book report due that was half of his grade.  He had a month to read the book and write the report, and I thought he was doing a good job. He reads at a reading level much higher than his grade, and enjoys reading.  I wasn't worried at all, but I regularly checked his progress and made him write down a recap of every chapter after he read it.  

When it came time to type up the book report, I read through the final written draft, then skimmed through the chapters to check his work.  What I discovered was that he picked out ONE sentence from each chapter and expanded on it, even if it wasn't entirely accurate.  

I was FURIOUS!  I know it was his very first book report, but his work was lazy. We immediately canceled all Friday night plans and I made him redo the entire report. I sat by his side as we went over every single chapter and wrote a proper recap.  While I do believe that he didn't quite understand just how big of a deal this book report was, he needed to learn that he can't just do a poor job and hope that the teacher never read the book.

Dylan did end up getting a 100% on his revised book report, but I made him tell his teacher exactly what happened and how we fixed it.   She was very proud of him for stepping up and admitting his mistake, and he was overjoyed when he came home with his graded paper.  I'm calling that one a win!


I fully believe that open communication and talking things out with our kids really helped.  They do understand our reasons for setting consequences and they know that we love them very much.  In return, they trust us.  I know we're in for new experiences when the teen years arrive, but I really do hope we are able to keep our line of communication open! 

As for my littlest dude, he'll never lie.  EVER. 


How do you deal with lying?

My children are just telling little white lies (and it better stay that way!), but the Rayburns, on the new Netflix original series Bloodline, are covering up some huge family secrets by lying.  Although I haven't had the chance to watch the show yet, I've heard great things about it. I even heard a few juicy spoilers, but I still added it to our watch list!

As for now, I'm continuing my obsession with streaming Gilmore Girls on Netflix. There's definitely an abundance of little white lies on that show, which often results in hilarious antics or a harsh dose of real life. If you haven't watched it yet, GO NOW.  Seriously.  It might even be worth watching a second or, ahem, a third time through! 

Here are a few more Netflix titles about lying and consequences: 

For your little kids:
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For your big kids:
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ANT Farm
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And for teens and parents:
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70197037 11165109
70235174 11899351
70180057 9727888

Here's what's new on Netflix for kids and families:

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1. Monster High: Haunted (3/10)
2. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (3/11)
3. Inspector Gadget (3/27)
4. SUPER 4 (4/10)

Happy Streaming, my friends!  


*I'm a member of the Netflix StreamTeam.  All opinions are my own. I was given a free year of Netflix Streaming and promotional items in exchange for my monthly review.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Oh Hey, Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday!

This week was much better than last week.  No ER visits, so I'm already calling that a win!

Dylan is getting out his stitches this morning, so we get to sleep in an extra hour and a half.  We're following that up with donuts.  Getting stitches out requires a treat, right?!?

After I drop Dylan and Lexie off at school, Lily, Liam, and I have some chores to do. Hello, mountains of laundry and our monthly stock-up shopping trip at Costco!

As for now, here's what I'm loving this week:


This tea.  It was a birthday gift from my sweet friend, and I love it!!!  It's just as good as my beloved orange pekoe tea!

Let me just say, I hope this helps! Gotta love insomnia!


Gorgeous weather, and lots of time spent outdoors.  Of course, Pittsburgh decided to go back in time after that.  It's currently 30 degrees and snow flurries were spotted on Wednesday and Thursday.  That is SO not my favorite.

The girls grabbed their lunchboxes filled with mini animal figures, grabbed their cups of hot tea, and ran outside to escape their baby brother. I'm sure they will be out there all day! The look Lexie gave me was my cue to give them their privacy. #weeken


My super adorable 20 month old! He decided to celebrate by getting his 8th tooth, learning how to climb up on furniture, and taking more unassisted steps.  That may not seem like a big deal, but it's huge for him.  He has to work twice as hard as "typical" children to do the things that come easily to them. He does it all with a big smile and unbeatable determination!

Our sweet Liam turned 20 months old today! He celebrated by getting another tooth, taking several unassisted steps, and climbing onto the coffee table all by himself for the first time! We cheered while he climbed, because it was a huge accomplishment for
Practicing his newly acquired skill: Climbing onto furniture! He pushes the ottoman over to a taller piece of furniture, climbs onto the ottoman, then climbs onto the furniture. This is a huge accomplishment for him, but nothing is safe anymore!


Our new homework caddy.  I was so fed up with constantly searching for sharpened pencils and art supplies.  Thanks to the oh so dangerous Target Dollar Spot, I completed my project for $6. Something I should have done 5 years ago!  Here's to organization!

It only took 5 years to do it, but we finally have a homework caddy! I was so sick of searching for sharpened pencils and art supplies. Really hoping that this makes life just a bit easier. Thank you, Target Dollar Spot! Grand total? $6! #organization


A Sunday Funday as it's called.  Lexie had an awesome birthday party at a local art studio, so the rest of us spent two hours the Burger King next to the studio.  We had the huge, indoor playground to ourselves!  Lexie had a great time, Dylan and Lily had a great time, and Liam thoroughly enjoyed salad and ice cream!



A super messy, but super fun project this week.  We made Goop!  Just cornstarch, water, and food coloring.  So easy!  You can read more HERE.

For this week's activity, we made goop/oobleck! Lily was fascinated by how it felt almost like playdoh, but dripped out of her hands like a liquid! Such a cheap, easy activity, but I highly recommend a plastic tablecloth!!! I loved this stuff when I was i


Another Target Dollar Spot find.  That place is so dangerous for me.  But so helpful!  These adorable milk jug-style cups found their way into my cart.  I used to fill up cups for Dylan and Lexie before I went to bed, so I didn't have to fill cups all day, but I never did it for Lily.  Dylan and Lexie can obviously get their own drinks now, but Lily still needs help. I always leave water out for Lily and Liam, but she does like her milk and daily cup of juice, too.  I'm going to attempt the fill before bed trick! They are the perfect size!



A successful trip to the dentist with all 4 kids.  I SURVIVED. Everyone was cavity free, although Lexie will need braces.  Goodbye, money.



Last, but definitely not least, our new favorite shirt from Littlest Warrior Apparel.  This shirt means so much to me.  You can find out what it means HERE. We adore our sweet boy so much and we really, really, really love "Holland."


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

I'm linking up with Andrea, Narci, and Erika for Friday Favorites!


I'm also linking up with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Holland Tour Guide

Just a few hours after Liam was born, I received an email from a dear friend.  In that email, she included a popular essay about children with special needs called "Welcome to Holland." 

At that time, only a few people knew about Liam's suspected birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Whether or not he had Down Syndrome was a highly debated topic in the hospital.  Half of the doctors thought he had Down Syndrome, and the other half disagreed.  I knew, deep in my heart, that he did.

I was in a very dark and lonely place when that email arrived.  The room was completely silent, and my husband and I were lost in our grief. Grant was relentlessly surfing the internet for information, my tears wouldn't stop falling,  nobody would answer our questions, and hours had gone by since we last saw our baby. We were in a state of shock, mourning, and disbelief.

As I read through the essay, tears streamed down my cheeks.  I wanted to scream, "I DON'T WANT TO BE IN HOLLAND!!! I didn't ASK to go to Holland! I want to be in Italy with everyone else!"


I am forever grateful that my acceptance of "Holland" began just hours later, with my baby finally in my arms.

So much has changed since that dark and lonely night.  I still cry when I read "Welcome to Holland."  But my tears have changed, too.

I cry because "Holland" is beautiful.  I cry because "Holland" taught me more in 20 short months than I learned in an entire lifetime.  I cry because "Holland" is a place I never want to leave.  I cry because "Holland" filled our lives in ways we never imagined. I cry because "Holland" is VERY much like Italy. I cry because not many people give "Holland" a chance.

I cry because given the choice, I would choose "Holland" over and over and over again.  A million times again.


Welcome to Holland...
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

{c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.}

I am so honored that I was chosen to tour "Holland." I am so thankful for the most beautiful tour guide. "Holland" is a place I never thought I would want to go. It was the unknown.  It was a mystery to me.  But it's a place that I've grown to love so very much. "Holland" is every bit as beautiful as Italy. It's a place that holds so much love, grace, beauty, and joy.   It's a place that draws you in.  If you just give it a chance, you will understand...

Holland, you have my heart!


*Liam's awesome shirt is from Littlest Warrior Apparel, his moccasins are from Jaxhoo, and his bow tie is from Lolly Lu Designs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Getting Goop-y!

When Dylan and Lexie were little, I did so many learning activities with them!  I had the gift of time, because I didn't have older kids to care for.

Shortly after Lily was born, Dylan started first grade and Lexie started Pre-K.  I did have many hours alone with her, but she was just an infant.  She spent most of her time napping and hitting milestones, and the rest of our days were filled with running Dylan and Lexie to and from school, and going to their many activities. 

As they all grew, time became even more scarce.  When Lily was only 17 months old, we found out Liam was on his way. It was a struggle to even make it through the day with severe morning sickness that lasted until the day he was born.  I managed to take care of the kids and meet their every need, but it was incredibly difficult. 

Even though I didn't have much time for hands on learning activities with Lily in the 2 short years before her brother was born,  she had a full social life and got to experience so many different things.  Her childhood was not lacking in any way! 

When I registered Lily for Pre-K in February, it hit me like a punch to the stomach that my time left with her at home was very limited!  I really wanted to make my time with her count, so I decided to start choosing one activity a week to do with her.  I love to involve her in the decision, so I give her two activities to choose from, and go with what she chooses.

I was so excited when Lily chose making Goop (or Oobleck) for this week!   When I was in preschool, my absolute favorite activity was playing with Goop in the sensory table. I couldn't wait to share that experience with her!


Making Goop is really easy and really inexpensive! 

All you need is a 16 oz box of cornstarch (only 99 cents), water, food coloring (optional), and a container to put it in (a $3 storage bin with a lid is perfect)! Gather up a few spoons, strainers, cups, and toys for scooping, pouring, and playing. If you will be making it indoors, I HIGHLY recommend a large, plastic tablecloth to put under the container! 


This is a messy activity!  It is easy to clean up, though.  It rinses easily off of toys, utensils, and clothing. I originally planned on making the Goop outside, but the rain kept us indoors.  Thankfully, we didn't put down our sunporch carpeting yet, so the cement floor was the perfect spot!

I told Lily to put on her smock and get ready to get messy!


Pour the entire box of cornstarch into the container.



Slowly pour water into the container in 1/4 cup increments.  Some experiments call for 1 cup of water, some call for more.  We used just over 1 1/2 cups of water.  You want to do this slowly, and start mixing it together with your hands once you reach 1 cup.  The desired consistency is that of honey or quicksand.


Lily was disgusted by the feel of it at first, but soon got into it!


STEP FOUR (optional):

Add a few drops of food coloring, and start mixing it in!  Lily, of course, chose pink, so we added a few drops of red!


Now the fun begins!!! 


What makes Goop so fun is that it's really thick in the bottom of the container (almost like sludge), but as soon as you pick up handfuls of it, it becomes very runny! Lily thought it was so cool! 


Goop is a fun sensory project for older toddlers and preschoolers, but it's also a great science experiment for older kids!  Dylan and Lexie made it with me when they were younger, but as soon as they came home from school, they joined Lily.  They were so fascinated by it and kept asking how it worked!

It's definitely awesome to watch how it switches from a solid to a liquid, and goes back to a solid!


The girls were a mess by the time they finished!  Lexie ran off to change, but Lily needed to take a bath. Even though it looked like a huge mess, I promise you that cleanup is a breeze!


Before Lily ran off, we poured the Goop into a Ziploc bag and sealed it.  If you are throwing the goop away, throw it away in the garbage.  Don't wash it down the sink, because it could clog your drain!!!


We put all the toys and utensils into the container, and rinsed everything off in the tub before Lily climbed in.  The Goop immediately rinses off of everything, and doesn't leave any residue behind.  It rinses easily off of kids, hair, and clothing, too!!! 

As for the tablecloth, I waited for the Goop to dry, then shook it off outside.  Almost everything came off, and I was able to fold it up and put it aside for next time.  The total cleanup time was well under 5 minutes!


Our science experiment/sensory activity of the week was a huge success!

For this week's activity, we made goop/oobleck! Lily was fascinated by how it felt almost like playdoh, but dripped out of her hands like a liquid! Such a cheap, easy activity, but I highly recommend a plastic tablecloth!!! I loved this stuff when I was i

We will definitely be making Goop again!  It's quick and easy, and the kids love it!