Go Outside to Play

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Have my children played outside today?

Recent studies like this one show that our children are spending more and more time in front of screens.  I’m sure this doesn’t surprise any of us.  We see it all around us, possibly in our own home.  Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that we would surpass those numbers ourselves.

Today, I read this article about the need to reinstate play for healthy kids. I took a trip down memory lane as the author described how she would play as a child.  I could NOT agree more about the importance of outside time and it rekindled my desire to model and monitor this important part of our day.

We are believers in going outside to play.  I was raised in the country and we played outside for hours.  I’ve passed that on to my kids and they know that I believe that we need to spend some time outside every day.  If they forget it,  I remind them! 😉  I am not naive enough to think that, if allowed, my children wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions with a bowl of cereal and stay for days.  But for right now, we are playing outside and enjoying it!


If they run out of ideas, I can give suggestions and let their little imaginations soar.  They do start to complain about the humidity and heat in July but I just throw some ice onto the trampoline and tell them to have fun!

These are some of the ways that they keep themselves entertained.

1) Get dirty!

2.) Catch critters!

They are in constant pursuit of a frog, a lizard, or a dragon fly.  The poor snails aren’t fast enough and are often confined to snail city.

3.) Make fairy houses.

4.) Plant a garden.

They’ve grown tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes on their own.  They love to grow flowers and have great luck with zinnias.


5.) Create houses.

These were as a result of a Five In a Row unit that we had just covered about wigwams and turf huts.

6.) Ride bicycles.

Their bicycles usually have names, long manes, and live in stables.

7.) Jump on the trampoline, swing on their swings,  skate, and spin on their gym dandy teeter go round.

8.) Take pictures!

They photograph things that they find interesting.   These cameras have lasted for two years and provided endless hours of fun.

9.) Observe and study.

When they see something and need to identify it, they are quick to take out their animal or plant guides.  This makes my teacher heart happy!

I hope that we can delay the desire to be staring at a screen…….  Possibly forever!

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?



Perfect Moms Unite

Gorillas. Gorillas. Everywhere.

I love gorillas, too. I really do.  I wish they weren’t locked up for people to oooh and aaah over.  I wish they were just allowed to do gorilla things in the wild.  But they are. So, I don’t think I can really change that.  It doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

I also eat meat so I really can’t get all overly hypocritical here.  I have not done a lot of research but I am sure that many of the products in my home have in some way damaged habitats or animals themselves (I’m thinking the 2 x 4’s that make up my walls!)

So, what happened in Cincinnati?

I haven’t read every.single.article on the topic but I’ve read enough.  It seems that the mom got distracted.  The kid did his own thing which involved going somewhere he should not have been able to go.  He shouldn’t have been able to go (away from mom) and he shouldn’t have been able to get in there at all (through boundaries meant to divide).

But. he. did.

And then people went crazy.  It is sad.  It is.  Honestly, I can’t imagine reliving that nightmare of having to make that decision or watch that unfold.  The whole event was tragic.  Heartbreaking.

But people!

A little boy was in danger.

People have made death threats to the mom.  (Not the dad.  Apparently he’s off the hook because?) That is so sad that we as a society think that resorting to that is the answer!

I wonder how many of those people have kids!  Be careful what you say you will never do.  This is what I think when I read many of the comments.


When I brought my first born home from the hospital, I was filming him with one of the old recorders that was about the size of a piece of luggage.  I’m holding it on my shoulder and thinking that I will touch his face to get him to make baby noises.  Oh, I did all right!  I was watching through the lens of the camera and didn’t realize how close I was.  I stuck my finger right into his eye.  He made baby noises for a really long time!  I’m so glad facebook wasn’t around and I didn’t post that for public shaming!

Every child that I have (seriously probably all five) has had their head bonked because I was walking through a doorway cradling them and wasn’t used to the “extension” there.

When my son (same son… sorry) was around three months old, I left him on the bed.  I came back.  He had learned to roll over….right smack onto the floor.

My daughter was about six months old when she ate a napkin while she was sitting at the table with my mom.  Scary stuff!

I was once playing with my son (other son now…need a balance here) and told him I was going to throw him out the door.  That sounds harsh but it really was a time of joking.  So anyway, I’m swinging him around like an airplane and I open my front door which was never used.  Wasps flew in and stung him!  What!!???

Just this past weekend, we drove four hours to my mom’s home.  It was at that point that we realized that my daughter had apparently unbuckled her booster seat.  When?  Who knows?  But she rode at least most of the way without restraints.  (Like I did my whole childhood but that’s another post.)

A friend of mine went to Disney World with her family of six.  One daughter quietly stopped to tie her shoe and everyone else kept walking with the crowd.  She was lost in Disney World!  Thankfully, she found security and was able to find her parents!

I’m sure that every single parent has their own set of stories (that they don’t want to make public) that ended with them being thankful that the worst possible scenario did not play out.

And all the momas breathe a collective sigh of relief that they aren’t on the news during their worst parenting moments.

We, the people, are so quick to judge.

Law, Justice, Court, Judge, Legal

I agree 100% that there are thousands of parents who are neglecting their children.  There are.  (Leaving your child in the mountains without you for punishment comes to mind.) It is sad and it hurts my heart to read of cases of neglect or abuse.  From what we can tell, this is not the case here.

Mary and Joseph left Jesus for three days!  They lost him for three days!  God himself chose Mary to be Jesus’ mother and she left town without him.  If facebook had been a thing, we would have probably read about that.  Mary, Mary….smh.  I can just see the comments now.

So, let’s don’t be too quick to place guilt on every single person who doesn’t get it exactly right.  The difference is that she didn’t get it right publicly.

What about if we built up other moms by doing a few nice things:

  1. Help moms!  Many mothers are overwhelmed and lonely.  If you see those signs in someone, be helpful.  Take a meal.  Sit with the kids.  Help with laundry.
  2. Listen.  No one wants to admit that they can’t do it all.  That’s what successful mothers do, right?  Be a real friend (as opposed to a fake one) and assure them that they will be ok.
  3. Educate people.  We, as a society, have to educate people on what is appropriate.  We get all excited that kids can do the whip and nae-nae and hit a ball with a stick and we forgot to teach them  how to act!
  4. Give grace.  To yourself.  To your kids.  To other mothers.

We aren’t perfect.  NONE.OF.US.  That is no excuse not to try to parent and love and protect and be the best possible.  But we are going to mess up.

I pray that our children, yours and mine, grow up healthy and happy.

Now, I’m going to get off of the computer and go outside to watch mine because they are outside alone!

See……not perfect!






22 Things I’ve Learned About Parenting

4:17 a.m.  on May 22nd

When you hear that first cry, you have no appreciation at that moment what you’ll experience through the years, the magnitude of what you don’t know, and what or how you’ll learn it.

Here are some things that I’ve learned about parenting.  I’m still learning. Daily. Every minute.

  1. Give grace.  Our children are navigating this same crazy world that we are.  They are going to make mistakes, need forgiveness, and plenty of grace.  Grace for you.  Grace for them.  Everybody needs a big portion.
  2. Pick your battles.  There are some things that are worth putting a lot of time and energy into.  I want my kids to be safe, to learn to make good choices, to be kind to others.  I don’t stress too much about their eating habits, the cleanliness of their room, or making straight A’s.  Your list might be different but everything can’t be equally important.  Everyone will get exhausted quickly.
  3. They will survive.  I made the mistake of taking my son to the doctor because he was such a picky eater.  He heard the doctor tell me that he would eat when he got hungry.  He did.
  4. You’re doing ok.  No matter how good or how bad you think you’re doing, you’re probably exaggerating at both extremes.
  5. They really don’t need much.  Kids are not won over by material possessions.  They need your time when they are with you and an imagination when they are alone.  Those monetary things that seem to matter pale in comparison to having YOU.
  6. Let them dream their own dreams.  The amazing thing about being a kid is that your ENTIRE life is ahead of you.  If you want to do something, you can!  Nurture those passions and watch them soar. Sometimes, literally soar!  Here is my 22 year old pilot when he was about 12 and couldn’t see over the front of the plane during lessons!holtonplane
  7. Set traditions.  These are the things that your children will rely on.  They will provide memories and opportunities to get together as your children get older.  Everyone wants to belong to a tribe. IMG_1592
  8. Take vacations when you can.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate but try to get away from it all with your family when you can.  The memories are worth every penny.Picture 083
  9. Accept them.  We are all so weird.  We could pick out a million things about others and ourselves that we would like to change.  I believe in being socially aware but our kids are just people.  Love them the way that they are.  Help them to accept themselves.  Accept yourself too.  We’re all weird. It’s a good thing.
  10. Seek the good.  There will be plenty of things to nag and nit pick about.  SEEK the good. It might not jump out at your from underneath the dirty clothes pile on the floor.  Look for it.
  11. It really is the little things.  Have something that is special to your family.chess
  12. They are watching.  Be a model of what you’d like for them to be.  Greet people kindly.  Show compassion.  Pray for others.  They will remember when you don’t!
  13. Teach them to work.  I am so thankful that my kids have a strong work ethic.  Start with giving rewards/allowance for chores and let them earn their way.
  14. Don’t compare.  I don’t compare my kids to other kids because I don’t want to be compared to other moms.  Period.
  15. Put it into writing.  Leave notes.  Send a note in the lunchbox when they’re young.  When they go on a trip, pack a little note.  Leave scripture or inspiration on the bathroom mirror.  Text your teens that you love them or an encouraging thought.  Everyone likes to hear something positive and be reminded that they are loved.  You may never (probably won’t) ever hear back from them.  But, you just may find them stuck in a drawer years later.  It’s special. Do it.
  16. Eat together.  I wasn’t as disciplined about this as I wish I had been with the older two.  It’s important.  Sit together.  When you do eat together, don’t correct every single behavior.
  17. Give them something to look forward to.  When the boys were little, I would remind them in the morning before school of something fun that we were going to do that night.  It might be something very simple, but it gave us all a little something to look forward to during the day.  Saying “Don’t forget we are making s’mores tonight”  proved to make the school day just a little less daunting for all of us.
  18. Require rest.  If you have no consistent schedule for bedtime or rest, you are asking for cranky children.  Everyone functions better when they are well rested.  Make it a priority.  Through middle school around here, bedtime is set and enforced.  It is good for grown ups too! IMG_1619
  19. Mom’s intuition is a real thing.  If you think you know something is going on, you are probably right.  Don’t overlook things that would be detrimental to your child.  Have the hard conversations.
  20. Say yes as much as you can.  Saying “Yes” and then adding when that can happen is much better than just saying no all the time.
  21. Say No when you need to!  Giving a firm answer when needed is important.  When you say yes as much as you can, the “No” will be taken much more seriously.  It will be obvious that it is a necessary answer and that whining or discussing it isn’t going to change the answer.
  22. Pray for them and let them know it.  Fervently. Consistently. Pray for them.

And just a bonus….Enjoy each season.  Whether it’s good or whether it’s bad, it will pass quickly.

You have no idea how your heart could ever walk around in the world, but it does.  It just takes up another form and becomes an extension of you.

Being a moma is the most demanding, rewarding, exhausting, wonderful calling in the world.  I would have never imagined that I could be so blessed!

Happy Birthday!


What things have you learned in your parenting journey?  I’d love for you to share your wisdom and experiences.