Permission Granted

When I had my first baby I wanted to be with him all the time.  This is normal.  Mom’s need to be with their children and at the same time I treasured those little trips to Target to get food.  Just small outings where my husband could have one on one time with our baby boy.  As Robby grew I was never away from him over night.  I adjusted my job so either he came with me, or I came home for the night and went back in the morning.

Then when Robby was three Dan arranged two days away for our anniversary to Chattanooga.  He had friends of ours watch Robby for those two days.  Those were the hardest two days of my life and the best two days.  Permission Granted.  I could be away from him and he was just fine.  He had a blast.  In fact, two weeks later he went to my sister’s house for a few days too.

New moms need to know it is ok to be away from their kids.  They have permission, actually they really don’t need permission.  Part of raising kids is teaching them to fly.  Part of that is done by gently pushing them out of the nest.  We home school, gently pushing them out of the nest comes in forms of summer camps, VBS, homeschooling classes and other clubs and sports throughout the year.  My husband and I have taken week-long trips together without the children.

Moms you have permission to be away from your kids.  It is ok.  Yes some will cry, and it will be hard.  I have a five-year old who cried, screamed, yelled, threw, you named it he probably did it when we dropped him off at our church CDC for morning preschool.  I finally had to take him out.  But a few more months at home and he has made it a week at VBS.  But I know not all kids are not easy.

I also look at foster moms, since I am one too.  In one year we can all of a sudden have a house full of kids.  Most families take years to have this many kids.  And if you are a stay at home foster mom, the state does not fund child care for you.  So here you are left with little ones and no help.  But you need help.  Permission is granted to ask.  In fact you don’t need permission.  Just because you are a stay at home mom, does not mean you should not be allowed help for daycare, or summer camp for your kids.  You need a break.  You have to take care of yourself first.  Ask, ask, ask.

Moms, it is ok to be away from your kids.  To send them to VBS for the week or summer camp.  Even if they are in school all year, it is still ok.  Each mom is different and do what you know you can handle.  Permission is granted for you to be an awesome mom, and amazing mom.  Call another mom and go out for coffee.  Get a baby sitter and go on a date with your husband.  Have your husband take the kids to the movies and you stay home.  Your deserve it.

Permission Granted.

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Makings of a Strong Family-Table Conversation

13.  Encourages family table time and conversation

I know  I skip a few.  My laptop went boom and I just decide to start here.

We use to most nights eat at the table.  I don’t know what happened.  Sadly we have gotten away from them and I feel how it has affected our family.  Normally lately it is piled high with everyone’s stuff.  We are normally running to ball games or meetings or running kids here or there.  We lost our family table time and this has hurt our family.

They say that families that eat together have better grades in school, communicate better with parents, eat healthier.   A few years ago, ok many years ago, I wrote a skit for a Sr. High gathering up in Ohio.  It was “The Three Tables.”  The family table, the youth room coffee table and the Lord’s table.  I truly feel you keep your family around the family and Lord’s table you can keep things pretty grounded!

In our family we were suffering with the family table.  Two days ago  I decided enough was enough.  I wanted my table back again!  It got cleaned and found a  few other things to put on it.  I did this so all summer long my kids and I can sit and talk about different things.

Family table talk

The Really Wooly Cards I found at our Christian book store and they were made by DaySpring.  I am a sucker for those cute sheep! So I was thrilled when I saw them!


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Makings of a Strong Family-A Chance to Particapate.

9.  Gives everyone an equal chance to participate.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Everyone participated in Mother’s Day.  From cards, to cooking me eggs, to making me coffee, to getting me teddy bear and balloons.  The family worked together.  As a mom it was fun to watch.  Each proud of what they were able to accomplish.

We got a puppy at Christmas time.  Everyone participate in the care of Sophie.  sometimes they fight over it.  Sometimes they whine over it.  But each have their part in the care of Sophie.  From walking, to bathing, to feeding her, to playing with her and to training her.  We participate together.

Have you ever cooked together as a family?  Gotten dinner ready?  Kids love to have some thing to do to help.  It is not a chore, but a way to help.  From cutting a carrot, to passing out carrots, and even unloading the dishwasher (when it’s their idea) it is a family affair.

What this does not mean, is that if the adults are doing something, it means the kids get to do everything the adults to.  The kids will have their time when their grow up.  Does not mean everything will be equal.  Older kids may get more or do more, cause they are older.  It is not about fairness.  Which is often a mistake in our house, especially when you have two so close in age.

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Makings of Strong Families-Family Traditions and Celebrations

8.  Has a strong sense of family in which tradition and celebration abound.

When Dan and I had our first thanksgiving dinner, we brought two family traditions together.    His was onion rolls and mine was dried sweet corn.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas after that we have always have those two items, among all the other wonderful yummy foods we have!  When Jeremy moved in with us, we asked him what one food item made thanksgiving for him.  It was deviled eggs.  So now, we have three foods, for sure we make.

It is the little things that we do every year that make traditions.

  • Leaving cookies and notes for Santa.
  • Dying Easter Eggs.
  • Fireworks on the 4th of July
  • Picking Pumpkins at a Pumpkin farm
  • Hunting for easter eggs
  • opening one present christmas eve
  • breakfast in bed on mother’s day

When I asked my 5-year-old what traditions we have.  He responded “Jesus.”  Oh gosh my heart melted!  We have family celebration of Jesus every day, and bigger on Sunday.  Every holiday we celebrate Jesus is woven into it.

We have special things we do for birthday’s.  Daddy has started taking them out for birthday breakfast.  We let them pick out where or what they want to eat for dinner.  It is their special day.  We also celebrate

  • birthday
  • baptismal
  • confirmations
  • anniversaries
  • adoption days
  • graduations
  • weddings

Family celebrations isn’t about money, but about time with one and other.

Some families have weekly game nights or movie nights.  Some have pizza night.

As we get foster kids in and out, we try to see what important traditions or celebrations they may remember and if possible, use them.  Just like the deviled eggs.

What kind of traditions do you have in your family?

Need  helping getting started check out Simple Mom and 10 Ideas to Get you Started.

Hey wondering about dried sweet corn?



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Makings of Strong Families-Teaches right from wrong

5.  Teaches right from wrong

Notice the word teaches.  I talk to many parents who expect their children to know this.  But like anything else there is a training period that lasts about 18 plus years.

You are the biggest example in teaching right from wrong.

Let’s face it even God knew this was going to a tough thing for us to know right from wrong.  This is why He gave us the 10 commandments. While he expects us to keep these commandments perfectly,  He knows we can’t so He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for us.  This is the foundation for teaching my kids right from wrong.

A while ago I wrote a post on lying.  Why do they lie?  Why do our kids do the things they do?  We have many issues with Isaiah.  As I started this post, I had pause to do a time out with him for stealing his brother’s blue tooth.  And his chocolate Easter Bunny front he freezer.  And for food under his bed.  (it is bed room cleaning day!)   Isaiah is five, he entered our family at 3 months.  So he has been raised by us, same morals and values.  Same rules.  I keep teaching him right from wrong.

One of our foster boys I made up a little reminder sheet for him.  He had sticky pockets.  AKA as always taking things with him that were not his.  He did this a lot from his class room.  He would take things from other kids backpacks.  He could walk by something and just take it.

The reminder sheet simple said:

Is it yours?  Yes, then you may have it.  No, leave it be.

I think one of the best ways to teach kids right from wrong is to discuss it daily.  Talk about why what they did was wrong, not that it was just wrong.  Keep the communication open.  Discuss the 10 commandment.  Martin Luther’s Catechism is great to review the 10 commandments and their meanings.  There are many great ways to memorize the 10 commandments.

 teaching kids right from wrongHaving Family Rules also help.  This gives them guide lines to so they know what is right and what is wrong.   We have rules, but they have become unwritten down again.  Again a May project we are working on to update them.    I think rules should not be should nots.

You should not hit.  Instead say,

In this family/house we respect each other.  Which means we do not hit, kick, bite, smack, pull hair, spit, punch or hurt any one.  Including the pets.

This way is also better for new foster kids coming in. Using “In this family” get past the “well in my family we do it this way.”  I simple respond with, in this family we do it this was.  This also works well with friends who are over visiting.  Some with use the Lords name in vain.  We simple say, “In this family we respect God’s name.  Please don’t use God’s name in vain.”

Pinterest really has some great and cleaver ideas for making family rules.  I thinks families have embraced family rules beyond the “should nots”

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Makings of a Strong Family-Shares Responsibilities among its members

6.  Shares Responsibilities among its members

Oh I could go in so many different directions here.

When everyone works together things get done.  Faster.   Better.  Easier.

Is it a women’s job?  Is it a man’s job?

Let’s just agree some things men do better.  And other things women do better.

Find the better and do them.

If the hubby cooks well, then enjoy it!  If the wife likes fixing things up, wahoo!

It is about stepping up and taking initiative to know when you need to step up.

My husband is good at this most days.  He will do dishes often.  And he puts the lefts overs away.

But guys, if your wife is having a tough day, and not feeling good-step up.  If baby is sticky, don’t walk away like you didn’t smell that.  Trash over flowing…you get the idea!

And gals, our guys work hard.  Do extra stuff for them when you can.

All over our house we are lacking this right now- initiative and shared responsibilities.  Unless mommy is giving out who is cleaning what.  It is not getting cleaned right now.  There are something that are getting done.  But I know this is where I have fallen in terms of good chores and shared responsibilities.  We have had list before, but then kids come out and in.

And when I do ask them to clean some times I get screaming and whining.  And sometimes they do it with a cheerful heart.  And sometimes they do it without being asked.

We are going to work on this.  I have already a few ides in place for the beginning of summer.  This will be easier cause AnnieQ will be done with school and it will flow better.

My Kid Organization board on Pinterest has lots of ideas for chores.  Check it out!

This is part of my Making Strong Families Series.

How do you share responsibilities?


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Makings of a Strong Families: has a Sense of Play and Humor

5.  Has a Sense of Play and Humor

All can be perfectly quiet, calm and before they know it, momma is doing something silly!  You got to!  Kids love that stuff, when moms and dads can be silly!  Watch the smiles on their faces when parents get down and play with them.

When Robby was little he had lots of toys.  But the thing he loved best was when Dan got on the floor with him and played horse.  He loved that.  The smile beamed from his face!  Sadly many parents don’t take the time to get down and play with their kids.  We often are tired or busy.  But kids they want us to play with them.  They would rather us take a ball and throw it with them than sit and watch TV or computer.  Kids would rather sit around the table playing a board game or cards on an evening then all this other stuff we have them in.

Families have to play.  Together.

 I don’t always do a good job on the together part.  You often hear-go play-so I can get things done!

I remember one time we were outside working on some yard work.  Before I knew it we had a football game going on.  The kids ate that up!  More so cause daddy was the one running the football!  Kids love parents when they play!

Marriages do better when you can be silly every once and a while.  Or more.  Most marriages balance each other one, one a little bit more serious the other a little bit more silly.  Dan and I balance each other out!  I have the daily fun down better, he has the big fun down better.

Really as I type this Isaiah walks out with a huge bead necklace, going “look at me” and “shaking his booty!”  Where’s my camera?  Humor and Play!

Jeremy and I can go from having the most serious conversation about life, to have the funnest conventions about life.  Robby thinks we are funny.  Sometimes we are.  But in our house, you just got to find humor to make it through!

When was the last time you all had a belly aching almost peed in your pants laugh?  I remember years ago, I was at my granny and pop-pop’s house.  We were playing cards like we always did there.  My great Aunt Dinny was also there.  I don’t remember what happened, but she said or did something that we all laughed so hard.  We normally didn’t laugh like that together.  But that moment, I will always remember!  We always played together, but the humor was the bellying laughing kind.

I am going to write a book.  I have been saying this for 10 years now. It is going to be called “When All Else Fails There is Always Duct Tape.  Humorous Parenting Advice”

Have fun.  Play games.  Laugh.  Blow bubbles.  Tell knock knock jokes.

How is your family playing and finding humor in life.

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Developing a Sense of Trust Makes Strong Families.

4. Develops a sense of trust

When babies are born, the first thing that they learn is trust. Trust that when they cry their needs will be met. Crying is their only form of communication. When our babies cry, we pick them up, love them, feed them, and care for them. This teaches them that every thing is ok.

This little guy above is my nephew Jon Jon. My daddy took the picture!

When you get married you form a bond of trust. For better or worse. I promise to be there.It is wise for you to create hedges or fences to make sure that trust stays true in your marriage. Listening to each other and keeping communication strong helps keep trust strong. Respecting each other creates a sense of trust.

Divorce is not in our vocabulary. We never have to worry about if we have a bad day with each other that it may end it all. We trust each other that we can make it through those tough times. We trust that God has given us the strength. But it takes work. All the time.

That trust we have in each other is something we have to teach Jeremy. He makes comments that Dan is cheating on me or me and the pool guy. Coming from a normal back ground kid, I would be mad. But we know his back ground. We know that we have to teach him, that Dan and I are strong and together. I do not go to the store to “cheat”. I goto the store to go to the store. But if you understood the history of where he grew up, this is what people did. They didn’t commit to each other for ever. They came and went. They cheated. They were not there when you needed them. Sometimes the only person you could trust was yourself.

Robby grew up with a strong sense of trust. He was hungry, I fed him. He was wet, I changed him. Yes there were times he cried and I didn’t know why. Sometimes babies cry. But we gave Robby that sense of trust.

Isaiah came to us stiff as a board. We popped him into the sling and carried him. He cried all the time. He was sick. He spit up all the time. We only fed him 3-4 ozs at a time. But in time he wasn’t stiff any more. We invested a lot to help him learn to trust. To teach him how to attach.

We did not know he was going to be ours forever. Just that he needed this. To trust.

This trust is a two way street though.

While teaching children to trust, parents trusting children is important to. Mr. Isaiah has been at it again with food. This time hiding food in the dinning room under a dresser. This brought in an ant parade. Right now I do not trust him in the kitchen. He is not allow in the kitchen. He had to get really strict with him about the kitchen and food thing.

When Jeremy move in with us I didn’t trust him. I loved him and wanted him. I just didn’t trust him. He was coming from a back ground where he had done many things and I didn’t know yet how much I could trust him. As time went on, I slowly trusted him more and more. But then when things would happen, certain trust would fly out the door and slowly had to be regained again.

Trust in the Lord you God with all your heart, mind and soul.

Trust is a funny thing. Here one day gone the next.

Why don’t you take your kids on a Trust Walk? or better yet, let them lead you!

Check out my Pinterest Board on Strong Families for more ideas on trust

How do you develop a sense a trust in your family?

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Makings of a strong family-communication and listening.

1.  Communication and Listening

Did you hear that?

Communication.  When we lose track of what everyone is doing, our family goes crazy.  One missed appointment, birthday party, or late for a game.  Everyone changes and there is tension in our family.  Communication for us is the key to making it day by day.

Just not of daily events or assignments for school.  But communicating with each other.  I want my kids to know they can talk to me about anything and everything.  Even if I don’t want to hear it, if they need to say it then say it.  About two years ago, my then 16-year-old son came to me and sat down.  There was a lot of other stuff happening and it was happening fast.  He had to tell me something, that I really never wanted to hear.

 And when he said it, I just paused.

I knew it was very important that this issue was communicated in a calm fashion.  I was calm.  I listened to everything that had happened. I had to make sure that my son knew that he could tell me anything, regardless of what I thought, and we would get through it.  He knows that I believe in consequences of actions.  But we as parents we are here to listen to him always.

And it is good to know that their extended family also listens to each other.

Communication and Listening

Just like with any of our kids listening is important.    Now my conversation with Jeremy is greatly different from mine with Isaiah.  Isaiah, I get things like “mom did you know that giraffes clean their ears with their tongues.”  Yes I needed to know that, I think.  But when he says “Mom I saw fire” well you better listen!  Sometimes when my kids are whining, I tell them I am not listening till they can talk nicely to me.  But I am listening.  I know they are tired, or hungry, or mad.  I am trying to teach them even though you are one of these things, you still need to learn how to talk to a person nicer, even if you feel like crap!

Communication and listening also plays an important part in marriage.  Giving my husband my undivided attention is important.  I am not always good at that these days.  Kids pulling at me, iPhone jingling, Tv on, cleaning….some days I may listen half heartily.  The key is stepping back, putting stuff up and listen.  Sometimes, I hear him, but I pretend I don’t hear him.  I may not want to acknowledge what I am hearing.  But that can only last for so long!  Through 13 years of marriage we have learned much about each other, and we are still learning more everyday.   Yes, there are days that he and I have said something and the other has looked up and said “what was that?”  Or other days when we asked questions at not the right time.

When Dan and I first started “getting to know each other” we did a LOT of communication through e-mail.  For us that worked.  (I printed all those out too!:))  But when we got over that “I really like you-ALOT” stage, we could talk about things better.  We are not perfect and yes there are things I wish we could talk more about, but then that would be throwing in the “girl-boy” differences and that is a whole other blog post!

Listening.  The bible is filled with “listen.”  Listen to God, listen to instruction, listen to stories, listen to Jesus, listen for the devil, listen to hymns. Proverbs 18:13 tells us “To answer before listening-that is folly and shame.” (NIV)

Over 400 times is listened mentioned in the bible.  I think God is trying to tell us something.  He wants us to listen to him.

Coming back from vacation we drove two cars back.  My two little kids were in the back seat going bonkers.  I had had about enough.  They were tired, cranky, fighting with each other, whining, throwing things.  I was ready to drop them off.  I tried many different songs, but this song stuck.  It fits.

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Makings of a strong family

Just before we got married almost 12 years ago, I was finishing my Master Degree in Parish Education at Concordia College, in Seward Nebraska.  One of my summer classes was Marriage and Family.  First I don’t ever recommend anyone to take a class like that just before getting married.  Everything was book defined for marriage, I really had to step outside of that to focus on getting married.  My husband understood it perfectly.  From that class one worksheet stood out to me.  The day we got married that worksheet started hanging in our kitchen.  12 years later you will still find it in our kitchen on our fridge now.

strong family

I keep it there to remind us.  I keep it there to encourage us.  I keep it there to inspire us.

I hope it does to those who also read it there.

But I also keep it there, so when we have a foster child in our home, they can see and learn what is important to us.  And to help them take small nuggets to take back to their family.

It is just like our faith.  I can’t impose it on them, just expose them to God.

I trust He will take care of the rest.

So some have asked about the list.  So I decided to blog about each one and how we use it in our family.  We are not perfect, we learn each and every day.  This is why the list is always in front of us.

Where did the list come from?  Well considering it has been 13 years since my class, I had to do some research.  I believe that a Mrs. Curran came up with the list.   There are many different list of what makes families healthy.  This one just stuck.

So come hopping with me as I taking about what the makings of a strong family are.

I would love to hear what makes your family strong!

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