Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!!

GOODBYE 2018!!

2018 has brought both highs and lows to our family. How has our year gone? Let’s see…

January: Johnny and I went on our first cruise! You can read more about that here. Now that we are a year away from that cruise, I am more than willing to try another one. This time maybe with family and friends. Also, Logan went through the month of January and most of February with a broken wrist. He has stayed off the pogo stick since then! We also finally ate at Debra’s Restaurant (a little inside joke with JB & I). January was also the start of my journey to get healthy, more to come on that.

January 1
Logan had a broken wrist to start the new year.
January 2
We finally ate at Debra’s! (I bet they have a good breakfast)
Valor 4
Our first Cruise

February: I turned 37 and Logan turned 12. We decided it was time, well maybe not time but we gave in, and got Logan his first cell phone.  Logan also joined the Lake Hamilton Trap Shooting Team. He has fallen in love with the sport and is very ready for the season to start again.

February
Logan’s 12th Birthday!

March: Let’s see, what happened in March??? I had to look through pictures on my phone to remember. (Seriously, my phone camera roll is as good a journal as anything). It looks like we started the month with our Sunday School classes annual Chili Cookoff, that is always a fun event. Logan had his final cotillion event and was super happy to be done with anything having to do with cotillion. March 10 brought us the annual Adam Brown 5k at Lake Hamilton School. Our whole family participated, though I was dragging Noah across the finish line at the end. Then we ended the month with our Sunday School class annual Easter fellowship. Let me say, I love the support group our Sunday School class provides.

March 1
Adam Brown 5k

April: We started April out with EASTER! What better way to start a month than with the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior??? Our Easter Sunday always consists of church in the morning then going to my cousin’s house for a BBQ with our family. Once the Easter celebrations were over we headed straight into Baseball and Softball for Noah and Macy. They both had great seasons, both of their teams won their leagues. April ended with my last baby having “Wizard of Oz Day” at Lake Hamilton Primary school.

April 1
Easter Sunday
April 2
Easter Sunday BBQ
April 3
Wizard of Oz Day for each kid when they were in 1st Grade

May: May brought us Logan’s first ever Trap Shooting tournament. He did really well for his first time in a tournament. We also got to open our pool and started what would be a very fun summer of swimming and hanging out on the back deck. Macy finished her piano lessons for the school year with a recital and the all the kids finished the school year with good grades. The month of May also brought us a wedding for my baby cousin Drew. We ended May with those baseball and softball championships for Macy and Noah.

May 1
Trap Shooting Tournament
May 3
Macy’s Piano Recital
May 4
Drew and Alli’s Wedding
May 5
Baseball Champions!
May 6
Softball Champions!

June: We started our fun summer months with Vacation Bible School. That is always a big event for me as I had been the VBS Director the previous 2 years. This year I took a step back and was just in charge of registration. It was a very fun week. Then we started full prep for our BIG RV trip that we would leave for at the end of the month. We also got to celebrate Noah’s 7th Birthday and Johnny and I’s 16th Wedding Anniversary. June was a month of fun, fun, fun.

June 2
Noah’s 7th Birthday!
June 1
Johnny & I on our wedding day June 22, 2002

July: EPIC, that is how I would describe July. This month took us on a trip through 8 states and over 5000 miles. You can read all about our Great American Adventure here. We made it back from our trip in mid-July, just in time to celebrate Johnny’s 39th birthday and spend the rest of the month relaxing.

Yellowstone entry
JKLMN’s Great American Adventure

August: Back to School! August always means back to school and back to schedules and routine. I did take the kids on one last adventure before school. We spent a day at Mid-America Museum where they got to do all kinds of hands on science and walk through the Dino trail. August also meant celebrating Macy’s 9th birthday. Unfortunately, August also brought great heartbreak to our lives. Our friend, Brian Speers, passed away suddenly. Johnny and I had both grown up with Brian and he actually is the friend who set us up many, many years ago.

September: In September we started a Community Group in our home. It is just a gathering of several families from our church (though all are welcome). We spend the time eating, talking and doing a short bible study. It has quickly become one of our favorite nights of the week. Honestly, September was mostly just getting through the daily grind and continuing my getting healthy journey (you can check that out here).

Sept 1
7th Grade
Sept 2
3rd Grade
Sept 3
2nd Grade

October: October was a month that brought more heartache, our friend, Heather Pitts, another friend we had grown up with, passed away suddenly. It’s been so hard to believe that 2 friends, only 39 years old, left this earth so early.  We can only look to God and trust in his ultimate plan through these events. October also meant deer camp prep and Halloween. I think Noah had the most fun at Halloween this year because he got to be Zed the Zombie.

November: November means deer camp and Thanksgiving. We also started November with a Robotics Tournament for Logan. He has been taking several Computer Science, Coding and Robotics classes at school and has enjoyed every bit of it.  We had a fun deer season, though it was a pretty wet and nasty one. Thanksgiving was spent at my parent’s house with a delicious, traditional meal.

December: Oh, December! One of our busiest months of the year. It was full of Christmas parties, band concerts, choir concerts, busy work days and Christmas prep. It is always fun though. For me, the last several months have brought a lot of traveling and stress at work. I was looking forward to December and a few days off around Christmas. We enjoyed all of the celebrations and then took a spontaneous trip to Branson after Christmas. You can read all about that here.

Overall, this year has been amazing. Though the end of the year brought a lot of heartbreaks, the first 8 months of the year were amazing. Now, I’m ready for 2019!!

Technology Rules

Lately I have felt like our kids were out of control. They were not listening, clearly disobeying and we spent more time yelling than giving kind words. Last Friday something snapped. I had had enough and it was time for changes, big changes.

Our kids, like most these days, have all of the “gadgets”. Between the three of them they have 2 iPads, 2 televisions with Roku boxes and DVD players, 1 Chromebook, 2 Nintendo DS’s, and 1 Xbox. These kids have more technology in their hands daily than I ever had until I was well into adulthood. That being said, they were constantly looking at a screen of some kind. I know what your thinking, set some rules with all of this tech. Well, we did. The typical limits on how long you can watch, what you can watch, when you can and can’t watch etc. But guess what, we’ve been busy and we got lazy.

Yep, parents get lazy. We’re tired, we’re busy and sometimes we just want something to entertain the kids so we don’t have to. I never thought I’d say that, I’ve been using “screen time” to babysit my kids. They were quiet, I was happy…or at least I thought.

Like I said earlier, their behavior was out of control. I wish I had caught on to this sooner, I wish I had seen the signs earlier, the more screen time my kids had, the more disobedient they became. They were talking back, not listening, just plain disobeying. Yes, I know all kids do these things but we had reached an all time high. I was fed up.

The light came on as I was driving home from work on Friday. I called my husband and told him to go to the kid’s rooms and take away all of their electronic devices. ALL TECHNOLOGY! I have taken away electronics before but it was always as a punishment. You bring home a bad grade, you lose your TV. You refuse to clean your room, you lose your TV until the room is clean. Things like this. This was the first time we had taken away the electronics with absolutely nothing attached to it. We gave them no way to “earn” them back, no timeline as to when they will get them back.

I will be honest, I was dreading the weekend. I was sure they would drive me crazy, begging to get their stuff back, and they did for a while, then they stopped. I think they could see that we were serious this time, we were not backing down. No amount of begging would allow them to have their stuff, it would only strengthen our resolve.

Guess what, we had the best weekend we have had in a long time. The kids played with toys they had not played with in months. They played games with each other, they fought much less and they listened more. To top it off, they started helping out around the house a bit (tiny bit) more.

We have now been without the tech for 5 days. The only place they can watch TV is in the family room with us, that is if we even have it on. We have watched baseball as a family and had discussions about the game and players. We’ve watched documentaries and had discussions about those. We even played a few rounds of UNO tonight.

All in all, I can say that I’ve always heard that screen time has a negative effect on kids behavior but I never put much stock in it. However, I have now seen the proof in my own kids. Their behavior has improved in just 5 days. No, they are not perfect. They are still kids. They still fight, they still push their limits, they still try to push my buttons but it’s different. I feel like we are gaining ground.

I don’t know when we will give them any of their electronics back but I do know that when we do, their time allowed on it will be VERY LIMITED.