Wednesday, February 26, 2014

8 Ways to "Once Upon a Time"

 We have been reading the "Little House on the Prairie" series at our house. I find it ironic how often I envy the simplicity of their lifestyle to the busy-ness of all our activities and errands. It seems strange that I would be willing to trade my dishwasher and air conditioning for outhouses and plucking chickens, but the idea of not having to get up and go anywhere seems so nice.....and well....corn bread.  (Yeah, but you have to get up and make a fire.......but no traffic.......yeah, but your mattress is stuffed with hay......but it's so quiet.....yeah, but wolves and bears....................................yeah, but corn bread!).

What I have noticed from reading about the life of pioneers is that without tvs or computers, they entertained themselves with songs and stories. Everything from hunting adventures to wedding romances were passed down for generations around a fire on cold nights. It made me realize what a lost art storytelling is becoming and how little our kids know of our history. This week, tell your child a story about yourself. If you really want to have your audience riveted, tell your kids a story about a time you made a mistake. Here are some ideas to get you started:

-a scary moment you had as a child.

-something you feel proud of.

-how you met your significant other, best friend, or a special person in your life.

-the story of your child being born.

-a time you took a big risk.

-how you learned to drive, decided what career path to follow, how you started a hobby, discovered something you love.

-a time you would have made a different choice.

-a trip you went on or a person you met who made a difference in your life.

Trade a story or two with you kids and I guarantee they will have a few to tell you too. Have a great week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Kids On the Block Made Me Do This....

When I was growing up, my friends and I used to sit around and fantasize about our adult lives. Even though we don't live next door to each other, barbecue every weekend or take our private jets to go see New Kids on the Block in concert, some of our vision held true. I distinctly remember having a conversation over tater tots and Diet Coke that went like this:

I'm going to have 3 kids
I want 4 kids. 2 boys and 2 girls
My sons will be Austin and Hunter.
I called those names last week!
No. You said Dallas and Hayden
Whatever. I'm going to decorate their room in cranberry and dark green and all over my house I am going to hang their artwork in frames.
But I called Austin and Hunter!
Oh my God! Turn it up, New Kids is on the radio.....

We may have fought over who loved Donny Wahlberg more, but the one thing we agreed on was that kids make cool art. This week, honor your child's artwork. My kids sit and draw/color/paint nearly everyday. If yours aren't into it, grab some markers and paper and see what comes out of them. If your kids are closer to their teen years, see what happens if you set up some acrylics and cardboard.  Make a mural, use masking tape to create a design. See what happens when you sit and create your own piece beside them. Notice how meditative coloring in a coloring book can be. Ask your child to tell you about what they've made. After their masterpiece is finished, hang it up. Scan it into your computer and make a t-shirt or magnet. Buy a frame and put it on display in your living room. Austin and Hunter will feel so proud.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The "California Way" of Connecting

I grew up in a very loving household. I knew I was loved by how my family showed up more than the amount of hugs and kisses I received (and when I mean showed up, I mean at least one parent suffered through every single performance of every show I was ever in, including an outdoor, in 90 degree heat run of "Annie"). Then I moved to California and acclimated to the "hugs-instead-of-handshakes" custom and despite my upbringing, I evolved into a daily hugger versus a special-occasion hugger. Depending on where you are from, this week's activity may already come naturally to you or may push you right out of your comfort zone.

In honor of Valentine's Day, show some physical affection to your family and (if you're up to it and it won't freak them out too badly) your friends. Although I am incredibly affectionate, there are days when I have to consciously remember to hug and kiss my kids and my husband. Take a moment to look your loved ones in the eye and sincerely tell them they are loved. Celebrate with a nice embrace and a smooch. Notice the connection you make and revel in the sweet energy of giving and receiving love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How Do I Love Me....Let Me Count the Ways

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. It's a wonderful day to celebrate love and those we love, but what about celebrating love we have for ourselves? I know the name of this blog is CHILD Unplugged, but for me (and I should really tune into my own reminder here) I find I connect most with my family when I have spent some time in connection with myself---filling up, taking time to remember who I am sans kids, husband, aspirations and obligations.

This week, after the kids are in bed, sit down in a quiet place, light a candle, grab some hot tea, find a paper and pen and write yourself a Valentine. Honor all you love about you. Go ahead and write from your heart, to yourself, just as you were going to write something wonderful about your child or loved one. It can be difficult and almost hokey to do something like this, but I bet you will feel better about yourself when you are finished.  I won't leave you to do the hard part on your own. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • What I love about my heart is...
  • Something I am proud of is...
  • It wasn't easy, but I have been able to....
  • I forgive myself for.....
  • I am so grateful I am....
  • A way I am continuing to grow is....
  • I am....
When you are all finished, read it over, seal it in an envelope and tuck it away in a drawer or on a bookshelf. At some point, when you are desperately trying to find a matching pair of socks or searching for your copy of "How I Got My Baby to Do My Taxes and Sleep Through the Night", you will rediscover your Valentine and see how much you have grown.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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