Friday, April 30, 2010

Pasta on Parenting - it's been a while

I haven’t written a ‘Pasta on Parenting’ post in a while. And boy, have I been getting some experience lately! Those kids, you know, they don’t slow down for a minute. The challenges come at you like flaming darts – it’s amazing! By ‘challenges’ I don’t mean that my children are going through challenges, or that we are having problems, or anything like that. I simply mean that being a parent is hard work. There’s always a decision to make, and you can’t make them lightly. Even if it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal to take your daughter shopping for summer clothes or sign your son up for baseball or buy them a book at the store ~ all of these things involve important decisions. And if you make the mistake of thinking they’re not important, you may be regretting it later.

What ‘decision’ is involved in buying summer clothes for your little girl? Other than how much money to spend and what size to buy, of course. As parents, the Waffle and I have made it a priority since day one to teach modesty to both Mallory and Hayden. When it comes to picking out clothes for summer, shopping for our 7 year old daughter proves to be much more difficult than for our 9 year old son. Boys wear shorts. The shorts sold for boys are long. Boys wear t-shirts. Most t-shirts sold for boys his size aren’t inappropriate. So, we rarely run into ‘decisions’ that have to be made when shopping for Hayden. Mallory, however, is another story. It isn’t just about picking out a bathing suit. It starts with the clothes. The shorts are too short. They are low-waisted, they are short, sometimes they have words printed on the rear end. Let me ask you this: Why would any mother or father who loves their daughter find it appropriate to put clothes on her that cause another person to stare at their daughter’s butt? I can’t answer that because for me the answer is, “I wouldn’t.” When it comes to tops, there are just as many challenges: spaghetti strap tank tops, bare midriff tops, and tops that say things like, “I didn’t ask to be a Princess” or “Whatever it is, my brother did it.” Really? These things are supposed to be cute? What about teaching humbleness and responsibility? So, when it comes to buying clothes for our daughter, I rise to the challenge. Knee length shorts, no words on the rear, no spaghetti straps, and no sayings that encourage poor attitudes or thinking. I also have a problem with clothes that are too trendy or too ‘grown-up.’ Why do we want our daughters looking like runway models or pop stars? Which ones of them do we want our daughters to look up to (or look like)? For me the answer is simple: none. I want her to know about inner beauty and modesty and make it part of her character that will attract an honest, loving and upright man to be her husband someday. And if I don’t start training her to think and be this way now, when she is twelve it will be too late.

“Signing up for baseball is a challenge?” you ask. Yes, when the ball schedule has some conflicts with regular meetings time for our church congregation, it does pose a challenge. I sometimes find it tough as a parent not only to tell my son when he will not be able to go to baseball, but it’s also to tell the coaches. I don’t want to make my child be different, but we ARE different. As Christians we are called to be different from the world. At 9 years old, our son understands ‘exceptions.’ We have a rule that we live by: when the congregation meets, we are there. The exceptions to this rule are: illness. So, last fall, when a couple of Hayden’s ball games lasted too long and we missed a service, I had enormous guilt. “What are we teaching our son by letting him miss church to play baseball? That playing is more important than worshipping the Creator?” So, the Waffle and I decided that it wouldn’t happen again. It is important to teach what (and Who) comes first. If the children don’t learn that God comes first at an early age, then they will always be torn when making a choice between social events and church services. I’m an adult and there are still times when I feel tempted to skip services because I want to be doing something else. However, people notice our example. Not only our commitment to being at worship and Bible study, but our attitude, our honesty, our effort, and our concern for others. There are so many ways that we can ‘shine our light’ to the world. We just have to be willing to face the challenges head on ~ and then make the right choice when faced with them.

The bottom line is that decisions that often don’t seem important to us are very important to our children. They pick up on the patterns, routines and consistencies in our lives. But they also pick up on the inconsistencies, the lack of discipline and the hypocrisy. So, give them something they can believe in. Don’t make them wonder what to expect, let them know what’s important and how we make our decisions. That builds trust, and after all, isn’t trust what love is all about?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Game of the Season

First game of the season.  The excitement has been eating at all of us.  I sent the Waffle a text today "T minus 4 hours."  I posted on Facebook an hour later "T minus 3 hours to game time."  We moved Mallory's gymnastics lesson from tonight to Saturday morning, so that we could all be at the field together.  When we all got home, we went into motion like a well-oiled machine.  Eat. Change. Gear. Drive.  It's in our blood.  We've done this many times before.  We juggle schedules, eat on the run, squint into the sun.  All for baseball.

We don't just have a baseball player.
We are a baseball family.

The team dynamics this season are good.  Good coach.  Good players.  With good attitudes.  After the 1st inning we were down by a few runs.  We didn't make them up in the 2nd.  I was feeling 'ick.'  That's the best way to describe it.  We weren't playing poorly.  They were just playing better.  Outs at 1st and 2nd were killing us.  But the boys stayed in the game mentally.  Then the 3rd inning rolled around.  And we had a comeback.  6 run rule.  I love the 6 run rule ~ kind of.  It's a good rule to have when yours is the team giving up runs.  However, when yours is the team making the runs, it kind of stinks to get cut off in the middle of your momentum.

Fast forward.  Sixth inning.  Time for another comeback.  This time it was their team making the comeback.  They are down by one with two outs and a runner on 3rd and their best hitter is up to bat.  He's been hitting it deep into left field.  Right where Hayden has been playing.  The last time he was up to bat, Hayden stopped the ball and held him to a single.  We were so proud.  Now the pressure is on.  On swing number two, he cracks it out there - left field, and Hayden stops it again!  But this time, he fumbles getting it out of his mitt and actually drops it before he throws it to 2nd.  Bummer.  There was a collective sigh in the bleachers, and then screaming, "Get it in!  Throw the ball!  Hold 'em!"  The tying run crosses home plate easily.  But, we're still tied and the 3rd out comes easily when the next batter hits a pop fly to the infield.

Now it's our turn.  One run.  That's all we need.  It's all a blur now.  Who hit, how many outs, who scored, I don't even know.  All I know is that we won by one run in the bottom of the 6th.

Awesome start boys.  Awesome.

 Pre-game huddle

Hayden swingin'

Left Field

Hayden had 3 great hits.  Unfortunately he didn't score this game.  

And I learned something.  It's extremely hard for me to take photos while cheering.  I may have to hire a photographer, so that I can get some good action photos and not have to give up cheering!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Fun Afternoon

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon outdoors.  It was a beautiful spring day in Indiana.  We signed the kids up to go to Camp Tecumseh for a week of day camp this summer.  So, the camp puts on an 'open house' for people to come check it out and enjoy a few of the experiences, meet the counselors and see the camp.  We were really impressed and the kids had lots of fun!  I can't wait to hear about everything else they get to do during camp!
Hayden tried the climbing wall.  And loved it!
Mallory did it too, and did well!
See how high she got!?!
Then they enjoyed a ride down the Black Hole.
And didn't mind posing for a photo together at the end of the day!

A Mouth Full?

Or not.  Hayden had to have four teeth pulled last week, in preparation for getting braces in a year or so.  He has a really crowded mouth and the orthodontist said that pulling these teeth will help make room.  So, when it's all said and done, he will actually have four less teeth than what is normal, just to make room!

He was a real trooper.  Our dentist said he's a very good patient ~ better than many adults.  We've been blessed with a good dentist, but also with kids who aren't afraid to go and know that it's important.

His appointment was at 11:30, we were home by 1:00.  His mouth was bleeding and numb, of course, so he didn't feel like eating anything.  I had to help him take a drink of water!  And even with my help, it still dribbled down his chin.  He started feeling a little more normal later in the afternoon and finally ate around 4:00.  Mashed potatoes and a bowl of ice cream!  Then, he crashed.

While his lips were numb, he accidentally bit his lower lip.  It ended up swelling a bit, which was quite uncomfortable for a few days.  But overall, it wasn't a bad experience.  

Here he is a few days later, all smiles. You can't really see the holes that were left in this picture, 
but I spared you the gross one.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Chicago!

I was really glad that we decided to get a hotel room and stay overnight in Chicago.  Because we got to the aquarium so early, and didn't have to wait in line, we saw everything we wanted to by early afternoon.  It was an AMAZINGLY beautiful day in Chicago, so we walked to Navy Pier.  

We walked down the pier, but because it was so early in the season, there wasn't much to do.  The rides weren't open yet, and we really weren't hungry because we ate lunch at the aquarium.  So, we just walked.

We saw some beautiful artwork . . .

Some cool toys . . .

and enjoyed the awesome Chicago skyline . . .

both from the outside AND from our hotel room!

After all that walking, we were worn out.  (Well, the old people were anyway!)  Dad took a nap in the hotel room and mom relaxed with a book beside the pool while the kids splashed and played with other children who were enjoying Chicago on a Friday afternoon.  (Mom forgot to take the camera to the pool.)  Then, after cleaning up, we took to the streets of Chicago on an awesome Friday night.  The weather was gorgeous.  And it was fun enjoying a city that has so much to offer.  We went to Rain Forest Cafe for dinner.  The kids LOVED it!
The restaurant was decorated so magnificently.

The drinks were served in colorful, sparkly glasses.

Even the ceiling was awesome!

After dinner, we walked some more.  We saw: 

the Water Tower . . .

the Apple store (Hayden thinks he needs an iPad!) . . .

the Hershey store (Mallory thinks she needs monster sized chocolate bars!) . . .

And the next morning we saw this very cool two story McDonald's.  

Then we hit the road. ~ driving to Michigan to visit the Asaro family for Easter.  I think I'll put that in another post!  Chicago was awesome!

Underwater Fun ~ Finally!

It's been a few weeks since we went to Shedd Aquarium.  And I didn't intend to wait this long to post photos, but, you know how it goes with Kincaids:  busy. busy, busy!

On Friday, April 2nd, we got up early and drove to Chicago.  Destination: Shedd Aquarium.  I had looked online about a month earlier and found a fantastic deal where we got a room at the Mariott Magnificent Mile and two tickets for $134!  Wow!  That was a deal that couldn't be beat, since the tickets were normally $25 each.  We arrived in Chicago about 9 in the morning, found our hotel and checked in.  We bought two more tickets (for the kids) and then took a bus to the aquarium.

What was super, super cool was NOT waiting in line!  As in VERY long line!  Because our tickets were VIP tickets, we walked past all the people in line, right up through the Exit doors and into the aquarium.  Very Cool.

We enjoyed the aquarium very much.  We missed out on the dolphin show because we didn't have tickets for that, and by the time we went to buy them, they were sold out for the day.  Oh well.  We've seen dolphin shows before.
The penguins were cool.  Well, of course they were! :)  

The turtle looked old and wise.

Walking under (and over) many different species of God's creation was amazing.  

Simply amazing!

The Momma Beluga whale had just given birth.  See how her skin is sagging?  

I didn't know that Nemo lived in Chicago!  (I thought he was from Australia!)

Some fish were just ugly.  Big and ugly.

Some were spikey.

Some were bright.

Some were leggy.  
(Mallory didn't like looking at this one - not even the pictures!)

This one was all clammed up.

Some were skinny.

And shy, apparently.

We liked the way these two looked, so we decided to take them home with us!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday was rough

I'm trying to remember if I actually 'gave' something yesterday.  It was a killer day at work.  Spent the morning working like a dog because I had to be at a training all afternoon.  I even worked through my lunch!  Then, the training turned out to be not-so-great.  In that, I really didn't learn anything that I didn't already know, and the trainer was dry and boring, and I wasn't sitting by my open-enjoy-the-sunshine-and-breeze-window.  So, I guess for Thursday what I did give was to give my boss above and beyond work all morning, so that I wasn't leaving anything undone in the afternoon.  Yes, that's what I gave.  I can accept that.  Although it didn't feel like the right kind of giving, and by the end of the day, I was drained.  

Now today, today is another story.  It's Friday.  I'm in jeans at work, listeneing to fun country music with the window open (at leats until it starts raining - BOOOO!).  And I have already given a gift to my husband this morning.  It's turning out to be a great day so far!  Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Update on Giving

Monday night I gave extra time and attention to two very special children: my own!  My boy needed extra help with his homework, so I labored through it with him, never once losing my patience.  And when my daughter was crying (and I mean C-R-Y-I-N-G, as in big crocodile tears) over a little Ty Beanie bear that she lost about 6 - 9 months ago, I took the extra time she needed to love and snuggle and comfort her at bedtime. 

Yesterday I gave a little message to a friend's FB Inbox.  She has an interview today and needed the encouragement.

Today:  A fresh tulip for each and every lady in my office!

If you haven't started yet, why not?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Giving today

Today I gave a mom a break.  She was visiting our church from out of town, and struggling with her wiggly- almost-two-year-old son.  She was trying to visit with some other friends, but was wrestling with her boy.  So, I took him from her and we went for a walk.  So, I guess I gave them both a gift!  See, it's simple.  Give from the heart!

Friday, April 9, 2010

29 Gifts

I recently bought a book called "29 Gifts" by Cami Walker.  It's a story written by an MS sufferer named Cami. When she gets down on life and her disease, she is told by her friend and spiritual advisor to "Give 29 gifts in 29 days."  I'm about halfway through the book, reading about her giving journey and loving it.  I've found myself more cheerful, more happy, and more giving lately.  I'm more aware of the good and positive things around me ~ they are often RIGHT in front of me.

I started doing it without really being aware that I was doing it.  It's not like I said to myself, "I'm going to take this challenge to give 29 gifts in 29 days."  I just started being more generous.  Here are a few of the things I've given: a few moments to chat on Facebook with someone I care about, even though I was at work and probably shouldn't have; a little set of post-it notes and flags with a gardener on them to my boss, who loves gardening; a cleaned out microwave and refrigerator to the girls in my office; a vase of daffodils to a friend who was having a bad morning; a thank you card to someone who returned something that was lost; and I know there's more, I just can't think of them right now!

There are a few important things to remember about the gifts.  First is that they don't have to be material gifts.  It's not about spending money, it's about offering an authentic gift out of love.  Second, and more importantly, if you decide to take the challenge, make sure that you aren't giving out of obligation.  If so, you are in scarcity mode and you'll end up burned out.

I haven't finished it yet, but I'm already recommending it.  I've always envied people who were naturally 'givers,' feeling that I, somehow, couldn't be that way, too.  Well that's just silly!  Everyone can be a Giver!  Now go on, get to it and start Giving!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Final Touch in the Bathroom

Thank you to my friend Keli, from work at Purdue, who also cuts vinyl on the side!  I just LOVE my new wall decoration!

We're Not in Kansas Anymore!

Third grade is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!  Hayden has a very good teacher this year and is enjoying school a lot.  His grades are great, which is pretty normal for him.  What I didn't find normal was the fact that Hayden (all on his own) decided to try out for a leading role in the class play.  He got the part of the Scarecrow.  He had 54 lines in 6 of the 10 scenes of the play.  He put in a lot of hours memorizing those lines, and, boy, did he ever pull off a great job acting!!  It turns out that we have quite the little broadway star on our hands! Check it out!

It was a wonderful play.  The entire class did a FANTASTIC job!  Our family was so lucky to have had TWO stars in the play.  Our niece Haleigh was also in the play - she was the Blue Narrator.  We are so thankful to have a great teacher who is willing to work extra with the kids to help them accomplish something so outstanding.  Kudos, Mr. C!

Sights to See

We were some of the many people who enjoyed the Lake Michigan shoreline last Friday.  After several hours at the Shedd Aquarium, we decided to enjoy the blue skies and beautiful breeze coming off the water while we walked down shore to Navy Pier.  Here are some snapshots I took along the way.


I like to think sometimes that I have a little bit of talent in the area of photography.  Now, a REAL photographer might disagree, but just look at all these 'snapshots' when you put them together in a collage.  

Isn't that COOL?
(I'm thinking of having it printed larger and hanging it in my house somewhere!)