#46 Be Open For Advice From Unexpected Places

Over the next 45 days (or there about) I am going to be elaborating on advice I wish I could say was entirely my own. However it is not. It is indeed the advice that inspired me to write this blog and it came to my work inbox almost 2 years ago now. It is advice from an article by Regina Brett from Cleaveland, Ohio. She once wrote in an article 45 pieces of advice. Following that advice has already started changing my life. Some of it was advice that I already followed, without really knowing I did. Other parts of it were new revelations to me that changed my thinking on many aspects of my life.

Over the next 45 days I will be elaborating on her advice. If I skip a piece of it–I will note that too along with the reason.

I want you to remember that advice comes from many sources. Your parents, your friends, your grandparents, the Bible, and from yourself. Be open to it. Sift through it. Apply some–and throw some (ok a lot) of it out.

Listen to the world and people around you. They will give you insight and guidance to making the most of your life.

One last thing, listen to children. I can’t wait to hear your insight and vision for life as you hit three and four. Children have given me some of the best perspective in life. Even when you are ninety — listen to children.

 

 

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#45 Give Up Hopes Of Wearing These Prom Dresses

Yesterday I had the joy of going bridesmaid dress shopping for a close friend’s wedding. While in the bridal store your Aunt Kiara and I also had a moment to skim through a few prom dress catalogs. I couldn’t’ help but stand in shock at some of the things these designers were calling dresses. I also couldn’t help saying that if you demanded such attire there would be absolutely no prom for you.

Here are a few examples of dresses you will not be wearing–even if others are.

Has anyone informed the parents of these girls that they are paying hundreds of dollars for a dress with large chunks of fabric that have apparently gone missing? Just say no.

Again–No. You will be wearing a dress not a skin tight body suit to your prom. You can’t dance in that and I can only think of a few things this dress can do…and I don’t like any of them.

Look Honey..the painful fact is that you are never going to wear this lingerie   these prom dresses anywhere while you are in high school in this house. The GOOD news is that for every dress I have found here that gives you a taste for what you won’t be wearing—there are at least 2 beautiful, tasteful, and fun dresses that I would love to see you enjoy your prom night in some day. Please understand that dresses that leave nothing to the imagination are not your only ticket to beauty and beyond. Be elegant, tasteful, and beautiful–and don’t even think about wearing these dresses.

All images are from PromDressShop.com. For every dress I didn’t like they also had many beautiful elegant options.

#44 Just Take The Picture!

I take hundreds of pictures. Without exaggeration. I am not a professional. Nobody is going to be paying your mom to take pictures any day soon–but I do it anyways.

Your father hates being in pictures–but I snap photos of him regardless.

Pictures tell a tale. They can tell it from many view points. Pictures mark history. Pictures keep our history rich and alive. Pictures remind us of what we love and what we value at any point in our lives. Take pictures and store them away. Make crafts from them. Hang them on your wall or share them with friends. Take pictures that you keep only for yourself. Take pictures of things you find beautiful and things you find ugly. Use pictures to mark life in brief moments.

There is a time and a place for professional photos. Thank heavens your father and I know two great photographers or else we might not have many of the beautiful portraits, the pictorial memory of your birth, and a great record of our wedding day like we do. However there are many times where it doesn’t matter what camera you have, what skill level you are, what you are wearing, or if your hair is done. What matters is that you take the picture. You capture the moment and you freeze it. Just like a song you truly love–a good picture is one you can look at over and over again and still have the same feelings you did in that moment of taking it.

I hope that some day you will look at the photos I take of you and your father together. That even though he hates having his picture taken–you two will get to sit together and reminisce about the memories you have created together that I do my best to capture. That you will blow the dust off the ones I printed or load the ancient files onto whatever device is hip at the time and share the moments–the memories–the day to day actions of your parents and yourself with your own children and maybe even grandchildren.

When I snap the photo and your dad ducks or uses you as a human shield from the forces within the camera I laugh and keep going–knowing that one day he will squeeze my hand as we turn the page in our album and say thanks for the memories.

Whatever you do darling, Just Take The Picture.

Your Dad and I playing Piano in 2006 When He Came to Visit me in Florida and I Knew he just might be The One.

#43 Write Letters To People You Love

The art of the hand written letter is dying. I’ve been told they don’t even teach cursive in schools anymore. I remember spending a good chunk of third grade working the kinks out of my hands from writing fifty cursive z-s (I also walked up hill both ways to school..). People from earlier generations are probably scoffing at my complaining about third grade cursive when they wrote out entire research papers in neatly inked cursive.

Of course, you don’t have to write your letter in cursive..mom was just getting off topic.

What I want to emphasize is that letters are special. There is nothing better than getting a thoughtful loving letter in the mail after weeks (or months) of junk-mail and bills. In a world of text messages and e-mails, a handwritten letter says “I’m thinking of you”. It says that the writer took time to sit down away from the distraction of conference calls, Facebook notifications, and important blog reading to focus on the words I wanted to express to you.

I don’t tend to keep e-mails stashed away for future sentimental reading. What I can tell you is that I still have letters written to me my first year away from home at college or sent to me while I was at summer camp. Whenever I find those treasured letters that I’ve kept stashed away I can’t help but smile and feel that the world is an okay place.

I guess I’m just asking you to not let the art of the hand written letter fade away entirely. At least once a month think of someone you love–someone you miss–someone you haven’t seen in a while–someone you just want to share something with–and send them a letter. You can include a picture, a funny drawing, write about a memory, a new idea. Heck, most people would even be happy to get a letter talking about the beautiful weather that day.

I promise if you write letters to the ones you love–you will reap nothing but rewards from it in return.

PS–Don’t forget to write a letter to Santa too..


Photo Credit

#42 Don’t Be Afraid To Get Excited

One thing that I find positively infectious about young children is their ability to get excited over everything. When you think about it, it makes sense. Every experience is fresh and new. Most kids (sadly, not all) haven’t experienced much disappointment or let down yet from life. Life IS exciting.

As an adult I come across less and less excitement from those around me. Everything has to be shaded with areas of doubt, fears of let down, or boredom with the “same old-same old”. This fact really bothers me. Why shouldn’t adults be able to get as excited about an ice cream sundae as a five year old? Because they fear that it will land squarely on their hips and then they might be a size seven instead of a six?

I suppose adults do too much analyzing. I’m asking you not too. I’m asking you to let yourself get excited over going to the circus–both as a child and as an adult with your own children. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and show your excitement over landing a new job, not burning dinner, and not driving on the grass as you back out of your driveway. Don’t worry about so many things that you can’t ever get excited. Don’t worry that people may stare at you because you have a grin the size of the Grand Canyon on your face. If anything you might brighten someone’s day.

Right now you get excited over the best stuff. You get excited when the dogs lick your face, when you walk on your own, and when you successfully paint the wall by throwing your dinner against it. You aren’t afraid to laugh and shout or clap your hands. You ARE the definition of excited. Please stay that way.

#41 Just Say No To “Sexting”

Let me start by saying that your father and I have agreed it will be a long time before you have a phone that does much more than this..

That’s right..this little baby by Firefly has a button for calling Mom, Dad, 911, and an option for a few more numbers that mom or dad program in. No texting, no fancy camera, and definitely no internet. Go ahead and throw your fit now. It’s true your dad and I feel it is our job to protect you from yourself as long as we can.

I don’t know who decided that giving 11 and 12 year olds the internet and cameras right in their pocket is a good idea. As a marketing concept I suppose it’s great, but as a save your innocence and your self respect concept it’s HORRIBLE. Please dear daughter never let me catch you involved in the current trend of “sexting”–and I can only imagine the options available to hormone raged teenagers by the time you get to all of eleven years old. There is nothing classy about showing off parts of your body to random guys or even some boy friend you won’t be allowed to have when you’re 13.  It would be even worse if said picture some how ended up in the hands of ALL your peers when you break up with the saggy pants loser, love of your life, boy friend of the month because you guys couldn’t agree what your “song” should be.

When your father and I finally give in and get you a “real” phone, when you’re 30 sixteen or so, please use it responsibly. Use it in a way that won’t allow someone else to hold your self respect in their hands. Use it to call and talk to your best friend late into the night–not send pictures of yourself to some dude who shouldn’t see any of you unclothed ever until you’re married.

Thanks

#40 (?) Take It Easy on the Substitute

It’s true I substitute teach from time to time. I give my substitutes from childhood new respect. Why do I sub? Mainly to pay the bills while enjoying all the luxuries of picking what days I work and being able to stay home frequently with the cute bundle that this blog is all about.

Karrigan please be nice to your subs. Yes, I want you to enjoy what will most likely be an easy, laid back day. However I also want you to respect your temporary teachers as much as your full time ones. These people are here to help you. Who knows, if you are frustrated with a class they might even be able to give you a fresh perspecitve on a difficult lesson. Substitute teachers often get called only an hour or two before they are expected to walk into a class room full of strangers and pick up on any number of subjects and lesson plans. Before you say it is easy I would like to see you try it.

I understand that you  might not have the same focus as you do when your regular teacher is leading the class, but you should. The day might run different than usaul because the substitue doesn’t know your teacher’s schedule. You might know that you can get away with a little more. I’m just asking that before you work to press your substitue’s buttons you consider what life would be like in their shoes. That maybe you should decide to show some respect to a guest teacher like you would a guest in your home. That perhaps you could be the bright spot in someone’s day that you already are in mine.

The main thing here is to remember respect. If you want others to respect you, start by giving it to them.

#39 Wear Your Seat Belt

I was never afraid of driving or riding in a car until I had you. That first trip in the car on the way home from the hospital I was convinced that every crack and crevice in the road was going to startle and shake you. I don’t think we went over 15 mph the whole way home. That probably ticked some people off.

It is a matter of fact that cars can be dangerous. I’ve already covered the basics of making sure to stop at stop signs. For the next piece of road related advice I’m going to keep it simple–Wear your seat belt. In the driver’s seat, in the passenger seat, in the back seat, anywhere inside a moving vehicle WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT! Now this is the point where someone who greatly annoys me points out an instance where someone ended up hurt or worse because they had their seat belt on in a car accident. Let me assure you that these cases are rare when taken into account with the number of lives saved by seat belts.

See the picture of the car up there? That car belonged to your me–your mom. The only thing that kept this fender bender from being a possible head injury as my body flew forward after a run-in with a semi making an illegal turn was the seat belt that locked and held me in place. I managed to walk away from this with nothing but a slightly cut and sore shoulder along the line where my seat belt had worked to hold me into place.

I don’t care what the laws say. I don’t care if you are in the back seat or the front seat. I don’t care if your friends don’t think it is cool. I don’t want you to end up ejected from a vehicle, knocked unconscious, or worse because you decided it was “just a short drive” or so “uncool” to wear your seat belt when you got into the vehicle that day.

Need some numbers? According the website for the National Organization for Youth Safety:

  • Among passenger vehicle occupants over age 4, seat belts saved an estimated 13,250 lives in 2008.  If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 had worn seat belts, 17,402 could have been saved.
  • In 2008, 64% of the passenger vehicle occupants ages 13 to 15 and 21 to 34 killed in traffic crashes were not using restraints.  These age groups had the highest percentage out of all age groups.
  • Research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.

Keep looking you will find them everywhere.

The day I had you, was the day driving became scary. You are my most precious gift and while I will protect you as long as I can, you will reach an age where I hope you will take this advice and protect yourself and buckle up every time.

Here you are in your new car seat. A Britax Marathon 70 in which you will be rear facing for as long as possible. The picture isn’t the best but trust me–you are always buckled in.

 

#38 Make Dessert A Priority–Sometimes

There is no hiding from it–obesity is a problem in America. That means you need to watch what you eat. I’m not saying you need to count every calorie, you are a kid for heaven’s sake. It does mean that you should eat big helpings of veggies and mix in those fruits you love so much too. It means you should run outside to play instead of run to the game console (although people are working on solving that little problem too).

That being said, sometimes it is COMPLETELY OK to put dessert first. The secret to life is moderation. It is knowing when to hold back and when to go ahead and indulge! Sometimes it is important to treat your physical body and other times its a great idea to serve your soul with a little bit of dessert.

Mostly this post is just a great excuse to post this picture of you learning about the joys of dessert…(we will be back to the “serious” stuff soon)…

OH and I can’t believe that the cute little sleeping baby at the top is the same one as the big girl below!