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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Let’s look past the fact that it’s the middle of February while we dive into the goals I have for 2019.

Last year I met my lifelong idol, we built and bought our dream home, and had a baby girl that turned out to be the stuff that dreams are made of.

I had the opportunity to partner with some of my favorite brands. The Oprah Winfrey Network invited me to be a part of their OWN TV Show, and I brought home the Blog of the Year Award at Mom 2.0.

Last year I had goals to save enough to put 50% down on our home, and otherwise survive the changes from having a newborn, moving, and transitioning back to public school. At the start of the year there was quite a bit of travel as well. Until I was too far along to fly comfortably. I survived, and had a better year than I expected.

This year my goals are simple. At my core I want to stay put. This isn’t my season to travel the world and I’m wholeheartedly ok with that. I see us settling into this home and our little piece of land. Learning about nature, and what we can about the world through books.

I want us to slowly conquer our fear of bugs, learn about snakes, and climb trees. I want to read and write and share my passions and lessons I’ve learned here.

So far I have just one trip planned: The kiddos, my mother-in-law and I are heading to Florida next month. If that’s the only time I board an airplane all year I won’t be sad about it. I’m waiving all notions of FOMO and leaning in to our little space.

Speaking of our space. I’m obsessed. Completely obsessed. And I’ll need to dedicate a whole other post about our new home and the yard makeover that’s been underway, and the trees we are naming etc etc. But just know that it’s likely 90% of my pictures this year will be taken in our new backyard.

I am an ambitious woman with go-getter tendencies. But this year I want to let a bit of that cool down and focus on evolving, leading and being present with my family.

I’m not big on resolutions but I’m huge on goals. Here are my goals for 2019. Broken down into categories.

Personal

Learn 5-7 meals I enjoy making and we enjoy cooking: Every time I’ve resolved to cook more I’ve failed terribly. I think part of that is because I make it a goal to cook a certain number of meals weekly. This time I’m aiming to find meals I enjoy making and setting no particular timeline surrounding that.

Find an enjoyable fitness routine: If there is such a thing.

Read for me: I want to dive into books on optimism, and run away to far away worlds. Enjoying reading for pleasure.

Learn 3 full piano songs: This will require a lot of practice but I want to make this happen.

Financial

Open IRAs for my kiddos: I recently opened savings accounts for them and I want to max out each of their IRAs this year.

Pay down our mortgage: By 1/5th!

Sell our other house: This actually should be at the top of my list.

Open a Solo 401k: Another retirement account I’ve been eying.

Business

Publish an ebook

Create a product

Share more causes I care about

Family

Summer (Home)school: Continuing our tradition for the third year.

Summer Camp: A first for my kids! Looking into one week of a nature camp.

I can’t commit to a word for the entire year but one I’m feeling a push towards right now is LEAD. And a phrase that comes to mind is Black Girl Magic.

I’m a little behind the curve on getting this going. And with a baby that still insist on waking me up a couple times a night I imagine it’ll be a while before I feel completely “myself” again. But I’m going to cherish the heck out of this year. And pray it’s a great one.

What are some of your goals for 2019?

I remember when my family first got the internet.  I’m from a long line of tech-loving people, so we were ready to embrace it. My mom was pretty much cool with me logging on and playing whatever game I wanted to play, or doing research on my favorite anime shows. Of course I had to make sure no one needed to make a phone call lest I get bumped off.

We didn’t really slow down to talk about the rules. Back then there really weren’t any.

Much later, my younger siblings had fair warnings about dangers on the internet, which back then usually meant inappropriate pop ups or dirty chat rooms.

A full generation later the Internet is much wider. And there are many other concerns lurking.

My kids have been a part of my internet legacy since before they were born. Naturally they’ve seen their pictures online on my website, and they’ve grown to love re-watching old videos we’ve recorded and uploaded to YouTube. The internet is an incredible, powerful tool. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips. So many connections and so much good. When used wisely.

My daughter used an online homeschool curriculum for about six months. Even now, she and my son know how to log onto the family computer, and navigate to their approved programs and websites for typing practice, math practice, and reading.

As they get older I know their range of requests will grow and I want them to be smart about their choices. And I’m trying to teach them how to discern those now. I want my kids to use the Internet. But I want them to be smart about it.

We want to allow our kids to have some freedom online but we want them to be smart about it. Sometimes navigating those conversations can be tricky. Or we don’t know where to start. Google’s Be Internet Awesome is a great resource to find all of that information.

Be Internet Awesome is home to a Digital Safety and Citizen Curriculum for parents and teachers to help us teach our children important lessons about navigating the Internet:

Being internet smart, sharing with care – How to communicate responsibly.

Being internet alert, don’t fall for fake – Being aware that people and things online aren’t always as they seem.

Being internet strong, secure your secrets – Safeguarding private information.

Being internet kind – Learning how to take the high road, by spreading kindness even in the face of negativity.

Being internet brave – Talking out doubts and questions with parents or trusted adults.

To help children learn all of these lessons Google has created a fun little interactive game called Interland.

Interland helps kids learn how to navigate the internet in a safe and responsible way. I set it up for my kids to try and they love the game aspect but I sat by and watched and it brought up a lot of great conversation starters such as “what do you do if you get a friend request from someone you don’t know?” and “What should you do if someone messages you a juicy rumor about someone from another class?” It dives into the “why” behind some of the rules we set for ourselves and our children online with security and kindness.

There are also sections about deciphering what’s real and what’s not, how to set a strong enough password, what information you should or shouldn’t share online, and how to treat people when you’re behind the screen (hint: the same way you would in person).

Of course each family can go further with their own guidelines, rules and frequent re-evaluations (for instance, I told her she could share her email password with me where the game suggested she keep it private) but I love how the game made a lot of problems that come up relatable and something we could discuss before issues arise.

Our babies are growing up. Not long ago we were stressed about sleep training and starting solids. Now we’re at the age where they’re gaining independence, but we don’t want to just hand over the keys to the world without some gut-checking first. Be Internet Awesome is a great resource, and then the Family Link app takes things a step further and helps parents set and monitor some digital ground rules and help guide their kids as they learn, play and explore online. You can set time limits for different apps with compatible devices. I like that I can let her read as long as she wants in her reading apps, but add a limit to game time. She’s gaining more independence but also learning healthy habits regarding screen time.

The Internet led me to choose my college, find my scholarships, my husband, and eventually was an avenue for my dream job. But online I’ve also witnessed a lot of heartache, bullying, and lies. Let’s give our kids a head start on learning to use it right.

Overall the internet is awesome. Let’s help our kids to be Internet awesome.

There’s nothing particularly special about turning 33. It’s not a very sexy number. Not as painful as turning 30 or thrilling as turning 35. I’m just sitting here in the middle like “oh yea, I’m another year older.”

Still, this was probably my most surreal birthday to date. We didn’t make any plans. I actually kept forgetting the day was coming up. We’re still getting unpacked and settling into our new home. I’m finally feeling like I’m ready to press play and begin 2019 and BAM! We’re already two weeks in. I didn’t really have time to think about what I wanted to do for my birthday, even though my husband and kids kept asking me. Lil’ J even begged to stay home from school and celebrate (that was a no).

Just about everything is unpacked. And I’m very proud of myself for that fact. I wanted to be just about done before my birthday and I sorta met my goal. We are still waiting on our furniture to be delivered but we did get our new barstools in!

My husband let me make the game plan for my birthday. He planned a trip for us to the mall to upgrade my cell phone, but since I hadn’t backed mine up in over a year that planned was squandered by a much-needed backup lasting more than 6 hours. Instead we ordered the phone online to arrive the next day.

We did pre-order my new shoes, which are the most expensive pair of shoes I’ve ever bought ( I seriously hate spending more than $25 on shoes). My Ugg knock-offs fell apart (the sole came off on one of them). And after super gluing it back together a couple times, it came apart for good. I couldn’t bring myself to buy more but finally, for my birthday I gave in and got the real thing. Let me tell you they are GLORIOUS.

I have about 4 or 5 pairs of shoes and these are by far my favorite. Slip on, no socks needed. So soft and warm and durable. They make winter wonderful. Best present ever.

My husband and kids also surprised me with some Edible Arrangements. Chocolate covered strawberries, pineapple and apples. SO yummy. I’m still coming down from the sugar high.

But possibly my favorite part of the day was sitting down on our living room floor and playing Disney Pictopia. My kids made me so proud with their knowledge of Disney trivia.

I felt so freaking happy sitting with my family in our new home albeit on the floor, together.

At night before bed we take turns saying a family prayer– Usually bouncing back and forth between Big T and Lil’ J. I love their prayers especially because it’s usually 5% requests and 95% gratitude. If not 100% gratitude. On my birthday Lil’ J said thank you for letting them play fun with their baby sister, and for my birthday. And a dozen other things. I feel like lately I’ve been way more aware and conscious of my blessings as well, and pausing through the day to say thank you.

I’m still working out my goals for 2019. I have a hard time trying to commit to a word for the whole year but my friend Dani suggested I break it down into smaller increments. So far my word has been “relax” and “enjoy” as we get settled into our new home. Not rushing into this year with my sleeves rolled up ready to hustle.

I’m finding joy in little things like straightening up, and watching deer walk through our backyard. I go outside with the kids almost every evening to work on building our fire pit. And every few nights they beg to watch a movie in the theater and make popcorn in our popcorn machine.

And as cheesy as that sounds I just want to spread as much joy as I can. I want to pass goodness and love along and help brighten the world a bit day by day.

This birthday celebration was a simple one. But in so many ways it was my best yet. Here’s hoping I’m blessed with many many more birthdays.

I’d like to say that a new baby and a move scheduled for this month is what put me behind on sending out Christmas cards. But let’s be real, it wasn’t going to happen anyway. I may still try to get a New Year’s card out but at the same time I’m not really trying to be awesome right now.

mom and baby girl

On a serious note, I’m so thankful for this little family of mine. And I’m keeping this short so I can get back to more time with them.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Photos by Lindsay Mac Photography

Dec
21
2018

Just Me and Him


I absently flipped through a photo album before placing it in a moving box. Inside were a series of selfies my husband and I took throughout our first year of marriage.

“We were so young,” I said. My husband was standing near me and he glanced at the pictures in my hand.

“Yea, we were,” he replied.

“And we were completely different people,” I went on.

He asked what I meant by that and I explained how we had such different goals and interests. But really, what’s changed is our focus. Back then it was all bout us, and now it’s our season of raising young children.

Every year since having our oldest daughter, we make a point to take family pictures. (In theory we’d use these for Christmas cards but let’s be real, that’s only happened a couple times). A few years ago, at one of these photo sessions, I asked if I could get a couple pictures with just my husband and I. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have come to treasure these so much.

Interracial married couple standing in a field holding hands.

This year we took a flurry of family photos with Lindsay Mac Photography and with THREE kids in the picture, I was lowering my expectations big time. But when she asked if there were any other requests I had for photos I knew what it was.

“Yes! A few of just me and him.”

We are so much older than those young pups that were staring at me in that photo album. We have less hair, and more wrinkles. But thats from 14 years of love, laughter and grit.

I am blown away by the beautiful family pictures we got back (I didn’t even think my son was in most of them because he was so busy running all over the place… And I’ll share those soon). But on the eve of our 14th wedding anniversary I wanted to share these. Just me and him. Because after all, it all started with us.

On Thanksgiving Day my oldest daughter handed each of us a turkey hat she made herself. She stood by and waited as each of us tried them on for size. My son love his, and wore it all day.

I was decluttering some of our art supplies and beginning to pack up our house. I found a couple of giant Christmas themed coloring books and handed each of them one to work on. My son took his and plopped it on the ground and began to color.

Biracial siblings love

Lee Lee has is fondly amused by her big brother, so I set her beside him while I finished taping up some packing boxes. I was trying to get as much house stuff done over the holiday weekend as I could, while my inbox was quiet.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Lee Lee kicking her little feet and watching her big brother. He noticed too and put his marker down before leaning over her for some kisses.

I dropped what I was doing and ran for my camera. I came back, thankful they were still in the same position and snapped a few shots.

This is what life is all about. Sibling love thanksgiving day. Biracial siblings

This is what life is all about. Sibling love thanksgiving day. Biracial siblings

The room was a mess, toys abound, boxes in the corner, but I didn’t care.

A special moment–A fleeing one–between brother and sister one Thanksgiving morning.

No staging or direction needed. No logos to line up. I was able to sit back and enjoy these two little faces I created smiling at each other.

It's so important to remember to be thankful for what we already have, while we're going after what we want.Click To Tweet

I’m working so hard to build something so great for my children. A place they can grow up with room to run and play. But as I looked at them playing with a handful of toys I had yet to pack I remembered we already have what matters most.

It’s so important to remember to be thankful for what we already have, while we’re going after what we want.

Quiet (or not so quiet) mornings, together. Surrounded by our favorite type of mess. With lots of love abound.

This is what it’s all about.

“I didn’t know you felt that way about me, we don’t really talk much.” Those words hit me like a pile of bricks. It’s not something you’d expect to hear from your little sister.

My youngest sister is 13-years-old. Yea, 19 and a half years younger than me, and it’s true, in the past we haven’t spoken much. We never lived under the same roof. In fact, I was married before she was born. When she and my mom moved to Texas a few years ago things didn’t change a ton. I still saw her as a little sister (little sisters can still be annoying even when you’re an adult). As time has gone by though I’ve watched her grow and mature and I’ve been really impressed with her.

She gets good grades, is a good role model, helps me with my pictures, puts family before friends…. All things I wrote in a card for her for her birthday. I didn’t really realize it but I’ve never stopped to tell her all of these things. So how could she know?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell people exactly how we feel. Sometimes a card can find the words we can’t form ourselves. And sometimes a card is the perfect channel for putting down words you otherwise would find hard to say. Writing down those words gives a gift of good feelings to relive over and over every time they read it.

Getting all sentimental and mushy isn’t easy for me. Especially not with my little sister who is a teenager now. But it’s not a great excuse for not telling people we care about how we feel.

Hallmark has launched the Put it into Words campaign. Now more than ever the world needs more caring, and Hallmark cards can help.

Being a part of this has really helped me to realize how many people in my life inspire me and make my life better. And it’s helped me see how impactful letting them know can mean for both of us. I’m making it a point to put those feelings into words and giving more cards to share how I feel. Because if not now. Then when?

Have you sent a card recently? Think of someone right now who deserves to know how you feel about them and go put it into words. Send a card and see what a difference it makes.

Visit Hallmark for inspiration or click here to see more cool stories of how cards made a difference. There you can also enter for a chance to win free cards for a year and a $500 gift card to use on someone special in your life.

put it into words - hallmark cards

“Let’s practice our fire drill!” My husband and I told our kids. Our son asked why, and darted for his headphones. My oldest daughter started to panic and ask me a series of questions.

“Why? Is there going to be a fire? What’s happening? Why do we need to practice at home?”

She took deep breaths as she awaited our response, which was simple.

“Just so we are prepared.”

According to Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen initiative, home fires are the biggest disaster threat facing American families today, yet only approximately half of parents surveyed said their children know what to do in the event of a home fire.

In fact, the National Fire Protection Association tells us that 7 in 10 structure fires actually occur in the home, and more than 8 in 10 fire-related deaths result from home fires.

We don’t want to become a statistic. Our kids practice fire drills at school, why shouldn’t we at home?

Years ago, we created a fire escape plan, and a little game of where we’d run to get out of the house depending on where the fire is. We busted that out to play again and talked about what to do if our smoke alarms went off.

“I’d grab my stuffed animals!” My daughter said. Boy, was this a great kickoff point for another safety talk.

“No, what should you grab if there’s a fire?” I asked a sorta-trick question.

“Water?” She said hesitantly.

“No…”

She thought about it for a moment and I told her it would just be one thing… Herself. Maybe her brother too if he’s still asleep next to her.

We practiced opening up the windows (something we’d never taught them before). So they would know how to do so in case of an emergency. We showed them it would be easy to pop out the window screen on their first floor windows. And run to our meet up location.

We practiced that too.

“Do you put on your shoes if there’s a fire and you’re running out of the house?”

“YES!” They shouted.

“No!” We corrected them.

“But what if we step on a nail while we’re running?” My smart-aleck daughter questioned.

“Which is worse, stepping on a nail or getting caught in a fire?”

You may think some of these answers are common sense but it was evident during our little drill that we need to continue to have these conversations on a regular basis so our kids remember what to do in case of a house fire. (Like, not stop, drop and roll).

Practice your own Home Fire Drill with your family on October 13, at HomeFireDrillDay.com!

Here’s what you need to remember as you prepare:

Step 1: Know where to go

• Pick a safety spot that’s near your home and a safe distance away. Our spot is directly down the sidewalk from the fire hydrant in front of our home.

• Explain to your kids that when the smoke alarm beeps, they need to get out of the house quickly and meet at that safety spot. We practiced leaving the house to meet at the safety spot as fast as we could.

Step 2: Check your smoke alarms

 Test your smoke alarms with your kids so they know the sound. Check them out twice a year (daylight savings is a great time to remember).

 Make sure there’s a smoke alarm on every level of your home, and one in each bedroom.

Step 3: Do the drill

• Have kids head to their bedrooms and wait for the drill to begin.

• If you have kids under 6 years old, assign adults to help anyone who’ll need it. I’m in charge of grabbing Lee Lee on nights I sleep in a room with her. And my husband is in charge of the other two (usually sleeping on the floor in our room).

• Put one adult in charge of sounding the smoke alarm and running the drill.

 Next, sound the smoke alarm, start the timer on the Make Safe Happen app and have everyone quickly get out of the house and to their safety spot.

• Once everyone gets to the safety spot, stop the timer. Try to make it there in under two minutes. (It took us 45 seconds, but we were all amped up).

• In a real fire, get to the safety spot, then call 911 and keep everyone close until firefighters arrive.

You can also learn more about Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program and visit MakeSafeHappen.com for all sorts of tips to help keep children as safe as possible.

Do your kids need a little refresher or my kids the only ones who were a little off base on what to do in case of a fire?

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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