Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

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.

In my house growing up there was a rule that you don’t talk back to your parents. If you did, you got your butt whipped.

In my son’s class at school there’s some kind of rule about using their white boards for writing words and practicing numbers. Not for drawing pictures.

“Because just drawing pictures doesn’t help our brain grow,” my son told me.

In our home now we have a rule where you don’t ride your bike in the street unless my husband or I is standing in the street with them.

There are rules about speed limits, no running around the pool, and drinking before a certain age. As kids, we may not have understood the why behind so many rules.

Growing up, if I responded to something my parents told me with a “Why?” I’d either get a butt whoopin for breaking rule #1 (don’t talk back) or receive one simple answer: Because I said so.

It’s an answer I swore up and down I’d never give my own children, but I’d be lying if I said those words have never slipped my mouth.

But some questions are too important to ignore.

“Why can’t I have a sip of your drink?”

Did you know by age 8, 37% of kids have had a sip of alcohol? Some parents thinks it’s safe to do at home, or takes away some of the allure. According to SAMHSA, by age 12, 66% of kids have had a sip. Kids ages 9 to 13 start to think underage drinking is ok and even start to experiment.

My kids are still at the age where they see it as something for adults (though they know we don’t drink it). But that could change (their perception, not my lack of drinking, ha!)

Last week at the movie theater Lil’ J asked me what the pretty knobs were near the fountain drinks. They were beer tap handles. And I explained that. She got so embarrassed and a little upset that she had asked about alcohol, but I made a point to tell her that it was a great question and I wanted her to know what that was.

I could have shrugged it off and said “It’s not for you, don’t worry about it,” but where would that have let her? Even more curious? Confused?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

Children have a heightened sense of justice. When kids ask us about something, teaching them rules that are based in safety can go a long way.

I’ve noticed a couple of examples with this in our home. One day we were stopped at a red light and I noticed Lil’ J’s seatbelt wasn’t on correctly. I asked her to fix it. When she asked why I explained how she could fly out my front windshield if we were in an accident. She’s stayed buckled correctly since then.

Same type thing with bike helmets.

So next time your kids ask you a serious “Why?” Resist the urge to say because you said so. Give them credit, sit down and have a grownup conversation about safety. Why they should wear a helmet. Why they shouldn’t run around a pool. And why alcohol has a legal age. Think of what a difference it can make in their lives as they grow up with a healthy understanding.

Responsibility.org has a program targeting tweens and parents of tweens called Ask Listen Learn, including resources on the developing brain. If you need help finding the words to explaining the why behind a legal alcohol age, this can help!

letting kids sip alcohol

Reponsibility.org is a Cherish 365 blog sponsor. Big thanks to them for being today’s blog sponsor.

Nov
26
2015

Gratitude


I laid in bed with my husband as we tried to recall some of the highlights of our life together. Then we made it easier by just trying to remember some of the best parts of this year.

“This has been the best year of my life,” I told him. I was getting emotional. We’ve been through a lot, and we’ve had A LOT of good times. But this year, man, it’s been great.

I can’t count how many times this year I’ve been in or near tears, completely overwhelmed with gratitude. And I’ve made it a point to stop, and give thanks in those moments. Recently I’ve started taking it a step further and writing down those little moments I’m grateful for. No matter how small.

gratitude journal

A rare request for a kiss from my son, a tweet from a reader telling me she loves my blog, a declaration from my daughter saying I’m the ‘BEST mommy ever!’ I write these little things down every day, and I’ve noticed the difference it makes.

I also use it to write down impactful scriptures and quotes I come across.

As I look around at my family and blessings. I’m so thankful. Here are the first 50 things that came to mind when I think of my gratitude:

God
My awesome husband
My motivating kids
My sisters
My parents
Fantastic in-laws
The scriptures
Books
Great friends
Our home
My faith
Our pup Snoop
A career I love
Our freedom
My Patriarchal Blessing
My wide variety of friends
Awesome neighbors
Service members
Teachers
My husband’s loyalty
My blog readers (YOU!)
Clean running water
Photographs
Financial stability
Electricity
HUGE dreams
Cheerleaders/ motivators
The internet
Disney vacations
Movie nights
Lofthouse cookies
Oprah
My health
My family’s health
Technology
Snuggles
A warm bed
Free cable
Good samaritans
Advocates for peace and love
Dr. Pepper
My talents
Photographers
Education
Family time
Warm weather
Our joy
Love
Warm socks
Inspiration

Interracial family thanksgiving

I’m celebrating this day of thanks surrounded by so many people, full of so much love and gratitude. Love, hugs and prayers to you and yours!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don’t readily admit this, but I believe in my 11 years of marriage I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner once. MAYBE twice.

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple I somehow remember vividly. We were poor. We had upgraded from our cardboard box table to a real table thanks to my husband’s grandparents giving us one.

We had a thrift store futon in our living room that was my pride and joy. A couch AND a bed. Sweet!

We might not have had much of a Thanksgiving that first year had it not been for my job. I worked at a call center after school doing sales. I don’t remember the details, or how it happened but I won a turkey! Still a newlywed, I was thrilled to cook a turkey for my husband.

But how?

Holiday newlyweds interracial couple

I called my mom. She isn’t a human cookbook who can rattle off recipes like nobody’s business, but I do remember her making Thanksgiving turkeys… In a brown paper bag!

She told me how it helps keep the juices in the turkey, and no, it wouldn’t blow up my kitchen.

I made green bean casserole (my favorite Thanksgiving dish) cranberries, scalloped potatoes and mac and cheese. It was delicious, and our full bellies told us all of the dirty dishes were well worth it.

It’s basically my one domestic success in my marriage. And sadly that was 11 years ago.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a great excuse for dropping the ball the last 10 or so years (there were a couple years where we visited family and I didn’t have to cook. Let’s just count those as wins). I hate admitting this but at least three of the last seven Thanksgivings have been at Golden Corral. No cooking, no dishes. No fuss.

I FAILED.

Now is the part where I’m suppose to tell you I’m turning over a new leaf and cooking for my family of four this year. Nope. We are celebrating Thanksgiving in Utah where my fabulous in-laws are providing the meal. Sure, I’ll pitch in. But the pressure isn’t on me. Does that even count? (I’m counting it.)

Thanksgiving-prep

We’re going to be surrounded by family, once-removed cousins “so many cousins!” as Lil’ J puts it. Lots of food, family and fun. I’m hoping it’ll be the kick in my pants to remind me about the importance of these traditions. Lil’ J is five now and I don’t want her memories of our Thanksgivings together to be crowded buffet restaurants.

I want her to remember me attempting to cook a turkey in the oven with a brown paper bag. Or baking a homemade pie. Or SOMETHING.

Something my children will remember when they’re celebrating their Thanksgiving as a new husband or wife, and want to call me and ask for tips.

I may not be a Betty Crocker mama, but I can learn a thing or two, and hopefully make it a tradition worth treasuring.

Here are a few things I’m considering starting this year:

Dish duty: From lessons in table-setting, to doing the cleanup together. Seventh Generation natural dish liquid is tough enough for all the grease, but natural, hypoallergenic without dyes or synthetic fragrances. Stuff I can let the kids use. I have fond memories of large rubber gloves and a sink full of bubbles. I think my kids could get in on that.

Mommy and me dishes Seventh Generation natural dish liquid

Making a dessert with the kids: Let them choose one, and we shop for ingredients and make it together. Technically this is baking, not cooking. And I actually appreciate the exactness of baking that cooking seems to neglect.

Hunting for the wishbone: We did this when I was a kid, my sister and I always pulled it apart together while making a wish. The one with the longer piece’s wish would come true. I haven’t even introduced this concept to my daughter yet.

What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions that don’t involve food?

A big thanks to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products, dish soap, and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

If you’re from Utah or have ever lived in Utah you may be familiar with a popular bad joke:

“What’s the difference between a University of Utah bride and a Brigham Young University bride?”

–At the U of U wedding the bride is pregnant, and at the BYU wedding the bride’s mom is pregnant.

*ba dum dum tsss*

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. So I was the stereotypical Utah bride (appearances aside). 18 (almost 19) marrying my 22-year-old RM (return missionary) and my mom was pregnant with her 5th child (whoops!).

I suspected something was up when one of my younger sisters told me she had found baby gear and pregnancy tests hidden around the house. Then at my wedding open house at my parents house I pulled her ultrasound photo off the side of the fridge so it wouldn’t be mistaken as my own.

Fast forward 10 years. My sister Kimberly is now nine and I have a daughter of my own just five years younger. She loves and admires her.

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters.

The greatest thing is when she comes over, Lil’ J (and Big T) immediately cling to her for entertainment… Which means a break for me, YAY!

To keep her happy and coming back for more fun, I try to come up with fun ideas for activities they can do while they’re at my house. It can be something as simple as a new library book, puzzle, coloring pages, or an activity I found on Pinterest.

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters.

Kimberly is off from school this week and she came over to try some new games I had set aside. The hilarity at followed was awesome.

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters.

I smiled as I watched them aim the snowball cannon at the targets, danced around to silly prompts like “wiggle your reindeer tail” “stir the hot chocolate” and “ski down the mountain.” And finally, they chased each other around trying to put rings on each other’s elf hats (Kimmie knelt down to make things a little more fair).

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. I’m so thankful that my little sister, who I only got to see a couple times a year, now lives just up the road, and gets a chance to grow up with my kids and be a good role model. I’m thankful I get the chance to be a big sister again, though in a very different way than I was growing up.

I’m thankful for so much this year: My family, my home, my faith. And I’m thankful for a sweet little sister, who’s become a big sister to my kids.

Are you and your siblings spaced out or close together?

I’m passionate about making and saving memories, I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions including getting ready for Christmas! All opinions (and typos) are my own.

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All month Lil’ J and I have been talking about what we are thankful for. It’s a beautiful thing hearing those words come out of her mouth.

Our children are tiny sponges ready to soak up knowledge about the world. The better we do at our job of teaching them, the better the world can become.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nothing like good friends you can text any time about anything, call when you need a last minute favor, or pick up where you left off even after months, weeks, or years without talking.

I’m so thankful for my many friendships. I don’t know what I’d do without my buddies.

friendsThis is me with two of my best friends: Allisa and Brittani, taken by another best friend: Taylor.

 

“What are you grateful for?” I asked my three-year-old one afternoon as we rode home in the car.

“What’s grateful for?” she asked me in return. She’s always practiced good manners and learned how to give thanks in prayer, but I don’t think I had ever asked her that questions specifically before.

So teaching gratitude to kids… Preschoolers even. How’s it done?

Lil’ J will talk my ear off non-stop about anything and everything on her mind. I decided it was time for a basic lesson in gratitude, in a simple and fun way that she’d understand, doing what she does best… Talking it out.

Gratitude-jar_0041-copyGratitude-jar_0036-copyI cut up some strips of construction paper and wrote questions about gratitude. Questions like:

Who are you grateful for?
How can we show others we are thankful?
What dessert are you most thankful for?
Why is it nice to show our gratitude?

And so on. I put them in a mason jar and we played a little “game” asking each other the questions.gratitude jar gameI’ve continued to spend a little time having these types of discussions throughout the day so she can begin to learn what these words mean, and maybe… Learn ways to be more gracious.

We took turns asking each other questions, and her responses were so adorable I decided we should save some of her answers.

There are a gazillion awesome gratitude crafts out there but she can’t write just yet, and I wanted to get her answers in her own voice… Literally. So after dinner, before stories and by her bedside lamp, I recorded her. This may be something I do every year with my kids to see how their responses vary over time.


She’s adorable, no?

And because I know someone will ask, no, I did not make her dress. I bought it from Adelaide’s Boutique. Yes, I’m thankful for them too.

Have you spoken to your kids about gratitude? 

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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