Has it really been a year?

mama bear plus 6

I am clueless to how a year has passed since my last post here at Mama Bear Plus 6!

The kids and I left WA State and moved to Coeur d ‘Alene Idaho and what another amazing adventure that has been, we LOVE it!

1 daughter has left the nest to start her adult journey.

1 on her way out in just a few months and is heading to WSU to study business, GO COUGS!

I finished my Tamale Therapy cookbook, finally! You can find that here http://cookingtamales.com/

We are adding a new member to the family, my oldest daughter and her husband are expecting their 1st baby, a son, in April 2015 (which is weeks away folks, just weeks!)! This nanna is SO overly excited!! You can read about that journey at http://thenannachronicles.com/

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A lot of life can happen in 1 year! We have been super busy and why I have not just jumped on and posted updates or recipes or pictures… well I will not serve anyone any excuses because we all know that’s all they are. Honestly I just haven’t made time!

Hope this finds everyone amazing and all the things that have taken place in your life in the last year have been wonderful!

Mama Bear Plus 6+

My Tubal Ligation Journey Begins

A tubal ligation “journey”!? Yes I will call it that. I mean have you ever typed tubal ligation into Google!? Good grief! Is there anyone who loves it since having it done? Are there any satisfied customers? No really, I am having a hard time finding any “good” stories! All I can find is posts on PTLS (Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome)  and every other side effect or problem people have had. Which is great and informative if that is the info I am looking for, but it isn’t. I think in my mind I was searching more for the “You will be so glad you did this” or the “You will love it” reassurance that I did the right thing even though I feel I did. I just have to say, I am SO sorry to those of you that have had it done and it was not all good and as you expected it to be! At this time, I can only imagine your frustration.

I am a 37 (almost 38) mama of 6 and I had a tubal ligation and an ablation on Feb 3rd. I have always wanted 8-10 children so this choice didn’t come lightly. It weighed on my heart for a few years. I have spent many hours deep in thought, prayer and in my head battle over making the appointment that would ultimately change my life forever.

For a little TMI: I have always had heavy periods and horrible cramps which I controlled most of the time, between children, with the birth control pill and it worked for the most part. But as everyone knows, especially those who watch TV commercials know there are side effects that come with all drugs, period, so I already knew that I didn’t want to take the BCP forever. And not being in a relationship, married or even sexually active taking  the pill and exposing myself to “effects” wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing long term.

6 years ago when my 6th and youngest child was born and I went in for my 6 week check up my then OB/GYN suggested that I get an ablation done. He briefly explained the procedure, he may have explained it in depth but I am pretty sure I blocked him out the second he said I wouldn’t be able to carry a child again. The fact that it would cure the heavy period and cramping sounded great but never ever having the chance to have another child scared me.

Fast forward thru those years of taking the pill even though I didn’t want to, moving to WA state where my periods basically said “What pill!?” and acted as if I was on none on top of the new diagnosis, high blood pressure, my days of ever taking the BCP ended. Isn’t that what I wanted all along? Isn’t that what I prayed for, a solution to not have to medicate my body? A way to not have to deal with this 2+week bleeding and contraction like cramps?

The research began, a tubal/Esure, an IUD,  a patch, a partial hysterectomy… My options appeared to be limited with the period history so my choices were narrowed down for me. It was a tubal or Esure (which is also a type of tubal where metal springs are inserted in your tubes where scar tissue grows and prevents pregnancy) and possibly a partial hysterectomy. I don’t know about you but inserting metal springs into my tubes didn’t sound very appealing along with all the lawsuits that were attached to stories of people getting this done and research that doesn’t date back very far. Is this that new? Did they just creates something to block the tubes and ask people to sign up to try it!? Yikes! And finding a doc that still does a “regular tubal” also proved to be somewhat of a challenge. Along with only doing a tubal will NOT take care of my main problem, the periods. After hearing a certain docs name come up in several conversations with people and asking my PCP I finally found a great doc that would do a regular tubal and an ablation (which they prefer to do together in some cases to further prevent a pregnancy from trying to attach itself to the wall of the uterus after ablation). He said a partial hysterectomy was not needed and if anything would be a last resort if needed down the road.

Now the tests begin. Ultrasounds, biopsies (AKA crotch saw! OUCH!) and blood work to make sure there were no underlying problems before we proceeded with the surgery. Everything is a go in just 1 weeks time! Is this real? Am I really going to go thru with this? Doc office calls to set the appointment for the surgery, GULP! Am I sure this is what I want to do? Ugh so many doubts but yet so much excitement to get this done and over with. Sleepless nights, tears here and there and LOTS of prayer! Just do it Kelly!

Here goes nothing (or everything!). So grateful to my daughter for taking me there, watching her little brother and waiting for me to bring me back home. Grateful for the kiddos at home that are prepared to help clean, cook and keep an eye on the babes for me while I recover from my 1st (and hopefully last) surgery. Several moments of question while I had my IV set up and talked to all the nurses but I was really just ready, ready to begin this new journey, ready to have 1 less thing to worry about in life, ready to put this behind me. Check in at 9am, surgery time 11am, out by 12pm and on my way home by 1:30pm. 2 incisions on my tummy, 1 in belly button 1 above pubic line. Waking up and realizing it was done and I was still alive allowed for some tears for a brief moment, even though the nurse kept saying crying after anesthesia is normal, it wasn’t from the anesthesia. It was from the realization. Had my throat not been so raw from the breathing tube I would have been able to express that to her, owell, hahaha.

Day 1, SO sore. Dizzy, brain fog, a lil nauseous, hungry, cotton mouth, shaky and so tired. 1st night I could not sleep, had the worst vivid dreams and the worst cotton mouth. Can’t take the hydrocodone their prescribed due to itchiness so ibuprofen it is.

Day 2, getting out of bed was hard, what is this shoulder and neck pain from UGH! No voice, raw throat. SO sore, felt like I would rip the stitches. I so do not do good with anyone touching my belly button much less there being stitches in it, YUCK! Thinking some of the nausea was coming from that. Stairs so NOT my friend… Sore during the day and so foggy headed but restless not able to sit still for long. Trying to gather my thoughts feeling a lil lost. But overall not too bad. Honestly expected to feel worse. Still couldn’t sleep. Insomnia… Dreams… Dizzy…

Day 3, Dear Lord… The worst day so far. Throat still raw. Felt feverish, sore, nauseated, dizzy, couldn’t move and couldn’t sit still. Ibuprofen not making any difference. No appetite. Sad and tearful. Kept thinking about all the mistakes I made in my life wondered if this was 1 of them (WTF!?) Who am I!? Drove for the 1st time today, probably wasn’t the safest thing to do… Sorry other drivers near me when I was going 20 in a 40 thinking I was speeding. Thank goodness it was just up the road.

Day 4, a busy day ahead catching up on all appointments. Feeling better, still sore but controlled by ibuprofen, thank you God! Did WAY too much and felt it by evening time felt sick to tummy and dizzy. Sleep calling my name. Frustrated, just want to feel good again and feel normal. Just want to have energy and umph! Want to be able to bend down and get the laundry out of the dryer, is that too much to ask!?

Day 5, today, Feel SO much better!  Slept so good, whew! Ate breakfast for 1st time all week. Sore, but didn’t take ibuprofen till noon. Getting some work done. Still a lil foggy brained but SO much better than the last few days. Still a lil hoarse but not as sore throat. Feel like I can actually go for a walk, a short 1, but a walk. Stairs are a little easier as well. All in all feel pretty good. (fingers crossed its all good from here!)

This is my journey with this experience. I have been asked many questions before the surgery and several questions now as to how this all came about, why I was doing it and how I am feeling now that it is done so I felt it was best to share it all in 1 place. At this point I have no regrets and feel great about my choice. Based on what my doctor has said, I am where I am suppose to be with the recovery period and maybe even doing a little more than expected at this point. Everybody is different and everyone’s body reacts different! Your doctor is your best bet for advice as he/she knows you and your history and how you should be handling your situation. Contact them right away if something doesn’t feel right.

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Here’s to a new chapter in my book of life! One that I am just beginning and looking forward to seeing how it goes.

P.S. If you have an experience with a tubal, ablation, birth control or just want to stop in and say Hi please feel free to do so!

Update Feb 20th: 2 week check up at doc, all is well. Was told I can resume all normal activities as in baths, sex, and tampons if needed. Incisions are healed. Still having “discharge”, doc explained it to be the uterine lining healing process. Can last 2-12 weeks, oh joy!

Update March 4th 2014: 1 month post-op. I feel great! Discharge done. No period yet. No weird “hormonal” issues lots of other women have talked about, like face break outs, or moodiness. Whew!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

A large family-How to keep it all together!

If you are like me, trying to keep track of everything without post its, scrap paper taped everywhere, an occasional pen art reminder on the back of your hand, dry erase boards full, desire for a chalk board refrigerator or wall, an overloaded smartphone calendar etc is IMPOSSIBLE! And with all those things I still miss so much, why? NO organization to the madness!!

The dreaded call from the dentist office stating that this is the 2nd time we missed an appointment and next time we will be charged and/or placed on a “walk in and wait basis” and the next time you see the smiling receptionist there she quickly loses her smile and stares at you with the “how dare you miss appointment and don’t call in so we can see someone who takes their teeth care more serious” look… Ya enough is enough! I like having friends and chatting it up with all office staff everywhere I go! It is time to fix this!

My 1st thought, create my own family calendar that has more than the usual “Calender fit for the whole family” (whose family!? NOT mine!) LIE! 1 that will fit all our 6 of us and has room for other family members that I need to remember stuff for, just because they have grown up and moved out doesn’t mean there isn’t any special dates or appointments that I need to know for them from time to time! They just moved they didn’t fall of the face of the Earth!

I get it, I need a unique calendar and so I shall make my own. Buuttt until then, which could very well be by the time my own kids need it for their families or maybe their families after that, or may always remain an idea or thought, I will have to use 1 that works best for us. 1 that can keep up with this crazy thing we call life in this house. I have searched and have found very few that I like. I get it, most families don’t have 6+ kids, but I do so I need what works for us!

I found this Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Wall Calendar! It is AWESOME! It is filled with monthly projects, because yes I space so much stuff and need reminders like these, it has space for dinner menus (um heck to the YES!), it has plenty of space for all my crazy crew and all their “stuff”, it has space for mom too (yes occasionally I take time to visit the doc or dentist, I know shocking!), it has space for notes and reminders (thank goodness!), the quotes on each page are an added bonus cause sometimes we need like things like positive sayings to keep us on track, and so on! I am SO digging this Amy Knapp chick, she has a clue about life chaos and I like people like that!

So if you are a nut job like myself and have a large family whether it is your own kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, a retirement home, a pet hotel, a zoo, etc grab yourself 1 of these calendars and organize your life this year! Do it for your sanity (and for your children’s safety!) and for your reputation at the dentists office!

 

P.S. Happy Organizing! If you have any tips or calendars or suggestions please share them with us!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Hot Cocoa Mama Style

Ahh December… Just saying that word makes me instantly think of the smell of pine or apple cinnamon, the colors red and green, Christmas lights & music, all the awesome Christmas movies that play that make me all giddy,  all the temporary delish coffee creamers and so much more including making me want to drink hot cocoa (yes only in December do I crave this stuff!)!

Anyone who knows me knows I will drink my coffee iced all year, yes even on the 5 degree snowy days but I sure do love a good cup of hot cocoa, who doesn’t!? I do however like to spice it up a lil, I mean plain hot cocoa is good buuutt add a scoop of instant coffee grounds (I highly recommend that you skip this step when making a cup of hot cocoa for your children, just saying!) and it is now GREAT and what is even better (yes it can actually get better at this point!) is adding my own amount of those lil tiny marshmallows! Now whoever thought of packaging those for people like me and so many others who love a lil hot cocoa with their marshmallows is genius! And then there are those days when peppermint is calling my name so I may add a small scoop of peppermint chips as well, YUM!

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Do you buy store bought hot cocoa or make your own!? I usually buy several boxes of store bought for the days when I run out of my homemade stuff so the kids don’t go without when my hands are too frozen from snowball fights to whip up a batch of homemade. My kids will drink this stuff daily and on the weekends sometimes several times a day during the cold months! (Just an FYI, you can add lil things like peppermint chips or mini choco chips and it makes it a great way to sneak in some chia seeds or supplements hehe)

Our Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 cup Powdered Coffee Creamer

1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients well, I use a fork or whisk. Store in an air tight container.

FYI: I found a recipe that also uses Ovaltine in it so if you would like a “malt hot cocoa” then you can add 1/2 cup Chocolate Malt Ovaltine to the mix. You can change the ingredients as needed to make it sweeter or add flavored coffee creamer to change it up as well! The possibilities are endless and just think, you have all winter to try all kinds of cocoa!

 A day after Christmas shopping… You know the day that you fight the crowd, spend more than you ever imagined, took an hour to find a parking spot, couldn’t find what you were looking for, forgot several items on your list, and the list goes on. On days like those there are thing like Baileys, Kahlua, Smirnoff Whipped Cream or Marshmallow Vodka, Peppermint Schnapps, Rum… You get where I am going with this! A lil splash when the day is done= Hot Cocoa Mama Style!

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Hot Cocoa shopping right here!


P.S. If you have any great recipes or ideas to share, please don’t hesitate to comment below! Thank you =)

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

See what happens when you are nice to people

At Walmart with my son last week picking up the rest of his party stuff as he is bouncing everywhere and using his VERY good imagination as he “shoots zombies” and hides behind my cart and others carts (oh yes we are those people that others frown upon in stores for my kid being just that… a kid)

Mind you we have already been to 4 other stores and we are ready for lunch and a movie so I am awaiting a break down from him and/or myself at any moment. But he is so content just being himself. This is my queue to get what I need and get out, 45 minutes in this Walmart trip…it is only a matter of time at this point.

As we are checking out, he is like 90% of other kids and is asking for gum, candy, beef jerky and anything else he sees that they place there just for the littles to beg their parents for. I told him he needed to wait and that I would give him a quarter on our way out for a gum. He was okay with that, thankfully.

On our way out we are passing Subway located inside of Walmart and he notices an elderly woman that is checking out has dropped some money so he runs over and picks it up as she is walking away and runs up to her and says “Mam you dropped this.” She stopped and looked in her hand and looked at him as he stared at her with his hand stretched out and her dropped money in it. And she says as she takes her money from his hand “Oh my I guess I did, what a wonderful young man you are to bring it to me, thank you so much. This is for you.” she says and hands him the shiniest quarter ever and says “That was so very nice of you, always be good to people and be honest.” His eyes lit up like she had handed him a check for a million dollars! He says “Thank you to you. I will!” as he runs in my direction showing me the quarter and says “Mama, see what happens when you are nice to people! Now I can buy my gum and you can use your quarter you were going to give me to buy you a gum!”

As we both walk out chewing gum far too big for our mouths mama can’t help but smile at what a great lesson my son just learned all on his own.

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P.S. Share with us a  proud mama or dad moment that brought a smile to your face or a tear to your eye!

Mama Bear Plus 6

How is my oldest child still alive?

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How is my child still alive!?

A friend of mine recently had a baby and had asked me about any good new mom blogs, we talked for a bit about what she has been told, read and thinks is good and not so good advice. Wow times have changed haven’t they!?

Being a young mom when I had my 1st daughter and so clueless I must have read every book there was to read on pregnancy, birth and raising kids. I am an only child raised by my mom, grandma and uncles so my mom was not ooberly full of advice and info so I went by what I read. When I had my 1st daughter over 20 years ago there was no internet, no groups or hangouts online, no parenting advice columns, we new moms read real books in real libraries or magazines on grocery store shelves.

I read that breast feeding was good but was not  supported in the hospital I delivered, they said formula was better with all the extras breast milk didn’t have(whatever that was!) plus they said it was easier then nursing (which I learned with the next baby was NOT the case!)so I gave up after 2 short months. How was I to know any better!?Hey at least she was born when there was an actual formula instead of the home made stuff from back in the day right!? As far as my next 5, “breast was best” was making its way and was more encouraged as time went on so to follow the good mama standards they were all breast fed at different lengths. I can tell you honestly that I don’t see a difference in breast or formula babies when it comes to MY “all so different kiddos” now that they are older. So for all you formula choosing mamas, no need to be feeling guilty!

 No solids till 6 months but you could put rice cereal in bottles to help them sleep better!? Huh… Well of course she had lots of rice cereal in a bottle; they actually made bottles for solid foods so no need to cut the nipples of her regular bottles! Started the rest of the children on solids as they were each ready, and I do believe that I added cereal to all their bottles even when they stopped selling the “solids bottle”. Just an fyi, no allergies in any of my kiddos.

  sassy-bpa-free-baby-food-nursers_BG02470No need to use bottled water tap was fine but you must boil bottles and nipples before use so I did. I must be honest here, I only did this for the 1st few weeks then washed by hand and that’s it. I did however buy the Playtex bottles with the liners (clean bottle every time kinda bottle lol), even if the 1st type had the brown rubber nipple you had to stretch over the top of the bottle and I spilt at least half of the bottles I prepared. Thank goodness for the advance in bottle technology as the years went on. Was a Playtex, Avent and Dr. Brown bottle user.  I know now if I had an infant I would be lost without a doubt over which bottle out of the 200 on the baby isle I would use.

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Do not let her stand on her legs till 6+ months or she will be bowlegged for life. Let’s face it, trying to get an active 4 month old to stay seated on your lap for long periods of time was not going to happen, so she stood and jumped up and down on every lap that would allow it. I spent the 1st 2 years staring at her legs as she walked to make sure I addressed the pediatrician if I was a glimpse of bow in her legs.  By the time I had my 3rd daughter I bought her a jumperoo and exersaucer to exercise her legs by the time she 3 months and guess what, no bow in any of their legs!

She should be woke up at night to be changed and fed. This got me confused with the whole “sleep when baby sleeps” advice so I went with the sleep part. Followed the same with each 1 of the rest of the children, they all seem fine today, at least I don’t think it had any long term affects.

Rub her down with alcohol if she ever ran a temp. I must admit I did this. Didn’t you with your infant!? Although I don’t think it helped much. Never tried this again after the 1st year of my 1st daughters life. I even administered all those recalled cough syrups they do not even make any more, oopise.

Babies slept best when the room was dark and quiet. I was a complete sucker for this advice! Dang this made my life so much harder than it needed to be, but I learned fast with my next 5 children that this advice was a huge no no. The rest of my babies could sleep in the living room with the normal house stuff, other kids, vacuum running etc. Ahh what a blessing!  Thank goodness I learned that advice was NO good fast!

Belly to sleep so they didn’t choke if they vomited was stressed in every book I read so I made sure I did that. Good grief how scary now that I think back. By the time I had my 2nd Pampers had “back to sleep” printed on all their diapers and hospitals started teaching this. So the rest were back sleepers till they learned to roll. As a person whose life has been affected by losing a child that even though he was not mine we loved him dearly, to SIDS I cannot stress this enough! Even side sleeping is not considered safe anymore!

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Co-sleeping was a huge no. So she was in her crib from day 1. My 2nd daughter as well. My next 4 were all co-sleepers from about 6+ months till they were ready to sleep in their own bed. Confession-my son is 5 and still sleeps with his mama. I know he will soon be in his own bed so I am enjoying this as long as I can. Co-sleeping is not for everyone and I do not suggest it for every family, especially families with newborns. But then again that is only my personal opinion. I have been reading SO many oh so sad stories in the news about infants that lives were lost due to co-sleeping,  ugh. SIDS may or may not be preventable but if there is a way to reduce the chances then, do that lots of that, the loss is far too tremendous!

Do not pick up baby every time she cries cause you will spoil her. Let her cry it out. I am a complete sucker for a baby cry! This was advice that went in 1 ear and out the other. My own personal feelings took over and I felt the need to comfort my infants every whimper they made and will do the same for any infant in my care, always. And sure as heck can’t wait to “spoil” the crap out of my grandbabies! They don’t cry to annoy, they need something, even if it is just to be loved and feel close to you.  Yes some are a lil more needy than others, so are adults!

The good ole whiskey on teething gums. Can honestly say I never tried this. But am not judging or knocking you if you have or do! Good ole frozen rags, Oragel and teething tabs work just fine.

If she starts to suck her thumb make sure to out hot sauce so she doesn’t keep doing it & have buck teeth. Oh dear, I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. Out of 6 I had 2 pacifiers users that didn’t “abuse” the length of pacifier time and 1 finger sucker that took some time to break but all is good without hot sauce (okay so what if she needs braces in a few years haha!)

Let the TV occupy your child as long as it is somewhat educational. Guilty. Barney, Big Comfy Couch, Sesame Street, etc was always on at our house and yes my 1st daughter spent much of her day walking around singing and dancing to these shows! As more kids came they begin to play more together and outside etc but to this day my youngest who is 5 still loves some PBS and Sprout within reason!

Bite your child back if she bites another child. I think I may have done this but I think it was when I got bit I then lightly bit back. Well maybe not lightly but I know for sure I didn’t break skin! (I am so only kidding!)

I know I missed lots and there is so much more out there, please please share any and/or all the weird, bad, or even good parenting advice you have gotten and either followed or didn’t follow! Can’t wait to hear these!

FYI: Do not follow anything that I did or do with your own babies until you consult your child’s doctor. ALL babies are different.

Mama Bear Plus 6

When tragedy strikes

What do you tell your children when a tragedy strikes in our world?

How do you respond when tragedy hits?

Do you let them watch the news coverage?

Have you ever considered going to help where the help is needed?

We live in a world where bad things happen. Period. We can try our best to keep our kids from hearing about it, if that is your choice but if they are in public school it is impossible to do so. And my thoughts are that I would rather my younger children hear about this stuff from me and/or at home where I can explain and well… kinda sugar coat it and make them feel safe. It is hard to explain to a young child that some people are sick and need help and if they don’t get it then they do bad things or that there may be times when someone is so hurt and sad and that they don’t have anyone to help them feel or get better and they make choices that are unsafe and hurts others or how Mother Nature is not able to be controlled and sometimes she brings big bad storms to different areas. I explain that we will do all we can to stay safe at home and at stores etc and that teachers and school staff are trained to keep them safe from bad people while they are at school. I explain that yes it bad when bad storms it places and take people’s homes and businesses but that we have to see beyond that and see how wonderful it is that people all work together and build relationships and new towns and homes and it is all fresh and new and with it comes many new friendships. Not sure my answers are the best and not sure how other parents answer these questions or concerns but it keeps my kiddos concern for themselves and others at a minimum and we all know that they should not have to worry about the big bad world as children, they will have enough of that when they grow up.

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Honestly it tears my heart up when I hear bad news, duh, doesn’t it hurt everyone!? I am pretty good at not freaking out too bad when I hear of crap on the news or radio in front of the kids but do express my sadness & concern, after all they need to see how we adults handle tragedy so they know they can go thru the emotions as well and will get thru it. Eyes are always on us parents. Yes even in our weakest moments…

We are not big TV watchers in our house and surely do not watch the news very often at all. When needed, I do allow them to watch the news. And I am right there while they watch it and explain what is going on and the updates etc. When something bad has happened I do not allow them to watch the coverage over and over and not after the 1st day. I feel as a small child sees the news coverage it will scare them and make them nervous as it is no matter how much I tell them they are safe and if they keep watching it their little minds may think that it is happening over and over as they may not understand that it is recorded and is just being replayed and oh how SO scary that would be for a little 1.

1 day as we are watching some severe storm coverage and how the towns had been leveled my 7 year old daughter is watching the coverage with me and say “Mommy who is helping them? Who can help them if their cars and tools are all gone in the storm?” I explained that people from all over go and help. I tell her America pulls together and people fly and drive there from all over the US and help them pick up the pieces, hug them when needed, get them to shelter, help them rebuild etc. And she says “Well we have a big family and we could help a lot if we all go there.” She had a great point and what a HUGE blessing that would be to be able to go and help others when help is needed. What an impact that would have on our whole family to truly be able to help out where help is needed and to be able to touch someone else’s life. So on the list of things we NEED to & will do it goes.

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P. S. These are just my thoughts and the way I handle these things and life with my kids. It may not be “right” or “wrong” but it is what works for us. I would LOVE to hear how others handle these types of things! Please share your thoughts!

 Mama Bear Plus 6

Our kids with social media, apps and sexting, oh my!

Every parent says it won’t happen to them or their child. I am here to tell you that you & your child are not excluded from the negative  social media/apps and sexting world. If you have kids of any age, please take a moment to read this and to open your mind up about what is out there at our children’s fingertips, and this is only a small portion of it!

I am a mama of 6. I have said “I have been there done that, it will not happen to my kids I keep an eye on all their activity, I know who they are friends with. I check their phones and FB accounts” and the list goes on. I can tell you that I was not prepared for what I did find out when I dug a little deeper about what my kids were really up too! Always trust that mama instinct! From that point on I want to inform all parents! I want to shout it across the mountain tops! Let’s keep our children’s innocence as long as we can folks!

Remember MySpace!? Was it just me or did it seem like technology was amazing but semi innocent back then compared to now!? I had 1, my older 3 daughters had 1 and it never seemed like it was problematic with negative stuff. But now a whole new world is upon us and we as parents are just trying to stay caught up with it all…

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So I will break down what I know about social media/apps and sexting. I will also include what teenagers from several age groups have to say about each app. Some opinions are from my children and some from some other teens I have talked to. Reminder: These are all just our views on these types of things. They will NOT be the same for every person or family. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Let’s start with FB… Wow what a great thing this is for some people! I have found friends from high school, long lost family members and have connected with some pretty amazing people, like all of you, after all you most likely clicked on my blog link that is somehow connected to FB. It has been a great tool in so many cases. Sadly FB is not such a positive place for everyone, especially the little people. The amount of lies, harassment, bullying, negative drama and straight up ugliness that FB is used for in the teen world is shocking! No not all of it is horrible but it is a great place to get caught up in it all. This is where us parents need to step in. Always have your child’s password, always. Check their messages often, do keep in mind that they will delete the 1s they do not want you to see. If you feel like there is missing info in a message conversation it is probably due to some of the message being deleted. Ask questions, check out their FB friends list. I often look at ages and what some of the people are up to and if I don’t like what I see I delete them for them while I am on their FB. There are rules, new rules due to me finding stuff I did NOT like a few months back when I happened to dig up some disturbing info, like lies and fake pics, and not so positive stuff. FB deleted for 4 months and new 1 was allowed to be created recently with new rules. Break them, FB gone till you move out! These are our children, we are the parents they need to protect them from all we can as long as we can. Rules, only add people you know, no guys over 18, do NOT erase messages, know I will be on it daily and sometimes several times a day, and anything else I can think of as I go along in this world of parenting.

Teens say: “FB is really cool, it helps us stay in touch with people from other states as friends have moved, it is also a great place to share pics of our lives. We like it to be able to “spy” on each other and see what our enemies are doing as well. We are friends with people on there that we are not true friends with just to be nosy about what goes on in their life. (hey at least they were being honest!) FB can be really bad. I have had friends that were bullied so bad on there. I have had friends want to kill themselves over things someone else posted about them.”

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Now onto Twitter. I use my Twitter account for my fan/blog page and that’s it. Some people I know live by Tweeting, to each is own! My kids have 1 and I check it often but there is not too much that goes on in that part of the world in this family. Although I do keep in mind that that can change at any moment so my guard stays up.

Teen says: “I don’t use Twitter. I have made several accounts and say I will start to tweet but don’t. I like it to update my every single thing I do everyday, hey some people want to know this stuff. I use it to retweet things I like.”

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Any of you heard of Tumblr? I will explain it as a teens type of blog kinda thing. People follow each other and they post and re-post pics, videos and stuff from each other or the internet. As with anything else, there is good and bad stuff about it. The good, there is some pretty neat stuff that people from all over the world share, some positive upbeat stuff that I would even “re-blog” if I was into that sort of thing. And then the bad… You cannot control what the people you or your child follow posts. There is a lot of sex on there, I mean a lot. And there is no way, at least that I have found, to edit it out or block every sex posts, pic or video unless you just delete the Tumblr. Soo my talk with my kids, if you see something that is inappropriate, unfollow that person, if I am on your account and I see something I don’t like I will unfollow them for you, you are welcome! If it keeps up, Tumblr goes bye bye.

Teens say: “Tumblr is great. I don’t talk to anyone on there but I love all the stuff I can repost that means a lot to me. I love all the gay rights support they post on there that teaches people to love everyone. I love all the great pics from all over the world, it lets me see places I may never see in person.”

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Oh lil ol Instagram. I love the app, I use it often, I follow a few people and so on. For teens it isn’t too bad. There are no rules and people can post what they want. If your child follow those type of people that posts pics of drugs, boobs, sex etc then they will see it in their feed. Again, UNFOLOW those types of people! The good, there is not much bullying or harassing on there, at least not for my kids, yet.

Teens say: “I love Instagram. I love the filters I can use. I am not sure why they started allowing videos but it is cool I guess. I like being able to use hashtags since I don’t use them on Twitter. My cat has his own Instagram”

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And then there is Snapchat… Aww that cute lil ghost figure. That must be a cute lil app. NOT! Being able to send pictures to people of any and everything you want and they can only view it for 3-10 seconds for it never to be seen again, or so you think. Now people are screen shotting your Snapchats and lots of boob and other area pics are floating around the internet, oopsie! No parents, just no.

Teens say: “Oh Snapchat, you mean Sexchat. Funner than texting but gets out of hand very quickly. Fun when you make funny faces with friends. I don’t use it, my parents said no way when they took my phone and opened a not so great Snapchat from a friend.”

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Vine. I use Vine, it is a cute and easy way to upload my kids silliness without losing all my FB friends and family from bombarding my wall with them hehe. Again with this app, it is all about who you follow. And for kids without a smart phone and access to this app, Vine is everywhere! And there are some “not so good for our kids viewing” Vines. All you can do is beware of what your child is viewing as best you can.

Teens say: “Vine is so awesome. I have seen so many great Vines. I am addicted to watching Vines and yes I have seen some Xrated stuff but I just move on. I follow lots of people on Vine and sometimes even the best people post sex Vines. I don’t know what the hype is, I think Vine is so dumb.”

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Now these are the only apps that I am familiar with and that majority of teens including mine use. There are SO many more! I beg of you to please please share with all of us your experience with these or any other apps that you know about and what you have seen with each 1.

Last but not least…Sexting. UGH UGH UGH! This is sooooo awful in this day and age. It can be as simple as :You have a nice butt” to very aggressive sexting and can and most likely will get out of hand very quickly. If your child has a regular phone you can check their messages often, check who they are calling and texting (may or may not do you any good to “prevent” this) and make sure you talk openly with them about what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Now if you child has a smart phone, this can be good and bad. They are open to a whole world of apps and “stuff”, Ipods allow this too with NO way form you to monitor it, just an FYI on that 1! Verizon has the neatest “Family Base” addition that you can add to your lines and have access to it all! I love that idea, until they turn 18 of course! If you have Verizon look it up and if not then check with your provider to see what child safety options they offer and get them! The texting allows kids to be people that they are not and sadly these days kids want to be someone else and better than this person or that so the lies that accumulate is unreal. Keep a close eye parents, our kids are worth it 🙂

Teens say: “Oh sexting, yes I guess you can call it that. Sexting, hmm is that what they call it these days? Yes my boyfriend and I do it, we are not allowed to spend lots of time together so we have intimate conversations via phone or text. Hey at least it is safer than having sex. It has gotten out of hand for me before and it scared me.”

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P.S. Please share any comments, info, advice, etc that you have on this topic or 1 related to it! We can all use resources and info to help keep all our children safe! Also too, Pin, share and tell your friends about this and other blogs and info! Sharing is caring 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

What does your Sunday look like!?

Our wild and oh so enjoyable Sundays begin with me trying my best to get up before every else so I can have a tasty cup of hot coffee on my patio enjoying the temporary quiet, just God, nature & me.

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Kids up at 8am (if we are attending church that week and if we are not it is a “get up when you want, stay in your jams” kinda day as we all need a Sunday like that every now and then!) in hopes everyone is showered, dressed and fed by 9:15 if we are stopping by our small local coffee shop for some small talk and an awesome custom coffee and 9:45 if not.

Coffee in hand from home, or Suncrest Gourmet and we are off to service to have our faith meter filled at our local church connecting with the people chatting about this or that and for approx 90 min of songs of worship and an informative service from our Pastor. The teens normally take this time to volunteer their help in nursery services while the littles go to their groups.

After service and our goodbyes we head home to prepare “linner” (lunch/dinner) for the whole fam bam, including my oldest daughter & her hubby that come spend every Sunday with us and bring their 2, 4 legged children, their 1 blind and 1 half blind oh so adorable sibling pugs, Iggy & Kensey, who enjoy running the property and playing with our dogs & of course getting showered with love and attention (and sometimes ice cream hehe) from all of us!

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By Friday we have usually have planned the oh so horrible for us oops i mean delish meal, appetizers and dessert we will be making on Sunday. It is our “splurge, stuff our faces & drink gallons of iced tea” day where nobody worries about how bad our food choices are for 1 day. Don’t judge us, we behave all week to be able to do this 1 day, hehe!

The day is spent laughing, talking, of course the occasional argue, playing video games, playing hide and seek, coloring each others hair, a visit to the lake, playing ball, building a fire and making smores, crafts, and the list goes on.

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I often find myself looking at life my, my kids, where we now live etc and wonder if I am dreaming, I ask myself what I did that was so wonderful that I deserve to be this blessed. It is days like these where everything that means the most to me, my whole world is in 1 place at 1 time and the nothing can be sweeter. It is days like this that make me look around realize how absolutely rich I am in SO many ways no matter how much money I do or don’t have in the bank, days like this that I am overly grateful and thankful for each breathe I and each 1 of my children take, days like these that I am at times not able to process how blessed I am that it brings tears to my eyes that I often end up sitting in my bathroom after the sun sets and just have a good cry and talk with Jesus about how He trusted me with these precious lives and pray for the ability, skills and patience to continue. Days like these that I hold people I know even closer to my heart that have experienced loss of a child or loved 1 and who can only spend moments with them in memory. Days like these that I say that I will try harder to not let the petty stuff bother me and I will be grateful for each struggle, tantrum, argument, and mistake my kids make as there are so many people that would give their right arm to have their child back in this world even if it meant dealing with the bad stuff like when they don’t follow your rules or guidance. Days like these that I pray for each 1 of my children to feel the “deep, so strong its unreal” love I & the good Lord have for them every minute of their lives, thru the good and the bad.

Take a moment out of your day to read this blog post from Single Dad Laughing, I was in tears and moved beyond words by each parent that shared. Sure makes ya think… http://www.danoah.com/2013/09/truth-from-parents-of-children-who-died.html

I always end each Sunday with anticipation of a fresh new week!

P.S. What does your Sunday look like or do you have another day of the week that is your favorite and why!? Do tell 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

What’s 14 more grey hairs

It all starts with a promise, as most of us know small child promises are like mud pies, they mean SO much, look appealing, tempting but you know better than to take a bite. But since they come from their hearts just as mud pies do you want to accept them with a smile & believe they will be wonderful.

Alexa “Mom I promise that if you let me watch 1 more episode of Good Luck Charlie that I will go right to sleep and wake up in the morning when you wake me up.” Aiven “Ya mom we will, we even pinky promise!” A pinky promise you say!? Well that’s as good as gold! Deal!

Go right to sleep a half hour after your “normal” bedtime kids? Hmm maybe but highly unlikely, no control over it and that’s okay but mama promises that you will be tired come sun up hahaha. Did they wake when I woke them up like they pinky promised they would? Hmm not so much but good try though! Only had to re-wake twice! Not bad…

Here is the kicker, tired kids mean very slow moving whiny kids.

7AM

Mom “What do you want for breakfast?”

Alexa “I can’t find my jeans I wanted to wear, is there anything in the dryer?”

Mom “No all the laundry is done and put away, they are in your room somewhere. What do you want for breakfast?”

Alexa (whines) “I can’t find them that’s what I wanted to wear, I can’t find anything else”

Mom “Um did all your clothes disappear overnight!? What do you want for breakfast?”

Aiven “Can I wear my black pants again?”

Mom “No Aiven you wore those on Wednesday, What do you want for breakfast?”

Aiven (whines) “But I want to wear them they are my favorite pants”

7:20AM

Mom “What do you guys want for breakfast?”

Alexa & Aiven (whines) “I am not hungry”

Mom “You have to eat before school, how about fruit and a string cheese?”

Alexa “No, I want a bagel”

Mom “We are out of bagels, are you dressed yet?”

Alexa “No I still can’t find what to wear”

Aiven “I want pancakes, can I please wear my black pants?”

Mom “No Aiven, wear the clothes I picked out for you”

Aiven “NO mom! I’m big I will get my own clothes out I just really like those pants”

7:40AM

Mom getting all the stuff out for pancakes…

Alexa “I don’t want pancakes I want French toast”

Aiven “I want French toast too”

Ties my shoes, do my hair, Aiven has my toothbrush and won’t give it back, help me find my clip on bear for my backpack, where is my shoe, can you sign this paper for my teacher, what are we having for dinner, I need money for the book order, I wanted the powder chocolate in my milk not the syrup, can I pack my lunch today cause I don’t like the burrito at school, the cat is drinking my choco milk, I didn’t want powdered sugar on my French toast, can I change this shirt I don’t like the way it fits, can I call grandma…

8:05AM

Mom “Is that the bus already!?”

Alexa & Aiven “Yes”

The sound of 6 feet running for the street… We made it! Whew!

Mom (heavy breathing) “Wait let me take a picture! Okay bye kiddos love you have a great day!”

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Alexa “Bye mom love you too have a good day to see you after school I’m going to miss you”

Aiven “Bye mom love you so much you are the best mom ever I love you more than chicken see you after school”

Yep wouldn’t change being a mom to all these awesome & crazy kids for the world! (Even if they give me 14 grey hairs every morning before 8am!)

Starbucks solo, here I come! (Did you know, they have all their pumpkin stuff back in!? I am not too into all that, but seemed like the morning crowd was pretty excited as I people watched silently for a few)

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Mama Bear Plus 6