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

You have been so good to us summer

Our “summer” started June 14th! Kids last day of school the 13th and off to a Cali vacation the next day, talk about starting it off right!

My 1st major vacation as a single parent, FEAR had set in and I was nervous about the 23 hour drive as the only adult and the fear of being able to keep everything and everyone together while we were there. O’well time to suck it up and begin the journey!  

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Plans to meet our best friends from AZ there that we haven’t seen in a year, so exciting! On our week stay, we hit Disneyland, California Adventure,  Knotts Berry Farm & the beach, Hunnigton.

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Disneyland… My most favorite place on Earth. The feeling of walking thru those gates cannot be matched, although the new Cars ride was beyond amazing and brought tears to my eyes over how WOW  it was.  Being there brings this tingly awesome feeling that I could never get enough of.  We have been there numerous times and I could go every week if I was able too!  A blog on that alone will be in the future!

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California Adventure and Knotts are awesome places too of course! The kids prefer California Adventure over Disneyland for the bigger thrill rides they offer. Knotts is more of the break you take between or after the bigger parks, lots of fun but not as large so easier to get thru in 1 day.

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 A wonderful vacation, amusement parks, beach, shopping and all the neat places we ate, my fav The Boling Crab http://www.theboilingcrab.com/! It was our 1st time there and was AMAZING! A must try if you like seafood and well… chicken tenders. The food was delish, after I got past having to remove the shrimp heads myself! The atmosphere loud crazy and fun, kinda like us as we fit right in there, which is hard to do in restaurants these days when everyone is quiet and reserved haha!

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We spent a week having a blast with some awesome people! The 23 hour drive home was tough since we drove straight thru and didn’t stop to sleep like we did on the way there. Would I do it again!? YES I could never stay away from Disney for too long, but will prefer to fly!

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Big vacation behind us, time to spend some time in our own amazing area…

We have spent many Saturdays this year in Green Bluff http://www.greenbluffgrowers.com/ picking lots of fresh fruits, feeding the animals, eating more cherries than any of us would like to admit, meeting some pretty amazing people, seeing beautiful weddings, getting lost & best of all, enjoying some quality family time!

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Silverwood & Boulder Beach http://www.silverwoodthemepark.com/! A neat amusement park & seasonal water park located in Athol, ID. It is about an hour & half from our house. I want to say that Silverwood is very similar to Knotts Berry farm. Not too big and loads of fun! We have spent several days there this summer! We all love it and with it being so close it is a must visit for a full day of fun in the park itself riding awesome wooden roller coasters & some other big rides and then spending a few hours cooling off in the water park and hitting some huge slides and the 2 wave pools! Can’t miss the magic show in the Theatre of Illusion with Nick Norton while you are there! A must see while enjoying a very affordable large pizza dinner, breadsticks & drinks for the family, all for $25 while having your mind blown with his amazing magic!

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Summer camps! My 5 year old son got to attend his very 1st 3 day pee wee camp at Camp Gifford! (YIKES!) I was SO nervous and he was SO excited. I honestly have NO idea how I actually dropped him off and drove away. I cried the entire ride home and on and off all 3 days & not being able to talk to him drove me NUTS!! I was counting the hours till I could pick him up. Not sure I want him to go again but he had SO much fun it will be so hard to say no.

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Family Camp at Riverview Bible Camp located in Cusik, WA! http://www.riverviewbiblecamp.com/   Wow what a neat experience that was! We will be making that a yearly trip no doubt! We went with our church, Suncrest Family Worship and spent a Fri, Sat & Sun there. The camp had SO many things to do for the whole family! Riverfront swimming with inflatable water toys which included and were SO much FUN: The Blob (fun & scary!), Trampoline (loads of fun!), Saturn (ya good luck getting onto that!), Iceberg (now that is a climb), Log ( sure if you feel like falling into the water repeatedly), Slide (more for the kiddos), Canoes (Um about that… Our family & canoes= will end up swimming 3 minutes after getting into it), Heated pool (didn’t get to try that, not enough hours in a day),  Swings (yes even for us big kids!), 40′ Amusement park slide (I would like to change the name of this slide to Burn Slide instead of amusement slide since every person that flies down it on a waxed burlap bag WILL obtain a burn on some area of skin LOL but it is impossible to stay off of since it is SO fun), Hiking trails (LOTS!), a beautiful creek with a bridge ( a must see), Water Balloon War Zone (um SO fun!), Gymnasium with three basketball courts, Ping Pong, Tether Ball (a fav of our family!), a game room,  24 hour coffee/tea/hot chocolate with SO much scenery to sit on the deck or at the lake and watch, priceless really. The cabins were awesome! Our cabin slept 10 with full bathroom & shower, so our whole family got to stay together. We had guest speakers who are missionaries that told some pretty amazing stories that had our attention, morning and evening services, 3 delish full course meals, tons of play & family time. If you have not visited a family camp as a family this is a must do!

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Cat Tales, an amazing non-profit animal rescue! To make a donation or to see what it is all about visit their website http://www.cattales.org/ Spent the day with the fam bam there seeing the big kitties, tigers (lots of them, white 1s too!), bobcats, lions, panthers, cheetah, and even a bear! You can take a guided tour, watch a show, just browse the cages and best of all; you can choose to feed a bear or tiger! To feed a bear you must be 6 years old, he LOVEs watermelon! To feed a tiger you must be 8 years old and they eat raw bloody steak, yum! The workers there are awesome, full of energy, very friendly and helpful and willing to talk to you & answer any questions you have (I had lots!) It was a neat experience for all of us! They also offer Zoo school, I was told it is a 1 year fulltime program that you take and you can get hired there or go somewhere else and apply. If you are interested in zoo keeper, animal medicine or just want to work around the big cats (ME!) you can take this 1 year hands on course and get certified! How cool is that!?

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Here is more info from their website:  “Are you interested in a career in zoology? Train to become one of the best. Cat Tales ZTC is the ONLY school of it’s kind where students learn every aspect of zoo operations and professional animal care.  Take a peek at a Zookeeper’s Day to get a taste of what is involved, and see if zookeeping may be for you. While we do not guarantee job placement for graduates of the program, we receive requests on a regular basis for information on upcoming graduates as possibilities for positions at various facilities. Top names in the Zoological community hire people who have successfully completed our program, because of their well rounded training. Applicants must be 18 to apply.

From movies, to eating out, to theme parks, to long long drives, to getting lost, to picnics & events, to camps and so on this summer has been nothing short of amazing, but today it is time for summer to end and school to start! As I said bye to my kids today as they went off to their 1st day of the new school year I was filled with so much emotion, mostly happiness that this new year brings new adventures, new memories & experiences but some sadness creeped in as well, sad that the summer fun & late nights are over & that my house will be very quiet during school hours, also sad that they are 1 step /year closer to growing up and leaving the nest.

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Well, gotta use this quiet time wisely & get some work done, they will be back home before I know it!

P.S. Please share your summer stories and any new or neat places you visited & that you would or wouldn’t recommend! We would LOVE to hear about it! Afterall, it is never too early to start planning next summer!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

Quick breakfast idea!

Healthy Smoothies

For those of you or your family members, especially teens, that like to juice/smoothie daily or just every now & then, for health, fun or just snacks this has proven to make it SO much easier to make them! Instead of pulling all your bags of stuff out you can just grab a baggie full of pre-measured fruit & veggies from the freezer, plus it saves so much room in the fridge drawers! Makes it easy for the kiddos to make them before school as well! I always worry that my teens are not eating right and getting enough nutrition. They run out the door to the bus sometimes without eating breakfast. These smoothie packs help them whip up a healthy breakfast every morning and sure makes mama feel better knowing their tummies are full and they have the vitamins they need to start their day!The packs that I have in the picture have a handful of baby spinach, a spoonful of blueberries, about a handful of fruit mix (mango, strawberry, pineapple)

Fruit Mix

With these breakfast smoothies you can add anything your heart desires! We add yogurt, chia or flax seeds, Carnation instant breakfast, Boost, almond milk, Silk or just water to your pre-made packs. Each pre-made pack consists of a variety of fruits and veggies. The main ingredient in these packs is baby spinach since it is great for you and has little taste. We then add any berry, melon fruit that you would like. And then same with the veggies, avocado, beets, broccoli, cucumber, etc. The grocery stores and Costco sell a variety fruit pack that we generally buy along with a huge bag of the baby spinach. The possibilities with these are endless!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Back to school time already!?

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Ahhh back to school time is near! I do love this time of year and it is not because I want the kids out of the house and in school, in fact it gets a little lonely around here when they are gone all day, when I say this, it is for them more than for me!

I miss them I miss the noise and the chaos I miss the talks, yells, cries, and the fun we have when they are all home all summer. You kind of get used to your days being so full for 3 months straight that when school is back in and they are all safely on the bus and you walk back in the house the silence is somewhat eerie. They need to go to school; they need the interaction with other children, other adults. They need the structure, because let’s face it, this running around all day, playing all day, eating dinner at 9pm and staying up till 12-1 and then sleeping in till 9am every morning can’t last forever. There are things to learn, things to absorb, friends to make, memories to create and numbers to jumble!

The teens can keep themselves busy during the long summer months but the littles need more than an occasional play date. They are bored and mama can only teach & entertain for so long before they are tired of hearing me and wanting social interactions with others.

I wish I could home school, I wish I was disciplined enough to do so but I have to face the facts and those are that I am only so much me and can only be stretched so thin and in all honestly it would not be fair to them for me to pretend like I could provide them all the education they need. So yes, this is me and I rely on the school system to assist me in teaching my kids what they need to know, although I am that picky parent when it comes to schools and teachers. I will not bow my head in shame on the homeschooling subject; instead I will pat myself on the back for facing the reality that I am human and a single mom with no business trying to be a teacher for 4 grades.

The kids all say how much they love back to school shopping… Of course they do! What kid doesn’t! And please tell me what parent does!? I would love to hear from both sides, those of you that just love fight the crowds or deal with that 1 group that loves to stand right in front of what you need and talk about the weather at Wal-Mart’s back to school sections (which really does have some of the best prices/deals!)! Those of you that love to get the 2 page list of stuff they will need for the WHOLE year and your kids need it all today, yes all 50 #2 pencils and 10 spiral notebooks each, those of you that love it when it takes 4 hours for the kids to go over everything on their list and add things to the cart and fish thru it all to take it back out when they find something better, those of you that love when you teens argue over the other 1 picking the same color notebook or backpack even though they are not going to the same school. Geez it is just a color! 

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Then there are those of us that dread this whole process and desire a strong adult beverage about ÂĽ of the way thru the store as I slowly add up the total in my heads, thinking “I should’ve applied for a small loan prior to entering the stores”, while I am trying to listen to the nonstop chatter, yells for “Mom come see this” from the dressing room, the arguing & the giggles. And then there is the best part, how happy they are getting new stuff, how excited it makes them about the 1st day of school. I do love coming home and watching them unload the stuff into their new backpacks, sharpening pencils, yes all 255 of them and them trying on all their new outfits deciding what they will wear for the 1st day/week of school. This process makes me think back over the summer and all the fun we had and also think forward that a new school year is almost here and all the new experiences & memories they will create & have and all the new friends they will make! And that makes it all worth it & me 1 happy mama bear (as long as I don’t think of the credit card statement that will arrive in a week or 2!) 

P.S. Hey, 4 stores, 5 hours of shopping for 4 kiddos and over $500, I earned this! hehe

IMG_20130826_182717_359Mama Bear Plus 6

Must wear pants and bra for this

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I would never be able to count how many times I have heard people talk about their desire of working from home. Ah living the dream, not having to wear pants if they don’t want to or even a bra hahaha of course depending on what type or work at home field they choose. I ran a home child care for 8 years and yes I wore pants M-F 6am-6pm but I was working from home! I also ran a plumbing company from home virtually and on the phone and if I wasn’t already teaching preschool I could be pants & bra free all day! Truly loved what I did for numerous reasons! Work at home looks different for each individual!  I have also heard a few say that they could never work from home for various reasons. I myself am an entrepreneur, always have been. Whether I work from “home” or not my desire to work for myself runs my life.

 

I am a mama of 6,  #1 was born 20 years ago and with her birth my desire to be with my children every day was born with her. I was 17 when my 1st daughter was (go ahead, gasp, its expected). I had already had my 1st and 2nd jobs by then.

 

The  1st being at Dunkin Donuts and the 2nd at a childcare facility. When she was born I had taken time off from my job and had planned to go back when she was 8 weeks old. My plans were shifted as I dealt with the death of my mother just as I was suppose to return. (You can see more about that hurdle in a blog post on here “I wish Heaven had a phone”) Until my daughter was a year  old I stayed home with her before I returned to the childcare field where I could take her to work and be with her at all times. All this time wondering what kind of business I could start to be home with her and my future children.  I was young and dumb (as they say) I like to refer to it as naive. I had tried all sorts of stuff that I got in the mail from stuffing envelopes to babysitting to answering phones from home. None of this worked out for several reasons, scams and not enough inner drive or self discipline. Fast forward about 12 years & 3 more daughters! During which I went to college for medical assistant, pharmacy tech, computers, worked in childcare and still tried & failed numerous “work at home” scams & offers. None of it stuck, no passion, no drive, no fuel in any of those things aside from working with kids. Found myself pregnant with my 5th daughter and wanted out of the workforce but needed the 2nd income, I wanted to be a fulltime mother and knew there were other mothers that wanted their kids out of daycare facilities and if they couldn’t be with them they would love for another mother to be with them that could and would love them so I decided to open a childcare in my home.

 

8 years of awesomeness! 8 years of loving, nurturing, teaching & caring for numerous children most of which came to me less than 6 months old and stayed till they went to kinder! Many sets of amazing parents that became lifelong friends for which I am beyond grateful for! During the years I worked from home with the childcare I was also able to go school and get my Associates in Business Management. While I was running the childcare my spouse at the time and I also started a plumbing/handyman business that I managed from home which was also a neat adventure! As with any business it had some ups and downs but by far life changing in such a positive way and if I had not outgrown this adventure I would still be doing it. Anyone looking to work from home, love children & to teach, has tons of patience, and a safe environment should certainly look into running a licensed childcare facility in their home!

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With 95% of the children I had in my care going to kinder and knowing that I would have to start with a almost all new batch of kiddos, plus all my kiddos in school fulltime during the day, I chose to close my doors with the childcare (although I kept managing the plumbing company) and step out in the work force once again and put my degree to work as an office manager at a wonderful Alzheimer’s facility where I stayed till my children & myself relocated to WA state (yet another blog post if you want to read about that adventure) I enjoyed working outside the home and met a great team of people but the entrepreneur in me & the drive to help others just can’t be contained any longer!

 

When we got to WA state I knew for sure my plan was to work from home & was not going to pursue anything else but chasing my burning desire to help others and change the world 1 person at a time! We have been here over a year and I have worked from home since moving here along with studying at the School of Online Business and Coaching Cognition to become a life coach and grow my own business and create my own products. Who knew!? So my exciting, well paying, financial freedom, debt free future, chasing my dreams, living life to fullest, dream is all falling in place and coming together  & I truly owe it all the Man above for His guidance in my life every step of the way!

 

P.S. Are you or someone you know looking for a life coach, need some guidance in your life & with your future? You can reach me on Ingenio 🙂 http://life-coaching.ingenio.com/Coaching%20with%20Kelly

 

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Mama Bear Plus 6

In Just 1 Year…

It has taken me a year to even attempt to share a small portion of this story with anyone outside my small circle of close friends & family & even now I will be very selective on details, not sure there will ever be enough time between then and the present that will make me want to dig up and share those deep ugly memories. It is not something that I thought I would ever want to talk about or share with anyone or relive, but it is amazing of what just 1 year can do in terms of healing, strength, grace and faith. So today, 1 year to the month when darkness fell, I celebrate victory! Victory for my children that have grown and have become even more amazing stronger individuals and victory for myself to have picked up the scattered & shattered pieces of our lives in my weakest moments and have slowly but diligently sorted thru what pieces we needed and what pieces we didn’t, gathered almost all new pieces and have created brand new life for us!

Let me start by briefly taking this back to days, weeks, months and years before April  2012.

Met a guy (I met this guy as a single mother of 4 daughters) became friends, fell in love, got married, had 2 children, started 2 businesses, bought a house… happens to many many people. Isn’t that the way it is suppose to be!? Living the dream, or so I thought!

Yes I was married before to my high school sweetheart. We were very young when we got together, 15, married at 18 and over the years began to grow apart. By the time we were 21 our marriage was on its way to over and by the time I was 22 I was divorced, even sadder, we have no contact and haven’t for 10 years, not even with his children. Most dream of falling in love with that 1 person and staying with them for life as I did but life as we know it hardly ever goes as planned. But enough about going WAY back; I will leave that for another day.

Happily married to my best friend, life was great, it was as I thought it should be (little did I know…). We hardly fought, we vacationed, we partied (although he drank WAY more often than I did, which I didn’t really care for), we laughed, we worked hard, we cried, we were connected to an awesome church, we lived our lives surrounded by many amazing friends (friends who I will be forever grateful for that were there for me & the kids when the darkness fell) People were envious of our love & happiness. I counseled friends on love and relationships, I even played dating service and hooked up everyone I knew that was single because I felt like everyone should have the love in their life that I had. I spent many moments lost in thought of how this was it and I was set with my lifelong partner and all life could do was get even better and for years that seemed to be the case. We were planning on moving to WA State and opening a business. We were set to leave in May, to pack up life as we knew it and move. We had a house set up, he had a job lined up that would sustain us until the business that I would put all my time and energy into, got off the ground. Crazy when they say Man plans God laughs because it is so true…

There was nothing in my mind, heart or soul that led me to believe things were about change, drastically, nothing… How did I not know? How did I not see this happening? Why is it that my gut instinct didn’t kick in? How did things get so twisted in our lives that made him think that it was okay to betray us, to destroy us, to throw all we had worked for away after 8 years of our lives together…WTF!? And I was too blind to see it. Blinded by the wonderful marriage I thought we had, blinded by a love I thought was true from both ends… Love is blind they say, guess “they” are right.

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Anyone have an “unlucky” month in their life!? I do, it is April. I lost my 37 year old mother on April 25th, 1993. I lost my white cat Sugar in April of 1995 as she suffered a horrible death by coyotes in our yard. I also lost a friend to accidental suicide in April 1995. I have been in 3 car accidents, 2 in April. Oh God I get it, just not my month and that’s okay, I didn’t dwell or focus on all that as April approached over the years, okay well maybe I did lay awake some nights in every April thinking about the negative but I didn’t let it control my mind or life. In April 2012 just as the month was almost over with another good streak of good Aprils, BAM! The day this all came out and knocked me to my knees is unimportant, days & times etc are all a blur anyways. The tremendous amount of pain that hits a person when they hear devastating news that their husband, best friend had betrayed his family, more than once & I didn’t see it coming is unreal. Was it the drinking!? Would this all have happened if it wasn’t for the alcohol!? Why couldn’t our marriage be rocky 1st? Why didn’t we argue more? Why did I let my heart get SO involved and let my wall all the way down when I swore I wouldn’t years back when we got together? Why couldn’t we have been falling apart so my heart would have thickened and prepared for the end? Why was there NO notice? Sudden SUCKS! I feel like this would have been easy for me to walk away had I been preparing myself and I never got that chance. And then more questions that will never have answers came… What did I do wrong? Why wasn’t I good a good enough wife and why didn’t he talk to me before it went too far? Why was this family that loved him endlessly not enough to keep him from hurting us!? What was he thinking!? And the list goes on… Talk about feeling worthless and like the biggest failure ever. Not only was I divorced once, now twice, wow nice… NOT what I wanted to my children to have to go thru or witness. There are so many things I wish I could have protected them from seeing, feeling and hearing but the things we go thru in life either make us or break us and it is up to us to choose which path we will take, I have to say these children are fighters and have turned all the negative in their life into strength and power and dreams. They are what got me thru this, thru everything that has crossed my path in life. In the days & weeks to follow: no sleep, no showers, no eating, I couldn’t even think straight. Friends were stopping by to check on us and it was as if I wanted to run with my kids to a cave somewhere far away where none of us could be hurt by anyone and no one would talk to us.  Although I can say now that I am thankful for everyone support & love even when I tried to push them away. Everyone had SO many questions and I had no answers for them. And worst thing ever, nobody believed it. I had and still have friends and family that feel me ending the marriage was & is wrong, that I should “work it out” that I should give it time that I should be more forgiving that I should give him another chance that I should “think about the kids needing their father” and so on. I have never been good at doing what other people think I should do, they do NOT walk in my shoes, this is my life, my children’s lives I WILL do what is best for us and that is to remove us from heartache and pain. God gave me these children to protect, nourish and raise with morals and respect and that is what I will do. I have been asked over and over “What about your kids being raised in a broken home?” Excuse me!? What about our happy, fun & love filled, crazy most of the time, never a dull moment, loud, laughter filled house is broken!? If you can find something please let me know! Broken would be to stay in the negative ugliness of betrayal and heartache raising them to ignore hurt and pain and no trust! We don’t live there anymore! We are free!

I was now, overnight, a single mother of 6, 5 daughters and 1 son. They needed me, they needed me to be their strength and they were mine. They needed me to show them we would be okay. They needed & still need to know they have me and I will NEVER leave their side or betray them, ever… We needed to get thru this together and we did and we are. In the months that followed all this nastiness I had some tough choices to make, our house was being sold on short sale and I knew I needed to move out of it somehow someway with 5 kids still at home. Talk about raw knees from spending most hours of the days & nights on them praying endlessly for some guidance some light some hope, a glimpse is all I needed and God showed me so much more than that. I had emailed the wonderful couple that we had planned to rent their house in WA the week after this all happened and told them that my marriage had ended and that I would not be making the move, after all how in the world would a single mother pack up her 5 kids (and 2 dogs), pack up all our stuff, leave her oldest daughter behind, and move over 1600 miles away to a city with no job promised!? Ya ,sounds about crazy doesn’t it!? The home owners were sad and so was I. This house was meant for us, I felt it from the day I spoke to them on the phone and read their very 1st email to me offering their house to our family to lease for a year and to possibly purchase. I pictured our family there, living on the lake, enjoying our new surroundings, making the best of our lives in a beautiful place and starting a new chapter in our lives. My vision came to an end that nasty day in April. No way would I make it alone on the road and in a new place.  The home owners wished me their best and went about their lives as I tried to as well. What was I going to do? Where would we live? I started looking at houses in Tucson and it felt wrong in so many ways… Why am I going to allow this 1 person who has taken so much from us already take my dreams of moving to this place with my kids away!? I wasn’t!

Now it is the 1st week of June, I had cried and wallowed enough! It was time to take back my life and make things happen. I woke up at 2am and sat up and said out loud, we are moving; we are leaving this place and starting over. I WILL follow my dreams I WILL make a new life for my kids. Hitting my knees again praying for a sign this was what I was supposed to do I asked God to please show me something, speak to me thru someone anyone! I emailed the home owners figuring the house was long gone by then. Then I waited, I wanted to start looking for another house but I waited… 2 days and the home owner emailed me back. She stated that her father had passed away in May and they had been SO busy with handling their pain and his affairs that they had not rented the house yet and it was mine if I still wanted it. Thank you God! Here was my sign! I wanted to leave that day! But in order to do this the right way I needed to plan it out to the T so there were little surprises.  And I did, reserved the truck, bought and sold a bunch of cars to rack up my savings and planned a move date, July 17th. As the date grew closer I grew more scared. I have lived here all my life, all I know is right here and I am going to drive away from it all into the very unknown, YIKES! Preparing myself to leave behind my 19 year old child was HARD! Knowing she would be right behind me right after she was done with school and knowing all my friends would look after her and be there for her is what gave me the strength to go and not worry too much. My kids had SO many mixed feelings about leaving, of course leaving their friends was making them very sad but the desire to see a new place and be near the water kept them excited. Regardless of what they thought at that moment we were moving. I as their mother had to do what was best for them and me and staying in Tucson just wasn’t it. The movers came and we loaded our stuff on the 16th and emptied our house aside from what we packed in suitcases, the moving truck left the 18th. We stayed at my daughters for 3 days and nights spending every moment I could with her… The wee hours of the 19th we loaded up our suburban kissed & hugged and bawled like a baby as we were walking out the door and left AZ. There were countless moments where I almost backed out, even after the truck left with everything I own in it I wanted to back out but I knew I couldn’t and wouldn’t. We made it to WA on the 20th. I will never forget the feeling of driving to our new house thru the neighborhood and how speechless I was about the priceless beauty all around us.  And then pulling into the driveway and crying, not tears of sadness but tears of joy, tears of accomplishment, tears of gratitude… We are home, we are free, we will all be okay! When people ask how we did it, how we made that move, my answer “On faith & gasoline & the wings of prayer”!

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We have been here for 9 months. It has been an adventure to say the least, a wonderful one that will never be forgotten. SO elated that I am able to say that my oldest daughter and her boyfriend really were right behind us, they sold everything, packed their car and moved up here end of September! All my babies home where they belong, where we can grow together until their futures take them to new places and on their own exciting journeys! We are all new people in so many ways. It has taken me months to be able to go out in the community and make any connections here. I was happy to stay home, work from home and never go out (anyone who knows me knows that is SO NOT me!) unless I was shopping quickly. I was healing, growing, focusing, creating a new me from the inside out, etc. Little by little things are changing, I am now able to get out and have a life here. I actually have made friends in my community & Spokane and enjoy being away from home when I can be and doing my best to truly enjoying all this place has to offer.

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I have learned that nothing I did or didn’t do caused the end to our marriage and our life together. I refuse to own his mistakes & doings. This has been a huge thing for me to come to terms with and there are days that I still ask myself why but those days of sorrow come less and less and most of my days are filled with happiness and joy with my head held high knowing life goes on no matter how broken my heart is. When your life falls apart you can blame, make horrible choices, give up, etc or you can fight like hell for your happiness, peace and hope and turn what was once a tragedy into a blessing and see it as God’s push into something more than I could have ever planned for myself. He guided me here to this beautiful place in an amazing community, I have no clue as to why yet, but as with most things in time I will be able to look back and see how the plan was all laid out by Him. Our future is bright! The kids have SO many plans and dreams and I am so wrapped up in witnessing their beauty and lives, thank you God for another chance at life! I myself am working towards my dreams, I am creating a passion filled career where I can fuel and move others! I have always had “save the world” syndrome and now I will be able to utilize that thru my work, may not save the world but helping people is right up my alley!

People have brought up the fact that I was SO broken just 1 year ago and expecting me to say I will never date again and never love again, even heard that I may turn gay, LOL! I am only bent now, not broken. I do like knowing my heart is safe from being broken, I do like knowing I can’t be hurt or let down if I don’t trust again. I am in my safe zone, I am content to just be me and being single for as long as time & the man above allows, which could be the rest of my life. I need to allow God to guide that part of my life for me and right now He is saying be a mama to those babies and do your best and if and when the time is right He will guide me to someone special and if it never happens I am okay knowing that I will be surrounded by endless love thru my family, friends, children and their children and so on. I am okay with having 1 rocking chair on my front porch with my lap full of grand babies when I am old and gray if that is the plan He has for me.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to God for guiding me out of the darkness and into the light of life, to my kids for being the most amazing, inspiring, strongest people I will ever know, to Tammy for being the most awesome true spiritual friend to me and for always being there day or night to walk me thru the very dark moments & for always helping me see things differently, and last but not least to countless friends and some family who showed support to my family past & present & talked me thru many times of desperation and fear. I would not be who I am today without all these people in my life, I may not even be here if it wasn’t for them, everyone of them helps make life worth living.

Mama Bear Plus 6

I Am

I Am

I am a daughter, granddaughter and mother

I am an only child

I love Disneyland

I miss my mom

I am responsible for my own happiness

I am emotional

I was raised by only my mother (she was gay & a great mom!)

I am a fighter

I love to cook

I am skeptical about “happily ever after”

I am and always have been an entrepreneur

I tend to over-analyze almost everything

I am crazy but fun

I am strong (I have been knocked to my knees a few times but refuse to stay down)

I love God

I have a crush (is that even allowed at 37!?)

I don’t like silence

I love traveling, but don’t do it often enough

Other people’s lives interest me

I am a single mom to 6 rockin kids

I am kind

I am curious about network marketing

I love animals but I am more of a dog person

I wish Heaven had a phone

I laugh as much as possible

I have “save the world” syndrome

I am loyal

I love to give my time to help

I am still not sure what I want to be when I grow up

I dance when no one and everyone is looking

I am in the process of creating a passion filled career

I believe in people’s right

I want to visit an orphanage in another country

I try to the positive and/or in every situation

I am very sensitive

I love being a parent to my own & other children

I love to feed people

I want to always remember the lessons life has taught me along the way

I am determined

I will follow my dreams till the day I die

I support gay marriage

I am passionate

I will create my own successes

I love thrift stores

I want to make a difference in the world

I am restless

I am afraid of love & a broken heart

I am late, often

I talk to myself, a lot

 I am not into politics, at all

I try to be the friend I would like to have

I am forgiving, even when I don’t want to be

I love hugs

I believe in the afterlife

I am very curious about life

I am powerful

I love rain and the smell of it

I want to learn everything I can about everything

I have many dreams

I am not afraid to die

I love sunsets

I fear failure & occasionally fear success

I dislike hate

I have never been in an airplane

I want to see the world

There are a lot of things I am not and can’t do, I rarely focus on those things unless I plan to change them into things I am & can do. Life is too short to focus on the stuff that doesn’t matter! I have found in life I need to focus on the who and what is important cause when the hour glass runs out of time there is no turning it over to start again!

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Mama Bear Plus 6

 

 

Just Us

So saying I am going to start a blog for the past year and doing so have been 2 VERY different things! Just as I attempt to start, the phone rings, kids crying, dinner burning, urgent emails need answered, some one needs a ride, dogs tracked in mud, someone saw a spider, power surge…, that cup that “wasn’t me” sat on the edge of the counter now spilled on the floor covering floor and cabinets in grape juice, shall on go on!? These are not excuses as to why I am just now sitting here writing this after a year of saying so, they are valid reasons! And as any mama knows once your train of thought leaves the building it is  unsure of when to return!

The house is quiet and nobody is home…Hurry hurry get to typing before the chaos and noise return in about 2 hours hahahaha!

About us, I am a 37 year old mama to 6 pretty cool, jazzy, awesome kiddos (most days!) I run this ship by myself, ya I know I am crazy, like I don’t hear that almost daily. But I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

About my crew members (children): I have 5 daughters Asarias will be 20 this week, Anaya is 17, Alena is 15, Ariah is 13, Alexa is 7 and my 1 and only son Aiven is 5. My oldest daughter has since spread her wings & flown from the nest to venture life on her own with her long time boyfriend, Aaron. (YES we love the letter A!) Each 1 Oh SO DIFFERENT in every way possible, makes for a very unique amazing household! Asarias, so determined, loving, caring, selfish (in a good way!), fashionable, smart, far too mature for her age at times & true pug lover! Anaya, set in her own ways, caring, helpful, funny, must have the 1st bite or taste of everything (strange I know LOL), dedicated & true animal lover! Alena, a fruit loop in a bowl of cherrios, strong back bone (or hard headed, trying to say it nicely), loud & crazy, fun, athletic & loves her Jewels (yellow lab)! Ariah, obnoxious, funny, colorful, never wears a jacket (even in the snow!), very photogenic when taking pics of self (daily!), sometimes quiet, good in school & loves gum & lip gloss! Alexa, sassy, far too old for her age (gotta expect that living with 4 teen sisters!), a real life Punky Brewster, funny, loving, generous, & loves loves loves babies! Aiven, How much space do I have? He is a true boy, being the 1st after 5 girls I had no clue what expect and yes, I am in for a ride! Funny, adventurous (to say the least!) NO fear having, germ-a-phobic, FULL of personality & character, favorite color-RED, & loves the PS3!

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And about mama bear, I am a single mama to these awesome creatures of God, they keep me going when I feel I can’t, they give me purpose, strength, fill my heart & soul with love pure endless love. They are my reason for every positive things I do in life. I am a follower of Jesus. I am following my dreams of creating my passion filled career and they are with me with every step I take, even when I trip and fall. I am an entrepreneur. I love to cook and feed people. I LOVE Disneyland. Did I mention that I LOVE Disneyland!? I am loud (I yell a lot, hey beats spanking!) I try my best to be the friend I would like to have. I was a native of AZ for 36 years till I packed up my kids and 2 dogs and moved to WA state. I have a grandma & best friend in AZ that I miss more than words can say… But I am blessed beyond words & I know it.

1 of my fears: Knowing my kids will all grow up 1 day and I will have an empty house, YIKES!

Life is a bit crazy, loud, chaotic, messy, exciting, mysterious, happy, “never a dull moment” around here! Come on in, hope you are hungry, take off your shoes, stay awhile (if you can handle it) & have a seat at the dinner table with us (if you don’t like what we are having tonight, there are about 17 boxes of cereal for you to choose from!)

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P.S. Need advice, parenting/family or life!? Call or chat with me now!
http://life-coaching.ingenio.com/Coaching%20with%20Kelly

Mama Bear Plus 6