Friday, July 21, 2017

The Parable of the Airplane

Imagine a guy wants to build an airplane. He's studied airplanes and worked with quite a few in his lifetime. He sets out to make the designs. He talks to other people: people who have flown in airplanes, people who have designed airplanes, people who just like airplanes. He gets his drawings all finished and sits on them for a bit just to make sure. Then he builds his plane.

He puts in some long hours building. He tries to make sure he's got the right kind of materials and they go together just the way he planned. He's still asking the experts for second opinions. He gets the airplane built and he sits back to look at it from all angles. It looks pretty good. He thinks he's done a great job with this airplane. One last thing to do: test it out.

He tows his airplane out to the beach. He drives it to the end of the pier and nudges it off into the water. It sinks.

I told my kids this story last night and they looked at me like I was crazy. Why would this guy take all his hard work and just set the airplane out into the water?

That's a good question kids, I'm glad you asked!!

I spent a good deal of time creating a plan for our evenings. They have been much too chaotic with far too much yelling and crying. I talked to counselors, teachers, college educators, parents, and friends. I designed a plan that I really think will make our evenings more peaceful. It's a plan meant to work for all of us. It's not meant to be hard, or punitive, or skewed in my benefit. It truly is a plan to give all of us a more peaceful evening. But y'all keep driving the plane into the ocean!!

I figured Jesus speaks to us in parables, maybe one would work for me.

Survey says: MAYBE!

I really did put a lot of work into my new plan. Wanna see it? I'm still open to suggestions.

We get home between 5:15 and 5:45 on weeknights. I walk in to cook dinner and the kids each have two chores to do; one quick and easy, one a little more work. I aim to have dinner on the table by 6 so we can eat. After dinner, they help clear up and are allowed screen time until 7. At 7, all screens are off and everyone gets into pajamas. Then we can have family time: puzzles, books, card games, board games, snuggle time, taking a walk (we can put off pajamas for a walk if they want to), etc. At 8 the kids get into bed and have quiet reading time until their designated bedtime: 9 for Frances, 8:45 for Henry, and 8:30 for Ben.

I just want to note that getting into bed at 8 and having time to read is NOT the issue they have with this schedule. They actually like this part. The part where they get mad is that they have to do chores before dinner or do them after and lose screen time. Or that they goof around at the table and take more than an hour to eat. Seriously, dinner is frequently more than an hour!! I don't want them to scarf down their food and run off, but there's no reason for eating to take as long as it does. Ken and I usually eat our meal, have seconds, and chat within a 30 minute time frame!

We're on our third week of the plan, but the first week with all three kids together (because of camps). I still think it will work. They are still trying to float an airplane. Any thoughts? Be honest! I won't get mad!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Big Baby Bash Giveaway!

Ready for a fun summer giveaway? I'm done with the baby years myself, but I've got lots of friends who are just getting started. If you, or anyone you know has baby fever, I’m teaming up with some of my favorite baby brands to bring you The Baby Bash Giveaway. One lucky winner will win a $100 Target gift card plus products from Boogie Wipes, Baby Bjorn, Dreft, Kandoo and Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents and ends at 11:59 pm on Friday, August 4, 2017. Complete the form below to enter. Click here if you are not able to see the form. Good luck!

BABY PARTIES WITH BOOGIE WIPES

From Baby Showers to Sprinkles, Sip & See Showers and even Gender Reveal Parties, Boogie Wipes is helping you host and attend every baby party you can think of. Use the links below to learn more about how to host each type of party, a unique way to learn the gender of your baby, the perfect gifts for every event, and the one thing you really need at a Sip & See (besides a baby). Gender Reveal Party Baby Shower Sprinkle Sip & See

Monday, July 10, 2017

Backyard fun in the Summer

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through to purchase something I will receive a commission. In this case, these are all items I have purchased myself and I am receiving no other compensation for the links.

It's July. The weather is hot and we've hit the midpoint of summer. We're getting used to a slightly different routine. Or maybe we're getting used to not really having a routine since every week is different camps and different combinations of kids at home. I've actually only had two kids at a time for the last month! That's weird in some ways and nice in others. I like seeing the interactions they have with each other when there's only two. Plus their reunions are pretty sweet.

We don't have a vacation scheduled this summer. The kids get their camps and they each have a week at Camp Grandma and Grandpa. Otherwise, we're sticking close to home and enjoying our new house. One of my most favorite things here is the backyard. I've always wanted a fun backyard for the kids to play in. Even though we're renting and recognize that this one isn't permanent, we've still found some fun ways to liven it up.


First of all, my Mother's Day present was something I've always wanted to have. Ken got me a fire pit! We like sitting around it in the evenings. We've roasted marshmallows plenty of times and Frances is learning to whittle. The smoke keeps most of the bugs away too.

Next came Memorial Day and we realized that our grill hadn't survived the move. It had been on it's last legs before we moved, but the line to the gas tank just wasn't functioning properly and we decided that we probably didn't want to blow up our new home. Off to Lowe's we went to get a new grill. This one is pretty great because it has infrared heat. I'm not really sure how that works, but I know it makes the meat really moist. Also, I don't have to cook when Ken grills, so I love it even more!
A post shared by Rabia Lieber (@mamarabia) on

Obviously, the backyard is not just for Ken and me. The kids want to have some fun out there too. I purchased an extra laundry basket which is just perfect for holding all the outdoor toys we have like frisbees, water guns, hula hoops, balls, etc. The hamper is easy enough to carry outside when we need to and small enough to fit in the corner by the backdoor when we don't need it around.

Last year I bought the kids a slip and slide. The boys loved it (Frances is a little nervous around it), but we didn't take good care of it and it didn't make it past the end of summer. This year I found a similar one and decided it was worth the money to try again. I decided that if it lasted past the summer that was great, but if not, it was still worth $10 of fun per month. So far we've taken really good care of it by airing it out after each use. We did use it on a hill once and discovered that wasn't a very good idea, but we found some water proof tape to fix it with and it's been fine since.
video

My big splurge for the backyard was our swing. There's just no way to look at this big beautiful tree in our backyard without imagining a swing there. It has the perfect branch in the perfect location, so I set out to find the perfect swing. The one we got holds 600 pounds. I don't imagine we'll ever have that much weight on it, but I didn't want to have to police it constantly and tell kids to get off. It will hold 3-4 kids easily, but you can't really fit more than that on it, so it self-regulates in that way. I got a strap for it that is weighted for 1000 pounds, so once again it's completely safe for however many kids want to climb on.
video

If you can't tell, we really love our new backyard. It's a great place to hang out, play, read a book, or swing for a little while. In the past when we haven't had such a great backyard, we did some of these things in the front yard because that's the space we had. If you don't have a yard at all, hopefully you can find a fun space to hang out somewhere in your community.

And if you need some other ideas for hot summer fun, check these out!


Check our Karen's Spicy Broccoli Slaw and Chicken Salad at Baking in a Tornado




Lydia from Cluttered Genius shares her great idea for using what you have on hand to decorate

Kia from Think in English has some great ideas for keeping your ESL classes laughing and learning


A Clay Pot Lighthouse from Spatulas on Parade

Packing tips for your next Caribbean cruise from Eileen's Perpetually Busy



Southern Belle Charm's Red White and Blue Wreath

 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Wild Wild West

It's Secret Subject Swap time!!!!!

This is so exciting! I love getting a random subject to blog about. Don't tell Karen, but I often don't even open the prompt until the day before the posts are due. I think it's more fun that way. I've had a million bucks to spend on frivolous things, a chance to travel through time and have dinner with historical people, and even the chance to re-do a moment in my history. I can't wait to see what kind of adventure I get this time...

Oh. OK, well this is a bit deeper than I was expecting. I might have to do a bit of research. "Vigilantism" is kind of a big word to be using during a holiday week, dontcha think?

The first thing I thought of when I read this prompt (after the initial panic, of course) is the TV show Bones. I don't actually watch a lot of TV, but this is one show I actually watched pretty regularly. It's a crime/detective type show and the main character, Bones, is a forensic anthropologist. Bones' character was a very pragmatic person and she always cautioned those she worked with not to bend laws. In order for the system to work correctly, we need to trust the system to work correctly. That's not how she said it, but that's the gist of it.

I mostly believe that. There are lots of instances where I've found myself telling me kids, "Trust me. If you do it this way it will work out just fine." They, of course, don't listen and have to go about doing things the hard way. But that's sometimes a good way to learn...as long as you do learn something from it.

I have said before that I am usually a naive optimist. I believe in and trust good people and good outcomes because that is how I operate. I've been burned more in the past 18 months than ever before and gotten pretty down about it, though. I still try really hard to believe in the basic goodness of people, so I want to trust the system and have faith that it will work as designed.

The problem I'm am seeing more and more often is that unless everyone has faith in the system and let's it work the way that it's intended, the process just won't hold up. 

Now I don't think that we should always be taking matters into our own hands and working in between the lines. That's anarchy and I don't think it's a viable system. I firmly believe that we should be looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves: children, the elderly, the infirm, etc. As a 5 foot tall woman, I'm pretty certain I don't come out on top of a "might makes right" scenario!

Looking back at history, I think there have definitely been times when people needed to take things into their own hands: the American Revolution, Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat, many other historical options I am unqualified to cite because I suck at history! But I wouldn't call those people vigilantes. I would say that they stood up to unfair laws to prove a point. And history has vindicated their actions. 

I think that when there is a wrong to be righted, we have to try really hard to work through legal means first. After that has been proven not to work, then maybe it's acceptable to start exploring other options. I don't want to live in the Wild West where every body takes every thing into their own hands, and that's the image that vigilante justice brings to mind for me.

How about you? Do you think vigilantism is ever justified?

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap.

This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com
Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/
The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog
The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com
The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com
Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org
Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com
Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com
The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/
Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com
Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/
Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/
Climaxed http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com
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