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A Day in the Life

dayinthelifeA Day in the Life of Tween-to-Teen, Frank, age 12.

I just want to write what I think parents should know about us and some don’ts and do’s.

  • We are more mature than most parents think.
  • Just because we are going to a friends’ house doesn’t mean we’re getting into trouble.
  • We want our distance, but still love you.
  • We don’t do drugs or alcohol.
  • We want you to trust us.
  • Try to mix up ordinary questions to make a day exciting.
  • We are going to hang out with friends more because we do want to be popular.
  • We play video games to put aside real problems and just relax.

Here’s some ideas on what not to do with us.

  • Don’t ask “how was your day today?”
  • Don’t embarrass us.
  • Don’t try to be “cool.”
  • Don’t force us to do things.
  • Don’t not let us go to friends’ houses.
  • Don’t give favor to younger siblings.
  • Don’t make us hang out with your friends. We have no idea what the heck you are talking about.
  • Don’t push us too hard.
  • Don’t make us watch your TV shows.
  • Don’t limit video games to a small level.

Do’s for you.

  • Be you.
  • Make the day a little wacky.
  • trust us with friends.
  • Let us stay home by ourselves.
  • give us a break every once in a while.
  • Let us play video games we want and not limit them.
  • Let us and our siblings be equal.
  • Give us our distance.
  • Don’t embarrass us.
  • Trust us to be more mature with some subjects.

Let’s Give the Children This…

Found this piece in a pile of papers. Whether you have toddlers or teens, this is relevant.


pg-healthy-living-holiday-gifts-01-fullWhat Shall We Give the Children?

What shall we give the children?
Christmas is almost here.
Toys, games and playthings,
As we do every year?

Yes, for the magic of toyland
Is part of the Yuletide lore
To gladden the heart of childhood
But I shall give something more.

I shall give more patience,
A more sympathetic ear,
A little more time for laughter,
Or tenderly dry a tear.
I shall take time to teach them
The joy of doing some task.
I’ll try to find time to answer
More of the questions they ask.

Time to read book together
And take long walks in the sun
Time for a bedtime story
After the day is done.

I shall give these to my children
Weaving a closer tie,
Knitting our lives together
With gifts that money can’t buy
~Author Unknown


Giving Thanks

Somewhere between Halloween, Hanukah and Christmas is that special indulgent Thursday that marks Thanksgiving. (And, oh my goodness, that Thursday is just two days away!)

For many, Thanksgiving is eagerly anticipated for the succulent turkey and stuffing, non-stop football games and, let us not forget, the mile-high stack of sale ads and preparation for marathon holiday shopping. With all this hubbub, though, the true meaning of Thanksgiving tends lost. Somewhere in the transition of October festivities to December celebrations, we have forgotten why this wonderful day was created in the first place – for giving thanks – thanks for our fore fathers (and fore mothers, too), thanks for our family, thanks for our friends, thanks for microwave popcorn and TIVO… Okay, you get the picture; it’s time to be thankful. Easy said, but some families are stumped when trying to find ways to express our gratitude. The tips below are great ways to help get your family get in the spirit of counting and appreciating its blessings not only on Thanksgiving, but everyday.

Let your cup – err, cornucopia, runneth over: Create a cornucopia of blessings with your children. Have your children cut out leaves and pumpkins from construction paper. Ask each family member to write down what they are thankful for this year. (My children have been thankful for My Littlest Pet Shop, Harry Potter, God and mini M&M’s all together, while I am always grateful for butterfly kisses, bear hugs and early bedtimes!) This is a great activity to spark dinner conversation the entire month!
Quit your complaining and pay up: Overall, we are all incredibly blessed. However, it is easy to forget our blessings and focus on our complaints. For one week, any time a family member complains about something; have them pay the money jar. At the end of the week, tally your funds and donate it to a local charity.
Double up and give back: When shopping for your holiday feast, double up on non-perishable canned and boxed goods to donate to local soup kitchens and shelters. Take it a step further, and ask your guests to bring a can of food to dinner as well.
Reach out and touch someone: We all have a friend or family member that we love and appreciate, but see infrequently. Call or visit that special someone to reconnect. If there was a rift in the relationship, make amends. If someone is ill or facing challenges, offer to help them out. Let them know how grateful you are that they are part of your life.
Count your blessings: Before heading over to Grandmas’ (or Aunt Sally’s or Cousin Bob’s or Neighbor Joe’s) house for your fill of turkey and stuffing, take a few moments to walk around your house and appreciate your blessings.
Share it: This last one is an oldie but a goodie… Before or after dinner, ask your relatives to name one thing they’re thankful for this week, month and year and share it with the others at the table. This is also a great way to learn new things about those you care about.
Say Thank You. Each day. Every day. Say thank you for the chaos, the creativity, the inspiration and more.


And with that, thank you. I’m so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to connect with you. To show my gratitude, I wish you all a memorable Thanksgiving filled with warmth, creativity and gratitude.

Best wishes to you all for a happy, blessed, and of course, a chaotic Thanksgiving!


A Day in the Life

Today’s “A Day in the Life of a Tween-to-Teen” is from Becky, age 14.


I would be extremely happy if it weren’t for school. School sucks. Really sucks. Seriously, am I ever really going to need to know how to …… polynomial. Doubtful. I also feel like one of the hamsters from my 5th grade class that kept spinning on the wheel. Everything is so boring ….

dayinthelifewake up
watch youtube
make lunch
go to school
P.E. (I’m fairly certain this is offered just to torture us.)
study hall (the only good thing in my day)
listen to music
eat dinner
watch tv
go to bed
wake up
do it all again

My mom says that it won’t always be like this but I don’t see her life any different. The only difference is she doesn’t have to do homework or take all these classes. She just has to take care of the house and stuff. I’d like to see her go through my day and see how she feels. School would be better if it wasn’t always the same. I get that I need to learn this stuff but I wish it was fun, or interesting, or something I’d actually use like how to, I don’t know, something – teach a class, speak in front of people, start a business, write a blog, sell art. I guess all that kinda stuff happens in college. Until then… meh.


There is Hope

I wrote this piece when my youngest was six months old. Today, she is 11.

* * *

2012_08_16_21_16_16.pdf067“Suicide bomber kills 11.” “Terrorists planning political attack.” “Security tightened at White House.” “Iraqi Cat Reunited With G.I. War Buddies.” The 5:00PM newscaster drones on and on, and while the story about the Iraqi cat piques my interest; I just can’t listen any longer. Unfortunately, I can’t find that blasted remote (NOTE TO SELF: Must invent a remote with a Lojack) and am far too tired (translation: lazy) to get up and turn off the television, so I focus my attention to my infant daughter. Looking at her innocent face, streaked with dried peas and carrots, I realize that she knows nothing of hatred, war and deception. She only knows warmth, comfort and love. As I continue to gaze into her brilliant, blue eyes, I catch a glimpse of the future.

I see her arms outstretched teetering on her wobbly, chubby legs. Her look of determination to complete this goal of walking from her daddy to me is the only thought in her mind. That same determination is what I see when she throws a frenzied fit in the grocery store, because I won’t buy the cookies, candy, gum or other sweet delight.

I see her pulling on her pants, her shirt and shoes insisting that she can do it, but she can’t. After several more attempts, she still insists “I do it, Mommy.” And she can.

I see her entering the doors of preschool with her hand-me-down Blues Clues backpack, looking back at me tentatively as I hold back the tears. My baby is growing up. What happened to those first three years? I see my face pressed against the classroom window, which is already laden with other mommy-forehead prints, just to catch one more peek of my baby before I release her to the world.

I see her making a new friend – her first without any influence from her family. She is now learning that there is more in the world than just her brother, sister, father and me.

I see her crying, because she accidentally broke her brother’s Lego tower. Soon, I see her laughing because she intentionally broke his Lego tower.  I see her borrowing and ruining her sister’s sweater. I see her sister reading her journal. I see three siblings fighting uncontrollably. I also see three siblings with undying love for each other.

I see her eyes have lost some of the brightness, the innocence, that comes from experiencing too much too fast.  I see her heart break, because her first love started holding hands with the red-haired girl down the street. I see her learn the damage of gossip and the promise of forgiveness.

I see her fighting with her father, not because she is angry, but because she is just like him. I see her fighting with me, again, not because she is angry, but because she is, also, just like me. I see her learning that she has the ability to argue. She has a voice – a loud one – that can make a difference.

I see her struggle, because she has been faced with loss – the loss of a blankie, a friend, a pet, a grandparent…the loss of her childhood.

I see her graduate from high school and enter college with fresh enthusiasm for more knowledge. I also see her excitement to be away from her dad and me. Over time, I see her graduate from college with the zeal that can only be achieved by spending four years thinking her dues have been paid. I see her dad and me exchanging knowing glances that she hasn’t quite “paid the piper” yet.

I see her climb and slip on rung after rung in her career. I see her hit the proverbial glass ceiling – and break right through it.

I see her question what is important to her. What is life about? What is her purpose? I see her question the world. Why is there so much anger in it? Why is there war, threats, hatred?  I see her try to make a difference. And, I see her succeeding.

I see her meeting the love of her life when she least expects it. He sweeps her off her feet, and she brings him to his knees. Soon, I see her walking down the aisle arm and arm with her daddy; his grip so tight and his face so pale as he guides her to partner. I see myself wiping away tears of sorrow and joy – sorrow because time goes by too quick; joy because I can see the unconditional love she and her husband-to-be share.

I see her look at her husband to be the way I  look at her daddy. I see her argue over domesticity and household harmony. I see them laugh over a washing machine of pink clothes, because she didn’t see that red sock that was tossed in with the whites. I see her burning the meat loaf, and him choking it down saying “This is the best meal I’ve ever had.” I see them love each other more over the day’s trials and triumphs.

I see her expression of shock, elation, fear and unfathomable joy when she finds out she is expecting her first child. I see our family anxiously pace and wait with bated breath in the hospital maternity wing. Will it be a boy or girl?

I see her feeding her baby with the droning newscaster in the background recounting the latest destruction of our world. I see her tune out the television and focus her attention to her baby. With tears brimming in her bright blue eyes, she sees the future in her child’s eyes. She sees what I now see in her eyes. And we see hope.