A few weeks ago my family had a discussion about our goals after dinner. So I grabbed a pad and pen and we each made a list of our goals for 2017.

I’m not going to restate them here, but while enjoying my cup of coffee at the same table today, img_5697I was reflecting on them. I remember being very impressed with my son because his goals were so simple but were things that I have been speaking to him about.

That let’s me know that he listens and it’s a reminder of the importance of being intentional – in parenting for sure- but also as I go about my day.

Im often thinking of my cart before my horse. I’m often planning in my dreams and not focusing on the day to day nuts and bolts…the steps to get to the places that I want to be.

Dont get me wrong, I have accomplished quite a bit and I’m moving in the direction that I want.

But every year, I reflect on things in preparation for the new year. I’m always thankful for my blessings, my family and friendships. But, the older I get, I find that my desires and end of the year thoughts and plans are eerily similar to previous years. While that reassures me that I’m on the right track and that I’m in tune to my passion, it is a reminder that I have let a few years go by still doing the building and planning in my head while not always building those things in reality.

I don’t have any New Years resolutions. I do have a few new short term goals. I want my family to write our goals down every year, or every six months.

And more than ever, I want to check some things off my list.



img_3402-2Picture this –
First, I start with being a wife and mommy. Then I add student and writer in the mix. And then I add in a full time job. Easy, peasy.
I am wife, mommy, employee, writer and student.
gerund or present participle: juggling
  1. continuously toss into the air and catch (a number of objects) so as to keep at least one in the air while handling the others, typically for the entertainment of others.

Under One Roof

My 21-year-old daughter came to visit us this past weekend and it was great to have all of my kiddos (biological) under one roof.

Leaving Grand Rapids gave my daughter the opportunity to leave the nest and I have been so proud to see her really become an adult  – she has a job, she pays rent, etc. I can tell you that having your adult child living at home can really affect the relationship so its great to see her and not have to be grumpy!!

My son got to spend good quality time with his big sister. She took him to the Museum of Science and Industry and they had a ball.

It is especially nice to see my adult daughter and my three-month old daughter bond and connect with each other. My baby girl is smiling all of the time now and while I’m use to seeing her break the latch while breastfeeding to smile at me – sending milk everywhere – it was VERY FUNNY to see my oldest daughter freak out at the flying streams of milk going everywhere!!

My daughters visit also enabled me and my husband to go out on a date for the first time since we’ve been married ! It was so nice to go out without kids!!!

I am so appreciative of times like this with family.

Naiima and Meridian bonding
Naiima and Meridian bonding
Naiima and Kaeden at the museum
Naiima and Kaeden at the museum
Date Night
Date Night

Positive Reinforcement

I once read a quote from Peggy O’mara that says that “the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”

That really made me take a moment to reflect on the words and the behavior that I use towards my children. It made me more intentional in my parenting.

Just as I have been dealing with a lot of transition as of late, so has my 6 year old son. That can be overwhelming for him (and me) at times.

During his kindergarten year, I began having morning talks with him on the way to school and always made sure to tell him that I loved him and to have a good day with the hope that he would actually have a good and tear-less day. My son is still learning to process his frustrations and that often results in tears. So as the year went on I tried to find more ways to speak to him in ways that instilled confidence, pride, respect and positive self esteem.

One of the things that I learned over the year is that it was very easy to teach him things by incorporating them in our daily routine.

Fast forward to a new life, house and school in Chicago.

Every morning as soon as we get in the car, I say repeat after me:

I am Kaeden (full name).
I am 6 years old.
My birthdate is January 9, 2009
My address is __________ in Chicago, Illinois. (it didn’t take long for him to know his address)
I am in the first grade.
My teacher is _____.
My school is ______.
I am brave.
I am responsible.
I am respectful.
I will pay attention in school.
I am confident.
I will try to make a new friend today.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (that prompted a small discussion).
I will have a good day.
I will have a day with no tears.
I will talk to my mom about my frustrations instead of crying in school.

Our drive is about 7 minutes long so we might have a little conversation as well but there isn’t much time for anything else.

I always end with you are awesome. I love you and have a good attitude and a good day.

One day last week, we got in the car and my mind was wondering and I just started driving.
As we were half way to the school, he said you forgot to have me repeat after you. I said oh, I’m sorry. Why don’t you tell me what I should say.
He begin doing his own mantra adding in or omitting a few things.
He said that I like when we do that.
After I dropped him off, I had the hope that the things we say in our routine becomes his inner voice.

What are some things that you do or say to your child to reinforce positive thinking and positive self-esteem?