For growth purposes, I give you 2014:
We had a beautiful weekend. Thursday night my parents showed up, Friday my sister Erin and her little guy Levi came, and then we went adventuring. We drove to Vermont where the Ben and Jerry's factory resides.
Bonus points: We ate ice cream for dinner in 40 degrees. Outside.
Saturday was the baptism. We're glad Spencer decided to get baptized. It was a good morning!
Saturday afternoon we went to Manchester in search of Nana, my mom's mom, who had somehow ended up in New Hampshire with her sister, brother-in-law and her friend, from Texas. They had come up from Virginia to leaf-peep and antique. Nana didn't realize how ridiculously close we are, so it was delightful to find her at an antique store.
Extra bonus points: no child of mine broke anything at the very crowded antique store. Be proud.
We had our primary program today, and it was awesome to have my kids' grandparents here to see.
Bonus points: I'm the primary music leader. I didn't cry until the very last song. Go me.
Then we "bent" the Sabbath to have lunch with our favorite leaf-peepers/antiquers before dropping my folks off at the airport. It was so fun.
1,000 extra bonus points: We visited the neatest little aviation museum by the airport. It had flight simulators and and actual cockpit. Very much a highlight.
The weekend was so fun, so busy, and really beautiful. I'm glad we got to be together and celebrate Spencer's baptism, and time together. Loved it.
Well. It seems the trend these days is to not limit screen time for children. "Let them learn to moderate themselves," is the newest parenting battle cry.
Sure. Yeah. Ok.
Look, I get the idea behind not limiting screens as equaling that they learn to limit themselves. I see the really good intentions behind this plan.
But it's absolute bull crap. Utter and complete horse hockey.
Let's be real here. I use my phone a lot. Some for funsies, some for worksies. A lot. I have to, as a 32 year old ADULT, make a conscious effort to not peak at my notifications every five minutes.
It's just too easy.
Also, as a human who has reached full cognitive development, I'm expected to be capable of lots of self-control. Because...adult.
My children on the other hand?
Well. They moderate nothing.
Nothing. They'll happily eat junk non-stop. They'll wear a shirt for days if I don't intervene. They'll screen time until their eyeballs fall out and roll across the floor.
As parents we have a sacred responsibly to prepare these folks for life beyond elementary school.
To prepare them we're teaching them moderation through SETTING LIMITS.
No. You can not have candy. Here is a carrot stick.
No. You may not punch your brother when you are angry. Use words.
No. You may not sneak your tablet and play Minecraft in bed until 10pm. You are now grounded from your tablet for a week.
Allowing children free reign of ANYTHING teaches them not to moderate, but to over-indulge.
Instead, I'm teaching them to set proper limits by setting those limits for them until they gain proper cognitive ability to choose moderation themselves.
Left to their own devices (ha I'm so punny) they don't quit. They just stay glued. For.hours.
So heck yes I'll limit their screen to time, candy intake and general tendency to be gluttonous and slothful. It's my job to teach them what it feels like to constrain one's self. It's my job to help them recognize when enough is enough.
This way when they are 32, they can moderate themselves. Because their parents taught them HOW rather than just expecting that through some sort of miraculous conversion, they'll figure it out on their own.
I know limiting screens can be a battle. It's easier just to let them. Oh yes. I get it. By standing firm, we are showing our children how to use technology responsibly. Through our own example of putting the devices aside they learn to do as we DO as much as what we say.
We need more interaction, more playing outside and more moderation.
And less Mine Craft. Much less of that.
Sometimes you get THREE days into a new school year when you suddenly realize that you've made a terrible mistake.
Then you send out panicked texts to your husband, shoot off some emails, and three days later, you drop your three oldest kids of at your local elementary school.
I had been trying SO hard to make home schooling work. I completely changed our curriculum, made it all new and interesting.
I'd had niggling doubts for months. I just dismissed those doubts and pushed forward. I pushed. Much pushing.
But, Heavenly Father is wise. He knows I need very clear signs in order to not be stubborn.
So, He sent it, the sign I needed.
In the form of a soul-crushing revelation: I.can.not.do.this.
The baby was screaming, the school aged ones were arguing, the littles were begging for attention. Chaos. And I'm only one tiny person.
I know when I'm beat. And home schooling three at once with three others had me beat.
I quit. Right then. I was done. I kindly, gently let the kids know. Spencer cried. A lot. Henry was pretty sad, and Oliver, in true Oliver form, was thrilled.
Today was their first day. They came home happy. I guess that's a good start!
I'm not eternally linked to public school or home school. I always said I'd do what was best, even if that meant school. For now, that means school.
I thought I'd be heartbroken. I'm definitely sad. I love home school. But mostly, I'm relieved. It's going to be fine.
There is a great debate among my siblings and parents: to pet or not to pet.
Well. We here on Hagey hill obviously lean on the "keeping pets" side of things.
The general feeling of the anti-pet crowd is that pets are merely cute balls of future heartbreak.
Oh. Oh yes.
See, six years ago when we saw that silly, funny looking, overweight guy at the Pet Smart adoption day, I agreed to bring him home.
Jonah's story tugged at my heart. Two years he'd been waiting for a rescue, at nearly five years old, no one had ever even expressed interest in him.
I brought him home, but vowed to never love him.
Fond of him. Sure. I could do that.
But somewhere along the way, we got to know each other, and he was just the happiest guy. He literally smiled! It looked a bit scary, but he would grin. He was smart, and fat and an absolute pansy about the cold.
About a year ago we found a lump on his face. Cancer.
Being ten years old, the surgery costly, and far from a cure, the vet didn't suggest treating it.
Blessedly, until yesterday, he never really acted sick. He slowed, and struggled sometimes, but over all, Jonah kept smiling
Jonah died today.
We all cried for our friend. I told the kids through our tears, "It's good to be sad. It means we loved him."
It turns out, we loved him quite a lot. Somewhere, along the way, like an arranged marriage, we learned to love him.
Yes, pets are heartbreak in a fuzzy package.
And I wouldn't change a thing.