Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I have this new weird parenting strategy. I've just developed it as our seven year old daughter has started to get older. Let me tell you about her first, she is a gem. She's kind and her heart spills over with hospitality and warmth. She is funny and she's darn cute (missing her two front teeth right now makes her even more "cheek-pinchable"). She's pretty smart and sometimes she talks back to her mama. She likes to push limits at home, but outside of our house she's super-obedient-girl.

I learned this theory/strategy from a fellow parent so I won't claim it as my own, but I love it! And I'm here writing today to see if any of you want to join me in what I'm calling, Pull A Red Card, for simplicity we will name it PARC. I'm imposing PARC on my seven year old daughter, because, really, she needs it.

In her classroom her teacher has the good 'ol, tried and true, discipline system of Pulling Cards. (I realize right now I will tread into teacher politics and I may never secure a good teaching job after this, I'm going to be ok with this for right now). It's a system that works. I'm not really "out to get" the system. What I'm trying to do is get my child to PARC. Seriously. So, this is what the parenting strategy looks like:

Me to my Daughter: Girl, did you pull a card today?
A: No mom.
M: What? You should pull a card tomorrow!
A: Mom (blushing and looking slightly astonished)...NO, I don't need to!
M: Oh but honey, you should! It'll be crazy and off the wall and so out of your norm! Do it!
A: Mom, no, I'm working on getting stars for all the days I stay on a green card and then I get the treasure box.
M: Oh honey, I can give you cute puppy pencils and erasers that don't erase here at home. At school you should do something wild - let's brainstorm!
A: Brainstorm?
M: Yeah, let's think of ideas -- You could burp in class when it's quiet reading.
A: MOooooom...
M: Or what about blurting out an answer without raising your hand! Or even better, writing your name backwards at the top of your paper! Fall out of your seat on purpose to make everyone laugh! Ohhhh, or when the teacher blows her whistle, don't line up, just keep playing on the playground!
A: Mom, nooooo, Dylan* did that today and got in trouble!
M: Perfect! Then you should try that one and pull a red card!
A: No mom, I don't want to pull a red card!
M: But it will be fun and I will still love you! Let's brainstorm more ideas....

You get the picture. Right?
Then the very next day she comes home with a 14/14 on her spelling test and I'm perplexed, she barely even did she get a perfect score? Oh, well she missed two words but got two extra credit points and so now she has a perfect score. She's proud. And I'm perplexed. This situation takes me right back to my senior year - Calculus - up to this point I had a perfect 4.0, but AP Calculus was stumping me. So I think I had a B+. Not bad, but not the A I needed to be valedictorian. Not the A I wanted so that I could be proud of myself. Not the A that would help me see perfection. So....I went to my teacher and BEGGED for an extra credit project that I could do before the semester grades came out. And she gave it to me, and I did it, and I got the A. A=proud. A=valedictorian. A=perfect! A=college.

Except "A" does not equal college. I would have gotten accepted and scholarshiped had I had a 4.0 or a 3.99. Right? But it did make me feel like I was perfect. And that is dangerous.

So here's what I think - all parents, teachers, grandparents should also jump on board with PARC! Let's teach our kids that failing is OK. That when you don't hit the mark you want, you PARC and then you get back on the horse and try again. Let's teach our little ones that perfection is a lie and that you can never achieve it. That if they PARC a couple times a year, a month, a day, that is all the more room they have to get better. Let's help them see that if you get B's, or the occasional C, you will still get in to college! That to be humble and not good at N.O.R.M.A.L. Let's hold the standard at a place that's reasonable. Because some of them will over achieve, whether it's in their genes, or their mind or their gosh darn hearts, they will. But then let them know that whether they do or don't you won't be surprised when they one day PARC.

Alright, my spiel is over.
Now go encourage your kids to chew gum in class and talk loud in the library,
Ms. Simplicity

*Dylan is a changed protect his parents from getting mobbed when PARC goes wild on the internets

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

That Time I Was a Guest Blogger

You guys... maybe you saw it on Facebook, or maybe you didn't, but either way - it's true.

I was ACTUALLY a Guest Writer (<--- sounds professional, I know) on a blog!

My post is: HERE

The amazing creator of this blog is a friend from college. Cara, is a real-live speaker, blogger, mom. And she is doing this awesome series called - "...nothing, in fact, is small." - les mis -- You know, the famous opera.

All of this WAY awesome/professional stuff is a little foreign to me, but she posted my writing!!

You gotta check it out.

And while you are there, just follow her blog, she posts tons of great readings on books, life, being a mom, guest writings every Tuesday and more!!

She also has a FB page - Be. Mama. Be. Go 'like' it, it does not disappoint.

Thanks friends!!
Ms. Simplicity

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I'm not really sure if I'm a great blogger or not... mostly because I'm not very consistent. But guess what? Today I was looking through some blogs that I wrote but didn't post and I found this one. And I love it. When I read it, I think, "Maybe, when I grow up, I can be a good blogger." So, anyway, I'm going to post it. I'm not sure exactly when I wrote this because we have had a lot of change in the past few months, but who cares?!? I think I'm kind of on the "other side" of this blog and that feels good - like the 6 of us took this change like a champ and we are, for sure, gonna make it. So, enjoy! I did.



verb \ˈchānj\
: to become different
: to make (someone or something) different
: to become something else

It's funny how things change. Sometimes change is fast. And sometimes it's slow. Often change is something unplanned and sometimes you plan to change forever. Sometimes change makes you different and sometimes it feels like everything is the same, even though you know the change happened. It can be hard, it can be easy. Change.

Lots of things are happening in our life right now and lots of things are going to change. In fact, the changes are already occurring. Which is kind of weird, really, if you think about it. One day you just get some new piece of information and then everything starts to change. Some of it is in slow, small steps, and some of it is in giant leaps.

Our family is like a turtle and a kangaroo all at once. We're like a turtaroo. And honestly, I identify better with the Kangaroo. Let's just jump, big ol' feet first, into the change and GO WITH IT... the baby steps drive me insane, l i t e r a l l y. And yet, for the greater good, we take the steps, slow and steady and pray with each one that when the giant leap comes.. all of us jump.

That's the hardest thing for me, with change. You can't really guarantee how everyone is going to respond. (Read: I'm completely out of control) I can hope! I can pray! I can respond how I want others to respond, but really, they get to decide what they will do with this thing called change. Ugh. That's hard. If you are a mom, you get this, right? You want to pick what's best for the family, what's going to be awesome for the team, you want to pick THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE, for each little precious child. But change kinda comes like a train - you throw everyone on and hope they fall in love with wherever you're going. And honestly, that feels like a crap shoot to me! Ugh. Again.

So there's my real heart ... all written up there. It's messy right now. I'm unsure of the changes. I waver, I go back and forth (I warned you it was literally driving me insane)...and yet I know we will find peace. Just like when we moved to Spokane - that move was a bit more kangaroo-ish and these next steps are a bit more it's different but I'm waiting and I'm hopeful that the peace will come.


That's it. And peace did come, it's here, and I'll relish it in until we feel the winds of change again.
Ms. Simplicity

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Insight into a Mom's Mind

I haven't blogged in awhile - and "why" is for another blog...
I have a hilarious story to share today that I want to remember forever!

Here's the deal - I'm gonna be bold and say, that if you are a mom, you've probably felt the same way as I am about to describe. I'm not saying I think it's right or wrong...just normal, I guess. Hilariously normal.

Last Thursday we had to take Ben to work, the van needed a checkup, and so we all got up extra early to get the van dropped off and Ben to work by 6:45am. I also was helping at a fundraiser for our MOPS group and so after an extra long morning, I came home, hurried to get Titus lunch and really wanted to get him down for a nap. And then my cell phone started to ring. It was the kid' school so of course I answered it; in the back of my mind feeling a bit of curiosity. The school nurse was on the other end of the line. She quickly began to explain that Nathan wasn't feeling well. That his teacher had sent him to her because he had been to the bathroom several times. The nurse told me that after further inquiry he said he had been to the bathroom 13 times that morning. She was very nice but slightly 'irritated', perhaps because sending a kid to school with diarrhea is not really awesome. She said that I should come to the school and get him.

Right now, since we moved but the kids are still going to their old school, it's a bit of a trek to the old school. 15 miles or so. So, I packed up Titus with his "lovey-caterpillar" and ""bina" (yes, he stills uses a binky and yes that is for another blog, or not)...anyway, we got in the car and started the drive.

I immediately began thinking...ok Nathan seemed fine this morning so did I miss something? I mean maybe I missed a fever, we were in the car very early and maybe he just didn't have time to explain he wasn't feeling well. Maybe it was the McDonald's that we ate in the rush to get everyone something to eat before getting Ben to school. McDonald's is so unhealthy. Why didn't I think of packing breakfast and bringing something healthy from home? Weird... no one else is sick and we all ate the same breakfast. Or maybe everyone is going to get sick and Nate is starting the chain. Could Sausage Egg McMuffins not be fully cooked? Why did I make him finish that last bite? He probably knew it wasn't cooked right. Why didn't I notice that he wasn't feeling well? It probably wasn't the McDonald's, it is probably that we aren't eating very well at home. We should eat more whole foods. I mean when was the last time we ate vegetables? Oh man, last night we had pizza, maybe it was the pizza that made his stomach upset. What if he is gluten intolerant? He had a sandwich after school yesterday, maybe he can't tolerate wheat. How come I didn't notice this before? Why didn't I think of getting the kids salads last night? Oh no, he also drank pop last night, I wonder if he really just can't handle the caffeine in Barq's Root Beer. Can caffeine mess up your digestive system? YES! AND I let him drink a sip of my coffee this morning. It tasted so gross to me (note to self: just get OJ with McD's bfast) and he wanted to see what it tasted like. I shouldn't have let him take that drink. Maybe it was bad, or maybe even a little sip could have upset his stomach. How could I have missed this? Could he tell I was stressed this morning and he didn't want to stress me more by telling me he was sick? He was in the front seat though and we were talking and laughing, did I miss feeling the fever when I kissed his forehead as he got out of the van to get on the bus? What are we going to do? When can I go to the store to get more fruits and vegetables?

I arrived at the school. Titus was asleep in the car so I left him there and ran in. I told the secretary that I was there to pick up Nathan. She went back to the nurse who told her that she had sent him back to Mrs. D's class, could she page him to come out? So the secretary called him out of Mrs. M's class because that's what class I had said. Uh oh....fuzzy details for the nurse and secretary started to become clearer and clearer... the nurse came out with her jaw on. the. floor. I walked over to the window. The nurse said, "I can't believe this...I called the wrong mom." I started to laugh right as Nathan (and Caleb, so sweet) walks up and pats my arm, "Hi mom, why are you here?" I joked with the nurse that she owed me some gas money ;) and then sighed with relief and went back out to my car.

I just sat there for a minute wondering if what just happened was real. I just worked myself up into a fit about how unhealthy we are and what a bad mom I was for missing all the signs of sickness. And then it was all....just false. Just silly worrying. I wasted an entire car ride worrying. 20 minutes of working myself up about something that turned out to be 100% untrue. Nathan was fine, McDonald's breakfast was fine. Pizza last night for dad's football fundraiser - fine. Pop and coffee - fine. Nathan was f-i-n-e. Why did I waste my time with worry. Even if he HAD been sick, would my worry have helped? No. Absolutely no. Would whole foods and more vegetables and a packed breakfast had helped if he HAD been sick - maybe, a little, but really, nominal.

It surely was a wake up call for me. Worrying does not help a situation. It is simply A WASTE of MY TIME and my BRAIN SPACE. I beat myself up over the smallest details and I don't think anyone else on the planet would actually talk to me the way I talk to myself. Sad. Hysterical and sad. And I think we all do it. So normal. For me, it's gonna stop. It has to stop. I don't want my kids to do this to themselves and so I want to be an example of NOT doing it. Not worrying. Not working myself up over small, uncontrollable things. Rather, making my mind think about truth. Excellence. Pure thoughts. Thoughts that when they spill out they bring joy to me and to others around me.

It's probably impossible to do that all the time. But I'm up for a challenge like that. Something that is impossible to do on my own.

Wake up Crystal. And go get some McDonald's.

Until next time ~