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Freshman Year: The Dorm

dorm, freshman year
Freshman Year: The Dorm

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The time has come!  Your baby is going to college.  You have a freshman!

Last year, I went through the same thing, totally uncertain of what was to come.  I took a week of vacation just to move my daughter into college for her freshman year.

 

You, like me, will be just fine.  Your freshman, just like mine, will be just fine.  

Just breathe!

I know you have a tremendous amount of things to do.  It will all get done.  Let’s start with the easy stuff first: 

the dorm.

 

BEDDING

Bedding is the most important thing you will need to ensure your freshman has.  Most dorms have twin beds; however, you should contact the college’s housing department to verify the size of bedding your freshman will need. 

Depending on your budget, your freshman will need the minimum:

·       Sheets and Pillowcases

·       Pillow

·       Comforter or Bedspread

There are tons of choices.  Check out these awesome deals below:

 

Other items you may want for your freshman, include:

·       Decorative Pillows

·       Extra Pillows

·       Mattress Cover

·       Throws

DÉCOR

Your freshman will want to have some type of décor for the walls and his or her desk.  What you buy and do depends on your freshman’s preferences.   This is your child’s first time away from home, so he or she will need help with organization in order to help things run more smoothly freshman year. 

Décor can be grouped into the following:

·       Wall Décor

·       Desk Décor

·       Floor Décor

 

For the wall, you may buy tons of different things.  My daughter loves tapestries like these:

 

She also took an old picture frame with wires attached across and added pictures from home, using clothespins.  She then hung up white lights across the frame.  One trip to visit, I gave her a canvas with a quote on it. Just an FYI, you will most likely need Command Strips, as the dorms will not want you to nail nails into the walls.  Command Strips do not damage the wall.  Inspiration and a touch of home are important in the décor.  Depending on your child, you will add as much or as little as your freshman wants.  Everyone is different.

 

For the desk, you will want to ensure there is something to keep items organized.  What you use then depends on a few factors, such as major, hobbies, and other interests.  Examples of organizational tools include baskets and shelves.  You can find some really excellent deals on these, such as in the items below:

 

 

 Your freshman would benefit from the following on the desk:

·       Lamp

·       Pencil Holder of Sorts

·       Alarm Clock

·       Waste Basket

Now, on to the floor décor.  Some beds are rather high, so it would help to have a stepstool or even a simple ottoman. Most dorm floors are cement, so a rug for the floor in front of the bed is nice for those cool early mornings. 

 

BATHROOM DÉCOR and OTHER ITEMS

Your freshman will have roommates, so this is best to be a joint decision.  For the bathroom, the following items will be ideal:

·       Floor Rugs

·       Shower Curtain with Rings

·       Toilet Brush

·       Plunger—and make sure they know how to use it

·       Waste Basket

·       Shower Caddy

Here are some excellent deals for some of these items:

 

 

HYGIENE and OTHER ITEMS

Finally, here are some other ideas of items that your freshman will need:

·       Cleaning items, such as sponges, rags, and cleaner

·       Bath items, such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razors, deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, etc.

·       Health items, such as vitamins and essential oils

·       Medicine, such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, Motrin, Midol, Aleve, Benadryl, Zyrtec, Pepto Bismol, antacid, and any prescription medications

·       First aid items, such as band-aids, Neosporin, Benadryl itch cream, etc.

 

Hopefully, these lists will help you on your way to seeing off your freshman to college.  Before you know it, you will be just like me, preparing your Sophomore for a new year of college.  Just breathe and enjoy every second.  Your freshman will come home in winter break an adult.

 

Until next time,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

http://songofsapelosunset.com

Toasting to 45 Years and a Future of Amazing Changes

changes, healthy living
Toasting to 45 years and the future

It has been a while!  Life threw me some definite curve balls the past few months, and I have had to take quite a few steps back, regroup, and plan for the future.  This week I met a milestone, celebrating my 45th birthday!  My family took me to dinner this weekend and to an awesome vineyard–12 Spies Vineyard–in the north Georgia mountains.

weight loss, healthy lifestyle, motherhood
Toasting to 45 Years and a Future of Changes

If you are ever in the area, try out the 12 Spies Vineyard.  Their Muscadine Wine is absolutely amazing! Add a cheese tray and the beautiful mountain scenery on the veranda, and you have a relaxing, tranquil afternoon!

 

The past few months have given me much to ponder.  Challenge has been the theme.  Loss of a job and work family, amazing new job full of awesome opportunities and a new work family, death of my stepfather, birth of my second grandbaby, my mother’s depression and illnesses after losing her second husband, my son’s wrestling injury (first injury ever), my son totaling his first car (no injuries there, praise the Lord), my college daughter’s return home for summer, running a concession stand every evening after work, planning summer vacation, college prep for my son, and the list goes on.  I have barely had time to breathe!

In the midst of all of this, my health has declined.  A couple of weeks ago I spent a week with my mom, trying to nurse her back to good health.  Now, I have known that I have gained some weight.  So, when I saw the scales in Mama’s kitchen, I just had to jump on them.  They must be broken!  For sure!  194 pounds….There is no way in this universe.  I stepped off the scales, and then I stepped back on them. Same results.  My stomach had begun to feel crammed up into my chest almost, a rather weird feeling.  I was not well.  Broken scale or not.  I had to make some changes…and pronto!

Thursday of that week, I went to the YMCA near my new job and signed up for a membership.  I began my workout the next afternoon.  Right before the workout, I weighed in on the gym scales.  Well, dang!  194 pounds AGAIN!  They are broken by the same amount as Mama’s scales.  NOT!  My butt has gotten fat as heck!  That is the only way to put it!  I never even weighed that much during a full term pregnancy!  How embarrassing!

All of this together pushed me to not only exercise but to diet as well.  My goal?  To shed 50 pounds and greatly improve my health.  My husband is joining me on this journey.  Although this has been my birthday week, and I have cheated just a little, I have dropped a few pounds already.

How am I doing this?  I drink a fresh fruit smoothie as breakfast every morning.  I do indulge in a cup of coffee as well.  All I have until lunch is water with lime or lemon.  For lunch, I alternate.  One day I juice, and the next day I eat a meal, but nothing fried and no grains.  On the days that I juice for lunch, I eat a regular meal for dinner, but only grilled items.

This week, we will shake the routine up a little:

  • Breakfast–Smoothie
  • Lunch–Salad or other healthy meal
  • Dinner–Juice or Smoothie, primarily green smoothies or juices

In this way, both my husband and I are on the diet and on the journey to better health for our entire family.  My health, although this has only been one week, has begun to get better.  My body can definitely tell the difference.

I have spent the past few years thinking that I had to do everything and could not take time for myself.  That is now catching up with me, and it is time, at 45, for a change!  My grandsons, my children, and my husband need me to be healthy!

Join me on this new journey into losing this weight in a healthy way, while still caring for my family.  A good mother also takes care of herself!

Here is a before picture taken just yesterday at the 12 Spies Vineyard, during my birthday celebration.

weight loss journey, healthy lifestyle
Before picture

 

Of course, I am the one on the right!  If only I was my daughter’s size!  Let’s start this journey!  Anyone else want to join, please come along!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

Breaking Free from the Chains of Abuse

break free from abuse

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Abuse does not care if you are black or white, a native or an immigrant.

 

Abuse does not care if you are a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, or Jew.

abuse no discrimination
Abuse does not discriminate.

 

Abuse does not care if you live in a run-down trailer park, an apartment, or a mansion.

 

Abuse does not care if you finished high school or college.

 

Abuse does not care if you are rich or poor.

 

Many years ago, my children and I were abused. 

abuse robs
Abuse robbed us.

  We were the victims of an abuse so terrible.  It wrecked our lives and tore us apart for many years.  It robbed us of many years of happiness and true love. It robbed us of years of precious memories together.  It robbed us of peace.   

However, we never lost hope!

hope
We never lost hope!




We defied the statistics! 

We regained our lives together. 

We rebuilt our lives together.

We have made new, precious memories together.

We are building amazing futures together.

  My oldest son, who never had a true father figure to love him unconditionally during his childhood, is the MOST AMAZING father! My daughter became an AMAZING artist, studying in a prestigious art school! My baby boy is an accomplished athlete, taking strides toward being a college athlete.  I, who lost the career I so dearly loved, built a new career that I love even more!  And finally found a true love, who loves both my children and me unconditionally.

 

There is someone reading this who needs help. 

help from abuse
Someone needs help escaping an abusive relationship.

Mom, YOU TOO can defeat the abuse!

For EVERY problem, there is ALWAYS a solution. 

I know it seems like you will never find a way out.  You WILL!  It may be a difficult road.  Mom, save yourself some time, and take your children and find help.

  LEAVE, and never look back! 

problem solving, hope
For every problem there’s a solution.

 

There are so many organizations and people who will help you. 

Mom, you have a choice! 

Choose to help your kids and yourself. 

In the end, you will see it is for the best.

You CAN break the chains of abuse!

freedom from abuse
Break free from the chains of abuse!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

If you are interested in creating a blog like this one, I highly recommend using BlueHost for your hosting. They are awesome!



My Son, the Athlete, Begins His College Search: How Wrestling has Taught Him Determination, Motivation, Tenacity, and Honor

College athlete
My son, an accomplished wrestler, begins his college search.

Please note that this page may include affiliate links, which if you click on them and purchase a product, I will receive a commission.  I only provide links for products I truly believe in.

I cannot believe these words are actually coming out of my mouth!  It seems like only yesterday he was born.  This is my baby boy…my baby.

It seems like only yesterday we were in this park, enjoying the simplest things in life.

 

 

My baby is not such a baby anymore.  He will always be my baby though!  Abe…that’s my baby.  For my kids, skipping college has never been an option.  College is viewed as a normal stop in their futures–rather, present for Sarah, my daughter.

 

Years ago, I began goal-setting with the kids, in relation to their close future and distant future.  Naturally, they came up with some silly ideas at first.  As time passed–or rather, flew!–, the ideas matured as the kids did.  In middle school, Abe found his passion:  wrestling.

He actually won several matches his first year.  I will never forget the first time he slammed a kid.  I had videoed him, and after watching the video maybe the 5th time, Abe said, “Now that’s John Cena style!”  For those of you who don’t know John Cena, he is a professional wrestler for the WWE.  This excited him so much that he fell in love with the sport!  We had only signed him up to help him in football.  This was in 7th grade.


As Abe entered the 8th grade, he began wrestling year round, wrestling Olympic styles, Freestyle and Greco, during the spring and eventually summer.  By his freshman year in high school, Abe was competing in national tournaments every summer, travelling to Pennsylvania and North Dakota.

tenacity, motivation, determination
From his freshman year in high school, Abe began wrestling in national tournaments every summer.

And each year before a season begins, he now sets his goal for that season.  His freshman year his goal was to go to state with his high school team.  He did!  That summer he worked so hard training with the nationals team, preparing for Fargo and preparing for the next school season.

Abe began to meet wrestlers from all over the state and the country and became friends with many.  The year before Abe began wrestling at our high school, we lost one of our own.  Matt Walters, an amazing athlete, student, friend, and son, was killed in an auto accident not too far from his home.  Our team honors Matt in many ways.  One is in a shirt that says, “Walk Like Walters.”

Honor
Abe honors fallen wrestler, Matt Walters, in Atlanta as he competes for the Southeast Regional title.

When I looked at Abe’s back and realized what he had on, I beamed with pride at the honor Abe showed in such a special place.  Matt never had this opportunity.  Abe takes his memories with him around the country.

Sophomore year Abe set a goal of placing at state; he placed 4th in the state, with a strong record.  This was not good enough for Abe.  He trained hard for nationals again and came home with a winning record…finally.

Junior year, his goal was to win state.

My baby was in the state finals!

Determination
Abe, walking out onto the mat of the Macon Coliseum, for the state finals.

He made it to the finals, but the title was not to be his this year.  He was unhappy for the loss.

Tenacity
Abe, on the podium, accepting the honor of state runner-up.

This was a blow for Abe.

Before he was all about wrestling in college. 

His tune changed.  Upset about failure, he considered giving up his dreams….just for a moment.  When I began making appointments for college visits for him, he returned back to normal, ready to fight again.  His training began almost instantly.  He watched the finals’ video, analyzing exactly what he had done wrong….what edge he had allowed the kid to have over him.  He vowed to never let that be the reason he lost again.

About a week ago, I had Abe attend a preview day at our local college.  He spent time with college wrestlers and other college kids; he regained his confidence.  He is now excited about his first visit to a Division 1 university.

Abe is an average student.  He is much smarter than his grades show.  He is an awesome test-taker.  Above all, he is an accomplished athlete.  Wrestling has not overshadowed Abe’s education.  Rather, it has developed the best of character in a young man.  Character of

HONOR

MOTIVATION

TENACITY

DETERMINATION.

This character will guide Abe to success, for he will never give up.

He believes he can do anything!  And he will!

Determination
Dream big, set goals, and take action!

This weekend is the next road on the journey to his dreams.  This is the action part.  Let’s do this, son!

Motivation
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

*This blog is dedicated to Matt Walters, who now rides on the wings of angels.  Matt, who never had the opportunities Abe has had.  We will always remember and honor Matt and thank the Lord for allowing us a new opportunity each day.  If only we all lived like we were dying!*

On a final note, when Abe was a very young boy–maybe 4 years old–his favorite song to sing on the way to school every day was “Live Like You Were Dying.”  He doesn’t remember that, but I do .  He does live life in that way….still!

More to come after the visit….

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

 

 


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Staying Positive in the Most Difficult Situation

The past month has been a total bummer, to say the least…

 

A simple way to stay positive even in the most difficult situations

 

Please note that this page may include affiliate links, which if you click on them and purchase a product, I will receive a commission.  I only provide links for products I truly believe in.

Over a year ago, I found my dream job in a vegetable plant.  It was the perfect combination of management, business, and training.  I worked with an amazing team, as a team.  We defied the odds together, moving a mountain in a plant that had a massive listeria recall 2 years prior.  As a team, we moved that mountain! 

Anyone who’s worked in or visited a manufacturing facility would be shocked to hear that when you walked through this plant, all the employees were working hard and doing so with smiles on their faces. 




 

 

Last Thursday, all smiles were wiped away, and the tears rolled, as our company was sold, and the plant was shut down for good.  In the blink of an eye, we all lost our jobs and benefits.  I have struggled to stay positive over the weekend, as I lost a very dear family, my work family.  This morning, my husband asked me what I would do for the day.  My answer: “I don’t know.”  Weird, coming from someone is so busy she’s spinning in motion! 

 

 Anyone who knows me well knows that’s not me.  I’m a bulldog! I don’t stand down.  Life has taught me to pop back up and get better than before.  (that’s for another blog, another day.) 

 

So, I LOVE to-do lists!  And on my to-do list for the past month has been to transfer addresses into a little address book from a mixture of envelopes and loose papers.  As I looked for a book this morning on my desk, I spotted the address book, and said, “Why not!”  In the middle of the papers, I found a sweet birthday card from a dear friend, and it read:

“Each day holds its own wonder to discover.”

wonder card

I immediately thought, “This is a sign!”  Then, “Wonder what today’s wonder will be!”  Amidst all this pain, depression, and sadness, I remembered how I once stayed positive in a most difficult position.  A dear friend and I would ask each other, as well as others around us, to name 3 positive things that have happened so far that day. 

 

Friends, sometimes wonder is in the simplicity of things.  For example, three positives from my day thus far are:

1.   Ate lunch with my best friend and had awesome conversation!

2.  Giggled as I watched the neighbor’s baby goats frolicking in the pasture. 

baby goats.JPGGiggled even more when the Mama goat came up to my face to say Hello!

 

 

mama goat.JPG

3.  Found an amazing Virtual Assistant Course I will complete this week!  Yesterday morning I found a Pinterest pin about this and just knew I had found something special. 

 

Nothing happens by chance.  Everything happens exactly when and where it is supposed to happen!  Today has been a wonderful day! 

Now, you try it!  Name three positive things that have happened to you today. 

Have a blessed, wonder-filled day!

 

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset


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Me-Time for the All-Around Mom

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Life of an all-around mom leaves little room for free time. 

Running from practice to practice, game to game.

College move in day.

FAFSA.

Scholarship applications.

College visits.

Athletic recruitment.

Sports fundraising.

Athletic banquets.

The list goes on and on……

Amidst the chaos, it is important to make time for yourself.

Easier said than done!

You will be amazed at what 15 minutes—not long at all—of self-time can do for your soul!




3 SIMPLE IDEAS FOR ME-TIME

  • Take a short walk in your local park. The whistling of the birds is soothing to the soul.  Use this time as exercise or reflection time or simply self-time or a combination of these.

take a walk.png

  • Take a hot bath. The past months of my life have been especially trying and busy.  However, almost daily I come home and run a hot bath just to have 15-30 minutes to zone out alone.  I usually add ¼ cup of Epsom Salt and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to my bath.    This combination draws out toxins and aids in relaxation.
    This combination draws out toxins and aid in relaxation. Often I light a candle. I always take this time to read a book. That is my escape!

 

bath and book.png

 

  • Have a Netflix marathon! I caught myself doing this about 2 weeks ago, watching 15 episodes in a row of Lost.

 



The key is to do something that doesn’t require your brain to think too deeply. And to do something for YOU! Your kids need you to be strong and on top of the world for them. That means you must take care of you! Grab that self-time every chance you can get it. It will only make you a better mom!

All the best,
Christy
Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

If you are interested in creating a blog like this one, I highly recommend using BlueHost for your hosting. They are awesome!



Instilling a Never Give Up Attitude in Your Teen: 3 Successful Tips

 

Teens, tenacity, steadfastness
Instilling a Never Give Up Attitude in Your Teen: 3 Successful Tips
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When you hit a brick wall every corner you turn, giving up is the easy way out.  Now, if parents, the adults, feel this way, imagine how teens feel when they are faced with what appears to be insurmountable mountains!

My favorite quote of all times is

“Never give up!”


by Winston Churchill.  This is my mantra!  When I was a little girl, my family’s home burned to the ground.  We lost everything we owned.  I remember nothing of this except when we moved into a mobile home while my Daddy began building our new home.  I only know the sadness from stories from my family.  What I remember, however, is how my family stuck together and built a home from the ground up.  I remember perseverance, steadfastness, tenacity.  I remember strength and hope as we built our home little by little.  Over forty years later, this is what I still remember…strength and hope.

This strength and hope that my parents instilled in me during such a difficult time provided me with one of the most important tools for my life. Some call it tenacity, others calls it perseverance, and yet others call it steadfastness.   All three words mean the same thing:  Never give up!

From this experience and those with my own children, I have surmised 3 successful tips for instilling a never give up attitude in children:

 

love

1.     Love your child with all your heart…no matter his age.

Teens often don’t make that easy to do.  When I was a teen, I was a spoiled brat.  There is 9 years between my next oldest sibling and me.  My parents tried for 9 years to have me, so to say I was spoiled is an understatement.  Remember though, my family lost everything in the fire, so they did not have material things to spoil with.  Rather they spoiled me with an immense amount of love.

Mama did the majority of the spoiling.  Daddy, on the other hand, was the “bad guy.”  I remember thinking that he didn’t love me.  Why?  Because he wouldn’t let me have my way.  However, in the end of Daddy’s life, I realized he loved me more than anyone in this life.  You see, amidst a horrific and violent marriage, I pushed my parents away.  This lasted for almost a decade.

Daddy NEVER gave up on me!

He prayed and kept trying to get me to talk to him.  I was terrified of my now ex-husband.  How dare I disobey him; now, that’s a story for another time.  I will never forget calling my Daddy collect for the first time in years and hearing his sweet voice on the phone, accepting my call.  He knew I would call.  He had faith in God and in me.  He had faith in the love he had truly shown me.  He never gave up.  And for him, I will never give up.

hope

2.    Give your child hope.

What is more depressing than thinking there is no hope?  A sense of hopelessness can drown an innocent victim.

The college entrance experience was a challenging time for my daughter.  First, she was terrified she wouldn’t be accepted. She wanted to go to SCAD.  She wanted to pursue her passion: Art.  And SCAD was where she wanted to do so.  I continued to ensure her that she would get accepted.  Sarah had the most well-rounded resume for a high school student.  My head spun helping her get her resume together, and I thought I was a busy student.  Sarah was the ultimate juggler.  She still is!

Next came the financial aid struggle.  We worked hours and hours, night after night, on scholarships and other financial aid.  It was a close call, from which we learned many lessons, but her first year was covered.  I remember celebrating that night!  Together, we never gave up, and together we celebrated.

Hope fuels success!

example

3.    Live by example.

In other words, practice what you preach!

You are your child’s first example!

If your teen sees that you give up every time you feel pressure, they will see no reason to persevere.  This fuels low self-esteem.

As a former math teacher, I firmly believe there is a solution to EVERY problem.  The key is when you first don’t succeed, try another way to skin the same cat.  There is always more than one true method to solve a problem.  Live by this in your own life.  Like my Daddy, when our home burned down, he rebuilt, and he built a beautiful home in which our family created the most beautiful of memories.  He made lemonade out of lemons and showed all his children how to rise above the highest mountains.

My kids have truly gone through some difficulties and statistics would dictate they should be failures.  However, they are the most amazing kids!  Not because they are mine.  No!  Because they have been truly resilient and risen above the odds stacked against them.

Children who don’t have this type of positive influence in their lives often become statistics, whether it be from drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, prostitution, suicide, etc.

I know teens are often difficult to love.

Believe me!  My daughter truly challenged me.  This doesn’t mean you give up on loving them as their parent.  It just means you have to get a little bit creative with how you love them!

Love, hope, and example grow a well-rounded, steadfast individual.  They instill perseverance, tenacity, steadfastness…tools that will help one survive the worst catastrophes.

May we all persevere and be steadfast!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Goal Setting with Teens: 5 Principles & 5 Aspects to Preparing for a Bright Future

Goal Setting with Teens.png

***Please note this page contains affiliate links, which means I receive commission if you make a purchase using the links.***

In my last blog, “Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens…and Still Love Them,” one tip was goal setting.

Goal setting is a lifelong skill that will guide your child through the darkest of situations.

Goals give hope.  Goals give light at the end of that deep, dark tunnel.  Goals give focus.  Goals motivate and inspire.  Goals achieve results.

Our children will one day be on their own…if they are not already.  When they are, they need to have the tool of goal setting in their “toolbelts.”  Dr. Edwin Locke, an American psychologist and pioneer in goal-setting theory, and his research partner, Dr. Gary Latham, surmised 5 principles for setting goals:

  1. Clarity
  2. Challenge
  3. Commitment
  4. Feedback
  5. Task complexity

CLARITY

clarity-goal

Help your teen set clear, attainable goals.  Everyone needs to see positive results.  Have your teen write down his goals.  Putting it in writing helps make it clearer.

CHALLENGE

Challenge-goals

Help your teen set goals that will challenge him….ones that will make him reach for his full potential.  Challenge involves risk.  A small amount of risk is healthy.  Risk and challenge involve uncertainty, and this can be alarming to a teen. Help him to set challenging goals and follow through to the end result so that he can see the awesome benefits of meeting the challenging goal.

COMMITMENT

COMMITMENT-GOALS

Help your child set goals and stay committed to them.  Never give up.  There is always a way, under, or around, or through.  Sometimes the challenging road to success is littered with potholes and detours, but commitment shows true grit, especially as the goals become more challenging.  Teach your teen to never give up!

FEEDBACK

FEEDBACK-GOALSConstructive criticism is a tough bullet for some people to bite.  Teach your teen how to look at the “man in the mirror” and make true assessments of their current situation.  Have they reached their goal?  If the goal has not been met, what are issues standing in the way, and what are steps to take to successfully meet the goal this time?  Teach him how to accept the feedback of others and how to use this as a gauge of genuine success or failure.

TASK COMPLEXITYTASKCOMPLEXITY--GOALS

Ensure your teen has adequate time to complete complex tasks and meet his goal.  If stress or frustration arise, sit down with your teen, and take an inventory of the current situation, analyzing where things went wrong and determining how to fix these issues.  If necessary, especially in the beginning, break up more complex tasks into smaller chunks so that your teen sees and feels some success along the way.  What is more frustrating than feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in a million directions!

 

SMART Goals

Locke also coined the idea of SMART goals.

S—Specific

M—Measurable

A—Attainable

R—Relevant

T—Time-bound


Have your teen honestly ask himself the following questions regarding the goal:

  1. Is the goal specific?
  2. Is the goal measurable?
  3. Is this goal attainable?
  4. Is this goal relevant in his life?
  5. Are the time constraints for this goal realistic?

Begin with baby steps, even in middle school, especially in middle school, and gradually increase the levels of goals you help your teen set.  In the end, your child, his future wife, his future boss, his future children, etc., will all thank you for teaching him effective goal setting strategy.  Goal setting leads to great success in all areas of life.  While you’re at it, what are your goals for the next 6 months?  The next year?  The next 5 years? The next decade?  You are never too old to set goals.  Reach for the sky!

 

All the best as we reach for our goals,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens..and Still Love Them

What happened to my baby

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One precious day you hold your beautiful, sweet baby.  It seems like just a few days down the road, and this sweet baby is gone.  He doesn’t want you to talk to him and really doesn’t want to be in the same room with you.  Every now and again, you see a faint hint of that sweet baby boy when he has faced disappointment and really needs you.  The next thing you know it’s Jekyll and Hyde, and he’s back to being the monster who invaded your home. 

Why, you ask, is my baby acting like this?  What did I do wrong? 

Short answer:  your baby is going through the greatest growth spurt in his life since infancy.  However, this time it is not just physical growth.  He is growing at an extremely quick rate in the following areas as well:  emotional, social, and intellectual.  This is what makes teens “weird;” they struggle with dealing with all of these changes that are lumped onto them at one time. It’s easy for you to see the physical changes.  These other changes, however, are of the mind and therefore abstract to the human eye.

Pull up your granny panties, mom, for this will be a struggle for a few years!

Here are some solid tips to make your life easier during this years and to make it easier to love your baby, as you raise your teen:

1.         Goal Setting—

Teach your child to set goals.  Part of intellectual growth during the teen years is the deeper development of abstract thought.  Laymen’s terms…they have the ability to think deeper…farther beyond today.   Often, their selfishness makes it appear they cannot.  Try them out. 

I remember when my son and daughter were in middle school.  One day we were in the car, and they were arguing.  I made them each stop and write down their goals for life.  For them, at that moment, it was a competition.  However, they really thought this out.  Naturally, some of their goals were silly; that’s par for the course with teens, especially younger teens.  However, this beginning conversation on goals set the stage for these two to set attainable goals in the future.  It focused their energy on something positive!  And it has given them a life skill that will make them successful adults.

2.       Talks—

When your teen is acting like a monster, it makes them hard to be around.  However, this is that same sweet baby who learned to walk, talk, potty, read, ride a bike….  They just have bigger problems.  This is where the emotional comes into play.  This is when they need you to really listen and offer tidbits of advice.

The big “P”, puberty, comes into the lives of teens and often creates chaos in their lives.  I’m in my 40’s and still have emotional issues during that time of the month.   This emotional change in teens is confusing to them and often makes them irrational.  I can usually tell when my daughter is about to start.  Same old classic symptoms.  And boys aren’t immune to these changes.  Life, though, has taught boys to be macho, and when they feel emotions creep up, it is often hard for them to handle it. 

Offering tidbits of advice is not a lecture.  Have you ever sat in a college lecture?  After some point in time, the words can blur together.  Same goes with lectures with a teen.  Give them tidbits…just enough to sink in.  Talk to them, but most of all, listen to them.  Don’t get so busy in your life that you aren’t listening to your teens. I know they are difficult to be around, but listen to them.

3.       Encouragement—

Part of life is risk-taking.   You only want to see your teen taking part in positive risks.  Believe me, there are more negative risks than you know out there for our teens, risks that we don’t even see and cannot fathom.  The digital age has created these.

Encourage your teen to be brave and take positive risks to better himself.  Currently, my son, a junior in high school, is going through the college search.  He is an extremely accomplished wrestler, competing year-round.  However, he shows signs of fear of his college career.  I helped him get in touch with several college wrestling coaches, showing him that he is doing the work, and can do this.  Sometimes, although a teen has deeper intellectual thought, you have to put things in front of them.  My mother-in-law used to say, “put your finger on it.”  Same idea.  Now, he is studying for the SAT, preparing for college visits, looking at pros and cons of different colleges. 

Remember, in a short time, your teen will be an adult.  Encouragement of an adult is much different than that of a small child.  Same goes for a teen.  It’s not about lollipops and stickers.  Although every now and again a Dr. Pepper helps my boy.  The encouragement holds different forms at this age.

4.       Consistency—

Have you ever gotten so busy at work and with life that you don’t make time for the simple things?  Teens, just like infants, toddlers, and small kids, need consistency.  Heck, adults do too!  Not all things in life need to be planned.  Spontaneity can be an awesome thing!  How you love your teen, how you talk with and encourage your teen, and how you groom them into awesome adults must be consistent. 

In our home, a rule is a rule.  And rules must be obeyed.  Reality….everyone has rules to follow.  Even the boss has to follow federal and state laws.  Same goes for teens.  Don’t set rules that you are unwilling to enforce.  Be consistent with all your kids.  If one has chores, all should have chores.  If one pays for a car, the others should as well.  You are the first example to your teen of how parents should be.  Lead your teen, who will be, before you know it, an adult, a spouse, and a parent. 

No matter how tough the road gets, stick to these tips with your teen, and in the end, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Remember, your teen can do lots of things now, but he is not an adult yet, and still needs you!  Don’t let him down!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

 

 

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6 Tools to Help Your College Child Thrive

 

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My oldest son has been married and has lived in New England for years, but this year I lost another child to adulthood.  This has definitely grayed my hair more, as it was my daughter growing up and moving out.  Daughters are just different.  Transitioning from being the parent of a teen to the parent of an adult presented many challenges with Sarah.  Put it this way…my vacation this year was a week spent in Savannah, Georgia, moving her into Savannah College of Art and Design, an elite art school on the coast of Georgia.  Not a bad place to vacation.

When I moved her to Savannah, however, I thought she was an adult and would handle things on her own.  Little did I know!  The cord was not entirely cut!

Through this experience with my daughter, I learned the following necessary skills a successful college student needs in his/her “toolbelt” in order to truly be successful:

Genuine Problem Solving Skills

Yes, teachers attempt to instill this in their students. However, ultimately, parents can instill this skill more effectively through real life problems, such as grocery shopping and making money stretch.  I have heard stories of college kids stressing out over long dining hall lines.  My daughter’s retort: “Go at another time!

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  • Clothes washing—Some adult children do not know how to wash their own clothes! I cannot imagine!  This is a must in our household from the beginning of high school.

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  • Basic cleaning skills—Some college students and their parents think that the college has a cleaning service. NOT!  There’s no more Mommy picking up after little Johnny.  I have a 16-year-old son, whose room will truly make you gag at times; he’s a wrestler, so his clothes can stink up the room quick!  His room is his responsibility, though, and he cleans it.  My children have chores as soon as they are old enough to understand.  A home is a place where everyone has responsibilities.  Even my son cleans dishes by hand!  One day he will make a great roommate and an awesome husband!
  • Budgeting—This is a skill I am working on with my daughter. She is not horrible at this, but she can definitely use some coaching.  Some college kids think that money  will just fall into their laps.  Thankfully, my daughter has had jobs and has been given financial responsibilities.  One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is responsibility. If they grow up with everything being handed to them, they will think that’s how life works.  WAKEUP CALL!  It’s not!  When our kids get cars, they each pay a certain amount monthly, in order to keep the car.  When my son has traveled to national competitions, he has raised the funds himself through sponsorships.  I never made a call for him.

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  • Time Managements Skills—We all wish we had more time in the day. Time management can make or break a college student.  If a student is not accustomed to managing events on his/her own, managing classes, studying, washing clothes, and just normal day to day activities can become overwhelming.  Let’s face it: it’s their first time away from home, and they just don’t know what to do with themselves!  FREEDOM, they scream!  We did it when we first went away from home.  Naturally, our kids will too.  Managing time can be as simple as using the calendar app on a smartphone.

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  • Basic Health Knowledge— Amidst getting used to freedom away from their parents, college students often lose sight of taking care of their health.  I sent Sarah to college with multivitamins; we restock every time she comes home. Vitamins ward off lots of illnesses that are passed around in communal living- quarters like college dorms.   When do you go to the emergency room?  Not every illness requires a costly ER visit.  I stock my daughter up on the normal over the counter meds: Ibuprofen, allergy tablets, antacid, etc.  A bad case of indigestion can be solved easily and less expensively with antacid than with an ER visit.

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Each of these points seems like common sense and that our kids will just figure it out.  However, they don’t!  Parents are entrusted with preparing their kids to live as successful, thriving adults.  Each of these skills, that are easily taught and reinforced from a young age, can prevent lots of heartache and stress.

Here’s to all the moms, helping their college kids excel!

 

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 
If you are interested in creating a blog like this one, I highly recommend using BlueHost for your hosting. They are awesome!