Mad About It Mondays, Rants

Mad About It Monday: How To Ruin A Relationship In One Simple Step

Mad About It Monday- Copyright It's An Ordinary Blog

Mad About It Monday

…because passive aggressive Facebook posts were so yesterday

Happy Monday, Everyone! Lately, I’ve been posting my M.A.M mini-rants on Facebook but something happened to me recently that warrants a blog post. Let’s just say that a simple Facebook post just can’t contain all of the rage. I’d also like to get your thoughts on the situation. After you’re done reading, leave me a comment and answer this: What would you do if you were in my position?!

Neighborhood

When we were building our house five years ago, I was excited about the prospect of having the kind of neighborhood where there’s a real sense of community…you know, the kind of place that you’re excited to raise a family in. I don’t know if times have just changed or if it’s the neighborhood we moved into but we only know a handful of our neighbors and, although we really like them and are on friendly terms, we don’t know them all that well. One of our neighbors has a child that’s a few years older than my three year old daughter. We like this kid and are friendly with his parents and occasionally we’ll invite them over for a get together or spend a few minutes chatting while we’re all outside. Over the course of the last few months, the parents have asked me to babysit their child several times. It’s certainly not a problem at all. We enjoy having him over and are more than happy to help on occasion, when they need a favor and that’s exactly what I thought I was agreeing to when I received a text message last week asking me if I would mind watching the child for a little while on Saturday. Here’s what the message said:

“Hey, would you mind watching Kiddo on Saturday? I have to work in the morning and wanted to take SoAndSo out for his birthday dinner after work if he’s up for it.”

Now I assumed, as any rational human being would, that I would be watching Kiddo on Saturday evening, so his mom and dad could enjoy a night out. Absolutely no big deal. I replied and mentioned that, even though we were planning to go out to dinner, Kiddo was more than welcome to come with us if he wanted to. “It’s up to you guys,” said the mom. “Kiddo is always welcome to tag along,” I replied. “Cool,” I thought,  “It’s settled. We’ll take Kiddo out to dinner and it will be fun.” Apparently, I was wrong. The next morning, I got this text message:

“I have to work at 10:30 so I leave around 10:00…I can bring Kiddo over then and how much would you like for the day? Either his dad or I should pick him up around 7ish”

wait-what

Wait, what?! Now something that was supposed to be an evening favor has turned into an all day ordeal but since I’d already agreed to her vague request for us to watch her child and since this child is old enough to come with us wherever we go, I decided not to worry about the change in our day. I didn’t reply to her comment about payment because, honestly, I’m a really bad negotiator when it comes to people that I know and I thought that she would ask me in person what would be fair. Fast forward to Saturday…

Kiddo came over around 10:00 in the morning. We played a few games and ran some errands before coming home for a pizza party lunch followed by blanket forts, a movie and snacks, hide & go seek, sidewalk chalk, and an assortment of other activities with the kids. Although it was long, it was a pretty good day. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to entertaining a seven year old child but I managed and, by the time 7:00 rolled around, I was a little exhausted and ready to head out to our already delayed dinner plans. Kiddo’s mom picked him up at 7:45, seemed kind of rushed, and made absolutely no mention of paying us for watching her child all day. I was a little floored. I certainly don’t mind doing anyone a favor but ten hours of my time is well beyond a good neighborly favor. So I sent her this text message:

“…I realized I never responded about how much money would be okay for the day. Anywhere between $5 and $10 an hour would be fine. Normally I would say don’t worry about it but since it was all day, I think that’s fair.”

She responded asking for an exact dollar amount, I replied with “$50 would be fine” (which comes out to be about $5 an hour, an amount I think is totally reasonable for all day child care including meals, snacks, and activities) and she said she’d bring it by tomorrow. Well, guess what?! Tomorrow came and went and the next day came and went, too and I still haven’t heard from them and they haven’t come by.

Annoyed

It’s not the money that matters to me, it’s the principle of the matter. When you say that you’re going to do something: DO IT!

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I felt tricked into agreeing to something that ended up being a much larger commitment than I anticipated or the fact that she offered to compensate me for my time but didn’t or some combination of the two but I am outraged slightly appalled. I mean, who does that?! I can’t even imagine taking advantage of someone like that. I just can’t.

I would love to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they forgot or that they were just busy but, the truth is, I know better. Kiddo has come over several times over the last few months and I’ve always declined an offer for payment because it’s only ever been for an hour or two but this time it was my entire day and that’s different. I can’t help but feel the only reason they asked me to watch him in the first place is because they didn’t want to have to pay for a sitter to watch their child. How frustrating.

Fail

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be doing them any more favors any time soon.

What would you have done in my situation?! Have you ever dealt with something like that? If so, I’d love to know how you handled it.

Daily Life, Parenting, Society

How “Queen Elsa” Broke My Heart

Elsa Frozen

My daughter celebrated her third birthday a couple of weeks ago (more on that in a later post) and, now that she’s getting older, we’ve started allowing her to watch Disney films. It would be an understatement to say that we’re movie fans in this household (duh- I write movie reviews) and that love for film is something my husband and I are passing along to our child. I don’t mind when my daughter pretends as if she’s Queen Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” or Merida from Disney’s “Brave” but she said something the other day that caught me completely off guard.

“I want to be just like Queen Elsa.”

Now I know it’s common for little girls to emulate and want to be like their role models (and Queen Elsa is a great role model to have) but it broke my heart to hear my three year old child say that she wanted to be anyone other than the amazing little lady that she already is.

We live in a World where most of us are constantly trying to be like everyone else, chasing unattainable standards of beauty (you can read more of my thoughts on this from my previous posts on the subject), thinking we’re never good enough, and nothing could have prepared me for the day when my daughter wanted to be different from who she already is. I explained to her that many of the same characteristics we appreciate about Queen Elsa are ones that she already has.

She is strong.

She is smart.

She is wonderful.

I recognize the innocence in my daughter’s words. I understand that she may not already be feeling that sense of inferiority that seems to plague us all with time but the mere fact that she feels the need to be different from the perfect person she is concerns me.

How do we find a balance, especially in our society, of encouraging our daughters as they look up to the heroes around them and teaching them that just being the person that they already are is good enough?

Daily Life, Parenting

Lessons For My Daughter: Part I “It Really Isn’t About You”

What Other People Think About You Is None Of Your Business

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a very personal post on parenting and faith. In that same spirit of sharing about my life (which is not always something that’s easy for me to do), I want to talk about the most important lesson I plan to teach my daughter as she gets older. It’s a lesson that’s taken me years to learn and it’s something that, even as someone who tends to think logically and objectively, I still struggle with from time to time.

The way people treat you has nothing to do with you.

It has everything to do with them.  

I am the adult by product of divorce. My father, who retired after serving twenty years in the United States Air Force, and my mother, who made her career working with new and expecting parents in Labor and Delivery, divorced in the mid-nineties. About a year later, my brother and I, along with our mother, relocated to the East Coast where we lived until I started college. My junior high and high school years were a whirlwind. Full of changes in our family structure, adjustments to a different life, and an assortment of other things that are irrelevant to this post. My relationship with my dad changed very little throughout the years in that it was, at best, distant. With lengthy deployments under his belt from the time he spent serving our country, I didn’t know that our relationship could have been any different and I spent years excusing his absence from my life on physical distance and busy schedules. One thing always remained the same, I love my dad. Always.

The issue is that the way that I express love is so vastly different from the way my own father does and, in the past, it left me feeling inadequate, undervalued, and unloved.

The little time that I did spend with my dad in my own childhood was wonderful. I have fun memories like the time we attended the “Father/Daughter Dance” when I was young or the vacation we took together to Orlando when I was a teenager. It’s easy to let those moments become overshadowed by the lack of communication in our day to day lives. The same can be said for my father’s relationship with my own daughter.

As my daughter grows and begins to understand more about the World, I want to give her the gift of understanding. It’s something that’s taken me years to figure out on my own. I want her to understand that the way that other people interact with and treat you represents who they are, not the other way around.

I want her to know that she’s worthwhile, good, and amazing. 

I want her to know that the only thing that defines who she is as an individual is the way that treats herself, others, and the World around her.

I want her to know the one thing that I’ve spent years figuring out: That we’re all different. The way I express my love for those around me may not be the same as the way my own father does but that has nothing to do with me.

Simply put: Take the good, leave the bad.

Culture, Daily Life, Parenting

Parenting Without Faith

I want to preface this by mentioning that this is not an easy post for me to write. Although I’ve been documenting my life as a parent online for well over a year now, it isn’t often that I share intimate details of my thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. What I want to discuss tonight is something that’s been weighing heavily on my heart for well over a month and I hope that you’ll allow me the rare opportunity to be vulnerable with you without judgement.

Last month, I had lunch with my incredible friend Bethany. She’s someone I’ve been close with for several years and I was happy for the chance to spend some time with her while she was back in town. As we were eating, we witnessed a father and his young son at a table near us. Before they began eating, they sat together and prayed. It was really moving. But it was also heartbreaking, for me. Heartbreaking because that’s not something that I can share with my own daughter. We’ll never (at least not at this particular moment in our lives) share a moment like that together because I am parenting without faith.

Having grown up in a Christian household, been a leader in my youth group during high school, and active in my religious community during college, I am no stranger to what it means to have faith. While attending undergraduate studies with a major in a religion and culture so vastly different from my own, I began exploring other faith based systems. My journey, thus far, has led me to a place with a lot of unanswered questions. When my husband and I had a child of our own, coming to terms with the fact that we simply don’t know, was even more difficult to accept.

Fast forward to last week when my little family of three was sitting together in the kitchen. My daughter, now almost three, asked my husband (after he let out a loud cough) if he was okay. He replied, without thinking, “I think I’ll live.” Without missing a beat, my daughter said, “I want you to always live. And mommy.” Speechless. As the tears pooled in my eyes, I found myself thinking back to that father and son last month and how I wish, more than anything, that I could provide that same comfort and promise to my own child that this stranger was undoubtedly able to offer his son.

You see, parenting without faith (at least for me and my spouse) is not simply a choice that we’ve made for our family. I want, more than anything, to be able to provide my daughter with answers to life’s biggest questions (Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?) but the truth is, I can’t. We’ve flirted with the idea of attending some sort of religious institution for the sake of giving her a foundation of faith but, for us, that would be disingenuous to where we’re at in our journey and what we believe about life. There is comfort in religion – a comfort my family does not have.

For now, we’re teaching our child that the World is a beautiful place. That life is a precious, precious gift that we should cherish, respect, and enjoy. That we should treat this planet and all of its inhabitants with love and compassion. That people have all sorts of beliefs, ideas, and differing answers on life’s biggest questions and that it’s okay. One day, when she’s old enough, we’ll encourage her to explore and find her own path…wherever that might lead her. While we certainly can’t make any promises about what tomorrow may bring, and as heartbreaking as that may be for us, we’re forced to simply focus on today.

I think it’s important for people to understand that we’re not parenting without faith because we reject God or because we somehow are apathetic or indifferent towards having beliefs. I wish, more than anything, that I could be certain that I had answers. But that’s not my life. We’re not parenting without faith because we don’t care about our child’s future or her (perceived) eternal salvation, we simply don’t have the answers. Parenting without faith doesn’t make us immoral people and it certainly doesn’t mean that our child will grow up to be any less respectful, loving, or compassionate towards herself, others, and the World around her. Our goals, our hopes for our child (and any other subsequent children we may have later on down the road) are the same as yours.

So, please, don’t make assumptions about our lifestyle and don’t assume things about the way we raise our child. I may not be parenting with faith, but I’m still parenting with love.

Children's Books, Giveaways, Parenting, Reviews

A Review & Giveaway from FlattenMe Personalized Books and Gifts

Book Review and Giveaway

Reading has always been an important part of the daily routine in our household. It’s something I’ve enjoyed since childhood and knew would someday become common practice when I eventually had children of my own. When I was pregnant with C, I found myself reading to her in utero (which, now that I look back, sounds a little crazy) and that trend continued after she was born. Now that a little older, she’s better able to understand and follow sequences of events. Reading to her has transitioned from looking at pictures to enjoying (toddler appropriate) storylines. I’ve noticed that she’s started to develop a passion and love for books and reading which is probably why I was so elated for the opportunity to review a personalized book from FlattenMe.Com. The company has also graciously offered to giveaway a personalized book to one of you (more on that below).

Owl Always Love You Personalized Book

“Owl Always Love You”, written by Robyn Spizman and illustrated by Erica Leighton, is a ‘bedtime story for little night owls’ (who doesn’t love owls?!). Each page is beautifully illustrated and sends a message of abounding love for the main character (which, in my book, is my daughter). It’s a reminder to children that they are loved, always and unconditionally. The pages compare the love we have for our children to things found in nature and daily life like a cradle loving to rock, rain loving a cloud, and kites loving to fly. The message is simple and easy for children to understand: they are special and they are loved.

The hardback book is comprised of fourteen thick, easy to turn story pages each with its own unique and beautiful illustration. You can take a peek at each individual page online here. FlattenMe.com also offers personalized photo books, journals, tshirts, wall art, and more online which make for great gifts for every family member. FlattenMe has offered to host a giveaway for one lucky reader to enjoy a Keepsake personalized Owl book of their very own (less the cost of shipping, which is $3.99).

To Enter (each option earns one entry):

  • “Like” the FlattenMe Facebook page and post a message on their wall telling them that #ItsAnOrdinaryBlog sent you (be sure to use the # hashtag so I can see the post).
  • Head on over to the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page and tell me what your favorite thing about the Owl Always Love You book is.
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me who you would personalize this sweet book for.

A winner will be randomly drawn on Friday November 1st. As always, good luck and my the odds be ever in your favor!

Flatten Me

While FlattenMe sent a personalized copy of “Owl Always Love You” free of charge in exchange for my review and giveaway, I am under no obligation to write a positive review and all expressed thoughts are uniquely my own. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions: ItsAnOrdinaryBlog@gmail.com.

iFamilyKC, Kansas City, Pictures

Science City Photos Part 2

Yesterday I promised to post more pictures from our trip to Science City at Union Station in Kansas City. So, without further adieu, enjoy:

Union Station

Union Station Photo

Union Station

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

Science City

iFamilyKC, Kansas City, Pictures, Reviews

Science City at Union Station (Kansas City)

As you know, I recently started writing for iFamilyKC online and one of the perks is that I get to go to some pretty cool events and activities around the metro. Most recently, I went to Science City at Union Station and had a blast. I’ll be sure to post a link to the review on my Facebook page (have you ‘liked’ it yet?!) as soon as it’s up. In the meantime…

I had a really great time at Science City and it isn’t just because the inner nerd in me squealed with delight when I found out we were going, but because I think it’s a wonderful place for people of any age to spend the day. One thing that I thought was weird (and also very cool) is that, unless you’ve been there, you really have no idea what to expect when you first get there. In order to get into Science City you first walk through the gift shop and then into a long hallway with only a few things (like a tube with scarves ‘floating’ in the air and a solar-powered car on display).

 Ball Floating In Air

Toddler at Science City

I will admit that when we first walked into the hallway I thought to myself, “Really?! This is it?!” but once you navigate through, it’s like entering into a whole new world…and I loved it. Take a look:

Melody Park at Science City

A Day At Science City

Astronaut Training Center at Science City

Astronaut Food

Astronaut habitat

Police Helicopter

Science City Crime Lab

Wind Power

Wind Power at Science City

Melody Park Science City

Science City

Science City

Have these pictures piqued your interest?! Check back tomorrow for more or head on over to the Science City website for ticket information.