Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Want It All and I Deserve It

I know, I should be posting on all our wonderful Christmas plans, traditions we have begun, and the REAL reason of the season, but something has been on my heart for a while and frankly, all my friends around here are probably tired of me ranting about it. So, I thought I would share with my blog friends. I know, The Park Wife on her soapbox again! Just indulge me, it is the holiday season. Oh wait, indulge…that is exactly what I want to talk about.

As the holiday season approached, I was in several stores and overheard many conversations between parents and children, heard many tantrums in the aisles over not getting what the kids wanted, and so many more things that disturbed me about the generation we are raising.It seems that young Americans in this day and age have a sense of entitlement that far exceeds those of previous generations. Where did this come from? How do I, as a mom who is trying to raise men of Godly character, guard against getting sucked into this? How do I, myself, guard against feeling this way?

Going into debt to buy Christmas gifts, making sure they have the latest fashions and gadgets just like their friend Suzie, making sure they get to play in a game the same amount of time as the other kids, oh the list goes on! We are hurting our children and society as a whole. We are not allowing our children to develop character. Instead we are raising kids who can not cope and have unrealistic expectations about life. We are sending the message that they deserve things for facing adversity. They feel entitled to getting things because their parents feel guilty. Believe it or not, children are very intuitive to our motives and learn how to manipulate at an early age, hence the tantrums in Wal-Mart, and absurd demands for large sums of money as a reward for doing nothing.

When I was young, we "tried out" for the school athletic teams. And only the best made it on. That's as it should be (and I'm sorry for the folks who are clumsy or otherwise unable to play sports well... but God gave you a separate set of gifts). Nowadays, everyone is "entitled" to play. In real life, the professional teams don't take everyone that tries out. We aren't rewarding excellence in those children who do exceptionally well at something (whether it's chess club, drama, sports or whatever). If we don't reward excellence, then why should anyone pursue it?

This does not just pertain to the 8-year-old in the electronics store not getting the latest greatest gadget or the kid on the soccer team who never showed up for practice and only a few games, but got a trophy for their “hard work and determination” during the season. I have heard repeatedly from many friends and family out in the workforce that workplaces are poisoned with attitudes and entitlement. Many adults whimper at the slightest inconvenience, delay, or restriction. Why? Because, like toddlers, they are convinced they deserve what they want when they want it. They are accustomed to being served and do not know what real hard work is. They are never satisfied and do not understand why they are not being recognized for their minimal effort work. Where is their trophy for showing up? And, constructive criticism is not an option, their defenses go immediately ~ because of course, they know it all ~ isn't that what they have been allowed to believe their whole lives?

In organizations across the country, I bet you will hear:
"What have they done for me lately?"
"This company owes me more than this as an annual raise. After all, I put in my eight hours a day." (Never mind performance)
"They're not being fair."
“I just graduated college, I can’t believe they did not give me that CEO job of Google.”
“I deserve a publishing contract from the publisher I sent my completed novel to. I "tried out", didn't I? You mean everyone doesn't get to "play"?”
(Would you like a little cheese with that whine?)

It's no wonder that bankruptcy filings are up (you mean I'm not entitled to buy whatever I want? I can afford an $85,000 home, but I really wanted the $350,000 home, so I bought it. What do you mean they are going to foreclose?), crime is up (If you have it and I want it, I get to take it - whether that's your purse, your car, or your life), and work ethic is down, down, down (companies can hardly fire a substandard worker for fear of a lawsuit).

We're all different, with different gifts. I want to show our kids how to be the best they can be, not the best their neighbor can. But if we don't give them a reason to excel, why should they? We want them to know the difference between right and wrong.We want to show them how to do their best and to help them figure out their strengths. We want them to be hard workers, not mediocre, I showed up, reward-me-kind-of-people that refuse to take the blame when things go wrong and are always trying to take the praise for others hard work.

Our goal for the Buckaroos is not to make them happy by immediately gratifying their natural lusts; we want to build character. This is hard work and we don’t always get it right. We pray for the insight to be able to do this successfully for much depends upon it.

Thank you for INDULGING my soapbox rant.

The Park Wife

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Playing Catch Up

I know, I have been slacking on posting. With both of the Little Buckaroo's birthdays in December and the holidays in full-swing, I have been quiet busy. As to not bore you too much with details, I am just going to post some pictures of the highlights of the past couple of weeks.

The first two Saturday nights in December, our historical park puts out luminaries and decorates the town, including the historical homes as they would have been decorated for Christmas in the 1860s. Here are the Little Buckaroo's with two of their friends from 4-H, they volunteered in one of the homes.

Yes, that is me fixing Littlest Buckaroos shirt. For the third year, I volunteered to put on a hoop skirt and help out. It is fun to do this (once a year only) plus it shows our support to the Park and especially to Big Buckaroo. We are very proud of what he has done and works to do every day to make this Park a better place.

I finally finished the Roman shades for my kitchen!
Just in time to enjoy them while I made....

birthday cakes. Littlest Buckaroo (AKA bucking bull cowboy) wanted a cowboy boot, surprise.

And, Little Buckaroo wanted an Indian cake. So, I decided to make an Indian village. There is cake in the tepees.

Speaking of birthdays, this is my dear, sweet friend and her family. Her husband planned a surprise party for her in the big city at a Japanese restaurant. Sushi two times in one month for me, AMAZING, that does not happen often for a rural inhabitant like me!

Yes, she was surprised and we had a wonderful evening with her family and other families that love her as much as we do. Look at that sweet little one of hers, I could just eat her up she is so cute. Her personality matches that smile.

All the kids had to check out the goldfish pond at the restaurant, no one jumped, I mean fell in.

The divine Miss M's Kindergarten class went to 3 banks in town and put on a Christmas singing. We could not resist going to watch, she did a fabulous job, one of her gifts is music. She took time out from her busy performance schedule to pose with the Buckaroo's and her little sister.

So with all of this plus holiday baking, card making, shopping, weekend guests, homeschooling, oh the list goes on, I will be ready for January.

But, until then, I am going to enjoy every minute of the fun, friends, and family. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season full of memory-making moments.
The Park Wife

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mom Get Away

I packed my bag and ran away!

Well, Big Buckaroo kind of orchestrated it. We have a fabulous couple that lived on the mountain where we used to live who took us in and treated us like their own children. Our kids even call them Nana and Pa. Big Buckaroo said I needed a day off and he wanted some one-on-one time with the boys. So, I loaded up, headed to the mountain so that Nana and I could go shopping.

This is the last sight I saw as I was pulling out of our garage. The boys were cheering me on, I am not sure if they were cheering that they were going to go inside and wrestle with daddy or cheering that I would buy some nice presents for them.

I was not in any rush to get to the mountain and had all afternoon to stop in towns along the way. I got hungry and stopped for sushi, not something you get everyday in my part of the world. I was loving me some sushi rolls! I then headed in the direction of the mountain.

Nana and Pa were going to be at church all evening so I called up my dear, old friends from where I worked pre-Little Buckaroo so we could get together at my favorite Mexican restaurant off the mountain. Mary, Lana, and I were the Communications/Public Relations department for an international development not-for-profit organization. We were always up to something crazy and had many fun trips together. We had a wonderful time catching up with each others lives and it makes me miss our old mountain park and my friends there even more.

I then went back to Nana's and spent the night so that I would be well-rested for our marathon shopping trip. After a quick breakfast we headed to a large town to shop.

Here we are at the bottom of the mountain, not sure why I took this except that while on the mountain I did not appreciate the beauty of the area like I should have.

First stop.....

O.K., you know I could not go to a town and not check out the Goodwill. I only scored one thing, but you will not believe what I got....the Goodwill fairy was watching over me that day.

Look at how cute this purse is, and this is MY monogram!!!!!!! How often does that happen? It was a good sign that the day was going to be productive.

This is my old hutch before Hobby Lobby stop.....

and after. I scored some great handles that this old hutch has needed for about 3 years now. I know, I know, it just has not been a priority with moving to this park, birthing a baby, trying to sleep when possible, homeschooling a kid. I know, excuses, excuses, buy some handles already.

The Buckaroos called to check in and wanted to talk to Nana. Um, did they know I was gone? They did humor me and talked to me for a brief minute before asking for their Nana.
I found the greatest cowboy pajama's for the boys for Christmas Eve (one of our traditions) and many other wonderful gifts. But, most of all, I was able to spend some time with a lady that has always loved me unconditionally, shares her wisdom of wife and motherhood, and been there no matter what. I am so blessed to have her in my life.
Stop today and think about all the wonderful people God has put in your lives for whatever purpose or time that he has/had them there. Make sure they know how much you love and appreciate them, life is short.
The Park Wife

Friday, December 5, 2008

Goodwill Addict

I have a problem (well, probably more than one but this is the one I am admitting to today). I love Goodwill. It started innocently enough, I stopped by one in the large town where we go shopping (about 35 minutes away). I was looking for some cool old stuff to re-do and I could not believe what I found. From name brand clothing for the boys, hey, they grow through it so fast I am happy when I can pick of jeans that look like they have never been worn to a denim couch slipcover (for the cabin) with the tag still on it to tons of dress-up wear and homeschool books galore.

Big Buckaroo is getting a bit concerned and I think he is looking for some type of Goodwill Addicts Group to send me to. But, people, have you ever been to Goodwill? If you find a good one, it is a goldmine!

I would like to share a small sampling of my great purchases from this weeks shopping trip.

Last week, I lucked up on a red duster for Little Buckaroo that may not have ever been worn, then this week, I found a duster for Littlest Buckaroo. Total for 2 dusters: $4.50

The Buckaroo's room is decorated in a rustic, western theme so of course when I saw that this lampshade is the exact colors of their room, I had to fork over the $2.00 for it. Now, I don't have a lamp for it yet, but I am sure I will find one while quenching my Goodwill addiction.

Check to see if there is a Goodwill in your area, you might be surprised at what you will find, plus each time you shop at Goodwill, you contribute to the well-being of less fortunate people in your community.
The Park Wife

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving and Beyond

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of food, family, and friends.
We traveled to my hometown in Mississippi. Thankfully, Littlest Buckaroo did take a nap and Little Buckaroo watched a DVD. Yes, we were one of those idealistic couples who said we would not have a DVD player in our car because we would spend our adventure on the road having family time, playing games like watching car tags to see who could get the most amount of states or watching billboards for words that start with each letter in the alphabet in order. Then, we drove out to Colorado last year and we gave up on that fantasy world. The DVD player has been a fixture ever since.

We had turkey and ham (courtesy of our hogs that met their unfortunate end a while back) and all the trimmings. The fun part for me was the day before cooking and preparing. My mom and I make a great team, I prepare things and make a big mess and she like to do dishes. It's a win-win!

My little brother Brandon spoils my kids rotten, Littlest Buckaroo had an enormous amount of chocolate pie. Do you see those dazed eyes? They are in a sugar trance saying "more chocolate please, more chocolate pie please!" Thankfully he had his brother and 8 cousins to run around with to get some of the sugar out of his system.

Our annual chicken trophy ceremony was held with this years recipient being my brother Brandon.

In 1920, my great-grandfather started one of the first chicken hatcheries in Mississippi, it was on the outskirts of the city where I grew up. Well, it was the outskirts then, now it is a very heavily populated area. He was famous for his fine chicks, no I am not talking about my great grandmother, but baby chicks as in poultry. Although my great grandmother was a beautiful southern belle, she was pretty chicky at times.

During his time in the poultry business, he won many awards and honors. For as long as I can remember, I would go into his home office and there was a huge trophy with a chicken on top. It was one of those things that as I grew older you look at it and think who has a big chicken trophy in their home? Two years ago, my grandfather who had been in the poultry business with my great grandfather and lived in the family home, passed away at 93 years old.

As we were going through the house and cleaning things out, there was the trophy in the same place in the office. What do you do with a chicken trophy? I am not sure Goodwill would have much use for it. So, in our family humor we decided that each year one member of the family would be awarded with "the chicken trophy". Big Buckaroo and I had it for the first year and my brother Chris the second year. I am not sure why the only girl of the family would get it the first year, I am sure there are some chicken hiney jokes that flew around between my brothers. Or, it could be that we are the only ones who actually have chickens and they thought it was appropriate. I know what you are thinking, how did a southern belle end up on a state park with chickens? I wonder the same thing every time I have to feed those pesky little peckers.

Congratulations to Brandon and I hope he has a year full of "why did the chicken cross the road" jokes and some finger lickin' good KFC while gazing upon his trophy.

After four days, we headed home. Of course we had to stop at the Mississippi welcome center in Vicksburg so Little Buckaroo could look for Huck and Tom on the river. Unfortunately, it was too foggy and nasty to see if they were out on an adventure. So, we took our adventure on to the house.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are looking forward to Christmas, but I have a zillion things to do before then ~ make Christmas cards, cook, decorate the tree.......

I better get busy. Have a wonderful day,
The Park Wife