Wednesday, February 10, 2016

keeping them safe

This past weekend, we were faced with a parenting challenge that I didn't expect to happen for at least a few more years.  Parker was told something at school about the Internet and then he tried to find it himself once he was home.  Luckily, his dad is VERY smart about Internet safety and prohibiting this kind of stuff from entering our home, that Parker's iPod blocked it from displaying the context of the website he tried to find.  Unfortunately, the next day, when some friends were over, they tried it on another iPod that wasn't ours.  And although our friends had the iPod set to 'strict' in the settings, they still saw something completely inappropriate.  What they saw was NOT something you want your 8 year old boys to view...let alone the two 5 year old little brothers that were hanging out with them.  Luckily, Parker took one glimpse and threw it on the ground...just as his brother was running up the stairs to tell mom and dad what the boys were looking at.

Since this moment, I've been reassured by many moms that it's normal for kids to be curious...for kids to do what the older kids at school are telling them to do.  But, I feel like it's my job to educate my boys - between the right and wrong of the Internet and also what's appropriate for them.  Since this moment, Brandon and I have talked with Parker about what happened and Parker agrees that if he'd known what was going to pop up on that iPod, he wouldn't have typed in those words to the Google search.  He was embarrassed...sad...and just as upset as we were that it happened.

So, this morning, as my mind was considering whether to share this with the world, or not, I read 'the hands free momma' blog {something I haven't done for months} and it hit home on this very same topic.

Please read this and share her words with your kids.

So, I wanted to make sure I shared it.  YOU GUYS - we have GOT to keep our kids safe from the disturbing side of the Internet.  Make sure you've got settings in place to keep your kids safe, not only from instances like we just had, but also from chat rooms, Internet bullying, etc.  If you need help with this, let me know and I'll have Brandon write some instructions on this blog to help you.

Also, we need to educate our kiddos.  They need to know what is safe.  That we want them to be safe.  That they can come to us with any questions they might have.  They can tell us when they don't feel safe.  Even if they think they will get in trouble, we will help them.

Now, I know our situation here was small in scale to what's out there.  But, it scared me.  Kids are smart.  Older kids influence our young ones.  And even older kids influence the kids older than ours.  The Internet can be an awesome place to learn and explore, but it also puts some pretty awful, disturbing, and gross things at the fingertips of our kids.

Please take a moment to check your iPods, computers, and iPads, and phones.  Take a few minutes and talk to your kids about Internet safety.  Print off the Hands Free Momma's words and read them to your kids.

Parenting is hard enough....luckily we can do some things to make it easier on us and protect our kids.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Renewed Energy

Whew!  Ya'll - a move to a new place can really zap the energy out of a girl.  For me, it changed me a lot.

I mean, it's been 7 months since we moved and I am JUST NOW figuring all of this new out.

And, for some reason, today, I feel like writing.

Maybe it's because the kids are playing together quietly.

Maybe it's because our new little pup, went to hang out with grandma today. {More about our new pup in another post.}

Maybe it's because the sun is shining. {Can't tell you how much I love this.}

Maybe it's because my heart is feeling especially full right now. {I'll explain later.}

Maybe it's because we had one heck of a week last week. {Another day, my friends, another day.}

Maybe it's because we have Valentine's Day coming up and school parties this afternoon. {I LOVE the kid's Valentine's this year!}

Maybe it's because I finally caught up on the giant stack of mail laying next to my computer.

I'm not sure why today is the day, but here I am starting at this blank screen with so much to tell you but I can't figure out where to start.  Maybe I'll figure it out by tomorrow.

For months I've struggled with this little blog of mine.  Wondering if anyone ever even read it.  Wondering if I should remove it.  Wondering if it mattered.

But, my heart keeps telling me not to.  To keep it around.  It holds many memories for me.  {Which sounds strange, but seriously, one of my favorite things to do is go back and read about all of the events that I thought worthy of writing about on this blog.}

And then, today, something fun happened.  I logged into Blogger {for the first time in months} and looked at our 'stats' page.  To my surprise, people were still reading.  Still checking in.  Still pinning recipes and birthday party ideas and other things. Just this week the blog had more than 4,000 views.  I haven't written anything since November.  I'm not sure why this surprised me, but it did.

4,000 views in one week may not seem like a lot to some of you seasoned bloggers, but my blog gets maybe 100 views a day.  It surprised me that people were still wanting my meatball recipe and my whole wheat chocolate chip banana muffin recipe.  People were still wanting ideas for a Wipeout birthday party and wanting to know how to make a Pop Rocks Valentine.  People were still Googling 'how to help your child with speech delays' and 'Minecraft birthday ideas'.

The Internet is a crazy place, my friends.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.  I start reading and writing and I get sucked in.  It takes me to a new place.  Sometimes it's a good place and sometimes it's a not-so-good place.  Like when I start comparing myself to every other mom on Facebook...that's not good.  When I start shopping and I won't stop until I find the best deal on earth...not so good. When I pin and pin and pin, only to make myself feel bad for not cooking a huge, healthy dinner for my family every night.

But, this blog of mine.  This is good.  This makes me feel good.  It's one of my happy places.  Maybe it's even my therapist.  My hobby.  It's a treasure chest full of my memories.  And, I feel like maybe it holds a piece of my future.

Going forward, this little corner of my life is getting some renewed energy.  It may not make me famous or popular, but it's a part of me, and as long as I have access to it and a mind to think up new thoughts, I'm going to take advantage of it.

I'll keep you posted, but for now, I'm excited.  Excited about all that I can write and share with my friends, family, and anyone else interested in what I have to say.  I'm taking this renewed energy and running with it!

Happy {early} Valentine's Day!