"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Josh Duggar, and When Minors Assault Other Minors

I have never watched 19 Kids and Counting so I cannot say much about the family. They always seemed nice enough to me, and most of the negative things said about them were said by atheists and people who generally don't like Christians anyway so I took them with a grain of salt.  I believe that God is very involved in the conception of little souls, I always thought since He didn't have a problem with them having 19 kids, neither should I.

Several news outlets have recently reported that the Duggars oldest child Josh molested up to 5 girls, both inside and outside of his family when he was around 14 years old. The Duggars lied about the fact that they sought counseling for Josh, they have admitted that in place of counseling they sent him to stay with a family friend for a few months.

Josh's father knew of at least THREE incidents before contacting church elders to help address this. They NEVER reported this incident to the authorities.

I have a few thoughts on this that I am going to share, and I will try to write them without making judgement statements Josh or his parents (although trust me, I want to).

1) When it comes to a minor assaulting another minor, remember who the victim is! Do not empathize with the accused or treat them like the victim because they were caught and (gasp) there were consequences! This will only make them likely to do it again. They did it once and everyone seemed fine with it. Sexual assault against another person should be met with a hard consequence. There are no excuses for violating another person's personal boundaries. I can't believe that Jim Bob knew of several incidents before making sure his son met with any consequences. It sounds like the ones he did deal out were pretty soft. No wonder Josh repeated this behavior, I hope at this point he has really changed.

2) When an under aged person is accused of sexual assault, many people's first reaction is to let their parents deal with it, and not report it to the police. 
 - Report it! Most states have laws and systems in place to deal with assault allegation against minors, even minors as young as 11 years old.
 - If you are a Christian, God has placed the government in authority over the church in certain areas. If there are laws that the minor has broken, report it! When it comes to an assault against another person, Governmental authority trumps all other types of authority. I do think it is a good idea to involve the elders of your church and work with the wronged party if both parties belong to the same church or are in the same family, but that should NEVER take the place of contacting the proper authorities.
- Do not assume the minor's parents will handle it. The odds are they will barely address it. How did their child get to the point of molesting others in the first place? The parents are probably not even equipped to handle it. The Government is the only entity equipped to address assault allegations and charges, and to determine the correct disciplinary or corrective action.
 - If you are the parent and one child has assaulted another one of you children... Report it! Show the actual victim that they matter. Seek help for the accused now! For younger perpetrators, the end consequence is usally counseling or therapy, don't wait for them to repeat their behavior at a later age, when the consequence for them could mean jail time.

3) Josh Duggar committee deviant behavior. This is a not a part of typical sexual development. It is not normal if there is more than a 3 year age gap between the victim and the assailant, or
if there was coercion on the part of the perpetrator. In this case, the girls were sleeping, and thus it was clearly not consensual. 

The Duggars reaction to this when it happened was pretty typical, but it was not correct. They should have addressed it by reporting it. I am sure that they love God and are just sick over this. I hope that Josh really has repented and moved on and the victims have healed. To pass judgment on them is not helpful. What is helpful is to educate people on the proper way to address a minor sexually assaulting another minor. Seriously people, REPORT IT if this happens to your child or someone you know!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Preschool Grad

It's hard to believe that Isla has been at her preschool for 2 years. I know I sound like a broken record about our Midland institutions, but I am so thankful for the kind, patient, loving teachers who have invested so much time and energy into her development!  I made sure to get her teachers a little something and also donate to the general appreciation fund because I am so grateful for them. Gemma will attend MDO there next year, and I have such peace around leaving my girls in such good hands.

The ceremony was pretty precious with the kids singing songs that they learned and receiving a mini diploma. I think any "graduation" before high school is a little gratuitous, but it is fun to get up on a stage when you are little like that. I have better pictures in our big camera, but for the blog I am sticking to iPhone pictures because it's easier. In case you haven't noticed, blogging directly from my new phone has helped increase the frequency of my blogging. My formatting might not be as clean, but it's a small price to pay.


Gemma photobomb!

After the ceremony another mom suggested we go to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate, which is Isla's most favorite place so I couldn't say no. That was way more fun than the HEB trip I had planned :).


It's hard to believe my first baby is no longer a preschooler. These little years do fly, but I love the little person Isla is blossoming into. I know she will make a wonderful MCA Knight in the fall, and I am really, really looking forward to being so involved in her day to day learning. That definitely takes the sting out of kindergarten!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Getting Ready for Summer!

Tomorrow is Isla's preschool graduation, and then after that it will officially be summertime!!!

Today we headed off to the mall to get the girls Stride Rite summer sandals - literally the only shoes they wear all summer since they go with everything, and get Isla a summer bob. She wanted it, but decided to grow out her bangs so those didn't get a trim. She's getting big enough to make these decisions herself! She looks adorable. I just love little girls with bob haircuts!
 

While we were there Cookie also needed to re-pierce one of her ears, and Isla decided she wanted to get her ears pierced!

Let me back up, I had my ears pierced at 6 months, and I've always loved it. I've never had to worry about them closing up, and I always meant to get the girls ears pierced at around the same age. I just never got around to doing it. It's very common in many of the countries I've lived in and visited to do little girls ears as newborns. They can be draped in pink and without their ears pierced, everyone asks if they are a little boy!

So I really didn't have a problem with Isla doing it, in fact I felt like it was long overdue. She was so brave, and she didn't even flinch!

And then I decided while we were there to go ahead and do Zoya. She cried some, but nothing too bad. She quickly returned to her smiley, happy self!

And then Nick met us for lunch at the mall, and after talking we decided to just go ahead and get Gemma's ears done to! She was probably the biggest crier, but pretty much forgot about it once we bought her a little stuffed animal. I have photo documented evidence of how upset she was, but people don't need to see that!

I'm glad that we got this out of the way for all three girls, I just wish that I had done it sooner for the big girls!

Now that we are ready with new haircuts, shoes and pierced ears, it's time to bring on the summertime!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

End of Swim

Isla and Gemma finished with swimming last week! I am so happy that we were able to provide the girls with quality swim lessons that put a high focus on safety.

Unfortunately Gemma is not swimming yet... and is also the farthest in her class from swimming independently. We are taking a break this summer, and she will start up again in the fall. She does make a decent surfer though :).
Isla is swimming so well after being in lessons for a year, but it's her least favorite of all of her activities so she won't  continue in the fall. She could use a little more time to improve her technique, but she was in so much this past spring, we really needed to cut some things, for her sake and mine. We all kind of agree that this isn't going to be her "thing", especially since the interest isn't there. She much prefers ballet and soccer.

I do want to include this fun little tidbit - her instructors measure them every month to see if they are developing a Michael Phelps physique. :) This is how they've grown over the past 9 months. 

Isla:
Height in Sept - 41"
Height in May - 43"
Arm Span in Sept - 39.75"
Arm Span in May - 42"

Gemma: 
Height in Sept - 30.5"
Height in May - no measurement 
Arm Span in Sept - 33"
Arm Span in May - 31.5"

Zoya will hopefully start next summer!

End of Awanas!

Isla finished Awanas Cubbies, and next year she will move onto Sparks. I am so thankful for Awanas, and the structured opportunity that it provides to memorize scripture. I hope that it really helps her to store God's word in her heart. I also love being able to do her lessons with her. It's been good practice for her home days next year, and a chance for me to learn more scripture as well! I'm really thankful for all of the volunteers who make Awanas happen.

Here she is at her awards ceremony. She was very proud! She is second from the right in front.

End of Soccer Season

Isla's soccer season is over! She had a blast, and we watched her steadily improve. I'm so glad that she enjoyed herself so much! She will decide if this is the activity she wants to do in the fall in the coming weeks.


Dancing Queen

Isla finished with dance until the fall this past weekend. We had her recital and I thought she did so well. She knew all the steps and stayed on beat. She took it verrry seriously.
Normally recitals are long and boring but her studio breaks the kids' recitals up so that you only have a few classes, mostly within the same age range, with an hour long recital and the rest of the kids have their age appropriate recitals. It was mostly kids 5 and under and they were soooo cute! I agreed with Cookie and Boo and Grandpa who attended that I could have watched it for longer than an hour! The theme was God's Creation and it was just precious.

Next fall Isla will only be able to do one activity plus Awanas so I don't know if she will continue with dance. It's up to her but for my part, I have been so pleased with the studio. It's such a wholesome, sweet place with the kindest instructors. Every month they give out fruits of the spirit awards, and this year the bible verse for Isla's age group was "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me". I'm so thankful I've been able to take her to such a nurturing place! Hopefully our time there is not finished.

All American Fun

Last year we found out that Midland has a minor league team called the Rockhounds. We went to a few games and really had a good time. It helps that there's picnic seating, grass seating and even two playgrounds for different ages. This year they expanded the fun, and now there's a splash park and a train ride around the stadium for the kids, plus a basketball court if you want to shoot some hoops while your watching baseball! It's a great place with a nice family atmosphere.

The food's even good! There are a lot of local and chain restaurants that cater.

We have no idea where Gemma picked up the blue sno cone!
We've been to two games this season and we look forward to a few more this summer. This beautiful, fun stadium definitely gives Midland charm!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ice Cream Saturdays

My child.
Definitely my child.
Questionable.
Since I'm on day 25 of my second Whole 30, Nick was able to eat our normally shared ice cream at a leisurely pace. He always says that eating dessert with me is a competitive sport :).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bunder Dome

"Mama it - dat hurt me! Dat bunder. I scared. Bunder scare Doya. Mama... MAMA, go get her! Go get Doya!"

I wish God would send the thunder to our desert town a little more often because it drove this little oft-moving toddler into the comfort of mommy's arms for a little while... I wish my too-big-for-her-britches 2 year old remembered she's just a baby a little more often!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Trailing Sister

Having a big sister involved in many activities means that you must often accompany big sister to many of those activities. Zoya is too little to protest or get into too much trouble, but Gemma is big enough now to be a handful. Poor Gemma has to accompany sister to ballet and tap, preschool, soccer games, and frequently soccer practice and Awanas. 

Often at these places she is "expected" to behave, as in not run off or run outside and make Mommy or Daddy chase after her often while holding Zoya.

Rarely does she listen and gets her payback for us dragging her everywhere by exercising her own brand of Gemma mayhem. She's Trouble with a capital T.


Seriously, move over Tyrion, there's a new imp in town!


We don't know what we would do without her. :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

SAH Motherhood

On March 31st, it occurred to me that it had been 5 years since I "retired" to stay at home with my little Wann-ton. I worked a bit from home for a few years afterwards, but if you don't count that, I've been out of the workforce for roughly as long as I was in the workforce. I left a high paying job where I was highly valued. I was blessed to pretty much have a dream work experience and I am so grateful for that.

Not everyone understands my choice to stay home and give up a rewarding career, and I know that I let some people down. I don't regret my decision, but I know staying at home is not for everyone... and that's ok. It is what it is.

I went in not realizing that taking care of small children IS a full time job and like anything, it has it's challenges and rewards, but I've made my choice and I'm happy with it.

In fact, I love it! I get to hang out with these adorable yay-hoos all day, everyday and my days are fill with such joy.


My breakfast view is pretty great! I love my days with my girls.

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Hobby–Fitness

I have another new hobby as well, one that I cannot even believe that I am doing! After being thoroughly out of shape since college, I have started working out… consistently! I really feel like I have been exhausted for years and so many workouts that people promised me would give me so much energy did NOT.  After going Paleo and completing the Whole30 in January, along with being on thyroid medication, I really started to get some extra energy. Not a lot, but enough to get started or at least think I could do something.

Soooo, I started to think about why I failed in the past, and I came up with a few reasons. The first is that I never worked out with Nick because he has always been in good to better shape and never out-of-shape and I didn’t want to hold him back. So I told him that I wanted to work out with him, and being he was excited to help me. The second is that I just cannot seem to put my smaller kids in a childcare, no matter how good it is (although I am going to try again this summer), so I would have to do something while we were all at home. The third is that I need to find the right time each day. I would make excuses because this expert says to work out in the morning or before dinner or whenever, but I just needed to find a time that worked for me. I realized even though every day for us is different, the one thing that I can count on each day is to watch a TV show with Nick… at night (bah-dah-dum-ching) so Nick and I set that time aside for our workouts.

Now what to do for the workout. I have a very good friend here in Midland named Jessica McColloch who started doing Focus T25 with Sean T. At that point she had lost 20 pounds and as of now she has lost over 30! She does it with her husband, and so I decided to order it from her and try it. She was and is very inspiring. She’s also a coach on it if you need one.

So far Nick and I have really loved it, and you really can do it at almost any fitness level. Nick is very challenged, and obviously so am I. The first few weeks were hard and I regressed on my clean eating a bit, but I am started the Whole 30 on the 21st and I think I will make it to day 30. So now I seem to have the diet and exercise down, which is not like me. I am so very thankful that I decided to work out with Nick. It took me 10 years to use him as a tool, but he’s a great motivator and he’s always up for a workout. He has never pressured me to have a better body and loves me, stretch marks and all, but he also loves to help me work out since he wants me to happy and healthy.

When I started, I didn’t even take before pictures or measure myself because I didn’t think I would actually follow through, but I’m really doing it! Often I have to do the modifiers. I haven’t lost much weight, but I think I will start now that I am dieting and exercising. I am definitely getting smaller, especially in my squishy mom tummy. My energy is up too! It’s so great, instead of laying on the couch, scrolling through Facebook because I don’t have the energy to get up and do something constructive, I am playing with my kids more and I have the mental capacity to take on my new quilting hobby. My anxiety is way down, that particular thing is probably from the combination of everything I have been doing, but its great.

Isla loves to do T25 too! She gets very upset with us when several days go by and we don’t let her do it. You would think she would be tired after all her activities, but she’s inherited her Daddy’s energy. She did not get that from me!

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And now for something really CRAZY! I have started running with Nick. To motivate myself, I signed us up for a 5k. The Insane Inflatable 5k was our first, where you get to go through grown up bouncy houses as you run. It is FUN! That really motivated me to start running. I also told myself it was ok to walk. I’m not a runner, I have a lifetime of NOT running under my belt, I just have to keep trying and keep going and the stamina will come. When the day came, it was SO cold and SO rainy. We had to walk a lot just because it wasn’t safe to do otherwise, and we were soaked through and freezing. BUT WE DID IT! My first 5k Smile. I had my parents in to watch the girls so it was fun to do it with just Nick.

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Nick was lucky, he got to take off his wet, muddy shirt straight away... me, I had to keep my shirt on!

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I signed us up for another one on Easter weekend, and once again it was so, so, so cold. We had nothing but beautiful weather on the weekends when we were NOT doing 5ks. The plan was to let Isla ride her bike, and Nick would push the two littles in the stroller. Right before the race started, Zoya started screaming so I decided to sit out with her. It was the right thing to do because she was so cold. I offered to watch Gemma and Isla so Nick could run, but Nick said he was fine with pushing Gemma and letting Isla ride her bike.

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Isla made it one time around the loop and then crawled into the stroller, so Nick finished the race, running the whole time, pushing over 100 lbs. He just wanted to see if he could do it! That’s the kind of person he is, me, I’m happy to go easy on myself when it comes to physical fitness. He also likes to stress that 5ks are not a big deal, he’s been running since high school, but I am still proud of him. I’m allowed.

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Nick has gotten a little overexcited about my new interest in running and wants us to plan to do a half-marathon in the fall. HA! I have agreed to try for a 10k and maybe he can do the half-marathon if we can find a race that has all of them, but I won’t say no. Probably the best thing about being in my 30s is that I am not afraid to try new things, even if I might fail. Soccer season and really trying to “nail” T25 has really put a damper in our running, but I look forward to doing it more over the summer!

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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