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ChiTown for the Peeps

The summer of 2015 flew and we embarked on one more adventure before the kids went back to school. Seriously. Because Junior High (7th) for Steady, Strong 5th, Grace 3rd, Passion 2nd, Promise in Kindergarten and Foster in preschool.

You read it. I’m both loving this age and stage and in complete denial.

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On Friday, July 31, we loaded the van and drove the 5 hours drive to the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Chicago. Complimentary breakfast and an indoor pool were top of my list on places to stay. Vacations are not vacations without an indoor pool!

We arrived a little after dinner time and decided to venture out to the Navy Pier for dinner. We walked the mile to the pier and encountered a considerable wait for the pizza shop we wanted to try. The pizza was delicious, but Promise had fallen asleep in my arms and foster was ready to do the same. Thankfully we were able to hop a trolley and be dropped just a block away from our temporary home. Promise slept through it all.

Saturday morning we woke up and took the Red line south to the Shedd Aquarium. This was my one big we-have-to-do because I pre-bought tickets. Turns out the reviews are dead on. The line to get in was insane! It was a great aquarium and we really enjoyed the shows. We ate lunch outside as I had packed a picnic and as we sat outside and ate we sized the opportunity for the classic Chicago skyline photos! Also true to form, the Windy City did not disappoint and we had some good wind gusts coming off the water!

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The kids favorite part was spending time touching the sting rays as they swam by and ending the visit with some ice cream in the shade!

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We have a membership to our local Science Center which participates in the ASTC Passport program. Since the Field Museum was also an ASTC program participant, admission was free. The kids were tiring out and less impressed but we pressed on and were able to make one last hurrah and check out a few of the exhibits.

It was time to catch the Red Line and head to the hotel. Something about swimming gives my kids their third and fourth winds. They swam their hearts out. Together with some other guests at the hotel who happened to be enjoying the pool, we sang happy birthday and ate cake in honor of Foster’s 5th birthday. It was so much fun and they blessed us by doing whatever he wanted to do!

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Sunday morning we checked out and drove north to the Volo Auto Museum. From there we drove to Legoland Discovery Center to round out the celebration of Foster. This was his one request for his birthday so we were sure to make it happen!

Armed with a small set of new legos we started the DVD player and made our journey home. It was a quick weekend but filled with a good ebb and flow of busy and chilling.

When I am not around… ask the kids.

Their favorite memory was the train ride.

Changing Tactics

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I am skeptical. Some of my ways were working. Some. But we are staring down another school year. I’m exhausted. He’s exhausted. We made some amazing progress over the years, but it has plateaued. We need some fresh air. I don’t want him to ever look back and think he wasn’t good enough. He is. He is amazing. He has overcome so much. He is kind and tender-heart. I’ve overlooked. Pushed to hard.

I am hypocritical. No way will it work for my kids. He’s the exception. My ways are better. Except, they aren’t. God’s ways are better. God desires connection with us. Could it be he designed us for connection and connection is the very thing my child needs from me? Not lectures, not consequences, not I told you so. He needs celebrating love. Connection.

I am convicted.

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On the first day of school I let the kids know that if they got in trouble at school they would face a consequence at home.

On the second day of school I meekly apologized for that and tossed it out the window. Against all relatively normal parenting rules or at least the pressure I have self-imposed in my head, we are embracing TBRI in our house. Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). In broad terms, the idea is to chase the why. Don’t discipline, don’t give beyond natural consequences for behaviors. Chase the why. Is your child throwing a fit because they lost control or because their inner dialogue is anxious about losing control? Use connecting as a tool to work through the turmoil.

2015 – 2016 will be the years of fun. We will continue to take back our lives. We will build upon our bonding from the summer.

We will care less about being perfect students and more about loving each other and our peers.

It will be great.

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Nontraditional Family Tree Resource


This resource made me giggle and smile and cry all at the same time. Once I make it fully through my cycle of emotions I’ll post my soap box rant about timeline projects at school. Maybe.

In the meantime, check these out. Ponder them, pray over them. Soak up the reality in them and then celebrate. Life is far from clean and simple. It is messy, it is worth honor, it has roots and branches.

Nontraditional Family Tree Templates


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