Monday, March 30, 2009

First Day of Driving

I have a 16-year-old. I can't believe it. She got her license Friday at 7 am! That evening we took her out for dinner. On the way home, her dad commented that the only driving experience she had not encountered up to this point was having to drive in a torrential downpour.

Saturday she went out to dinner with a friend. Around 9:30 she was ready to head home. Only one problem. Her father and I had been listening to the weather and there were 3 tornado warnings out in the area. We told her to stay put. At 10, the warnings went away so we told her to head home and to BE CAREFUL!

I wish I could tell this story like she told it when she walked through the door, but my interpretation will have to do.

No sooner had she hit the interstate than rain, did I mention torrential rain, started pounding her car. She said as she was driving she was thinking about how thankful she was for whoever invented windshield wipers because hers were going as fast as they could. No one was going more than 25 miles an hour and everybody had their caution lights on. This continued for about 12 miles. She described herself as looking like a little old granny as she tried to see out her windshield.

When she walked through the door she was WIDE EYED as she told us her story. She then proceeded to thank her father for opening his big mouth about the only thing she hadn't done was drive in a downpour........Needless to say, she described this as her most stressful driving experience EVER!

While we weren't thrilled with our daughter being out in the weather, we knew this was a confidence building opportunity. One down...... a million to go.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What You Wish Someone Had Told You

We have been getting a lot of calls about our premarital education classes from couples planning to marry this spring. I am excited about them coming to our class, but I have to wonder about what is really motivating them. Is it the $60 discount they will receive on their marriage license or the fact that they are confident they are going to receive information that will help them in their marriage????

When we asked one guy what brought him to our premarital education class, he said, "My fiance at gun point." Clearly, he was least we think he was. But it was what he said after that that was most striking. He went on to say, "I didn't want to come to this class because I thought it would be the biggest waste of time. Boy, was I wrong. I had no idea what I didn't know about marriage."

If I had a dime for every time I have had a newlywed say to me, "I wish someone had told me....." you fill in the blank, I would be independently wealthy.

So, what do you wish someone had told you before you walked down the aisle? If someone told you something and you didn't listen, but wish you had, that counts as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Little Patience Please

For the past year I have been chauffeured around by our 15-year-old daughter. Quite frankly, since I have been the passenger and am paying extra close attention to what is going on around us, I think I can safely say she is probably one of the safer drivers on the road. She doesn't take chances making turns. She actually stops when the light turns yellow instead of trying to fly through it. She goes the speed limit - or pretty close to it. She is cautious and careful. There are mountains that we go up and down with lots of curves and steep grades, which she handles well at the speed limit.

In the process of getting her 50 plus hours of driving in before we go to get her license next Friday, I have to tell you we have experienced some really rude and impatient drivers.

Today, as she waited for a couple of cars to go before she made a left turn, you could see the frustration on the face of the driver behind us. As we made the turn, people were clearly looking to see who in the world was driving that car. Could an experienced driver have safely made the turn before the two cars went by? Yes. BUT, I would rather our daughter err on the side of playing it safe than throwing caution to the wind.

Confession: I have probably been one of those impatient drivers. This experience has taught me the rest of the story. I need to practice patience and make sure I am being a good example to teens who are learning the rules of the road.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Break Practical

We have decided that we are not going anywhere for spring break, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to have fun. So far our plans include sleeping late, riding horses, working in the garden (that would be me), spending some time with grandparents and going on a mystery adventure. Have I mentioned that I am great at keeping a secret? It is KILLING our daughter that I won't even give her a hint. Lovin' that!

Quite frankly I am excited about just hanging around here. Travel is fun, but traffic delays, soft beds with FAT, hard pillows and the hectic time of trying to get it all in sometimes makes me feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. Not to mention the fact that there are a ton of fun things to do close by for FREE. Why spend money when we don't have to?

What are your plans for spring break?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Red Light Running

I have to get something off my chest!

In the last two days I have been sitting at stoplights getting ready to move because the light has turned green when someone comes flying through the intersection blatantly running the red light.

Our daughter is turning 16 in 16 days. I think she is a good driver for the amount of time she has been on the road, but honestly I am more worried about the other drivers and their driving than I am about her driving.

I told her this morning that the reason she has to learn to be a really good defensive driver is just because you follow the rules of the road does not mean everybody else will.

A couple of months ago I read an article in Reader's Digest about red light runners. When they asked people why they ran red lights the number one response was because they were in a hurry - not they were distracted talking on their cell phone or dealing with children - they knew they were running the red light!

According to the article, studies show that red-light running is on the rise across the country. In a six-year study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that deadly crashes at red lights increased at more than three times the rate of all other types of fatal auto accidents.

So, slow down and beware. Running a red light is not worth it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Living Life to the Fullest

I am lucky enough to be married to a guy who truly loves life. Every day is an adventure with him because I never know when he is pulling my leg, playing a joke on me or actually telling me the truth. I have come to believe this is a very good thing. There are probably some people who look at my husband and think, he just needs to grow up and act like an adult. I, on the other hand, am truly thankful that he is so playful and full of life. He never misses an opportunity to spray our daughter with the hose as they are washing the car together or crack a silly joke as we are driving down the road.

When I look around and see so many stuffy adults leading what look like pretty boring lives I think How sad!

Spring break is right around the corner. I hope all of us will get out of our winter ruts and do some fun stuff with the family. When is the last time you played hide and seek or kickball?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Raising Teens

How well do you remember your teen years? What were they like? Did you ever lie to your parents? Did your parents trust you? What do you believe has had the most lasting impact on you when it comes to your parents ability to parent?

Last question......for those of you who have children, are you parenting the same way your parents raised you? Why or why not?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Impact of Television on Us

Gossip Girls, 90210, The Bad Girls Club, Desperate Housewives...What are you and your kids watching?

I just watched an episode of The Bad Girls Club and wanted to throw up. Hair pulling, pushing, shoving, kicking. It looked like a bunch of barbarians.

The sad thing is this is a very popular show with teens. These "bad girls" pride themselves on being this way. In the episode I watched all the girls ganged up on one girl because she danced with a guy while the rest of them sat on the sidelines and sulked. They actually beat her up so badly she had to go to the hospital.

In spite of the fact that a lot of the people say they watch the show for the entertainment value, I wonder if that is all that is happening?

What all of these shows have in common is crazy, messed up relationships. I would expect adults watching these shows to be able to differentiate between the craziness and real life, but for a lot of teens I'm pretty sure they aren't there yet.

I don't believe in sheltering kids from reality, but I do wonder about shows like this and their impact on the way kids decide to deal with problems at school and at home. It seems like every time I turn around I am reading about teens killing their parents, bully other teens and the like. While I would like to believe this is the exception to the rule, with access to so many shows like the ones listed you have to wonder.

Any thoughts on this????? How do you handle television viewing with your kids? How did your parents handle it with you? (If you can remember, tee hee)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Marriage Reality

I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read the paper this weekend and saw that Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC to produce a "comic" reality series where celebrities and a referee try to help squabbling couples make peace.

Based on what I have seen in Hollywood, I would say there are very few couples I would want giving me advice on how to get my marriage back on track.

I'm sure there will be couples who will go for this, but you seriously have to wonder about the quality of the advice they will receive. It seems like a train wreck waiting to happen. I think it is crazy how the reality shows "use" hurting people for monetary gain and potentially leave them worse off than they were before the show.

Your thoughts?