5 tips to a stress free holiday for the blended family.

 

 

 

 

When there are step children and step parents involved things get a lot more complicated, but when you throw in the extended step families, holidays can get downright chaotic.

  1. Make sure that you have a calendar with all of the dates and times of the events that your family has coming up over the holidays. Be sure to mark school, church events, special movies and most especially when you will have the kids. Share this information with grandparents, aunts, uncles and the other set(s) of parents and step parents.
  2. Talk with your spouse about what the most important things are for each person in your family to attend. Sometimes you need to be in one place while the other parent is in another place. This happens a lot more often with kids in separate school districts. Some things you will not be able to attend, but make sure that the kids all understand what you can, and cannot attend up front. If you are not sure if you can attend, let it be a surprise instead of disappointing the kids. If you have grandparents nearby involve them in activities that you may not be able to make the date. Grandparents love being involved with their grandkids.
  3. Talk to the kids about what’s important to them. You may have wanted to plan a night of caroling or viewing Christmas lights, but if the kids would rather stay in and have cocoa and watch a Christmas special a family night at home may be what you all need at a busy time. Kids, especially those who don’t live with you most of the time, want to spend time with you, and could care less if it’s a “big deal” as long as you put in time with them.
  4. If you or your kids feel like one relative or group of relatives treats the step kids differently when it comes to gift giving, than they do with their blood relatives, ask for a new tradition of going to an event together, family passes to a theme park, or just not exchange gifts. No one wants to feel like they aren’t being treated the same as their peers, especially when it comes to blended families.
  5. Make new traditions while preserving the traditions that the whole family enjoys. Maybe your kids enjoyed the tradition of chopping down their own tree each year before your divorce, if this isn’t possible for your blended family pick something new to try out like making a Christmas video for the family blog.

No matter what you do this holiday season, be sure to include the kids in your decisions. Whether it is what they want on the menu for Thanksgiving, or if they would like to go to their grandparents church service to be near their other parent, let them have a voice in your blended family.

How to grieve.

 

 

Have you lost someone important in your life? It is very natural to grieve, yet there are as many different ways to grieve as there are people who are grieving. I want to share with you something a little different than what society acknowledges as grieving.

My mother passed away last week.  It was something that will change my life forever as it did when my mother’s mother passed away when I was 16. I watched my mother as she grieved. Her sisters were very concerned because my mother didn’t grieve as they had expected.

I learned that wallowing in grief is not healthy. I’ve done it, for many years I grieved over my father and other things that I lost in my life.  I cried so many hours of my life, over things that I could not change. No matter how many tears you shed, you cannot bring someone back from death.

In 2002 I became clinically depressed after my father passed away. As a single mother of 3 very small children, I had moved back in with my parents. So my father’s absence was very profound.  Working full time and struggling to pay the bills was not at the forefront of my mind, it was my loss. I never once thought about my father’s gain.

My mother did not show outward emotion, crying or screaming…or much of anything when her mother passed away. She had watched her health crumble for many, many months before my grandmother went to heaven.  My mother knew that my grandmother was in heaven with Jesus, and not suffering to do simple tasks like speak.

Because of my mother’s reaction, my aunts kept a very close eye on her. Believing that she would fall apart and have an emotional breakdown at some point, but she did not. My mother was strong yes, but she was also very honest with herself and others about how she felt with her mother passed. She knew that there was no reason to be upset that her mother was in a better place. Did she rejoice? I can’t go as far as to say that she did rejoice, but I know that’s what she was trying to do.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer, stage 4. We don’t know where it started, but we knew it was bad. We knew that there was no cure. I don’t know when my mother wrote this prayer, but its very rewarding to know that she understood fully what was happening to her body, and with her soul.  I want to share this prayer with you:

Dear Jesus,
I’m up tonight thinking about things that I cannot fix, nor neither can
I change.  Jesus all I can do is put my trust in you.  I guess Jesus,
when there are no other place to go, no one to turn to it is time to
trust that you will take over.  I’m at my wits end.  My back is against
the wall, Jesus I love you.

 

This gave me the strength to accept my mother’s fate and too know that she accepted her fate. Only a few days later we had her funeral.

I have cried over my loss. The feeling of being an orphan was overwhelming. Over the loss that my kids will have to face that they do not understand, that I did not understand as an adult when my father passed away.

What I haven’t done, is given over to grief. Someone mentioned on my facebook wall that the Bible says to give yourself 7 days to grieve. I did find a little something in a quick search about Job being given 7 days to grieve. But I haven’t done a lot of research here. But I understand the concept. I will try to explain.

When I decided to become a psychology major, I subscribed to Psychology today.  One of the articles that I read was about giving yourself 2 days to grieve, plot revenge, and just be angry after a breakup. After 48 hours, you are to put it behind you, and put yourself first so that you can move forward.

I believe that this is what you should do when you lose a loved one also. Give yourself time to grieve, but celebrate their life also. I know that there will be days that will be so hard you don’t’ think that you can move on, but that is when you must cling to your faith and your God. Know that he has a plan for you, and that it includes what you are going through in that moment.

I won’t tell you to only take 7 days to grieve, I don’t’ think there is a one size fits all answer to grieving. What I will tell you is that God does not want you living in the past. Your loved ones do not want you living in the past either.

Do what you can to move forward, even if you stumble and take a few steps backwards. Keep your momentum going forward. When you need someone to talk to, talk to them. When you need an hour to cry or scream, do just that. But don’t feel sorry for your loved one who you know is with Jesus, try to rejoice!

I will leave you with this video of how my mother celebrated life. My mother lived with constant pain for over 20 years, and when this was video was taken; she was suffering with C. Diff. Colitis along with many other things. I know that this is what she is doing in heaven!

Hyper kid travel tip.

 

A couple weeks ago my kids and I spent the weekend at my mom’s. It was Memorial Day weekend, and with being only an hour from the beach we decided to take a short day trip.

First we had to pick up new sunglasses and t-shirts, then an hour for lunch. Next thing we knew we’d been in the car off and on for a few hours. This is not a good thing with young kids, but I thought that my “older” kids would be okay.  Then I heard this:“Stop licking me!”

 

My 12 year old, you know the one that is a bit hyper from time to time. Especially when he’s been around silly girls and locked in a car for a while…well the things he does just amaze me! My 12 year old was licking his sister!

This child has never been diagnosed ADHD, ADD or any of the other things that kids can be labeled with that show hyper activity. But then again, I don’t really like to label my kids. This doesn’t mean that sometimes I wish that I had something to keep the kid from making me climb the walls.

I knew what I had to do. I had my bag of magic tricks with me, and decided to pull out my secret weapon. This little bottle of Peace & Calming was going to save lives. Well maybe not lives, but it was going to save my sanity for a few more hours.

I placed 1 drop of Peace & Calming essential oil blend on a napkin (you know you have those from fast food joints stashed in the glove box). Then I stuck the napkin in the vent while the a/c was turned on.

 

My kids knew exactly what I was doing! So they all squealed like only tweens can do, and held their breath. Of course they took a deep breath when that was done, and inhaled the aroma of Peace & Calming.

In 5 minutes, my 12 year old son was all  mellow and my mother just looked over at me and smiled.

 

A year ago, this would have never been the case. My 12 year old would have been on everyone’s last nerve before we ever made it to the beach. My teenager would have been begging to go home, and I would have had a migraine. That’s before I was introduced to Young Living oils.

The effects of this great oil blend are astounding! Everyone enjoyed their trip to the beach, and were very relaxed on the ride home. I didn’t remove the napkin until we were in the drive.

Some other great ways we use this oil blend in our home are to help get over bad dreams. We use one drop and rub it into the child’s feet, and then I put a drop on their wrists. Minutes and they are back to sleep. Speaking of sleep, this helps everyone get a good nights sleep, with just a drop on the feet. Someone having a temper tantrum? Same technique and you can calm a screaming child, or even a child who bumped their head.

The list is endless of how you can use this God Made weapon against stress and hyper active kids!

 

If you are interested in trying out Peace & Calming for your hyper child, you can get your own bottle in the Polka Spot Farm Store. 

 

Combating Stress and Depression

 

Christi Daugherty

A few weeks ago I decided to give up depression for Lent. I’ve done pretty well, although some days are tougher than others. Like today. As you can see by the picture above, my life can get a little hectic, especially with all of the kids at home. I love my big family, but some days can really test a mama’s sanity!

Some of the biggest symptoms that I have to deal with are migraines, sleeping way to many hours or sleeping not enough hours. I’m not sure which one of those is worse on my family. What I can share is how I have dealt with some of these things over the past few weeks, and some for months.

My biggest ally is my tub! My tub is my biggest escape from stress. Add some aromatherapy and it can be bliss! One of my favorite essential oils is Joy. Can you imagine just a couple drops from a little brown bottle making all the difference in your day? Well this one really makes a huge difference in me when I’m having signs of depression. I wear this one as purfume on most days, but on those extra hard days I do something special.

What you will need:

  • 5 drops Joy Essential Oil Blend
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Unscented Body Wash

Take these 3 ingredients and whip them with your mixer until they become a nice, thick bath foam. Add a couple table spoons to your bath and relax! Store in a glass container.

 

Some of the other oils that I have been using are Stress Away Roll-on, Peace and Calming, and En-R-Gee.

When I’m having one of “those moments” where I really just want to scream, I grab my Stress Away Roll-On and roll in across my wrists. I like to smell this one because its a warm vanilla scent. It almost instantly calms whatever is going on in my head. I can’t speak highly enough about this oil blend! I want to sniff it all day! And sometimes I just uncap it and take a nice whiff. Its so luxurious!

Peace and Calming is an oil blend that we have been using to calm my daughter from her nightmares and get her back to sleep in the middle of the night. I take a drop and rub it into her feet and on her wrists. She likes to keep her wrists near her nose so that she can inhale the scent, which calms her until she can fall asleep. Normally this only takes a few minutes. So mama keeps this one on her bed side table for the same exact thing. I use this oil almost every night on myself to help me sleep. Or when I wake up in the middle of the night and cant’ seem to calm my brain from talking to itself.

Now on those nights that I’ve been up reading the Hunger Games Trilogy or just can’t seem to get enough sleep, I use En-R-Gee. You know that mama’s work is never done, so I certainly need a pick me up. I can’t say that this oil smells amazing to me, because it doesn’t. Not to start with anyways. It takes a few minutes, then I start searching for that yummy scent. A lot of oil blends are like that, kind of like perfume they change with your body chemistry. Anyways, on to the story. When I use this oil blend, I kinda look back at my day and see all of the extra things that I’ve done without noticing that I had that much energy to do them. I don’t feel like I’ve drank one of those energy drinks that everyone is talking about, or even a cup of coffee. I just have natural energy that helps me get through the day. I just have to make sure that I don’t use this too late in the day, or I will be reading until 4am again!

I can’t say enough about these oils and combating my depression. It has helped tremendously. The hardest thing for me is to remember to pick them up and use them. I keep these and a few more sitting in places that I know I will use them most often. I keep En-R-Gee on my desk, and Peace and Calming beside my bed. I think that is what’s essential to using them when you need them most, keep them handy. It’s always the simple things, right?

 

You can find all of these oils on the Depression Relief Page.