My toddler and I are enjoying the fall weather that has made its way to Oklahoma. We’ve had quite a few rainy days where we’ve had to stay inside, but there have also been a lot of nice days to hang out outdoors.
Fall is my favorite season, so I am really excited that my kiddo is old enough to enjoy it this year. Here are some of the things we have been up to or are looking forward to doing this year together!
#1 – Pumpkin patch
We visited a pumpkin patch or two last year and my son enjoyed it, but he wasn’t as mobile or talkative as he is this year. I plan on taking him back to the pumpkin patch this year and pulling him on a little wagon ride through the pumpkins!
#2 – Decorating pumpkins
We’ve already bought our son a pumpkin this year and I have several different supplies to decorate it with. I don’t think we will try carving this year because toddlers are obviously not safe with sharp objects, but I do have puff balls, glue, stickers, markers, etc! I am probably more excited about this than he is, though he is pretty happy to have a “pet” pumpkin in the living room.
#3 – Making fall snacks
While we do have food allergies and can’t always eat some of the goodies that come out in the fall, we have modified some recipes to be safe for us. My favorite this year has been a crustless pumpkin pie that has stevia and vanilla in it. My son loves mixing things and helping cook, so this is perfect for us both to safely enjoy!
#4 – Window clings
When I was younger, my grandma used to have window clings that she would dig out of the attic for Halloween. They usually were images of haunted houses, ghosts, bats, etc. Some of them were a bit scary for me, but I wanted to start this tradition with my son, so I looked for some at Wal-Mart.
We picked two 99 cent sheets out together and we both love putting them on the window! They are reusable so we play with them nearly every day right now. They are of friendly looking candy corn, bats, and pumpkins, so very age appropriate and lacking in the horror department.
#5 – Playing in leaves
My son and I go on a nature walk every week after we get done with work. There is a little trail we walk on where the leaves have begun to turn and fall off the trees. We love stomping on each leaf as we walk or jumping in piles (that I have checked for bugs and snakes first) as we go along.
#6 – Fall crafts
My son loves to paint and decorate things. I’ve been teaching him to put coins under a piece of paper and draw over them to transfer the pattern to the paper. I used to do this with leaves as a child and will be trying this with him soon. I also plan on doing some finger painting with his handprint and making the painting into a turkey!
#7 – Reading fall themed books or watching movies
I loved Lumpkin the Pumpkin and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown as a kid. I’ve already introduced my kiddo to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (which we both loved) and we’ve been reading fall-themed books for the last few weeks.
We’ve been enjoying this time of year and I cannot wait to choose a costume for the reformation carnival at the end of the month.
What are you doing with your little one this fall?
I received an advance copy of Rebecca Lindenbach’s “Why I Didn’t Rebel” and let me just say, I loved it!
Why I Didn’t Rebel is a must-read message of hope and healing for both Christian parents and adolescents. Through anecdotal stories and empirical evidence, Rebecca makes a compelling case for what causes rebellion and how it can be prevented.
Because I talk a lot about sexuality (in specific, how not to talk about purity), I often get asked lots of questions surrounding these topics. Among them is the question of how to handle sex education.
It is my genuine conviction that sex education is the sole responsibility of the parents and should be taught by them in every instance where it is possible. I have many reasons for this, the simplest being that the education needs to be tailored to the child’s needs over a period of years. Sex education is not meant to simply be one conversation, but an ongoing dialog with your child. Here are some of the things that I believe are essential to a holistic approach when teaching sex education.
#1 Start Early
By this, I don’t mean explain sexual intercourse in graphic detail to your preschoolers, but do lay the foundation for future conversations early. You can do this by teaching your child about their bodies and the anatomically correct terminology for their body parts.
#2 Don’t Let Fear Rule
It isn’t bad to be embarrassed when talking about a topic as sensitive as sexuality, but don’t allow fear to silence you or to cause you to put up unnecessary, excessive rules with your child. Being silent because you believe your child will hear about sex from someone else is, quite honestly, bordering on neglect. They may hear about it from others, but that won’t necessarily come with factual information or any Biblical boundaries.
On the flip-side, it is detrimental to create so many boundaries and rules for your child out of your fear that they will mess up. I believe that legalism is driven out of parental fear and the opportunistic nature of Satan, and purity culture is just one example of that.
#3 Be Honest
I cannot count the number of instances that a peer or acquaintance has found out that a parent lied to them about waiting for marriage to have sex. Often the parent lied because they believed their child would be more likely to engage in sex outside of marriage if they knew that their parent had, but in hiding the truth, they added to the likelihood that their child wouldn’t trust them going forward.
You don’t have to divulge your sexual history to your child, but don’t lie to them about it. By telling the truth, you are empowering them to make good decisions based on fact and, sometimes, a parent’s past mistakes.
#4 Be Factual
When I was a child, I had a lot of false information about sex given by authority figures. This includes, but isn’t limited to: believing that you could get pregnant by sleeping in the same bed as a boy, or french kissing. Rest assured when I say that as a naive homeschool girl, I believed the second for far longer than I should have.
Even though it is tempting to tell your child tall tales, do not do it with sex. It can break down their trust and discourage them from relying on you for the facts.
#5 Set Biblical Boundaries
Children need boundaries. They might not seem like it but, given the appropriate ones, they will thrive. God knew this when he created boundaries surrounding sex. A crucial part of sex education is teaching children these boundaries and, more importantly, the reason why they are there.
Minding sexual boundaries should come out of us wanting to follow God’s commandments because of the unconditional love He has shown us in Jesus dying for us. They aren’t to be mean or to spoil our fun, they are there because God, in His infinite wisdom, placed them there.
#6 Distinguish Social Mores and Parental Preferences from a Biblical Command
Something I have seen a lot of in my upbringing and experience with spiritual abuse is parents passing off their rules for God’s will. This is a dangerous practice that will hinder both your relationship with your child and their relationship with God.
Never letting a couple be alone together in any capacity (including cellular communications) is a parental rule, not mandated by God’s word. Make sure to distinguish between social mores, parental rules, and God’s word.
#7 Enlist Help When Necessary
Not everyone remembers what it was like to be a preteen going through puberty, so it is only natural that you might be concerned about gaps in what you are teaching your children during those times when it comes to sex ed.
Full disclosure on this one, I am an affiliate for this, but I recommend enlisting help with things like Sheila Gregoire’s new course called The Whole Story. She created it with her two daughters and it covers a lot of topics that are helpful during puberty like periods, boys, sexuality, and bullying. There is a younger course for moms and their 10-12 year old daughters and an older course for moms and their daughters in the 13-15 age range as well.
And if you need any help learning how not to talk about purity, you can always have me come talk at your church. 😉
#8 Model Unconditional Love
While setting spiritual and physical boundaries is important, it is also important to remember that your child, like you, is a sinful human being. Do not expect them to fall short (that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy) in some way when it comes to sexual immorality, but do not allow that to upend you and see them as a disappointment. What is of ultimate importance is that they know that you love them unconditionally, just as God does.
#9 Don’t Enable
Demonstrating unconditional love doesn’t just mean accepting sexual immorality. It also means occasionally exercising tough love and providing earthly consequences for sinful actions. This may involve saying, “You won’t be having pre-marital sex under my roof” and then enforcing it by kicking an over age child out, or it may mean something like church discipline for repeated unrepentant sexual immorality. Real loving relationships include steering people back to Jesus when they’ve gone astray.
#10 Teach Them Where Their Worth is Found
The most important aspect of the spiritual side of Christian sex education is to teach your child where their worth comes from. The world and sometimes even the church tells them that it is found in their sexuality. This happens in two ways. The first is by way of the secular rating system that establishes a “Sexual market value” to people based on their appearance. The second is through bad analogies in the church to describe sexual transgressions as an identity for people like “chewed in gum,” spit in water,” and “de-petaled flower.”
Your identity and your child’s identity is not found in what has or hasn’t been done sexually, it is found in what Jesus has done for all of us. His death and Resurrection are what defines who we are and what we are worth: priceless Children of God.
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Motherhood can be really challenging, especially if you surround yourself with negativity and people who act like children are a burden. To combat that, I’ve made this video on 5 Things I Admire About My Toddler!
This is a video on all the crazy things I did before I found out I was pregnant (I blame the hormones!!), all the weird cravings I had, etc.
My old website was called “New Crunchy Mom“. I’ve talked a little bit about how I decided on that name previously, but the long and short of it is that when I got pregnant with my son, I was added to a bunch of online “crunchy groups”. They were all variations of the name “crunchy mom” and contained a lot of the same people since they were generally local groups. I’ve since left almost all of those groups and quit using the term completely, and a lot of people have asked me why.
I’ve often been asked, “What is a crunchy mom?” (most assuming it is something to do with food, which is a good guess). It is really different for everyone, but the urban dictionary nails it pretty well here:
“Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.” Source
The part that I actually fall under is really kind of narrow, actually. I’m not vegan, vegetarian, or politically left-leaning (far, far from it – I’m not particularly right-wing either). The reason I used the term was due to the fact that we fit with choosing more natural options in our household and eat very clean like many of the other crunchy mothers. I was told that I planned on doing a lot of things like breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, organic foods, and other things that fit the “crunchy” lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I was not told about the more left-leaning aspects and social justice warrior side of the “crunchy” groups and was unprepared for how large of a presence that would have in them.
Now, if I am perfectly honest, anyone can be a total butthead, from any political background. I’ve just found that this subset of the population to be insufferable. Not everyone in it, of course, I still have a few “crunchy mom” friends. In fact, when I decided to leave behind my old site, many of the nice crunchy moms that I know seemed a little wounded that I was separating myself from the name (because they call themselves crunchy moms) due to the negativity, anti-Christian and political focus that I saw at large. I continue to keep in touch with them though because they don’t see fit to breathe fire every time I talk about doctrinally sound Christianity,when I give my toddler canned baby or get angry that I have given up on attachment parenting.
I noticed that for all the talk of “support” and “inclusive community”, it is, at the base, simply a lie within these circles. Now, I don’t fault anyone for the exclusivity. I think that the social push for inclusiveness in every situation is a literal poison for relationships and social settings. Long story short, crunchy moms (or moms groups in general, really) groups in my experience are full of false advertising when it comes to support. Unless you fit the mold, you are gonna have a hard time.
I didn’t fit the mold.
Do I care? Not really.
My life is a lot less stressful without sanctimommies and fire-breathing, arm-chair politicians scrutinizing my Facebook profile. It wore on my health to be around people who were always offended, always angry and always looking for an opportunity to call someone ignorant.
All mommy groups are different, and I am still in several groups, but only one or two actual “crunchy” groups. I only tolerate the ones that truly believe in respecting other people and being helpful and supportive. I value my time and attention too much to give it to people who live for their next Facebook fight or political clash (while pretending that what they are all about is helping other moms).
Ultimately though, I am just not a fan of labels. Considering I studied Sociology in college, this may come as a bit of a surprise, but it is true. I’ve been labeled as so many things in my life, and taught that labels were important (and they are in some situations). I just don’t accept that for motherhood. No one is fully one type of parent or another and really, it doesn’t matter.
What matters to me, and the reason why I transitioned to this website, is that the only identity or “label” I want to be known by: Christian.
I don’t want to hang out in circles where I can’t say I’m a Christian without being blamed for things I had nothing to do with or being told that I am what is wrong with the world. That I “judge people” while simultaneously being “judged” based off of the fact that I have said I’m Christian. Talk about hypocrisy.
I don’t use the term crunchy anymore because I don’t like the things it is associated with. I don’t want to be included in a group of people who harass, bully, attack, create and thrive off of drama. It isn’t healthy, and I don’t want people thinking that I condone those things. I’d rather stand for the folks who have also seen this behavior and choose to distance themselves, or at least call themselves “Crunchy Christians”, rather than support these groups.
The world isn’t going to end just because I’ve chosen not to ally myself with a parenting style or camp anymore, though by the talk of some you might think it. To me, it seems like just one more way to complicated parenting and make it harder than it has to be.