Category: kids

We’ve lived in this house for over a year, now, and -as you do- we’re still in the process of decorating. There were several spaces that looked fine to guests, but weren’t quite done in my eyes.

So this fall, we got a large rug for the great room and a console table to go behind the couch in there.

And I went on an organizing rampage and Chris went out shopping for furniture, and we made over the rec room upstairs into more of a movie room.

If I were a fashion-y, design-y blogger, this is where you’d get a dozen pictures of my perfectly curated house and a totally Pinnable tutorial for fixing up your very own movie room.

I’m not that kinda blogger.

I tell you that, so I can tell you this story.

After our recent decorating spree, I was standing in the great room folding laundry. Jonas bopped down the stairs, and as he came through on his way to get a snack from the kitchen, he called out, “By the way, Mom, I really like the home upgrades. It’s looking great around here!”

 

 

 

 

Upgrades.

Because when you’re a Minecraft-obsessed almost-10-year-old, that’s about the extent of your home decor awareness and appreciation.

I’m okay with that. 🙂

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

But it might not be “The Talk” you’re thinking.

“When we drive to At-a-lanta on Saturday, are we going to see that police again? Remembah last time we went to Georgia we see’d a police?”

“Well, we will probably see at least one police car because it’s a long drive. But it probably won’t be the same police officer we saw last time.”

“Yeah, but when we see’d the police the last time I was SO scared and I thought, ‘Oh no, oh no, are we gonna go to jail?’

“You don’t have to be scared, baby. I will drive us safely and follow the rules. We won’t go to jail. You know, it’s the job of police officers to help keep everyone safe.”

“But dey don’t!”

“What do you mean they don’t?” (Now, I was thinking, I know of several instances where police officers have failed at their sworn duty to keep everyone safe, but I didn’t think she did.)

“Remembah when that girl, that poor girl was so sad, and she had long hair and that police was hurting her on the ground? And she was cryin for her mama. She wasn’t keeping safe.”

*****

And so my heart broke a little. But, at the same time, there was a glimmer of rightness in having this conversation with my baby. Because she was watching and she was listening that day the McKinney, Texas pool party video went viral. She heard that young girl’s cries, and my outrage and my sadness about the whole incident.

See, I believe that white moms need to have The Talk –not the birds & the bees talk, the police talk– with their white children, too. For far too long, black and brown parents have had the conversation with their children while, in ignorance and bliss, white parents sat in privilege and just… never even thought about it. But that has to end. It ends for Mike Brown. It ends for Tamir Rice. It ends for Sandra Bland. It ends for John Crawford.

Here’s the really important thing, though. If you’re one of my white friends, and you’re reading this and thinking about this subject, please don’t just listen to me. You need to listen to Black voices. It’s not my place to speak for the people who are really on the recieving end of the trauma and terror of police violence. You need to tune in and listen: listen online, via Facebook and Twitter and great blogs and websites, listen in person. And then you need to have this conversation with your kids, too.

*****

So Abi and I talked a little more, in the car on our way home, about how most police officers are wonderful, conscientious, courageous men and women. It’s always important to be respectful and polite when we speak to them. But sometimes, even police officers make mistakes or even do things out of anger. Sometimes, like in the video she remembered, one might even hurt someone just because of what they look like.

I admit, I felt really inadequate to the task and I worried how much she was ready for. But like every important parenting conversation – it’s not a one and done deal. We’ll revisit this, again and again. I have the chance to get it right. I’ll go over it with her siblings.

And I hope you will, too.  (In fact: if you’ve already started having The Talk with your kids, I’d love to hear what you said at various ages. Please drop me a note! Comments go to moderation, so if you’d rather yours stay private please just say so and it won’t be published publicly.)

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

 

Our first snowfall of 2016 wasn’t too much. About two inches, but there was some freezing underneath. We woke up Sunday morning to news of churches cancelling services (including ours) and plenty of accidents all around the tri-state area.

Normally, we would have just enjoyed a morning of hibernation. But we had planned Susannah’s birthday party for that afternoon at the ice rink, so we were concerned that it would be closed due to the road conditions. Or – even if the rink was open – that her friends’ families would stay away for concern over the roads.

Luckily for sweet Susannah, The Edge was open for business… and almost all of her classmates were able to come and celebrate our girl! It was a nice party, and it was interesting to watch my kids’ personalities play out on the ice.

Susannah was determined to spend every last second on the ice, and she wasn’t worried about ditching the milk-crate support. Being out there, gliding around, was more important to her than whether she needed ‘training wheels’ or not. Her pals from school tended to interact and skate together, “race” across the center of the ice, and zoom around to help each other up when they tumbled –but Susannah sort of floated in and out of those interactions and was just as happy skating solo. And that’s always been her way. She charts her own course, and while she’s very sociable and loves the people who cross her path, it truly doesn’t bother her if she’s on a different map and headed for a different destination.

Abigail went out fearlessly with her crate and didn’t want me to help much. After the first half hour, she even started skating without the box support! She has incredible balance and moves with more confidence and grace than I had at four. 🙂 Abi didn’t want the bigger kids or the rink workers to help her when she fell down. It was either me, or on her own; she didn’t really want strangers in her space. And that’s Abi’s way. She has physical grace and she really trusts her body, but she doesn’t much trust other people beyond a very tightly defined circle of family and besties. When she’s hurt or upset, it’s still an Only Mom Will Do deal.

Jonas was a little bit nervous when he first stepped out, but as soon as he got his ice legs under him, he had a blast. He really hit it off with Susannah’s friend J, and spent most of the time with him – they would race, challenge each other to try new things, help each other up when they both decided to abandon crates. He giggled and grinned and lit up the rink with his happiness. And that’s my big guy; he approaches new things with caution, but when he warms up –and especially, when he warms up to a buddy– he can tackle anything, and he does it with joy.

And as it turns out, when we got home from the skating party, we got our chance to hibernate. The schools decided to make Monday a snow day!

 

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

I promised to get back into blogging this year, so how about a quick recap?

Abigail is four years old. She attends Parents’ Day Out at our church two mornings a week and dance (combination ballet & tap) class on Friday mornings. We started the school year doing preschool at home but – full honesty – I haven’t pushed her with academics nearly as much as I did her brother and sister. What can I say? Chris swears she’s the last baby and it just all feels so different with her.  She got glasses a few months ago, and our eye doctor diagnosed her with amblyopia – so she has to wear an eye patch a few hours each day to correct it. She’s in speech therapy for help with those adorable lispy mistakes she makes; I’m so proud of her progress but it’s always a little bittersweet when a kid leaves behind those babyisms and starts talking like a grown-up. She’s funny and tender and still a kid who’s smiley 99% of the time.

Susannah will be turning seven in a few days. She’s rocking the first grade at her Montessori school. She has lost a whole bunch of teeth – I have lost count and I didn’t write down every time she lost one. This seems like something a mom should keep track of. – and she always pulls them out by herself. She joined the Girl Scouts this year and is a Daisy in her school troop. (She’s selling cookies this week, if you need a Thin Mint fix. Just call me!) At church, she portrayed Mary in the Christmas pageant and she loves singing in the choir.

Jonas is nine (turning ten in February) and in fifth grade. He’s tall (Dad’s genes) and wears glasses (Mom’s genes) and such a smart young guy. He’s playing basketball this winter and played soccer in the fall. He’s also gotten a little more aware of Internet privacy, so sometimes he asks me not to put things on Facebook – I have a feeling that will extend to the blog, too.

Chris is happily practicing general surgery and really enjoys working with his partners. In addition to his dream car – the Mustang he bought in 2014 – in 2015, he got his dream truck! It’s a Ford F-150 something-or-other with a bunch of souped-up features that make him very happy (and that I don’t ever remember!)

And I’m making some changes. I’ve retired as a La Leche League Leader; even though I enjoy working with moms and babies, it had become difficult to continue doing volunteer work without much support. Plus, I need to make some margin in my time to add new things… like writing a book.

I’ve wanted to write a novel for my entire adult life, and most of my childhood, too. But I’ve always let fear hold me back – fear of failing. Fear that I couldn’t really write a long-form story that stays engaging and coherent. Fear that my ideas were too trite, too cliche, too tropey. Fear that people would read my stories and hate them – read my stories and hate me. So I just never did it. This summer I had a turning point about my fears, but that’s a post for another day; this fall I decided to join thousands of other participants crazy enough to try to write the first 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

I spent November doing NaNoWriMo and churned out 51,638 words of the first draft of my first novel. In December added another 11,000 words and then gave my (terrible, awful, okay maybe there are a few redeeming bits) baby to three trusted beta readers. Their feedback is coming in now, and I’m working through the wisdom in The Story Grid – so I have a plan for January to be a month of rewriting and new writing.

There are still several more steps before this book sees the light of a public day. Another round of beta readers, and the edits they suggest. Then querying agents, and probably getting a bunch of rejections, and maybe one acceptance. Then shopping the novel to publishers, and getting a bunch of rejections, and maybe (it only takes one!) a contract offer. And then – if all the stars align – maybe someday you’ll be able to find my book at your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

So tell me, chickadees, what’s new with you?

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

This seems to be a moody, contemplative day. Have a glance inside my head. This is real talk.

  • I’m feeling twitchy, sitting at my kitchen table surrounded by stuff. We moved lots of things out of the upstairs bedrooms to facilitate the carpet project on Tuesday; when the guys left yesterday we headed off to a fellowship night at church and didn’t put everything away. Today they are working on the stairs themselves, so we can’t haul things back up. I am trapped in piles of mess, and my OCD-senses are tingling.
  • I don’t cope well when I have many tasks to do in a short time frame. My temper snaps and sizzles close to the surface. This is my biggest struggle in this season of life. I need to find a way to release the stress and anger. Rationally I know it’s pointless; spiritually I know it’s sin. A good word from the Apostle Paul: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7:15-20)
  • These last two weeks of summer vacation before our big kids start school remind me of the end of pregnancy… I am looking forward to the new season, to all the excitement of first days and meeting teachers and buying supplies. I feel stuck and draggy, waiting around for The Big Day, not able to do anything to hasten its arrival. And I’m also weepy and sad, mourning the loss of the old way of being and behaving. I already miss them, and they’re not even gone. I already worry about how Abigail will handle their absence. It’s a season of zwischen, and zwischen brings aches and growing pains.
  • We spent a couple of hours last night hanging out with our small group from church. We shared a meal and played Scattergories, and laughed and talked. I need more of that in my life – time to just be, as a person – not in my roles of mother or of wife or of doctor’s wife or expert on anything.

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

For the first summer in a long time, I am not researching curriculum or making lesson plans. The laminator is unplugged; the handwriting posters are packed away. Big changes are underway at the Nebel house of learning…

NoTeacherEver

Jonas and Susannah are enrolled for the fall at Maximilian Montessori Academy.

If you’ve known me for very long, you know that I’m deeply passionate about education. Especially early childhood education. I’m an advocate for home education, and I believe that parents make amazing teachers. Our journey from birth through grade three (for Jonas) and birth through Kindergarten (for Susannah) has been full of delight and discovery.

I’ve watched my oldest two kids become readers and writers. I’ve been blessed beyond measure to spend my days teaching, guiding, and discipling.

Chris and I spent about a month in prayer before touring private schools, and we felt immense peace when we entered the doors of MMA. Both kids are ready for this step in their education, for different reasons and in different ways, but they are both excited and positive about this change.

We’re not anti-homeschoolers now, or even former-homeschoolers. Not really. After all, before we know it, Abigail will be ready to start Preschool With Mama and the cycle will begin again. 🙂

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

subscribe

Categories

Categories

Archives

Archives

Latest tweets