Children’s Books

The first book for the monthly book review is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. This book has been around since the mid ’90s. It was published by Candlewick Press.

Guess How Much I Love You fills your heart. When reading it your child, you can tell them how much you love them through this story. It has some funny moments like when the little hare pulls down the big hare’s ears to make sure that big hare was listening. It makes you want to say aw at the end when the two hares lay down next to each other under the stars and whisper “I love you.”

The pictures are very well done, despite only using a few colors throughout. It is simple but effective. The writing is well done as children think exactly the way the little hare does. That being said, as an adult and as children learn to read using this book, the names Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare are not easy to say. They tend to ruin the flow of the rest of the dialogue that is smooth the whole way through.

Overall, this book is one I would recommend. The pictures are clear and fun, the words flow, and the book teaches how much a parent and a child can love each other.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are always the rage for at least a couple weeks after the new year begins. They can be anything from eating healthier and exercising to trying a new clothing style. Most people say they will commit to new year’s resolutions, but end up giving up before the spring starts. The reasons include not having enough time, not enough money, or enough strength to stay committed.

It is even tougher for parents to stick to any type of new year’s resolution. Whenever there seems to be a free moment, something happens with a child and the resolution gets pushed to the back of the mind and forgotten. Parents put their children first, especially when their children need anything. This makes it difficult to do anything outside of necessary commitments.

I may not have a toddler, only a two-month-old, but there still seems to be little extra time. I come home from work, have supper, spend time with my wife and daughter, and It is already bed time. It feels like there is no time for editing manuscripts as I do on the side, any time to rest, or exercise. But I need to find time to do these things. I have duties to do with editing. I need time to exercise as I haven’t really done any exercise since running the Indy Mini Marathon in May. Taking time to rest and relax is important.

It feels impossible to accomplish all of that in a day. All of it may not happen every day because there are more important things to do—like work and spending time with my wife and daughter. Portioning out time in the day can help, and planning tasks that need accomplished will provide clear cut direction. Calendars and planners are essential to completing everything that needs done. I like to write down events in my calendar and write every task I need to complete. It helps me stay focused and even if I don’t complete everything that day, I move over what needs to be done still to the next day(s).

Here are a few steps that I am using and think will be useful for you too:

1    Don’t dwell on everything that must get done.

It is too easy to become overwhelmed by all the tasks that need completed. Take a deep breath and think about something fun. It can be seeing your child smile or a family outing that happened recently (as long as it had a fun moment, of course). This will help bring your mind at ease just for a little bit to help you get started. Prioritize the tasks and take them one at a time.

2   Plan out your day in a written, tangible way

If you are anything like me, it is too easy to forget things. It doesn’t matter if it is extremely important, I have probably forgotten it. I can promise you (and my wife can too) that I have forgotten necessary items because I didn’t write them down. Use a calendar or a planner or an app of either, but write/type it out. I have written events in the monthly calendar and then in the daily/weekly sections written the exact same thing plus any specific tasks that don’t require being input into the calendar. As long as I write down all of my tasks and look at my planner, I will know what needs to get done that day and what can wait if an issue or unexpected event comes up. This makes it simple on what I expect to get done and will make sure I don’t forget anything.

3   Make sure to include me time

As I said earlier, it is extremely easy to constantly be doing something. It feels like there is always something, whether it be for work, family, or cleaning the house. It is important that we provide for our families with money to buy food, clothing, and shelter. It is also important to love our spouses and children on a daily basis. With all the people and jobs in our lives, it is easy to never end up spending time alone. But taking a breather and doing something alone that you enjoy can be relaxing and recharge your body and mind. Take a bath, read a book, go for a run, or watch a movie. Anything that provides the recharge time will be beneficial. It isn’t only to keep you sane, but keep you just a little bit healthier. That’s the point of most new year’s resolutions, right? To help us realize who we are and what we can do to improve our daily lives.

 

Take these steps, use them, and improve your life. You will feel like you have more control, feel healthier, and provide a better life for you and your family. Fulfill that resolution that you have been trying to finish for a long time, or complete a new goal. Follow these steps and you and your family will be thankful you did so.

Living Loudly

It’s been said that actions speak louder than words. Yet, I spent my college years studying how words can be crafted into amazing, beautiful stories. I discovered how each word has an enormous impact on the meaning of a sentence and in turn, how that affected the next sentence.

               Lately, I have realized that actions really do speak louder than words. I can say all the right things to make my wife happy, but I need to step up in my actions. Of course, sometimes I don’t say the right thing. But more often than not, my actions are in question. I don’t react in the right way when Sarah and I are having a conversation, or I don’t help her as much as I should as she is healing from childbirth. I have chosen myself plenty more times than I should have. I have focused on how I feel: whether I am hungry, thirsty, or tired. I chose to get myself food, water, and sleep before getting Sarah what she needs. I have failed in my duties as a husband often.

               Along with needing to work on my actions, there is another thought I have been contemplating. It is extremely easy to do life with Sarah and Eloise. I wake up each morning, help change diapers before I go to work, come home from work, make supper, and then we go to bed. I enjoy every second with them and can’t wait to see them when I get home from work. But it isn’t just about “doing life.” It is about helping Sarah and Eloise grow. Sarah and I have been married for two years now and it is so easy to go about each day as husband and wife without thinking about deeper issues. As a part of our vows, we agreed to help and guide each other to grow as human beings. I have been focusing on meaningless things in the everyday without remembering that part of our vows. I need to ask how I can make both Sarah and Eloise’s day better. I need to ask what I can do to make sure they know how much I love and care for them. I need to ask what I can do to make sure they grow, whether it be a few words or more importantly, an action.

               It isn’t easy to think about how every action one does effects multiple people. It worries me because I know I need to do better. I don’t handle situations correctly many times. I act quickly without thinking and after thinking about what I did for hours, I realize what I should have done. But by then, it was too late. Now, I am working on thinking about my actions and the consequences on others every day. Especially on my wife and daughter, who are the most affected by my actions. If I don’t commit good actions, I cannot help and guide them in a morally correct manner. It begins with myself, knowing who I am, and who I need to be to become the best husband and father that I can. It is a daily process, one I hope I can say changes me for the better so that I can be a positive difference-maker every day.