Expectations are my nemesis, but I dealt them a blow.

Does anyone else ever struggle with unmet expectations? Slipping back into routine is rarely easy for us, but I have to admit that the biggest problem is always, ALWAYS my expectations. But not this week...

Expectations

I have a lot of them, especially at the start of new seasons.

I’m a dreamer, a visionary. In my head I play out how life is going to go and then I plan accordingly.

It works, sometimes.  But usually I’m left a little frustrated and occasionally feeling defeated.  There are beautiful God ordained moments tucked into the everyday and incredible progress.  But if those pesky expectations that I had so much fun dreaming up aren’t met, my emotions get the better of me and it all feels for naught.

We’ve been travelling and or hanging out with family who came to Arizona for the last half of December and the first few days of the new year.  It’s been busy, messy, and yes, beautiful.  This last weekend dawned with an invitation from a friend to tackle a freezer cooking session. {She’s officially hooked me on OnceaMonthMeals.} She prepped a lot.  I talked… and still managed to get some cooking done.

Then lesson planning commenced with fervor.  My goal: to hit the ground running on Monday.  Sunday’s sermon, ironically, addressed this very topic.  Isn’t it crazy how God does that sometimes? He spoke to my pastor and prompted him to preach on the importance of learning to listen and not fall into the American obsession of hitting the ground running (yep, he used those exact words).

While I diligently worked to pull things together that afternoon I quickly realized there was no way to pull it all together.  I was not going to hit the ground running on Monday.

God spoke to me in that moment (and I listened!). He reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend as we prepped those freezer meals.  Her word for the year was “acceptance”.  In this moment, God led me to “borrow” her word.  I not only accepted the situation, I embraced it.

I remembered:

…this season is short.

…drink in the moment.

…it’s about relationships.

The result:

VICTORY over my nemesis, Expectations!  At least in the skirmish called Monday.

Slipping back into routine is rarely easy for us, but I have to admit that the biggest problem is always, ALWAYS my expectations.  But not this week.

Instead we embraced sunshine, delighted in a new read aloud, played with numbers, worked through conflict, and tackled heart issues. It wasn’t easy.  But it was good.

We even embraced week 5 without a car and embarked on a “Walk Across the Neighborhood” in honor of our new read-aloud A Walk Across America.*Does anyone else ever struggle with unmet expectations? Slipping back into routine is rarely easy for us, but I have to admit that the biggest problem is always, ALWAYS my expectations. But not this week...
Trey-man insisted on bringing protection because what adventure isn’t complete without weapons?  And Greta, sweet Greta, is in love with her new backpack and I only ended up hauling her on my back with the ladybug backpack in hand for half of our 2 mile jaunt.
Does anyone else ever struggle with unmet expectations? Slipping back into routine is rarely easy for us, but I have to admit that the biggest problem is always, ALWAYS my expectations. But not this week... Does anyone else ever struggle with unmet expectations? Slipping back into routine is rarely easy for us, but I have to admit that the biggest problem is always, ALWAYS my expectations. But not this week... Does anyone else ever struggle with unmet expectations? Slipping back into routine is rarely easy for us, but I have to admit that the biggest problem is always, ALWAYS my expectations. But not this week...

*I have the fondest memories of my mom reading A Walk Across America when I was a girl and I’m thrilled to be reading it to my kids now.  But I will say that I called my mom because I didn’t remember some of the stuff at the beginning – you know unsaved college student in the early 1970’s kind of stuff.  It does deal with some more mature themes (in a very subtle way) in the beginning of the book. My kids and I had a fascinating discussion on things like Woodstock, Vietnam, the 60’s/70’s and God’s design for relationships…

Destination themed gifts and the value in giving experiences instead of more stuff…

Do your kids need more stuff? Yep, mine don’t either.  In a culture bent on buying the latest, greatest toy or gadget, we have the powerful opportunity to rethink gift giving and set a tone in our home that is counter-cultural.

Do your kids need more stuff? Yep, mine don’t either.  In a culture bent on buying the latest, greatest toy or gadget, we have the powerful opportunity to rethink gift giving and set a tone in our home that is counter-cultural.

That’s why we’ve sought to shield our children from the onslaught of commercials, from things in this life that produce the gimmie’s. That is why we have sought to give gifts that serve a purpose – to develop their minds, their imaginations, to promote open-ended exploration or delve into historical or scientific explorations.

Oh this describes you too? {31 Days of Gifts that Inspire Learning | HeatherHaupt.com}

As I wrap up my series today, I wanted to share one last tip.  Gifts don’t have to be physical.  We have opportunities everywhere to give them the gift of experiences. You have the opportunity to help your kids understand that experiences, just like “stuff” shouldn’t be an expectation, but rather a gift.

Some of my favorite gifts as a girl centered around experiences – even one’s that weren’t directed at me.  I still remember the year, my parents gave my sister horseback riding lessons.  It was so much fun to sit on the fence and watch her at her first lesson.  It was a magical experience, not only for her, but for her sisters as well. Why?  Because experiences were valued as precious; because my parents cultivated the mindset that we were each individuals with particular interests – enabling us to appreciate what other’s received even if we didn’t get the same thing.

The opportunities are endless.  Today, I just want to share a few ideas to get you all thinking creatively so you can find ideas that fit within your family and your particular children…  You can give a creative card explaining the experience and/or pair it with a small gift to help build anticipation.

Think LOCAL! 

Let’s start by thinking local.  What kinds of interests or potential hobbies interest your child?  Giving the gift of special lessons or a trip to a local place could be a whole lot of fun.

Horse Back Riding Lessons

  • Classic Horse book, like Black Beauty
  • Boots (or any other essential that the riding instructor doesn’t provide)

Zoo Membership 

  • Animal Crackers – In our home crackers are a big treat.  I consider them at best mostly empty calories.  But announcing a zoo membership gift along with each child having their very own box with string handle has always been a big {frugal} gift hit in our home when announcing a zoo membership gift! You can pick them up at just about any grocery store!
  • Animal Lunchbox – so they can pack a lunch for the excusion(these were a big hit from a great-aunt a few years back).

giftExperience

Baseball Little League (or any other sports)

Giving the gift of a team sport!

With multiple kiddos and a tight budget, we don’t sign our kids up for team sports often.  In fact, they’ve only done it once.  But that year was a huge hit.  My parents gave them a card announcing the opportunity to play little league baseball/teeball and then presented them with a glove and ball so they could start practicing!  The boys were so excited and savored each and every game. My littlest insisted on wearing his history costume knickers to each and every game…

Dance or Gymnastic Lessons

Think DESTINATION!

Vacations CAN count as gifts.  Vacations are a privilege, not a right.  Giving the gift of a special vacation makes for a beautiful gift full of memories and learning opportunities!

Grand Canyon or other National Park

Disney Land/Disney WorldGiving the Gift of Disney!

My in-laws took the whole family to Disney World as our Christmas gift one year.  It was AMAZING!  I didn’t miss the opportunity to incorporate a little learning into the adventure. (In addition to learning about Walt Disney himself, my poor children needed to learn about Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and other classic Disney characters…)

 

 The opportunities are endless.  With a little creativity, you can give the gift of memory making experiences!

I’ll be stepping back from blogging in December after this week, but you can keep up with us over on Instagram

To check out the whole series:31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!

5 Great “Faith-Building” Chapter Book Series for Boys

FaithBuildingChapterBooks

Books make such wonderful gifts.  But for active boys, the element of adventure is paramount. These books are certainly not for boys only, but for any child that loves adventure! Finding good books that inspire our children is high on my priority … [Continue reading]

6 Beautiful Picture Books that I’d Love to Own!

picturebooks

As Greta is getting older, we've enjoyed reading more and more picture books.  As I wrap up this series on 31 Days that Inspire Learning (only 2 more to go!), I thought I'd share 6 books that we've read several times to the boys that I found at … [Continue reading]

Gifts That Inspire Our Children’s Faith

book

We get to introduce our children to Jesus, friends.  Have you paused to think about that lately?  On my drive home tonight from speaking to a mom's group I was struck with the enormity and yet simplicity of this charge.  Nothing can have a greater … [Continue reading]

Art Inspired Gift Ideas {Create and Appreciate} +Giveaway

lyraferby

To say that I was a busy, active tomboy growing up would be something of an understatement.  My mom and I were laughing about it today and remembering back...  I had a tendency to prefer {full-body} action over contemplation and details. But a mother … [Continue reading]

Gift Ideas that Help Classical Music Come Alive!

audiomusichistory

Sunlight streamed in my bedroom window as I lay sprawled across my bed, listening to music and reading a biography about one of my favorite musicians, Beethoven.  I was getting ready to write a report and there was actually a smile teasing at the … [Continue reading]

Cultivating Money Management Skills in a World that Spends << Oh yes, gift ideas! (Giveaway Alert)

money

I've been meaning to write about this topic for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to dive in and share. I love how our curriculum is based around character traits as we delve into various units.  Last year our character trait focus was on … [Continue reading]

Cultivating Thanksgiving and Anticipating Christmas

squilt-Christmas

November through December is one of my favorite times of year.  Not only is our weather simply beautiful, but it's a time of year when I pause to think.  I'm sure I can't be the only one that gets super busy with the changing of seasons...  When we … [Continue reading]

Games that will Challenge the Whole Family

20games

Playing games together as a family is a great way to forge relationship bonds and develop some important skills to boot. We love to play games in our family and so for day 24 in my 31 Day series on Gifts that Inspire Learning I'm sharing 20 engaging … [Continue reading]