Posts Tagged ‘lori vacek’

Helping Our Children Weather Defeat, Adversity and Disappointment

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek
Memorial Mommy Blogger

Children will always have opportunity to face difficulty in their lives. And the ways they deal with it are as varied as their personalities, development of coping skills, etc. As a parent, I find I want to make the hurt go away as soon as possible. But no matter how I console them, it really is about giving them time and choices.

Here are a few of the things I have learned in my 30 years of parenting that have helped my children.

  1. Triumph with them even in their defeat. Give them praise for their effort and strength of character to try.
  2. Convey that you love them and are proud of them just for being who they are.
  3. Hug them and reaffirm them with physical affection. Look in their eyes.
  4. Be genuine in your words. Comedy only helps if that is their personality. Otherwise, refrain from making jokes.
  5. Divert their attention to positive solutions or alternatives.
  6. Let them cry and express themselves while not allowing them to get into self-destructive statements or behaviors.

I’m sure you may have some great suggestions as well. But there are just a few of my best to get you started on building happy, healthy children.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

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Helping Your Children Discover Their Gifts

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek, Memorial Mommy Blogger

I remember when I was a girl, I had so many big ideas about all the things I would do some day. I look back now and see how adults around me squelched my ability to blossom. They seemed to take my exuberant personality as more of a nuisance. It took many years before I could enjoy and revel in my person hood. It is so important to encourage our children to love who they were created to be. Here are some ways I have found that not only promote children in their gifting, but help them discover what their gifts are.

  • When you have an inkling they like a particular activity promote it
    My oldest son loved to draw. He would make his own comics and stories. We made it a point to make sure he had lots of art supplies in several mediums—crayons, paints, markers, different kinds of paper, books on drawing and lots of comics he could read. He has become a very talented artist and I am still amazed at his creativity.
  • Help them participate in activities they love
    Join a team, take a class, buy an instrument. Watch for areas they seem to really take to. Recently, we won a bowling party and the kids and I enjoyed the package together on a school break. We rarely bowl. My daughter, who had never bowled before, rolled one great score after another. We all had a great time. We are going to keep bowling. And next season she can join a team.
  • Express exuberant praise for a job well done
    Mention their accomplishments to friends and family and watch them beam with joy!
  • Go to their special performances and, make sure they know you value their efforts
  • Take time to listen to what they are saying – really listen
    I always say to them “I am listening.” This solidifies that I care about what they say. 
  • Hang good papers, art projects, cards they make in a prominent place
  • Let them try different activities and gauge their interest
    School lessons can be a great place to explore poetry, a certain subject, a time in history, or a famous character. My one son did not like to read. He did the minimum requirements needed. He always complained about the stories we read, until we read a book about Thomas Edison. I found he enjoyed reading about real people in history. His personality was such that he found fiction ridiculous.
  • Help them overcome obstacles that make them feel less confident
    Do they struggle with reading, or sports, or using a screwdriver? Give them opportunities to explore and try that difficult activity in a safe non-competitive way. You can always employ the help of someone else. Maybe a grandparent or friend to teach basketball skills, or build a bird house, etc. A friend of ours paid for her son to take a class to help with his reading and he blossomed through it!
  • Don’t take on the guilt
    If their interests are something hard to obtain like surfing in Michigan, or going to a school you can’t afford, don’t take on the guilt. I was sure I wanted to climb mountains as a girl, and I realize now that was not for me. Adversity, disappointment, and failure, if dealt with as an opportunity to grow, can be as powerful as success. Dr. Dave Williams of Strategic Global Missions says, “Failure is NOT fatal.”

Invest in your children’s gifts, talents, and abilities and watch them blossom into magnificent citizens. They will become encouragers of others around them. And promote opportunities for others to grow as well.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

 

Women: We Need Each Other

Lori Vacek

By: Lori Vacek

Do you feel Isolated?
In a time when the whole world seems to be consumed by “The what about me” syndrome; we need each other more than ever. Our drive for technology with laptops, cell phones, cable television, and the Internet in nearly every home, has caused us to be more isolated.

Why do we need each other?
I have always benefited from great relationships with women. In the process of married life and raising children, it’s always wonderful to have some girlfriends you can talk to about the pressures and trials of daily living. I don’t know about you, but I did not get a hand guide on how to do all this. If you were blessed with some good examples of great women in your life to follow, than you may have learned a thing or two along the way. You may have some confidence about what you are doing. Not everyone is so blessed. It is easier to help care for someone else’s children, but our constipated newborn will surely end us up in the emergency room!

Why are we like this?
We women have a reputation for being jealous, competitive, manipulative, sneaky, and covert. And our enemies seem to number each other. I have found myself not liking someone based on how they look. Or, entering a unknown territory and immediately sizing up the competition. The unfortunate thing is we, as women, are so used to this state of being, most of our intuitions about what we perceive is correct. Ladies, we have got to stop! We need each other!

What can a good friend add?

I find that making friends with gals of different ages or walks of life adds a fullness to mine. It sure is nice to be able to call a girlfriend with toddlers when your baby is cutting teeth and has been screaming for three hours. On the other hand, a more seasoned mother with older children can give you some much-needed advice on discipline. I have really enjoyed and benefited from senior gals input on maneuvering the empty nest stage. A very sweet X-ray technician shared the joys of the freedom her husband and she found with the children all grown, after I regaled her with my woes of my baby boy launching on his own. It gave me a new perspective and a positive vision of what’s to come instead of pining over what was. Sometimes just talking about the struggles we have over a cup of coffee with a gal friend can do wonders for our attitude at home. I have launched new strategies, deflated my anger, found I was not alone, my child or husband was not so bad, and even forgave myself or someone I needed to in a conversation with a friend. Don’t discount mothers, sisters, or aunts. The very person you may have despised or offed as a youngster may be exactly what you need to be successful in your endeavors of mommy and wife!

How can I make friends that last?
The best way to really develop lifelong friendships is to invest your time and energy in someone. A good relationship is give as much as you gain. Stop talking and listen (my biggest problem!). Don’t expect one person to be all things to you. Even when you have a good marriage, that’s a lot of pressure for your husband to meet all your needs. We all need friends as well.

Be sure to choose friends of solid character. Advice from the wrong source can be disastrous! I don’t discount failure though. I found my most precious wisdom in my own and others failures. I was complaining about my husbands continued problem of socks under the coffee table, and a dear older woman shared a widowed friend’s story. For years, this widow’s husband took off his work boots and socks, and left them on the living room floor. No matter how much she nagged him, he never changed. She despised this behavior in him. Eight long years have passed since his death, and she longs to see those dirty boots and socks under her coffee table again. I never forgot this lesson. Be thankful for what you have now, and enjoy the best of it while you can. Kids grow too fast and we are getting older by the minute. Most problems grow out of themselves in time.

To My Dear Friends
I’ll end with this…I’ve got some great friends! I am so thankful for every one of you and what you have brought to my life and will continue to. I could not have made it without your support. And, to the women who are yet to cross my path, or who I’ve not had a chance to get to know, I am looking forward to what you have to bring. I need you!

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Give Yourself a Break Already

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek

My Girlhood Dream
My mom once told me that while other gals she knew wanted to be secretaries, and stewardess, and have careers, all she ever wanted was to be a mom. I thought that was real lame, as I dreamed for a big career in corporate America. I dreamed about jet setting  to exotic locations and working in a big skyscraper. I boasted how I was never going to get married or have children. I planned to live a life devoted to self.

Plans Diverted
I was always kinda boy crazy. I had my first boyfriend in kindergarten as I was fairly pretty and always had plenty of attention. This would be the demise of my entire plan. I fell in love with Jim at 16, on our second date. I immersed myself in everything Jim. It was not long and I became pregnant. We got married at 17 and 18 years of age and had a baby a few months later. I dropped out of school and Jim went to work full-time. Our life began to explode out of control.

Life Happens
I chose to breastfeed my son, Tony, and it was a very involved commitment. (Sometimes I surprise myself that at such a young age I was determined to commit to something and stick with it.) What I did not realize was the love I would have for my child — the endless devotion, time and sacrifices I would have to make. I spent the first few years torn between my childhood dreams and the incredible desire to lay my life down for my husband and child.  I tried to drive to silence this incredible  love I had for my family. I was born in a generation of women having careers and being on the move, and here I was sitting at home with my baby boy attached to my breast. This IS NOT the life I had planned. I was angry at myself and everyone around me. Anger drives you to do stupid things. The pressures of everyday life — paying the bills and maintaining a household — began to unravel my insides. I began to have some serious emotional struggles to the point my husband began to seek outside help. His answer was to take me to church.

Another Plan
As I listened to the messages the Pastor shared, I began to see that the way I thought about life was different than what God had intended. The pure love and grace I experienced began to change the way I thought, felt, and saw life. God began to unravel the mess I was in. My deep hurts from life experiences had made me a mess. I now know that bad things happen to all of us and it’s what you choose to do with it that matters. There were too many things that were bigger than me and I needed someone much bigger than me to help. I chose the one person who was in charge of the universe, God himself. I began to remember the incredible love of the Jesus I met as a girl. And the burdens of life began to ease with help from the lessons I was learning  from the Bible.

My Dreams Change
I sit here today 48, married 30 years to one man in whom I have loved a lifetime, I raised two incredible men, and a slew of kids that I never intended to. And I realize THIS was the plan for my life. That there isn’t anything more important than doing the best we can to raise Godly people who will give all they are for the better good of others. All the things I thought I wanted, seem a million miles away from who I turned out to be. And I am so thankful for that.

Could We Give Ourselves a Break?
With a lifetime of experiences I express in all earnest, can we please give ourselves a break? We do the best we can and with God’s help, we do a lot better. But it’s all trial and error. We learn as we go. Sometimes we hurt our children without knowing, or out of the frustrations of life. Sometimes things happen outside our control — a pregnant daughter, a child with Down syndrome, a rebellious teen,  a son too big for his britches, cancer, and/or mental illness — and nothing we do seems to change it. I have heard the statement, “I must have been a crappy mother,” too many times lately. Ok, so we may have made some mistakes, made some bad decisions, could have handled things better, not reacted out of frustration or just not knowing. But, at some point, we have to forgive ourselves and move on. I found that how a child chooses to live their life is not my responsibility. What my responsibility is, is how I choose to deal with it. And, frankly, sometimes we may have to step out of the way and let God handle it. We have to recognize LIFE is bigger than us. It was before we were, and will be after us. And what we do with our small piece is all we can do.

I have decided to give myself a break already. I will never stop loving, or giving, or hoping and definitely not stop praying and believing. But, at some point, I had to put those things I pined over in my youth — broken dreams, missteps, etc. — all in a pan on the back of the stove on God’s simmer plate and move on to what’s before me now.

All I want is to be a good mom, friend, and wife. I want to learn to love beyond my own ability. And, hopefully, positively affect the lives of people who cross my path in life.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Get Your Home Organized For School Days

Lori Vacek— By Lori Vacek
 Memorial Mommy Blogger

Are you ready for that mountain of incoming school papers? Are you stocked up on school supplies? Getting organized will help you reduce clutter and not be overwhelmed by deadlines. In my next few blogs I will share what has helped our family.

ESTABLISH A SYSTEM FOR INCOMING PAPERS

  • Have older children be responsible to get all the papers from school to an established area. Younger children may have to simply put their backpack in a specific area. At our house, children are expected to put all school papers on my end table after school. I then can go through them while I ‘m waiting for dinner to finish cooking or during commercial breaks.
  • Establish an area to keep or file papers. Such as important test results, like MEAP or Dibbles, and cute art projects and interesting school papers. I have a deep drawer to put papers into and then I periodically sort them into folders.
  • Place all permission slips, calendars and upcoming events on a magnetized clip on the side of refrigerator in order by date. 
  • Throw out all homework and excess flyers after reviewing them. Be sure to really edit what you keep or you will have too much storage.

STOCK UP ON SCHOOL SUPPLIES

  • Now is the time to stock up on lots of pencils, markers, paper, etc. Most stores have great deals this time of year. Buy extras to store for later in the year. We have a drawer full for when the kids use up all those pencils doing school work.
  • Check each class for a list of required supplies and send them to school with your child. Be wise about what you buy, most parents overspend on items that get sent home for lack of space at school. 
  • Buy several sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues to donate to your school. This is a good way to ensure our children stay healthy.

These back to school tips can make the school year be more enjoyable for everyone.

10 Thrifty Summer Fun Things to do With Your Kids

Lori VacekIt’s summer time! With the kids home on a full-time basis, coming up with new, fun things to do can be time consuming. Then throw in trying to stay on a budget and you could spend your whole day coming up with just one thrifty thing to do. Here are my top 10 thrifty fun things to do with your kids this summer:

  1. Create a Craft Station – Gather all the possible craft and art supplies into one central location. I have mine in a cupboard near the kitchen table for easy access. If you are low on craft supplies, yard sales and dollar stores are cheap sources for great stuff. On a lazy summer day we all sit down together and create!
  2. A Weekly Visit to the Library Keep a calendar of special activities and events. And join the summer reading program. We like to get a good book and take turns reading together.
  3. Water Fun! – Water fights, sponge toss, or just purchase a cheap sprinkler at Wal-Mart for $.99. Find a friend with pool privileges and make a weekly date. We even wash the car. The kids have a great time and I get a clean car!
  4. Have a Home Economics Class – We do a weekly class and learn to sew a button on, fix a hem, embroidery stitches, and do a simple repair. Even my 10-year old son loves it, and it gives the children independence. 
  5. Bargain Shopping – We love garage sales, The Goodwill and the Salvation Army. I give each child $2 and see who can get the best deal. We have bought some beautiful school clothes from Gap, Express, and Hollister’s with tags for $1 – $2 dollars.
  6. Cook and Shop Together – I include children on grocery shopping and teach them to comparison shop. Then each lunch and dinner they take turns helping to cook. They learn skills and love sharing their creation with the rest of the family. My children have now learned enough that there are many meals they can take over and cook while I sit and watch.
  7. Nature Walks and Journaling – There are so many cool places to explore in and around our area. I buy each child an inexpensive notebook and encourage them to draw what they discover. Then we fill in the page with facts from the library, internet, or books from home. My daughter did one on butterflies that was amazing!
  8. Do work projects together – Make a garden, or refurbish one. My older son and I made a Victorian Herb Knot garden together in which we both have fond memories. Clean the garage or a closet. Organize some drawers. My kids fuss a bit but when it’s done they enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.
  9. Spend time with Family and Friends – Summer is a perfect time to catch up with good friends and far away family. Our whole family loves going to a special event, the zoo, camping or a cookout. A festive attitude goes a long way to add fun to just about anything you do.
  10. Do It Together! – Most of all, for any successful activity, do it together! The memories you make this summer, and for summers to come, will last a lifetime!

 

Meet Our Memorial Healthcare Mommy Bloggers!

Tracey HeslipTracey Heslip
This year I turn 40 and what better way to bench mark this year than writing my own blog. I have been married for 20 years (yes, I married young) to a wonderful man who works for the family auto repair business. We have three teenage daughters (18, 17, and 14) and I am just recently a stay at home mom. There is so much involved with running a household that I have no idea how I did it all AND worked a 55 hour week. Losing my income has forced us look at our budget very closely. I made a decision to be proactive…and with that came coupon clipping, making our own laundry soap, growing a garden and canning whatever we can. We also have many hobbies including: beekeeping, making wine, and raising Australian Sheppard dogs. I love sharing with others the things I have learned over the years. I hope my blog will have a positive effect on people and they find joy in reading it. This life isn’t always easy, but with God’s grace we make it.

Lori VacekLori Vacek
As a 48 year old wife and mother, I have learned to embrace life for what it is, and make the best of every circumstance. My husband, Jim, and I have been married for 30 years and live in Owosso. I am the mother to sons Tony, 30;  Joe, 21; and Wilson, 10; and daughters, Megan, 17, and Carman, 11.

I have endured some difficult times but find it makes me stronger, more compassionate and vulnerably open to others. I love to laugh out loud and try to find humor in everything. I am creative and love good clean fun.

I am an avid collector of Mid-Century Modern furniture and housewares. I love going to estate sales with my husband, who makes our living selling antiques on Ebay. I love decorating, fashion, makeup, planning parties, and most of all helping people.

I approach this mommy blog with the anticipation of growing personally as well as helping others grow. My deepest desire is to give the world beautiful people through my children. I am already seeing the results. And my heart is satisfied.

Marianne StuartMarianne Stuart
My name is Marianne Stuart and I am a happy wife at home mothering eight children.  I have been married for 20 years, and just in time for our 19th anniversary we welcomed our 8th baby.  I am sure my husband, Guy, didn’t know he was signing on for that when he married me!

Our children range in age from 19 years to 9 months. We have been homeschooling for 8 years, since St. Joseph Catholic School closed.  Emily, our oldest, will be entering college in the fall. Molly, 17,will be a senior and wants to go Culinary Arts School. Therese is 15 and looking into dual enrollment in high school and college and will be taking a few classes at Owosso High School. This will be our first experience with the public school system. Fingers crossed. Guy, 13, thinks I expect far too much from him academically and will be attending St. Paul Catholic School to get a taste of the real world. Grace, 11, is my little mother and has enjoyed earning big bucks babysitting her littlest brother while I run around town. Maria, 9, is my social butterfly and spends her days emailing, proudly announcing how many minutes she has been on the phone and playing with friends. Richard, 5, spends his days biking on the sidewalk racing the cars that go by. Lastly, maybe, is Andrew.  Andrew is 9 months old and such a joyful little baby and has just started mastering baby signing.  He has “more,” “food,” “nurse” and “goodbye” under his belt.

I live in downtown Owosso, although I grew up in the country.  I am embracing what city life has to offer, like walks to the Cone Zone,  the library and Saturday trips to the Farmers’ Market — I just love walking.

I am a wife and a mom but I don’t think there is anything I could be doing that is more important. My favorite places to be if I am not at home are at St. Paul Catholic Church or on a date with my adored husband, Guy.