Archive - May 2018

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It takes a village: Summer Safety
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Another day, another season
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» On attachment, blindness and the support we need
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» REVIEW: Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt

It takes a village: Summer Safety

Remember the kid who ended up in the gorilla pit? I have one of those kids. I remember reading that story and all the outcry and thinking, it’s a good thing we weren’t at the zoo that day because there would have been two kids in the gorilla pit. Kids can be impulsive, unwise and make idiotic choices. They are learning the world, testing boundaries and pushing all the envelopes they can get their grubby hands on. As parents we are here to keep them safe, but we only have two eyes and two arms… despite the rumors about what’s on the back of my head.

Today at the pool while my eyes checked in on one of my four, another mom spotted Liam doing some… shall we say unwise… jumps near her seat. “Don’t jump like that on the edge of the pool little guy, you are making me very nervous!” she exclaimed. I looked over as she said it and gave her a nod and proceeded to back her up. She shouted across that she was sorry, but she just couldn’t keep quiet. My reply? ALWAYS tell my kids to stop if they aren’t safe!

Friends, parents… can we get together on this? If my kid is being unsafe, if your kid is being unsafe let’s let them know. I don’t care who you are or how harsh you are, if my child is being disrespectful, unsafe or unkind in your earshot or line of sight please say something. Alert me if you’re not comfortable, but please don’t stand by if safety comes into play. Of course unkind things may be said between children, and honestly, sometimes they need to just work that out but you’re an adult and maybe a parent and you know when enough is enough. 

Safety talk is on autopilot for me. Especially with boys in the house. Don’t run with sharp things, don’t run on the side of the pool, don’t throw rocks at each other (I’m not kidding) and on it goes. I think my kids are as immune to my utterances as I am! A fresh voice telling them not to make stupid unwise choices every once in awhile might be just what they need!

Bottom line. None of us have this on lock. It’s summer and kids are feeling wild and free as they should. Let’s recognize that we all hold a little power to reign them in from time to time and help another momma or daddy out! As I said two eyes, four kids… something is bound to happen and I hope someone will have my back when and if it does.

Another day, another season

Ten months ago we sold a home that we toiled over. We had shiplapped, painted, repaired, roofed, removed walls and the list goes on. Despite those things it wasn’t hard to say goodbye. We were moving forward into a new space that included trying out a Christian private school for our children after years in public school. These last ten months were a good ten months. Our kids grew and learned new things about themselves. Additionally they grew confident in who they are as individual people. Interestingly enough, even as we saw positive things, we ultimately began to feel like this season was exactly that… a season.

The Lord began to alert our spirit to things that we value as a family and as the end of school was in sight the decision to move our family to another home and a new school was solidified. We put our home of ten months on the market, with the help of our long-time friend and realtor, and had multiple offers within a day of showing. This was the first in a series of confirmations that eased our souls as we began to make big changes in a short amount of time. I’ve said in the past, likely in this very space, that we as a family will never be afraid of changes. We will try, and try again in our daily pursuit to live out a life that reflects what was done for us, and all mankind, through the Gospel.

And that, the Gospel, is something I want to highlight today. It’s not complex nor is it hard to define. It’s the greatest truth that we can grab hold of.

Sin entered the world due to human choices. Sin brought destruction, evil and separation from a holy God. But God had a plan. A plan that began to take shape in the Old Testament. A plan that was foreshadowed, prophesied of and looked for in the the bloody and tumultuous pages that lead to the New Testament.

The Gospel is the great news of Jesus Christ, the son of God, fully God and fully man. The Gospel is the GREAT news that God sent Jesus as a righteous and blameless substitute for us. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we can be justified to God. Because of what HE did, because of this great love story of abundant grace that redeems us, we can, by faith enter into a personal and saving relationship with God.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

Moving and a Gospel message. How do these things come together? We believe so fully in what Jesus did for us that we also believe it is imperative that there is never anything complicated or confusing in the components of what make up that message. It is not muddy or unclear in the Bible and therefore should be easily explained by those who follow Jesus and know His word. We have found, in recent experiences, that the Gospel message became complicated, and that was not something we could continue to align with. And while we understand that multiple interpretations take place when human eyes hit the pages of the Bible we hold to the truth that we see time and time again in the simplicity of who Jesus is and what He accomplished on our behalf. Without any agendas inserted.

Our prayer is that as we move back into the public school system we have opportunities to love our neighbors like crazy. We have found, in the last year, that retreat is not the answer to the world, and as comfortable as it sounds to live and serve with those like you it’s not the answer for our family.

» On attachment, blindness and the support we need

This may be the hardest blog post I’ve ever written. It’s hard because it may offend people who had good intentions. And I’m thankful for those intentions. But at some point life must be lived and explanations must be given and teaching moments should take place.

My daughter is legally blind. She was also adopted at 5 1/2 years old. This creates a complex set of issues that we, as a family, deal with on a daily basis. The blindness/visual impairment… honestly not a big deal. The attachment issues and past trauma… really big deal.

This summer marks four years home for our daughter and we decided that it was time to let her fly a little bit. To go and do all the fun things that our other children were doing. We have NEVER restricted her from activities due to her vision condition. She has gone on the tallest water slides, rope climbing courses, swam in the ocean… you name it, she’s done it. However, we did restrict her from activities that involved adults and older teenagers because she has difficulty discerning who she can and cannot attach to. When an adult shows her attention she thrives on it and begins to seek an inappropriate amount of attention from that adult.

Here’s what we have learned in the past several years. People often do not know how to react to children with disabilities such as blindness. They are either intimidated, over-indulgent or hands-off. Fortunately we have met people who reacted appropriately, but honestly those people are few and far between. It seems incredibly difficult for kids and adults to treat her like a typical child. Rather we frequently get two extreme spectrums: the celebrity treatment or name-calling and excluding. Neither of these are healthy for our daughter, yet we can’t seem to convince people to treat her just like any other kid.

No child is more special than any other child. They are all created differently yet deserve equal treatment. Elevating a child and giving them extra attention because they have a disability can be incredibly crippling. Lola’s life is going to take a lot of extra work and she can be just as successful as any other person. BUT if she is surrounded with people elevating her beyond her peers and making life easier on her she will never learn to work as hard as she needs to. Lola needs the chance to be treated like every other child her age. 

Our difficulties in this area are compounded because our daughter is also struggling with attachment. When adults give her extra attention, more than other children, it causes a bigger rift in our relationship. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given adults guidelines such as: please don’t hug Lola, please don’t call her name with huge high-fives EVERY time you see her, please encourage her to play with other children when she tries to hang out with you… only to have these guidelines completely disregarded.

When she returns from a place or event where she has been showered with attention and allowed to do things her way without question our home becomes chaos. We are placed at square one again, no matter how much work we’ve done on the front end. All of our efforts are completely wiped out.

I am explaining all of these things because you may know our family or a family like ours. We desperately need your support to help our child grow emotionally. We need you to allow US to give the hugs and compliments and we need you to provide structure, boundaries and normalcy when you happen to be with our child.

» REVIEW: Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt

Since turning our home into a smart home with a SmartThings hub and installing a Ring Pro doorbell system, replacing the traditional lock on the front door has been a priority.

Before

Calvin and I have historically been terrible at remembering to lock the door on the way out. Add kids into the equation and it becomes even easier to forget! The challenge is not only making sure the door is locked on the way out, but also making sure people don’t get locked out when they’re not supposed to be. Faced with these two issues I began to look for options. My research led me to this Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt lock. I can now use my phone to lock/unlock the door OR use the digital keypad. This came in ultra-handy when I locked my keys, phone wallet AND groceries in the car at Aldi and had to walk/jog home empty-handed (true story).

This primary feature among others (listed below) is why we love it so much:

  • Touchscreen, great for design and function
  • Keyless entry
  • One touch locking
  • Works with Amazon Alexa via our Samsung SmartThings hub (or Wink for others)
  • Up to 30 user codes so I can track who is using their “key”
  • You can re-key the lock yourself to use your existing keys

Installation

The deadbolt works with standard size door cutouts (1-3/8in. – 2in.) so for us, no new holes were required. Simply remove the old deadbolt and install the smart one. When we first tested the lock, the deadbolt didn’t extend as far as the unit wanted so we had to make sure the lock was lining up correctly. I also utilized a spade bit to make the hole in the door frame about 1/4″ longer. Even with that minor hiccup, the installation process only took about fifteen minutes.
From there, it was time to set up manual codes and connect the lock to my iPhone’s SmartThings app. If it isn’t the first device you’ve added to your app, both of these steps will only add another five-ten minutes, depending on how many manual codes you set up.

Design and Function

This lock is made of a heavy metal that’s built to keep anybody out, as a deadbolt should. The touchscreen is responsive and bright when you touch the keypad to activate it. When unlocking the door, you have to enter the code but when leaving the house, you can simply touch the padlock icon to lock the door. The SmartThings app can unlock and lock the door as needed. A few advanced functions include locking the door at a certain time every night (this will only occur if the door is unlocked) or lock/unlock the door automatically depending on if you (really this is detecting your phone) are leaving or arriving.

Conclusion

With four kiddos and a dog running around, you can never be too safe. I love knowing that my door will lock every night on it’s own as I manage bedtime for my family, talk about peace of mind! There’s nothing worse than leaving for a trip and wondering if the last person out the door remembered to turn the lock. With the addition of this lock I’ve gotten into the habit of double checking to see if the door is locked when we’re gone for an extended period of time. Another bonus? I no longer need to equip my kids with keys that they might easily misplace. The thought of our house keys floating all over Nashville is frightening. If your house is as busy and crazy as ours, I definitely recommend this product.

Kwikset website

Buy Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt on Amazon

 

 

I received this product from Spectrum Brands to complete this review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal