TWO SIMPLE VALENTINE'S GIFTS FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE

TWO SIMPLE VALENTINE'S GIFTS FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE - This Wild Home

In my five years with my husband, I have learned that the most underrated gift is sharing how you feel. Telling the person you love why you love them and how much they mean to you can become a last priority. Whether you’re in the very beginning or you’ve been together for decades, it can seem like simply being with the person you love is enough to show them how you feel.

When it comes to gift giving, simply saying how you feel can seem cheap or too small, but I’ve figured out that sometimes it means more than you could ever know. Everyone wants to be loved and when they are loved, there are still going to be moments where it may not be as obvious. Moments where life happens or you simply forget to remind them of all the reasons why you love them.

So if you’re not sure what to get someone or you just want to get something really special, don’t forget that the most important thing you can give is love and acceptance to the one you care for most. Reassurance that, even in the ups and downs, you care for them and reminding them that you see all the little things that make them the wonderful person they are.

SIMPLE VALENTINE’S GIFTS

A JAR OF ALL THE LITTLE THINGS

The little things may seem so unimportant. Maybe you feel like you say it too much or that it’s just too obvious or cliche that it’s not even worth saying. Let me tell you, the little things are still nice to hear.

Each person is made up of all kind of little things. Maybe they have a specific smell that you can’t get enough of. Maybe there are details in their face that are unlike any others. When you sit down and really think about all the things that make a person unique and loved by you, you’ll find that the little things may not be so cliche. Yes, you may find your loved one beautiful, but this is all about the things that make them beautiful inside and out.

I think this is a gift that keeps on giving. Anytime your person feels down or needs a little extra love they can turn to this jar for some words of affirmation. It’s a simple way to make them feel extra special anytime they need it.

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • All you need is paper and a jar. I used an old Prego spaghetti sauce jar and paper from around the house.

  • You can make a label for it if you want. Maybe include a nickname, a poem, something to set this jar apart from the rest. My label simply says, “Dingus, I love you. Dingus, I do. Here are somethings I love about you.” (cause that’s our dorky nickname)

  • Then sit and write down all the things you love about the person you are with. Big, small, one word, ten sentences. Whatever comes to mind.

  • Cut out each thing and fold it up.

  • You can add to it over the years or just let it be a capsule of how you felt in that moment (I put the year on my jar but I may add to it every once in a while).

LOVE LETTERS

But not just a plain old love letter. Maybe one or two of those, but I’m talking love letters for special circumstances. Something you can write for them to open in specific moments. Not letters for them to read all right away, but for the moments when they truly need a little extra love.

I know for me, when things get busy or times get tough, I’m not always the best at reminding my husband that he is loved. Again, it’s one of those things you assume they know and think they understand, but there are so many moments where our loved ones may need a little more affection than we, or even they, think.

So for these letters, I have a few ideas of times when our significant others may need a little extra support. Moments where we may not be emotionally capable of portraying how we really feel. Moments where they may be feeling down and just aren’t quite ready to talk about it yet. Any moment that could occur where some kind words from us written in a moment of pure admiration is just what they need.

IDEAS FOR LOVE LETTERS

I like to include a “one for now” letter so they have something to open immediately. Just a quick little, “Here’s your gift and some nice things about you.”

Ultimately, you know your person the best and you know yourself the best. You know the moments that can occur where you may become unavailable and the moments that come around where they need a little extra encouragement.

Keeping those things in mind, here are some ideas for letter you can write:

  • For when you’re sad

  • For when you’re mad

  • For when you need a boost

  • For when you’re feeling down

  • For when I’m not around

  • For when you need some love

  • For when you feel forgotten

  • For when things get busy

  • For when you’re feeling insecure

  • For when I’m being grumpy  

  • If things get bad

THE TRIANGLE FOLD

If you want to fold them all fancy, here’s how I did it:

  1. After you’ve written the letter, fold it in 3 “hot dog” style.

  2. Starting from one end, fold one corner to the opposite side, making a triangle shape.

  3. Keep folding, keeping edges taut, until you have a little left at the top.

  4. Fold those corners to the middle to make a point and fold that under the flap to close.

TWO SIMPLE VALENTINE'S GIFTS FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE - This Wild Home
TWO SIMPLE VALENTINE'S GIFTS FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE - This Wild Home
TWO SIMPLE VALENTINE'S GIFTS FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE - This Wild Home
TWO SIMPLE VALENTINE'S GIFTS FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE - This Wild Home

25 THINGS I LEARNED BY 25

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My birthday was this month and it was a big one. At least, I’d count 25 as a milestone. I am officially halfway through my 20’s and I can now rent a car. It’s pretty big stuff happening over here.

I feel like I’ve experienced a lot in my 25 years on earth. I still have a lot of growing and learning to do, but I can definitely say that this is the first year that I kind of know what I’m doing.

That settled feeling comes for everyone at different times, but for me, 25 is the number. It’s the year where I feel like I am most myself and I’ve gathered the tools that I need to keep moving forward in life confidently. It’s a new feeling for me. Most of my life I’ve felt extremely lost within myself. Always searching for answers that seemed impossible to find.

Like most any human, I’ve struggled through heartbreak and that coming of age moment where you realize how much is out of your control while also realizing how much you still have to learn before you’ll feel like you’ll have control of anything. Figuring out where I fit in socially and what I really need from others. I’ve consumed myself with my own experiences and feelings at some points and forgotten myself to make others happy at other points.

I’ve been through moments of complete and total loneliness that felt like they’d never end and moments of pure admiration and love all around.

I can’t say I’ve found the ultimate secret to happiness, but I’ve definitely found the path that works for me.

Not every moment is perfect, but I can certainly say that, for the first birthday ever, I’ve found peace and I know for sure that I am right where I need to be.

A FEW THINGS I’VE LEARNED

  1. You can’t change what other think, feel, or do. The only thing you can control is how you respond to it.

  2. If someone wants to be around you, they’ll make it happen. If they don’t, take the hint and move on.

  3. If you want to be around someone, make sure they know it.

  4. There isn’t one right formula for life and success. Don’t assume your way will work for someone else and don’t feel bad when someone else’s way doesn’t work for you.

  5. Follow the path of least resistance. If you find you can’t move forward no matter how hard you try, you’re probably going the wrong way.

  6. Put your phone down more. The people who choose to be around you deserve your presence.

  7. It’s important to be kind to everyone, but no one should get special treatment unless they earn it.

  8. You are the only person who can control your happiness. If you give that power to others, you’ll never be happy.

  9. Don’t play mind games. Just be direct.

  10. Honesty will get you very far, just be aware of what is really worth sharing.

  11. Conflict is one of the best ways to grow. The people who really care about you will care about working through most anything.

  12. It’s helpful to have a good understanding of your values and to live by them unapologetically.

  13. Learn to be happy alone. No matter what, you’ll always have moments where you need to entertain yourself.

  14. Every relationship is a two way street. Make sure you give as much as you take and get as much as you give.

  15. Don’t assume others know what you need. You are the only one who can make sure you’re getting it, so don’t be afraid to ask.

  16. Boundaries are important. Only you can know what your boundaries are and only you can make sure they’re communicated properly.

  17. It truly is better to wait before you react. Cooler heads will always prevail and the only way to truly change the world is to offer love and acceptance. .

  18. Remember, you don’t have to be responsible for other people’s actions. You’ll drive yourself crazy playing “Mom” to the world.

  19. If someone’s really bothering you, chances are they’re bothering others too. Just stay calm, keep your distance, and let their actions speak for themselves. Getting involved will only bring you to their level.

  20. Studying the basics of human psychology, body language, and why people are the way they are can only help you grow personally and understand others easily.

  21. Your parents did they best they could. Just some people are better at it than others.

  22. The sooner you get a handle on your finances, the better.

  23. Honesty with others is nice, but honesty with yourself is crucial.

  24. Family is neither a right or an obligation. You deserve to surround yourself with people who lift you up. 

  25. Take good care of your skin daily and learn to be comfortable in it. Youth won’t last forever, but you can preserve natural beauty for a lifetime.

BOOK CLUB: NO BAD KIDS BY JANET LANSBURY

BOOK CLUB: NO BAD KIDS BY JANET LANSBURY - This Wild Home

This book was my introduction to Janet Lansbury and the world of respectful parenting. I’ve seen blogs and articles on respectful parenting, but the flow of this book really helped me to understand how to implement this way of parenting into my own life.

I’m excited to share this because, while it totally changed the mood of my home and family, I’ve found that the practices I’ve learned have helped me to take on the whole world with a new perspective. Yes, I truly believe it’s helped me to be a better mom, but also a better wife, friend, and all around person. The patience and intention you need to effectively handle a toddler are amazing tools for treating everyone around you with more respect and a calmer demeanor to make anyone you meet feel more understood.

ABOUT THE BOOK

So, what is this book all about anyway?

It’s about handling toddlers. It’s the idea that the negative reactions and emotions our toddlers feel are not the result of a bad kid. It’s helping you to realize that toddlerhood is not your sweet baby suddenly turning into a demon child. That bad behaviors are not a sign that you’re doing everything wrong.

In No Bad Kids, Lansbury takes real life situations and guides you through a respectful solution with encouraging words to help you navigate the intense world and emotions that your toddler experiences. With letters that have been sent to her from parents in need along side Landbury’s experiences in her many years of being a parent and coaching parents, you get to not only see the practices played out in everyday moments, but you also see that you are not alone in the struggles of being a parent.

This book is not about creating perfect children or eliminating tantrums and limit-pushing. It’s about understanding our children so we can better guide them to reaching their full potential.

MY KEY TAKEAWAYS

Basically, I have taken every word of this book to heart. I didn’t find a single aspect that I didn’t agree with. I learned so much and will forever be grateful for the impact Lansbury’s lessons will have on me and my family.

So, for the sake of not giving too much away or making this post a book in and of itself, here are my top five take aways from the wonderful words of No Bad Kids:

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

There are a few reasons why this may be the most important thing I learned. Even in the book it states that this is rule #1. It’s a dangerous road to go down, believing your child’s actions are intentional schemes against you. Even if they are subconsciously acting out because we aren’t giving them something they need, they still have no idea what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

“When a toddler feels understood, he senses the empathy behind our limits and corrections. He still resists, cries, and complains, but at the end of the day, he knows we are with him, always in his corner.”

I would say there are two top reasons why it’s important to never take our children’s actions personally.

  1. Our feelings are not our kid’s responsibility. | They should not be able to control our happiness. They shouldn’t ever be given the idea that they are the keepers of our emotions. It’s a big responsibility to be in charge of, not only your own happiness, but also the happiness of others. While we as the parents should be aware of our effects on our child’s happiness and well being, they should never be given the responsibility of ours. When they feel responsible for such a major thing, it may actually encourage them to act out more just to push us to take that responsibility away from them (subconsciously, of course).

  2. It makes it difficult to stay “unruffled.” | This is a word Lansbury uses a lot: unruffled. It’s basically frazzled, out of control, frustrated, etc. It is the state we can find ourselves in when we haven’t set proper boundaries. The thing about taking things personally is, it ignites an instinctive response to protect yourself. It will prevent you from being as patient as you could be if you realized your child is just attempting to express something they may not fully understand. When you take their extreme behavior personally, you’re limiting your ability to be the rational adult they need you to be.

NO, KIDS ARE NOT IN CHARGE

I’d say one of the biggest misconceptions about respectful parenting is who is truly in charge. If I’m being honest, in the beginning of the book, I was a little weary because at times I felt like I had to let my toddler walk all over me in order to show that he is in a safe, respectful environment.

As I kept reading, I realized that is not the case.

Respectful parenting is not about letting your kids do whatever they want. It’s about learning to respond in an appropriate and respectful manner. It’s about understanding their abilities and making sure they know they are heard, even if it won’t change your mind.

“Children do not feel hurt when the adults they desperately need establish behavioral boundaries. It is easier for a parent to indulge a child than it is to be firm and consistent, and children know that. A child may cry, complain or even throw a tantrum when limits are set. In their hearts, however, children sense when a parent is working ardently to provide a safe nest and real love.”

And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about saying, “it’s okay to misbehave.” In fact, a big part of respectful parenting is making sure you set clear boundaries, especially ones that will keep you from getting unruffled, and correcting behavior before you feel an unruffled feeling coming on. It is saying that it’s okay to be upset when you correct them, but that you are still there to correct them when needed. They’re not in charge, but they have a right to feel. They have a right to tell you when they don’t like your rules.

BOUDARIES ARE CRUCIAL

Boundaries are everything for kids. In fact, I was talking to a friend of mine about boundaries and she shared a story about kids on a playground. It stated that when kids we on a playground with no fence, the stayed close to the play structure, never venturing too far beyond. Where as the kids who had a fence around their play area were more likely to venture all the way to the fence, exploring freely within their clearly defined boundaries.

The world is a scary and exciting place, especially when you’re brand new to it all. As much as kids want to explore, they also want to be sure they have someone looking out for them, keeping them safe from harm.

That’s where boundaries come in. Whether they are able to understand the boundary outright or try to fight you on it, in the end we know and they know that it’s for the best. They’ll fight you on it because that’s their job. But boundaries are our way of saying we care and that we want to help them. It’s our way of letting them know they have security and something they can rely on as they discover the wide world of unknowns.

“Imagine driving over a bridge in the dark. If the bridge has no railings, we will drive across it slowly and tentatively. But if we see railings on either side of us, we can drive over the bridge with ease and confidence. This is how a young child feels in regard to limits in his environment.”

LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT

I would say this is something I needed a wake up call on: The way that I talk to my son.

I’ve heard the bits about talking to kids normally without a baby voice. But being direct is something I definitely needed to work on. The “mommy says” and “we can’t” etc. just doesn’t cut it for kids. It gives them an out. It creates a disconnect where you’re no longer having a conversation between the two of you, but instead you’re telling a story about two characters.

“Babies are whole people – sentient, aware, intuitive and communicative. They are natural learners, explorers, and scientists able to test hypotheses, solve problems, and understand language and abstract ideas.”

I think the motivation behind “baby talk” is the idea that are kids only understand as much as they can express. After practicing some of the lessons I learned in this book, I’ve found that my 1.5 year old understands so much more than I thought. He knows what more things are than he can say, he understand more abstract concepts than I have given him credit for. He gets it and now that I talk to him like he gets it, he wants to listen more. By no means does he do everything I say, he definitely still gives push back. But I’ve found that talking to him the same way I’d talk to any other human has not only helped us in understanding each other, but has helped him develop his communication skills as well.

PUNISHMENTS ARE NOT THE ANSWER

I love this. I love it so much. I am definitely an anti-punishment parent. And I think this is the part where people want to ask, “Then doesn’t that put the kids in charge?”

I feel like I have even more to learn on this before I could give any real insight on why this is amazing, but I’ll just share a few lessons from Janet because, if I haven’t already mentioned, she’s my queen now.

This may seem a little too new-agey on the outside, but when seeing the thought process for the argument against punishments, it all makes a lot of sense. In No Bad Kids, Lansbury mentions the correlation between the concepts of punishments and discipline. She then offers another perspective given by her queen, Magda Gerber. Gerber redefines the modern idea of discipline by pulling from the latin root, disciplina, meaning “instruction, knowledge.” So with this in mind, discipline goes from, “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience” to, “educating our children to understand appropriate behavior, values, and how to control their impulses.”

With this mindset shift on our role in our children’s lives, things like spanking and timeout become unproductive. It is a parent-given consequence that you wouldn’t, and really shouldn’t, see in the real world. These actions aren’t seizing a teaching moment, they are hindering your ability to not only become closer to your child by showing them you understand them, but to teach them through example; which is really where they’re learning everything in the long run.

“So the question is never ‘Are the learning?’ It’s ‘What are they learning?”

In all of my actions around my son, I wonder what he is learning. Is he learning to be respectful of other people and their feelings? Is he learning to be respectful of his own feelings?

The scary thing about punishments is that they can instill fear in our children. They can make them afraid of us and themselves. Punishments teach our kids that their feelings, something they have no control over, are wrong. When you hurt, belittle, or shame your kids for simply being kids, for going against us or acting out (things they are SUPPOSED to be doing), you’re not teaching them that their actions are inappropriate. Instead, you’re teaching them that they are bad. And some kids may carry that label with them throughout their days, always choosing the path the “bad kid” would take simply because they were taught that that is who they are.

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Parenting is a big deal. We all know this. We’re all at least somewhat aware of the impact we have on our children. That is why books like this are important. It’s important to have a reminder of what we’re really teaching our kids. It’s important to get a new perspective from someone who has studied and practiced all the things they preach.

Books like No Bad Kids help us to remember that, not only are our kids inherently good, but that we were born good too. We all grew up with certain standards and were taught lessons that may have not been fair to us. No matter what we learned growing up, no matter what labels were put on us or standards shown to us, we have the ability to be good and to teach goodness to our kids.

Also, for a chance to receive your own Book Club book in the future, keep up with my instagram stories where I giveaway a book to one lucky follower!