Sunday, March 11, 2018

Do You Have An "Amelia Bedelia" At Your House

At our house we played a lot of hide-n-seek, caught a lot of lightening bugs, rode miles and miles on bicycles, while I walked up and down the road watching for cars, played card games, built towers and forts with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs, and read books…lots and lots and lots of books. Each of the kids had their favorites, but they all agreed that the “Berenstain Bears” and “Amelia Bedelia” belonged in the category of classic literature. 
The other day I came across an Amelia Bedelia book and it still made me laugh. Hey, putting clothes on a chicken (dress the chicken) and covering the furniture in dusting powder (dust the furniture)…. I don’t care who you are, that’s just funny. 
But besides being good for a laugh and a little lesson in ‘word play’, Amelia’s misinterpretations reminded me of the times my kids misunderstood our comments or instructions to them—like the time we were playing outside and I asked six year-old Zach to go check to see if ten month-old Olivia was still sleeping in her crib. 
Zach willingly went in the house and returned a few minutes later carrying Olivia. “She was awake so I changed her diaper, too,” Zach said proudly. FYI: I used cloth diapers…the kind with diaper pins. Neither he nor Olivia was crying and he’d actually done a pretty good job. J
I didn’t ask or expect Zach to do those things, but he knew that for me, checking on Oliva meant a diaper change. 
And then there was the time John had to work; missing the Vacation Bible School program. When he told the kids goodbye before leaving the house, he told two year-old Elizabeth to sing loud so he could hear her. When it came time for her little class to sing the two songs they’d practiced all week, she marched up on stage, planted herself smack dab in front of the microphone, and sang loud enough that I’m pretty sure John did hear her. J
I could go on, but I won’t. Instead I want to encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about what you say to your kids and how you say it. Are they getting the right message or is there too much room for misunderstanding and misinterpretation?

If your kids seem to be ignoring you or seeing how far they can push against their boundaries, stop and think about the fact that they just might be confused and unsure of your expectations. Ask them to repeat back to you what you’ve just said in their own words. In doing so, you will save both you and your kids a lot of frustration.

Momma D
                                           Copyright 2018 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

We All Have Our Own Place To Belong

The book, "A House Is A House For Me" by Mary Ann Hoberman was a favorite in our house when the kids were growing up--especially for Olivia. It's a great book filled with colorful and imaginative illustrations and equally-imaginative text. There is no story line, per se, but rather one long thought process about (and I quote) "...the things that are houses for things." 

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book: 

A web is a house for a spider. A bird builds its nest in a tree. There's nothing so snug as a bug in a rug, but a house is a house for me. 

A box is a house for a teabag. A teapot is a house for some tea. If you pour me a cup and I drink it all up, then the teahouse will turn into me!

Perhaps I have started far-fetching. Perhaps I am stretching things some. A mirror's a house for a reflection and a throat is a house for a hum....

A book is a house for a story. A rose is a house for a smell. My head is a house for a secret--a secret I never will tell....

Each creature that's known has a house of its own...and the earth is a house for us all. 

It really is a very sweet book-one that makes us think about the fact that everyone has a special place where they belong. 

So here's my question to you: Do your children know you cherish the house they are in? In other words, do your children know you love them for who they are? Do they have the freedom to be themselves without fear of being made fun of or chastised by you? Or are you guilty of trying to put them in a 'house' they aren't meant to live in? 

I'm pretty sure you don't keep your cereal in the butter dish or your socks in the dishwasher, so don't try to put your children in a 'house' that isn't meant for them. Love them for who THEY are so that the earth that is a house for us all will be better for having them in it. 

Momma D

                                              Copyright 2018 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Adoption Has Its Own 'Brand' Of Morning Sickness

Last week I spent one evening babysitting my four and two year-old granddaughters. As I sat playing with two year-old Landrey, I was both thankful and impressed at how far her speech has come in the nearly five months since we welcomed her into our family and our hearts the night she and her daddy and momma (my daughter, Elizabeth) returned from South Korea. 

And then I thought of my five year-old grandson, Reuben. He has biological parents in Taiwan where he was born, but he's got his momma's personality (my daughter, Olivia) through and through. 

Both of my daughters who are moms through adoption went through a great deal of pain and sick-to-your-stomach feelings in the process of bringing their children home. 

As a mother it was painful for me to watch my girls go through so much to get their babies. It's not at all like pregnancy. Ironically it took nine months from Reuben's birth to get him here, but that nine months was time Olivia spent missing out on her son's life instead of physically making him. And in Landrey's case, it took a year for her to actually become ours-a year that included some stressful and difficult situations beyond our control. 

So what's my point? My point is to remind you that too many people consider adoption easy or a quick-fix for having a baby. My girls endured several comments about 'escaping morning sickness' or 'taking the easy way out' by skipping the pain of labor. Wrong! Adoptive parents go through months and months of their own 'brand' of morning sickness and labor-sometimes even years!

So be mindful of adoptive parents and their feelings. Be compassionate and most of all, be sure to give them all the love, attention and special treatment all expectant parents deserve. 

Momma D
                        When you purchase a copy of "Love, Momma D" 20% of the price will be donated to terminally 
                        ill children and their families to help with expenses beyond what insurance covers. For more 
                        information, you can visit my website: 
                                       Copyright 2018 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Birthday Cake? No, Thank You

Last week our youngest granddaughter, JoJo, celebrated her first birthday. I know it sounds cliché, but I honestly can’t believe how quickly the year flew by. It was a busy year, to say the least, but still…
Anyway, John and I SKYPED with them (don’t you just love SYPE?) so we could be somewhat-active participants in the celebration.
After we sang “Happy Birthday”, Essie ‘helped’ her little sister blow the candle; something JoJo showed no interest in whatsoever.  
Oh, well, no big deal. We didn’t want her trying to get the candle, anyway. But the cupcake—that was a different story. Because of her go-get-‘em and curious personality, we were just sure JoJo would dive right in; relishing every crumb and speck of icing. Wrong. She wouldn’t even touch it. Emma even offered her some of the icing, but no—not interested. 
I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Not in JoJo, of course, but disappointed that it didn’t go the way we thought it would. We were looking forward to seeing her ‘get into’ her cake—literally and figuratively. 
I’m sharing JoJo’s cupcake story with you because I want to remind you of how IMPORTANT it is to not let your expectations for your child’s experiences be the driving force behind their actions. In other words, just because our children don’t react or respond to something the way we think they will (or should) doesn’t mean they are wrong or that they’ve done something ‘bad’. Or even worse—that they’ve disappointed us. 
JoJo is adorable, sweet, amazing, and absolutely perfect just the way she is. I wouldn’t change one thing about her for anything in the world, and I will do everything I can to make sure she knows it. 
Will you do the same for your kids? I sure hope so. 

Momma D

                                        Copyright 2018 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 

        The book, "Love, Momma D" is available wherever books are sold.
 Amazon link: 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

I'm Just Sayin'...If You Really Mean It, Then Do Something About It

If you spend any time at all on Facebook you’ve seen, ‘liked’, and/or shared a post or two along the lines of…

When I was a kid we played hide-n-seek instead of computer games; eating out meant sitting at the picnic table in the back yard; people were upset if we didn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance; parents taught their children to respect teachers and policemen; we knew a bar of soap was for more than taking a bath.
We (because I fall into that 35 and up age group of people sharing these posts) seem to be pretty darn proud and thankful for the simple, happy, and relaxed childhood we enjoyed. We even appear to be proud and thankful for the fact that we were made to mind, taught to be respectful, that we had chores to do, and for the fact that our parents allowed us to pay the consequences for our actions. But are we really?
If we really believe the good ole’ days were better, then why are we raising a generation of kids to do just the opposite?

Why are we raising a generation of kids can’t even stand in a check-out line or take a little road trip without shoving some type of screen in their face to keep them occupied instead of teaching and expecting them to wait patiently and (gasp!) do things that require thinking and imagination to pass the time? 
Why are we raising a generation of kids to believe they should be awarded for their participation instead of teaching them that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose…and that BOTH are just fine?
Why are we raising a generation of kids who see absolutely nothing wrong with ignoring, antagonizing, and disrespecting people in authority because they (the kids) don’t want to obey and feel like they have a right to do whatever they want to? 
Why do we feel we have to change games like Candyland so that a child only has to miss just one turn if they land on an X instead of (another gasp!) having to miss several if they land on a dot and have to stay there until they get the right color? 
I said ‘we’ because I’m trying to be polite. But hey, since I’ve raised my kids, I’m just gonna put it out there and say to parents who are still in the process…you need to stop and think about the fact that no one is wishing they could trade the childhood they had for the kind of childhood today’s kids are experiencing.
Why is that?  I know, do you?

Even more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

Momma D
                                          Copyright 2018 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Saturday, December 23, 2017

There's Plenty of Time to Get Life Figured Out

My five year-old grandson recently announced to his mother, “I don’t have life all figured out, but I’m just five, so that’s okay.” 
I couldn’t agree more. No five year-old should have to feel they need to have life all figured out. For that matter, no child, regardless of their age, should be made to feel like they should have all the answers. In fact, just the opposite is true. As parents you need to do all you can to ensure your child is given their full childhood. Don’t force or allow them to grow up too quickly. 
*Don’t allow them to be exposed to grown-up problems, situations, and conversations. 
*Don’t allow them to watch or listen to television, movies, or music about people or situations older than they are—unless it is family-friendly.
*Don’t allow them to have a social network account until they are at least thirteen. *Don’t let them dress like mini-teens or adults. That includes makeup and jewelry, too.
*Don’t allow them to watch ‘reality’ television shows that promote growing up too quickly (pageants, teen parenthood, etc.).

*Don’t give your children too much privacy or too much freedom. We all need alone time and time to think and act independently, but the more time your children spend alone the more time they have to seek out role models and mentorship from someone besides you. 
Please don’t take this as an endorsement or ‘permission’ to be over-protective or to baby your children. This isn’t my intention in the least! Children need to be given age-appropriate responsibilities. They need to be taught and encouraged to be independent thinkers. But these things should be taught—not expected. 
Parents should never expect their child to pinch-hit as an adult. It’s not fair. It’s not healthy. And it’s not good parenting. So remember to keep the words to this Billy Dean song in your heart and in your mind; making them part of your parenting ‘plan’….

So let them be little,
'Cause they're only that way for a while.
Give 'em hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let 'em cry, let 'em giggle,
Let 'em sleep in the middle,
Oh, but let them be little.


Momma D
                                            Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Please Pass the Memories...Part Three

A couple of months ago I started this ‘series’ of blog posts on passing down your family’s memories by reminding you of the importance of telling your children stories about their grandparents and about your childhood. Part two was about giving back your children mementos of their childhood by creating ‘keep forever’ boxes. Today in part three I want to talk about the importance of family traditions.
I can almost hear some of you groaning thinking about some of the things your parents insisted upon during your growing up years. In fact, you still aren’t sure you’ve fully recovered from the disappointment of missing your friend’s Memorial Day party when you were in the eighth grade because it was your family’s tradition to visit the graves of people you never knew and then end the day at your grandparents’ house making homemade ice cream. You vowed that day (in between bites of ice cream) that you would never make your kids suffer like you had to. Family traditions? They wouldn’t even know the meaning of the phrase! 
If that pretty much describes your thoughts on the matter, I want to encourage you to reconsider and even go so far as to change your mind on the matter. And here’s why…
Family traditions create strong family bonds. Family traditions give us (both children and adults) a greater sense of security and stability. Children from families with a few traditions are also found to be more confident, resilient, and more socially adept than children from families where traditions are nonexistent. 
I didn’t need reports to tell me these things, though, and I can vouch for the validity of their claims because …
·         Seven-up® floats with potato chips and dip during Gun Smoke

·         Going to Grandma and Grandpa Widener’s on Sunday afternoon

·         Family reunion…third Saturday of July (now September)…no matter what

·         Grandma Noble’s Christmas stocking hunt with goofy poems for clues

·         Zach’s angel at the top of the Christmas tree…forever

·         The birthday boy or girl gets to choose just about everything for that day

·         Linda’s trick-or-treat bags and Christmas decorations

·         Cornbread with beans because you can’t have one without the other

·         Deer camp 
So go ahead—hold your head up high and start (or carry on) a few family traditions. But remember: bling and ‘wow effect’ aren’t what make a tradition special or meaningful. Permanence and a sense of connection are what make a tradition special. Some of the best traditions are simple, quiet things—like Seven-up floats, sitting around the fire at deer camp, or a dilapidated paper angel perched on top of a Christmas tree. 
Don’t worry if your kids don’t seem to appreciate or even notice your family’s traditions. They might not seem to be important to them now, but trust me; the day will come when they will be glad and thankful for them.

Momma D
                                         Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Question No Child Should Think About Asking: Momma, Why Does Santa Love Some Kids More Than He Loves Me????

A couple  of years ago I read something that broke my heart. It was an open letter from a mom to all the other moms out there. The woman was asking moms across the country to please have Santa give their children simple, ordinary gifts rather than expensive, extravagant items like phones, computers, gaming devices, designer clothes, and the latest and greatest toys. She wasn't asking parents to not give these gifts if they could and wanted to--she was simply asking that they let their kids know the more extravagant gifts were from them...not Santa.    

You might be wondering why--what should it matter to her?

Well, she actually had a very good reason--one that should matter to her and every other parent on the planet. The reason for her request was because she never wanted to be put in the position of having to answer the question her six year-old daughter asked her ever again: “Why does Santa Claus love other kids more than he does me?”

This loving mother went on to write that she and her husband worked hard to provide for their two children, but their paychecks barely paid for the necessities in life like rent, childcare, food, utilities, clothes, and vehicle expenses. In other words, there wasn’t much left for Christmas.

“We couldn’t afford the things other kids in their classes at school got,” she said. “But when my daughter heard other kids talking about what they got, she was hurt and confused. Not because she didn’t get those things, but because she viewed the obvious differences as a sign that she wasn’t good enough in Santa’s eyes to merit such gifts—that she had done something bad or wrong to cause him not to bring her the same type of gifts some of her friends received.”

The mom who wrote this letter adamantly stressed that the purpose of her letter was NOT to try illicit pity and she wasn’t asking for a hand-out. She just wanted to remind people that since we tell our kids that Santa loves all boys and girls and that he brings gifts to them because of this love, we need to make Santa an ‘equal opportunity gift-giver’.

So as you get ready to head out to grab up all those holiday shopping deals and try to fulfil the wishes of everyone on your gift list, remember that it really isn’t the cost or extravagance of the gift, but the fact that you thought of giving anything at all. Besides, if you think about it, Santa couldn't possibly afford all those things, so….

Momma D

                                           Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Beautiful Reason for a Pretty Little Box, aka Please Pass the Memories...Part Two

Several years ago I was strolling through Hobby Lobby (my happy place) when I found myself standing in front of some shelves filled with vintage-looking wooden boxes. Some looked like old suitcases while others looked like old steamer trunks or crates. They came in a variety of sizes and shapes and best of all THEY WERE HALF OFF!

The bargain hunter and lover-of-all-things-vintage in me wanted to snatch a few of them up. But the practical side of me couldn't come up with a use for them so I did what any reasonable person would do...I walked around the store until I thought of something. And that 'something', I have to say was a stroke of genius. So I hurried back over to the boxes and carefully selected four boxes (one for each of my kids) in which I was going to place the treasured memories of their childhood.

Inside each box I placed the outfit they had worn home from the hospital, their baby book, other mementos of their infancy, their favorite story book, first tooth, first drawings and special school papers and awards, their first Sunday school papers, a favorite childhood sleeping companion, and a few other choice items. I also attached notes to most of the items explaining their sentiment.

The last thing to go into the box was a letter from me recounting the memorable things they had said and done-things that only a mother remembers. I cannot begin to tell you the joy I had in putting these treasure boxes together! It was like living each of their lives all over again. I admit there were plenty of tears shed as I gently folded each baby garment, read each paper, and recorded their memorable moments-but they were happy tears.

A few months later, on Christmas morning, as we all gathered around the tree, everyone was curious about the 'treasure boxes' I had placed behind all the other gifts. I hadn’t bothered wrapping or labeling them-I knew who they belonged to. It wasn’t easy, but I patiently waited until after all the other gifts had been opened before I presented each of my children with their box.
 Emma was ten at the time. She enjoyed looking through it, but it wasn't until a few years later that she really understood and appreciated the significance of the gift. And since she was so young, I added to the box over the next several years.
Elizabeth and Olivia, who were nineteen and seventeen, had a great time looking through their boxes and remembering some of the events represented inside. They couldn’t believe I’d kept some of things that, to them, seemed so insignificant. They were pleased that I had, though, and I knew they appreciated the love that had gone into their boxes.
And then there was (then) twenty-two year old son, Zachery, was the one who really ‘got it’. After reading the letter I had placed on top of his things, he became totally lost in what was inside. For the next two to three hours, he gently took each item out of the box, one at a time and read each note carefully. With his new bride sitting next to him, he related the history behind each one. I saw him laugh, I saw tears in his eyes, and I saw a look of joy that comes from recalling those things that are most dear to our hearts. Then after carefully replacing each item, he wrapped his arms around me, and through tears he wasn’t ashamed of crying, he thanked me for being the kind of mother who loved so deeply and cared so much. He said the box was the most special gift he had received. And friends, let me tell you; that was one of the best gifts I have ever received!
Passing on the memories of your children’s lives-through your eyes-is one of the most valuable gifts you can give them. Doing so tells them that as their mother, you love them unconditionally; through all things, in spite of all things, and not because of anything they do, but just because they are a part of you. 
Momma D
                                           Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase a copy of "Love, Momma D", 20% of the price will be donated to families of terminally ill children to enable them to purchase necessary equipment not covered by health insurance. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Please Pass the Memories...Part One

If you read this blog with any regularity you know I’m big on storytelling. Storytelling is how I express my thoughts and feelings. It’s how I teach and how I make a point. Storytelling is just part of what makes me, me. But it is also a trait I inherited, so to speak, from my Granny.

Granny told stories all the time—stories about her childhood, stories about being a young wife and mom, stories about her and her friends, and even stories her parents told her. We all loved Granny’s stories. We never got tired of hearing them. If you were to ask my kids, they would tell you what their favorite story is, and then they would start telling it—just like Granny did. 
Our family’s fondness for storytelling doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, either. One of Mack and Macy’s favorite ways to pass the time in the car or as we wind down for the evening is to listen to me tell stories about the things their dad and aunts did growing up. Stories about pets, life on the farm, school…you name it— they want to hear about it. 
“That’s nice,” you say. “Great story,” you say (no pun intended). “But what’s the point?” 
I’m glad you asked, and I am equally happy to tell you. 
The point is that by telling stories you are providing your children, grandchildren, and even your great-grandchildren with an oral history of who their people were. You are giving them a piece of the past to weave into their present and their future. 
So now here’s what I want you to do. I want you to set aside some time to gather the generations of your family together and have a good old-fashioned story-telling session. Pass on the memories that make your family your family. But then you need to be ready, because it won’t be long before you hear, “Tell me about the time that….”

Momma D
                        Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.