Bash Prep for NYE 2018

There are many things the Captain and I get wrong with our kids (the further we get into this parenting gig, the more we realize we.know.nothing, Lord help us), but one thing we like about our style is that we try to emphasize experiences over stuff. Trips, talking, and traditions are at the heart of our family. We love taking trips together - local, regional, state, cross-country, international, wherever we can go - we talk straight with our kids about the big stuff and the little stuff in life, and we hold fast to several traditions that are, far as we’re concerned, non-negotiables for lifetime members of Team Wilson.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve at home has always been a thing for Matt and me. In the past 20 years, we may have ventured out once or twice for a wedding or other special event but on the whole, home is where our heart is on December 31st. Over time our “let’s stay home” tradition has morphed into a whole day of fun, games, and the best kinds of surprises. After making a list of generally fun things to do, I separate the items into two primary categories: Daylight and Dark. Then I map it all out chronologically. I think our first year we started around 6pm and now I plan so much we have to start it at 12pm!

I always catch it on social media about not sharing our plans ahead of time, so here are some resources for all you parents out there looking to create your very own stay at home NYE adventure.

  • 2013 (blog post)

  • 2014 (blog post)

  • 2015 (Instagram series)

  • 2016 (Instagram series)

  • 2017 (Instagram series)

  • 2018 ideas (Pinterest board)

Happy planning, celebrating, and memory-making!

What are your plans this year for New Year’s Eve?

A legacy of courage

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Is any person in American history more quoted than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Obviously today - being MLK Day - everyone is posting and sharing and reading and retweeting all the quotes on our social media feeds. But just think about how pervasive Dr. King’s words are in modern society. There are MLK quotes affixed on buildings and signs all over our country, in political statements, in email signatures, and in classrooms everywhere...to name a few. 

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I’ve read many books, viewed several movies and documentaries, and studied lots of images about and involving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. 

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He was not a perfect man. No one would dispute that. Overall, however, I believe he was one of the bravest men who ever lived. He made mistakes, sure, but he endured unspeakable hardship as a leader of the civil rights movement. He dared to do the hardest things. He withstood the most terrifying physical, emotional, social, and mental threats both to himself as well as his family and friends. 

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An orator unmatched in all of American history, he was the person God used to say the things that had to be said. He inspired people to stand up for themselves while also adhering to the principles of nonviolence. He inspired people to find a way to do great work in all their endeavors. He inspired people to action, and those collective actions made a difference that impacts all of our children. 

Today we remember Dr. King for the courage in his words and his actions, but we also remember that it is his words to which we still cling for making a difference in our world today. 

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What’s your favorite Dr. King quote? 

7 Books Worth Your Time in 2018

I've mentioned that my word for this year is TIME. My kids are getting older, and The Captain and I are riper by the day. I feel hyper aware of the changing nature of seasons in our lifetime, and it seems as though we are shifting into a new one very quickly. 

I've read some of your suggestions for strategic options in managing time creatively and wisely (thanks for those!). A common theme has been trimming out some of the time-wasters in life. Facebook, am I right? 

The one thing you'll never hear any person say when they're old and gray is..."I wish I had read fewer books." Reading is so good for the soul, even for all you non-introverts. Books can help you escape if you're stressed, they can make you think if you like to think, they can entertain if you're bored, and they always make you at least a little bit smarter. One of the worst things about Facebook is that everywhere you click, people are just hurting each other. It's not all evil, of course, but we can all agree that there's so much arguing and insulting and all the yucky things on Facebook that this life is just not supposed to be about.

Even when people don't mean to be cruel, sometimes all the sharing and commenting and "liking" can be really hurtful to other people who are silently witnessing their friends' or family's behavior online. There's just so much offense happening out there on the social media.

Unlike reading, I've heard hundreds of people say they wish they spent less time on Facebook. 

Photo by  Andre Hunter  on  Unsplash

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

If you're like me and aiming to make better use of your time in 2018, try replacing some of that mindless Facebook scrolling with a book. Less Facebook, more actual book book. Seems easy enough, right? 

Here are seven books worth your time in 2018: 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Just Mercy by Bryan Stephenson 

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas 

The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield 

Paper Butterflies
By Lisa Heathfield

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter

Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas 

Remember this

Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania are among the most beautiful places on this planet. Anybody who has been there will tell you. They are beautiful because of the exotic plant and animal life, and also because of their insanely gorgeous landscapes. They are fascinating because of their history overcoming challenges and strife. 

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But - as anybody who’s been there will tell you - these African nations are deeply exquisite because of the sweet people within. Women who are mentally, physically, and emotionally stronger than any American politician could ever hope to be, children who rise above more hardship before breakfast than most of us do our whole lives, and men who are fighting in every way for their families to have hope and a future. 

Our family had experienced the greatest hospitality, warmth, and love in these African nations. We have taken boats on the Nile River, experienced The Great Migration on the Masai Mara, and stood in an endless field of 4-foot grass admiring how God perfectly provides for His creatures. We have had the most extraordinary experiences of our existence in some of the African countries our President just insulted, because it is in one of these that we met our beautiful Pearl Girl.  

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We met her, and we fell in love with her birth country. We were represented by an African attorney who helped us stand in front of an African judge and commit our lives to parenting her. A significant part of that commitment is giving of our time, attention, resources, and love to this place we hold so dear. We deeply love her country of birth, and we honor it in every way we can conceive.

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Today, we honor it by speaking up to say - African nations are NOT “$h!th0le” places. 

Pearl’s home country and all the nations of color our “President” has spoken so poorly about are precious treasures in our world, and our both lives as Wilsons and our collective life in this nation as Americans would be so, so dull without them.   

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Any dim-witted, racist politician who calls these - and any other nations in our world - a “$h!th0le,” speaks out of ignorance. He should ask someone who has been there. Or better yet, make an effort to see these amazing countries for himself, and try it through eyes of understanding and love rather than fear and disdain. 

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To all our African friends: We love you dearly. We are embarrassed by and wholly condemn President Trump’s remarks about your nations, and we want you to know that this is not the heart of America. We are a country made of loving people, just like you. My hope is that it is our voices and not his that you remember. 

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