Cloudy With A Chance Of Master Class

Kevin and I drove down to my mom’s place this weekend, so we could spend time with her and my brother and my nephew…and the Gulf of Mexico…


(Me and my nephew, at Navarre Beach, FL)

We stared at it ’til our feet and ankles had disappeared waaay into the sand, and he told me he loved me “deeper than the part of the ocean with sharks in it” that day.

Month. MADE.

And when he reached over to hold my hand during Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs after we got back to my Mom’s place?


On the way back from Florida, Kevin and I listened to Diane Sawyer on Oprah Radio’s, “Master Class”. Have you heard/seen that one? I never realized how soothing her voice was until I was just listening to it on the radio. It made me wish I had a more soothing voice. Do kids respond better to soothing voices? I know I didn’t want to stop listening.

One of my favorite parts of Diane’s interview was when she said, “I read once, that this great physicist (who won a Nobel Prize) said that every day when he got home, his Dad asked him not what he learned in school but, ‘Did you ask any great questions today?‘ I always thought, what a beautiful way to educate kids. That we can be excited by their questions- not by our answers, and whether or not they can repeat our answers.” — Diane Sawyer

Mind. BLOWN.

I LOVE that, don’t you? “That we can be excited by their questions- not by our answers and whether or not they can repeat our answers.

I felt lucky to have tuned in just seconds before she said it. What a great reminder to be intentional about experiencing the wonder that goes quietly rides along with teaching and learning from each other. Sharon Salzberg once wrote, “Curiosity broadens our world and opens our hearts. It is a way to shift out of being on automatic pilot, so that we can see a situation, a person, or an emotion with fresh eyes”. Here’s to seeing the extraordinary side of ordinary today! #AndEveryDay

Kevin and I have been together for 10 years now. We spent the first couple on the road together, the next few working together at a photography studio, and the last five building e-businesses that have simultaneously Grown and Humbled us in ways we never could’ve imagined. All that to say, we’ve spent a lot of time together. So as you can imagine, we’ve covered almost every topic of discussion you can think of. But it wasn’t until we started talking about turning the two of us, into a three of us (through adoption), that we started to think/talk about how we’d parent a child.


(Kevin, and our neighbor, fishing down the street)

We’ve talked a lot about which parts of our own parent’s parenting styles we want to incorporate into our personal parenting style, and I’m sure it goes without saying that we’ll learn the most about how to best parent our child when we actually become parents, but in honor of my serendipitous satellite-streamed brush with Diane Sawyer this weekend, I thought it would be fun to open up a discussion about your favorite parenting tips and techniques today. If you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with the folks reading this post, we’d love to hear them! (Mom G, Mom P, and Aunt Chriss- that means you, too!)

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  1. says

    i don’t have kids of my own, but i had an incredible mom. a few things that i hope others can learn from her…

    never be too busy to turn down a hug from a child.
    adults can be wrong or mistaken and need to admit it if they are.
    age appropriate chores create a sense of belonging to a functioning household and teach responsibility.
    when correcting behavior, always include “i love you” along with “but i don’t appreciate” the bad action (or lack of action!).
    never threaten without sticking to the promised consequence.
    always remember that dandelions are pretty flowers to children.
    children learn to resolve conflicts from watching how their parents fight so don’t hide all arguments and never ever name call.

    and one last one that was big really for me…after god, each individual parent has to be the priority for that specific parent, then the spouse is the priority, then the children (people can only make themselves happy, then they can focus on nurturing their marriage as much as they nurturing the kids). i know this might sound harsh, but it really is not meant to be. see, my mom went back to school to be a nurse when i was in middle school so she might have missed a lot of my volleyball games, etc., but i got to watch a woman fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse. no one cheered louder than me for a graduate that day than when my mom walked across the state and accepted her diploma. learning hard work is rewarded and a woman can do anything she sets her mind to beat attendance at any of my school sports!

    layla, i you don’t need any of this advice. you and kevin are going to be spectacular parents. although i have to admit, i miss my mom dearly and appreciated the space to write a little about her. thank you.

  2. Brooke says

    Ok this is late, and I’m not a parent just yet (my husband and I are beginning that chapter). Him and I both lost a parent too early in life (him when he was 19 and me when I was 12). So knowing how short your time can be with your children my advice is to ENGAGE. we spend a lot of time going through the motions of life not always engaged in one another. It’s easy to lose someone or something in the emptiness that comes with being disengaged. Life is busy and it is also fleeting so take time to ENGAGE. Because no matter what happens or what curve balls are thrown at us in life what we remember are the moments we were really “in it” and present with our loved ones. Those are the memories that are etched in my mind and no one can take that from you. You’re children will forever be grateful for those memories.

  3. Dawn says

    Hi Layla – loved this post! I think you will find what works for ya’ll as parents but here are some of the best things my parents did for me:
    1. They were a unit (and still are after 55 yrs of marriage!) and decisions were made together.
    2. Growing up, my parents were NOT my best friends.
    3. We played! My brother and I were just talking about this. Some of our fondest memories are of playing hide and seek, playing ball, having water fights, playing cards/games, etc.
    4. We always had what we needed but not always what we wanted. As we got older, we had to work to earn some “extras” that we wanted.
    5. I had chores (dusting, cleaning a bathroom, unloading dishwasher, etc) on a routine basis.
    6. While we had structure, not every minute was scheduled. We had plenty of time just to be kids and to dream.

    There is much more that I would write about but ultimately my parents supported and encouraged me while ensuring I learned what was needed so I could take care of myself! I love them dearly and am so grateful for them.

    Praying for you through this journey…Thank you for sharing!

  4. Kate says

    I’ve only been doing this parenting thing for a little over a year, but my advice is: laugh together every day. Even the toughest, most stressed and exhausted days are brighter and easier to handle with your child’s laughter in your ears. It’s one of the most amazing joys.

  5. Aunt Chriss says

    I absolutley LOVE this post – you are so fortunate to have spent time with that precious little guy!

    Your request for parenting wisdom comes at a very interesting time for me. As I prepare for Aubrey’s college graduation and Ethan’s high school graduation (only 20 days apart), and the realization is setting in that we are going to be “empty-nesters”, I feel like I am faced with an identity crisis of sorts. You see, if anyone were to ask me about myself – “who” I am – my first response would be: “I’m a Mom”. I realize that just because the children aren’t going to be living with us anymore doesn’t make us any less their parents…but it feels different. What will I do with my time? (Pretty sure this will take care of itself) Who am I other than “Mom”? (Tough question…)

    One of the things this identity-crisis, soul-searching, kleenex purchasing time is lending itself to is ALOT of questioning: What kind of Mom was I? What did I do well? What did I do not so well? What would I change? Will they be okay? Did I raise responsible, happy, productive and respectful humans? There are many answers to all of these questions – which I will save for my memoir (lol)- but one of the things I always come back to in the “what would I change” department is this: I would be more PRESENT.

    I can’t count the number of times I played blocks or even read books (that I could recite from memory they were so often chosen) while making a grocery list or to-do list in my head, for example.

    Just the other day I was in a big sporting goods store and noticed a super-cute little boy (maybe 5 yrs old) walking with his (I assume) mom, brother, grandma and grandpa. He was saying, “Look, Mommy! A rocket ship!” over and over and over and over…again. He was pointing to a kayak displayed up on it’s end…yep, a rocket ship! She didn’t say a word to him…none of them did. I wanted to stop them and make them pay attention to him and tell them that someday, all too soon, that little boy will be off on his own and you will have missed something.

    I know I am a good Mom – fortunately my kids would say so, too – but I would give ANYTHING to be able to go back and share all those little “rocket-ship” moments I was too preoccupied to appreciate and be PRESENT for when my attention was all they wanted and needed.

    Thanks for your wonderful posts, Layla. I love you!
    Aunt Chriss

  6. Karen says

    This is probably so simple and obvious but I can’t say it enough: Hug and kiss your child EVERY day and tell them you love them no matter what, forever and ever, EVEN when they are teenagers and young adults. When they grow up you tend to not be so physical with your kids but they are at a period of their life when they are not getting that tender physicality from anyone else yet and they still need it, even goodnight kisses. My oldest son is in a difficult marriage where his wife has become very physically withdrawn and since he no longer lives with us, I hug him and kiss him as often as I can, because he is not getting it at home (breaks my heart). Sometimes we don’t know what is going on in the lives of our grown children. So my point is HUG and Kiss and TELL them you LOVE them no matter what as often as possible. This goes for spouses as well.

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