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I was in grade school when my dad got a new job and we moved. I don’t remember if it was sudden or planned for a long time. I can barely remember if we were looking forward to it, either. I was just a little kid.

I grew up in my youngest years in an idyllic suburb of St. Paul, MN. The neighborhood was full of kids our age who were allowed to go and play all day until it was after dark. We had a big backyard with a small forest and pond where our imaginations went wild. Lilac bushes were fragrant in this time of year, and we enjoyed all four seasons that beautiful Minnesota had to offer.

I have four siblings. My older brothers had friends in the neighborhood that did the usual “boy” stuff. They ran around and I remember them getting hurt quite a bit. My little sisters were really quite young when we moved, but they were always by mom, the foundation for our childhood memories. I was in the middle, trying to keep up, or tag along. I learned how to ride a bike in our front yard, I found bird nests in the back yard. I played with snakes and turtles, and I felt rather wild and alive.

A shot from outside my Grandma’s house

Minnesota was also the place where two treasured people lived. My grandparents on my mother’s side were present for all of the big (and little) stuff. We saw them every Sunday morning for church, they would babysit us when my mom had a coffee date with one of her friends. Their house was Christmas Eve headquarters, and I can still smell and feel those cozy nights when I close my eyes.

My Grandma and Mom

Minnesota, once we moved, stopped being a location, though. It started to become a symbol. It was a symbol of everything that “we” missed. It symbolized emotions that my little mind couldn’t yet grasp when my mom missed her friends and family. It was a symbol for how things “should be” when someone in my family distrusted, or didn’t like something in our new home. It became more than idyllic. It became holy.

And that was so confusing.

Now that I am older, I think about how and when Jay and I should move. I think about the impacts we will have on our little family. We have been house-hunting for about 6 months, and I tend to lean toward buying a house that we can live in for the rest of our lives. When considering a smaller house that we will grow out of one day, I feel a sensation that I could really be hurting myself and my children in the future.

I never thought of myself as the kind of person who is tied to one place. I love the idea of getting out of this corner of the world in search of new feelings, new sensations, new tastes, and new smells. But I worry that my childhood move was traumatic enough that it could be keeping me from making clear and rational decisions.

Whenever I go back to Minnesota, I drive to that familiar house where my grandparents have lived my whole life, just down the street from the church that I loved so much growing up. I see litter in the streets and crumbling city buildings. The same power lines are still up with red, white and yellow balls attached to them for airplanes to avoid that reminded me of candy as a kid. They aren’t as magical. They are just…there. I don’t see the sanctity. It isn’t holy anymore. It is just another place where I loved people who I had to leave, and that can happen anywhere.

I hope my mother’s house is important to my daughter. I hope she is filled with nostalgia for this place we are in now. And I also hope that she understands that if we have to move away, the place is just a place, and the people are everything.

My own Mother’s home. Anouk’s Grandma

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Positive Toddler Parenting 0 2

positive parenting
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Here are a few tips to define success, integrate your parenting goals into your daily activities, and shift your thought process to be more proactive and less reactive:

1. Listen. Listen for understanding. This requires stopping what you are doing and thinking about what your child is saying. In many situations, you are able to stop, get on their level, and look at them. Then tell them, you are listening, and trying to understand what they need or want. Then listen. When your child knows you are listening and care about what they need, you will lessen the chances of temper tantrums.

2. Make an easy plan. Identify ways you can model to your children that value or behavior for each of the most important success factors, while you go about your daily life. Get your children involved in the process. This is your opportunity to be proactive and reinforce positive actions each day.

3. Be Respectful. No matter what, always teach respect by being respectful. Your words and actions are extremely important in interactions with everyone. Treat your child as you want him to treat you and other people. Remember the “Golden Rule.”

4. Set an intention to succeed. Set the image of parenting success clearly in your head and act as if it were already accomplished. Make a commitment to make your success image come true.

5. Review at different stages in your child’s life. Find a way to remind yourself of your intention and your action plan. Review it periodically to make sure it is still relevant to you and appropriate to your children’s’ ages and interests. One of the best ways to ensure that you stay on track with any goal is to find an accountability partner – your spouse, a friend, a coach.

6. Be A Playful Parent. When we play with our children we truly get on their level. Play naturally helps children express and understand their feelings and their environment in safe ways. Play encourages imagination and creative tendencies.

7. Use Humor. Having a sense of humor helps your child become less stressed and feel comfortable in communicating with you.

8. Appreciate your child’s unique personality and talents. Children come into the world with their own personality. While we can guide, support, and influence some aspects of their behavior, who they are at the core is pretty well established in utero! That’s part of what makes them unique and precious, and they should be celebrated.

9. Offer Simple Choices. Give your child a “sense” of control–offer them two choices instead of giving orders. Children will be less apt to fight if they feel like they have some control over their own life. Give them some “control” throughout the day and you will notice a big difference in their level of cooperation.

10. Use Time In. Time in helps your child to see what he or she did wrong, and correct the problem, rather than just punishing.
11. Be Consistent. Even the littlest members of the family can learn the “Family Rules”. Then stick to them. It’s confusing for children when rules are only enforced some of the time. Only set limits you know you can enforce and then be prepared to take a stand.

12. Avoid confrontation by using a “When you do this . . . Then you can do that” approach – Saying yes will always work better than no, when wanting a child to cooperate. Rephrase the situation to start the sentence with a positive. Example: Your child wants a candy bar but it is dinnertime. Don’t risk confrontation by saying using a negative…use a positive alternative! “Yes, after you eat your dinner, I will give you your candy.” Stick to it!

13. Decide what parenting success means to you. Imagine a point in your child’s future (college graduation, wedding, etc.) when you will reflect on the adult your child has become. Set the platform to be proud of the wonderful person they have become, respecting their inherent traits as well as the values they hold and how they treat others and make decisions.

When you consciously and intentionally model the traits and behaviors you wish for your child, your opportunities to foster those values grow exponentially. You may never get a formal performance appraisal for your job as a parent, but it’s nice to know that you’ve done everything you can to help your child be the best person they can be. Now that’s a job well done!

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SING MY SWEET LION; The Story Behind the Book 0 1

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SING MY SWEET LION; The Story Behind the Book

My first born is embarking on turning five…and I’m in denial.

He stands tall past my waist, hugs me hard, and has figured out how to eye roll (I know- painful).

I took his whole preschool graduation hard. Preschool is the best. It’s all fun. The kids are nice. The teachers are comforting. And there’s not much to fear. Kids have yet to learn meanness, exclusion and cruelty. The preschool age is pure innocence, and if I had it my way, I’d confine him in that safe preschool bubble forever.

But I can’t.

Upon Nicholas’ preschool graduation, I went to write him a card, but instead, words poured from my heart.

The first few lines:

School bells are ringing 


They’re calling your name 


A brand new beginning,


new chapter, new game


It seems like yesterday 


In my tummy you grew


And we rocked for months


In quiet, me and you

 As I continued writing, my eyes teared. A huge transition was on the horizon… for him, and for me. While my mind had obviously been focused on prepping him for a new school, who was going to prepare me? I can’t help but feel a little lost inside, knowing his and my “baby stage” has come and gone.

I kept writing- documenting his growing up before my eyes; that I’ve savored every first, and that I’m proud of the little boy he is becoming: a cape-wearing, compassionate, creative old soul.

I want to protect you 


From germs and from dirt


From running bare feet


Or ripping your shirt


From falling 


From hurting


From crying


And more


But the truth is, my dear


You’ll find your own roar

My letter took an empowering turn, encouraging him to find his inner-lion. (And as it turns out, he is, in fact, a Leo.)

So roar my lion,


Roar loud and roar strong


I’m proud of you, lion


I’m proud of your song


Sing, my sweet lion,


That song that is yours 


Be kind, my sweet lion 


Kindness opens all doors 


As I finished this “ode,” I was in sobs. And to punish my emotions even more, I re-read it about 50 times. After some time and tears, I concluded I was not the only crazy sentimental mom out there, so I sought to publish my tribute to him, honoring all our children making transitional milestones of babyhood to youth.

Thanks to the lovely artwork from his preschool teacher, my vision came to life, and so birthed “Sing My Sweet Lion.” My goal- to share this story with you, instilling in children unconditional love and confidence.

When push comes to shove, this whole growing up thing is quite bitter sweet. How I want Nicholas (and all my boys) to stop growing, but I sure love watching them blossom.

I appreciate you welcoming “Sing My Sweet Lion” into your heart, home and reading ritual.



Book:  “Sing My Sweet Lion”


Nadine Bubeck is a TV personality, fashion designer, author, blogger, and Scottsdale-based blessed boy mom. 

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