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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Q&A


I've added on a little square footage onto the Crazy 9 blog.

Over on the right sidebar you'll now see a Q&A link.
See it over there?
Scroll down just a bit and look for Mimi in her sunglasses and a large "Q&A."  I'm kinda stealth like that.
Go ahead and click it.
Do it... I'll wait.
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It'll bring you right back to this post!  Fun hu?  We could do that all day!

Anywho, I'm hoping that the Q&A button will serve a couple purposes.
1)  I was looking for a way to answer some of the questions that I frequently get.  Like Where did you get the little children's bracelets from?  And Can you recommend an adoption agency?  And Crazy Papa is so hot, and I was wondering if he has a brother?
and
2)  I would love love love to get some ideas on what you'd like to hear about.  I used to have a side bar button that was for leaving topic suggestions and questions.  When that cyber-company went belly up, my button did too.  I loved the suggestions and am hoping your suggestions will inspire some future posts.

So feel free to ask!
Adoption?
Special needs?
Large family life?
Teenagers?
Toddlers?
Bullying?
Advanced maternal age?
Botox?
China or VietNam?
Photography?
Bicycle helmets?
Hoop skirts?
Chores?
Trash TV?
Meals that feed an army?
Bring it on!
I'm very much looking forward to hearing from you,

71 comments:

  1. I would love to learn more about how you manage a large family! What large family life is like and especially about what systems (chores, meals, etc.) work for you.

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  2. My question is: Are you so excited to be a part of the Creativity Project? I am putting together our order for Monday right now. I can't wait for you to join us. Welcome!

    And my second question is: How in the world do you deal with all the cuteness in your house? Oh my word. I can't even take it! : )

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  3. How does discipline work in your home? I recently was forced to start time outs with my toddler, and I'm wondering if he is too young to understand the concept even.

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  4. Now that 2 teenage boys have moved into my home I have had to adjust out food budget. These boys eat more than I could possibly imagine. Sadly most of the recipes I have foud for feeding a large family on a budget involve ground beef. I dispise ground beef. What can I make that isn't too expensive, that will fill them up (there are 6 of us now) that doesn't involve hamburger?

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    Replies
    1. One easy way to feed a crowd is to take a roast (chuck, round, whatever's cheapest) and put it in the crock pot on top of a bag of peeled carrots. Dump a bottle of Italian dressing on top, and add enough water to almost cover the roast. Splash in a bit of worchestershire. Cook on low all day. Shred the meat and carrots together. Serve either over noodles or on buns. So good, and so easy!

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  5. I want to hear more about how the teens interact with the younger ones. How do you plan activities for such big age gaps?

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  6. I'd love to hear about your morning routine. With only four, we have some trouble getting out of the house, no matter how early we get up or how much we prepare the night before. What's it like for you?

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  7. What are your views on teenage dating, and how does dating work in your household? Are their any rules that you and your husband have made about it?

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  8. What is the morning routine in the Crazy 9 household?

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  9. I have the same question about your views on teenage dating and how it works in your family.

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  10. I'd also love to know how the impact of adopting affected your kids. If we go forward, my kids will be 6, 9 and 12 when we adopt, all girls. We are hoping to adopt a 18m-2.5 year old boy. The idea of a toddler again with a teen makes me a little dizzy. I'd also love to hear your recommendations for China adoption agencies. We are looking for an agency that has a one to one orphanage program. Thanks for the new feature. Love your blog.

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  11. I dig this Q&A idea!
    I know you must hate answering questions about parenting teens, but what are your rules on makeup for your daughters?

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  12. What are some of the benefits and challenges of large family life?

    Also, my family has had to cut back on spending and I was wondering if/how you deal with budgeting and saving money.

    And (last question I promise!) how do you deal with all the extracurriculars? Are there some that you require (like a certain sport or instrument)? Is there a limit on how many extracurriculars you allow each of them to do?

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  13. Dear Nancy: I am also raising a large family 7 children and we constantly struggle with our family budget. I would like to hear any money saving ideas that you might have. -on a budget

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  14. Right now, I am in a "battle" with my fifteen year old daughter who thinks she's twenty two over makeup. She really wants to wear mascara and concealer, but I think she is flat out too young. She claims that all girls her age wear makeup. I don't think I wore it until I was about 25.
    How does makeup work with your daughters? How old were they, and how much did you let them wear?

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  15. Just thought of another one. Our oldest and youngest are almost 10 years apart. How do you manage "family time" activities? Is there anything you can do together that EVERYONE enjoys? We're finding it harder and harder to do things as a family, even movie nights are tough because the older kids don't want to watch things that are appropriate for the little kids. Any advice on what we can do together that spans ages, or should I just quit dreaming and spend time with the bigs and the little separately?

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  16. Hi! I was wondering what the policy is for large families that wish to adopt a special needs child from China.

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  17. Fun question for you... I'm still pretty new to using my DSLR that I got this spring and my parents asked if there was any camera "stuff" I wanted for Christmas. Besides your Manual 'n More class (which I hope to take) is there any other camera accessories that I should consider for my wish list? I have a Nikkon D3200. Already hoping to get a tripod and a wireless remote. Thanks in advance :)

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    Replies
    1. GREAT question. I'm answering this question again in 2014. But here is 2013's answer!
      http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2013/12/top-10-best-gift-list-for-photographers.html

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  18. How do you ensure that your children develop good study habits and get good grades at school?

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  19. Dear Nancy,
    Growing up, I felt so much jealousy toward my older brother and felt that my parents loved him more than me because they spent so much more time with him than with me. My brother had special needs and had been through a lot of hardship in his early years (sort of similar to your three youngest cuties). It took me years and years to understand that my parents loved us the same, but he required more of their time and attention because of his special needs.
    Its pretty obvious that your family is really happy and that there is absolutely no jealousy going on or feelings that maybe you and Papa love one child more than another.
    Lord willing, we will be traveling to China in May to get our daughter who has developmental delays. We already have two sons and two daughters. What's the secret to having such a perfect and happy family with no jealousy toward any of the children? Is there a way to make sure all your children know that you love them as much as you do?
    Thank you in advanced,
    Stephanie

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  20. Blog post by Boo? I want to see his view on adoption.

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  21. Why did my friend's husband, who is a very skilled amateur photographer, tell me to get the body only when I get a DSLR and buy a lens separately? What's wrong with the lens that cameras come with? Isn't it easier to just get the one it comes with instead of going to the trouble of getting a whole 'nother one?

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    Replies
    1. The answer to this question is here
      http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/02/q-should-i-buy-kit-lens-that-comes-with.html

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  22. Traveling to China for the first time to get our 18 month old daughter soon and she is our first child! We really don't know what to expect, so we are just putting it all in God's hands. Is there anything that you think would be helpful to know for the trip or with parenting in general? Your words of wisdom would be so valuable to us. Thank you!

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  23. I believe you used Holt (I may be wrong, sorry!). Was your experience with them a good one? We are going to start our adoption process very soon - as soon as we choose an agency!

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  24. http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2013/03/beautiful-flower.html#comment-form
    I had bookmarked this post back in March. Since you know Tess's Vietnam mama's name and where she is, do you think you guys will ever go back to Vietnam to visit her?

    Christie Beck

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  25. Do you have any reccomendations for wholesome, family friendly movies and/or TV shows?

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  26. I want to adopt a little boy from China terribly, but when I finally got the courage to bring it up to the hubby, he promptly said, "NO!".
    Any suggestions on convincing a strong willed hubby to adopt? It would be greatly appreciated as time is running out and before long we won't be eligible to adopt anymore.

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  27. A couple times, you have mentioned that Liv is a talented photographer. I have been waiting in hopes that you might, someday, post some of her work. Would you consider showing off some of your beautiful daughter's photography to the world?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Faith, Although I've encourage Liv to use my big girl cameras, (and she has used it on many occasions with some beautiful results) she's definitely more comfortable with her iPhone camera. She is on Instagram under the name "littlechev." I do think she has a fabulous artistic eye and would love for her to continue to develop her eye and her skills!

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  28. How is your weight loss journey going and do you have any tips for me? I have been puting off shedding the pounds for far too long and its time to make some changes. I have not a clue where to begin.
    You look great (and always have)!!!

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  29. How is your weight loss journey going? I have a few (more like dozens) of lbs. I need to lose. I have waited too long and its time I actually lose weight. Do you have any tips for beginners like me?

    -Desprate Mama

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  30. When babies become teenagers (I think I was giving birth to my 15 year old just last week, Nancy. Can you relate?) how do you have a healthy balance between family time and friend time? I know too much of either one is not a good thing. If it were up to my oldest (age 15) she would be with her friends all the time and never with the family.
    Tammy

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  31. One more question.
    My middle child (age 13) just doesn't have that close group of friends. She is so sweet and it just breaks my heart that she is never invited to friends' houses or birthday parties ever. I know she will struggle with this later on if she is not already. Her sister (15) is quite popular and goes to parties and friends' houses at least 2-3 times per week. In most situations, I could tell my lonely child to go sit by someone at lunch that needs a friend. I can't in this case because my daughter is that person.
    How, as her mama, is the best way to respond with these situations in your opinion?
    Tammy

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  32. I'm a natural light photographer as well. When shooting indoors, I always open the curtains and turn off the lights. But, sometimes (like at 10 pm) I have to have the lights on. I'm never satisfied with the results I get, regardless of my WB settings.
    What advice can you give me for shooting in artificial light?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous! Thank you for the great question! I answered it here--
      http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/07/5-tips-when-shooting-in-artificial-light.html

      Delete
  33. My eating habits are just aweful. My hubby just got home from getting takeout Vietnamese (which is my favorite food ever) from a restaurant less than 10 minutes away. I wasn't even hungry, and I had an Oreo and a bag of Cheetos in the time he was gone. And of course, I had to stuff myself with Pho when he did get home. I feel gross and bloated all the time and I just want to be skinny again. I am honestly not very happy and I can't bring myself to eating healthy and exercising. I can't control myself when it comes to eating.
    Please help me! Its so hard being overweight.

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  34. Do you have any book recommendations (for adult audiences) for books related to adoption (specifically China, but I love anything related to any adoptions)? I have read "With an Open Heart" by Lisa Murphy and "Bound by Love" by Lily Zhong (the founder of CCAI). I loved those books and would love to find more like those.

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  35. SOOC (straight out of camera) Sunday Snapshot! No editing, adjusting, or enhancing. I know its a couple hundred out of my comfort zone to post SOOC photos.
    Are you up for the challenge?

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  36. What would you consider an appropriate age to begin learning photography? My daughter Hannah is thirteen and has taken an interest in photography. She even saved up the money to buy a Canon Rebel T3I. She's been shooting in automatic mode and hasn't been happy with the results, even with the fixed fifty lens we bought her to go along with it. Hannah would love to shoot in the Manuel someday. What age is a good age to begin photography in your opinion? We don't want her to start before she's ready, but then again we want this {expensive} interest to grow and for her to thrive.

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  37. Why shoot in Manuel? Isn't it so much easier to shoot in auto. Why not buy a 50mm and shoot in auto?
    -Confessed Auto-Mode Mama

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  38. What lens should you get after the nifty fifty?

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  39. What is your opinion or belief on girls sharing hairbrushes?

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  40. Can you get any bokeh at all on the kit lens? I am shooting with the Canon 6D and it will be several months before I can afford to get a prime lens. How can I get the best possible photos with a kit lens? I am shooting in M, but its difficult not being able to go down very low with the f-stop. I have used prime lenses many times in the past and I know they are the real deal.

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  41. I saw some comments about electronics on a recent post. I would love to know you & Papa's beliefs about internet safety, electronic usage, and the appropriate age for all that.

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  42. Is adoption usually sugar-coated on blogs?

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    Replies
    1. Johanna, thank you for the great question! My reply is here----http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/11/do-we-sugarcoat-adoptions-on-internet.html

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  43. Please help me out here. We are hoping to adopt from China, but we are just mind-boggled with the lingo all the folks in the adoption world speak. What do all the acronyms mean (we've heard ones like TA and LOI and CA floating around). I'm sure I am not the only non-adoptive mama out there intimidated by all the acronyms. Would you mind making a mini dictionary of all the acronyms, what they mean, and possibly the time frame between each acronym in the process.
    Thanks, Nancy, for giving me a shot at successfully following along with other blog mamas in the process that speak in acronyms!

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  44. Are there any pets in the Crazy 9 household other than the rats (which I would love to hear about)?

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  45. My first and only lens is the 50, which I purchased a year ago. I love it. Its versatile, incredibly sharp, and I couldn't bare to ever part with it. My photography skills have dramatically grown this past year with that lens, and I know its time for 50 to have a friend. The question is: which one? I have had a few suggestions, such as 70 - 200, 24-70, and 85. Who do you think would make the best addition to my camera bag?

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  46. I originally took photography and editing classes as a mom because I am a picture taker, not a photographer, and I wanted better pics of the kids. It has become much more than that (surprise!) and I want to take my photography to the next level. I understand exposure and editing with LR & PS confidently, and I so desperately want to start a business to help fund our next adoption. My photos are just missing that wow factor that comes from strong composition, tact sharp focus, having the light hit in the perfect way, and stylizing the shoot well. Suggestions?

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  47. How do you balance your kids' (specifically the teens) social lives and family lives, and make sure there friends are good, solid kids who will be a good influence?

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    1. Kay, I replied to your question here http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/07/5-reasons-i-let-my-teenagers-hang-out.html. Well at least in part. Thanks for asking a great one! ~nancy

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  48. In your opinion, is orphan hosting wrong? I cannot imagine sending a child back to an orphanage after letting them experience family - especially if they are not eligible for adoption. I feel like everybody would be hurt in the process.

    I would very much appreciate and value your opinion of this somewhat controversial topic.

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  49. What legal steps must be taken in order to start a photography business? I'm ready to take that step, and my site is set up. I am waiting to officially launch it until I have that all figured out. Having an illegally run business is the last thing I want.

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  50. Do you have tips on interacting with clients, most of all giving them direction for posing? I do a great job when photographing my kids, but other people are a setback. I'd love to hear your opinion on this, Nancy.

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  51. We are expecting! I'm currently 16 weeks pregnant with our first! What are 5 things you wish you could go tell your past self before you became a parent? ~Rebekah

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  52. I have enjoyed your parenting posts so. You are an amazing mother. You need to write a book!

    I have teenage sons, but (thankfully) all the puberty and sex talk has been hub's job. Our eldest daughter is thirteen. She got the talk at school two years ago, and we haven't discussed it very much. I know she will get her very first period soon, and I want her to be prepared and be comfortable approaching me with any questions. I know it's my job as her mother to make it less 'awkward' for her. I know she isn't comfortable discussing that stuff with me right now, and I want that to change.

    So Nancy, what are your "girl talk" tips for me?

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    Replies
    1. Catie, I blogged about your comment here: http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-talk-part-i.html
      The period talk. That's awkward!

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  53. Great question, Catie! Nancy I came over to Q&A to request a certain recipe, but I think Catie's question is much more important than what I came for.

    I'm in the same boat as Catie. My daughter is thirteen and her first period is on the way, probably sometime this year. Should I (the mother) be the one initiating those conversations, or do I wait for her to approach me?

    You cannot imagine how much an answer would mean to me and many other mothers out there that read your blog. Please? Pretty Please? With a cherry on top? Make it a whole jar of maraschino cherries.

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    Replies
    1. Patty, you're so funny! And I'm sitting here with an answer half written and contemplating it... Hmmmmm... who am I to give this advice I often wonder!
      I'll work on it for you and Catie.
      ps-which recipe?

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    2. Patty, thanks for encouraging me. I replied here: http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-talk-part-i.html
      The period talk. Now that's awkward!

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  54. We started the process of adopting from Ethiopia more than three years ago. The wait is so tough. We had no idea it would take this long. We have barely moved up on the referral list since we began. Some days I feel like this will never happen. Honestly, we are contemplating adopting either domestically or from China at the same time as Ethiopia. What got y'all through the wait? I know the adoption process is just the beginning, but it is so hard!!

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  55. I'm curious about the information about birth parents given in Tess & Jude's adoption files. I have adopted kids from China, and I completely respect your privacy. I'm not asking anything about Tess & Jude's specific stories, but I would love to learn more about that process of the information being deemed inaccurate by Vietnamese officials and what happens. You touched the surface of that this winter in a blog post, and it makes me want to learn more about it!

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  56. I have a question about the changing face of China's adoption program. Years ago everyone would get healthy baby girls, and now it has become more of older boys with medical needs. I know they changed their policy to make it harder to get NSN kids, and the weight shifted to the SN program. Were there not SN kids as boys back in the days, or have their always been? Are children still abandoned solely due to the one child policy?

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  57. I have a question about the changing face of China's adoption program. Back in the day, everyone was getting NSN baby girls in under six months. Now, the weight has shifted drastically. Nearly everybody is adopting older children, many boys, through the waiting child program. I know the CCCWA changed their rules which is the reason for that change. Were there not children with medical needs and boys back then? Are children abandoned solely due to the one child policy in this day in age? Do the Chinese really not like girls and therefore abandon them, or is that just a myth?

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  58. We are working on our medical conditions checklist. We requested a child (either gender) under 2 with minor medical needs. We truly feel like that is all we can handle at this point in time. We done our research on special needs, and have checked boxes no for more than "it sounds scary having a child with this".
    On blogs, online advocacy groups, and groups of adoptive mothers, I feel bombarded with the message of taking a leap of faith and exploring age groups and medical needs you wouldn't otherwise. It ends up being easier than you thought, ect.
    I feel guilty that I'm not open to adopting an older child with greater medical needs. I don't feel like I'm good enough to even parent a younger child. Do you get my drift?
    Do you have any thoughts?

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  59. Nancy-
    I'm having a hard time with my 15 year old daughter. When I have lunch with other moms, they talk about their teens and I just sit there thinking, "Her daughter's worst day is better than my daughter's best!" She doesn't do anything too bad, like drugs and sex, but she is strong willed. By strong willed, I mean that she doesn't like listening to our instructions and she argues with us about everything. She is rude to adults sometimes.
    I bet you didn't see my mother of the year award, 'cause I sure didn't get nominated. I have definitely yelled back at her, said some things no teenage girl should ever have to hear (I don't want to talk about that.), and I have made countless impulsive decisions. I hate saying this. I have thought to myself many times, "what the heck have I don't to create this monster?" Around the clock I am begging for God's grace. I am not qualified to be her mother.
    I am at loss for words for how I feel. I see other families that seem perfect and happy, and then I look at mine.
    What is the secret formula to getting through those tough teenage years? Are all teens like that? Is it easier with the second, third, then fourth teen? Like I said earlier, I am not qualified to so this. What do you do with the strong willed children?

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    Replies
    1. Carol, I've replied to your question here
      http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/2014/10/i-see-other-families-that-seem-perfect.html
      I hope it helps a bit. It's not easy stuff for sure!
      ~nancy

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  60. Tell me about giving Christian worldview to your kids.

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