By Guest Blogger Lisa Lemieur, author of

8 Things I Am Glad I Did When My Kids Were Little

1. I am glad I volunteered as much as I did in my kid’s classrooms.  When they were in elementary school I was there a lot.  Sometimes I was the “Room-Mom” but most of the time I was just a helper.   And I’d like to think my kids liked having me there.  Believe me, they won’t want you there when they are in high school.  Get it in while you can.

2. I am glad I hand-made most of the Halloween costumes for my kids.  One year I sewed my daughter a Ladybug costume and I still have it.  She was so cute in it and I still can’t bear to part with it.  Another favorite of mine was the year she was a scarecrow.    My son was the world’s cutest cow one year and the costume I think he loved the most was when I made him a Darth Maul costume from Star Wars and painted his face and he got to carry a light saber.  For boys, it’s all about the weaponry.    As the years went by, the sewing machine gave way to fabric glue which is one of the world’s greatest inventions…that and duct tape.

3. I am glad I baked with my kids.   Some days it was very hard for me to do.  Some of those days I just wasn’t in the mood for the mess.  And oh what a mess they could make.  But they always loved to help bake anything and everything and I usually let them.

4. I am glad I saved all of their letters to Santa.  They are delightful to read.  They still don’t know that I did this.  I am going to wait till they are a little bit older before I pull them out.

5. I am glad I kept a photo scrapbook for each of our kids.  I also kept a family album.  The kids still like to pull out their book and look at all the photos detailing their school days, birthdays, and holidays.  I’m sad to say I haven’t scrapbooked in quite a long time.  I really need to get back to it.

6. I am glad I made my kids write thank you notes for their gifts.  It was not an option.  Still isn’t 🙂

7. I am glad that I wrote in all of my cookbooks.  After making a recipe from one of my cookbooks, I would write the date and the reason or occasion for which I made it.  The other day I pulled out one of my books and opened to the page with the Baklava recipe we made for my daughter’s Greek Festival when she was in the fifth grade.   Another recipe I came across was for the peanut butter cookies that I have been making since my son was 3 that he just loves.  There is the Beef Bourguignon that my daughter and I made together for a French class project and the crepes my son and I made for his French class project.  It’s always fun to open up a cookbook and see my notes and remember what I’ve tried and how the kids and my husband liked it.

8. I am glad I took a photo of our kids on the first day of school every year.   They didn’t want to do it so much when they were teenagers but I made them and I still do.  This year I took my son’s photo with the dog standing next to his car.  He’ll be glad I took that picture when he’s a grown man.

8 Things I Wish I Had Done Differently

1. I wish we would have started earlier and saved more money for college!  We’ve been responsible with our finances in almost every way I would say except for this one.  Our goal now is to have our kids finish college with as little debt as possible.  We are doing okay with one in college right now but things are tight.  Please don’t rely on the idea that your kids are going to get scholarships.  Scholarships are not as plentiful as we were led to believe.  If you are lucky, your student will qualify for one but for the most part you are on your own!  Start saving now!

2. I wish I would have taught our kids when they were really little to make their beds as soon as they got up in the morning. That way it would be a habit for them now.  It’s rare that their beds are made before I get to them.

3. I wish I had known not to have had tunnel vision when it came to picking out a new home, neighborhood, and school.  When we moved to this area our kids were just starting elementary school.  I was so focused on picking the elementary school that I gave almost no thought to the middle and high School.   We loved their elementary school but had concerns about the middle and high school as they got older.   Because of that, we ended up moving to a different neighborhood and school district when it was time for middle and high school.  Expensive lesson to learn.

4. I wish we would have taken a winter vacation and our kids had learned how to ski.  Growing up in Michigan I learned to ski when I was young and did all the cold weather activities like ice skating and sledding.  We have taken many vacations to the beach over the years, I just wish that maybe one of those vacations had been spent on some wintertime fun.

5.I wish I would have had more professional photos taken of our family and of the kids.   We were always trying to save money.  More professional photos would be nice to have today.

6.I wish I could have mastered baking sugar cookies and decorating them.  I never got the hang of making them.  And it’s not like I didn’t try.  They always seemed to stick to the cookie sheet or would brake. So disappointing.   The idea of decorating sugar cookies still appeals to me but I know better and have given up.   I’ll stick to cupcakes.

7. I wish I would have video taped my kids more when they were teenagers. And I would suggest taking as many photos as you can of your kids (especially teenagers) with their friends.  I wish I had more photos of me and my friends from when I was a teenager and so I know my kids would like to have them too as they get older. 

8. I wish we would have gotten a dog sooner.   We got our Golden Retriever Oakley four years ago and we LOVE her.  Our kids were in middle and high school when we got her.  Oh sure, having a puppy is like having another toddler in the house and then there is the endless amounts of dog hair everywhere.  But now I find myself thinking about all the years and the dog hair covered memories we missed out on. 🙂