So You Want to Date My Daughter, Do You?

September 2, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

Seriously, this isn't illegal?

Seriously, this isn't illegal?

I have what some would say are old-fashioned ideas about when and whom my daughter can date.  Others would say that they are not old-fashioned, they are just plain weird and they’ve never heard of anything like it before.

The assumption people have is that since I have only daughters, and that I have weird rules for my daughters dating, that my goal is to intimidate boys–that I somehow am the guy who cleans his shotgun on the front porch when the boy comes to the front door and makes menacing statements about holes in the backyard as he is walking up.  Allow me to put that myth to rest.  First, I do not own a shotgun.  Second, what people describe seems highly unsafe and might could be characterized as terroristic threatening, which is, in fact, a felony.  Finally my goal is not to intimidate anyone.  Allow me to explain “the rules.”

First, you cannot date or say that you have a boyfriend until it makes sense.  What does that mean?  I’ll give you an example.  A second grader having a boyfriend doesn’t make sense.  A 6th grader saying they are “going out” with another 6th grader doesn’t make sense.  “You’re going out, huh.  Where do you go?”  “Nowhere.” “Do you sit next to each other during lunch?”  “No.”  “So what does it mean that you’re going out?”  “…” Doesn’t make sense.

Charlie it doesn’t have to make sense.  It’s cute.  Nope.  Not cute.  Confusing.  Kids imitating grown up behavior without the emotional and mental maturity to back it up is confusing and potentially dangerous.

You see, the river of relationships flows one direction. Every relationship you are in needs to get deeper and progress and every new relationship needs to be deeper and go further than the one before. That often gets defined as verbal, emotional and physical commitment–things that kids aren’t ready for.  Best remedy for that is to keep them out of the river as best you can for as long as you can.

“Wait, wait, wait.  You are supposed to tell me when they can start dating! Give me a number! 15? 16? 32?”  To me, this is not some rite of passage that is determined by your age.  You can’t date when you are 15, but suddenly you go to sleep one day 15 and wake up the next day 16 and you can date.  It depends on the girl’s maturity, the culture of where we live, the potential boy we are talking about.  It’s not a number. It’s when it makes sense…for that particular girl.

Second, when it starts to potentially make sense that my daughters could start dating, the boy has to come meet with me.  He has to ask for my permission to take her out, even if it is in a group context and even if it is just as friends.  “Whoa! That seems intense.  Not many boys would be willing to do that.”  Correct. Similarly, there are not many boys that I would trust to go on a date with one of my daughters.  This is, in part, a simple process to weed out ones that lack the maturity to be on a date with a girl.  If you lack the maturity to have one face to face conversation with an adult, you lack the maturity to be trusted to be with my daughters.

If you were asking to borrow anything else that was mine, you would ask.  This is one of the most precious things that is mine.  You most certainly will ask.

Ok, so you meet with them, and this is where you intimidate them, right? Nope.  The situation is intimidating enough without me trying to make it worse.  My goal is not to intimidate them.  My goal is to influence and lead someone who clearly has a measure of influence on my daughter.  His influence could theoretically grow.  I need to build a relationship of influence with this guy.

“Have you done this before? What do you say?”  Yes I have.  Twice now. Both times were when I didn’t think it was appropriate for the girls to be dating someone, i.e. have a boyfriend/relationship.  However, I was willing to let them go on a group date to a function of some kind.  I communicated 2 things primarily to them during these meetings.

First is that perhaps the greatest role that I play in my life, pastor included, is the protector and guardian of my daughters’ honor and purity.  It is my responsibility until what I call “the handoff” to guard and protect them.  On that day I will literally and figuratively give her hand to a man.  Until then, it is my job.  I need him to understand that what he is asking me to do is to entrust him for a brief window of time with guarding her the way that I would.  That may sound deep and more than a boy could grasp.  You are partially right.  A boy that would have the courage to ask out my daughter and meet with me, can handle it.  We are 2 for 2 so far.

Secondly, I make sure that he and I both understand what dating as friends mean.  We could use the same words and mean different things.  What I mean primarily is we are friends in how we talk and touch.  We don’t say that we are in love with her, that we need her, that she is the most important person in the world…those kinds of things.  We also don’t make out, kiss, play grabby grabby, etc.  This is definitely uncomfortable but it is our unwillingness to have uncomfortable conversations with kids that gets those kids in trouble later.

As serious as I can be, I am not trying to intimidate, I am trying to call them up.  Just like my teenagers are in an awkward position transitioning from girls to women, the boys are struggling as well.  I can help.  I was one of them once.  I really do want the boy to win.

But more than anything, I want you to know and my girls definitely know that this is birthed completely out of a love and care for them.  They know that I am their guardian and protector and they want that and are comforted by it.  A loving protector is what they need and it is my great privilege to be called by God to do it.

(Bonus tease: As some of you know, one boy passed that gauntlet, dated my oldest as “friends” for a year and now they are “boyfriend/girlfriend.”  In the process, he and I have a great relationship and so do they.  It can work.  That’s a blog post for another day.)

Adventures with Laylah

August 26, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

It is hard to imagine that it has been so long since I’ve blogged that there is nothing on here about Laylah.  For those of you who don’t know, Laylah is our 3, almost 4, year old daughter.  For those keeping score, that means we have 3 daughters–17, 14 and 3, all with birthdays this fall.  People always make a face when they hear the spread for the first time.  “Got a surprise, huh?”  “Yeah, but not how you think.”  I’ll tell you the story some time in the future for sure about how God brought the awesome Laylah Sue Loften into our lives, but that is for another day.

Today we are talking about adventures.  About a year ago on a Saturday morning, mom was headed out garage saling (Red squiggle for saling, huh?  So “to garage sale” is not a verb? Agree to disagree.) and Laylah was not happy so I asked her if she wanted to go on some adventures.  Not exactly sure why I used that word, because what I had in mind was not, by most definitions, adventurous.  That perked her up quickly and we were on our way.

As we were getting in the car, I asked her what she wanted to do first.  She said that she wanted to go to the gas station and get a sucker.  Adventure! So we went to Kum & Go (Where & Means More!) and she got a sucker and I got an obnoxiously large fountain drink (The smallest drink is the medium and it’s 32 oz). I was hungry, so we then went to Chick-Fil-A (Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich) for some breakfast. Adventure! The Chick-Fil-A we visited happens to be next to Barnes and Noble (Unleash Your Imagination) and Petco (Where the Healthy Pets Go).  So after lunch we went to “The Pet Shop.” Adventure! Then we went to “The Story Store” (You see the story store is different than a library because you have to buy the stories instead of take them home with you). Adventure!

After about two and a half hours, she gets tired and she is all adventured out.  We go home get some lunch and she passes out for a nap.  Little did I know that I had begun a weekly tradition.  This is now what my Saturday mornings are–always.  In the last year, we have expanded our repertoire.  We go to Toys ‘R Us (Where a Kid Can Be a Kid) sometimes and occasionally run the aisles at Wal-Mart (Always Low Prices).  We also have southern adventures with a different Kum & Go and Chick-Fil-A, but includes the Fayetteville Public Library (strengthening our community and empowering our citizens with free and public access to knowledge) and the Farmers Market (where our commitment to fresh, locally grown produce and goods has helped Northwest Arkansas grow into a healthier and greener community) Adventures!!!

We do some version of this every Saturday we are in town.  We’ve even been known to do it in Branson (There’s Only One…) on occasion. Too Much Adventure! Laylah asks almost every day if tomorrow is Saturday or “Adventure day.” It is one of the highlights of her week and mine as well.  We have a blast together.  For a relatively small investment of 2-2 1/2 hours, I get so much.

She knows that I love her and that I value spending time with her.  She is building up a huge memory bank of a dad that consistently and lovingly gave her part of his time.  I’m building up the same memory bank.  Big picture, there is going to come a day when her eye is going to be looking to other guys.  The more I serve and love her, the less and less likely it becomes that she will settle for some selfish guy that wants something from her but gives nothing.  I am teaching her what it means to be loved by a man, what a dad is, and in 50 years or so, when she starts dating, I want her standard to be high.

Dads, I can’t say this to you enough.  Search the site, and you will see that I have been saying this for years.  You need to start now, investing personal regular time in your girls.  You need to love and date and serve them. The payoff now and in the long run is huge.  It doesn’t take a huge investment–you’d be surprised how much mileage I can get out of a 20 cent sucker.  While the investment can be small, the dividends will echo for eternity.

We are too cool for these bike helmets, Wal-Mart, and everything

We are too cool for these bike helmets, Wal-Mart, and everything

Parenting: A Matter of Will and Work

January 16, 2012 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m tired.  It’s a good kind of tired (Worn-out cliche alert).  At the end of the day (Another one), it’s hard work being a parent, but it is completely worth it.  You get back more than you give (Should I keep going?).  But honestly, it is exhausting.  The only way that parenting doesn’t wear you out from time to time, is if you aren’t doing it right.  You see (does that count as one?), children are relentless.  Rebellion, selfishness, their need for discipline is ongoing.

You want a break, but no break comes.  Maybe you get small respites when they sleep or they finally settle in on a parent approved activity.  However, you use that time to clean up the mess from what just happened and/or gather up your hair that you just pulled out. Obviously (?), I exaggerate, but not by much.  I’m also guessing that about 1 in 4 of you are thinking, “No you aren’t.  Keep preaching.”

We have 3 girls in our home now, 14, 11 and 1/6.  This broad range of ages provides us with a lot of different kinds of challenges.  We have one who interacts with teenage boys all day (yikes and yuk), one who has begun the stage where girls begin to create relentless drama (yuk and yikes), and one who poops her pants (just yuk).

There is almost (?) always something going on in our house that requires some parenting.  A “tone” that you hear from a conversation going on between the two oldest, a baby who can’t/won’t take a nap, chores that just won’t get done even though you have asked more than once (that baby just won’t keep her room clean, no matter what we do), or yesterday’s problem–constipated baby.

The question we have to ask is do we have the stomach and the will and the energy to parent.  Too often, parents choose the path of least resistance.  What brings peace and/or quiet the fastest is rarely what is best for the family in the long run.  Ignoring it keeps you in the chair but fixes nothing.  Giving in may make them quiet, but it creates what we call “unsustainable systems” (read kids who think they can always get what they want by whining, yelling, fit-throwing, etc.).  Yelling in anger certainly gets attention, but at what cost?

Kids need consistent, strong parents with even handed discipline.  They need you, working hard.  They need you to be willing to do what other parents won’t or can’t and what you very often don’t feel like doing.  Get up, find out what’s going on, what happened, why did it happen, how can you fix this instance, how can you prevent it in the future, is there a bigger picture issue… (This goes for babies as well.  They need help.  They are just babies.  They don’t always know what they want, much less need.  When they do think they know, sometimes they are wrong.  Remember, they are just babies.  Love them, meet their needs, but don’t forget they need shepherding as well.)

It’s not always easy, but’s it worth it.  Then you can sit down and rest until the next time (read not very long).  Did I mention that it’s worth it?  Hang in there and go for it (You knew one more was coming, right?).

The Sins of the Father…

If there is any verse/passage/concept that men hope is not true, it is this one:

“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5

We do not want to believe that somehow the consequences of our sins fall to our kids, grandkids, etc.  We know that we are sinners and we bear the weight of our decisions.  We don’t really like the idea of having to bear the burden for our own stupidity, but the idea that someone else, much less our kids, would have to bear the burden is too much.

However, we may not want it to be true, but isn’t it obvious that it is?  Don’t we see it?  The decisions that we make and the consequences get passed down from generation to generation.  Sons say they won’t be like their dad, but they are.  They (we) become what they (we) saw.

Reading through my passage for my Bible in a year plan today, I read the story of Isaac and Rebekah.  Isaac is going through the land of King Abimilek.  He tells the king that his wife is actually his sister.  This is the same lie that his dad, Abraham, told two different kings at two different times.  What a coincidence, a son repeats the exact same sin that his father did.

Thankfully I don’t have any sons (true) so this doesn’t apply to me (not true).  I never see my sins repeated in my daughters (not true).  I’ve never once seen traits of cynicism (not true) or bursts of anger (you get the point).  In fact, it is burned into my memory the time my 8 year old daughter screamed at the car in front of us, “Hey! Move! The light is not getting any greener!”

Our children are and will become what they see, but before we allow that to only discourage us, let’s look at the next verse in Exodus 20:

“But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:6

It works both ways, so while you should feel challenged, you should be encouraged as well.  Be encouraged to be better, to pursue God more and to show your kids how to be a man (woman) and follower of God.

Dating Rules and a New Kind of Feminist

October 3, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

If you’re going to ignore your blog for a couple of weeks, the least you can do is come up with a catchy title when you come back.

Heidi had an interesting conversation with someone last week.  She’s a sociology major and has been taking a lot of classes in women’s studies.  She’s a feminist (such a broad term now that lots of people want to adopt and others want to destroy to the point that it is almost meaningless. Like evangelical or even Christian.  However, let’s pretend that we still know what that word means.) and was asking Heidi questions about how we are raising our daughters.

The inevitable questions about dating came up.  “Do we let Maylee date?” “Why not?”  (For some background on our thinking on this, click here.  The short answer is that we don’t let our girls date or even tell boys they “like” them.  You know, “like, like.”)  She was very intrigued by what we were doing.  She really connected with some of what Heidi was saying and was confused by other parts.  It was a very pleasant conversation.

As Heidi and I were talking about parts of it later, we discovered that we actually have a lot in common with parts of the modern feminist movement.  Two major things specifically.

1) The system (society, TV shows, movies, music, etc.) is set up in such a way that we are teaching young girls that there identity and fulfillment is found in a boy.  Changing your relationship status on Facebook to “in a relationship” gets a bunch of “likes.”  Changing it back to single gets frowny face emoticons.  Girls NEED a boyfriend.  They are out of place without one, devastated when someone “breaks-up” with them.  This is not healthy.  This produces girls with unhealthy views of themselves and relationships.

2) The “end product” of raising a healthy girl is a strong, confident young lady.  She should have a healthy body image, be confident and secure in a relationship or out of a relationship.  She doesn’t NEED a man.  She is pursuing relationships that make sense and are healthy.

Where we (might) disagree is on the how.  We have technically restricted her freedom as a pre-teen and teenager to get to where we are going.  She cannot go out on dates.  She cannot declare to a boy that she likes him.  We don’t have boys over.  However, what I said in that post referenced above is that we believe that she has more freedom in the end.  She is free from boy-crazy drama, the issues that boys have (I struggled with that phrase there.  I had much more descriptive ways of saying that.  But we all know what “issues” teenage boys have, right?) and the unnatural heartbreak that comes from breaking up with a boy you were “going” with for 2 weeks, though you never went anywhere.

I am incredibly proud of both of our girls.  They are very confident young ladies.  They have a healthy view of themselves, dating and that God is the most important person in their lives.  I am hopefully confident or confidently hopeful that in the end we will be launching out confident, mature young women–a new kind of feminist.  They will be ladies who will gladly introduce healthy dating relationship when it makes sense and they are ready and when boys are worth dating.  They will confidently face life in or out of relationships.  They will depend on God, their family and their friends.  They will become whatever it is that God calls them to be.

That may not be a new kind of feminist, it may simply be what we all have wanted from the beginning, but we just weren’t sure how to get there.

Obligatory Cheesy Parenting Post on One of My Daughter’s Birthday

September 13, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

Can one of my daughter’s have a birthday and me not have some kind of sappy parenting post reflecting on how old they are getting?  Hmmm, no.

Our baby girl turned 11 yesterday. (Based on Lauren’s birthday party 11 is louder than 10. Boom! Dated, but still cool, reference! See below.)  Now that we have a soon to be 14 year old and 11 year old, I have officially turned into one of those guys.  You’re minding your own business, talking about your one year old and then I say, “You know, you’ll turn around one day and suddenly they will be 14.”  Yep, I’m that guy now.  Sorry.

It did happen very quickly.  I feel like I was paying attention.  I was there the whole time.  Then suddenly my 3 yr old and 6 yr old (that’s how old they are in my mind) are 11 and 13.

“So other than being sappy, what you got for us?”

1) Time is precious.  They will only be babies for a little while.  Toddlers for a little while.  Kids for a little while.

2) So make the most of it.  You will not look back in 25 years and think, “I wish I had watched more football” or “I wish I had taken a little more ‘me’ time.”  You will think, “I wish I would have sat on the floor and played more dorky games.”

3) Remember that them getting older is kinda the point.  You are raising them.  You are launching them.  Are you helping them become mature, godly adults? Or are they just getting older?

I love those girls so much, and somewhere there’s a “that guy” who wants to tell me that I’ll turn around again and I’ll be walking them down an aisle to marry some punk, that has a black-eye that I gave him.  I know, and I want to make the most of the time that I have in order to prepare them as best I can for those moments when they come.

Independence, Security and Choir Camp

July 20, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

We just recently got back from choir camp. Who is we? Not me, exactly. Maylee, my oldest who is 13, went to choir camp for a week and got back on Saturday. We all went to pick her up, so technically we did all get back from choir camp.  She had a great time.  The choirs and ensembles that she was a part of did very well, and as always, we are very proud of her.

She had been to camp before, but it always had been a Christian sports/outdoors type of camps.  This was different.  There are some obvious differences between a Christian and a (gasp) secular camp.  We could talk about those differences and the small shocks to the system that come from that, but not today.

The biggest shock to the system came in the arena of free time.  Free time at Camp War Eagle or Kannakuk was still pretty structured.  There were always counselors around, specific options to choose from and a giant border around the camp.  At choir camp though, they sometimes would be done at 4 and just be released.  “You need to be back in this room at 6:30.”  When/if/where she ate was totally up to her.  She could order pizza, go to the student center and pay, or eat for free in the cafeteria, or not eat at all (though that is not how Loftens roll).  Theoretically she could have walked off campus and eaten anywhere in Conway.  She could have called a taxi and had it take her to Little Rock.  (Do you think a taxi would pick up a 13 yr old girl who said take me to Cheeburger Cheeburger in LR?  I don’t want to think about it.)

Since Maylee was 6 months old, she has had her own plan.  Her plan was always better than your plan.  She doesn’t need your plan, help or opinions.  Now at 13, she clamors for more independence and freedom.  So you would think the kind of independence and freedom she experienced at Choir Camp would be a highlight.  Honestly, it overwhelmed her.  Given exactly what she has felt she has wanted for almost her whole life, she was nervous and called her mom.

Why?  This could be analyzed a whole lot of different ways.  I’ll pretend that there is only one.  It keeps the blog posts shorter.  For a kid, structure is safety.  Structure is security.  With freedom comes responsibility.  Responsibility that she’s not sure she’s ready for when she has it (though she is convinced she is ready when she doesn’t have it).

Mom talked to her, assured her that we trust her, she is responsible, etc. and she did great.  There was never any doubt that she would.

Where you going with this?

1)  The clamor for independence is not the same as being ready for it or even wanting it.

2)  If a mature 13 yr old girls gets nervous when suddenly she has total freedom, how do you think a 5 yr old reacts when we give him independence that he’s not ready for?

3) Some kids are stressed out, not because they have too many rules, but too few.

4) Choir camp concerts should not be 2 hours long. (Wait that was something else.)

How Do You Think I’m Doing as a Parent?

July 18, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

If there is a list of questions we would never ask anyone, this would have to be near the top.  I’m not talking about the list of questions we shouldn’t ask like, “Would you like to see my toe warts?”  This is a question that we would never want to ask.

You see, I preached a sermon yesterday on parenting.  I’ll have to admit I was quite nervous all week leading up to it and was especially nervous giving said sermon.  Why? My perception, right or wrong, is that people don’t want you to meddle in that area.  We desperately want others to believe that we are great parents and have great kids.  We certainly don’t want anyone telling us that we don’t.

However, is there anything more important that we do than raise our children?  We are shaping the lives of small children, instilling values, pointing (or not pointing) them to God, learn right from wrong, building their self-image, setting the foundation for the rest of their lives, etc.  If it is this overwhelmingly important, why would we not want help or feedback?  (Was that rhetorical?) Because we don’t want anyone to think that we are failing, because it is that important.

Let’s imagine a world where you would ask that question to somebody.  Try again.  Let’s imagine a world where you would ask that question and want an honest answer. (I’m not talking about so-called questions like, “Do you think my baby is cute?” or “Does this dress make me look fat?”  Imagine a world where those questions are asked honestly.  Actually, let’s not.  Carry on.)  You go to a great friend, sibling, parent, someone who knows you well and ask,

“Do you see any areas where I could improve as a parent?”

“Do you think I’m too tough on them?”

“Do you think I’m too passive?”

“Would you consider my kids well-mannered and behaved?”

“Do they seem confident? fearful?”

There’s a line my wife and I throw around, “We would rather people think we have great kids, and we know better, than we think we have great kids and everyone else knows better.”  What?  We want to have kids that are polite and confident and good to be around, but we know that they have challenges and we are working on them.  We don’t want to think we have great, fun, spunky amazing kids and secretly our friends are trying to get out of having to hang out with us.

It is highly unlikely that you are failing as a parent.  You’re loving them right? You are trying to teach them right and wrong?  You are most likely doing ok.  But what if by asking a few questions, you could be doing better?  What if there were some small adjustments that you could make to improve?  Wouldn’t you want to make them?  Ask someone.  Ask your spouse.  Ask yourself.  Pray and ask God.

This is incredibly important.  That’s why I talk about it all the time.  I’m constantly evaluating myself.  I want to get better.  That’s why I blog about it as well.  You think I’m a great blogger, don’t you?  Please feel free to comment openly and honestly about that.  Say all the amazing things about me that you want.

You’re the Birthday Boy or Girl

June 17, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under General Insanity, Silliness and Rants

I will have to ask you here to not judge me.  You know how you can be sometimes.  We have a few birthday traditions around our home and we had another successful birthday yesterday.  My wife Heidi, who I contend is not aging at all, had her birthday yesterday.  She shares it with Phil Mickelson, my favorite golfer, but I love her more.

Anywho, the first tradition is the singing of a song from a Simpson’s episode.  Not the sappy Lisa birthday song, sung by Michael Jackson, but this:

I’m pretty sure I’m the only who has ever seen this episode, and I haven’t watched the Simpsons in probably 15 years, but this dumb little clip stuck in my head.  It used to make Maylee furious.  “I am not a boy or girl.  I am a girl!!!!”  In a different home, that would have modified the dad’s behavior.  Not here.

That tradition is silly.  Here is one that is not.  The birthday “boy or girl” gets to pick where we eat.  Then while we wait for the food, we all go around and share one thing we love about the birthday “boy or girl.”  We typically make about 3 laps around.  It’s a great opportunity to take some time and do some intentional appreciation.  The birthday “boy or girl” loves it, even if at times it seems a little cheesy.  BTW, this same routine is done for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  On our anniversary, which we call our family’s birthday, we do the same thing.  This time everyone shares what they like about being a part of the family.

We often do a good job of doing things and giving things for people’s special days.  It’s also important that we say things as well.  Those last a lot longer than the gifts and certainly the dinner. (Don’t judge me)

Family Topic Month

First there was the Toenail Ogre, then Family Tag Month.  Now perhaps the most intentionally goofy family you know brings you something completely different–Family Topic Month or Family Chat Month or something like that.  Maybe it needs a better name, but it’s a cool concept.

Everyone in the family will put discussion questions or topics in a jar.  You can put as many as you want in the jar.  Every night, with TV off and sitting around the dinner table (Something we can do now, since this is one of two months that isn’t soccer season, and we are currently not in any plays.), we will pull one of these out and we will discuss it.

The only prerequisite is that the topic/question that you submit must be of a serious nature.  The counter-example I used last night in describing “wrong” suggestions was, “How cute do you think Justin Bieber is?” (Very surprised that Bieber got the classic red squiggle.  Thought for sure that had made it to the Oxford Dictionary by now.)

Last night’s intro discussion was Mom’s question:  What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself this year that you like?  What is one that you don’t like?

Unlike most things we do, there is no competition.  This is just being intentional to talk about deeper things together as a family.

BTW, the final results for Family Tag Month were Mom and Lauren had 7 points (points are bad), I had 8 and Maylee had 9.  Lauren was the winner.  She had 0 times where she woke up “it” and went to sleep “it,” without remembering to tag anyone else, which is very lame.  Mom had at least one.  Lauren gets to plan on her own, a family date night.  So far it includes Hugo’s and one of those weigh your own yogurt places.  She’s not sure what she wants the activity to be, she said maybe Gator Golf.

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