Reading Schedule

The following is the break down of the weekly reading for Loving Our Kids On Purpose, as mentioned in my previous post.

January 27 – 15 pages total. Preface, Introduction: p.25-30; Chapter 1, “The Heart of the Matter”: p.31-40 (stop at “From the Inside Out”)

February 3 – 27 pages total. Chapter 1, “The Heart of the Matter”: p.40-67 (start at “From the Inside Out”)

February 10 – 17 pages total. Chapter 2, “Changing Our Truth Filters”: p.69-86

February 17 – 24 pages total. Chapter 3, “Protecting Your Garden”: p.89-113

February 24 – 30 pages total. Chapter 4, “Choices”: p.115-145

March 3 – 27 pages total. Chapter 5, “Protecting and Building Heart Connections”: p.147-184

If you will be reading along with me weekly, please let me know. You can email me or post a comment by clicking on the “comment” tab at the upper-left-hand side of this post. Before I do weekly posts discussing the book, I wanted to know if anyone will be reading along at this point. If there is not any weekly readers, I will make a post or two concerning this book, but not a continual weekly blog.

Thanks for your input.

Read With Me?

Starting Thursday, January 20th, I’ll be leading a group of women from our church through the book  Loving Our Kids on Purpose, by Danny Silk. I thought some of you might want to join us and read along.

I finished the book over the holidays and found it to be a useful tool to add to my parenting tool belt (I actually stole that analogy from the author).

I thought you might like some information about the author and book: Danny Silk is a Family Pastor at Bethel Church in California, where Bill Johnson preaches. Our church gleans much from Bethel, from music to teachings.

Danny Silk’s whole concept is to parent your children through choices, rather than force or punishment, in a way that teaches your children to manage the freedom they will encounter in life and to learn that the only person they can control is themselves. He also emphasizes the concern for a person’s heart in that he wants to instill why we make good choices over making good choices for fear of punishment.

I really like his overall concept but do feel that this book is missing some key strategies to make his approach feasible; these are strategies I think he must use but just did not include them in this book.  I will discuss these strategies in the Bible Study and on the blog. But overall, I think there is so much to gain from reading this book.

My goal is to have a weekly post concerning the pages read for that week. I’m telling you right now that I may be biting off more than I can chew with leading a study on this book and blogging about it. Even if I’m only able to do an occasional post about the book, I still think the book is worth reading for anyone interested.

I’ll tell you upfront, if you read the book, you will be challenged personally. There is a part about why we lecture our children that hit me so hard, I just had to turn the page and keep reading – too much to deal with in one sitting!! Also, if you read the book, you are not likely to agree with every thing he says. That’s okay. You should gain way more than you disagree with.

I know Mardel stores carry the book, but our store had only 5 copies left in the warehouse so you might want to order online. I paid $17 for mine at Mardel; amazon.com has them for $6.80 + shipping, clearly the better bargain. The link is below.

ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295010732&sr=1-1

You should have time to order it and get it before we start reading. The group at my church will discuss the Introduction and first part of Chapter 1 (pages 25-40) on Thursday, January 27th. I’ll post the specifics of our reading timetable later so you can follow along with us if you like.

So come read with me!

Around Our House

I was at Home Group last night and two of my friends mentioned that they were waiting for my next post. This is probably the last free chance I will have for a couple of weeks so I thought I’d post a few random thoughts concerning Christmas time around our house.

Let me first begin with a tip. (This tip also goes along well with many of the comments from my previous post.) I was with my friend Ana as our three children oohed and aahed over all the pretty ornaments on her tree. She told her sweet Jude, “touch with one finger.” He put his little pointer finger out and gently (and then not so gently) touched the ornaments.

It was one of those moments for me that I was in awe of such a brilliant concept. I mean, how have I raised four kids without knowing this rule? It is just the thing we all need right now as our little ones are desperate to poke and prod every Christmasy thing around. Touching with one finger allows them the ability to touch but not break or pull off or whatever. Emerson and Brooklyn have this down pat now. May your world be revolutionized too! THANK YOU ANA!!!

My Kid-Tree has benefited most greatly from this tip!

Second, as this Christmas rolls around, I have yet another reason to be thankful that I am finished with the birthing/nursing phase of my life.  The last couple of Christmases were pretty intense being super pregnant and then having my 4th baby around. I am really looking forward to actually visiting with family this year, not just parenting my children in someone else’s home. For those of you who are fully immersed in the birthing/nursing/repeat stage, take heart – it won’t be like this forever. My youngest is 22 months and man it just keeps getting easier!

Another noticeable difference, since we are no longer adding to the family, is that this is the first year I am not sewing on a stocking. When Jocelin was born, a sweet lady from my hometown made Jocelin a most fantastic stocking.

It is intricate, cute, and so impressive. Well, along comes Mason and the sweet lady was no longer making stockings for my children, clearly a store-bought just couldn’t compete, so the gigantic task was passed to me.

Now, let me elaborate here because I want you to be impressed, very impressed. I am writing this just to show-off; consider yourself warned!

To make a stocking like this, you have to purchase a kit – for at least $25. Now that $25 does not get you a stocking put together. Instead, it gets you a bag with felt pieces, that you must cut out individually, embroider thread, sequins and beads, and a series of super detailed instructions. Really, with each stocking, I would have to study the directions (because each one was laid out differently) for a good 30 minutes before I could even begin step one.  Each stocking had 60-70 steps and took who knows how many hours – somewhere around 30-50 per stocking – r e a l l y.

But in the end, it is so worth it.

They turn out so sparkly

And detailed

And elaborately fantastic

Yep, I sewed every sequin, pieced together each mitten, ear, hat, buckle, and a jillion other teeny pieces. Countless hours of TV watching and many a hand-cramp and I am proud of these babies. I hope my kids like them, they will use them as long as I am around, even if they are 60! Some day I’ll make one for Bradley and me and then eventually for many grandbabies.

The next random Christmas nugget I have to share with you concern the things I have been pondering over the past few days. My goal over the next 2 weeks: have fun. It’s plain and simple, yet hard for me to accomplish on most days. I used to be a lot of fun and somehow life and its craziness took over. So with the exception of the required laundry and occasional meal, I plan to play whatever my kids want me to, even if I don’t want to play it or I’m not good at it, watch movies, be silly, veg out, enjoy time with extended family and keep my woe-is-me attitude in check!

Since I will be enveloped in all the great times, I will not have time to blog for the next 2 weeks. My heart’s desire is to report back in a few weeks and actually be able to say that I kept my stress level under control and did all the fun things I have set before me.

Lastly, a random Christmas blog would not be complete without me sharing one of my most favorite traditions. I love Christmas music and one of my all-time favorites is Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s Once Upon a Christmas. Now many old roommates (shout out to Jana, Tamra, Brea, Emily, and Misty) and my husband would say that the continual listening of this CD is most embarrassing (and annoying) tradition I have. What can I say, I just love it. It has every bit of my childhood memories wrapped up in every song. I grew up country and I’m proud of it.

So in the Christmas spirit, I thought it would be fun to turn the tables on you.  Let’s hear it, what’s your favorite (and slightly embarrassing) thing you really enjoy at Christmas-time?

I can’t wait to hear about your silly traditions, have a great Christmas!

Kids and Christmas Decorations

Each year of my life, before I had children, I eagerly anticipated busting out the Christmas decorations. I was raised on it!

My Mom would seemingly (and maybe actually!) take every decoration in our home and replace it with something red and green and merry.  As a teenager, I just loved the onslaught. We would bring in like umpteen boxes, open them all up, crank on the Christmas music, and we would dance, be silly, and Christmas would explode all over our house. It was awesome and I loved it.

Now, as a mother, Christmas is still so sweet and full of my own family’s traditions and fun memories, but the decorating has slid into the category, along with activities that were so much fun as a child, like going to the swimming pool and taking vacations. The category of, as a grown-up, activities that are a lot of work.

What I have discovered about things like vacationing, swimming, and Christmas decorating is that these are the things where memories are made. I can’t remember all the day in/day out happenings of my childhood, but I can recall so many great memories of Christmases, vacations, and trips to the pool.

As a mom, I have to remind myself over and over that all the hard work is worth it. So over the past 8 years of Christmases with children, I have found some things that have helped in getting the decorations done while maintaining some level of sanity! I thought I would share them in hopes that they might bring you some relief to your decorating – or maybe just some smiles at my anal tendencies.

1. I learned this tip from the dear Suzy Lea, the woman who, with the exception of my mother, influenced me most as a mother and wife. She has 5 boys and a less than tidy husband and yet Suzy loves things beautifully decorated. So at Christmas time, she would have one tree for her – pretty and all coordinating. Cliff, her husband, and the boys would have another tree that was theirs to decorate as they saw fit. I saw it one year where all the beads and ornaments were sloppily placed all on one side of the tree. I thought it was so cute.

I quickly discovered I would need to do a kid tree also. I would get a bit stressed about not having all the ornaments evenly spread out, or having all the kids’ super cute (and non-coordinating) handmade ornaments dispersed with my sparkly red, green, and white ornaments.  So, we got a little tree for my kids ornaments.  As I hovered over them this year, while they may or may not have evenly spaced their ornaments, I kept reminding myself, “This is their tree. Let them do it how they want.”

2. Over the years I have also learned that I like to be in my own decorating zone when I am putting up the tree. I get overwhelmed when the kids want to help me decorate the pretty tree.

[side note here: I feel a bit embarrassed that I am admitting all these things to so many people, but I am certain that there are others out there who find all this “fun stuff” a bit stress-inducing. I realize it seems like I just need to take a chill-pill. But fight it as I may, this is how I’m built. My household is much happier if I work with me instead of against myself. I’m just keepin’ it real!]

So I make sure to put up the kid’s tree first so they can get all their ornaments out and do their decorating and memory making without me getting all frustrated.

3. I also recommend starting with the kids’ toys. They can be playing with all the “new” bounty while you escape to your decorating zone.

4. Another helpful hint: if you have Christmas toys for your kids, remember the whole purpose of the toys is to be played with.

We have a super-cute assortment of kid-friendly nativity scenes.

Fisher Price

Nesting Nativity

Playmobil

Precious Moments

I get caught up in placing them all so sweetly, with Precious Moment’s Mary holding baby Jesus and each Wise Man set-up by his matching camel, etc.

Then when one of my children tries to come play with it and I find myself blurting out, “Don’t touch that.” Oh wait – they are made to be played with. Good-job Shawn.

So each time I’m cleaning up the living room, I don’t spend 15 minutes arranging the nativity scenes just as they should be because they are just going to get messed-up, I mean played-with. I just place them all on the shelf they go on and leave it at that. That way, when the kids are playing with them and little pieces are going all over the place, I don’t struggle internally (as much)!

Another side note: it always helps me gain perspective to listen to Junior Asparagus’s song “Was He A Boy Like Me?” from Veggie Tales The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree. It’s about a boy playing with his nativity scene which makes him wonder if Jesus was a boy like him. Seriously I’m almost crying just typing it here!

Take a listen and grab a kleenex:

5. Something I have done over the last few years is to write myself notes for the year to follow. So on my calendar or in the Christmas boxes, I’ll have a note that says – “Start with the kids tree and toys first.” “Decorate the cookies before Christmas Eve, it was too much for you to do last year.” etc. I mean, if you’ve learned something that benefits you and your family, don’t make yourself relearn it again the next year.

6. Also, cut yourself some slack. I did not do much decorating in the years I either had a newborn, was sick at the beginning of a pregnancy, or just in maxed-out-status from caring for so many little people!

You do not have to have decorations to celebrate Christmas. If putting up a tree brings too much stress into your household, then it’s not worth it. Save the tree for next year – they are young, they won’t remember not having a tree on their first (or 2nd or 3rd) Christmases. By the time they are old enough to remember, you will have enough energy to do it – and many wonderful memories will be made.

I say often, I don’t want my kids Christmas memories to be of me getting stressed and raising my voice! Since that seems to be my tendency, I have to access some tools to make it a more pleasant experience for us all!

So I hope this helps some of you! We’d all benefit from any other tips you have discovered for kids and Christmas decorations, so please share! Happy Decorating.

A Frightened Child

As I sat down to continue working on this post this morning, I realized that my post about being scared coincides with Halloween. That was not planned – I’m not that mindful or that cheezy. Well I guess I can be that cheezy, but I was not meaning to be in this case!

This post is in reference to a comment from my new friend Danielle: Okay, what do you do with a child that has a tendency to develop fears or phobias. The first one we noticed was the deathly fear of stick horses, screamed every time she saw one. Next she hates her sister’s infant bath. Cries during her bath time “Move Jessie’s bath”. She doesn’t like her bath-time anymore, stays in long enough to get washed. We have tried moving it, hiding it, ignoring the problem, reasoning with her, singing songs hoping they would distract. She still cries. Also it’s the dogs when they bark and the cows when they moo and oh we can’t forget thunder. Hates them all and cries. I am pretty sure she cries more than my two month old. She finally got over the stick horses when her friends started playing with them. Any input?

First of all, it is important to note that this is super normal for Audrey’s age (18 months – 2ish). Everything is new to them and so they can get scared of things easily – especially if they became scared once before by the specific thing or something similar. So even though it doesn’t seem rational to have a fear of a stick-horse or an infant bath (both of which are too cute to me but probably not as cute to you anymore!), your sweet girl probably has a rational reason for being scared.

It seems like you are doing the right things.  If you aren’t already, I suggest  talking about the “scary” thing before it happens.  For instance, before you head into the bathroom for bath-time, you can talk to her about it. Say something like: “Audrey, we are going to go take a bath, I’ve put Jessie’s bath away and so you don’t need to cry, you’ll be just fine and Mommy’s here with you.”

My next thought on what you can do when your child gets scared: watch your reaction. I had a friend over to my house the other day with her sweet boy and a baby that she watches. In the time they were visiting, both the toddler and the baby fell down and got a bump and her reaction to them was fantastic.

I saw/listened to her go to both of them calmly, not rush quickly to them as I usually do, and with a super-chipper tone, just simply said, “You’re okay.” And that was it. She didn’t say, “oh did you fall” (which is what I usually do), she didn’t rush to them panicy, she just calmly tended to them and they were okay in mere seconds.

It was in watching these children calm down so quickly that revealed to me that she was doing something right, and I was not doing that thing since my girls will literally cry for a full minute if they get a scratch that is so small I can’t even find it!! So I assessed myself for a few day and realized that I tend to:

  • focus on the boo-boo and say “what did you hurt” or “oh what happened”
  • run quickly in to swoop them up
  • make a bigger deal out of it than I should – So now, my girls do the same: they overreact to any minor ouchie.

What my friend did right was to:

  • reassure the child that she was there
  • offer comfort but not over-do it (even just rubbing their back put not picking them up)
  • keep herself upbeat and calm so the child knew they were okay by her reaction

The other thing I realized, a few years ago,  was that I used the words “scared” or “afraid” when I was directing my kids to do something: “Sit down, I’m afraid you’ll fall.” “Don’t touch that, I’m scared it will break.” etc. Now, this may seem trivial, but what I noticed was that I was using these words out of context.  I was not fearful they would fall/break something, I just didn’t want them to do what they were doing; but I was teaching them that I was scared quite a bit instead of communicating what I meant in reality.  So I changed my phrasing: “Please sit down, I don’t want you to fall.” And I took “scared” and “afraid” out of my vocabulary as much as possible.

I know changing your words can seem very minor, but I do fully believe that the tongue has the power of life and death. I just didn’t want to go on speaking fear into so many situations of my kids lives.

On a different note, Danielle, in your specific case, it seems like Audrey is sensitive to sounds. Watch her reaction to loud noises to see if this holds true. So maybe the sound of the bath filling up is too loud for her and that is what she doesn’t like – easy fix: fill it up before you take her in there. Now, you can’t fix each loud-noise situation, but if you are aware of her tendency, then you may more understand why she cries or gets scared.

When Mason was around this age, we were at a stoplight when an ambulance came through and honked their horn SUPER loud. We all jumped but he started scream/crying instantly.  We live close to a fire station and every time he would hear the fire trucks, he would scream/cry – even if he was asleep.  He probably did this for a year and it finally donned on me that it stemmed from the initial encounter with the ambulance.

Brooklyn, as she entered this age, also became scared of the sirens, so I started telling her, “That’s just the fire truck, it’s ok.” But then I realized that I never said anything else, so to her, a fire truck only meant something loud that came by our house a lot and scared her. So then I started telling her, “That’s the fire truck, they are on their way to help some one and they are telling everyone to move over so they can go help quicker.” Once she realized they were going to help someone, not just drive by our house and make loud noises, she didn’t seem scared any more.

So, you might see if there is a way to add some explanation to the scary situations so that she might more understand what they are actually for – not just to frighten her.  Good luck with the explanation on the mooing!!

Now, Danielle, I have no idea if these suggestions will be useful in helping Audrey. Whether it applies to this specific situation or not, I thought these things were worth mentioning for all the parents reading. Just watching my friend with her two little ones certainly changed they way I react to the everyday bumps and frights that my little babes encounter. I can’t wait to hear more about cute Audrey and her freedom from phobias!

The Great Toy Change Over

This week my two little girls were at my Mom and Dad’s house – which as we all know is an amazing blessing. With the free time I had, I did what I have come to call the “Great Toy Change Over” or “Switch-out” or “Flip-Flop” … well I guess I don’t really have one specific name for it, but you get the idea of what the job entails.

The “Great Toy Change Over/Switch-out/Flip-Flop” consists of me going in to my kids rooms (usually twice a year), pulling everything out from under all the beds, dumping out all the boxes of toys, looking under all those places in which various Barbie apparel, pretend food items, writing utensils, and the like, seem drawn to, and sorting through the mountain.

As I sort every item goes in one of five categories:

  • Trash
  • Garage sale
  • Give to school teachers for treasure box toys (which mainly means I am just returning all the kid’s meal toys my children brought home in the past year from their class treasure boxes) Side note: I always give these items to a teacher other than my child’s because I don’t want them back. I’d much rather have someone else’s 25¢ toys.
  • Toys to keep in the room
  • Toys to put away for a few months

The last category is the one I want to expound on. I’d read and heard from friends that cycling toys is a great idea. Not until it became a necessity (4 kids in 2 small rooms), did I really put this into practice, but let me tell you: It is a BRILLIANT concept.  You take toys that your kids are not interested in and haven’t played with in quite sometime, then you put them away for a while, and then voila – you are like the toy fairy bringing in new plunder from an enchanted land (a.k.a. – the garage).

So for us, because our volume of people and things continue to increase, I rotate out just about everything in their rooms. So my kids get all “new” books, babies/accessories, blocks, cars, dress-up clothes, etc.  I even rotate out similar things or sets.  For example, I will replace a box filled with horses and horse items, during the “Great Toy blah blah blah,” with a varied assortment of dogs and dog items; all Legos are replaced by Lincoln Logs, …

I also do this, within my house, for baby/toddler toys.  I move toddler toys to a new location/shelf or into the toy box for a time.

So I encourage you to experiment with this concept.  You may want to start small or go big from the get go, but I think you will love how much you and your kids enjoy new items of interest.  This is also a great idea to do after Christmas, when they have so many new toys that you can sneak a few away and they don’t even realize it or you just want to put old toys away for a bit to make room for the new.

So after many hours of hard work, sorting, and trashing I wanted to share some of my favorite moments with you (I figured out how to put pictures on my computer!!!!)

The beginning – It got way messier than this

 

 

Boring picture – but proof that there was actually not one thing under Mason’ bed – a reason for me to celebrate

 

My favorite find (beside discovering Emerson’s back-up blanket). I always can’t believe these survive the vacuum cleaner. Each time I find a teeny weapon, I’m compelled to make tiny shoot noises! I’m so thankful to enjoy a boy and his GI Joes.

The dice is for reference

 

The aftermath of a teeny-tiny war

 

A glorious reward for my labor. Nothing more appealing to a book-lover than an organized book-shelf.

Happy Organizing!

“Use Your Words”

This post is in response to the following comment:

Okay, so Eva came to me this morning with a good question: what should she do when she is playing with something and another kid takes it away. I don’t want to teach her to be a tattle-tail but I also don’t want to teach her to just let people walk all over her either. What should I tell her to do in a situation like this?

These are my ideas on this comment in general. Most of these concepts can be used with a child 18 months (or even younger), but some of them are for children a bit older: 3-4 years and up.

One of my mantras is, “use your words.” (I begin saying this when my child starts grunting at something or screaming at someone.) At our house, we have plenty of occurrences of someone taking another person’s item.  What I teach my kidos is to “use your words.”

This means:

  • First they should try to work it out themselves with words. I help them learn what to say for a while: “May I have my toy back please?” “I was playing with that, may I have it back?” Of course the tone of the words is a key in this process too.  I say, “You have to use kind-sounding words.” In my world, the tendency is to say, in a whining/mean voice, “Give it back!” So my reply is, “How could you say that in a better way?”
  • Also, if they just try to pull the toy away, I say, “Instead of taking the toy, what should you do if you want to play with that toy?” Teach them to say, “May I have a turn please?”

(Applicable for around 3+ years) If my kids try to work it out, on their own, and still can’t find a solution, then they may come and ask me for help.  To help with the tattling issue, a good idea is to have the child needing help to come and say, “I need your help getting my toy back,” instead of “He took my toy!”

Sometimes one of my children will come to me saying sibling-A did this or that.  The first thing I say is, “Did you try to work it out?” If the answer is no, they have to go back and try to work it out themselves.

And if you hear them doing it the right way, you run in with praise-galore.  “Great job. I like how you worked that out. That is excellent!” Always, always, always praise good behavior.  Praising good behavior is a huge key to keeping the bad behaviors at bay.

A side-note on tattling:

  • If two of my kids come in tattling on each other, I stop them and then they are only allowed to say what they did, not what the other person did.  I usually have to remind them of this a few times as they are recounting the details.  So this is what it might be like: “Mom, he hit me.” Then I say, “Ok, tell me what happened, what were you doing when he hit you?”

The reality is, you will not be able to help them solve every problem so you have to teach them how to deal with the situations on their own. So, to keep your child from telling on every wrong that happens to them, you can teach them to try to work it out themselves and if a kid/sibling is still being unkind, then your child should just walk away and go find another toy or someone else to play with.

If after trying all of the tools they know of, a child still is causing them trouble, they may go and ask for help (again not tattling on what the other person did, but asking for help).

Remember, this is a process that will take time to teach your child(ren) and my kids still need reminders about the correct way the majority time.  They do get it right on their own sometimes though!!!!

Now, I am no expert on tattling and still feel like my family needs much work in this area, so for those of you who have some good no-tattling techniques, please share!

Sibling Play/ Siblings vs. Friends

Here is a comment from my friend Amy:
I have two boys who are two years apart. The youngest adores his brother and wants to be right on his heels. The oldest gets annoyed by the youngest and shows it by yelling, pushing, or saying mean things. Or he refuses to play with him at all. He also joins up with his neighbor buddies (who are older than both my boys) and tells his younger brother that he’s a baby. So, the youngest comes in crying because he’s not being treated fairly. ONGOING CYCLE!!!

Okay, so I have a few random ideas on this subject, but no example of like, “oh, my kids do this same thing; here is what worked for me.”

1. We have a rule around our house that sibling treatment is most important.  I feel like some kids can be tough enough to get along with; a brother or sister should not be a part of that group.  At our house, we talk about not joining up with a friend to gang up on a brother or sister.  If we see that action, it is instant removal from the friend/situation.

2.  I also do not think it is fair for a sibling to be required to play with his/her siblings all the time.  So Amy, in your example, maybe Isaac gets to play with the boys down the street for 15 minutes, or so, alone, while Josiah gets some quality time with you or something fun to do during that time.  Here’s my hypothetical example, “You (Isaac) can go play with the boys down the street for 15 minutes.  When that time is up, Josiah will be coming to play too.  You can treat him with kindness and let him be a part, or you will be done playing and come home.”

3. I think this same concept of independent time can also be so great at home too. Allow each child time for alone-play.  This can be scheduled into each day – or maybe weekends since that is when school kids are all home together.  We like to have room-time (I’ll make another post for a full explanation of room-time soon), or sometimes, if I just see the need arise, I’ll just tell everyone to go to their room and play by themselves for a certain amount of time.  I usually set a timer for 15-25 minutes.

My Jocelin (the oldest) likes to play by herself the most (maybe it’s a 1st child thing). So sometimes I tell her that I’ll set a timer and she can play alone for that time. After the timer goes off, she needs to be ready to play with her brother and sisters.

4. General comments on sibling relationships:

  • Specifically in my home, we have to work a lot on not delighting in the pain or irritation of a sibling.  I am frequently saying, “You may not be a bothersome (or pesky) brother.” We also talk about the heart issue if you are glad someone is hurting at your expense.

How could this sweet boy be pesky?!

  • I believe that siblings can be loving and kind to one another – in general of course. Relationships with siblings are such good practice for so many other relationships.
  • And, of course, the golden rule is so appropriate here too.  I say often, “How would you feel if you were the one being made fun of or the one being left out?”, etc.
  • I try to think how I feel about my relationships: I like to have quality time, one-on-one with my friends from time to time and I most definitely need time to retreat and refresh all by myself.  Now, finding that time with 4 sweet kidos is a whole different issue, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t need it!

Okay-so hopefully this will give you some ideas.  Let us know what you try and what works.

Also, for the other moms who have found some good ways to encourage sibling play, please give us your suggestions.

Why a Parenting Blog? Part 2

Another reason I want to do this parenting-focused blog is because I truly see the relevance in the saying: “It takes a village.”  As women, we have so much to offer one another (of course men to do, I’m just not sure how many men are reading this!).  I love how, often, when groups of women are together, the conversations drift to ways we do things around the home or with children, things we would change if we could go back, where to find the cheapest whatever – you know – tips for living life.

My life has been revolutionized by learning these things, things I would not have known had it not been for my “village.”

So my hope for this blog is to offer a candid conglomerate of all the tricks, methods, and ideas that I have used, not used, learned from, or just allowed to influence my parenting or the parenting of others that I value.

Let me also say, I am no expert. I do not have a degree in parenting, and no my children do not make good choices all the time, sometimes they don’t make good choices most of the time. 

What I do have is a desire to raise my children to the best of my ability and for passing along any knowledge I have gained in hopes to make your adventure in parenting a smidge easier.

 I want to make it perfectly clear that I am, in no way, indicating that the tips, opinions, and comments that will follow on this blog are to be considered the “right” or “best” way.  I am merely finding a place to pen (or type) all the things that have helped or not helped me and other moms along the way. 

  • Please take any of these ideas and make them your own. 
  • Pick and choose from things you like and tweak them to fit your home and your family.
  • You may also completely disregard any ideas that do not line up with your parenting philosophy – that’s the beauty of this format: you can do, with this information, as you please.

 I also think this will expand the realms of my “village” as you input your ideas and we all learn from one another. 

Ok- so enough of this philosophy/explanation stuff (I really have a reason behind just about all the things I do. I will make great efforts to keep a balance between my thoughts on why I do things and actually getting to the things). Lets get to some practical tips already!

Why a Parenting Blog? Part 1

I realize writing a blog on parenting is a little presumptuous seeing as my oldest is not yet 8, so let me explain a bit about my heart behind all of this. 

As a first time mother, I so often remember thinking, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this was going to be this hard?” and “Why does everyone talk to me like mommying is only cheerful and wonderful but they fail to mention the challenging part?”

I repeatedly wanted to say, “Yes, she is so sweet and chubby and kissable, but this is the hardest, most stressful, taxing thing I have ever attempted in my life,” along with, “I need a little help here!”

 I continually ponder this unspoken code among the general population of mothers that seems to skim right past ALL the hard work to, “Aren’t they so great?”.  As my babies get older, I am more able to identify with what these mothers are commenting on:

  •  for some reason, when we relive our experience as mothers, we reminisce on all the sweet, cute little things our children did. 

 I get that. Maybe we are built that way. Just like with delivery, we have a bit of amnesia when it comes to the challenging parts.  Even when I look back on times of big struggle, they don’t seem as bad as they felt at the time.  

  • Maybe we think we don’t want to scare a new mom off with how tough it might really be.

  – except for delivery of course when women think it is most appropriate to tell a pregnant gal all the horror stories of their 24+ hour labor with all kinds of detail.  Why is that?  Is it a badge of honor that we are proud to display? It seems that our deliveries become a bit like war stories that we relive.  Plus, honestly, we deserve a little credit for being super strong baby makers, and we are delighted to tell a captive audience (which can be easily mistaken for an expecting mother) just how strong we were.  Ok, I digress, where was I… 

  • Maybe we are a little less forthcoming with the actual truth because we think there is no need to rain on an expectant, new, or hoping-to-be mother’s parade.  She’ll learn of the challenges soon enough, why burden her now. 

 I understand that perspective too. The breakdown comes when, as a new mom of young children, you are trying to survive some pretty challenging moments, months, and years, and need to know how in the world to deal with the reality of it all.

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