Thursday, January 26, 2012

K's first chapter book

Have you read Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo?  If you haven't you must!  It is an easy, quick read.  I read it cover to cover in one day.  It is very addicting.  The gentlemen who wrote the book lives in Nebraska, but talks of some of his childhood experiences in Ulysses, KS.  Makes it fun to read a true story when someone speaks of a place close to your old home town.

Anyhoo....K started asking about our "heavenly bodies."  I have often wondered about those bodies too.  When I read this book, I realized this is one person's take on it and none of us will know for sure until we die and go to heaven.  However, I want to believe this is how it will be when we go to heaven.  It all sounded pretty convincing to me. It sounded glorious!  I thought it would be fun to read to K and maybe help her understand a bit about heaven with the pretense that we won't know for sure until we get there.  She loves it and asks me to keep going each time I finish a chapter.  She's a bit addicted.

K is now filling out reading logs for a contest at her school.  Books I read to her count.  Chapters each count as one book.  This is a pretty easy task for us because reading is a regular part of our routine during the week days.  One evening I got caught up on the phone in the middle of reading a book.  K got tired of waiting for me, so she decided to start reading it herself.  She suprised herself with how much she could read.  Up to this point, the only things she has read have been assigned to her by her teacher.  I don't think she realized how much she could read on her own from other texts.  Next thing I knew, she was picking up this book and that book and reading away.  She was so excited when I got off the phone she said, "Mom, when I get bored you should tell me to read, read, read, read. I just want to read a whole bunch!"  My heart was warm.  Hoping the reading logs will start to reflect more of her reading instead of my reading to her as time goes on.

I have ordered her own chapter book that is more geared for beginning readers.  It is called A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kennedy.  It is about a little girl who is new to town and her only friend is her guardian angel, Faith.  It is a journey about her experiences trying to make new friends and convince them that Faith is real.  I just thought is sounded adorable and right up Kadyn's alley since she is fascinated with guardian angels.  I have told her she will begin by reading the first pages of chapters to me and I will finish the chapter for her.  When she begins to get more fluid reading the first page of each chapter, I will turn her loose with the book and buy her a little reading light so she can take it to bed and read herself to sleep.  She is stoked about being able to do that.  I'm so glad she's excited about reading. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Late sticks

My girls go through waves where they just won't stay in their beds.  They want to get up and get a drink (even though they know I have a no drinks before bed rule). They need to go pee again (even though they just went).  They're too hot, too cold, supposedly not feeling well.  You name it.  They play the game well.  It never works for them, but they persist.  Then there are times they just won't quiet down and end up falling asleep an hour past their bed time. My patience wanes after the second or third time of putting them back in their beds.  Last night I had barely shut the door and 5 seconds later Bren was out of her bed.  It seems especially bad when Jeff isn't home. I'm not sure why.  I put them down most nights with or without him here and I am more of the disciplinarian parent. 

Anyhoo....I saw this idea in a family fun magazine months ago and that little voice is telling me I need to give this a try.  Basically you put their names and minutes on a popsicle stick.  Every time they get out of bed they loose a stick.  On Saturday they get to cash in whatever sticks remain.  The time from each stick is added up and that is the amount of time they get to stay up late that night.  THEY LOVE STAYING UP LATE!  I am only willing to let them stay up half an hour past bedtime, so they are allowed 3 sticks for the week.  I really think for Kadyn this is going to work well.  I'm not so sure for Brennan.  She doesn't understand the concept of time very well.  I have a feeling if she uses some sticks there may be tears when it comes time to cash them in on Saturday. We shall see. 

Hope it works! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

4 year goals

With the start of the new year, everyone is putting their resolutions up on their blogs.  I just didn't feel the need.  I recieved the new issue of BHG magazine today and in it was a challenge to write down what I hope to accomplish over the next 4 years.  Now this challenge intrigued me and felt exciting because I know things are really going to change in 4 years.  So I'm going to give it a try.

1.  Finish potty training my last child
2.  Have said child cloth herself, bath herself, and brush her own teeth.
3.  Finish requirements for teaching certificate renewal, renew certificate, then transfer to state of MO
4.  Begin applying for teaching jobs as Bren nears school age
5.  Replace one vehicle
6.  Take another trip with my husband
7.  Visit my sister more often (she is moving 4 hours closer this year!  WOOOOHOOOOO!)
8.  Teach both girls how to swim
9.  More family vacations
10.  Be able to afford trips to visit my parents in CO
11.  Begin saving to finish basement
12. Make our back yard into to more useable space
13.  Update my wardrobe
14.  Make some friends
15.  Do a road trip, just me and the girls
16.  Get more involved in church and place membership
17. Go hiking more
18. Replace my very old washing machine and dryer
19.  Make our kitchen space more useable by adding a pantry and bar with storage underneath.
20.  Continue to teach the girls responsibility and pitching in around the house

OK so some of these may be a tad ambitious and may fit into my 10 year plan instead, but a lot changes in four years.  Thought I'd shoot for the moon a bit.  Who knows? 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Balance is sometimes impossible with a life full of children.  Personally, I feel unbalanced most days with the bulk of my time going to the children.  There are so many pulls on me, my home, my children, my daycare, my husband, my family, and my own personal needs.  I know you all know how difficult it is to balance these, and I am no exception to this problem.  This morning has been awesome!  I have been able to get everything done and tend to all the children and their needs at the same times.  I kept wondering why today feels so much different than most days and it occured to me, it is balanced. 

Some times I feel overwhelmed when there is no balance. I will have days where one child demands most of my time.  I will have days where I feel like all I do is break up squabbles, pull children out of things they aren't supposed to be in, cleaning up mess after mess after mess, dealing with Bren's insistence that her hands are STILL sticky, dealing with puke, diarrhea, runny noses, etc.  It often leaves little time for me to get things done around the house, and a messy house sometimes makes me feel out of control.  It leaves little to no time for me to do things I enjoy, and a mother who can not tend to her own needs feels out of control.  It leads me to loose my patience and encourages anger when I don't get things my way. I feel selfish, guilty, alone, and desparate for affirmation that I'm not the only one feeling this way.

My mother comes in handy allowing me to vent on a daily basis sometimes when I'm having just one of those weeks.  However, I can't always use her as a dumping ground for my emotions.  At some point I have to find balance.  So how did I achieve this today (granted the day is only half finished, but we are off to a great start)?  Today I told myself to prioritize and listen to that little voice in my head.  Put away my desires to do things I enjoy and get done what needs to be done.  Choose to show compassion and patience when so and so hit so and so for the billionth time.  Give those behaviors as much time as it takes to teach correct behavior.  The rest can come later. 

The baby took a marvelous nap (made changes to the room darkness and added a space heater to her room, seems to be working).  That makes  HUGE difference in my day.  Unhappy baby equals unhappy caretaker and irritable children.  Happy baby means happy care taker and happy kids. How did I know to add a space heater and darken the room?  A little voice told me too.  I didn't believe anything would make a difference with this child.  Turns out that little voice was right.

I was able to squeak in some time to get started on my college class during the children's play time.  Huge plus!!!  Then in the midst of  it all I realized I hadn't done my devotions.  If I could rewind I would've put that first on my list, BUT I can say that I wasn't being entirely disobedient.  I wanted to leave a sink of dishes this morning, but a little voice said I needed to get it done while I had a chance and everyone was happy.  Now fixing lunch in a clean kitchen has become much easier.  I know it sounds weird, but that little voice telling me what to do is constantly with me, and when I listen to it my day goes much better.  It reminds me to keep my cool when I am what seems like an impossible situation and it seems impossible to listen, but if I do, things go better.  Maybe it's just my own conscience.  Maybe it's God guiding me through my day.  I'd like to think so.  All I know is when I listen to that voice, my day goes much better and I find balance.

I guess all of this is to say that not all days are going to be balanced.  Some days I'm just doomed to fail miserably.  But I believe God wants us to find balance, and I think if we're really quiet and listen to that little voice that guides us through our day, we can come pretty close to finding that balance.  How can a voice that tells me to clean a kitchen possibly be God?  After all is cleaning a kitchen not exactly biblical.  Nope.  But serving my family and others is, cleaning that kitchen is part of my service to others.  Playing around on the computer before I clean the kitchen isn't.   I do believe that little voice is God.  It's hard to argue otherwise when I consistently have a better day by simply quieting my thoughts, listening, and obeying.   

Friday, January 20, 2012

Nip it in the bud EARLY!

I work with a child that has a chronic lying problem.  I have called this to this child's parents attention, but they aren't concerned.  It saddens me a lot and makes my job twice as hard as I am getting no back up in teaching this child the dangers of lying.  Kadyn went through a similar phase and I felt a little helpless.  You want to believe that one little chat and the child will miraculously see the light and discontinue the behavior.  However, it's not really that easy.

The reality is that children will experiment with lying about this or that.  Sometimes they will get away with it and therefore, this leads to increased incidences of lying.  It is hard for a young child to forsee the consequences of their actions if they do get caught. It really is developmental.  This is why so many teenagers sometimes make reckless and dangerous decisions. I learned about brain development when I was doing my Masters. 

So what is a parent to do when a child gets into this pattern of behavior?  For me, the best approach has been a spiritual one.  It involves lengthy conversations about temptation and Satan and about the freedom to choose.  It requires that you talk about God's expecations.  It requires that you tell about real life scenarios where lying can have dire consequences.  And most of all, the importance of trust and how that can make or break someone's life must be stressed.  This is what I did with Kadyn and slowly she worked out of that phase and most of the time I trust what she says to be true and most of the time it is.  This is not to say that she doesn't try the occasional white lie a time or two. 

One of the tricks I use to drive home the importance of being able to trust a child is when they are playing a little game of he said, she said.  If I know what really happened, I play dumb.  I continue to ask the child who typically lies but I know is telling the truth, "How do I know you are telling the truth?  You have lied to me before, I'm not sure I can trust what you're are saying is true."  They get very frustrated because they are actually telling the truth.  I let that frustration set in for awhile and then we resolve the situation the way it ought to be resolved and talk about how they felt when I didn't trust them and they were actually telling the truth.  It really is a teachable moment.  If you get any of these grab em'. 

Another thing that kids often get confused about, especially when they know how Satan tempts us, they will often feel like they are being forced to make wrong choices because of him.  It is important to teach them that they always have a choice between good and evil.  Satan is allowed to tempt us, but he can not force our hand to do anything that is against God's will for us.  When we sin, we choose that.  Don't let kids pawn bad choices on to Satan.  Both K and this little child I work with have tried to do this.

Lying, in my opinion is VERY SERIOUS.  It is not funny or cute!!! Teaching integrity to our children is one of the best gifts you can give your child.  I urge parents to not overlook lying at such a young age.  Take it seriously and nip it in the bud early or you may really regret it later when it really counts!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Kadyn came home today and sounded like she skipped from 5-13.  She says, "Michael said that Dillon has a crush on me, but Dillon says he doesn't."  I was speechless.  Why are kindergarteners getting crushes.  Don't they have more important things to do like on the merry go round or swing on the swings.  Am I really going to have to have a chat about when the appropriate age to have boyfriends is?  Oh my, I am not ready for this. 

After mulling that awhile I get into Kadyn's book bag and find this library book with a huge picture of Zac Efron on it.  What??????  I asked her if she liked the boy on the cover.  She said, "No I just like that movie High School Musical so I checked it out."  Oh dear what did I start here?  I have to take the blame here.  I watched that movie with the girls a couple months ago. I admit, I sometimes like the teeny bopper shows.  It seemed like a good clean movie.

What in the world do I have in store as a parent of a school aged child. I knew the birds and bees speech would come earlier than it did when I was a kid.  I was a teacher, I heard the conversations going around in the junior high.  Innocence is gone.  I know homeschool advocates would be all over this saying this is good reason to keep my K at home.  Ya know though, I do hold to the verse that says:

"I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but you should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world."

I'm not opposed to homeschooling, and I may have considered it if Jeff wanted to hop on board, but he was opposed.  So this verse brings me comfort that it's OK to let my child go to public school.  This will mean her exposure will be greatened to things of this world.  However, it's my job to walk her through it and show her God's ways so she is armed with the truth and knowledge to make the right decisions.  Beyond that, I pray.  Pray that she heeds Christ's call to remain pure and be obedient to her parents. 

So anyways, we will be having a chat about boys tonight and such.  As I end this I was just informed, the said boy is also a 1st grader.  Sigh!  Lord be with me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Mannerisms....everyone has them.  Bren has some that I just find adorable. Her newest one is the bobble head.  When she's deep in thought and trying to explain something she holds her hand out to her side and bobs her head back and forth.  It really reminds me of those bobble head figures. 

This is one of my favorites too, nodding yes when she really, really likes something:

She also has become quite fond of certain sayings.   She likes to say "________in the whole wide world." And she is really fond of the word "everything."  She always finds a way to fit it in somehow.  Funny girl!

And in family news our family has resurrected that old high school game called "chicken butt."  Do you remember it?  Someone asks, "Ya know what?"  You respond, "What?"  They respond, "Chicken butt!"  Now I realize not everyone would find humor in this, so K has been warned that it is only to be played at home, but let me tell you, it has really grown into a competition at our house, even Bren is getting in on the action; we're always trying to scam up different ways to tricking each other into falling for it.  We've added new rules and Jeff also introduced:

"You know why? Big cow pie"
"You know how? Big fat cow"
"You know when? Big fat hen"

If you have never heard of this before, you'll just have to trust me.  It can be pretty funny after you get past the crudeness of it all. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Puppet show

As I have said before, my K is a crafty gal.  Ever since she got her huge box of arts and crafts supplies, she is always creating something.  One day she made paper puppets and then she started eyeballing a large box that was used to ship part of my makeup desk.  She asked her Dad if she could have it and he cut it up for her and then she made it into a puppet stage.  We were all treated to a very long puppet show shortly afterwards. She had made a puppet to look like each one of us in the family.  It was sweet.  I enjoy seeing the creative juices flowing in my girl.

Training Camp

For Christmas Jeff got us Wii training camp and one other fitness trainer.  I didn't ask for it, I have not been in the mood to break a sweat after caring for the house and the kids all day.  I'll get there, eventually.  Anyhoo...he finally broke into it the other day and the girls were more than excited to hop in there and try it with him.  I can still see him trying to do that football warm up where you spread your legs and try to run as fast as you can. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  He made me swear not to post the video.  Man, do I wish I could.  I guess you'll have to settle for pictures.  Anyhoo...Kadyn has used it several times since.  Glad someone is enjoying it.  I suppose when the weather is cold out, it's a great way to get some energy out of the kids.  I enjoy watching Kadyn attempt to do the exercises and then yell at the lady on the TV screen because she doesn't want to do a particular move.  Later the game trainer tells Kadyn, "You're not giving maximum effort."  It's a riot.  Also, watching Kadyn do push ups in crawling position is quite comical too.  Anyhoo...if anything, I'm getting some thorough entertainment out of it all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rough week

Last week was our last full week back and it was rough.  Monday I think I caught the stomach bug.  I almost puked several times, but managed to keep it in. I spent most of the day laying on the couch just trying to keep it together and only getting up to change diapers and cook.  I was lucky that Kadyn was still home.  She helped entertain the toddler I watch because she wanted too.  The other two daycare kids were still on break.  I felt much better the next day.

My toddler, who is normally an outstanding napper, refused to nap...all...week.  I spent most, if not all of my little break fighting him to go down.  By Friday he learned how to crawl out of his crib and I ended the day, frustrated, angry, and clueless on what to do.  Over the break his mother weaned him off of his binky.  She claims he did very well and napped marvelously.  Happy for them, but for whatever reason, he will no longer nap at my house.  To add to the stress, when he finally did fall asleep, if the baby cried, it would awake him after maybe 30-45 minutes and then we were back to square one.  Also, the baby is highly sensitive to other people's emotions, so hearing him cry made her cry and back and forth it would go.  Today we try to get him down in a sleeping bag as putting him the crib is futile and dangerous if he is going to crawl out.  Mama brought some loveys from home, we're hoping that does the trick.  I'm already stressed out just thinking about it.  Watching 4 kids is stressful in itself, I NEED that break. 

I had typed out all the grusome details of some toilet issues Bren was having, but after posting it and going back and rereading it, I realized maybe, it was TMI.  LOL.  Let's just say, potty training has be derailed because of a few health issues in that department and we are working on it.  No problems with number ones, but a whole lot of trouble in the number two department.

So anyways, that was a whole lot of fun.  Sunday morning at about 2 Bren showed up in my room covered in puke.  It took a good hour to clean her, the carpet, and the bedding.  By the time I was finished I had a horrible time falling back to sleep.  I was very thankful to be able to sleep in the next morning.  Brennan acted like nothing was wrong by morning.  So all four of us have now had the stomach bug.  Each was spaced about a week apart.  The girls only puked one or two times at night and then were better by morning.  I never did puke but felt awful all day and Jeff puked once and felt awful all day.  I've heard of this going around everywhere so I wasn't surprised we all got it.  I was surprised that it was fairly mild for all of us.  Still chalking that up to the vitamins.  They aren't completely fool proof, but I swear they help even when you do get sick.  Even my colds have been more mild this year, and the girls have only had a couple sniffles that were also very mild.

So anyways, my goal this week is to just continue to work on myself and my reactions to stress.  It seems I am always in a constant state of being stressed out and I need to find a better way to cope. I'm trying to get deeper into the word and meditate on scripture and speak to the Lord throughout my day more often.  I'm trying to will myself to be more calm when I am presented with stressful situations.  I do have triggers that get me very quickly which include: squabbling kids, tattle tailing, whining, and crying.  Sometimes they all happen at once.  It can be very difficult to not loose your cool when they do.  So anyways, I'm working on it. Here's to week two. Hope it is a little better.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Right words, right time

Man did this ever get to me the other day and hasn't left my mind sense.  I think I needed to be reminded to let GO and ACCEPT.  I let that stress me out WAY too much in my job.  I've heard it before, but it really impacted me more today.  I think God knew I needed to hear it. Maybe it will help you today too:)

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr