Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thankfulness 4

1.  Date night with the hubs
2.  Wonderful neighbors who love babysitting our kids and spoil them rotten and actually thank us for letting them watch our kids
3.  Ceiling fans
4.  Roads that are maintained
5.  Surviving the day from hell with a one year old
6.  The return of an out of town mother to her one year old = happier one year old
7.  Continued progress on the piano
8.  Going to the deep end with 3 kiddies thanks to life vests
9.  Uninterrupted conversation with husband over dinner
10.  Giggles with husband over crazy women waiting to see Magic Mike
11.  Listening to a 3 year old talk about when she grows up
12.  A content one year old during library time
13.  A 6 year old who prays for one year old to behave and it works
14.  A three year old who can pee and wash her hands without assistance
15.  A three year old who is ALMOST done with pullups at night
16.  Long talks about God in a bunk bed with two cutie pies
17.  Singing to God with my girls
18.  Praying to God with my girls
19.  A Dada who indulges a three year old's motor mouth
20.  Happy squeals and shuffling feet when Daddy walks through the door
21.  A back up plan
22.  Upcoming days off for the hubs
23.  Contentment for my house with it's flaws
24.  Dreams of what the future holds
25.  Making goals
26.  New potential job opportunity a year from now
27.  Sweet girly sighs when Mama kisses
28.  A day off from little man
29.  Seeing a friend's relationship restored
30. An easy reenrollment process
31. Seeing little man score at 5 and 6 year old levels for kindergarten screenings and knowing I had a lot to do with it
32.  Being appreciated by client's parents
33.  Watching little girls push their rodents in strollers
34.  Laughing over husband having to catch said rodents because cage was left open
35.  Seeing a 6 year old be gleeful over her pepper plant growing a pepper
36.  Teaching a 6 year old responsibility by making her pay for a lost library book
37.  Standing firm with a one year old and three year old testing limits
38. A few mornings of quiet to fellowship with God

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thankfulness 3

1.  Thieves did not get the 6,000 dollars of merchandise they put on our card
2.  Husband got to play drums at a concert
3.  Chicken patties
4.  New Piano
5.  Getting lost in music
6.  New playgrounds to explore
7.  Getting to know new people through children's birthday parties
8. Cool crafts made at library
9.  Easy menus that require minimal cooking
10.  Backpack purses
11.  Baby carriers
12.  Getting B to go down water slide in toddler area
13.  Getting B to swim without Mama in life vest, with floating board
14.  Messy 3 and 6 year old hair in the morning
15.  DVR
16.  To do lists
17.  Checking things off said list
18.  Haircuts
19.  Falling off diet plan and not being disgusted about it
20.  Free printables and craft ideas online
21.  Free childcare options
22.  A sister who officially lives in a town I like that is CLOSER
23.  A dad who still thinks about the fun he had on his trip to see us
24.  A Mom who is hanging in there despite continued health problems
25. A funny "most embarassing moment" story from my sister
26.  Teaching my daughter not to hoard
27.  Movie night at church for our daughter
28.  The coolest beta ever that has escaped death more times than I can count
29.  Feeling cool in my summer shades, new suit, and sun hat
30.  Trying a new Mexican Food restaurant
31.  Dreams are only dreams and not reality
32.  A shaded driveway in the afternoon for the kiddos to wheel around on
33.  A hitch to be installed on Jeff's vehicle

Dispelling the myth

Last night as I watched my girls trot around with their little furballs in a grocery cart and stroller, I thought to myself how unfortunate it is that rats have such a bad rap.  I want to disspell the myth around them and set the record straight.
I've been told little boys prefer to put their rats in tonka trucks and push them around and and the rats love it!  Of course ours prefer the girly mode of transportation.

#1 Rats are dirty
This is funny to me to think that pet rats are dirty.  First and foremost, if you have ever spent any time around a rat, you realize very quickly that nothing could be further from the truth.  Rats HATE being dirty.  When we play with them at nights they clean themselves constantly.  Too many times to count.  If your pet rat stinks, it's not that the rat isn't cleaning itself, it's because you aren't cleaning the cage enough.  Guarantee if you put a cat or dog in a cage and don't clean it's cage very often, it will stink too.  When we were feeding our rats fruits daily, they actually smelled like grape soda.

#2 Rats bite
Yes, rats who haven't been tamed do bite, but so do dogs and birds and some cats.  Any well socialized rat however, you will find is one of the gentlest creatures around.  Our rats have been handled roughly by my three year old and let me tell you, they don't even think about biting.  Instead they just try to squeeze their way out of those tiny hands and plant a kiss on the chubby cheeks of the rough handler.  No joke! I've seen them both do this.  About the only thing you will have problems with is your rat kissing you too much.  They will go right up to your kisser and plant a whole bunch of kisses on it if you let them.  As long as you don't feed them through the cage bars, the only thing they'll do if tiny fingers poke in the cage is lick the tiny fingers.  I had hamsters as a kid.  I can tell you straight up, they WILL bite.  A rat is a much safer bet for your kid.

#3 Rats carry the bubonic plague and other diseases. 
The bubonic plague was spread by a flea that traveled on a rat.  It was not passed on by a rat itself.  Now wild rats can carry diseases, but the common pet rat does not carry any more diseases than your normal cat or dog AND you don't have to get them vaccinated.  There is a difference between a wild rat and a domesticated pet rat.

#4 Rat's tails are creepy
Ok, Ok, they do look a little like a snake and actually they kind of feel like a snake too.  But come on people, tails don't bite!  This argument is just ridiculous to me.  The tail is a necessary part of the rats body.  Without it they can't balance.  Get over it and don't hold against the rat. 

#5  They will poop and pee everywhere.  
Once a rat is comfortable in his or her environment, they don't poop anywhere but their cage.  They do not completely release their bladder either.  About the only thing you will notice is occasionally scent marking which is odorless, but a little gross for some people.  It's like a drop or two.  We always lay a cover on our couch for this reason when playing with our girls.  Boy rats are much worse at this than girl rats.  Some girl rats won't do this at all.

#6 They are hard to control
Actually rats are extremely intelligent and can become very attached to their owners.  Ours are.  Ours come when I click my tongue.   Needless to say they can be easily trained.  Ours also are trained to stay on our couch when they are out at all times.  We can even get off the couch and do a few things around the house and when we come back, there they are anxiously waiting for us to come back and play.  Female rats are more playful than male rats who are typically lap rats.  However, once in a blue moon our females will snuggle up with us and watch TV.  They LOVE to play. They wrestle with us, will play chase, and tug of war.  They are like little dogs in rat bodies.  Some rat owners have trained their rats to ride around on their shoulders like a parrot.  There is even such a thing called rat agility.  Believe it or not.

#7 They are  big commitment.  
First and foremost, they only live 2-3 years, 4-5 if your very lucky.  They only need their cage cleaned once a week.  They don't eat a ton of food and actually can also eat almost anything you eat too as a supplement to their normal diet (within reason) which makes them super fun to feed.  You don't have to buy special toys, just throw in some old cereal boxes, newspaper, old rags etc, and they are well entertained.  If you need to leave town for a short weekend, just put in extra food and they're self sufficient. It really doesn't get any easier than this for a pet. They do need at least 30 minutes attention a day, but then if you aren't willing to give this, you really shouldn't be getting a pet in the first place.

#8 They are solitary creatures
Not at all folks.  Rats are VERY social.  Human interaction is not a substitute for the interaction they get with a pet of the same species.  If you want one, you really should get two or more.  Two is no harder to keep than one.  In fact, half the fun of having more than one is watching the relationship between
the two. They snuggle each other, groom each other, and my favorite, wrestle and chase each other.  The bond between two rats is just precious.  Just make sure to get the same sex.  Having more than one actually helps them bond to you too.  They are a little less afraid when they have their buddy right beside them.  And short out of town trips aren't a big deal when you have your buddy to entertain you while your human friends are gone.  Each and every rat has it's own personality.  Daisy is our explorer and outgoing, playful rat.  Daphne is our affectionate, kissy rat.  I feel like I have the best of both worlds with both of our girls. 

So there you have it.  Let the record show, rats are amazing pets for your kids.  Had hamsters as a kid, now I realize how much I was missing out not having a rat.  Ours will be turning one this September.  I was afraid when we got them that once the newness wore off they would be ignored.  9 months later, we still love them just as much nope, more than the day we got them.  They are part of our family and we play with them every day.  Sad to think that in 3 short months our time with them will already be half over.  They're short life span seemed like a perk when we first got them, now it seems like a tragedy.

 So if you or a friend is considering a furry rodent for your little one, please encourage them to give a rat a try.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Longing for heaven

This week has been a little trying and we're only on Wednesday!  Monday we found out our credit card number had been stolen and someone had tried to rack up 6,000 in debt on it. Thankfully the store they charged too didn't pay out the money as they suspected something fishy.  Now as a reward we get to fill out a bunch of fraud paperwork. 

Later that day we saw a on the local news broadcast that the same dealership that sold Jeff his new vehicle (purchased only a couple weeks ago) was caught tampering with the odometers of the cars they sell. They were taking as much as 100,000 miles off the readings.  We have no idea if this is in fact done to Jeff's vehicle.  We are having to contact authorities to figure out what to do next.  Frustrating.

Several weeks BEFORE the purchase of this vehicle, Jeff had found another vehicle on craig's list that he was interetsed in.  After several correspondences with the gentlemen that was trying so sell it we found out he was trying to scam us. Thankfully, Jeff figured this out before we totally lost the money and had NO vehicle to show for it. 

All this makes me long for heaven.  A world where evil is not out their lurking and waiting to destroy.  It makes me angry, angry, that we have been taken advantage of.  I don't know whether to feel sorry for these people who obviously don't have Jesus in their life, or to just feel anxious for the day of reckoning.  Either way, I hope God protects us from further scoundrels.  We need a break. 

I heart my piano

I made a request awhile ago to get a piano as a gift.  With a return to my career (which I hope is soon), I felt an urge to refresh my skills and dare I say, even improve them.  I have always gotten by on piano before.  While I was teaching orchestra I could play the simple accompaniments along with my beginners, but there was never any need to do anything beyond that.  Teaching instrumental music just doesn't require one to be completely proficient on piano because as your students advanced, the need for accompaniment became unnecessary.  I always focused my efforts on improving my skills on my violin for this reason.

However, it would seem that my days as an orchestra teacher are over seeing as how there is no strings program in our area.  There is a slight chance I could get an orchestra job in Springfield some day but to accept such a position would require either A. a move out of Branson to a closer town or B. a rather large commute.  I am not excited about either of those options. I love where we live and I love the schools my children attend.  I can only hope that I can be part of that educational environment some day.

So anyways, should I get my dream of being  Branson teacher, this means I will be entering back into teaching vocal music at the elementary level (I only have one semester experience teaching vocal).  Suddenly, being better at piano accompaniment is starting to look like a good idea.  Therefore, the idea to buy a piano was born.  What a perfect time to improve my skills, while I am still a stay at home mother. 

Jeff happened to waltz into Best Buy the other day and found that they were getting rid of their musical instrument department.  Everything was clearanced.  We walked out with a electric piano for 50% off. It's really nice.  It has a full keyboard with weighted keys, 300 plus sounds, recording options (even to my computer), transpose option, split options, and a built in metronome. I LOVE IT!

I spent literally hours on it the first two days we had it.  I would put on the headphones and everything else just kind of melted away.  Jeff manned the girls for me thank goodness.   It feels good to get back in touch with a part of me that's been put on hold for far too long.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thankful 2

1.  One year old belly laughs
2.  Child sidewalk chalk drawings
3.  Rain that waters my lawn and Garden
4.  Weather Radio
5.  Hill Billy Mini Lobster Hunt sponsored by church
6.  Watching kids enjoy playing with goop at the library
7. A three year old that is finally starting to pee and wash hands by herself
8.  A three year old that wakes up dry most mornings
9.  A six year old who thinks she can plant anything and it will grow
10. Getting into new ABC family series with my chickadees
11.  A Toyota van that I love
12.  Easy crockpot meals
13.  Watching the kids pretend to be the Karate Kid
14.  Watching my three year old pretend to be a "girlfriend"
15.  Clean windows
16.  Listen to my three year old's version of "used" and "little" (woosed and wittle)
17.  A close encounter with wildlife at a drivethrough zoo
18.  Fast, easy, and convenient breakfasts
19.  A big breakfast that fills me up past lunch
20.  Great, supportive, and sweet clients for Jeff
21.  Booking a trip to TX to see dear friends
22.  A three year old that entertains a one year old during swim lessons
23.  Spray sunscreen (PRAISE JESUS)
24.  Cheerios that quiet a one year old
25.  Children that put up with Mom's parental experiments and end up better for it
26. New bras
27. A 6 year old that enjoys doing worksheets and reading
28.  A 6 year old that reads really really well for her age
29.  A 3 year old that loves to draw and do worksheets too
30.  New library books
31. Kids who have the resolve to earn a privilege back.
32. Safe travels for husband
33. A toilet that doesn't have a broken seal, Phew!
34.  Hair Dye
35.  Feeling well rested
36. New shorts that fit
37.  Playing Ducky with Bren at the pool

Child Wise

Why did I pick this book?  Honestly, curiosity.  I had read Baby Wise.  I found no fault with it, but found it interesting how much controversy it had caused.  There is a natural parenting movement going on right now; many call it attachment parenting.  Baby Wise is not for those parents.  I, however, enjoyed it because I am a scheduling kind of Mama.  I appreciated any kind of advice I could get on getting my baby on a schedule.  Therefore, I figured I'd give Child Wise a read too.  Now that I've moved out of the baby stage with my girls, I'm up for new advice and tips on raising children ages 3-7 which is exactly the age in which this book deals with.

What did I like? Quite frankly, a lot.  The first third of the book seemed like review of things I already had in place and was doing.  That felt good to know the author of a parenting book advised to do some of the very things I was doing.  However, the later 2/3rds of the book gave me new advice that I was eager to start trying.  The author is clearly Christian as he gives a little spiel on it at the end of the book.  When it comes to parenting, I obviously lean towards the advice of other Christians.  I really felt this book had a "get back to the basics" kind of vibe to it.  In other words, it had a real push for teaching children to respect elders the way they used to back in the day.  I REALLY dig this kind of parenting.  There are a few people in my life who really have that old school charm to them, and I find them so incredibly endearing.  I find my level of respect for them goes up ten fold.   So anyhoo....I was all about teaching my children to have manners like they did back in the day.

I also liked that this book really pushes parents to be parents rather than letting than parenting be child led.  I felt the author made an excellent case for this.  It wasn't that he was against child led parenting all together.  He was just clearly against it at young ages.  I agree whole heartedly.  You really must read this before you pass judgement. 

Easy read too.  Goes quickly.     

What didn't I like?  Nothing. 

What did I take from it?  Right away I started implementing several suggestions with my daughters.  One of the key suggestions was requiring your children to reply with "Yes, Mom."  Whenever you call their name or tell them to do or stop doing something.  I won't go into details, you'll have to read the book as too why this works and why it is important, BUT I will say that it worked just as the author said it would.  In his words:
"Whatever form correction you use, you know it's worked when your child's demeanor softens and she seeks to be close with you once it's over.  In fact that is one of the signs of true repentance.  A desire to restore the relationship is a healthy sign that the heart has been cleaned out and the child is seeking to restore the relationship with the one offended.  Often it is with the parent."

Now my kids were pretty good to begin with, but there is always room for improvement.  After about two days on working on some of his suggestions I noticed Kadyn coming to give me more hugs and just randomly saying "I love you Mama" more often.  Proof is in the pudding folks!

Another suggestion I tried was the sit and think time rather than just a time out.  We also started revamping the way a child apologies according to the crime per the author's suggestions.  All of it, I felt, was a good change for our family.  I feel like my discipline has been more meaningful and lessons are being taken to heart.  Therefore, offenses are being repeated less often.  It's a win, win.

I was so inspired by this book, I want to purchase it and want to read the others the author has written which include Toddler Wise, Preschool Wise, and Teenager Wise. 

So all in all, I give this book a two thumbs up. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thankful Post 1

Two of my friends have done this thankfulness thing on their blogs.  I know some of you have read them.  They are neat and it is such a lovely idea.  I enjoy reading them.  It makes me want to join in on all the thankfulness fun.  What a way to force yourself to count your blessings and realign you thoughts to being positive instead of focusing on all the negative things that happen to us.  Here I go:

1.  Swim passes
2.  Little 6 year old snorkeling without struggle
3.  Swim lessons
4.  Air conditioning that works in van
5.  Windows that work in van
6.  Repairs that can wait on the van
7.  Friends that are understanding about a miscommunication
8.  Dr. Doolittle laughs
9.  Ratties that make me smile and laugh
10. Fireflies catching in jammies
11.  Jammy runs to McDonalds for dipped cones
12. Ratties that love my girls and put up with a lot of rough handling
13.  Girls that love ratties
14.  Days off from tiniest daycare child
15.  Friendship with a client
16.  Husband who shows me love constantly
17.  Husband who provides
18.  Allowing myself to turn air conditioning to a more comfy temp this year
19.  New swim suits that fit better
20.  Watching Dada play with his girls
21.  Reading books that inspire me to be a better mom
22.  New ideas to help guide my girls into becoming young ladies
23.  Getting my KS teaching license
24.  New friends up the street
25.   Library reading time
26.  Watching 6 year old get excited about first library card
27.  A husband who loves to joke with me
28.  Secret looks with said husband around the kids
29.  Cheap cell phone that I don't feel too bad about dropping on the pavement a thousand times
30.  Gardening after supper
31.  Watering my flowers with my 3 year old
32.  Watching 6 year old ride bike without training wheels
34.  Food poisoning that passed in 6 hours 
35.  Cutting off 4 inches from Kadyn's hair
36.  Healed ear infection
37.  Visit from uncle Jason
38. Watching butterflies and bees go nuts over my flowers
39.  Listening to a crazy bird that could make 100 different sounds
40. Being able to be more flexible with night schedule and morning schedule
41.  Saturday talks with my mom
42.  Checking off more than half my summer bucket list already
43.  Awesome weather!
44.  Soaker hoses
45.  Only having to water my vegetable garden once in 2 weeks.
46.  A culdesac house
47.  Seeing a truly repentant heart in a 6 year old
48. Booster seats at the kitchen table
49.   A product that actually helps clear my acne
50.  Tickets bought for the first K-State game

Gosh I could go on forever.  I'll stop there.  Can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Take a lesson all the way

Recently my kids lost a privilege.  A privilege they had because I thought I could trust them when I wasn't looking.  Sigh!  I guess I shouldn't have been TOO surprised.  They are 6 and under after all.  Kids will be kids.  Anyhow, after I laid the consequence before them they were a little disgruntled.  I suddenly had this feeling like I really, really wanted them to take what I was trying to teach them to heart.  I wanted to them not just know that following rules means freedom, I wanted to understand why following rules means freedom. I wanted them to understand this was just not a lesson in the now, this was a lesson that would transcend through the rest of their life.  So....I got creative.

We roll played.  I pretended to be a police officer and they were citizens of the law.  My two girls and one daycare kid was involved in the activity.  One of them was a citizen who always followed the rules and drove the speed limit.  One was a citizen who sometimes drove the speed limit.  And the other was a citizen who sped.  They had to run around pretending to drive cars.  I of course would pretend to pull them over.  I had a pad and paper to issue tickets or warnings to make it feel more real.  (they really dug this).   Here were the consequences I laid out for the speeder with each increasing offense:

1.  First time speeding issued a warning
2.  Second time speeding issued a 75$ dollar ticket
3.  Third time speeding, spent 2 days in jail and another fine.
4.  Fourth time speeding, loose license
5.  Fifth time speeding, got in a horrible accident that killed another driver and ended up spending life in jail for vehicular manslaughter.

The kids really enjoyed this activity.  After all, it was a lesson that allowed them to play with me.  Later I had them sit down and we talked about what it meant to follow rules and how that meant more freedom for them.  We talked about how all people have to follow rules, even adults.  We talked about how the consequences for adults not following rules can be much more intense.  We talked about how it is my God given job to protect them from this fate by teaching them now why it is important to follow rules.  We talked about how it will someday be their job to pass this lesson on to their own children.  And then we talked about integrity and why we should follow rules even when no one is looking.  We talked about God knowing when they don't follow the rules.  We talked about how obeying your parents honors God.  We talked about God blessing us when we do things to honor him.

We talked about a lot and I think...gulp...I hope that some of it soaked in.  It felt good to really, really drive a lesson home and take it all the way.  Because really when we tell a child that obeying the rules means more freedom for them, do they really understand what that means?  Do they understand how that lesson can impact them their whole lives?  After all, the foundations we lay now for moral behavior are supposed to carry them through into adulthood.  If they understand how, they've got to be better off. 

She's Gonna Blow!

I have periodically posted about books I've read here or there.  I thought this time, I would post my read as sort of a book review.  .  Not sure there's a set way to do a review, so I'll just make up my own.  So here goes.

Why did I pick this book?  Well let me just first start out by saying I didn't go looking for it.  I was at the library picking up new children's books and thought I'd peruse the adult section for some good reads while I was there.    When trying to decide which section to peruse, parenting sounded good.  Everyone could always use more help in the parenting department.  The title of this caught my attention.  There have been plenty of occasions where my children have made me angry enough I felt like I was going to blow.  I just thought, if I could pick up a few tips to help me keep my cool in tough situations, it was worth a read.

What did I like?  This book was written by a Christian author who freely incorporates her faith and scripture in her advice and suggestions, I appreciated this. It made me feel that the advice she was giving was sound advice because it was biblical.  She also used real life stories that kept me engaged.  Some were funny.  I like funny.  It felt good to know I wasn't the only mother out there that has lost her cool a time or two.  Also, for me this was a easy read.  It went quickly.  I had it done in 4 days.  Quick and easy reads are essential for a busy mom.

  What I didn't like? Any time you read a book over an emotional topic like this one, you are going to feel some discomfort.  Especially when you can see yourself in some of the descriptions. Nobody wants to admit loosing their cool with their children.  We all want to be perceived as these perfect mothers who always know what to do and how to do it. 

Also, when you hear the story of the author and how far she let her anger get, it got a little
uncomfortable to read. the same time I appreciated her candor and I think it served as a good warning sign to it's readers how serious anger can become towards your children if you don't learn how to deal with it appropriately. 

What did I take from it?  Lots of good stuff in this book.  Man, do I wish I had a photographic memory.  Ahhh but I don't.  So I just jotted down a few things that really struck me and hope to put them in my think tank to grab in some of those tough situations.  Here's what I wrote:

To help control your anger,

1.  Remember and say "This too shall pass" when you feel stressed about children's behavior
2.  Learn about your child's temperament and work with it not against it.  Work with who God created them to be.  You may not be able to control a child's behavior, but you can manage it.
3.  Think to yourself, "Does this really need to be said?"
4.  Remember sarcasm can be a passive aggressive form of anger
5.  Always pray and stay in the word.  When you ask for help with anger you WILL receive an answer as this is certainly in God's will.  He will deliver.
6.  Talk yourself through your anger
7.  Remember, you can't have EVERYTHING your way.
8.  Don't act like your two year old ;)

 So there you have it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Liking 6

I have seen a change in Kadyn since she turned six.  Of course there is the usual changes for this age: loosing teeth, making new friends at school, riding a bike without training wheels, learning how to swim, etc.  But I'm talking more about a maturity that is developing within her.  I'm not sure how much of it is actual just getting older, and how much of it is the influence being in school has had on her, but I like it. 

It used to be that whenever I would say no to this or that, ask her to stop doing something, or tell her to do something, I had to prepare for a fight.  Now it seems, (not always, but more times than not) I get compliance.  A simple, "O.K."  And it isn't always disgruntled either, just accepting.  Sigh!  It's so nice.  Now I realize that every kid goes through phases and I'm sure we'll still have our battles, but at least for now this is a nice change. 

We're still working on patience, but then I expect that to be a lifelong battle as she has a mother who will also have to work on patience for the rest of her life.  It runs in her blood.  But, at least now I can rationally explain why she has to wait for things, and she understands.  That doesn't make it easier to wait, but at least she gets it.

Oh, and did I mention she has been putting her bike away, most times without being asked.  I think having to wait 6 months for another scooter that she left out once and Mama ran over taught her a good lesson and she has become much more responsible in this department as well.  Mama like.

I sure hope this stays for awhile.  I'm going to need all the break I can get from the early childhood stresses before I have to dive into the stresses of having a teenager.  Just the thought of Kadyn as a teenager makes me sweat. 

Now if I can just remember this post for the future so I can rest assured that at the end of every tunnel there is a light.