Friday, April 29, 2016

Things You Do NOT Want to Hear as a Mom

The last time I posted, I kinda went on and on.  I will now get off my little soap box for a while and share something kinda funny about my son, age 5 1/2 years. 

As a mom there are certain phrases that you DO NOT want to hear:


Hey look!  No hands!
Uh oh!
What's that?
Mom's not gonna like this....
I didn't do it!
Shhh!  Don't tell mom!

These are just a few.  What is more interesting is watching your beloved child perform such acts of mischief, and capturing said mischief on video.  I was witness to just such an event just the other day.  

As my oldest watched the video she had exclamations of "Oh no!  Please no!  Did he hurt himself?  You were filming this?!?  He could have died!!"

video 
to view this on your phone or tablet click here  https://youtu.be/HRAmYYHVCTo

We did NOT have to go to the emergency room, however, this little stunt proved to me that I do in fact have a very active, normal little boy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Said NO!



How many times a day do you say "NO!" to your children?  5, 10, 50?  I bet it is a lot more than what you are actually thinking it is, I know this is the case for me.  I was recently sent a link to a short video where the mother was going over all the things we tell our children "NO!"  to.  Although this mother is quite accurate in some things, and she does have a point, it got me thinking if this is what we should really be doing with our offspring.

Ok, so I am NOT saying to let the kids run wild and act like "Spot" from the movie "The Good Dinosaur", but I am asking "How can we give our kids boundaries without crushing who they are trying to become?"  

 If they don't have a choice of what they can choose from, how are they to learn these precious decision making skills?  If we, as parents, continually take away their freedom to choose when they are little, they will never learn the satisfaction of a job well done or the disappointment of a hard lesson learned.  

 I know that watching your children make their own choices is difficult.  You feel that you can do it better by doing it for them.  If this is your way of thinking, you got to change your thinking!  You are doing nothing for your child by squashing these tender teaching moments that will shape an incredible human being!  I have witnessed far too often where the adult child still relies on mom and dad to make their choices for them.  Kinda sad isn't it?

So, how do we go about building boundaries while teaching our children to make their own choices and decisions?  Well, it all starts with a choice.  If they are driving you crazy after a super long day of…..whatever, instead of saying "can you please just be quiet for two minutes so mommy can rest?" (of course you will be using your most sugary voice to do so, with no hint of irritation or raised volume included, right?  Please answer truthfully, after all I am a mom too and have had plenty of these days!)  Instead you can change it to a "YES!" answer by saying, "Hey kids, mom is really tired right now and need to rest for just a minute.  Can you choose a "YES" thing to do right now?" 

You will have to guide them on what a "yes choice" is - whether it be play a quite game, read a book, watch a movie, build blocks….whatever YOU decide is a good choice for that moment in time.  The key is NOT to give them a choice you wound not be happy with.  For example, if you want them to sit quietly, don't give them a choice to play cars (or some other noisy activity) instead give them a choice between a book or a puzzle.  A major key is to keep the choice limited to 2 options.  Don't make it hard, remember, you want your 2 minutes of peace!

You as a mom will have to set these boundaries.  It won't be easy, but hey, neither was childbirth!!  You WILL have to engage with the children to teach them the difference between a "NO Choice" and a "YES Choice".  I have spent countless hours teaching this same concept to my own children, but because I invested time in their learning, it is easier now for me to ask them to choose a "yes" and they will respond pretty quick.

Examples of No & Yes Choices:
No, you can't go to the park right now, but you CAN go out back and ride your bike or play in the sandbox.
No, you can't have a snack right now, but you CAN help me with dinner or play with playdoh until dinner is ready.
No, you can't draw on the walls, but you CAN color this picture or make one of you own in your very own special book.
No, you can't jump on the couches and scream, but you CAN choose to build with blocks or play with Legos.

The list can go on and on.  The following are just a few in-depth suggestions, you can take them or leave them.  This is what works in my family.  I will NOT tell you anything that I myself haven't tried, with success.  Hope it helps.

Hair Cutting:
Ok, you are asking yourself right now "so what on earth is a YES choice to cutting a siblings' hair?"  Yup, I had this same situation!  Russell decided to give Emma an impromptu haircut which made it necessary for me to become a YouTube hairstylist - quickly!  (That is a story for another day.)  Continuing on, obviously the NO choice is to cut the siblings' hair, a YES choice would be for the child to cut pages in a color book or pieces of scrap paper.

Coloring on Walls:
This is a good one!  Your "little angel" just created a masterpiece on the living room wall and you are trying like crazy not to crush this creative spark by screaming and yelling looking like an insane lunatic!  First, you need to calm yourself down, cuz invariably the child will say "It says I Love You Mommy!"  Next, you need to recognize the child's inner artist, and explain that even though you LOVE the drawing, said child needs to keep their work in a color book or sketchbook.  (BTW - if you don't have any of these, scrap paper will do wonders or you really need to go out and purchase some, even a lined paper notebook will work!)  Before you paint over the masterpiece, take a picture so you can remember the memory of when your child wrote "I Love You Mommy" on the wall.

Jumping on the Couches:
This is a favorite at our house!  I have encountered this more times than I can count!  After telling the kids that they now have to sit on the floor instead of my couch, I ask them to find a YES, invariably they tend to play dress-up and chase each other around the house, not much quieter, but hey, they are no longer making my cushions lumpy!

Asking for Snacks Right Before Meal Time:
Ugh!  There is nothing worse than spending time in the kitchen to prepare a meal for your wonderful family and having a child come in and say "can I have (such & such) for a snack?  I'm starving!"  Instead of jumping into reasons why they are going to "ruin their supper" with a snack, ask them if they want to help you prepare the meal.  I have found that when they help, they eat better cuz they now have a claim on doing something for the family.  What a great way to boost their self-esteem too!

This is just a short list of the possible "YES Choices" that can be offered to your children.  If you never teach them what a "YES" is they will not know where their boundaries lie and they will continually push your buttons until you snap.  So, for the sake of both you and your offspring, help them learn the "YES Choices" in life and stop saying "NO" so often.  Besides, if you never give them boundaries, you will grow up to be the parent of an adult child who relies on you for everything.   I beg you, give them a chance to start when they are young.  It will be hard to watch them learn this process of choice making and learning boundaries, but it will be well worth the reward of seeing them turn into amazing people who are willing to do what it takes to make the world a better place.

If you have some amazing "YES Choices" or teaching moments, I would love to hear about them!  Please share!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What is Normal?



You know the saying "Now remember, to the rest of the world we are a HAPPY, NORMAL family"?  Well, this is what I have been trying to portray to the rest of the world.  The truth is, my family is anything but normal.  The sign says it most accurately.  

The following is just a glimpse of what we consider "normal" in our family.  See if you can relate to any of the following.

18 year old loves to read, instead of doing homework, housework... Chats about her day late into the night with mom, while lying on the foot of parents bed and trying really hard not to wake up dad.  (I love these little chat sessions, it's when I feel closest to her.  If your teen wants to chat, DO IT!   It will be the best time you can spend with them!)  Cleans room only when absolutely necessary (like when there is NO clean laundry to be found anywhere - I often wonder what is being worn -- oh no, got to stop wondering THAT, it might get scary!)  Only comes home long enough to eat, shower and sleep.  Can't wait to move out on her own and become her own "self".

Ok, so SHE sounds like a VERY normal teenager.  And as teens go, she's a really good kid.  One down, two to go….

5 1/2 year old boy loves to watch dragon movies (Hiccup & Toothless are his favorites).  Plays dress-up (usually as a cowboy or super hero). Sings countless renditions of "Love is an Open Door" with his oldest & youngest sisters (they really aren’t that bad either).  Loves to be "daddy's helper".  Builds amazing creations with his Lego sets (by the way, don't step on a Lego - it defines pain in a whole new category).

  Plays with trucks and cars and LOVES to play on top of dirt & compost piles.


Ok, so HE sounds pretty normal.  Two down, one to go…

3 1/2 year old girl loves to wear pink, sleeps with a "silky" blanket, plays with Little People play people/animals.  Ok, here's the kicker… she loves to play in the dirt!  Yesterday she found a worm.  She proudly brought it in for me to see.  You see, I had two of my friends over to visit, they both had little girls of their own, and instead of playing dolls with the other girls, Emma played outside in the wet dirt (not quite mud consistency - yet).  As we were looking for the other girls' shoes and socks so they could go home, little Emma comes in and shows us her "prize" findings for the day.  It was a tiny little worm, clearly a baby of its kind.  After ooohing and ahhhing over this "treasure", I asked her to take the worm back outside, which she did.  After saying my good-byes to my company, I went to check on my little excavationist and to see if she did in fact put the worm back in the dirt.  Well…as I walked outside, she was pulling her hand out of her back pocket…..yup!  You guessed it!  She had put that tiny little worm in her back pocket so she could play with it later.  I thought only BOYS did things like this!!!  She only put the worm back into the dirt after I told her that the dirt is where it can grow big and strong and that she will have the opportunity to "visit" the worm at a later time.
 
Ok, so not quite normal, but am I close?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Our Sweet Emma

 
So I have been telling a bunch of stories about my oldest daughter, Jessica.  Some are great, some are just plain hysterical!  Well, I guess I better switch topics and choose one of my other children for a second.  Let me introduce you to my sweet little Emma.

Emma will be 4 years old in just a few weeks and she is so complicated that I can't figure her out at times.  One thing she loves to do is sing.  Just the other day I was at my sister's home sitting at the kitchen table and little Emma was playing outside.  Please keep in mind, the door was closed.  Emma was belting out a song for all the world to hear and we could here the words perfectly, although I was unable to recognize the song at the time.  When I checked on her, I found that she was at the back of the yard playing on the swings and NOT on the porch where I thought she was.  I realized then and there that I have a famous singer in the making on my hands!  

 One of the songs she loves to sing the most is the hit song from "Frozen" "Let it Go!"  When she first saw this movie, she woke me up at 2 am belting out the words "Let it Go! Let it Go!....the cold never bothered me anyway!"  Funny thing is, when I checked on her to make sure she was ok and still in bed, I found her singing in her sleep!  That's right, she was sound asleep singing!!  (This is a trait that she has inherited from her father.  That is another story for another day....)

Her love of the song grew and grew and she would sing it at the drop of a hat, or in this case, the drop of a bucket.  I was fortunate enough to get her rendition of "Let it Go!" on video.  I share it with you below:

video
to view this video on your phone or tablet click here https://youtu.be/_Yd2gdXyTLQ
Super funny thing is, after she was done singing this amazing rendition, she promptly ran into the post behind her! 

Kids, you got to love 'em, and I love mine most of all!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Take The Next Step

 

Ever feel like the world is against you and you don't know if you have the strength to go on?  I love the above description of daily decision making.  There are days I just want to stay at the bottom and never take the next step.  But I am a mom, and as such, I have to take the next step, even if it is begrudgingly.  Eventually I reach the top, and you know what?  More times than not, it feels great to say "Yes, I did it!"

Take laundry for example (or dishes if that is more your style).  You wake up in the morning, look at your drawers/closet and think "Oh rats!  I have nothing to wear! (or eat off of) then you look in the laundry hamper (or sink) and think "Oh rats!  I forgot to start that batch of laundry (or dishes) last night!  Now I can't wear my favorite (clothes item here) or now I can't eat til I wash that (dish item here)!"

Never fear, if you just buckle down and climb the next step, you will conquer that mountain of dishes or laundry!  I know you will cuz I do it on a daily basis!  When you are done you get an amazing sense of satisfaction and the feeling of "yes, I did it!" is just too great to pass up!  And just think, you will have a dirty dish or dirty laundry free home for the next 12 minutes!  

Go ahead, take the next step!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prayer

In 2 kings 20:5 it states that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Sometimes it's in the smallest of ways. Such as a simple hello or a hug. He helps us heal. Sometimes that healing is given through the prayers and comfort of others, whether they are friends or strangers.  I also know that when many people band together and pray for a colective purpose, miracles can happen.

There comes a time in all our lives when we just need a little bit of extra help.  We get to the point in life where  "When life gets too hard to stand....kneel" is easier said then done. What happens then? When life gets hard you reach out to a friend who cares.  I have a friend who needs some extra prayers for her family right now.  I would ask that you spare a quick prayer of comfort for a stranger and her family.  Let's help make a miracle in her life.  If you think of it, can you please send up a special prayer to help my friend at this time?  I know that if you take a moment to help a stranger, your life will be better for it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Attempted Bird Rescue

video
to view this on your tablet or phone go to https://youtu.be/s24if6RPhVo


My dear friend Marci reminded me of a time where Jessica, my oldest, tried to coax a bird off our front door screen.  This is the result of that attempted rescue.  This is also the reaction that my dear daughter gives when she encounters a spider (refer to my post on Phobias: BUGAPHOBIA for a more in depth description.  Jessica posted a great comment as well in the comment section!)


(I am still learning the technology of these things so I I hope it plays well for you.  If it doesn't let me know and I will try to fix it with my ever limited knowledge of these things.  It is  GREAT!)

(I have had some people say they have trouble viewing this video on their phone or tablet devices, I know that if you view it with a computer it will be just fine.  If you can help with the technical aspect of this so others CAN view it on their mobile devices I would really appreciate the help!)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Phobias




Today I want to focus on all the types of phobias that we experience in my family.  I know that I won't be able to touch all of them, but I can sure give it a whack!  These are the ones that are VERY common in my personal family.  At least one of me, my spouse or children experience at least one of these each and every day.

BUGAPHOBIA: n. the fear of ALL bugs big or little, black, white, red or polka dot, four legs or 100,000,000 legs, jumpers, crawlers, flyers, two eyes or 20 eyes…basically anything that isn't human!

When my oldest was about 3 years old she would scream bloody murder if a fly landed anywhere near her.  My sweet hubby would tease her and say "There's a fly on your head" just to hear her scream and flap her hands in the "mad ninja" positions.  She has since grown out of THAT extreme, but this is what she looks like when dealing with a spider:

 
TOILEPHOBIA n. the fear of using any toilet that isn't located in your own home, or in our case, one that isn't on the same level of the home that your bedroom is located.

Even my extended family suffers from this phobia.  We have had extremely long drives that in reality only lasted 5 -10 minutes because someone didn't want to go potty before we left the store.  You know the signs of when your little one needs to "go": they jump around, stick their tushy up in the air, drop what they are doing and dance a little jig, but when asked if they need to "go" they simply say "NOPE" and continue their little dance.  By the time they get in the car they realize that they REALLY need to "go" and now the 5 minute drive seems like a 5 hour drive home to the safety of their very own potty.  Then when the home is in sight there is calling of "dibs" on who actually gets to use the "facilities" first (the youngest usually gets to go first due to bladder size).

If by some chance you are unable to make it to your own toilet, you succumb to the inevitable use of the public restroom where you then turn into an amazing contortionist who can hover three feet above the ground for more than 30 seconds!  My brother calls this the "hover" technique.

GERMAPHOBIAn. the fear of germs of any kind.



Yes, this is what I look like almost constantly!
This is my worst nightmare!  I am such a germaphob that I even ask visitors if they washed their hands after using my facilities.  Yes, I have been known to ask my own father this very question "Did you wash your hands?"  I can't stand germs of any kind!  We are constantly washing hands for everything: when they come in from the yard, before they eat, after they touch the dog, after sneaking a pick at their nose or blowing it, after facility usage,….well, you get the idea.  The worst is a buffet place.  You know the sneeze guard is too high for it to give any protection to the food from a kid! 

SLEEPAPHOBIA: n. the fear of sleep after an amazing day at the farm with family.

This is where the parents are so exhausted from running around keeping tabs on the children so they don't get trampled or eaten by the farm animals that they fall straight into bed and pray the kids will fall asleep just as quick.  BUT, are sadly mistaken when said children are so fired up on adrenaline that they bounce around the room and generally keep themselves awake by coming out of their room to ask silly questions just so they can avoid the inevitability of going to sleep for the night.  The only thing I can figure is that they are afraid of missing the next great thing to happen, even though it is 9 pm and NOTHING else is going to happen!

 







DISHAPHOBIA: n. the fear of doing dishes without being asked.

Even though this is probably self-explanatory, I will elaborate.  At my house we have a chore chart, just like any other normal family.  HOWEVER, the chores don't always get done if I, as a mother, don't point out to said children that the chores REALLY DO need to be done.  The biggest neglected job is dishes, and we even own a dishwasher!  NO ONE likes to clear or fill the thing, which leads to a weekend of "cleaning the kitchen".  Don't get me wrong, we never eat on dirty dishes (remember I suffer greatly from germaphobia), and we haven't had to resort to paper and plastic, but sometimes I would rather have a root canal than ask my family to do the dishes!

I wonder if you can relate to any of the above phobias.  Let me know, it would be interesting to know if other people face these same maladies, other phobias that your crew faces, or if these are only specific to my crew!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I Dare You...



So my daughter got on my blog the other day then promptly chastised me for not having anything new posted.  I said "I can't write every day, I will run out of stuff to write!"

Her reply was, "Come on mom, this is YOU we are talking about.  You will always have something to write about!"

So, here I am, again.  I started thinking of things I could share with you.  I could share the funny things that my hubby says at 2 am while he is sleeping….but maybe at another time.  Instead, I want to share a funny story from Richard Paul Evans.  He is a great author, and I have read some of his books.  My hubby loved his book "The Walk".  My dear grandma asked me to find some info about Mr. Evans to share with a group of friends that had read that same book.  While looking for the information, I ran across Mr. Evans' blogsite.  I was surprised to see that he in fact does have a personal blog! 

Anyhow, the following story is a true event that took place in his life.  I would like to share it with you now:

This is a true story. It still makes me laugh when I think about it. Feel free to share.

One morning I was driving to my mother-in-law’s house in a small gated community when I noticed an elderly man sitting in a bush, his legs sticking up in the air. I stopped my car, rolled down the window and shouted to the man.
“Are you okay?”
“Yep.”
“Did you fall?”
“Yep.”
“Do you need some help?”
“I’d appreciate it.”
I got out of my car and pulled the man out of the bush.
“How did you fall in a bush?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I was just walking. Next thing I know, I’m in a bush.”
“Did you call for help?”
“No. My son was coming by this afternoon. I figured he would probably see me.”
I walked the man home and into his house. His wife was sitting at the kitchen table as we walked in.
“Your husband fell,” I said. “He’s not hurt.”
She just stared at me for a moment then she said to her husband, “You brought home Richard Paul Evans?”
He looked at me and said, “Who?”
“Richard Paul Evans. He’s an author. I have all his books.”
“I don’t know who he is. He pulled me out of a bush.”
She looked back at me and said, “As long as you’re here, would you mind signing my books?”
 The End

for more about Richard Paul Evans visit his blogsite at http://www.richardpaulevans.com 

I think it is great that a famous author took the time to notice someone in need.  Even more amazing, he took the time to help.  He didn't need to be asked, he just did it.  How many of you would be willing to help someone in need, especially if that someone is a stranger?

At Christmas time, when the lines in the checkout at Wal-Mart are the longest, I was placed in just such a situation.  My hubby and I were finishing up the last of our shopping and landed in line behind a couple that had a cart packed full of wrapping paper and 2 liter bottles of pop.  We are talking 25 of EACH!  My mind raced with possibilities of what so much stuff would be used for.  I also noticed that the wife was in a wheelchair.  I watched as the husband made the purchase and then left the store.  As I made my purchases, I started to wonder about the couple that was in front of us.  They obviously had caring hearts, cuz in my mind they were either going to share their purchase with family or take it to a women's shelter so they could take part in the Christmas traditions.

As we left the store, I happened to notice that this same couple was right outside the doors.  The husband had brought the truck around and was in the process of filling it with his purchase.  I surprised myself by asking him if he wanted any help.  This was out of caricature for me, cuz I rarely offer help to those I don't know.  Although he declined my help, he had a smile on his face and was grateful for the offer.  I also took something away from this experience - I took the feeling of love for others, not just for the people that I have close contact with each day, but the love for all people and the ability to see each person as a child of God.  I could also feel that Heavenly Father was pleased with me for my willingness to help a stranger.

My day was made a little brighter cuz I stretched myself just a little.  How about you, are you willing to break out of your shell and help someone you don't know?  I dare you - the blessings are worth it!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Family Portrait



Looking at the portrait above you would think that I have an amazing family that doesn't have any problems whatsoever.  I am here to tell you that although I DO have an AMAZING family, we have our fair share of problems.  For example, getting family pictures.



I have a very bad habit of getting family pictures done each year.  This is so I can mark the passage of time with at least one picture of everyone each year.  We can see who had hair and who didn't, who gained weight or lost weight, who grew 10 inches or who shrunk.  Any way you look at it, a picture is a great time marker.  It is also a great way to discover things about yourself that you never would have known before.  For example, I turn into a psycho mamma and expect the impossible.



Every year I schedule with a photographer the ideal location for an amazing family picture.  Every year I carefully coordinate clothes that will match (no plaids and stripes here - no siree!)  Every year I beg and plead with my children to just "smile for the camera".  Every year I tell myself this is the year that I will have happy smiling children that will not fight.  Every year I tell myself that the pictures will be over in less than 1 hour (instead of the 3 hours it took the previous year!)



I have found that every year I have been lying to myself and expecting the impossible!  I have also realized the photographers I have hired, not only do they do an amazing job, but they also see me as a psycho mamma who gets so frustrated with her children for NOT smiling that I resort to begging, pleading, and bribery for just ONE smile to be in the 192 pictures that will be taken that day.  (I have also noticed that these photographers don't hold bad feelings against me.  I guess as a photographer they have "seen it all".)



So, for all you mammas who want to get an amazing shot of your crew, here is the true breakdown of the above amazing family picture:  Before the picture happens expect, crying, poking, teasing, running, complaining, snacking, confusion, whining, and eye-rolling (this is just from the mamma!  Like I said, I turn into psycho mamma).



When I was getting these current pictures taken, I asked "WHY?!? Why do I do this same thing year after year?"



My photographer said "Because you are a great mom and you care."  Like I said, I have amazing photographers!



That was great encouragement to continue to go through the hassle to mark the passage of time.  It also made me think of the many other things we do day in and day out.  We sometimes bang our head against a wall wondering "WHY" do we continue to do the things we do.  The answer is simple, we do these things out of love and because we care.



So, I will again schedule another family picture this year.  But I will be sure to not put too much pressure on the family so maybe I won't see an appearance of psycho mamma!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Silence is Golden?






I have often heard that silence is golden.  Well I have recently learned that "silence is golden, unless you have children, then it is just suspicion."  I can't tell you how true that statement is!  We recently moved into a new home (about two years now and we LOVE it!)  Just after we moved in, my sister was visiting and helping me do some projects.  Well, it got super quiet and I started to wonder where the kids had gotten off to, or into, as the case may be.  I put on my detective hat and went searching.

 It didn't take me long to find them and the mischief they had been up to.  Don't be fooled by these sweet innocent faces and smiles…it took FOREVER to clean up their little "construction zone"!  They had poofed 2 FULL bottles of BABY POWDER into my son's closet, covered his bulldozer and gave little Emma a "powder shower".  They were being "creative and constructive".

 Instead of getting mad, I did what any normal mother would do…I grabbed the camera, took pictures that I can show their future spouse, then I dutifully cleaned up the closet.
 
Needless to say:

I LOVE MY KIDS!!