A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

May Moving Madness~I’m Always Hiring May 27, 2010


Because of this:

I re-posted this short but sweet little tidbit of mommy 411 for your arsenal. It’s a goodie for sure… I myself appreciated the reminder!

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When my girls seem to have nothing better to do than to instigate problems, or start trouble with one another, I give them a job. My oldest daughter, as smart, kind, and wonderful as she is, just can’t help herself sometimes. She gets to feeling feisty, and messes around with her younger sisters. It happened about five minutes ago.

She’s giggly today, with lots of energy. Not always a good combination. I heard her go to the back of the house and stir up something with her youngest sister. “Stop it Kaitlyn!” is all I heard. I called Kaitlyn into the room, and calmly said, “It’s obvious to me that you need an occupation…clear the table from lunch, please.” “Yes ma’am…” was her reply.

Now, that didn’t stop her from laughing and being silly, but, it gave her an outlet for some of that energy, it intercepted what was going on between her and her sister, and I got the table cleaned off. Bonus! I tell my girls that I’m always hiring…if you need a job, I’ll give you one. For me, it’s multi-tasking without lifting a finger!

Sometimes they just need some re-direction. If I disciplined my kids for every little thing, they’d be in trouble 24/7. As I’ve said before, pick your battles. Re-direct when you can. It keeps things more sane for you, and less dramatic for them, and everyone goes to bed happier.

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May Moving Madness~The Boomerang Theory May 22, 2010


As you can see by this:


things are getting pretty stressful around here.

I don’t want to bore you with the details…you know, the tape, the boxes, the permanent markers, the packing lists, the, the….

oh, sorry… I said I wouldn’t bore you…my bad!

Although this journey has been a definite faith builder as I described in this post, it’s still stressful, tiring and well…

let’s just say that I wouldn’t go straight to fun.

We’re at a point where most of our stuff is in boxes, so it’s difficult to look around and see home, and for me, that’s hard.

I said yesterday that I was going to post about the two awards I received, and pass them on to other bloggers today,

but I’m going to need a little more time in order to do it well. I don’t want to just throw it together.

That wouldn’t be fair to the recipients.

They deserve more than that, so I will be honoring them in a future post.

Besides, I need to share with you a Mommy tidbit that I had to chew on yesterday and it got stuck in my teeth.

Here’s my story:

As a SAHM, this is my home, my office, my retreat, my workplace, and, well, my domain.

It’s hard to feel put together when everything around me is pulled apart.

Yes, I know that God is in charge, and I only have ten days to go.

That’s what keeps the little bit of sanity left in my brain from jumping out the window.

Well, that and my amazing husband and three incredible daughters.

Yesterday, I gave my 12 year old a plastic bin and told her to put all of their DVD’s in it so that they were packed, but accessible.

Well, she took them out of cardboard box #38, and put them in the bin as I had requested.

Great, right? Well, when I walked in her room 20 minutes later, I looked at the lid of that white bin that I had given her,

and saw that she had ‘labeled’ the lid of the bin in huge black permanent marker, canceling out any further plans I had for it.

It now looked like one of her journals, with flowers, smiley faces, exclamation points adorning it from corner to corner,

and a big #38 circled in the center and her name in block letters underneath.

Now, you would think that maybe I should look at that and say, “Aww! How cute! Look how creative she is!

She even labeled and numbered it appropriately keeping up with her psycho mommy’s packing list!”

No. I didn’t. My OCD took over and I flipped out.

“What were you thinking?!” I believe is the first thing I said. Then I think I followed it with:

“Now I can’t use that bin for anything else! I can’t get that marker off of there!

It’s not a cardboard box we’re just going to throw away!”

Brilliant. Great job, Mom. Way to go.

“I’m sorry, Mom! But I took some of those DVD’s out of Box #38, and it’s already listed on the packing list!

So I thought I had to label that too, or we’d be looking for box #38 and it wouldn’t be here!”

*SIGH*

Why was I so mad? Why couldn’t I seem to quickly get past this one? What the big deal!? It’s a stupid plastic bin!

WHAT’S MY PROBLEM!!!

I knew I was totally overreacting! IT’S JUST A BIN, PEOPLE!!! I wanted to scream!

I wanted to scream because I was really mad, but knew I was being really ridiculous!!

So, I turned, walked out of her room, into mine, closed slammed the door, and finished getting ready.

We were leaving to go to the graduation that my Home Economics class catered last night.

The whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

principle that our moms drilled into our heads as kids?

Yeah, well, Moms? That applies to us, too. Walk away. Storm away if you have to!

Trust me, it’s far less damaging than spitting fiery hurtful words out at our kids and

expecting them to come out on the other side of our emotional explosion unscathed.

Ten minutes later, she walked in my room, sheepishly. “I’m sorry Mom.” she said.

Still upset, (for no reason that I can give that’s worth a flip) I looked at her and said,

“I know you are. I also know that I shouldn’t be as angry as I am and I can’t explain it. I am angry.

Furious! But I shouldn’t be and I don’t know what to say.”

Sometimes being completely honest with your kids, especially at that age, is the most beneficial.

They’re not stupid, and they have the memory of an elephant.

I’d rather my girls remember my crazy moments as times where they were able to have compassion for me,

instead of them causing wounds that will scar over and be a constant reminder of the hurt I put them through.

“As angry as I feel,” I said, “I know you did what you thought was right,

and I appreciate you trying to keep up with my lists and my crazy rules. I can’t explain my attitude,

but you need to know that it’s not about you, and I need to get over myself. Just bear with me.”

Just then, my ten-year-old walked in. Her middle name is Grace. Her first name also means Grace.

God knew what He was doing with that one.

She looked at me in my sorry attitudinal state and said, “We have Grace Tickets for you too, Mom.”

*SIGH AGAIN*

Well, I wouldn’t say that yesterday was the greatest Mommy day for me,

and I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m proud of my attitude,or my lack of ability to show self-control,

but I can definitely say that I experienced the Grace of God through my girls.

They hugged me, loved me, and softened my hard attitude in a matter of minutes.

No matter what that silly bin represented in my warped scattered mind, when it comes down to it, it’s only a bin.

A silly plastic bin that can be replaced in a matter of minutes with less money than I spent at the Dollar Store last week.

Weigh it moms. Pick your battles. Don’t allow your narrow-minded plans to dictate your attitude or reactions.

It may be permissible, but it’s certainly not beneficial.

You will definitely experience yourself through your children…good or bad, as a mirrored image.

So, allow me to give you a friendly woman to woman, mommy to mommy reminder.

What you put in those kids will inevitably come back to either haunt you, or bless you.

It’s what I call the Boomerang Theory.

You know, the whole ‘reaping what you sow’ thing?

It’s really true, and it really works….for you, or against you. Good or bad.

We are all going to have days that don’t exactly put us in the running for Mom of the Year.

It’s a good thing that kids don’t expect perfection, and neither does God.

They are not glaring down at us when we show our ugly sides and imperfections, but it’s our reactions to,

and whether or not we are ruled by those imperfections that dictates the outcome and ultimately our reputation.

Although I was irrational in my behavior and wasn’t proud of my attitude,

by stepping back, being honest and allowing room for Grace to be spilled, there was success in the end.

What emotional boomerang are you throwing out there that will inevitably come right to you?

 

Speechless… May 10, 2010


I decided to join this blog carnival that I found via The Miller Mix. I love reading Kelly’s writing, and today was no exception. Her post on ‘Courage’ was outstanding, so, I checked out Momalom.com and decided I wanted in.

Well, it wasn’t too difficult to come up with this post, because it was something that happened just the other day, and is so vivid in my mind…

I can’t type fast enough!

As you know, by reading previous posts, that we are moving in exactly 26 days. Yup, 26 DAYS! You would think that after living in 9 different homes in 13 and 1/2 years that it wouldn’t be a huge deal. You would think… However, it still can be pretty stressful. Not just the packing and unpacking. No…we’re talking the rental agreements, the signing and exchanging of the lease, having every little detail in writing so that everyone stays ‘friendly’, getting the utilities put in your name, ordering the cable and DSL package, or whatever will make computer life happy, the moving truck details, getting the right size boxes and having enough packing tape and sharpie pens so that when they go missing in a sea of newspaper and bubble wrap, it’s not the end of the world… changing my meal planning to paper plate menus and one pot meals, keeping out enough toys to keep the little ones happy, but packing enough to keep the living spaces sane….*breath taken here* Shall I go on? I didn’t think so. You get it.

So, after having most of these things taken care of, and I think I’m well on my way to success, my phone rings. It’s the real estate agent. He’s spoken to the home owner, and decides 26 days before the occupancy date, to drop this bomb:

Our cats are not allowed to occupy the home with us !

Our boys…who we have had for over 6 years, are not allowed!! Now, this is after a full 6 months of searching for that perfect home….in our price range…with the right amount of space for a home-schooling family of five (with incredible references including a husband who can build or fix anything on the property, mind you) and one who allowed pets. Well, the last part was obviously a mis-communication.

My heart sunk to the middle of my stomach.

WE HAVE THREE WEEKS UNTIL MOVING DAY!!!

I REPEAT….

THREE WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come on man! They are fat, lazy, de-clawed cats who delight in getting an ice-cube from the ice maker a few times a day for entertainment!

How much damage could they possibly do?!

Immediately I begin to panic. Now, mind you, I am not the panicky type. Emotional, outspoken and very out-going, yes, but I usually handle stress fairly well. But being completely honest, I think my coping tank was on ‘E’ at this point and I couldn’t take one more situation that was going to force me into hard-core ‘faith mode’. Do I trust God? Yes. Am I human? You bet I am. So, as fast as my little fingers could go, I began to research. More rentals, more dead ends. More phone calls, more answering machines. I had tears in my eyes, and a lump in my throat as I listened to my three precious girls behind me, playing in the background, laughing, without a clue as to what was happening.

My oldest daughter, still laughing from whatever silly conversation they were all having, stopped dead in her tracks once she caught a glimpse of my face. There was no faking this one. She slowly sauntered over to me, her long legs moving so slow I felt as if the whole room had stood still.

With her eyebrows raised in concern and her thin little lips pursed, she quietly asked, “Mom…what’s wrong?”

That’s all it took. I burst into tears (no thanks to my premenstrual condition), looked at her and spilled it.

By this time, the other two girls had come over, speechless. Mommy is not only losing it, but she’s crying? That can’t be good!

Here I was, the one who had been spouting out declarations of faith, and trust in God, and confidence in our decision to make this crazy move,

now crying like a baby and displaying more fear in a matter of moments than I had the last 6 months!

(I know, you’re thinking, wasn’t this supposed to be a post about courage? I’m getting to it.)

She looked at me, put both of her sweet dainty little hands on my knotted-up shoulders and simply said, “Mom…you don’t have to worry about it.”

Still unmoved by her sweet voice, I continued on in my rant, “Yes! Yes I DO!

Either we have to find another place to live, or we have to find a home for the boys! What am I going to do!?”

I couldn’t believe those words were actually coming out of my mouth! What an idiot! Great job, Mom! Way to go!

‘And the award for the worst mom goes to……..’

I can hear it now!

But before God would allow my pity party to continue any longer, my brave, courageous, beautiful, strong 12-year-old grabbed my knotted-up shoulders even more firmly, stared straight into my distraught, tear-filled eyes, and with a still, small voice said,

“No Mom. You don’t. What have you been saying to us? Not only for the last few months, but for as long as I can remember? God has it. He always had, and He always will. Every detail, right? You’ve always said, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow…it has enough trouble of its own’, right?”

I stared at her as if our ages had transferred in a matter of minutes, just nodding my head.

“Well then,” she continued “there’s nothing to do but pray, and wait…and get off of that computer. You need a break!”

What could I say? I was speechless! It was perfect! She couldn’t have rebuked me any more loving or respectful that that! Absolutely spot on!!!

I looked at my girl, my heart swelling with more love, mommy pride and peace than ever, and just said,

“You’re absolutely right, baby….absolutely right.”

She had diffused every ounce of worry my heart had previously housed in a matter of seconds!

‘What a slacker!’ I thought to myself…but before I could run away with that thought and once again, try to make it all about me’,

I was reminded of this:

No, it’s because of all of the times I didn’t slack. All the times that my husband and I did share with them

our faith in the One who is bigger than any problem or circumstance,

and our courage of belief that enabled this brave moment to come to pass.

God showed up and allowed her the opportunity to lay her faith on the table and challenge mine.

It was powerful!

One thing that has definitely changed since that day is the respect I have for my oldest daughter.

I have always respected her, don’t get me wrong. But she showed a courage, a wisdom and strength beyond her years that particular day.

I am so thankful that in my weakness, she displayed her strength, and that I, in turn, had the courage to receive it.

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say,

in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

I Timothy 4:12, NLT

For more awesome stories about courage, other fun topics, and to join in on the fun, visit www.momalom.com.

 

Stop, Look, and Listen! May 6, 2010

Filed under: Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 12:00 pm

I have a really bad habit of half-listening to my kids. Part of the reason for that is that we home-school, so they are with me 24/7, and they talk to me ALL DAY LONG! Especially my 7-year-old. She is definitely my chatty Kathy. I often tell her to breathe, for fear of her passing out due to lack of oxygen going into her lungs and the excess going out. (I only have myself to blame for that one…I myself could talk the hind leg off a horse!)
All three of my girls are funny, energetic little people, and I really enjoy who they are, but sometimes I feel like all that comes out of my mouth with all three of them is “uh-huh…yeah…wow”, but with very little excitement or enthusiasm. I get preoccupied and just listen, instead of really hearing them.

I noticed this the other day, and it bothered me. I don’t want to get to the point someday when my kids are all grown up, have families of their own, and I have regrets. I don’t want them growing up thinking that I am ‘too busy’ for them. Yes, I talk to my kids all day, but am I showing them that I am really interested in what they’re saying?

Really hearing our kids takes energy. Not because you don’t love them, or because you don’t care, or they don’t talk loud enough. It’s because a lot of their topics of conversation don’t particularly interest us. When they’re telling us about the latest ‘Sweet Life of Zack and Cody’ episode, we’re not always waiting on baited breath to hear how it ended. It may not be on the top of the list, but we still need to be attentive. Now I’m not saying that we have to stop everything we are doing, drop it all to sit in front of them like a groupie, but I know for myself, I need to stop, look and listen. Stop humoring their conversation, look at them, which shows them I’m giving them my attention, and listen to what they have to say and respond accordingly. I want to be their best audience! Even if it means telling them to ‘hold that thought’, until I can be completely attentive.

We hear all the time that ‘communication is the key’…well, communication goes both ways. I certainly expect their undivided attention when I am speaking to them, so I think it’s only fair to do the same, don’t you think? It shows them respect, and keeps those lines of communication wide open. It’s just another example of preventative maintenance. Being good listeners as moms gives the best example of how they can learn to do the same. You just never know what you might miss if you’re not really listening! Today, it may be about a Polly Pocket, or a Transformer, or about the latest Zack and Cody episode, but someday, it’ll be about a boy or girl they met, and we certainly wouldn’t want to give an inattentive ‘wow, really..uh.huh’ kind of response to that one because we weren’t really hearing them! Or even worse, because we haven’t listened all along, which translated to them means we just don’t care, they’d rather just text their friend about it. Yikes! That new episode of Zack and Cody is sounding pretty exciting right about now!

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Irony of it all April 22, 2010


The very first picture with all three sisters...*tear* the baby was just hours old!

Having three girls in five years can make for a very interesting home, including a bathtub full of conditioner and naked Barbies. When they were little, I did the whole ‘dress-them-in-the-same-color’ routine…that was cute. I have sweet pictures of all three of them together playing in the tub, playing store, dress-up, you know…the whole gamut. It’s great being able to buy ‘girl things’ knowing they will be easily passed down to the next. Hair bows, mini pedicures, fun with rollers, lots of tutus, you know…girl stuff! Those are just some of the benefits…there are plenty more, trust me.

Today, however, I am here to discuss the not-so-pleasant side of three out-going, talented, bright, prepubescent female personalities residing under the same roof.

*AHEM*

{{{{“Oh, for the love of all things good and holy, why must they BICKER!!??”}}}}

Now, (pardon me while I flick my hair out of my eyes) I do realize that they are together 24-7. They sleep in each other’s rooms, they have meals together, school at the same table every day, play together, go to church together, etc…etc…etc… That would drive me insane, too. I know what you’re thinking. Hello! This is parenting 101! Just separate them!

Here’s the kicker…when I separate them, THEY GET UPSET!!! What is that!?

Ok, here’s my story:

We finished school, had a late lunch, and I started doing some work for the hubby on the computer. The girls decided to play a board game. (It’s amazing…the power of suggestion. All I did was take the board games out of the top of the closet and put them out…that tells me I need to put them on a lower shelf so they’re always accessible!) Side note, sorry.

So, I am typing away, trying to encourage the knots in my shoulder and neck to stay far, far away, and I ‘hear’ the girls finish their game (of course, my mom- bionic ears hear everything, whether I want them to or not) and they decide to play the Wii.

Then it starts.

They start to ‘whisper argue’ as I call it, as if I’m not catching the gist of their conversation. Nice try…I caught it alright, as the muscles in my neck and shoulders tighten their grip. Then, because neither one of them is relenting, it becomes an ‘I’m-trying-to-be-nice-but-she-is-not-listening’ voice. Now at this point, sometimes I can simply say, “GIRLS?” sternly, and the subject either gets changed, or they decide it’s not worth the trouble and they move on, allowing the angry neck and shoulder muscles to surrender their grip of death.

But then, there are the ‘OTHER TIMES’. The times where neither one of their sturdy spirits are willing to give in to the other. The times where each party is so sure that her point is valid, and worth standing up for that instead of the white flag of surrender, they are willing to stand back-to-back, walk ten paces, turn and fire, sending my neck and shoulders to the slaughter for sacrifice.

This was one of THOSE times.

“That’s it! I am done listening to this!” (I know, I sound like a genius.) Now for my all-time famous line…Oh, I know, you’re just bursting with anticipation! (*enter facetious tone here* ‘What could this brilliant home-schooling momma of 3 possibly say to top all of that!’) Well, I’m a pretty logical person. I like to say things to my kids that make sense, and give them words that I won’t have to eat later…too many emotional calories. They’re getting older, and they’re smart little people. I’m here to promote change in behavior, right? Well, if I’m going to change the behavior, I can’t just run with ‘that’s it, I am done listening to this’! I had to save myself! So, out came this one:

“You don’t live in a home where your parents bicker, do you?” The inevitable head shaking from all three of them is almost comical. “Well, then I refuse to live in a home where my children bicker. Since you can’t work it out, put it away. Go do your chores, then go outside and run off some of that fabulous energy.”

There…… that’s better… right? Did I recover?!

After three ‘Yes, ma’am’ ‘s, the smell of all-natural glass cleaner, the sound of rustling garbage bags, and the lifting of my keyboard so the duster could sweep off the computer desk, I had one little girl playing on the swings, one middle girl finding the best place for her ‘pet’ caterpillar and its new habitat that she made out of the largest pickle jar we had, and one big girl in her room playing her guitar and practicing the new songs her dad gave her. Yes!! It worked!!

Here they are right before 'IT' happened, playing a goofy game called 'Headbandz'. And I thought that silly game would be a good topic...

Oh wait… where are they NOW?

PLAYING THE WII IN PEACE AND HARMONY WITH ONE ANOTHER.

IRONIC, HUH?

As for my shoulders? I made an appointment for a half-hour massage on Friday.

I linked this post to:

 

The School Monkey’s Ride is Comin’ to an End! April 15, 2010


Kaitlyn bustin' out the Daily Grams!

One of the beautiful things about home-schooling is that we can operate a lot like Burger King. For the most part, you can ‘Have it your way’. Some families school all year, some don’t. Some un-school. You can home-school on a shoestring budget if you have to (in which I’ve been blessed with plenty of experience), or you can go for it and get all of the really cool stuff that’s out there (which I’ve also been blessed with). How you go about it is based mostly on your personality type, I think, anyway.

Me? I’m the home-schooler who likes to finish each book to the end. I know, some of you are thinking…’what a psycho!’…or that maybe I just suffer with OCD. Neither of those thoughts are completely accurate. I just think if you can finish, why not? I mean, we do pay for the books, right? We are on our own schedule, right? We do still pay taxes even though our kids don’t attend public school, RIGHT? So why would we leave the last 7 pages of knowledge building, personally chosen, educational nuggets of wisdom BLANK if we don’t have to?!?! *Breath taken here*

Disclaimer: NO, I’m not saying if you leave pages blank you’re a terrible home-schooler. I, myself, have done it. I can let go, when necessary.

On average, our school year usually starts in mid to late August and goes through until the end of May/beginning of June. We continue through the summer with a light math and reading schedule, just so our brains don’t go to mush. I take advantage of rainy days where the beach isn’t really an option and we’re needing a break from the sun anyway.

We do fun projects and student chosen book studies just to stay in the ‘learning groove’. This is a time where

Madelyn carefully reading her instructions for Language Arts!

the only ‘required reading’ is what they choose to read!

We will be officially moved on June 5th, so I scoured all of the girls’ books last week to see where we were at in each subject, and when we would be done. All three of the girls will be completely finished with all curriculum by May 21st! Yay us! They are finishing different subjects at various times over the next month, but after May 21st, I get to put the ‘monkey’ in it’s cage! That will give us a week to finish packing without having to feed the primate! Oh, I can just smell it! (I’m so glad it’s a virtual monkey cage)

McKenna taking one of her last practice Spelling tests for the year!

I know, I know, you’re never ‘behind’ when you’re home-schooling, but for me, knowing I can pack away the 2009/2010 school books, send in my final report cards to the state, and move without that ‘school monkey’ on my back is an amazing feeling! We can take the time we need to unpack, set up at our new house, (which by the way, we found out JUST YESTERDAY that we secured…YIPEEE!) and start our summer stuff when we’re rested and ready! We can take our reading poolside!

I am SO thankful to be a home-schooling mama!

What are your questions about home-schooling? I’m not perfect, but I may be able to help!

Leave your question in the comment section. I’d love to share what I know with you!

This post is linked to :

and  Gratituesday

 

‘Us’ Part Two~ Baby Lion, Baby Golden Retriever and Baby Otter…OH MY! April 13, 2010


Okay, so yesterday I gave you the low down on me and the man’s story…you know, the 411? I hope you took time to take the test and find out the results. Pretty interesting stuff, huh? The whole point in taking the test is to find out your strengths and how great you are. Uh, no. Yes, you’re great and all, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t need to be continually reminded of our strengths…we operate in them daily. We need to become aware of our weaknesses so that we know what ‘parts’ we need to be building up. How can we be the best wives, moms, friends, sisters, if we are in denial about our shortcomings? Here…I’ll put it in terms us women can relate to. When you’re dieting and exercising to lose weight and you are almost at your goal weight, but the only part that’s not quite there is your butt, you’re certainly not going to do extra arm curls to try to get rid of it. Capeesh? Enough said.

The eye opener for me was watching my girls as they got older and where their personality types took them. I wrote yesterday about the fact that personality and character were both part of who we are, but personality is the core of who we are, and character can be molded and changed.

My oldest daughter is a Lion, with a touch of Beaver, but she’s definitely got a little Otter and Golden Retriever in there. Her Lion can take over at times, and I have to remind her to ‘be the kid’. For instance, she was at her 7th birthday party, (she’s now 12) and was overwhelmingly concerned about the party favors, and the fact that a couple of the kids weren’t getting along to the point that it completely stressed her out. I had to pull her aside and sit on the other side of her emotional see-saw until there was balance. I looked at her and said, “Okay, how about, you be the kid. I’ll be the Mom. Your job today is to have a great time at your party. I’ll take care of the rest. Ok?” She breathed a sigh of relief, let her Otter take over, and was able to enjoy her birthday party.

My middle daughter is definitely a Golden Retriever. Completely loyal. She tattles on herself all the time. She’s sweet and is a great friend. However, she has a tendency to procrastinate, and worry. I often ask her ‘Can you be self-governed? Or do you need a ruler?’. We’re working on ways to be self-motivated. Setting goals and being diligent to complete the task is often the order of the day. I also have to encourage her to stick up for herself. ‘You deserve what you tolerate’ is a motto she is all too familiar with. To build up the Lion in her I give her opportunities to be in charge of a situation. Provide opportunities to operate in boldness. She also has some Otter in her, so that helps. She’s funny….has a great sense of humor.

As for the Monkey? Definitely the Otter of the group. Fun-loving, life of the party. Completely out-going…and she can talk the hind leg off a horse. My lands, that girl can TALK! Ever since she was a baby… we called her the ‘Nursery Greeter’ at church. She would welcome all of the kids as they came into the church nursery, take them around…you know, show them the ropes. Too funny. However, she is also the one I call back a hundred times a day to pick up her stuff, clean up behind herself. She’s got a little Lion in her, with a touch of Golden Retriever. I’m still working on the Beaver in her, though. She’s another one who knows the whole ‘self-governed’ speech all too well!

It’s my job as Mom to train them to live a life of balance. I want to encourage their strengths, but at the same time, train them to build up their weak sides. Yes, their personality is God-given. They are who they are. But their character is what God wants to mold. They can be Lions, without devouring those around them. They can be Otters, and still get the job done. The can be Beavers, and still have faith and a positive outlook. They can be Golden Retrievers, and still stand strong in the midst of trial.

I want to raise whole, healthy women of God, with the least amount of deficiencies as possible, and boy am I tired at the end of the day!

This post was linked with steadymom.com’s 30 minute blog challenge….whew! I just made it! Right at 30!

Also linked to:

 

Monkey See, Monkey Sous! April 9, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 8:32 am

While my two oldest daughters were working with their Dad yesterday afternoon, I recruited my youngest to be my sous chef. I love getting my kids in the kitchen, one-on-one. Love those private lessons!

We made a marinated grilled leg of lamb, homemade mint jelly, roasted rosemary potatoes and sautéed broccoli. Yum! (I’ll post that one next week!)

I know, I know, it sounds like Easter Dinner! Well…it was! We went out-of-town last-minute on Sunday afternoon, so I made my Easter dinner last night!

So, Monkey came to me and asked if she could play the Wii while I made dinner.

(That’s what we call my youngest daughter because she literally climbs the door jambs and plasters her skinny little body to the ceiling. She’s nuts!)

I reminded her she was punished from the Wii…”Oh yeah, I forgot,” she said with a weak smile.

Honestly, I was so sleepy because I hadn’t slept good the night before, and the thought ran through my mind…’Oh, just let her play the Wii…just this once…what’s the big deal?

Then you can get your therapy session (cooking) in alone…with no distractions…nice and quiet…’

I snapped out of the fantasy, brushed the devil off of my left shoulder, smiled at the angel on my right and said,

“Why don’t you come in the kitchen and be my sous chef?”

Disappointed about not getting to play the Wii, but realizing that this option wasn’t so bad, she looked me quizzically and said, “Do I get to chop anything?”

Of course, that’s their favorite part…it makes them feel like real ‘chefs’!

“Absolutely,” I replied.

This was the prep work for chopping the mint. Selecting the best leaves, discarding the yucky ones…

Sorting, measuring, fractions…ahhhh…makes a home-school mama’s day!

Then comes the fun part…chopping!

I have this great little knife my MIL gave to me years ago.

It’s got a handle on it that her little hand fits into perfectly which makes it easy to control and it’s a ‘rocker’ knife. I love it!

Carefully…hand on top, keeping the little fingers from becoming part of the recipe!

You can really see the knife in this pic …if you don’t have one, get one! It’s got a great handle that her little hand fits into perfectly, and it rocks back and forth easily.

Oh yeah! She’s got the hang of it now, baby!

I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and said no to the Wii…for her sake, and mine!

I kept my promise.

My promise to love her enough to follow through and help her make positive decisions.

Giving in is so tempting ! However, it will never serve you or your children well.

The easy, non-confrontational road looks so serene and pretty for the moment, but inevitably ends up either a dead-end, really rocky and you end up blowing out a tire, or sends you both off a cliff.

This alternate route ended up being quite picturesque, very smooth, and we reached our destination without a hitch!

The dinner was yummy, too! Bonus!

 

Beauty in the Middle! March 31, 2010

Filed under: Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens — Janine Chance @ 4:00 am

I don’t love any one of my girls more than the others. I love them all so much it’s almost ridiculous. My oldest daughter was definitely my most difficult newborn. Colic for 3 months, non-stop. My sister used to tell me that I earned my ‘Mommy stripes’ with her. Today, she is the most compliant, well-mannered 12-year-old I know. My youngest daughter was my most challenging toddler. Not mentally as much as physically. She was constantly moving. She’s the one with a scar from stitches on her forehead and burn scars on her hand, to say the least. She is now the one we call the ‘family cheerleader’…the peacemaker, the encourager of the group.

Madelyn with her Daddy at 2 months old.

My middle daughter was the easiest newborn known to man, and a pretty calm toddler. She slept 7 hours through the first night home from the hospital, but definitely is my biggest challenge now. Not because she is in need of more discipline, or mean-spirited. She’s not rude and she doesn’t talk back. To the contrary. She is my most compassionate. She tells on herself before anyone has the opportunity, and really wants to please her dad and I. She is a big proponent of what’s fair, and never wants anyone to be left without. We call her the ‘missionary of the family’. Definitely possesses the gift of mercy.

Having said that, she is the most challenging of my children mentally. Ever since my youngest daughter was born, she changed. She is always trying to ‘find’ herself. Always wanting to be, and have things ‘different’ than her sisters. ‘Establishing her identity’ kind of stuff. Feeling the need to always be an individual, no matter what it takes. She is ‘fantasy-minded’, meaning her creative mind sometimes gets her into trouble. For example, I’ll be discussing her Language Arts project with her and I will notice the spaced-out look in her eyes. It is then I realize she hasn’t heard a word I’ve said, and I have to talk to her about focusing, and start all over. She loses things….too often for my taste. Some of her most popular sentences start with, “Now where did I put that ….” She does not have ADD…she just has an incredibly creative mind that gets the better of her at times, and the better of me.

Soccer beauty queen at 4!

So, here are some of my ‘Middle Child Methods’:

1. Encourage her creative side, while teaching her balance. God made her to be a creative being. Was not God Himself the most creative? Having said that, balance is so important. There is a time and place for everything. Telling her, “This is not the time to be in your own world. I need you to focus right now on what we’re doing, because this is what’s important right now. You can draw your new cake designs when we’re finished with school,” is a pretty popular statement. Am I a mind reader? No. Just some of that ‘Mommy Magic’ that we all possess coming into play!

Bein' silly at 7!

2. The ‘losing stuff’ part really bugs me. Partly because of a slight OCD issue, partly because I know she needs to get a grip on things now before she is an adult and is constantly losing her car keys. We had a discussion just this morning because she spent the weekend with my sister-in-law, and left half of what she brought at her house. She admitted to me that she goes to ‘La La land’, and forgets stuff. I told her that we can’t live in La La Land. It’s a fun place to visit, but we need to come back to the ‘Land of reality’ so that we can function in the real world. We also discussed how we could make it easier for her to remember all of what she brought. I told her that from now on, we would make a list of all of what she was bringing, so that when it’s time to come home, she can refer to her list and make sure she has everything on it in her bag. She looked relieved when I made that suggestion. It must be frustrating for her, so anything I can train her to do now will only make her life easier in the future. (Keep in mind that when I first found out about all that got left behind, I got mad, told her she wasn’t allowed to spend the night away anymore until she learned to keep up with her stuff. Bad mommy. After cooling down, getting a grip myself, I apologized, and we discussed a solution. Grrrr…I hate bad mommy moments! Oh well, perfection is for the perfect!)

Birthday date with Daddy at age 9...

3. When issues come up that have to do with her ‘identity’, I am quick to remind her that she possesses something that no one else in the family has. She is the only one who gets to be a big sister, and a little sister all at once. She gains the benefits of both. She can learn from her older sister, and pass it on to her younger sister all in one day. Her older sister has to ‘learn as she goes’, while the younger sister doesn’t have anyone to pass the 411 on to. I know that makes her feel unique and special. I also make sure she gets plenty of ‘dates’ with her dad. My husband is great with all of my girls, and they all need and get ‘daddy time’, but we make sure that she gets the whole ‘date’ experience as often as we can.

So, there it is. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m doing my best to raise my girls as three incredible, unique individuals who love God, have great self-esteem, a grip on reality, and a heart full of love for people around them. I want to raise up women of God that know how to ‘make friends and influence people.’ I am excited to experience the return on my investment!

My sweet 10 yr. old.

Share your ‘Middle Child Methods’ in the comment section below. We’re all in this together, moms! Let’s share the wealth!

 

Breathe, Mom, Breathe! ~ “Stop the Madness!” Part Two March 29, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Discipline,Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens — Janine Chance @ 6:31 am

No, I’m not referring to child birth. I’m referring to those moments when you son or daughter has whined for the 60th time this morning, or complained about their breakfast. I’m referring to those little things that your kids do every day that make you want to jump out the window and run, long, hard, and for as long as your legs will take you.

You know what I’m talking about. We all experience it. Some cases are worse than others, yes, but if you have kids, you catch my drift.

What to do first? BREATHE……Yelling the same thing over and over doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried. Been there, done that, and it really doesn’t make a difference. If you can’t breathe because you can still hear it and it’s driving you up a wall, put your fingers in your ears and say it with me…”la la la la la…” You get the point.

Whining gets you absolutely nothing in my house. I look at my kids and say 6 very powerful words…

“How’s that workin’ for ya’?”

They have no choice but to say no. (If they say yes, discipline them for being a Mr. or Mrs. Smarty Pants.) It’s a way to get them to realize that particular behavior will get them nowhere. If you have toddlers, the famous “use your words” thing is good, but when your kids are past that point and they should know better….”how’s that workin’ for ya’” works wonders. They realize that in order to get what they want, they have to go about it in a completely different way.

It also is giving you an option other than yelling and getting angry…much better on your blood pressure! You can say it, walk away, and wait for a different behavior. If the behavior doesn’t change, hand out your discipline of choice. It’s really that simple.

I’m not saying it’s not frustrating, or that I haven’t had my Calgon-take-me-away days, but when I apply myself as a mom in this way, it works. Convince yourself that no fit, no amount of screaming, no matter how many tears have been shed…you will not be moved. (I’m talking about their fits, screaming and tears, by the way, not yours.)

So, mom, pick your head up, smile, get your”how’s that workin for ya’” face on, and BREATHE!

What are some of your famous ‘Mommy Mottos”? Leave it in the comment section below!