Thursday, April 28, 2011

Answers to Prayers

God gives us trials to humble us or to answer prayers.

This winter the roof of our deck collapsed. Home owners insurance covered it but we had a $500 deductible. However, since we opted to not replace it we ended up making money off it which can now go to replacing our very old roof :)

My 11 month old has been clingy and fussy since she was about 2 months old. It has been peaking the last month and I found myself feeling a lot of resentment and yes, even hatred toward her. I felt awful about it!!! So I've been praying for Heavenly Father to help me love her to have more sympathy and patience with her. This week she has developed a weird skin disease. We're not totally sure what it is yet, but they are running tests for what they think it is.
The cool part is that I am suddenly much more loving with her. I am more patient and willing to just stop and hold her when she needs it. I find myself feeling those feelings it has been so hard for me to feel for many months now.
Yeah, I think it's sad that I needed something visual to remind me she isn't just trying to annoy me, that she is actually uncomfortable and needs her mommy. I don't want her to have a disease, but I feel like a prayer has been answered and in a way I'm grateful for it.
Is that weird?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to talk so kids will listen . . . part 2

How to Engage a Child's Cooperation

This will be fast, because these techniques are pretty self-explanatory.

When faced with a child who doesn't feel like listening to your instructions or remembering to follow the rules, the following are ways to engage cooperation.

1. Describe what you see (or the problem)

2. Give information without accusing (Don't start the sentence with "You're doing" or "You did")

3. Say it with a one-word reminder

4. Describe what you feel (I don't like tripping over shoes!)

5. Write a note. You can make it humorous

I really got the feeling as I read this book that I talk too much. My kids simply hear too many words coming out of my mouth. How can they know which ones to listen to, if I'm blathering all the time.

I recently started giving the boys 10 seconds to comply before I would repeat an instruction. Amazingly, I am reminding less by being more patient. And they don't have to listen to me harp on them.

The other tip here is to not make it personal. No attacks! There's no room for accusations and derogatory tones in a home where we want to encourage the Holy Spirit to dwell.

So tell me your best tips for getting a kid to listen and do what you say.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish wrote this great book. Really, really great book. Starting here I'm going to review the notes I took on my read-through last month.

The refrigerator reminder section is the condensed version of each chapter, formatted to remind you of the skill to practice.

Today: "Helping Children Deal with Feelings"

We are complex creatures with myriad emotions, motivations, and thought processes. Expecting our children to blindly follow our designated paths when it comes to how they feel and act is about like expecting your spouse to be able to read your mind.

Our goal as parents is to equip our children to deal with what they feel such that they may always act appropriately.

Now, I am often too "wordy" in my verbal exchanges. I also have a bad habit of interrupting. Other adults may call me on it. The children, however, are not in a position to correct me; it is vital that I model appropriate conversation skills to them.

I can give the kids an example of self-control regardless of my emotions. I can also model sympathy, kindness, and understanding where their feelings are concerned.

Faber and Mazlish offer four possible responses when your kids come to you with strong feelings or desires.
REFRIGERATOR REMINDERS: (note these are alternatives, not a 1-2-3-4 step process)
1. Listen quietly and attentively.

2. Acknowledge the feelings with a word. "Hmm." "Oh." "I see."

3. Give the feeling a name. "It sounds like you're feeling courageous."

4. You can give the child his wishes in fantasy.

TAKEAWAY: All feelings can be accepted. Only actions must be limited.

I frequently will tell the kids how they should be feeling, instead of focusing on how they must act. I also act out as a result of my emotions (see previous post here). These actions isolate instead of fostering closeness.

I have been trying this with the older boys. It is not magic. The first times you try it, they may not get it. But there are times when this can help avoid a tantrum, and certainly you will better understand a child by listening than by constantly talking to him.

Has anyone read the book?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

bathroom humor

Today gave me another reason to home school next year. This afternoon I was privileged enough to hear my son's first "bathroom" song he picked up in school. Now, I know this isn't a massive thing. Certainly not a reason in and of itself to home school.

But it annoyed me.

It wasn't even clever.

And he taught it to his 3 year old sister.

I get that they're kids. And maybe I am overreacting, I wont deny that I've been known to do so. I just can't stand "potty talk". If I let it go now, then where do I draw the line? No, I think the line has to be drawn here. The body is an amazing thing. Heavenly Father's greatest work, and I just cringe when I hear it treated as a joke. As something low and disgusting.

It's incredible!

And I haven't done a good enough job of teaching my kids that yet. I hope that by teaching them to respect bodies in general that they will have a greater reverence for their own and treat it and themselves accordingly.

When Moms Attack . . . or Thoughts on Temperance

"I'm sorry I yelled, buddy."
"It's okay, mommy, it's okay."

On Thursday, Leo's speech therapist (post for another day) quietly asked if I have ever yelled at my children. I laughed pretty hard, and wondered at my ability to be a gentle, loving mother. This afternoon, on the flip side, was a Mr. Hyde moment for me.

I enjoy experiencing the range between exultant joy and the depths of sorrow, but temperance is a skill I desperately need to acquire as a mother. These boys have no need to be faced with my emotions, tempestuous as they are.

No picture necessary. You know how it goes; the sneer, the yell, the quick motion as I snatch a child away from a frustrating problem. There is no "cause" save my lack of perspective towards my boys--who, let's remember, are 4, 2, and a baby.

So let's look to our leaders for a bit of advice . . .

"Kind looks, kind actions, kind words, and a lovely, holy deportment towards them will bind our children to us with bands that cannot easily be broken; while abuse and unkindness will drive them from us, and break asunder every holy tie that should bind them to us and to the everlasting covenant in which we are all embraced." Pres. Brigham Young

And in learning to master our tempers and ourselves, the Lord has given us all His commandments; self control is learned in practice, and He gives us plenty of that!

“To be able to take from [one’s] purse one-tenth of all that [one] has earned and turn it over to leaders to redispense is a test of faith. To fast is self-mastery. … To be unselfish totally, always thinking of others before one’s self, is a great step toward self-mastery. To forgive one who is mean and offensive is the act of one near to perfection” Pres. Spencer W. Kimball

Any thoughts as I struggle towards a temperate disposition?

Friday, April 22, 2011


Emily has a gorgeous picture on her welcome post! Please ignore the phone lines on mine. Because sometimes you have to look past the phone lines to see something beautiful.
I know. That was way too obvious and cheesy. That happens more often than I'd like to admit.

I've only had a handful of true friends in my life. You know, the people who get you. Deep down on that core level of what you really believe in. It's a wonderful thing!
I love blogs. I love reading about the lives of other mothers and finding other people who think like I do.
I suppose that's why I wanted to start this blog. I know there are others who can relate and it always helps to know you're not the only one who feels this way.
I still plan on blogging about small house living, but so often I want to talk about things in relation to the gospel. I want to discuss what church leaders say. That is something I chose not to talk about on my other blog and I find myself blogging less as this becomes more and more important to me.
I hope to make more friends through this blog, but I'll be happy if it will simply help Em and I keep better track of all the books we read and recommend! :)

Book Review: How to Survive Without a Salary

I recently read "How to Survive Without a Salary" by Charles Long.

Here is a man who successfully raised a family without a full-time job. He would work odd-jobs, and by paying attention to where his money was going he made the most of his resources.

The chapter on auctions is a fascinating introduction to the varied world of auctions, and his advice seems (to my uninitiated self) quite reasonable.

But here's my takeaway, and an example of its application: Six Steps to Examining Needs

1. What is the problem? I need transportation to get to work.
2. Who needs the solution? I need the solution; not my co-workers or neighbors or the "Joneses"
3. What would change the need? Quitting my job.
4. How long will the need last? Until I retire.
5. What are the alternatives? Buy a car, take the bus, ZipCar, use a bicycle.
6. What are the costs? Remember maintenance, permits, taxes, and other "forgotten" costs.

And then, here's a hilariously golden idea--PROCRASTINATE! Decide, and then wait to act on it. This can sometimes minimize or eliminate costs.

For example, I wanted some baskets and bins. I waited several months, working with free cardboard boxes and paper bags, until last week my neighbor generously thought of me in her preparations to move. Now I have two baskets, a small tote, a three-drawer cart, and two recycling bins!

No money left my pocket, and I saved her a trip to the thrift store.


Well I'm pleased as punch to have been invited to contribute to this blog.

Just as a glorious sunrise calls me to reach out to a higher purpose, true friends inspire me. The ability to connect with those who may share our vision and respect our goals is a blessing of which we should be mindful. How grateful I am for scattered friends.

Though far apart, this blog is our effort to communicate and reach out to others. Come join the discussion and share with us!