Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ugh...


Really quite sick right now. Blog will resume when I can join the living again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year Challenge

The Women Living Well Blog has a great way to start the new year.

I'm a bit short on time so I'm just going to post the questions she posed. I'll tackle them as I can during the week.

1. Evaluate Your Walk with God in 2010 - Were you daily in God's word and in prayer? How can you improve your walk with God in 2011?

2. Your Marriage - What is one word you'd use to describe your marriage in 2010? Easy, frustrating, growing, romantic, hard, strong, amazing. What is one thing you know your husband wishes you'd change in your life?

3. Your Children - What was a high point and a low point for each of your children in 2010? What is one thing that each of your children need from you in 2011?

4. Health - What healthy habits did I maintain in 2010? What unhealthy habits did I create in 2010 that I need to change going into 2011?

5. Ministry - What ways did I use my talents for God in 2010? Pray about what God would have you do in 2011.

She also suggests having a theme word for the year. Basically, it's a word (or phrase) that you plan to input into your life this year. Last year her word was "connecting" and this year it's "simplify." I'll also be coming up with something for this. 

Join me?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My Plastic Bag Wreath

Wishing you and yours a Merry CHRISTmas this season!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feeling Like THAT Mom

This is the first round of "I Confess"

Lately I've felt like THAT mom. You know the one. You whisper comments about her in the grocery store. You roll your eyes at her at the park. You go home and tell your husband, "You'll never believe the mom I saw today!"

The word that is used to describe my son is "spirited." Parents of spirited children usually refer to these children as "AAAHHHHH!!!!! SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!?"

If you Google "spirited child" you get a full description of my son:

  • Intensity—meaning greater drama, easier cry response, making more demands on parents.

  • Persistence—gets committed to and stays with ideas, may argue points with parents long after an issue is settled.

  • High Energy Level—also sometimes labeled hyperactive, but many who write on this disorder do not want the term hyperactivity confused with the disorder.

  • Sensitive—may be overly sensitive to sounds, slight discomfort, pictures, and stimuli of all sorts.

  • Difficult Adaptability—may react with greater emotion to changes like attending school, or moving to a new house.

  • Moody—may be more prone to get cranky, but may also be susceptible to and more perceptive of the moods of others.




  • *sigh* Yep, that's Franklin.

    If you don't have a spirited toddler you have NO idea what it's like raising one. Trust me. He's also incredibly bright so that just adds to my frustration. His temperament causes him to be high energy and intense. I KNOW he understands when he's told "no" (because he says, "no no no" when you catch him doing something he's not supposed to do). He knows the rules. He understands complex instructions. (I told him to find me a bowl to give him breakfast in and he searched the room until he found one and then brought it to me)

    As a toddler he lacks impulse control. As a bright child he's inquisitive and constantly exploring and experimenting with his surroundings. As a spirited child he reacts with huge intensity when told "no" and mirrors the frustration of his parents.

    Sometimes, when I've said "no" for the 146876351567 time or spanked him 5 times IN A ROW for the same behavior or fought an hour of screaming and kicking to get him to just go to bed, I feel like I'm a horrible mom. There's always that voice in the back of my mind that says, "You caused this." There's always that voice reminding me that I've seen toddlers/children that are MUCH better behaved. There is always that voice that makes me feel like an utter failure. When I sit here with a peaceful, napping toddler I can calmly tell you that voice is Satan and he's trying to steal my joy and make me feel like my children would be better off in daycare. However, in the heat of the moment? I believe every word he slips into my head.

    I found this Scripture:
    1 Peter 5:8-9 (NCV) Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat. Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith. You know that your Christian family all over the world is having the same kinds of suffering.

    My favorite part is the very last where it reminds me that I'm not alone!

    Be sure and grab the button!



    Do you ever feel like a failure as a parent? Link up below and tell us about it!

    WHO is on your To Do List?

    I found an awesome post I wanted to share: Godly Priorities For A New Year

    Our priorities as Christian mothers should be:
    - God
    - Husband
    - Children
    - Home
    - Self

    (I'm sure you can quibble the last two...but the first three are SET)

    Take a look at your To Do List. Is "Time with God" even on there? "Tell Husband 'I Love You'" or "Snuggle Children?" Do you have time for YOU on there? Or is it all chores and errands?

    Let all things be done with decency and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40

    Challenge for the week: Take time to reorganize your To Do List. A great sheet that's already made up can be found here: http://meanmamareviews.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/wifetodolist.pdf  Or, if you lack a printer, use it as a jumping off point and do your own!

    Let me know how it goes!

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Activities 21 and 22



    We did some new things this week!

    21) Drawing with Daddy

    22) Fingerpaints!

    I was hesitant to do it...one for the mess and I wasn't sure he'd like it. This is the child that makes me wipe his hands mid-meal so he can go back to eating! However, he liked it!!!


    He used the very tip of his finger to paint...and ended up wearing as much as he painted. And he MAY have eaten some (because you have to taste things, right?)

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Thankful For My Husband

    Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.


    Today I'm thankful for my husband. I probably should have written this LAST week because our anniversary was actually Dec 15th!

    We've been together for 5 1/2 years and married for 4. We have one spirited, adorable, loving son with another on the way in just a few weeks (seriously, like 4 weeks).

    I'm thankful that he's been an amazing father and husband. He went through Air Force Basic Training so that he could provide for our family. When I said I wanted to stay at home he supported me 100%. He's been sacrificing time to himself and time with his family to go back to school so that he can advance his career. (Trust me, 2 nights a week makes a HUGE difference)

    Has marriage been easy? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA........no. Has it been totally and utterly worth it? YES!!!

    We've had our ups and downs (who doesn't?) and come out of it stronger than ever. He stands beside me when I feel strongly about something and holds me when I'm weak.

    Hug your husband today.


    Andrew Peterson
    Dancing In The Minefields lyrics

    I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
    The year we got engaged
    Everyone said we were much too young
    But we did it anyway

    We bought our rings for forty each

    From a pawn shop down the road
    We made our vows and took the leap
    Now fifteen years ago

    We went dancing in the minefields

    We went sailing in the storm
    And it was harder than we dreamed
    But I believe that's what the promise is for

    "I do" are the two most famous last words

    The beginning of the end
    But to lose your life for another I've heard
    Is a good place to begin

    'Cause the only way to find your life

    Is to lay your own life down
    And I believe it's an easy price
    For the life that we have found

    And we're dancing in the minefields

    We're sailing in the storm
    This is harder than we dreamed
    But I believe that's what the promise is for

    So when I lose my way, find me

    When I loose love's chains, bind me
    At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
    When I forget my name, remind me

    'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man

    So there's nothing left to fear
    So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
    Till the shadows disappear

    'Cause he promised not to leave us

    And his promises are true
    So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
    I can dance with you

    Taking Christ Out of Christmas


    I thought the title might grab some attention!

    It's a popular subject this time of year. There are entire websites devoted to the "cause" of keeping Christ in Christmas. There are lists put out by groups telling you which stores to avoid because they refuse to say "Christmas" on the grounds that it's offensive.

    I'm going to submit a different thought. You've been told to fight these companies that are taking Christ out of Christmas...but what are you doing to put Christ IN Christmas?

    It seems like a simple question doesn't it?

    Today's Scripture choice is
    Matthew 10:33 (NKJV) But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

    I know there are probably a few people out there bristling right now. "I have NEVER denied Christ!!!" Before you click away, let's look at another definition of deny:
    2: to refuse to admit or acknowledge
    Do your toes hurt? I know mine did. 

    You can passively refuse something. If you don't actively acknowledge that Christ belongs in this season then you are in danger of passively denying him. It can be as simple as a prayer before a meal. You can show the love of Christ by donating your time at a homeless shelter. Sign your Christmas cards "Love in Christ" instead of the standard "Merry Christmas." Read the Christmas Story in the Bible to your children this year. Do Advent activities. Take the focus off of Santa and gifts!!

    This year be aware of how you're projecting your faith this season. Is Christ in YOUR Christmas?

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Activities 19 and 20



    19) Church Nursery!

    20) Making Music

    He has one of those baby piano things that he loves to just BANG on and make noise. He even created his own sign for it. (He does the "music" sign normally and for this one he taps his forearm)

    New Schedule? And a Kid Update.


    I realized recently that Franklin needs a routine. Not necessarily an exact time kind of thing, but at least a rhythm for the day. I mean, we kind of do this already, but we could be better.

    And it figures that the day I decide to start is the day when we sleep extra late, Franklin is extra whiny, and the weather is dreary!

    In any case, I'm trying to abide by it somewhat...

    8am-9am Wake up and Get Dressed (well, Mommy gets dressed anyway...)
    9am-10am Cartoons and Breakfast
    10am-11am Chores/Packing
    11am-2pm Activities/Lunch/HOPEFULLY Kid Down for nap
    2pm-4pm Possible Mommy Time (blog, projects, etc...)
    4pm-4:30pm Ready for Daddy Home
    4:30pm-5pm Daddy Unwind/Mommy Make Dinner
    5pm-6pm Dinner
    6pm-8pm Family Time
    8pm-9pm Bedtime Routine (bath, brush teeth, quiet time)
    9pm-9:30pm Franklin to Bed
    9:30pm-? Mommy and Daddy Time (might be spent sleeping...)

    Well, today we woke up at 9am so that started the list off "wrong" and Franklin is extra clingy today so Mommy isn't getting much done in her hour for chores (I did get dishes done and some clothes hung up) The weather is terrible so going outside isn't an option at the moment.

    Now for a Kid Update!

    He's talking!!!!!!!

    I know, I'm shocked too. In the past week or so he's started saying:
    -block
    -box
    -bottle (he said it this morning and it was REALLY clear)
    and his speech is getting more clear. I'm picking up on some of the phrases he says.

    So yeah, this kid might actually talk. Awesome, right?

    AND, yesterday we tried church and Franklin did great in the nursery! One of Stefan's coworkers (that Franklin knows and loves) works the nursery sometimes. So, we decided to give it a try with her in there...and he did awesome. She said he just played with toys the whole time and barely paid her any attention (she even left at one point and he didn't notice) The service was good, too. We're planning on going back.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Are You Yelling?


    I yell...frequently. I hate doing it, I really do. It's one of those things that I really really need to work on changing (Hmm, New Year's Resolution anyone?) I yell at my son. Seriously AT him. I know it's different than yelling and having him understand. It's mostly just yelling in his general direction. Does it stop the behavior? Nope. Does it make ME feel any better? Nope. What do I actually accomplish? I raise my blood pressure and make my son mad.

    It's actually Biblical. Proverbs 15:1 (NCV) A gentle answer will calm a person's anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger. 
    I like the way the New Century Version puts it. It's very plain. The New King James version says A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

    So, when my son gets mad and yells back at me it shouldn't come as any surprise...God kind of told me what would happen if I yelled first.

    Challenge: The next time your child does something frustrating take a second to pause, repeat the above verse, and FORCE YOURSELF to answer softly and gently. Teach your children to answer each other the same way. Do this for one week and see if you don't notice an improvement in how your children react to you and each other. (Moms of toddlers: You might have to look REALLY HARD for the difference...)

    Activities 17 and 18



    17) Pouring Activity

    It originally started as water...

    But that proved to be a bit too much of a messy challenge...





    So we switched to ice and were much more successful.

    18) Coloring on a Box

    Franklin isn't one for coloring. He doesn't hold the paper with his other hand so it doesn't work out quite so well. Today I had the brilliant idea to have him color the boxes we're using to move.

    It was MUCH easier for him and he had a blast!

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    I Confess!!!

    I'm starting this feature for many reasons. There are a ton of "Mommy Blogs" out there. Reading these can offer tips and laughs but it can also create a sense of doubt in ourselves. See, I've come to learn that a lot of people put their best face forward when writing a blog. So, you see the good parts and nothing else. They don't tell you that they dealt with tantrums ALL DAY the day before or that it took them an hour to type the post you're reading because they had a toddler in their lap trying to "help" type. You don't read rambling posts about how they cried the other day because their children were being terrors. Yes, there are honest pages like that, but I think we need MORE! We need honesty. We need support. We need to read that a fellow mom felt immense despair and how she got out of it. We need to be the mom that felt that despair and be able to read comments from other moms saying, "I was JUST THERE!"

    Enter "I Confess." Each week I'll do a blog (at least one, maybe more depending on the week!) where I confess something about my week. It can be something embarrassing or something more serious. I'll offer a link-up opportunity and a button to link back. If you feel like you want to participate you'll have several days to write up a blog and link up.

    The only rules:
    1) You have to be brutally honest. No sugar-coating. If you sat and cried for an hour then don't trim it down to 10 minutes.
    2) Comment, comment, comment. Even if it's just a *hug* or something. We're baring souls here.
    3) Be supportive. I know there are several sides to each story. If you don't support spanking and a mom confesses to spanking her child several times you aren't being supportive if you say, "That's abusive! How could you??"

    What do you think? Interested?

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Activities 15 and 16

    ;
    Yesterday was my 4 year marriage anniversary...so I really tried to limit my posts.

    15) Playing at the new house 

    He was trying to put dirt on me

    He was FILTHY when he was done. I know it's a picture of the future. I see a lot of sweeping in my future...

    16) Walking on Cushions 
    We did this before in Tot School (something I need to get back on top of...) Here's the vid in case you missed it:
     

    Chore System Idea


    I'm sure you've seen the colored index cards in the store when you're school shopping. Heck, I'm sure that a few of you have purchased them instead of the plain white ones. (Let me tell you, studying for a test is MUCH more interesting in technicolor) Have you ever thought to use them to get your kids to do chores?

    I know, it's probably an odd thought. Let me tell you about a little system I've used for myself AND used to get teenage family members to help tidy when they stay over.

    I use Index Cards. Now, for my system I use the plain ones. What I did was take the cards and write a chore on each one. I shuffle the cards up and place them face down. Then, I grab the first card and flip it over. Whichever chore pops up on top is the one I have to go do and I can't come back until it's finished. It's actually a really effective system when you can't figure out where to start or, as rarely happens here, when your house looks clean but you know better. When my brother-in-law and cousin were visiting several months back we used this as a way to get everyone to clean. We set a time limit (we wouldn't clean more than an hour) and brought out the cards. We only had to clean 30mins (there was 4 of us and a toddler) and the living room, kitchen, and guest bath all got cleaned. It was amazing!

    Okay, on to my brainstorm I had while not sleeping at whatever ungodly hour it was this morning...

    You'd need to buy a pack (or two, we'll get to that) of the colored index cards. You can get the bright colored ones or the pastel ones. I really don't care either way. (If you have boys that will complain about "girl colors" I do suggest the bright ones, though)

    Next, make a list of each chore in the house. Be very specific. Yes, this will probably take a few days as you think of random things. Don't just put "clean the bathroom." Break things down into detailed chores like "scrub the toilet inside and out." Trust me, it will matter for this system. You'll get a chance to be vague in the next steps but you'll still need the specifics.

    Now take your list and organize the chores into three categories: High Value, Moderate Value, Low Value. High Value should be things that take longer and/or are hardest to do. I would consider mowing the lawn (with a push mower...not a riding mower, cheater) a High Value chore. "Clean entire bathroom" is a High Value chore. (You'll want a few of these large task chores) Low Value chores take 5mins or less. So, if you don't have a lot of dust collecting surfaces, "Dust" would be a Low Value chore. "Gather laundry" is Low Value (because it shouldn't be on the floor anyway, right?) Everything else is a Moderate Value chore.

    Okay, assign each a color and write them on the appropriate card. I'm picky so I'd do "red/orange" for High, "yellow" Moderate, and "green" would be Low. You can do whatever you want.

    Ready? We're almost finished! Take the colors and decide on a point value. NOT a monetary value, we'll do that later. Figure out how many points each color is worth. High Value should have a High Number. It can be 1-2-3 for all I care. Got it? Moving on...

    What do you do with these? You'll want each child to choose a special container for themselves. Each time they choose a card (and with THIS system they are allowed to sort through the cards until they find what they want to do) they complete the chore AND THE CHORE GETS CHECKED BY A PARENT. Then, they can put the card in their container to get the point. At the end of the day you go by and count the points and write it down in a place that you control (to quell cheating). If it's a chore that gets done daily (like dishes or laundry) put it back in the stack. Otherwise put the card into a different folder so it can't be chosen again (because you can only scrub a toilet so many times during a week!) At the end of each week tally up the points and give out payment. Well, what motivates most kids these days? If you said "satisfaction of a job well done" I'd keep it to myself because you'll get hatemail from several of my readers! (I think that's awesome, though!) If you said, "Money" keep reading. Figure out how much you want to pay them. If you used small numbers for points you can give them a dollar a point. It's totally up to your family.

    Gather everyone for a family meeting. Explain how the point system works. (Leave out the payment part) Read off a few examples of the chores. Watch all the kids roll their eyes and start to fidget. Smile and say, "And then at the end of the week we'll give out an allowance." Now you have their attention! Explain how it works.

    For this you could even keep a list of who has Top Points for a month and give them a special prize. Maybe a little extra money, cooking the dinner of their choice, or a family activity that they want to do. The possibilities are endless.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Toddler Update: 20 Months

    That's right, he's a frog

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a toddler update. I figured that I'd do another one since he's officially 20 months today. The previous stats will be in italics and the updates will be in bold.

    Words he says:
    - uh oh
    - aww man!
    - pe-ew (like something stinks)
    - duh (dog)
    - book
    - booger
    - mama
    - dada
    - good bye (when he thinks no one is listening)

    - block (bah)
    - milk (muh)
    - HI!!!
    - monkey (muh nuh)
    - ball

    He signs:
    - more
    - eat/want
    - milk
    - music
    - bath
    - shoes
    - socks
    - water
    - go (like go out)
    - love
    - bed (bedtime) We're still working on this one...
    - all done
    - apple

    - brush teeth
    - bread

    He can identify (when asked):
    - yellow
    - head
    - ears
    - belly
    - penis (he kept pointing so we told him what it was called)
    - fingers/hand
    - toes
    - nose (sometimes)
    - booty (Daddy taught him this one)


    - he can blow a kiss, give a real kiss, and a hug
    - he also waves and says "bye bye" sometimes (it comes out "my my" which is adorable)

    - I didn't realize it, but screwing lids on and off is apparently an advanced skill...he's been doing this for months now.
    - He can stack 11 blocks high. He can probably stack more but he can't reach and the carpet won't allow for stacking. We'll try in the kitchen of the new house after we move.

    He also understands "no" and can follow instructions like, "Give your bottle to Daddy" if he asks for milk and Daddy is in the kitchen.
    The other day I told him "I'm going to open the stove and it's going to be hot. Can you stand back?" and he walked over to the safe spot I taught him (behind and out of the way) and stood and waited for my okay.

     


    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Activity 14



    14) Playing on the slide

    He has one of those climb and slide plastic things. He finally started using it! A few months ago he would climb to the top, sit down, say "wheee" and then climb back down. It was so funny. Now he has no problem launching himself down.

    I didn't get any photos...we're back to trying to potty train so he was naked all day :)

    Kitchen Cleaning Link Up!

    Recently I did a post on Steps for a Clean Living Room. Today I'm doing the KITCHEN! Ready?





    Ugh, right? You can tell it's been a few days...

    Step One: Gather ALL Dishes and put them in/around the sink.

    Step Two: Gather all trash and throw it away!

    That puts us here:




    Yeah, I know, very little difference! This next step will be a good one.

    Step Three: Put Away Items!

    Everything has a home (or at least, it SHOULD!) Let these items go home.




    By now you should be breathing a bit easier.

    Step Four: Do Those Dishes!

    Step Five: Surfaces, Appliances, Floors



    The photos of the empty sink didn't come out...like, the file corrupted in the camera. No idea about that one...you can sort of see it in the second photo, though.


    Did you clean the kitchen today? Come LINK UP!

    What if he's never still?

    My sweet boy

    The verse that is on my mind today is Psalm 46:10a Be still and know that I am God.

    Why that verse? Mothers of toddlers (I'm willing to bet especially mothers of BOYS) will get it quickly.

    We want our children to know God. We want them raised to know that they have a wonderful Heavenly Father that sent his Son to die for their sins. The verse I've chosen is very specific in the manner of knowing God: Be still.

    As a mother of a toddler boy (with another boy on the way) I have to laugh a little bit. (It's okay to laugh when you read the Bible right?) My son is very rarely STILL. Even when he's not actively running around tearing the house down he's still moving. He's always busy. The only time this child is STILL is when he's sleeping...and sometimes not even then! As a result, I often forget to be be still.

    New Year's Challenge: Create a time of stillness to commune with God. Even if it's just prayer time before bed. All of us need to have that time. We should begin developing this habit before the new baby gets here!

    Will you accept the challenge? How are you "still" to hear God?

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Activity 13

    ;

    Plowing right along!


    13) Reading Our Bible

    Franklin wanted to read his Bible today...for most of the morning. Of course, HE wanted to read it. He didn't really want Mommy to read it to him or anything. *shrugs* Whatever works!

    Sitting on the couch reading.

    He wanted to climb in the bed and read. I thought I was going to get a nap...I was wrong!

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Activity 12



    Today's toddler activity (along with running errands lol) was another simple one that we've done before on this blog.

    12) Playing with Blocks

    8 Blocks

    9 Blocks

    10 Blocks


    He stacked the 11th block on but the precarious angle it's already in made it fall. Earlier, when I didn't have my camera out, he made it to 11 blocks! He probably could have stacked more, but he's not tall enough (and they don't stand up on the carpet) Of course, after the blocks fall it means it's time to throw them everywhere...

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Activity 11

    ;


    I know I said I wasn't going to repeat activities...but this is one that's too enjoyable to only do occasionally!

    11) Outdoor Play


    And he's just too cute!!!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Activities 9 and 10

    ;I have been such a slacker! This last month of pregnancy is really kicking my butt!

    Today we did two activities to make up for none yesterday.

    9) Playing with Ice.
    I have to remember to limit this one because this child will play with ice until his hands hurt...and then try to play with it even more (even while crying in pain)

    10) Laundry Help
    Mommy is too big to get things out of the dryer properly. I usually wait for Stefan to get home and have him do it for me...but Franklin was a good helper today and helped Mommy do it! He's so sweet!!!

    Tomorrow we start decluttering! I want to spend the weekend getting rid of AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE so we don't move a bunch of stuff we don't need. I hate that. You move and as you unpack you get rid of things and wonder "Why did I even move this??" or you declutter a few months later and ask the same question.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Activities 7 and 8

    ;

    Okay, we didn't do an activity yesterday...Mommy cleaned the kitchen and then we chilled the rest of the day (almost literally, it was cold!)

    Today's activities:

    7) Silk Leaves and a Laundry Bin

    We don't have a yard yet so there are no real leaves to play with right now! The apartment complex cleans them as soon as they fall. No fun!!!

    8) Vacuuming
    Yes, it takes 3 times as long to vacuum one spot...but he loves to do it AND it's a life skill. As he gets bigger and stronger I'll let him control the vacuum more until he can do it himself. (I have a feeling my independent child will LOVE that)

    He's also taken to "riding" his dump truck...adorable.



    At this very second he's sitting in the laundry bin surrounded by leaves.

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