Saturday, February 28, 2009

child training - copy the play book

When we first became parents, we were blessed to be surrounded by families that were raising children much like we wanted ours to be.

I am really grateful to say that we still have those families in our lives.

We constantly asked questions (still do), begged for advice (still do that too), and soaked up the information sent our way (yeah, that one too).  After plagiarizing all the play books we could, we bolted down the uncertain path of parenthood at supersonic speed (four boys in just
over six years)!

We're coming up on eight years into our journey of parenting, and recently reached the point where other parents are reaching out to us and asking us for advice on how to muddle through the muck of parenting.

We are sometimes considered strict by other families.  We are big on manners, respect of elders and peers, and first time obedience.  Simply put, we want others to consider our children a joy to be around.

That being said, my children are NOT perfect and there are many moments when their own mother doesn't want to be around them.  Growing up is a process.  Sometimes they have a rough patch...

...sometimes I have a rough patch.

I have sent out the same email several times to some friends and acquaintances looking for a change and a plan in parenting strategy, so I decided to post the contents for a reference.

All of the books are very worth reading, however, read them with a grain of salt.  No one book do I think is all-encompassing, but all of these together cover a broad spectrum of perspectives and strategies.

Hopefully wise parenting combined with an ocean of prayer will allow us to turn children into adults who are a joy to be around!

I hope this is helpful.

Babywise series - (haven't gotten to Teenwise yet, thank God) - We use a lot of the suggestions in these books regarding sleep habits from early on to training in the preschool years.  Yes, I am aware of the controversy surrounding these books - it seems like a love/hate polarizing issue, so remember to read it with a grain of salt and have an open mind.

Shepherding a Child's heart - This is a great book that teaches parents why obedience alone isn't enough.  We need to get to our children's hearts.  I found this to be a "big picture" book, that is very worth reading, but don't go to it looking for specific training "1. 2. 3.'s."

Don't Make Me Count to Three - The fact that I HATE that statement when it comes out of a parent's mouth because it is essentially saying, "You don't have to obey me right now, I'm never serious the first time," is beside the point.  This book is a practical application of discipline using the philosophy of Shepherding a Child's Heart.  This book was very helpful and encouraging to me.

Making Your Children Mind without Losing Yours - I love this author.  He says it like it is and is very passionate about letting the natural consequences of behavior fall where they may.  This book has helpful applications for both young children and older teenagers.

What books have you found helpful?  Send them my way, we need all the help we can get!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

less me, more Him

I always thought giving something up for Lent meant getting rid of excess filth in my life.  Maybe a "worldly" sin that is o.k. out here in mainstream America, but is on God's list of "no no's."

Cussing, alcohol, chocolate, and television all usually rank in the top five.

I used to think that it was about giving something up because that is the kind of God that God happens to be.

He just wants us to be less pampered - not to get too comfortable down here, right?  After all, Jesus told the rich man that he had to sell all he owned and give it to the poor in order to get into the kingdom of heaven.

That has to be it, right?  Hmmm...

We aren't Catholic, but this year I read several opinions regarding Lent and how it is not just giving up something without real purpose behind it - just to turn around and pig out on it come Easter morn.

It is, however, an opportunity to make some much needed room in our busy lives for God.

The point is to sacrifice something that would be constantly missed from our lives for forty days.  We are not to substitute it with something else but to allow that time, craving, and desire to be steered toward seeking the One who created it all.

Hubby and I are individually refraining from some things that we will definitely miss.  But honestly, we have some pretty big things that we are waiting on God for. 

We are craving some answers and direction in very specific areas of
our lives.

And we definitely need to make room for Him.

Monday, February 23, 2009


My close friend asked me if I could come over on Sunday afternoon to watch her kids for a couple of hours while she and her husband went to a memorial service.

I was happy to help and brought my two older boys along to play with her older kids.

Knowing she hates laundry, I folded all the clean laundry I could find while she was gone.

Knowing I hate to cook, she surprised me with my favorite casserole to take home and pop in the oven for dinner.

Now, that's friendship for you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

fun mom makes a brief appearance

Hubby is out of town for the bulk of this week and I tend to have some sad boys hanging around when Dad is gone for longer than an overnight.

Tonight, after dinner, (did you see that?  after dinner!), I surprised the boys by taking them to the library to pick out some new books.  They were thrilled and we had a great time loading up our "library bag."

I then shocked their socks off by pulling into McDonald's and announcing that we were making a stop for hot fudge sundaes.


I think someone liked his first sundae ever, ya think?


On the way home, we jammed to some fun music on the old XM Radio.  A benefit of satellite radio is that we can replay a song over and over if we like it...

and like one we did...  we sat in the driveway dancing for about ten minutes....

And then we were home and drill sergeant mom arrived with orders for push ups and latrine duty jammies, teeth brushing, and lights out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

half and half

Half angel and half troublemaker...


Which do you think is rearing its head today?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

a little time on the hill

Living in a ski town has some perks.

We can be weather snobs and only ski on the best weather days.

We can hoard the powder and get first tracks after a storm.

We can avoid the crowds and lift lines by skiing when it isn't busy.

Not to sound snobby, but I have to remind myself of these things when it is snowing on September 11th.

And June 11th.

I'm not lying, or joking, or hallucinating either.

Anyhoo, here are a few highlights from the last couple of weeks.

Hunter is in a locals' "Learn to Race" ski program and the level of instruction is amazing.  At almost eight years old, he can ski anything - and ski it well.

He gets to participate in a few races this season and just finished his first one this past weekend.  He has a highly competitive coach.  All the other teams did their best skiing down the course, but Kathleen wanted the competitive edge for her team, so he made all the boys take off their coats and race with just their shirts on top!

They raced against their age group, not each other - but he won a gold medal for this race.



We also typically have a lot of visitors during this time of the year.  Our dear friends Gary and Christine came from South Dakota to ski for a few days.

Although our house is a 90 second drive from here, they convinced me to drive an hour to ski here.

I brought my big six year-old Sauce with me (because he is still free to ski).  We skied some tough stuff and he did so well.

Here we are on the gondola.


Snowbasin has a lot of gondolas and one tram, affectionately referred to as "the beer can."  It goes up to the top of a run called "The Olympic Men's Downhill."  It is the run just to the right of the tram in the picture below.

Note:  I didn't take this picture and when we were there, the rocked up part of the run was covered with tall moguls.


Because it is a tram, you are able to take a ride to the top and if you chicken out decide not to ski it, you can take the tram back down again.

When we got off, there was a line of adults waiting to get back on.  A woman watched Sauce throw his skis on and get ready to take off.

She nudged her husband.  He looked up and said, "HE'S gonna ski this?  Holy Sh**!"

A proud moment as a mother, I must say.

Here's a view from inside the beer can tram.


That's sauce in the bottom of this picture.


At the end of the day, Sauce begged to go to the terrain park.   I see more broken bones in our future.


Lastly, my sister was here visiting this weekend and we went skiing Sunday afternoon in a storm full of fresh snow.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I may not make it through this season

I'm not talking about winter.

One of my dearest friends and probably the wisest mom I know, always tells me that my rough times of mothering are "a season."

Diapers - a season.

Tantrums - a season.

Potty training - a season.

This season with a certain four year-old boy may be the end of me.  Just to name a few incidents...

He happily gets dressed and ready for preschool on Monday, but five minutes before we have to leave, suddenly he wants to change his shirt, he's too tired and nothing is right.

Squirt was caught picking up a small piece of POOP from the LIVING ROOM FLOOR yesterday.  Yuck.  Everyone was blaming it on his diaper, but I checked his diaper and he was just wet.

The logical questioning to the older children proceeded.  Who pooped on the floor?

Denial from all three.  I threatened to check butts if I needed to.  Hunter is not known to lie, so I believed him right off.  Sauce is not known for poop accidents, so he was quickly ruled out.

Rufus.... hmmm.  Did you poop in your pants?  No Mom.  Are you telling me the truth?  Yes Mom.  Are you lying to me, because I am going to check your pants?  No Mom.  OK, drop your drawers.

Guilt confirmed.

I know that accidents happen, but lying is not acceptable in this house.

Side note:  We just finished the season of lying with Sauce, I guess Rufus felt the need to pick it up where he left off.

Today I had to take my sister to the airport to return to Chicago after a weekend of "vegging out" with me.  On the way home I took the bold initiative of swinging by Jiffy Lube, seeing that my van was 2000 miles overdue for an oil change (Dad, I hope you skipped this part).

The good thing about the Jiffy is that children can stay strapped in their carseats while the oil problem is resolved.

Unless one or two have to pee.

Then mom has to take all four into Jiffy's bathroom and consequentially into the waiting room for our van to be slicked up and ready.

That was fine.  Slightly irritating, but I could definitely handle it.

However, I made a quick stop into a craft store to buy one specific item, and that same Rufus child needed to pee AGAIN (10 minutes later) and I had to find the remote bathroom in the back of the store.  I had to prop open the bathroom door so I could see three children on the outside of the bathroom while one child peed... I was ready to go home.

Nearing the checkout, that SAME child informs me (loudly), "Mom, I have to go poop!"

I thought of denying him, but considering the incident from yesterday, I decided he might be taking my words seriously.

Back to the remote and slightly gross bathroom all FIVE of us went.  I propped the door open again, kept my eyes in two places at once and got Rufus and his needing-to-poop bottom on the toilet.

"I don't have to go poop."

Allrightythen.  How would you feel about being strapped to the roof for the ride home?

Fast forward through a very loud, tiring boy-filled day.  We were leaving swimming lessons where very often a couple of older boys will run a little ahead of me and the stroller to wait in the lobby before we go out the main doors.

Only tonight one ran right on out through the front door without his oblivious brother anyone noticing.  Only to have his mother rush out and find him outside standing by the dark parking lot.

Bedtime did not come soon enough.

On second thought, Daddy coming home from his business trip tomorrow can not come soon enough.

It's a season, right?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

conversations with Doug - part one

We hosted our couples' Bible study Friday night.

Hubs was at school that night and I was upstairs putting Squirt to bed.  Doug was sitting at the breakfast bar with our three oldest boys.

Something about the Y causes male conversations to drift into the sports arena quite often, and Doug asked the boys if they have a favorite baseball team.

When they answered no (which is a lie because we are ALL Cubs fans, it's mandatory in this house), Doug suggested that they should consider the Boston Red Sox because they have won two of the last five World Series.

Now, Hunter and I have been working on fractions in math.

He sat quiet and expressionless for a moment.  He then turned to Doug and slowly and deliberately said, "Mr. S., I don't think they are trying hard enough."

That boy knows fractions!

Doug immediately sent a text to my hubby explaining the conversation.

Hubby immediately responded with, "Classic.  He has high expectations. :) Try being his father...."

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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