Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Special Moments

My oldest son and I had a special moments last night. We are attending a Suzuki Music Camp in Salt Lake and were able to go to the opening concert by Jon Schmit. It was so fun to see his excitement for music and the piano quadruple as he watched Jon play in this intimate concert with about fifty people in the audience. To give you a sneak peak in our special moment here is a video of Jon playing one of our favorite songs at the concert. Having times like this is fun to enjoy together.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Welcome Home!

My husband and I had two days and nights where Grandma and Grandpa took the kids so we could run a relay race together. We had such a great time. It's good to get away once in a while and remember how fun it is to be alone together.
While I was getting ready to welcome home my kids, I was thinking about how important that welcome is in there life. They go to a friends house, school, church activities, scouts, dating, and other times they leave the home and then come home. I remember how important it was that my mom or dad was home when I came home from friends houses, school activities and later dates. Just knowing they were up and waiting for me made me feel safe and also act my best self. I thought to myself...Are they excited to come home? What is my reaction to them coming home? Am I available to talk and give hugs? I think at sometimes I'm better at welcoming then others times. At times when the boys have come home and they don't see me right off, they will call out, "Mom, are you home, where are you?" I would like to consciously do better at giving a warm welcome to my kids so they look forward to being back at home. Some things I thought about that I could do...
1. When they get home, go to them and give hugs and tell them you missed them by your actions and words.
2. Have a little snack ready, especially if they have been gone to school and may be hungry and be ready to be a listening ear if they need to talk.
3. Ask open ended questions rather then yes and no questions about their day.
4. Take a minute clean up just a bit, so the home is more comfortable to be in.
These are just a few I thought of today. I'd love to hear what you do to make this welcome special.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Parenting is not about me

Parenting is not about me. I have to occasionally remind myself of this (Check out the quote of the week on this blog.) Today as I struggled to keep my children reverent (this means for my kids, not screaming on the top their lungs =)). I often wonder, what am I getting out of church? But this week I tried to see things a little differently because of a conference talk I read by President Dallin H. Oaks entitled Unselfish Service. He related something his friend had wrote.
"Years ago, I changed my attitude about going to church. No longer do I go to church for my sake, but to think of others. I make a point of saying hello to people who sit alone, to welcome visitors,...to volunteer for an assignment..."In short, I go to church each week with the intent of being active, not passive, and making a positive difference in people's lives. Consequently, my attendance at church meetings is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling."
Pres. Oaks said "...This illustrates the "eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get."
After reading this, I determined to change my attitude about going to church with my young children. It can be outright exhausting after wrestling with your children then also trying to fulfill my callings too. But if I think about about Pres. Oaks talked about, I am not going to church for me but for my children and others that I can serve. My wise husband said, "Sunday meetings are called a worship service. We should think of it as service and what we give to other people. That is another way to worship: Giving service."
I decided I had better change so...this morning, I decided to get up a few minutes early, to be better prepared. I got myself ready and then prepared a few extra things to help my children be more reverent in church. On the Friend website there is printable coloring pages. I printed one out for each of my kids to color, packed crayons, and a couple other church books. I also tried to be more patient with my children as well. I still have a long way to go in having the right attitude but I'm going to keep working on it. I think those few extra minutes of prep time, helped me have a better frame of mind to serve. I would love any other suggestions or thoughts in how you keep everything in perspective
I think you can apply this unselfish service principle in so many other aspects of our lives. Service is not ever convenient. It is foolish to think you are giving service only if it fits into your schedule or agenda. To serve others, inside or outside of your family, their will be sacrifices. Sacrifices of time, money, or something you would rather be doing. But service doesn't have to be huge either. Maybe it's just going out of our way to be friendly when you don't feel friendly. (now that's hard)
The world tells you, to take care of yourself, pamper you, because you deserve it. There is wisdom in this, but I think we need to be careful not to take this advise to the extreme. Unselfish service to our children will bring so much joy, and satisfaction. This joy will go much more beyond the temporal happiness the world offers.
I loved the last quote of Pres. Oaks talk. "Our Savior teaches us to follow Him by making the sacrifices necessary to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others. If we do, He promises us eternal life, 'the greatest of all the fits of God' (D&C 14:7), the glory and joy of living in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Structure

For those of you who have children in school and now have all your children home everyday this can be a bit stressful to adjust to. One way we are surviving =) is to set us some structure. I sat down with my older children and asked them for some ideas of things they wanted to do regularly. This is what we ended up with.

Monday: Bookmobile Day and read aloud day & FHE
Tuesday: Scout and craft day
Wednesday: Water Day (two hours with swimsuits, sprinklers, water balloons etc.) - I really don't think it's modest to go all summer long in swimsuits. Not so great for their tender skins either. They really look forward to this day. This week it was raining so we had a fun bath time with toys.
Thursday: Library or Family Information and Resource Center (we alternate each week)
Friday: Field Day (parks, zoo, temple open house, museum, bus rides)

We also talked about how important it was for mom to have some quiet time and for them to take a break from the sun. So we set up a Quiet time from 12:30 - 1:00 where they get to read or do puzzles in their own room. (we use the spare room and mom and dad's room so they each get their own room) The nice thing is the half hour usually is much longer. They either get caught up in their books and puzzles or fall asleep for a much needed nap. I love it!
We also set up for the older kids a later bedtime as a reward. If they are done with chores they get their later bedtime.
We have had a great time so far with this schedule. The great thing is we get up in the morning and get our chores done so we can do these fun things in the afternoon. I will share with you next post the kids chore chart which has been awesome for me. They have been so helpful and our house has been pretty orderly.
The other benefit I 've seen so far is they really look forward to spending this time with the family and we really haven't spent all day with friends. I'm not opposed to this but I really like when the kids like to be together.
What do you most enjoy about summer? Any fun ideas to keep your kids learning, and having fun? Share Share Share.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Potty Training Tips

So I'm not the expert on potty training but I thought I would give a few tips that I have learned after training two boys and one girl.  (which by the way can be very different)
-Don't force your child to be potty trained before they are really ready.  I have a friend who touts that her kids are potty trained before age two.  When I really got the whole story, she scares them half to death so they do it out of fear.  I really don't think this is a good way to do it.  But it works for her and they are out of diapers by two.
-To start the whole potty training experience, I start by renting videos from the library and checking books about going to the potty.  I also get a little potty out and talk a whole lot about going potty.  
-I like to keep them in diapers until my child is asking me to take them to the bathroom maybe a couple times a day.  This helps them see that they can do it but also gives them a back up if they don't make it.  
-When I think they are getting better and excited about going to the bathroom in the potty then we do the whole underwear thing.  I let them choose some cool (for boys) or pretty (for girls) underwear.  
-I like to make at first potty time part of the daily routine.  We go to the bathroom when we get up, we go before or after meals, before naps, etc. 
-At first I think it's really important to give them a reward.  This doesn't have to be a physical award it can be just a cool cheer, hug, or whatever they think would be exciting.  I slowly wean them away from this but then occasionally I still will give them a reward just to be sure they know how proud I am.  One of the things my daughter really liked was to watch her potty movie that we got from the library.  So after she would go to the bathroom she could watch her video. Candy and stickers are fun too. Whatever works go for it!
-When you first go into public, you may want to put on a diaper on for your sanity sake.  I would even put underwear and then the diaper so you can still reward them for staying dry.
-Lastly and most important is to have patience.  It seems like they have accidents at the very worse times or in the worse places.  Do you best to hold your tongue and not make them feel awful about it.  When they cooperate I think it can be appropriate for them to help you clean up. 
Any other thoughts or tips that has helped you with potty training.  Anyone found a great book about potty training?  And be sure to vote on the new potty training poll.  
Results from last poll showed that most people get the most upset with constant whining from children. (I forgot to write all the numbers down before I deleted the poll, next time I will write the results before I delete.)