Friday, January 31, 2014

Expressing Gratitude and Love

Life is too short to let time pass without letting those near and dear to our hearts know how important they are and how much they are loved. This year, my focus is on loving others (through what I do and what I say), being there for others, ministering others, and telling others what they mean to me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Learning to Maintain a Reasonable Pace

Somehow, unless I am pretty sick, like I was with the flu around New Year's, I tend to run around getting things done wildly. There are only so many hours in a day but the list of to-dos is a mile long.

Here is but a little tiny example.

A drive that normally takes 35-49 minutes one-way to the girls' school took 1 hr 15 minutes or so, due to the snow, icy road conditions. I'm not complaining about the drive; I was still able to beat many of the teachers in arriving at the school. The drive back also took about an hour. The drive took a larger chunk out of my day. Once I got home, I did the usual with the twins and cooked four dishes (eggplant, seared salmon, sugar snap peas, and started a pot of hot and sour soup) before lunch. The twins and I had lunch, went grocery shopping, and headed out a bit early (for any possible difficult road conditions) to pick up the girls.

I did a lot, but was pretty tired by late afternoon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

That is one way to ring in the new year

We rang the new year with the flu, strep, a sinus infection, ear infection, and allergies.

How about you?

There are some pretty mean strains of the flu floating around. Beware!

Did you know that a person can have the flu and strep at the same time? So much fun.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

A sick household

The fun began around New Year's Eve, when I was hit with the flu. Yes, the flu. I didn't know it was the flu, until one of my children got tested for it. I just know I was extremely lethargic, could barely move, had plenty of nasal congestion to boot, a horrible headache, the list goes on; it was that miserable. Not long after that, my second born started showing symptoms. I took her in to see the doctor and she tested positive for the flu and a few days later positive for strep. I am still weak from being hit so hard with the flu and we are not all well yet. Can we all just hibernate until all the germs pass?

Friday, January 03, 2014

THAT is why I have been feeling so dreadfully awful

Since New Year's Eve, I have felt the sickest for 6 mos to a year: feeling dizzy, weak, cold-hot spells, nasal and throat congestion, just crappy. My second born, who is normally bounce-off-the-wall super high energy had been lethargic and running a temp since yesterday. Took her in to see the pediatrician this afternoon, and she tested positive for the flu. That offers much in the way of explaining why we feel so crappy. Speaking of which, I had better catch my zzzz's, especially whilst everyone is sleeping. Guten nacht.

Monday, December 30, 2013

3 Musts of Effective Parenting (Especially with Small Children)

The views expressed in this post are mine and mine alone, from my experience as a mother and as a counselor in training. There are THREE MUSTS, I think, of effective parenting:

  1. Children should be given age-appropriate chores that do not come with monetary or other sorts of rewards. These responsibilities are a part of living in a home and consistently carrying out these responsibilities ultimately builds a sense of accomplishment and pride (in these children). Some examples of age-appropriate responsibilities in our household are getting my 2 year olds to gather their jackets, shoes, and socks or asking my 5 year old or 7 year old to tidy up their own belongings or to help the youngest two to put away toys.
  2. All actions come with consequences. Some consequences are bad and some are good. When children misbehave or make poor choices, bad or undesirable consequences follow. Just as schools might use warnings and demerits, parents might use various forms of discipline. The discipline of choice in our home is time-outs: explaining why the person has to go to time out, having the person go to the designated time out spot, setting the timer for the appropriate amount of time (the number of minutes matches the age of the child; so, a five year old goes to time out for five minutes; a seven year old goes to time out for seven minutes; and so on), having the child explain why she was in time out when the timer goes off, and finishing with making up with a hug and kiss. Whatever negative consequences or punishments are used, they need to be predictable and consistent. I think the 2 year olds being familiar with how time-out works is a pretty good indication of predictability and regularity of our follow-through with consequences of poor choices.
  3. I try to emphasize, especially with the older two, that consequences are not always bad. Consequences can be good and desirable, too; good actions or choices result in desirable or amicable consequences. When the girls do something supererogatory or well, they earn an owl sticker to add to their respective charts. Once they fill one chart, they can get any (and all) toys that have gone into time-out back or pick something out of the 'treasure chest.' To add further reinforcement and encouragement, once they have completed two charts, they can choose a very special activity to do with me. Quality time with me is a part of regular life, but we're talking about something 'special,' that is out of the ordinary or might involve a small amount of spending.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

More to 'true love'

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Hands down, "Frozen" is the girls' and my favorite movie, albeit for very different reasons. I will be the first to admit that the animation is amazing, the costumes (especially the adult Elsa's dress, after she moves to the North Mountain and builds her ice castle) are gorgeous, and being able to freeze things or make ice is pretty cool. But, personally, I was very much drawn to the love portrayed in the Disney film; it was moving and refreshing. Not only is the true love in this movie not the typical love between a princess and prince charming, but the love exemplified, I believe, illustrates a very deep love. Perhaps a sample of the Lord's love for us, unfailing love.

Without ruining the surprise for those who haven't seen the movie yet, what ends up saving both sisters' lives is not some prince charming coming to the rescue. In fact, the alleged prince charming in this movie, Prince Hans, is a bit of a deceiving jerk, whose desire is nothing more than to ascend to the throne  and who is willing to do just about anything for that chance, even killing. What saves the princesses' lives is deep, loyal, unfailing love that has stood the test of time, given turbulent periods, seeming insurmountable difficulties, ongoing trials, and various misunderstandings. Genuine 'true love' is depicted in this movie.

This movie is a MUST SEE for all. And, it is worth seeing on the big screen. The short film that is attached to the movie, prior to the start of the movie, "Get a Horse," starring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse is fantastic, hilarious, and wildly entertaining.