Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Women of Joy Part 3

I know, I know, probably not the most exciting stuff. But I want to remember certain things. This is the last day, so tomorrow I can move on to something else. :)

Sunday morning we got up bright and early again, though not quite as early. We went ahead and checked out and loaded up the car. Then we headed to the conference.

We again had a wonderful worship time with Chris and our elevator friend Conrad and Big Daddy Weave. Then we had a speaker named Donna Gaines. She was a new speaker for Women of Joy. Her husband is a pastor at Bellview (sp?) in Memphis.

I have to say that out of all of the speakers, she might have been the one I needed to hear the most.

Mrs. Gaines' whole message was about walking the walk. Are we living in a way that is pleasing to Him? When we go to a restaurant after church on Sunday, are the food workers happy to see us or do they dread it? (With four kids, there is always a chance we are dreaded, but I hope we leave the restaurant in good shape afterwards :) Are we supportive, encouraging, etc? I know I am leaving out several main points, but you get the gist of it all.

All through the weekend, I had pondered about whether I should pre-register for next year. The date given was a weekend my sister has something else going on. I couldn't think of anyone to ask and was wary to commit myself even though I found the weekend to be such a refreshing nurturing of my heart and soul. Anyway, at the end of the conference, the director of the conference announced that at that point, 99% of the tickets (that had just gone on sale the day before) for next year were sold. That made up my mind. I went ahead and purchased one (it was only a 25 dollar deposit so I can always change my mind later). I don't know yet what or how I will do it. Maybe we will take a family trip; I will go to the conference while the others do something else. Or maybe I will find others going. Either way, I am already excited and looking forward to next year! (I do wish my sister and I could go together was SUCH a treat to have that time together without any distractions)

Since the conference, we have hit the ground running and not slowed down. I am overly tired, thus a very late and limited post. We have had talent show, science fair projects, schoolwork (both kids and myself), a housecleaning (which always require a pre-cleaning), extra laundry, etc. Plus Mark was out of town for a night. Either way, these little wrap ups will remind me what I learned and that I need those words in every day life, whether all is right with the world or we are running around like chickens without heads cut off.

More later!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Women of Joy Part 2

The only bad part about the weekend getaway was that we had to get up earlier than I would have liked. A dream weekend involves sleeping in. There was no sleeping in. We got up early, ate a quick breakfast in our room (the Hilton is a nice hotel but what they charge for a bowl of cereal is glad I brought a granola bar!), then headed downstairs to start the morning session.

We had a worship time with Big Daddy Weave which was a treat. Then our first speaker was Anita Renfroe. She is the one who sings the "Momisms" to the William Tell Overture. It is a huge youtube hit. She started her time with that song. She also did a couple other songs and jokes that had me laughing in a way I hadn't laughed in some time. I have a good life, I am not complaining. But parenthood can be a bit challenging at times and recently more than usual. So the laughing was a much needed activity. Then, after laughing until my cheeks almost hurt, she shared another song/video based on the Taylor Swift song "Cinderella" (or whatever it is titled). Suddenly I was crying. So, I laughed. I cried. It was a good time. :)

The next speaker was the one I honestly had been dreading. Kay Arthur. Not that she is a poor speaker. I just had a feeling that her message would cut through to my soul. And while I knew it needed to, I didn't want it to happen. Sure enough, her message was about whether we are ready to meet our maker. It is easy to think, "Oh, sure, I believe in God. I know where I am going..." But what will my answer be when He asks me, "What have you done in the last few years to get closer to me?" I have gotten really bad about reading Bible verses, only reading a few here, a few there. I will admit, I don't make it the priority it should be in my life. And I have no excuse. Yes, I am tired much of the time. And it is rarely quiet in our house. But these are things I can control and must control to truly reach out to God. I did struggle to stay awake but it wasn't Kay's fault. It just happened to be a time my body needed a break and wanted a nap. :)

After the morning speakers, we headed across the street again to the Landing, an outdoors mall. We first headed over to Macaroni Grill for lunch. Thankfully it wasn't too full/crowded because I was one hungry lady! We enjoyed our lunch (I would have enjoyed the lobster ravioli much more than the scallops salad I think but oh, well, live and learn) while looking over the lake. During the meal, the strangest thing happened. It had been just beautiful, sun shining, warm but not hot. Suddenly we noticed leaves swirling through the air. The water started moving somewhat violently, and suddenly it was dark and raining very hard sideways. Then a few minutes later, it slowed down again, then it started raining sideways the OTHER way. Later that night, Steven Curtis Chapman commented on the weird weather saying he thought it was the second coming of Christ. :) It was very odd.

After lunch, Jenn and I did a little shopping. While my family goes to this mall almost every trip to Branson, I just want to say that shopping there with my sister is a totally different experience than shopping with my children, even though most of what I bought was FOR my children. :) We had periods of sunshine followed by periods of rain. Somehow we didn't get too wet and made it back to the hotel just in time to get ready for the concert.

The concert. I am not afraid to admit that it was the concert that drew me to the conference. Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. Even on their own, they are two of my favorite Christian contemporary/worship artists. Having them perform in the same night...well, what could be better?

The answer? Nothing.

They didn't actually perform together, but I didn't care. Steven Curtis went first. I have seen him in concert, both before and after his daughter Maria's untimely death. His concerts now are very different. You can tell that he feels the words he sings in a totally different way. There was one song that he sang that I wasn't sure he would be able to sing all the way through nor would I be able to listen all the way through. It was a tearjerker! However, no matter what the topic or what the message, it was a beautiful time of worship. Next came Mr. Michael W. Smith. I have no words to describe it, though you know I will try. It was just amazing. My only complaint? Too short. His music just touches my soul in a way that very few things can. My favorite part of a MWS concert is that he doesn't just sing to me. He encourages us to sing (and thankfully it is so loud you cannot hear me doing it :). Some of the songs I can sing every word to, they are so burnt into my mind and heart. Just amazing. The whole night was amazing.

'Nuff said for tonight...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Women of Joy Part I

This weekend was my much anticipated woman's weekend away with my sister. We attended the Women of Joy conference in Branson.

I am going to back up a little. Like a year. A year ago, a friend of mine called and told me that pre-registration had started for this year's Women of Joy conference. I had attended a couple of years prior to that but since then, the weekend had fallen on Joshua's birthday. So I told her I probably couldn't go this year. She then informed me that it was actually going to be a week later this year AND that Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman were going to be in concert on Saturday night. Quickly I contacted my sister, we made plans to attend together, and we registered as quickly as we could. Thankfully we got in (they fill up quickly). We also made reservations for the hotel where the conference is held. It was a bit pricey but in the end, we decided it was going to be much easier for us (parking wise). So the plans were made.

So for a year or so I have been anticipating, eagerly, the weekend. It is what kept me going some days. :)

Finally, it was here.

I did have a little scare. Friday morning we had our school talent show. Hunter and Lauren were both participating, so I decided to go to school in the morning then head to Branson with my sister (who had driven in the night before) that afternoon (taking a half day personal day). My mom and my sister came to watch the kids, but they had to leave when my sister suddenly felt well. My heart just dropped. I had worried all week that something was going to change our plans. So for a while, I was walking in limbo.

I came home to eat lunch then hesitantly called my sister to check on her. Thankfully she was feeling better. So I packed my bags, and we headed out.

Bear with the details. I need to remember certain things. I certainly cannot trust my memory to do that!

When we arrived at the hotel/convention center in Branson, it was a very busy time. A LOT of people were checking in. I had my sister drop me off so I could get us checked in. Thankfully that was fairly quick, though there was a little mix up; they had me associated with more than one room. But thankfully that was easily resolved. My favorite part was when the clerk asked me if we needed two queen beds. I said we would prefer that. She then told me if we got a room with a king size bed, the price of the room dropped...fifty dollars. I told her that for two nights and a hundred dollar price drop (total), I could live with it. I had to give God a thanks shout out for that one!

We got parked, checked into the convention, then headed to our room to settle in for a bit. Finally, feeling settled and very hungry, we headed across the street to an outdoor mall called The Landing. It is on a lake. We decided to try a Mexican food restaurant that a friend had suggested. Two words for you. Yum, yum. I had shrimp flautas. Again. Yum, yum. I asked if I could have some chopped avocado to go with it; I have been on an avocado kick recently. They brought me a sliced avocado...the whole thing. Again, yum, yum. It was all delicious.

Quick funny. When my sister and I were headed upstairs, we rode on the elevator with this guy who looked like a "rocker dude". I just happened to glance at this chain he had on his belt loop that said "Worldvision". Later my sister asked me if I thought he was involved in the conference (we saw very few men all weekend). I told her I wondered too. I knew that Worldvision was a ministry

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to find seats for the conference. Oh, my, what a lot of women! I think there were around 4000 women in all. All sizes, all shapes, from all over. Women, women, everywhere.

So we first walked into this large convention room. There were booths for each speaker and musician, plus some general ones, set up all around the room. We decided to do a little window shopping before the evening officially started. We looked over at one booth for a singing duo named Chris and Conrad. When we saw the life size poster of the two men, we started laughing. Our elevator mystery guy's name is Conrad. And yes, he is associated with the conference. :)

Finally the conference began. I think almost every seat was filled. Even then, we saw some people hanging out wherever they could by the wall. The now famous (to us) Chris and Conrad came out to sing a few songs. We really enjoyed them. Then we had a worship time with Big Daddy Weave who looked nothing like I had pictured in my mind. Again, it was just a good time of worship. Our first speaker was Candace Cameron Bure. I had heard her before, and most of what she presented was her testimony which I had heard the last time I attended a conference. Still, she is an enjoyable speaker. While she has grown and changed so much from her "DJ Tanner" days, she still looks young and peppy. I laughed, I cried, I pondered a lot as she shared her testimony.

Finally the evening came to a close. We headed upstairs for a little t.v. and sister talk.

And then we rested.

More later,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gator Golf

I do plan on finishing a Part II to "Judge Not..." but it won't be tonight. I need to finish up a little work then head to bed. In case I haven't mentioned, I am having a girls' weekend away this weekend with my little sis!

I did want to share really quick about my 'date night". About a month ago, Mark came to me and told me he had come up with an idea. We never quite know what that will entail, so I held my breath in anticipation. Then Mark told me we would be taking one child a week out for some one on one time; we alternate who takes who.

It sounds easy to do. One child a week? But it is a bit of a challenge, just finding time our schedule. So far the only "miss" we have had is the youngest with me. It was just a crazy week that week. Thankfully he gets a lot of one on one time with me already.

Anyway, thus far, child 3 has gone to a baseball game, and child 2 has been out with both of us (at different times) for some ice cream. And our firstborn, well, tonight was our night.

First I had to take child 2 to gymnastics. When it was finally over, we came home. My firstborn was ready and waiting.

We went out together for a round of Gator Golf, a local mini golf course.

The cost? $8 for both of us to play 18 holes.

The reward? Priceless.

We played neck and neck the whole "round". The weather was beautiful. And we were able to just enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of home. We didn't have many "profound" conversations, but we talked when opportunities arose.

The actual round only lasted about 30 minutes, so afterward we headed over to Barnes and Noble to do a little "window shopping". By the way, I am not so sure that my son hasn't read more books than me which is saying alot since I am an avid reader when I let myself. :)

On the way home, my son told me (no prompting) "Thank you for taking me!" He kept telling me what an "awesome" time he had had. It was very sweet.

And all I can think is, "No, Son, thank you for a night of memories!"


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Judge Not... Part I

If you have read or listened to the news at all in the last couple of weeks, there was a story recently about a single woman who had adopted a young boy from an orphanage in Russia last year. Apparently life with this child was a bit more than she had anticipated; she finally put him on an airplane with a note pinned to him saying she could not be his mother anymore.

I am guessing that the first time you read this story, you looked similar to me. My mouth was hung open in awe and shock. Can you just put a 7 year old on a plane to another country like that? Did she really do that? What was she thinking?

Since that story broke, the adoption boards I read (yes, I still read them) have been full of comments, opinions, but most of all, judgments. Very few have been in support of this lady. Many have accused her of treating the little boy like he was a dog or just easily discarded. If it were a jury trial, the mother would have been tried and convicted at this point.

You might think, being the mother of two adopted children myself, that I am ready to join the bashing bandwagon.

Think again.

First of all, I don't feel like I have enough information to judge anyone (as if it is my place TO judge). I know what the media has presented, but I have been around long enough now to know that the media, no matter how hard they try not to, can and will be biased in what and how it presents the "facts" of a story. The media gives part of the story. Ask anyone who has been interviewed for a news story. They will talk and talk to the reporter then only see a few things they actually said reported, and that is out of context more often than not. I am not saying I have no use for the media. I do. I read the paper nearly daily and often browse the news online. I just have learned to take what I read with a grain of salt!

Second of all, like some others I have read, I am not going to say there is one person at fault here. So many factors were in play, from the parents who were alcoholics, the orphanage workers who didn't disclose difficult behavior issues, the adoption system that encourages us to adopt but doesn't truly train is in how to handle adoption and the children we bring home, the agencies eager to take money for adoptions who do not follow up with post adoption advice, consultations, etc., our society that doesn't support adoptions or behavior issues...I believe we would have to line up several people if we were going to start playing the blame game.

I am going to take a guess about this lady. I don't know her. I don't know her thoughts. I can only guess by my own experiences and what I have read in the paper. She decides she wants to be a mother. She will be a single mother but will have support through family. She adopts a child, a little boy. She thinks, like we all do, that love will conquer all. If you love your child, he/she will feel loved and act loved. However, there is a reality. Children coming from a background that this little boy likely came from, have some issues, whether they are the kind that are out there in the open or under the surface. Most children who have been relinquished or taken away from a parent will suffer some trauma. It is invariable. Life in an orphanage, no matter how "nice" or "good" it is, is still life in an orphanage. It is an institution. There is not one set caregiver, but several around the clock. It is so hard to establish any kind of relationship or bond when your caregivers change every few hours. Suddenly this little boy is on a plane to live in a foreign land where a foreign language is spoken. Quite possibly, there was a honeymoon period. The young boy was in shock or trying to be good for his new mother. Unfortunately there was that dam of emotions from the many traumas of his life...and eventually the dam just breaks. New Mom is trying her best to keep him on track. However, the more she tries to establish that relationship, the more difficult he becomes. And unfortunately, in the midst of those moments (which I will not judge since I have been there in some senses of the word) this momma did NOT think clearly. She just knew something had to give. So she wrote a note, bought a plane ticket, and sent him away.

It is so easy to condemn someone, especially if you have not been in their shoes. Am I saying what she did was right? Would I have done the same thing? I would like to think not. I would hope not. But I was not in her shoes.

Adoption under the best circumstances is a transition no matter how you slice it. It is a major life changing event for both you and your child. Throw in some other factors, such as a very traumatized little boy, and the story becomes more complex. What looks like a clear picture suddenly becomes very murky.

I have more to say but will save it for another day (maybe later), another part. Right now, I have to go face the day.

More later,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sorry, Charlie

Even as I type that, I can hear child 4 saying, "I not Charlie, I _____!" :)

Sorry I am doing a brief check in. Yesterday when we got home, I tried to catch up on the kids' schoolwork (they always have a bunch on Mondays...signing papers, filling out permission slips, writing checks, etc). During that I discovered I needed to monitor a baseball game going on in the backyard. So I headed out there. Shortly afterward I had to clean myself up to attend an educational banquet. You would think since I am a teacher, I would be the reason for going. Nope, it was for Mark. He is involved in something called PIE which means Partners in Education. They connect businesses to schools. By the time we got home late, we had to get the kids down for the night. Then it was time to work on sub plans because I will be out of the room all day. And now here I am. Time to get up and go to presentations all day.

I wish I could say the rest of the week will be better, but right now I am not so sure. It is such a busy time of year.

One neat story though. The educational banquet we were at honored high school students with all A's. Two of the students were former kindergarten students of mine once upon a time. I walked over to one of them, a senior, after it was all over. He smiled and gave me a hug. I did feel old...he is taller than me and graduating this year. Then I saw his parents and caught up with them. It was just neat to see especially after my last post. I cannot say he was on that stage because of me. I told his parents I am pretty sure he would have learned with or without me...he was and is a smart kid. But I am so privileged I was a part of it!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Teacher's Heart

I have been teaching for (pausing to count on my fingers) 17 years now. I know, I know, it is hard to believe since I look so very young. :) I did start a little on the young side since I graduated a bit earlier than most do. That is about all we need to say about that.

My first four years I taught in private schools, two years in Stuttgart, two in Sherwood, which is on the outskirts of Little Rock. I taught multi-age groups in the first couple of years, then first grade the next two. Since then I have taught kindergarten here. In fact, my first kindergarten class here is graduating this year.

I love what I do...most of the time. There are some parts of my job (like testing and paperwork) that I don't enjoy quite as much as the other parts (like teaching, watching children master new skills). This time of year is a little more challenging; the kids start getting spring fever. However, when people ask me how much longer we have until summer, I just shrug. I really have no idea. I don't really count down, I am usually surprised when it gets here.

I have been thinking alot about my students. I don't think a lot of my students will remember me much. After all, kindergarten is a long way away from adulthood. Think about how much changes in that time. I remember almost all of my teachers except for kindergarten (I do remember having multiple teachers and it was half day which probably doesn't help). My former students now first graders still wave wildly when I pass by. The fifth graders I once taught sometimes don't acknowledge me in the hallway. It makes me sad sometimes but it is just the way of life.

Though they don't remember me, I would say I remember most of my students. Some from my first few years are a little fuzzy, but otherwise, I remember most of them. And I wonder often how they are doing. I find myself scanning the newspaper, especially the sports section, to see if I recognize any names. Our local high school has a television station I occasionally watch to see if I recognize anyone. I have a few former students who have asked me to be their "friends" on Facebook, so I get to watch them as they finish up their school career. However, there are so many other students I have a feeling I will never truly know where they end up in life.

Whether I know or not, I do wish my students the best in life. I hope that something, anything I did might have helped them in their lives, somehow. Who knows, maybe, just maybe I taught them something along the way.

I do know that they teach me. They teach me daily. They teach me how to be a better teacher. They challenge me to meet their educational needs in a new and different way each year, that each of them is very different. They encourage me with their sweet words and adoration even on days I don't deserve it (those occasional grumpy days :). They show me that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can and will learn when given the right tools.

What I hope they take away from my classroom above anything else, even the skills of reading and writing, is that they are worth something in this world, that it is their responsibility and privilege to make our world a better place, and that even when I am not there, they have a teacher cheering for them in life and celebrating their successes as well as suffering through their disappointments.

Words from one teacher's heart...


Friday, April 16, 2010

More "Lasts"

Not long ago I wrote an entry about the lasts that we often don't realize are the last until it is over, like the last time you will rock your child to sleep. They were all kid related. This week while I was testing (or giving tests), I had a lot of time to pace and think. I started thinking of the lasts in my own life that have happened, usually without me realizing the significance of them...

Things like...
  • the last time I would do a cartwheel and still be able to walk the next day
  • the last time I would go to the dentist and hear the words "No cavities..."
  • the last time all of my bills would be paid by someone else (namely...the parents)
  • the last time I would hear my grandfather's voice (either of them)
  • the last time I would go on a terrible date and wonder what on earth I was doing there (that happened a lot in my younger years)
  • the last time I would get out of bed without groaning or moaning
  • the last time I would weigh in the two digits
  • the last time life seemed normal (that was September 10, 2001...I remember where I was and how I felt)
  • the last time I would get to drive just a little old car...not the big 'ol minivan
  • the last time I could take naps anytime I wanted (often after school)
  • the last time I would use a VCR
  • the last time I would feel those little kicks from a baby in my stomach (aka pregnancy)
  • the last time I would actually dial a phone with the circle dial
  • the last time I would eat a whole candy bar without any worries about fat or size
  • the last time I could feel the top of my foot
  • the last time (if ever) I had a load of laundry come from the dryer with ALL of the socks
  • the last time I would sit at a computer desk rather than recline in a chair or my bed to type
  • the last time I got out of school in May
  • the last time I would actually develop a "roll of film"
  • the last time I would throw a plastic bottle or a newspaper away without guilt (Now, I just cannot do it...)
  • the last time my whole extended family would get together for Christmas...cousins, uncles, aunts
  • the last time I would set the table for four rather than six
  • the last time my heart would feel strong and determined, rather than weak and scared...that was right before I had kids I think!
I could go on and on, and may do that another time. So, what are some of the "lasts" that stick out in your mind?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Signs that Spring has Sprung

Yes, two posts in one day. Who knew?

There are signs everywhere that spring has sprung in NWA...

Blooms (and pollen) everywhere...
Bright colors coming to life...
The vivid green hues that take my breath away (either from beauty or from allergies...take your pick)

But there are other ways that I know spring has sprung. I will bullet them for you, just because I am in a bullet kind of mood. :)

  • I wake up to birds singing outside my window. Sometimes really loudly.
  • Speaking of birds, our family birds that make SUCH a huge mess on our front porch have returned. (They nest right above our front door)
  • I am going to bed without socks.
  • The kids are begging to go swimming, wear shorts, make snow cones, your choice.
  • Spring testing at school.
  • Sweaty little children coming in from recess
  • Water gun fights in the backyard
  • Complaints of how "hot" it is
  • Fruit is filling up our fridge, especially cut up watermelon
  • Dinners of soups and chili have been replaced with grilled burgers and such. I do miss baked potato soup this time of year.
  • I sometimes sleep with one foot in, one foot out (of the covers)
  • The ceiling fans are going full speed. Of course, they are covered with dust which means we are all a bit sneezy
  • That familiar yellow layer of pollen on the car
  • Swollen eyes and stopped up noses
  • The switching of the seasonal clothes
  • The kids are begging to wear flip flops to school. (Um, no)
  • Shaving my legs more often (at least my calves since I wear capris)
  • That "nesting" feeling, the need to spring clean out our lives
  • Kids are taking showers every single more skipping them
  • My electric blanket is tucked under the bed (one less cord to trip on :)
  • No more jackets hang off my chair waiting for me in the morning
  • It is harder to wake up since it is still "dark" outside.
  • It is harder to trick the kids into going to bed earlier since it is light so late
  • Our first round of family birthdays begins (all are in spring/summer except for our firstborn's)
  • The calendar boxes are filling up with end of the school year activities
  • My heart feels renewed, like it is waking up after a long, dreary winter

I could go on and on but better stop. I have more testing to do today.

So, what your not so obvious signs that spring has sprung?


Monday, April 12, 2010

Chipping Away

I must head to bed. I must. But I wanted to slip just a short little entry in.

This is such a busy time of year. We go constantly. And we don't even have any major sports going on right now (which is fine with me).

This week, the two big kids are taking the big state for four days, the other for five. And I am needed to help administer that test (not to my own kids of course, but rather to a small group). So my evenings are filled with typing up lesson plans for whoever is in charge of my class and getting caught up from the day since my planning periods are a lot shorter (and used for eating). It is an adjustment, but we are flexible.

Throw in housework, a never ending laundry pile, kids, time outside, meals, our son's upcoming birthday, Swim Ranch forms, switching out clothes for the kids (to spring/summer), taxes (filed and accepted...woohoo!), etc...well, life is just busy. I am sure you have your own list.

All that to say, I am behind on commenting on blogs. I will get caught up. I will. I try to comment. I hope to encourage. I want you to know I read. But I am behind.

I am also behind on exercising. But that is a story for another day.

On a more positive note, I have been in a "nesting" stage which is funny considering I am not adding any children to our family. I think it is just that "spring cleaning fever". And despite all of the craziness going on, I am getting some things accomplished. I took down our trampoline (by myself) because it was never going to be the same again after flying over the fence during a storm. (Now I need to find a new!) I sent Mark to a garage sale with several trash bags full of items we did not need anymore. It was a garage sale for a local high school and well worth it to me to "donate". I have been working up in the attic, organizing boxes and cleaning out what we do not need anymore. I have been working in the toyroom, slowly cleaning out trash and unneeded items. Every time I go through the garage, I try to clean out something, anything. I have been cleaning up the backyard. I have a trashbag going for broken toys that did not survive the winter. I am suddenly realizing why I am so very tired. That and the fact that it is 12:30 and I am still awake typing this.

Okay, I really am going. Sorry for a Seinfeld post...a lot about nothing. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

If, Then...

I am a big believer in natural consequences for my kids. It isn't our only method of discipline or "child rearing" but it is a big part. The funny thing is that often they don't even realize that it is a consequence. Ask them how they are punished or what happens if they are in trouble, they might say "time out" or "grounded". Those stand out to them. They don't realize how much of their lives have been spent dealing with natural consequences or some variation. :)

Sometimes you can't use natural consequences (like you didn't wear your jacket after I told you to, you might be cold...), so we have to rely on logical consequences. One thing I often say is "If you do this (fill in the blank), then this will happen (fill in the blank)." And with our son acting very 3 (pushing every boundary we have), I am using that more and more. By the way, even if he doesn't like my logic, he perfectly understands what I mean and what will happen. Just yesterday at the park, he kept trying to climb up the slide. Unfortunately, I think they do that at his school, which means we have to undo it in kindergarten. :) But with me, my rule is "we go DOWN the slide, not up". I again stated that he was not to go up the slide. (Just to clarify, I am not trying to be silly or is a legitimate safety issue when other kids come down the slide. I have seen what can isn't pretty :) Anyway, my child persisted. That is his mood recently, at least at home. I haven't had complaints at school yet. He wants to do what he wants to do. I don't want him to sound like a monster. All of our other kids went through this too at this age. There is just an awareness that he does have some control in his life he hasn't realized before. Unfortunately he is going to learn sooner or later that with control comes some consequences. Anyway, I just picked him up, and I moved him back to the ground and reminded him of the rules. After about the third time, I used my statement. "If you go up the slide again, then you will have to sit with me on the bench." Guess what he did? He looked at me, squared that jaw, and climbed back on the slide. I just picked him up and carried him, kicking and screaming, to the bench. A funny sidenote...when I asked him to tell my mom about visiting the park, he actually shared that part with her! So maybe, just maybe, it is starting to sink in that I mean business. :)

All that to say, I have been thinking of some other "if, then" statements...not just for the toddler but for all of my kids. These are the ones that are not said, but are implied or are inevitable...

  • If you break my rule and I have to carry you to the bench, then everyone is going to stare as I try to hold onto this screaming, wiggling kid.
  • If I ground you, then I will have to deal with more of your attitude than before.
  • If I ground you from a fun event, I may have to stay home from the same fun event too...just as much of a punishment for me than for you.
  • If I tell you that you cannot get up from the table until you have eaten at least half of the banana you insisted you needed for lunch, then I better clear my schedule for the afternoon and be prepared to wait you out.
  • If I tell you we will leave the restaurant if you cannot change your attitude, I better be ready to walk out the door hungry.
  • If I tell you that you will have to hold my hand if you cannot stay near us, then I better be ready to hold your hand everywhere, no matter how hot or how tired I am!
  • If I say I am going to take you to school in your pajamas if you don't get dressed in time (thankfully this hasn't happened yet...), then I will likely be the talk of the teacher's lounge. :)
  • If I send you to bed early, I better be prepared for a lot of crying and screaming (on your end, not mine :).
  • If I ban you from playing outdoors, I better be ready for you to be underfoot the next few days.
  • If I ground you from playing outside, I better be prepared for the pitiful looks of your friends who stop by to ask you to play.
  • If I give you a consequence, I need to remember to tell Daddy or you might just "forget" least until your sibling tattles on you. Oh, and they will.
  • If I take away electronic privileges, I better be ready to outline in detail what that means.

I could go on and on, but for your sake (and mine since I have to get up early tomorrow), I won't. All that to say, parenting is no easy task. And managing behavior is no easy task either. Oftentimes, discipline or consequences are just as hard on us as they are on the kids...if not harder. But we do it anyway, hoping that we are showing our kids the difference between right and wrong, showing them that our behaviors have consequences, and expressing that life has boundaries, whether we like it or not.

And oftentimes we don't (like it), even as adults.

But that is life.



Friday, April 9, 2010

Challenges Galore

I have less than five minutes to write an entry which you know is near impossible for me.

I will just say that right now, life is a tad bit challenging.

The two year old almost three year old child has suddenly become a bit of a challenge. He has found a temper that he hasn't really had, and suddenly is pushing every boundary I set. We are back to "no" being the favorite word...his, not mine. :) I honestly just stare in disbelief at the meltdowns (which apparently he saves for us at the end of the day), wondering why??? He is such a sweet boy, or can be. I keep thinking, "This too will pass...this too will pass."

Then there is the pre-teen who seems to think he knows more than I do, the eight year old who reports on everything her siblings do, and I mean everything! And the five year old who...well, is a bit challenging at times for various reasons.

I will be honest. A few days this week, I put my forehead in my hands and wondered, "Why? Why am I doing this?"

Still wondering that sometimes.


More later.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Foolin'

What is the one day that strikes dread into the heart of an educator? April Fool's. You pray every year that it will be on the weekend. No luck this year. It was here in all of its glory. As a teacher in kindergarten, most April Fool's you hear are things like "There is a snake on your head..." or "There is a bear behind you..." It is bad enough that I have kids at home just waiting to strike with the bad jokes, but then to go to school and face it...almost unbearable. :) However, the joke was on me. Not ONE kiddo in my class mentioned it was April Fool's. Had the principal deadpan a few things but that was about it!

On another "not fooling" note, just call us the not so young and the injured. My foot has still not healed. No, I am sure it has NOTHING to do with me hiking last weekend. :) I have been wearing an ankle brace on it which doesn't quite cover the sore part but at least holds it still and in position when I walk. It isn't the kind of pain I cannot bear, though I would sure prefer not to!

However, Mark apparently was envious of all of the attention I was receiving (not really) and decided in true male competitive spirit to outdo me. Last night I ran some much needed errands. I then came home so that Mark could go to the gym for a pick up game of basketball. He left right around 8. At 8:30, I heard the garage door go up. I was so puzzled. I really figured the game had fallen through. Hunter, much wiser than me, said, "Oh, no, I bet he got hurt..." And sure enough he had. About seven or eight years ago, Mark had "blown out" his knee in a flag football game. I still remember trying to take a nap on a weekend when the phone rang. I didn't even answer the first few times it rang because I was trying to sleep. Finally I picked up to hear that some friends were en route to the ER with Mark. About six months later, he felt like he had healed enough and attempted a game of basketball. However, there is something about that basketball jump, he tweaked it again. And last night? He hadn't even started playing the game. He was warming up. Yes, warming up. He did a similar jump to the one years ago and got the same result.

As of right now, it is very swollen. And he is very uncomfortable. He is trying to sleep but keeps moving around. He didn't even go out to work today; he worked from home in a seated position. That tells you how bad it must hurt because he NEVER does that.

Thankfully one of the parents of one of my students had offered me crutches a couple weeks ago with my foot (which I probably should have done...probably still should). I saw her today at the school and asked if we could use them for Mark. Thank you, Stacey, for sharing! My favorite part? When she had used them after surgery, she had wrapped some towel around them for cushion (the part that goes under the arm) and then wrapped a piece of fabric around that...zebra print. I thought for sure that Mark would take it off immediately but so far he thinks it is kind of cool. We will see how he feels about that when he goes OUT to work tomorrow...

We are quite a sight. He was reclining but wanted to eat. I hobbled over warm up his dinner and then limped over to him to give him his food. The joys of it all...

More later,
PS The biggest/longest joke played on me this year? A few weeks ago, my mom started spotting a sparkly stud on her nose. I asked her if she got it pierced for real and she was very vague. The funny thing is that it truly wouldn't surprise me if she had. Anyway, for the next few weeks, she has had it. My daughter has asked her all kinds of questions about how it feels, how you change it, etc. I found out today via Facebook that it was her April Fool's Joke on me. It really isn't pierced. And the bigger joke? The big kids were in on it...our daughter has been faking her questions/curiosity all along! I don't know if I should be impressed or worry that she can pull that off...