Monday, August 30, 2010

My Baby Handbooks

I need information. Info calms me and helps me plan a path forward. I need it for everything - including raising kids and babies.

So, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite baby books that have been our "how to" books when we have been clueless. (We still refer to them every time we have a baby.)

Sleep Issues - Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child by Marc Weissbluth
- Solving your Child's Sleep Problems by Ferber (use the sleep tracking chart in this)
Breastfeeding - The Nursing Mother's Companion
Baby Sign - just looked up info on the Internet, checked out books from the library
- LOVE doing baby sign, highly recommend it. We start around 10 mos. old.
Calming Crying Baby - The Happiest Baby on the Block.

Another valuable source is other parents. I love hearing what works for others to see if it would work for me. I would love to hear what books or things have helped you with your babes!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Letting Them Fly

I am nearing the end of this twin pregnancy - YEAH! Along with that, I can no longer walk far, or stand for very long. This also means I can't cook.

DDs love a cooked breakfast - thanks to DH. (I prefer cold cereal.) But he has been so busy at work that he leaves before they get up.

The other day DD1 decided she wanted to try to cook waffles - FROM SCRATCH, using a recipe, and doubling the recipe to boot. Keep in mind there was no formal training in any of this.
She was so confident she could do it that I decided, "Why not? If she messes up, I am only out a couple cups of flour and eggs. She knows how to clean up, so why not let her try?"

Guess what, they were delicious. She had even made extras and knew how to freeze them. She had picked up enough skills from other things like helping make bread that she had figured out how to follow a recipe and properly measure things.

When I again "got out of the way and got over the mess" she was able to stretch her wings and fly. I am excited for her to start cooking more!!
*Other things DD1 can cook: Noodles, Mac & Cheese, Sandwiches, Eggs both on the stove and in the microwave, quesadillas, and can reheat leftovers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Out of My Own Way

There are times when I have to step away from things, just so they can move forward. I (and others I love) describe me as "assertive". I think of it more as I can be, at times, competitive, driven, outspoken, hard headed, etc. :)

Like most things in life, these qualities can be wonderful in the right situation, or damaging in others. Over the years I have worked on tempering myself, knowing when to back out, or to use these qualities to my advantage.

When it comes to my kiddos, there are times where I am capable of doing things myself. However, because of personality conflicts, it is better to pay someone else to do something, so that the child can grow in that area. Also, I want to make sure that my relationship with that child isn't damaged.

Yes, even right now, I am paying a hefty sum for DD1 to do a tutoring program. Even though I am a teacher by training, it was time to take myself out of the equation so that she could progress. There are times when I just need to get out of my own way- and my kiddo's too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You Make the Mess - You Clean It Up

We play a game called, "You make the mess, you clean it up." This is awesome because EVERYONE (parents included) is in charge of cleaning up after themselves. It makes so much less work for the parents.

Example from today: DD2 had eaten lunch and wanted to go play.

Me: Did you bring your dishes over?
DD: Yes.
Me: Did you put them in the Dishwasher?
DD: No, but it won't be that much more for dad to do tonight.
Me: Is it your mess?
DD: Yes (with a bit of a whine mixed in)
Me: Then who should clean it up?

That was the end of the conversation. She went back and put her dishes in the dishwasher.

Now there are many times where we have to help each other. For this I hear, "But that's not my mess!!" True, but we are in a family and there are times we need to help each other. During one of these comebacks from the kids, I remind them of a time where that particular family member helped them. If that doesn't work, then I threaten to stop helping them in some way like cooking their dinner, paying for lessons, or driving them somewhere. That stops the whine sessions pretty fast.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sleepover vs. Stay Late

We have struggled with we allow them? If so, what age? With whom? How late are they allowed to stay on Sat.? Will they be safe? If you say yes to one, how can you say no to another with out offending? etc., etc. It is also hard when is seems "everyone else is doing it" and your kids are begging you for it. Plus they can be a lot of fun.

The decision is also hard because so many children are sexually abused at sleepovers. Our neighbor worked at a place for sexually abused children and said there is NO WAY she will ever let her child do a sleepover. She said most children are sexually abused by friends, relatives, or friends of those groups. Another friend said that in his religious area 1 in 3 kids were being sexually abused at sleepovers. SCARY!!

So what have we decided to do instead? Stay Lates. Our kids are allowed to stay at a friends house later than usual - even later than the normal bedtime. We pick them up around 9:30-10:00 pm. This gives them enough time to watch a movie and goof around. It also eliminates the who do you say yes and no to?

Is it awkward to have this rule? Yes, sometimes. But I would much rather have some awkwardness than my child hurt in that way. For now this seems to be working well and the kiddos like it. Who knows, maybe we'll start a new trend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Laugh

Sunday, brought on another parenting incident with DH that made us laugh hard. We were playing UNO and DD3 insisted on messing up the card piles. After two warnings it was off to time out for her. DH had to put her there since I couldn't.

This is how I run time outs:
1. They stay there one minute for each year they are. In this case 3. You also tell them why they are there, e.g. "It isn't appropriate to mess up the cards while people are playing. That is why you are in time out."
2. When the time is up you ask, "Why are you in time out?" They must answer.
3. You say, "That's right, you are in time out because you messed up the cards. That is inappropriate."
4. This is the biggie. You tell them what they CAN do instead. For instance, "If you want to play cards, you can ask daddy if you can play with him." or something like that. So important that the sentence include the word CAN.
5. They apologize to the offended party.

So back to DD3. I had to help coach DH through these steps because it has been so long since he has done a full blown time out. He did steps 1-3 pretty well, then when I told him about step four he couldn't think of an alternative so he said, "Next time don't mess up the cards. Now go apologize to mom."

DDs 1, 2, and I erupted in laughter. Even the DDs could see the mistake he made in step 4 and thought it was hilarious. DH was laughing and said, "I couldn't think of anything."

It is becoming more clear to me that our roles are becoming very specialized. I am starting to think more seriously about this Daddy Training Camp for him....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Man

DH dancing with DD3

Lately, I have been more grateful than before for the things my man does and who he is. Maybe it is all the changes we are going through right now. Whatever it is, I am loving it.

It has been really fun to see him blossom in his career and become the boss-man. It gives me a sense of security that he is taking care of us. What woman doesn't love that? Also, I know of times where other women he has worked with have eyed him, and it is fun to think, "Ha, ha! Hands off ladies. He's mine."

With the mice fiasco, he totally took charge shooing mice out of the window and setting traps. (There was NO WAY I was even opening that window.) I said that he was a super hero because he killed Mighty Mouse - the girls got a kick out of that. He was even so manly to take care of the dead ones. He wasn't even phased. AMAZING.

Last night we went on a date. I suggested that we get pedicures, and even referred to other men (his friends) that had done it, but no way was he even going to do it. Not even a manicure. I thought it was cute and man-like that he didn't want to do it - even with some pressure from me. I like it when he pushes back sometimes. He is a confident man. He instead, wanted to go shopping for the baby things we needed. I guess him WANTING to go shopping is pretty good too.

With our finances he has done some "power moves" lately with investments. Things I would never have thought of, and quite frankly don't totally understand. But he figured them out and has this detailed plan on how they will work out and help us. My mind does not work that way and I am very grateful his does.

On the soft side, he comes home and fixes dinner, gets the girls in bed, does the dishes, picks up etc. because he wants to take care of me and these babies. He does all of this while still trying to do the other stuff like home maintenance,mowing the lawn, and church responsibilities. He amazes me with how hard he can work - he gets that from his parents.

I feel really blessed to have him on this journey we call life and feel very safe in his hands. I hope our girls marry men just like him.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

mouse in the house

So the update on the mice...they made it into the house. They ate all my poison and are still alive! I think we are dealing with Mighty Mouse here. Next step, traps. But DH has to be over this phase. I cannot handle this right now...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

God Send

For many years now I have eyed the powered grocery carts at the store. But you look pretty stupid driving one when you don't need it. Well, I have reached the point of needing one (buying mice poison) and today I finally used one. It has become difficult for me to walk longer than a few minutes and the grocery store was out of the picture for me until now.

I'll tell you what those carts handle like a dream! The turning radius is so small, three point turns are a breeze, and it is easy to maneuver. The girls were very good around it as well. (Remember the "follow me like a duck" command?) It was also great because they liked putting things in the basket and it is lower so it is easier for them to unload the cart. I also liked that I was at their level so it was easier for me to talk with them. They LOVED it and were much better helpers.

I especially love it because I feel like I can help out with the groceries again. Thank goodness for modern technologies!

twins,and three, and....MICE! OH MY!!!

Today one of my worst nightmares became a reality. We got mice. Luckily/Hopefully they haven't infiltrated the house yet, but they chewed through our window screen and are trying their darnedest to get in. They are crawling around the outside of the window looking for a hole. Just what I need right now...

Why are they here? Well all the DDs left open/spilled candy in the basement yesterday. They promised they would clean it up, yeah right. One of the worst things is that our food storage is also in the basement - that is a mouse's dream come true- and tons of wasted food for us.

Let's pull this into a life skill. Why not? It has taught the girls WHY we don't like them eating food in the basement. It has taught me that even though I am exhausted, it is important not to slack on certain rules. (Can't a mom ever take a break?)

What now? I can't call DH - way too much going on at work to worry about this. I have to handle it on my own. We (DDs and I) went to the grocery store, and bought poison. I suited up with gloves and a face mask and dumped the poison in the sill. Now the mice are eating it and hopefully soon will be no more....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Life Skillz - Recruiting Help

Part of Life Skillz is recruiting other people to help train your children. I love this because my girls learn skillz from other people who are better at a skill than I am. They also listen better because it isn't coming from dear-old-mom.
Last week, a friend of mine and I hosted Life Skillz training for about 12 girls in our church ages 8-11. The topics were hair (taught by my hair stylist), fashion (taught by a very fashionable art teacher), and nutrition (by a high school athlete).

It was a smashing hit in my estimation! The girls learned a lot of great skills and had fun doing it in groups. I am happy to report that my girls are coordinating outfits better, are FINALLY using product on their hair, and are much more conscious of the sugar they eat. LOVIN' THE SKILLZ! It is also so nice to be able to remind them of the info they learned from other people. Since the info didn't come from me it seems less like nagging. Hooray for that!
If you want more details of what was taught and how it was run, let me know. I would love to share them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For Maggie

My very dear friend Maggie has been encouraging me to take pics of my preggo belly. She is right that I will want to document it (even though I will want to forget about it for a while.) So this post is for you Mags, me last week (31 weeks) with my brother-in-law PJ. I also included a pic of PJ and me when I was preggo with DD1 ten years ago. Funny, he's trimmed down, and now I am bigger!


Sunday, August 1, 2010


Yesterday, the last day of the month, DH and I did our financial reconcile. Not the most exciting thing to do, but it is very rewarding. I take care of the day-to-day budgeting (which we both agree is the most important and hardest) and he keeps the big picture together.

I LOVE when he pulls up our savings, investments, debts paid, etc., and then we look at our timeline for paying off certain debts. I can see how our frugality is paying off. We are getting closer to our goals and feel really great about what we have been able to do so far. It is slow, but steady and eventually we will get there.

I also LOVE when he says, "You're doing a good job Babe." That is so much better than, "Where have you been spending this much money?!" Love it!