Monday, December 21, 2009

The Love Question

After writing that last post...I got to thinking about how much love my kids really do show me. No inhibitions. From Sam spontaneously busting out with, "I love you so much, Mommy!" to Charly squeezing me so tight because she's brimming with emotion. And we all know that Felix has no inhibitions in cuddling and demanding to be cuddled.

So then I started thinking, "I'm sure I was like that when I was a kid...what happened to me?" Is this an inevitability everyone goes through? As an adult, are we taught to not love as much or show that love? Does school and the cold, hard world make us shrink back into our shells, become calculating and cynical? Put up masks, play games?

I have no idea. All I know is that I hope I'm not a huge contributor to the un-lovingness of my children. I hope I don't teach them to un-love.

I don't have much control over what happens to my kids "out there," a terrifying idea in and of itself, but hopefully I can help Sam deal with situations like, "She doesn't want to be my friend anymore," and "A boy kicked me at recess." It makes me sad that these things happen. Where's the line of teaching kids to survive "out there" and still being emotionally available?

Because the last thing I want to do is to send them out on their own emotionally stunted, having to learn how to love all over again, the hard I did, or wondering whether you really knew how to truly love in the first place.

I guess the best I can do it to create and emotionally safe environment, where it's okay to experience all emotions, it's what you do with them that's important. Teaching skills, rather than controlling emotions...

Monday, December 14, 2009

What Kind are You?

Sometimes I think about what kind of mother I am. Here are some things that I came up with:

I'm not terribly worried about germs. Crawling around on store floors doesn't bother me *too much.*

I would rather my kids entertain themselves and make a mess, rather than me following me around all day saying, "No." I draw the line at breaking things or hurting themselves, but other than that...

I like to make crafts with my kids.

I like to sing to them.

I constantly think, "I couldn't possibly handle any more kids right now."

I'm easily overwhelmed by them on outings.

I think my kids are super cute and hilarious.

I'm not terribly concerned about stains on my children's clothes.

Sometimes I like to dance around and be silly with my kids, but not as much as I'd like to.

I've loosened up a lot since first becoming a parent.

I'm glad Jon has more patience than I do when he comes home from work.

Sometimes I yell at my kids.

But I also say, "I'm sorry."

And that's something.

As much as I love them, I find my kids incredibly frustrating. I remember hearing somewhere that your kids will only throw fits if they're comfortable with their safety. Well, that's something too. My kids must feel incredibly safe, because they throw fits all.the.time.

Mostly, what I want my kids to know is that I'm a mother who loves them; who's imperfect, but willing to apologize; who loves them so much I insist on giving them boundaries and teaching them how to work; who really listens to them and doesn't poo-poo their fears and worries; who doesn't get them everything they want; who teaches them to be generous and forgiving to others; a mom who talks about Jesus and teaches them the peace and comfort that comes from following Him.

I fall short on so many of these so often, but my children are teaching me to become a better person, and in turn, I'm hopefully giving them tools to have a successful life. I'm not making them perfect, I'm not making them into anything, actually, they already are who they are. With that in mind, I hope to teach them how to deal with their specific weaknesses and strengths, how to say sorry, how to deal with heartbreak, no matter how small.

It's all about love. My kids have no trouble showering me with love. I hope someday to learn how to do the same.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I once heard, the more senses you involve in a memory, the stronger it is. This can only mean that food must be involved. Think about it, many of my nostalgic warm and fuzzy memories include food.

I'm trying to figure out some fun family traditions we can call our own. Here's what we've been doing so far.

Every Monday, after family night, we decided to have smoothies instead of treats. My girls get so excited about their "smoothie drink" and know it's something special we do just on Monday nights. (It also helps me not to eat the leftover treats all week long, only to make more every Monday.)

Usually Sunday after church meals include a lot of scrounging and/or waffles for lunch. On Fast Sundays, I try to make a nicer meal that includes inviting some friends over to share pie for dessert.

What are some of your unique traditions?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hold Me!

Charly constantly wants to be held. And although Felix can't talk yet, I can tell he wants it too. Even though Sam hated being held as a baby, she's extremely cuddly now and also wants to snuggle. Three children, two arms, one lap. Sometimes things get a little crazy when they're all asking, but most of the time, it's just one at a time. And it's usually Charly.

Sometimes it's incredibly inconvenient to hold a when you're at the computer and they can't keep their patty-fingers off the keyboard. But I've decided that on my quest to become a better mother, with a better mother heart, I won't say, "No," if I can absolutely help it.

Although, yesterday I had to say no to Charly because I was holding Felix while his blood was being drawn. Sorry sweetie, can't do it. I know she was looking for comfort as she watched her brother get poked and prodded, but she was just going to have to deal with it herself, and she did.

I just keep thinking, "How long are they going to ask me to hold them?" I'm pretty sure the days are numbered...

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The LDS church sure knows how to make an inspiring video clip.

I especially liked "Choose This Day."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Social Situations

I'm not very old or wise, but I've been around long enough to know that I'm still fairly self-conscious in social situations, specifically: large groups. I hate them. I feel like I'm 15 years old all over again. I don't hate the people in them, I hate feeling overwhelmed by how many people there are to talk to and end up talking to none of them. Easy to do when you're constantly scanning the crowd counting, 1-2-3. Okay, all the kids are accounted for.

But, I'm starting to realize that most everybody else also feels self-conscious too. After thinking about it, I've decided the only way to make these situations tolerable, is for me to focus on making someone else comfortable. Then, and only then, do I have a good time.

Sounds good. If only I could remember this during the actual party, and not after.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Games in Church?

Sacrament meeting is a hard time for wiggly bodies. Once upon a time, that wiggly body belonged to Sammy Jo, now it belongs to Charly (and Felix, but I digress.)

I started playing a simple little game with Sam a few years ago that distracts them and isn't way over their heads.

I hold aforementioned wiggly body and we say, "Jesus loves __________." And we fill in all the blanks, starting with immediate family, then extended family, then on to our friends.

It's great! They learn, and it's a great reminder for me too. It's also a good way for them to get familiar with the names of their uncles, aunts and cousins, since we've never lived close by.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ponder and change

Sometimes I hear something that makes me think something that makes me think something else, that makes me realize I need to make some changes.

A few nights ago during scripture study I read this by James E. Talmage in response to "Let all men beware how they take my name in their lips":

"1. We may take the name of God in vain by profane speech.
2. We take it in vain when we swear falsely, not being true to our oaths and promises.
3. We take it in vain in a blasphemous sense when we presume to speak in that name without authority.
4. And we take his name in vain whenever we wilfully do aught that is in defiance of his commandments, since we have taken his name upon ourselves."
[emphasis added] (Quoted in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual p135).

So any time we sin, we're profaning the name of God. Any time I raise my voice at my kids and/or am aggressive towards them in any way, that is a sin. Therefore, not only am I accountable for the sin itself, but also for profaning the name of my Heavenly Father.

Ummm....I better work on that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Charts, I Say!

Now that Sam has started school, it seems that our lives are now ruled by dots, little squares, and pieces of tape.

Sam has a behavior chart at school, and boy is she into it! Every day each child gets a colored dot depending on how well they behaved: BLUE - outstanding, GREEN - good, YELLOW - warning, and the dreaded RED dot - unacceptable.

Sam got all blue dots in August and could tell you exactly how many she had. She has only gotten one green dot to date. The day of the green dot she said, "Mom, I got a green dot today...but that's okay. That's okay, Mom." Yeah, some days are green dot days. In fact, I'm having one myself.

If you get all blue dots one week, you are part of the "A Club" and get to visit the treasure box. Hooray! More small junky toys at our house!

Since this system is working so well for her at school, I decided to start some charts here at home. We have a responsibility chart and a chore chart. I don't worry about the behavior part. I'm more concerned about consistently teaching my children how to work; something I've neglected up 'til now. Not to mention the fact that I've been needing some help with the housework.

I was a little worried about starting the charts, since I have a tendency to balk at schedules and such, but it's working very well. Every day the girls complete all their *responsibilities, they get to put a marble in a jar. When the jar is full, we have our very own treasure box to visit! Even more dollar store toys to enjoy! It takes about two weeks of hard work to fill the jar and we just had our first treasure box visit. I'm excited that it's working so well. I'm also excited that the chores I picked for the girls are dependent on me doing my own chores as well, so it's helping keep me in line and the house clean.

I tried to pick chores that would be age appropriate for Sam and Charly, as well as something I wouldn't mind helping them do...(It's all about me, right?)

Monday: Make beds/put sheets back on (I wash towels and sheets on Mondays.)
Tuesday: Take out all trash
Wednesday: Mop bathroom floors (I supposedly clean the bathrooms on Wednesdays.)
Thursday: Gather laundry
Friday: Fold/put away laundry (Clothes laundry is done on Friday.)
Saturday: Vacuum bedroom and toy room (Jon helps them do this, as he's the better and more particular vacuumer at our house.)

The era of charts has long will it last, I wonder?

*For those of you who are curious, their daily responsibilites include: make bed, brush teeth, pick up toys, daily chore, clear dishes and get dressed. Again, I tried to pick things that wouldn't be overwhelming to me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Daily Devotional

I realized after reading the Visiting Teaching message for August that something in my life was missing. And, in an attempt to organize my life a little more in the hopes of decreasing some stress, I decided to have daily devotional time.

Ever since getting married, my personal scripture study has crashed and burned, and burned some more. Reading with Jonny is going great. BUT, after reading this quote by Julie B. Beck, I decided some private time to commune with my Father and Savior was a necessity just to get through the day. I have already noticed the blessings coming from this.

"The Lord has told us that our time should ‘be devoted to the studying of the scriptures’ (D&C 26:1) and that ‘the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given … for [our] instruction’ (D&C 33:16). Every woman can be a gospel doctrine instructor in her home, and every sister in the Church needs gospel knowledge as a leader and teacher. If you have not already developed the habit of daily scripture study, start now and keep studying in order to be prepared for your responsibilities in this life and in the eternities” (“My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2004, 107–8). [emphasis added].

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just embrace it

The more stressed-out I've gotten this week, the more I realize that I really like to be organized, but rarely am. Usually what ends up happening is my house gets worse and worse and instead of tackling the mess, I walk to a different less-dirty room.

This week I've just tried to remind myself that, "Hey, you like to be organized, so embrace it and organize or clean something already!...even if it gets a little rigid sometimes."

I'm doing this in the hopes that I'll be a happier person and in turn, a happier mother. Something we all need me to be right now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Some Perspective

[The principle reason the Church was organized is] "to make life sweet today, to give contentment to the heart today, to bring salvation today...

"Some of us look forward to a time in the future--salvation and exaltation in the world to come--but today is part of eternity."

--David O. McKay

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back to School Wisdom

I found the following poem included in Sammy's back-to-school packet. It made me feel sheepish and motivated in a myriad of ways...

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting, and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.

-Diane Loomans

Monday, August 3, 2009

Heart in the Home

I found this Ensign article particularly helpful for me as of late.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

For Granted

I decided I take it for granted that if I lose my temper with my kids, they'll not only forgive me, but they'll forgive me the very next second...or minute, if they're really holding a grudge.

What happens on the day I wake up and they don't?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sometimes, you just need a break

I'm getting a five day break from being a mom starting Saturday. I'm already missing my family and am sure I'll have an identity crisis by day 3. I'm grateful for my friends and hubby for making this possible. I'm going to Mary Kay seminar in Dallas! Should be a fun learning experience.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself when I wake up and at mealtimes. I'm sure I'll feel like a little lost puppy with only my own food to cut.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm Sorry

It's important to say you're sorry. And even if your children forgive you without that apology, I think it's a good habit to get into.

Sam is getting to that age where she won't let things go until you acknowledge her pain and apologize for it. Only then can she move on.

I remember growing up how my parents or siblings used to just brush me off. They would try to make light of a situation or try to make me feel better with humor. I always resented it. I wanted that apology. And sometimes it never came. I don't want that for my kids. So, I'm trying to be a big girl and apologize when I do something wrong.

Hopefully that will help now and in the future.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Salvage Yard

I don't know if anyone else out there is like me, but sometimes I self-sabotage. I do. If I'm on a diet (I use the term loosely) and I slip-up, instead of getting right back on the horse, I use use the slip-up as an excuse to scratch the whole day, indulge, and decide to do better tomorrow.

This is the story of my life.

A few weeks ago I had a Bad Mom Day. I don't even remember what happened, but I'm sure it involved yelling, time-outs, spankings, and a general ignoring of my children.

Halfway through the day I decided to change the course of things, threw the kids in the car for McDonald's drive thru.

Then I slipped up again later that day.

As evening rolled around, I was bored and feeling guilty about how the day had gone. So we threw the kids in/on the biking equipment and off we went around the neighborhood. It was our first official family biking trip and it was great!

I guess what I'm trying to say is, any day can be salvaged. And I did it twice in one day! And I feel that's something to be proud of...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


They tell ya the only constant thing in life is change. And for that I am grateful. Personally, I like change. I thrive on it. I think it's a good thing.

My kids are doing a lot of changing lately:

Sam is four and has shown us more of her bag of tricks, good and bad, and will go to school in the fall. (She gives me reasons every day to be grateful for this upcoming change.) She also enjoys her new haircut.

Charly unexpectedly started potty training a few weeks ago. I decided I either needed to work on the potty or taking away the binky. She is doing great and stays dry most of the time! Charly is also enjoying coloring a lot more.

Felix is totally weened, drags his body across all surfaces, likes to screech LOUDLY, and has three bottom teeth, which makes him look like a pirate (or an Oklahoma native.)

Keep bringing the changes, Kids! I love you!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Samantha Jo Fisher. Sam. Sammy. Samantha. Sammy Jo. Jo.

Sammy Jo! Sammy, Sammy Jo! Oi! Oi!

We love you so much! You caused your mother a lot of discomfort the last two months of pregnancy with a PUPPPS rash, but that is all forgotten now. We also try to forget that when you were born your dad thought you looked like a smushed, gray, gorilla baby. I'm just glad I warned him that you wouldn't be cute right out of the gate, or we may have had some serious problems. That seems like forever ago, probably 'cause I've had two more babies since then.

You're four years old, but I feel like you should be older. You seem to be aging and growing two years for every one year of life. In some ways you're so mature, and in others, you're so four years old. You are obviously tall for your age, but you are so incredibly beautiful, sometimes it takes my breath away. We're going to have to sharpen your elbows and teach you phrases like, "Don't even think about it, Mr.!" and "Eeewww, boys are gross!" Some karate lessons couldn't hurt, either.

You are such a joy, albeit a little dramatic and emotional sometimes. But that heart you wear on your sleeve is always available to anyone in need, especially babies. You have a special talent for making the shy kids feel comfortable in uncomfortable surroundings. You have a tendency for bossiness, but only because you want to be a mother so badly. Your nurturing spirit always takes me by surprise because it is so contrary to my own.

You inherited your father's aptitude for engineering and proficiency with electronics. You can navigate just fine by yourself and have been able to do this for almost a year now. We don't let you play this very often because you also inherited your father's aptitude for hours upon hours of electronic play.

You love everything and everyone. You will play anything with anyone. Your favorites probably include dress-ups, finding rolly-polies, super heroes, and pretending to be kitties. I just love that I have to tell you that you can't really lick me. (Umm...not really, I find it disgusting.) You love movies and spending time with Mom and Dad. But you can also entertain yourself for long periods of time. You are an incredible artist and have always been able to focus a long time on these efforts. Coloring soothes you.

But you're not an introverted artist. You are so friendly and aren't afraid to talk to anyone. When you sing, you sing at the top of your lungs. You learn songs quickly and can memorize very well.

So I guess what we have on our hands is an engineer-minded artist/scientist with a big heart and a flare for drama.

I'm sure that will prove to be a complicated woman of many talents! (Good luck to us all when you start trying to figure yourself out in about 10 years.)

We love you, Miss Beautiful Smarty-pants! Happy Birthday!
Samantha Jo Fisher: self-portrait.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Solitude and Sanity

In my Understanding Child Development book, I learned that each child needs 15 minutes of one-on-one time with you every day.


Each person needs 30 minutes of solitude to recharge. Every day.

All you young mothers out there are probably laughing right out loud. Yeah right. How is that cosmically possible? Maybe it only happens every 76 years, like Halley's comet, or something.

This could be the reason I've been so haggard lately. Solitude? Only in my sleep. And technically, not even then.

So I'm thinkin'...

Kids need naptime, or quiet time if they don't nap.

Kids who attend school should be given quiet time too. (I need to remember this when Sam starts school in the fall.)

It is painfully obvious that this isn't going to happen for me by accident, nor during the day at all. Probably the only time I'm going to get this is if I make an effort to snatch it for myself in the early morning.

I only get up willingly in the early morning if I've gotten to bed by 10:30. After that, it doesn't matter how much sleep I've gotten, I'm toast.

New goals: 1. Get to bed by 10:30. 2. Actually get out of bed when I wake up.

There's a thought...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

I found it. A way to get Charly to be obedient.

It was easier for me to figure out how to motivate Sam to be obedient. I'd just "threaten" to do it myself and she was off like a shot. She'd much rather do it herself and get the praise.

Charly couldn't care less about that.

Hmmm...what to do. She doesn't really respond to threats or punishment, either.

I figured it out. She needs a reason to do something.


"Charly, let's get dressed so we can have breakfast."
"Okay, mommy," she says to me in her squeaky, precious, 2 year old voice.

Not really a reward for doing something per se, but a reason.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Right Brain Syndrome

Do any of you still watch House? Well, we do.

The last episode we watched had a guy on there who had had brain separation surgery. They separated his brain hemispheres for some reason that I can't remember, but now he couldn't control the left side of his body. It acted independently and did all sorts of crazy things.

Dr. Wilson suggested he announce to his right brain what he was about to do. Because, whenever he got up to do something, his left brain knew why, but his right brain didn't. It thought he was acting for no apparent reason, and resisted.

Probably too long of an intro, but I was thinking about how kids are probably like a cute version of a separated right brain half.

They have no idea why we do what we do most of the time...and it's probably really frustrating.

When Sam was little, I used to tell her what was coming up next, or what to expect in the new social situation we were going to, etc. I found this eliminated a lot of tears and frustration, for both of us. I still do this with her, but I realize I haven't been doing this with Charly, and I should be.

I also tell her what kind of behavior I expect. I think this also makes her feel safe. Like she has the tools to handle what's coming next. She's not as scared. This will come in handy when school starts in the fall.


Charly likes to be held a lot, and is always asking me to do so. If I stand up and walk into the kitchen, she thinks I'm completely ignoring her. But what I'm really doing is putting away my dishes so I can hold her. How would she know that unless I tell her? So, while it's annoying to announce my every move, it can be helpful.

Just add it to "my list of things that come out of my mouth that make me look a little crazy to strangers in public."

Also on the list: singing Old McDonald in the middle of Wal-Mart. Who cares?

On Housework

Daryl Hoole suggests,

Some of us consider housework the enemy, convincing ourselves that we would be happier without it. If the truth were known, however, housework is our friend and the ideal "medicine" for much of what ails us.

There are comforts in cleaning. There are healing powers in housework. There is deep satisfaction in doing one's duty. Character is built through hard work. The Lord said to Adam, "Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake" (Moses 4:23).


[I]t is not the work that makes us tired, it is our negative feelings toward it such as irritation, resentment, anger, frustration, ingratitude and self-pity.
(Hoole, 132,134).

While my "testimony" of housework may not be this strong, I do like me a clean house. When I'm pregnant, I warn Jon that chores will not get done regularly for the next year or so. And we can just forget about dinner altogether.

But now that my human-ness is returning, I'm trying harder to keep it clean. I'm not one to keep to a schedule. In fact, I hate them. I usually try my hardest to sabotage them.

But in this case, I think I need a little bit of predictability. Now I have a specific chore for each day of the week, and then Saturday, I prepare the house for the Sabbath by doing a quick wipe down and spot check. I'm actually surprised at how little there is to do every day if I keep to this routine. Saturday then becomes virtually chore-free, more restful and a day to be together or do larger projects with Jonny home.

I basically just decided that I feel better about myself, my day, and my surroundings when I stop putting it off and just do it. Then I eliminate the inner struggle altogether. It's amazing how much a mental battle can take out of you.

I read Bill Cosby's book, Fatherhood last year. (A good, light read, by the way.) He said his son had a hard time keeping up with his school work. Nothing they did as parents could change his bad habits. He had a friend who was a pilot and Cosby asked him to talk to his son. The pilot related flying to homework (I think it applies to housework as well). He said, "It takes a lot more fuel to keep taking off and landing, then it does to just keep the jet in the air."


I liked this thought. A few Saturdays ago I asked Jon to help me clean the house really well so we could have a good starting point for my new chore schedule. I feel like ever since we moved into this house and had Felix, the entire house has never been all clean at once. I just felt like I couldn't get ahead. I was surprised how long it took us to clean the house in its entirety. Now that I'm doing a little every day, I am truly surprised at how much less effort it takes to keep it clean than to get it clean.

Once I figure out how to keep it clean myself, I'll start finding tasks for the girls to do. I'm trying to implement sustainable life-changes. Baby steps...

I hope I can keep this up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Wrath of Natalie Fisher

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stirreth up anger.
--Proverbs 15:1.

What exactly is wrath anyway?
Webster says it's "strong vengeful anger."

That makes sense.

Man, I was wrathful yesterday. I don't know what my problem was. Hormones? Still no excuse. There were couple of times I could tell Charly was staring at me trying to decide if I was friend or foe. It broke my heart.

Then I was thinking about the above scripture. I've always thought about it in the context of, if you use a soft answer, you will turn away another's anger. Aka, that of your children.

But then I realized, perhaps more significantly, a soft answer will turn away your own wrath. Soooo what I needed yesterday.

Anger begets anger, in others as well as yourself. I got a D- yesterday. Hopefully I'll do better today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh. My.

I was thinking the other day how often I get mad at Charly and for what reasons. Now that we have her mess-making under control, I can rule that out. What else?

I realized that many of the times I get angry and frustrated, had more to do with her just wanting to be a goofball at inopportune times than actual naughtiness. When I change her diaper, of course she's going to want to play chase-the-nude-two-year-old. I'm going to try hard not to get mad at her when she's just being playful.

However, that was not the issue today. I made the mistake of taking a minor infraction and turning it into the Battle of Waterloo. I should have kept my big mouth shut. It wasn't that big of a deal, but for some reason I decided that Charly should apologize, more out of politeness than anything. An hour later, Charly was still sobbing for her Daddy and refusing to apologize. No amount of "If you don't apologize, then's..." could get her to change her mind. She had been to time out and been sent to her room, among other things. For some reason I forgot to pull out the cold shower threat...

I was mentally chiding myself for starting this mess, but didn't want her to just get away with it since I started it. I have met my match in the Battle of Wills. I have only ever been bested by Jonny...and now I've tied with Charly. Finally, I practically threw Charly on Sammy for an insincere hug and dropped the matter. Charly turned the hug into a chance to complain about Sammy squishing her. She didn't get much sympathy from me.

What a way to start a Monday. Head full of puddin'! Next time I'll just keep my big mouth shut.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mind Your Ps and Qs

If you don't want your kids to repeat it, then don't say it. If you want your kids to say it, repeat it.

I think most of us want our kids to say please and thank you, especially when they're with company and dealing with others. Are you polite to your children? What tone of voice do you use? Not only will your kids repeat your words, they'll also mimick your tone. I cringe when I hear Sam ordering Charly about just like a Mini Me in a less-than-flattering tone. Do I really sound like that? If you haven't had that moment as a parent...just wait. It's comin'.

I don't always say "please" to my children, and sometimes my tone could use a little tweak. But, I try really hard to ask my children polite questions, and I expect them in return. It can get pretty frustrating, but I hardly ever let my kids get away with asking for something without saying "please." If they omit it, I don't even have to prompt them, a simple eyebrow raise will suffice. And so the dance continues, all day everyday. I hope someday, someday this will be second nature for them and my eyebrows will get a rest.

As per a previous post, the words we decide to use is incredibly important for another reason. Our children assume we're always telling the truth. They don't understand irony or sarcasm.

If you tell them "You are____", they'll believe you. Make it good.

If you say, "If you do that, then you'll get [insert discipline here]." Then you better follow through or else they'll lose respect for you and not trust you.

Sometimes I'm flabbergasted at what comes out of my mouth.

If it's my night to tuck the girls in, I give them a hug and kiss before leaving the room. A lot of times, they ask for another one, and another, and another...

One night, I heard the words, "Okay, no more hugs." come out of my mouth. Now this is a fairly innocuous phrase, but I didn't like it just the same. Would they know I meant no more hugs just for tonight? Or would they think I meant no more hugs...EVER?

I decided saying "I have more hugs for you tomorrow." was a much more accurate portrayal of what I wanted to say. Framing our ideas in the positive is awkward at first, and not always possible, but I think it's worth the trouble.

If, as a parent, you find yourself saying "no" a lot, just flip the phrase.

"No hitting." becomes "Hands are not for hitting." etc.

I use, "That's a great idea for tomorrow." a lot. Most of the time, they'll forget their request, but sometimes they'll remind you in the morning.

This won't produce perpetually-positive children, but it makes me more positive, which in turn helps my kids. Plus, I eliminate some guilt by feeling like I'm not always rejecting my kids' ideas.

This doesn't mean you are soft on your kids. Discipline is still necessary. Strong tones and words are sometimes necessary. But when they're not, let's be a soft place for our children to fall so they keep coming back.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Feelin' kinda bored today...

"...[A]n ordinary day can be a blessing..."

"'Normal day, let me see you for the treasure that you are.'

It is a gift to love life, to have a zest for living, to be enthusiastic, to be cheerful. Such a gift can be ours if we desire it. It is all a matter of attitude, not circumstance. The key is to realize that attitude begins with gratitude." (Hoole, 133).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Wisdom of Harry Potter

Sometimes I read something and think, "Wow, that's really deep."

I've read all seven Harry Potter books. For those of you who haven't, consider this my spoiler alert to you.

Harry is a wizard destined for greatness. He is the one person in the entire universe who can defeat Voldemort. Somehow Voldemort taught himself how to be one of the best, and most evil, wizards in the world, second only to Dumbledore.

So, if Harry is supposed to face and defeat Voldemort in the end, how come he doesn't become just as great? I mean, isn't he 17 or 18 when he wins the final battle? He's not the cleverest or most talented wizard. He's not really the best-at-anything kind of wizard, except maybe his penchant for the Dark Arts. So, how does he defeat Voldemort? How does he survive seven years at Hogwarts with Voldy nipping at his heels the entire time?

Answer: He surrounds himself with people who are strong where he is weak. And those people are incredibly loyal.

There you have it. A deep and profound truth. Every time I go through a major change in my life: school, marriage, children, etc, it seems I'm *blessed* with the opportunity to reassess/rediscover/remake who I am. This can be discouraging when I'd rather be anyone but myself. I'd rather be like Sally who makes killer homemade bread, or Suzy with her perfectly quaffed hair.

In the middle of one of my past crises (I think it was post-Charly) I thought about this Harry Potter phenomenon and realized I didn't have to be good at everything. In fact, I wasn't supposed to be good at everything. Who has that kind of time? I venture to say also that it was never Heavenly Father's intention that we each be good at everything. That's why he gave us each other. That's why I've been blessed to live among so many talented people; to either learn from them, teach them, help them, or lean on them for help in return.

This concept has eliminated any (okay, most) guilt I feel when I take people up on their offers of help. Sometimes I need help, and a lot of it. When we moved here and I had Felix, I needed a LOT of help. And if you were one of those people who helped me, even as a complete stranger, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. In fact, I'm tearing up as I write this, I'm so grateful.

Let's let others help us. Let's be generous to those we normally wouldn't offer help to. Let's live how Heavenly Father intends us to live: happily, and together.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rope's End

Just when I think I can't do anymore of this (or anything like unto it):

I get a little of this, to keep me going.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thank You, Daryl

Last year I read the book, The Ultimate Career by Daryl Hoole. What an amazing book! Now, if you're interested and want to read it, I suggest you read chapters 11-21 first. The first 10 chapters are good if you want pointers on how to organize and clean your home. But the second half is a wonderful and beautiful tribute to motherhood and how to deal with everything from jealousy, guilt, fatigue and boredom. A nice little kick in the pants and lightbulb in the attic. I'll be sharing quotes on different topics now and again.

Blessed is the family whose mother's heart is in the home...

A mother whose heart is in the home feels a commitment to her sacred stewardship. She pledges to give her time and attention to her children. She is devoted to their care and well-being.

A mother whose heart is in the home knows her position to be a consecration. She is willing to sacrifice everything--even her health or her life, if necessary--for her children. She sanctifies her efforts. She recognizes she is engaged in a holy work.
(Hoole, 119).

Woah. Motherhood as consecration. It doesn't get much clearer than that. Once you become a mother, you have pledged to give everything you have to that role by default.

This is such a beautiful and terrifying thought. Take it one step further. I consecrate my body every time I carry and bear a child, then all my energies to rear him. I felt very strongly to get pregnant with Felix. I did NOT want to do it at all. Now I can't imagine life without him. I'm so glad I followed that prompting. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed I won't get another prompting for a while. BUT, if I did, I would follow it because I have no idea what lies ahead in my future and I trust Heavenly Father more than myself.

Once I couched motherhood in these terms, my children became much less annoying. When they needed things while I was on the computer or reading, I tended to them without annoyance. I committed to give them my time AND my attention. For some reason I'd never really thought about the attention aspect before. Computers can wait, I've made a commitment to care for my children.

Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't take care of yourself, have girls' nights out, pamper yourself, take breaks when needed, etc. We have a lot of Monday movie-pajama days at my house. To be the best mother you can be, you have to take care of yourself. That's part of the package.

As I write this, Felix is rolling around my floor, crying to be fed. Perhaps I should take my own advice.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If You Build It...They Will Come

We all remember the movie, Field of Dreams. Back in its hay-day, it seemed like you could find it on TV on at least one channel every day. But that's not the point. The famous line, "If you build it, he will come" reminds me of how influential our words can be on our children. We should use our words to help build our children into good people.

For example, I call the girls "ladies" in the hopes that they will believe they really are ladies and grow up to become genteel women with good manners. I cringe whenever I hear a parent call their child "naughty" or "a brat." Well, if you always call them that, that's what they're going to be. Right? Jon and I try really hard to avoid these phrases and instead say, "That was naughty." Or "You made a naughty choice." We also never miss an opportunity to tell them "You're such a good girl" when they've done something praiseworthy.

Okay, so that last paragraph sounds braggadocios. Sorry. This is just something I feel strongly about.

Labels are powerful.

I'll never forget two examples of this. My brother once told me he could have gone either way as a kid. He had good friends and really bad friends. (Excuse me, friends who made really bad choices.) He was mostly a good kid because that's what his teachers and leaders assumed he was, because of the family he came from. Eventually, that's what he became.

Conversely, one of my dearest friends growing up made some really bad choices in college. I mean, really bad choices. She eventually found herself in a very dark place. It broke my heart to hear her say, "I've finally become what my parents always thought I was." I was speechless. I couldn't fathom what it must have been like for her growing up, trying to prove to her parents she wasn't the bad egg they thought she was, and then finally giving up trying.

Choose carefully what you call your children, even when you think they're not listening. That's the hardest one for me. I'm pretty good about carefully choosing my face-to-face labels, but sometimes I vent to friends and family over the phone. Who knows which set of little elf ears may be listening. I should probably be more careful.

I've found that if your child is acting really bratty, or does something horribly naughty, it helps to use innocuous terms to deal with the situation. Over the course of their lives, my girls have been called, "vixens, squirrels, minxes" and other strange animals, instead of brats. 'Cause sometimes you just have to call them something...especially when they've somehow gotten into the child-locked snack cupboard and are running around in the nude. Vixens? Squirrels? Minxes? You decide.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Is the fighting MY fault?

There was an excellent talk in the March Ensign by Marion G. Romney titled "The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance." Such an excellent talk for so many applicable reasons in this political climate. But the phrase that really stuck out to me was, "...despair that comes from enforced idleness..."

How many times have I forced my children to be idle just so they don't get in my way? If my kids are getting crazy or bothering me, I usually plop them in front of a movie. Now, while this method definitely has its place, I'm sure I'm over-using and abusing it.

How many times have I enforced idleness on myself and I become bored and depressed and cranky and short-tempered...and you get the picture.

I also thought of this phrase in relation to the scripture, "They did become an idle people, full of mischief." (2 Nephi 5:24).

I started to mentally connect the dots. How can I expect my children to keep the peace, aka, NOT FIGHT FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! when I'm forcing them to be idle and therefore "full of mishief?"

I'm not planning any radical changes, but maybe suggest coloring instead of a movie. Or asking them to help me make or do whatever it is I'm doing? If I'm cooking or cleaning, I should let them help. My kids are usually willing to help me because they just want to be with me and learn.

I remember President Monson recently talking about children: whatever is put into their heads before they're 8 years old is there to stay, good or bad. Just another motivation to stuff them full of love, sweet life skills, songs, and happy memories making cookies with Mom. Don't you think?
An idyllic Saturday where Jon cleaned out the rain gutters and Sam and I cooked french bread and strawberry jam. The weather was divine and strawberries were 99 cents per pound!
Sam wouldn't let me throw away this apple peel. "Mom, you can't throw that away. Those are the good parts!"

Low-Sugar Jam with Apple, from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

4 cups berries or pitted, peeled, and roughly choped stone fruit, such as peaches, plums, or nectarines
2 cups peeled, cored, and minced apple
2 cups sugar, more or less
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

1. Place all the fuit in a large saucepan and crush lightly with a fork or potato masher. Add sugar and lemon juice. Turn heat to medium-high.

2. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture liquefies. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.

3. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, unti the fruit has broken down and the mixture is thick, 30 minutes. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice if necessary, then cool and refrigerate (use within a few days) or freeze.

*Test for gelling by dropping a dollup on a cooled plate. If it is still runny after a few minutes, either cook longer or add a small amount of gelatin.

Are Kids and Happiness Synonymous?

Don't you find it interesting that the most wonderful thing Heavenly Father could think to reward us with is eternal increase? Lots and lots and lots of children? Now, whether that means I will bear and rear children for eternity or whether it's generations that go on forever, I don't know. Personally, I hope for the latter. I don't think it would be heaven if I didn't graduate to at least grandparenthood. ;)

I'm trying to find that happiness with my kids now. Joy in the here and now. Joy in the changes. Joy when they grow up and out of certain stages, even if I love that stage. Just love. And happiness. Why is it so illusive sometimes?

New blog and title

This new blog is mostly for me. I feel so blessed to have three healthy children. How did that happen? I love staying at home; it's what I've always wanted to do. I have "good Mommy days" and the "not-so-good Mommy days," the latter of which trouble me greatly.

Especially lately, with my third pregnancy and subsequent birth of Felix, I have noticed a great need to have Heavenly Father as a partner in this thing called parenthood. He is helping me to learn and grow as a mother and person.

I have had a lot of epiphanies lately, I should probably call them revelations, since I know they are from Him. I want to keep a written record of them all in one place. Mostly so I will remember them and so I don't have to rummage through my diary to locate them. (Ha, ha. This is a theoretical diary. My diary is my brain. And now that I'm dumb...I should write these things down. Like sand through a seive.)

The title of this blog "To have a quiver full" relates to Psalms 127:3-5. "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord...Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them."

I definitely feel like I have a quiver full and am learning how to be happy in just about every situation...including those with nail polish.