Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Babydoll.

The other day I looked out the door to see my BittE Baby scooting along with her Babydoll. She is obsessed with Babydolls and says it like it's all one word. Babydoll. MY Babydoll!
Just about every female form depicted in the house is labeled as ... Babydoll.

I may have to change her nickname to Babydoll.

Bellybutton. The cutest part of any Babydoll.

Go check out Fishfulthinking! It's as cool as

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PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"I am So Happy with MYSELF!"

The Princess has been working so hard to clean her room. A friend came last weekend and got her started. Every day this week, she has been choosing a small part to work on and doing it in steps. Today she finished with her closet! Then she asked me to come and take away the pictures that she no longer wanted to display and declared the job FINISHED! She proudly exclaimed, "I am so HAPPY with MYSELF!"

I am so proud that she set this goal and worked on it in small, achievable increments. When the children were smaller I used a technique that I learned in a training on Fred Jones' Positive Classroom Discipline. Often we attempt to praise a child and say something like, "Wow! Your room looks great, but you forgot to vacuum." A comment like that completely deflates the person being "praised". It's the "but", "however", or "although" that negates the good done by the praise. Dr. Jones suggested that a better way is to recognize what has been done correctly and then help them to identify the next step. When the kids were little, and cleaning their rooms, it sounded like this, "Great! You put all the dirty clothes in your hamper! Next you need to pick up all the Barbie's and put them in their box. I'll be back to check on your progress in just a few minutes!" Try it! When they're a little older, you can have them identify the next step and begin to back off little by little. You and your children will love the technique.
Go Princess! Go Princess!
Did you go check out yet? They have awesome resources on teaching your children persistence and goal setting.

We're throwing off the bonds of seasonal oppression and declaring our independence!

Here in Arizona we like to keep up appearances. Even though we don't have a "real" Winter, we go through the motions with the rest of the Nation.

In August, as school creeps closer, the stores begin to fill with plaid wool and knit sweaters while we're still enduring temperatures above 105 degrees. The crazy thing is that we all start buying them because, ever-hopeful, we crave that change to Fall too. (Perhaps even more than most states.) Invariably you'll see a girl in long sleeves on the first sweltering day of school. You know she's insisted on wearing her favorite magazine dictated Fall fashions despite the warnings of her Mother. This year, I even saw a high school boy sporting his awesome long black Goth duster over his long black pants and knee-high boots, on a day with record-setting heat. I'm sure he felt extremely cool, even if he was about to faint from heat exhaustion.

Through November and December we revel in our chilly temperatures. The slightest frost is all the excuse we need to remove the candelabra from the fireplace and stick in a paper-coated 4-hour fire log. We may have to turn on the air conditioning to make a crowded Christmas party bearable, but at least it can look like Winter.

At school, little Arizonans go through the motions (I assume kids in Florida and small Californians also carry on the charade) by making sponge painted fall leaves that we won't see until January, cutting out snowflakes when some have never seen one, and bringing home construction paper snowmen to decorate at the kitchen table before they're allowed to run out to have a light-sabre war on the lawn with the other neighborhood kids.

But I, for one, am done keeping up appearances. I declare that it's time for the South to rise again and throw off the shackles of seasonal oppression! Today my kids are going barefoot and wearing shorts, even if it is still February!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Games Daddy Plays

My Hubby (DH) isn't a rough and tumble Daddy. He's not a sports Daddy. He won me over with his patience and his sheer determination and endurance. The night we met, a fun cousin had helped my two year old to twist a comb in his, very 80's, beautiful blonde bowl cut. He ended up looking like Pebbles Flintstone. I took a look and assumed that I'd need to go home and give my baby a buzz. However, the friend my brother had invited to his Eagle Scout court of honor, patiently took the time to gently work each hair free of the comb until he'd preserved my baby's surfer-do. That night he made at least two conquests.

The things he does with our children aren't big and obvious. I'm the one who the neighbors get to watch running down the street behind a bicycle as five year olds learn to balance and pump their legs at the same time. DH is the one who holds the babies while he eats and coaxes them to try new foods.

He takes the time to dress a toddler on Sunday mornings and always remembers to play right foot/ left foot, and teach eyes, nose, ears, and belly button.

He likes to read them the books that his Father read to he and his brothers each night while Mom made dinner. Our little ones, and the big ones before them, are all well versed in the adventures Thorton W. Burgess created about Old Mother West Wind and her Merry little Breezes, Mr. Toad, and Happy Jack Squirrel.

At church I give the little ones a bag of fruit snacks to keep them busy, and quiet. Daddy always makes it a game. He hides one in his hand and has them peek under each finger until they discover their treat.

Years ago, when the older boys wanted to start having rowdy tickle fights with Dad before bed, he instituted a rule that has saved many tears and misunderstandings; they can laugh, and scream, and holler "no, no, no" as much as they want, but when they have really had enough and are ready for the game to stop, all they have to do is say the magic word "Please" and play instantly stops. The safety and comfort they get from knowing that they are in charge of the game has had immeasurable benefits.

One game Daddy plays has always bugged me though. I'm a stickler for accuracy, so Daddy's silly game of holding a child's hand and then asking why their foot is stuck, or talking about their red shirt when they were wearing blue, really drove me crazy. Until I read I Love You Rituals by Becky A. Bailey, PhD. Besides creating strong attachments these little games give children positive interactions, and even Daddy's silly game gives our little ones the opportunity to show their knowledge by correcting Daddy's silly statements.

Daddy's games accomplish exactly what Dr. Bailey suggests and "demonstrate the difference between responding to the physical needs of a child and bonding with the child by responding to his or her emotional needs" creating secure attachments that enable a child to "feel that the world is a positive place"! When children have these secure attachments they become "equipped with enough confidence to explore, to develop healthy peer relationships, and to rebound from adversity" and they see themselves as "being loved, loving, and valuable."

So, what games and "I Love You Rituals" do you have at your house?

Want to learn some other ways to give your children confidence, encourage resilience and teach optimism in your family? Click on the Fishful Thinking Link on my sidebar or just click HERE :)

Photo credits: Darling photo of DH holding tiny BittE (6 weeks early, 4 lbs 8 oz) by my Amazingly talented friend Debe, Babies in blue are Bronson and his 2nd cousin, Sarah, taken by me 1990, and Mom and Dad M. circa 1990.)

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week in Review

I have been sitting here for at least 10 minutes, trying to think of something blogworthy. Our days just keep slipping by and without documenting things as they happen the cute things get lost, the silly things aren't funny, the hard things are forgotten, and now I sit here with nothing to write but the events of the week. Sooo.... working backwards, here's the week in review.

Yesterday I had quiet time with my little ones, while DH and some boys were gone doing ROTC and Scout stuff. We spent a peaceful hour or two at Grandma's while the kids played. Then went on a nice date. Afterwards I went and had a brave friend trim my hair!

Friday I had a GNin with the Princess after the babies were in bed. We snuggled into my bed with some snacks and Disney Channel. I wasn't a very exciting date though, since I fell asleep during the third episode of Zack & Cody and missed the new DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) that we were trying to wait up for.

Without pictures, the fact that I crocheted little stuffed animals on Thursday for homeless children (sad fact we learned - the average age of a homeless person in AZ is 9 years old. Most of them are Mother's leaving a domestic violence situation, with small children), isn't very exciting. But it was a lot of fun and always feels sooo good to give service. Plus, they are super-cute!

DH taught first aid to my young women on Wednesday. We're doing camp prep throughout the year (once a month) so that we don't end up with all of it the month before camp. The girls absolutely loved wrapping each other's broken ankles, legs, and arms.

We had book group on Tuesday. We are discussing Bonds that Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner. We're reading one chapter a month and it has been delightful. We are having the best discussions EVER!

On Monday, for Family Night, we had biscuit donuts (fried by my brother) at one of our favorite parks. Tomorrow night we have big plans for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with friends for family night! Woohoo!

I fully expect the same kind of thrills during the upcoming week, since I have a parent teacher conference, an assignment to bake rolls for the homeless shelter, a planned visit to a group home for Adults with special needs on Sunday, a cutesy craft for the Young Women on Wednesday, teaching art to the kids again on Thursday (they are absolutely loving the drawing portion of our lessons. Want a great resource? Mark Kistner's Draw Squad!) and my usual fun while I cook, bake, clean, and care for my awesome family!

Our missionary only has about another week in the Missionary Training Center! We're really hoping that his VISA comes through in time so that he can ship out to Ukraine in early March as planned! He is so excited to begin teaching the people there!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Things That Brought Me JOY Today!

On Sunday in Young Women's our lesson was on Having Joy! My friend Carol taught it and gave each of us a little notebook. Inside is a quote by President Harold B. Lee,

"Happiness does not depend

on what happens outside of you,

but on what happens

inside of you."

She encouraged each of us to make lists of things that bring us joy daily. I have loved making my list today, it made me notice all the little things that make me happy,

  • Sleeping in
  • A spotless floor
  • the smell of banana bread baking
  • uplifting music
  • dinner bubbling on the stove
  • reading scriptures with my babies
  • a good book
  • looking forward to Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment meeting
  • watching the kids play outside in perfect weather
  • my roses
  • nap time
  • thinking about my missionary
  • giving a child a clean bed
  • wearing an apron
  • talking with a friend
  • drawing a cute bunny for Bitt-E to color
  • teaching art to the kids and their friends
  • looking at the desk that my Princess cleaned for me
  • remembering to recycle
  • letting kids help
  • feeding dinosaurs green beans at lunch with Bitt-E
  • using my pretty forks
  • making Grandma's chili
  • making two dinners at once
  • veggies with lunch
  • seeing things I've made being played with and enjoyed
  • cold orange soda
  • Girl Scout Cookies - Samoas!
  • waving at neighbors
  • real butter
  • a walk with the little ones
  • noticing happiness

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You are two-two cute!

Happy Birthday Little Bitt-E!
Bitt-E's tutu is from Devri at The Naulu Tribe! (She sells them! Go check her out!)
It is Gorgeous and Bitt-E was Thrilled! Thanks again Devri! YOU ROCK!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Family Her-story

My cousin recently posted this family history picture to our family website. She's my great-great Grandmother. I had to stop and take a few minutes looking in the mirror and comparing to see if I could find any of my features in this woman whose genes I carry. The jaw, the nose, the cheekbones all pretty similar.

Last night when my Mom came for dinner, I had to show her the similarities, in a side-by-side comparison. I even got a dish towel out of the drawer and put on a babushka. We laughed about having a look-alike contest on the family website! We laughed so much that we couldn't even begin to get the camera or a solemn look.

So, here's my alternative.

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What do you think? I'm sure with 10 or 15 more years of Arizona sun, I may be more like her than different.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Wonder of Site Meter

If you can believe it, I average about 50 hits a day. A surprising number of them are from google searches. I was checking my stats and found some fun hits from this week:

Someone in Vancouver came by looking for Elvis Bryson and got to see this.

People in New Dehli, South Africa, and Manitoba checked out my smocking tutorial.

A blogger in Plano, Texas is making a fabric bag as a homemade Christmas gift - sorry to ruin the surprise.

Lovers in Florida, London, and Canada are searching for Secret Admirers.

A crafter in Malaysia wanted to learn how to make a beaded bracelet.

Cooks in Dallas, India, Pennsylvania, and Sydney, Australia were looking for tips on fondant and cake ideas.

An artist in Nashville is thinking of doing some glass painting.

Last, but not least, someone in Austin, TX searched for Ralph Chandos - the bane of my existence in kindergarten. (Mentioned here.) I can't tell you how many times that naughty boy made me cry! So Ralph, if that was you in Austin, reading for 15 minutes the other day...I'm sure you've grown up into a nice person and have completely changed your ways. Say hi next time you come by.

Now, if only I could get these people to COMMENT!
What do they think, that I give this info out for free!?! LOL!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's is Coming!

I've been making Valentine's all day! The Toymaker has tons of really cute printables, including a page of darling heart stamps to decorate your envelopes. I printed her Magic Heart Box and a page of hearts for all my YW so that they can use them to do Random Acts of Kindness for their family. As they give service they can leave a heart. I'm hoping that cutting and gluing their Magic Heart Box and cutting their heart cards will take the whole time, but if they need more to do, I'll have them write little messages of love on the back of their hearts.
Then for Wolfman's preschool class, we went to Jan Brett's site and printed some darling Hedgie Candy hearts for him to stick his suckers to and give. Go look! She has the most darling printables, all free!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Beautiful New LooK! and some random tidbits

My awesome blogfriend Janna did my beautiful blog makeover! Isn't it gorgeous!?! And it matches the cool graphic that she did for my 2009 motto - Create!
I absolutely love it!
She can give your blog a facelift too, for a very reasonable price! Go check her out!

In the past week I've read 5 books. All by Suzanne Collins! The Gregor the Overlander series and The Hunger Games. They are Young Adult/Teen fiction and a delightful escape. The Gregor series takes place in The Underland beneath New York City, while The Hunger games are a future civilization where an annual drawing pits teen-age competitors in a game to the death. Awesome books!


I guess I'm all out of Random. I've been on facebook at least daily lately. I have been avoiding all tags. It's just all already on my blog. I keep referring people over, but I guess if they're not bloggers they don't feel the need to comment on the blog. They just comment back on facebook. Interesting No?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Favorite Things Swaparazzi!

One of my fave friends in the whole Blogiverse, Mamarazzi, is having another Favorite Things Exchange! I'm so excited to participate because last time I had the best experience! Mamarazzi paired me up with the sweetest girl and we were so perfectly matched that our favorite things were nearly identical! LOL! It was so fun to make a new friend (Hi Stephnie!) and think of cute little things that I enjoy and wanted to share. And, let's face it, SUPER FUN to get a package of treats in the mail!

This swap is so popular that it's already full (with 100 participants), but there will be another in a few months! I'll keep you posted and I will Most Def be posting pics of what I send and recieve!

Thanks so much Mamarazzi for all your hard work putting this together! You are the BEST at spreading the L-O-V-E in blogland! I Super Big Red Puffy Heart You!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

High School English

So honey, have you done your English homework?

We didn't have any.

So what are you working on in class?

Today in class we started doing packets. It's like the Silent Treatment.

I take it she's had enough of you guys?

I love it. We just sit there, read the stuff, answer the questions, and then we're done!

nice huh? I guess I'll be calling a teacher tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Motherhood is Not for the Weak

"Um, Mom, I just threw up a little bit on the boys bathroom floor. "

That music you're hearing is straight off the psycho soundtrack!

Thoughts are racing through my head as the gagging begins...

How did you miss it by a whole foot?
That is NOT a little bit, that is the entire contents of your stomach!
Towel? Mop? Paper towel?
Trash can? Toilet? Shower? Sink? Washer?

The heaving starts and I must run for a breath of fresh air, while hovering near the trash can just in case.

I opt for tossing a towel over the mess. Then scoop and toss it in the running shower. Ugh. Now what? I quickly scour the floor for other used towels. It takes three. Plus a little of the OMS (old man shuffle) with the clothes that people did not put in the basket.

Ah yes, Revenge is sweet. Those who can't figure out where the hamper is, just had their clothes washed with the barf. Bwahahahahah!

Then the age old question...What the Heck did you EAT!?!

Doncha love the perks that come with Motherhood?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess!

She's growing up! I'm starting to see the woman in her beating out the little girl. Nail polish, makeup, her taste in music, expressions, admirers - all telling me my little girl is not going to be playing with dolls much longer. She's already over 5 feet tall and in the next year I'm sure she'll shoot up until she's nearly as tall as I am. This year she's been having her chunky stage as her body prepares to stretch to unbelievable heights. Her mind and sprit are soaring to unbelievable heights too! I know I'm going to love the woman and enjoy her friendship as much as I've enjoyed my baby girly!
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

52 blessings - Arizona Weather

We've had the most beautiful springlike weather lately! It really makes me grateful to live in Arizona.
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