Saturday, February 26, 2011

Goodreads and MNO

I don't have very much time, but I did want to let you all know that I am finally getting around to updating my goodreads account and I would love to connect with any of you so send me a friend request if you're on goodreads.  My e-mail address is

Also, I found out the address for the "Mom's Night Out" on Tuesday where I will be speaking.  It's 547 N. 500 E. in Orem.  I'll be talking about 4 principles that I have found help establish a house of learning and order, as well as discussing how these might look in real life.  I hope some people show up so we can have a discussion!  Anyway, it's this Tuesday, March 1st at 7pm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some News

We've been out of town and busy lately so I haven't had a chance to write.  Here are some of the latest happenings:

1)  We're having a boy
The boys were excited, the girls were disappointed at first, but they're excited about another little boy now. The kids and I have decided on a name we all like, but Rock hasn't come around to it yet so we'll see if he thinks of something better.

2) We went to Disneyland
It was a last minute thing.  Rock came home from work and said that his boss asked him to see if anyone wanted to take some PTO since things were rather slow.  Since they recently hired someone that could do some of the clinical stuff he does - he volunteered to take a week off because he hasn't had more than a couple of days off of work in a couple of years.  He wanted to take us to Disneyland.  It is definitely not the #1 vacation spot I would have picked, but he sure had his heart set on it, and we all had a good time.

Ray's favorite place was the beach we went to the day before Disneyland.  He liked chasing birds and playing in the sand.  His least favorite ride seemed to be Pirates of the Caribbean, but that may be because it was the first ride we went on and he wasn't desensitized to the constant stimulation - or to the  dark and scary images.  He just hid his head in my chest and endured it.  Poor baby.

 Bazinks loved the trains, Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story.  His least favorite was the Tower of Terror, but he was brave and tried everything he could try at least once.

Little Miss loved Soaring over California, Thundermountain and Indiana Jones.  She hated Pirates and The Haunted Mansion.

 Bud's favorite rides were Indiana Jones, Toy Story, and the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups (everyone seemed to love those.  We ended up riding them 4 or 5 times).  His least favorite was Tower of Terror - not so much because of the falling motion, but because the movie they showed scared him.
Spice's favorite rides were Indiana Jones, Flick's Flight, and Soaring over California.  She didn't love the fast rides, but she went on all of them anyway (except Space Mountain and California Screaming).

My favorites were Storybook Adventure (the landscaping was beautiful), Tower of Terror (I love the dropping feeling), watching the kids feed the ducks off a private spot we found near the Ferris wheel at California Adventures, and watching Ray get so excited about seeing a bird whenever we were outside of a ride waiting for everyone to come out.  It was interesting to see that he barely glanced at the fake birds and animals everywhere, but he got really excited when he saw the real thing.

Rock's favorites were "all of them, except Small World".

We stopped at Zion's National Park on the way home.  I was hoping for some sunny hiking, but it was snowing.  I convinced everyone to try a snow hike (even though we weren't prepared for hiking in the snow).  They put on two jackets, a poncho and went for it.  Our feet got very wet, but it was beautiful and everyone enjoyed it except Bazinks who whimpered the whole time.  I thought he was was being kind of over-dramatic, but I realized later that he was sick.  I'll have to take his protests a little more seriously next time.  He was on the couch with a fever on Saturday night - the hike wasn't a very good idea!

3) I get to have our baby at home!
I went to a routine Doctor's visit and they told me when to schedule the upcoming tests.  I wanted to ask about the tests and why I needed them again, but I go through this with every pregnancy and I was too tired to get into a discussion and have everyone look at me with an annoyed look because I am questioning their wisdom.  It's the same feeling I get when I go to the hospital when I am in labor and everyone is telling me what to do and my requests get ignored and I have to submit to everything they say because they are the professionals.  I had a strong feeling about calling the midwife and seeing how I felt about delivering a baby at home after speaking with her.

I went home and scheduled the appointment.  Rock was nice enough to come with me and I had a list of concerns and questions to ask her.  She was answered our questions in a much more thorough way than any doctor I had been to.  She had a plan for every single situation I posed for her.  She brings everything necessary for emergency (3 types of hemorrhaging medicine, resuscitation equipment, IVs, and more)  She comes back to my home to check on me and the baby several times after he is born.  She does all of the newborn tests, but she waits for most of them until the baby is a couple of weeks old - and she does them at my house (one of the most annoying things to me about having a baby at the hospital is how often they take the baby from me when he is just a few hours old to do test after test!)

Another reassuring thing is that we live 5 minutes from a hospital.  If anything scary should happen, she could call the hospital and have them have doctors ready for me to come in - even if I was in the hospital when something scary happened, they would still have to call doctors and they would have to get ready - the process wouldn't be any quicker.

Anyway, she was so reassuring and we felt so good after the visit that Rock decided to go ahead and let me have this baby at home if I wanted to do it.  I'm looking forward to the experience, assuming everything looks well in the prenatal appointments.

4) I get to speak at a MNO in Orem on March 1st.

The topic will be:
Creating an Inspiring Learning Environment through Work
Here is the class description:
Teaching children to work gives them more than just life skills.  Work is what builds a strong and solid character.  In the process, an environment is created that inspires a love of learning.  Children come to see that learning is a privilege not to be taken for granted.  They also develop the discipline that they need in order to choose to study hard instead of choosing to follow an easier path. 

Come learn and discuss principles and practical ideas to help you create this learning environment in your home.
 I'm looking forward to putting it all together and hopefully getting more motivated to do better at it!

5) The deadline for the TJEd annual forum is coming up.
I've learned a lot every time I have gone.  I'm debating about just buying the recordings instead of spending the money on going, but it's a fun thing to do with Rock and it gives us a chance to discuss new ideas.  It's also nice to be surrounded by so many like-minded people.  It's rather refreshing.  I'm sure I'll just end up going.  Click here for the information on the forum.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How to Thin Out Toys with Resistant Children

I've been meaning to write a response to  a question someone asked a few days ago on my blog, and I slept in again this morning so I'll have to keep it kind of short, but I hope others will chime in with suggestions that have worked well for them.

The question is:
"I'm wondering how you were able to thin out their toys. Maybe my timing is wrong right after Christmas and all (I SO wish I had read it BEFORE I bought all those toys!!). I'm so afraid if I try to take away some of my 9 yr-old's electronic toys, he'll get pretty upset about it. (I have 5 children 9,6,5,2,9mo) I would love to hear how you handled it."
For us, I first had to teach them what I had learned.  I told them I learned some things at the conference I attended and from an article I read about how toys can be good learning tools or they can be distractions.  I explained how toys with batteries were designed to entertain kids, just like TV.  I explained how toys that make you use your imagination are the best kind of toys.  I taught them the guidelines on how to tell which is which that I learned from the Headgates e-book (The more creative the toy-maker - the less creative the child, does it use or waste resources?, etc.) I tried to help them see the vision.

We had been reading the Little House on the Prairie series so they already had a vision of the order of a simple home and the value that the children placed on their few belongings.  This helped a great deal because they saw they wanted that also.

I told them that we would be going through our things (theirs and mine) and we'd be giving away things that were not conducive to this simpler lifestyle.  I told them to pick their 10 favorite toys that fell in the guidelines of what we could have in our home (no batteries, etc).  It was hard at first for them to narrow things down - the girls had an especially hard time figuring out what stuffed animals to get rid of.  I did let them keep a few "sets" (a set of trolls, or a set of Littlest Pet Shops) because they were being such good sports about it.  We tried to do make it a family project.

Now I will admit, that when they weren't looking, before I had them go through the toys themselves,  I did get rid of a few things that would have thought that they thought they wanted to keep, but I knew they wouldn't miss.  I did keep them in the trunk of the car for a few days to make sure they really didn't miss them and become upset when they noticed they were gone.  There were a couple of toys like that (stuffed animals), and I got them out of the car and gave them back.

I tried to be understanding, but also firm in the new standards.  My son was really attached to the Wii so I said we could keep it, and that he could play it during "screen time".  We have screen time for 2 hours on Saturdays.  Sometimes we'll use it to watch a movie as a family, sometimes my husband will watch a sports game with the boys, sometimes they'll use it playing with a camcorder and making a movie.  Sometimes they forget to use it at all.  They rarely think to play the Wii anymore since it's become a very scarce part of their lives. 

I told my older two children about this question on my blog and I asked them what they think a mother should do to help her kids part with their toys.  My son said, "She should take them away and if they cry about it, she can put them in time-out!"  He's a lot harsher than I am.  My daughter said, "She should tell them why it's good for them and then get rid of them because it is."

They have gotten rid of many more toys than that first time around.  They have grown accustomed to parting with "stuff" and not putting so much value on having it.  They see how much more fun it is to play with a few simple toys than to have to pick up all of the parts and pieces of a whole bunch of toys.  Their toy room was looking messy last Saturday so we went through and got rid of more.   I used the same 10 item rule (don't ask me how they had more than 10 after we've done this several times and I haven't been buying toys - I don't know where they come from) and Spice could only think of 6 things she wanted to keep.  Bud could only think of 8.  Little Miss had a hard time narrowing down stuffed animals again, and Bazinks just wanted the foamy light sabers).   It's a process, but just do as much as you can at first and it will get easier the next time, and easier the next...

Electronic toys and video games can be addicting, so you have to be pretty firm with your resolution because kids can fight hard for them.   A child being very upset about it is proof, though, that they have too much access to them and they are becoming too much a part of their lives.  I suggest reading the talk, Courageous Parenting if you haven't read it lately, before you have a talk with your children about something you know they will resist, but you know is the best thing for them.  I have also heard that the book Simplicity Parenting is a really good one to help you feel more sure about the rightness of the decision to simplify because it goes into more detail about the many benefits for the children.  I've been meaning to read it, but haven't gotten to it yet.

I hope that helps.  Does anyone else have ideas that have worked for them?