Friday, April 29, 2011

Family Fun Fundraiser Tonight!

I know this is short notice, and I'm mad at myself for not posting it earlier in case anyone I know would like to attend, but here is the e-mail I received and the information about the fundraiser.

What is going on with the Eggett family (copied from an e-mail):
I am writing because I need your help, actually Bob Eggett and his family needs your help. Last week they met with the doctors to go over the information from his latest surgery. It is not good! The growth that they saw in his head was not an abscess caused by the surgery, it was actually a super aggressive and fast growing tumor, which had grown to the size of an orange in 5 short weeks and he has been told that he has about 6 months if all goes well! Because Bob's first brain tumor hit in his 20's he and Ingrid had never considered investing in life insurance, thus the unbelievable reality for the Eggett's is that they do not even have funds to bury Bob. I know this is a harsh reality, but a reality nonetheless!

My heart is broken and I know yours is too. This type of news is the making of most of our nightmares and as a human being in the human family we can identify with the pain that this has triggered for Bob, his family, friends, and neighbors. I personally cannot get the image of his little 8 month old and other five children out of my head! We want to do something extra special for Bob's event and we have come up with a concept that is going to take many hands to accomplish..."
About the fundraiser tonight:

Event Date: April 29th, 2011

Event Time: 5-9pm
Location: Weber State University
Shepherd Union, Ballroom
Ogden, UT, 84408


* Dinner $5 per plate--With Texas Roadhouse
* Silent Auction
* Live Auction
* Photos with a Pro-- 'Shear Luck Enterprises'
* Kid's Corner
* Entertainment--Vocalocity--'Acappella That Rock

I don't know Ingrid well, but I have talked to her and her kids a few times at different homeschooling events and they are a sweet, kind family. I know they would appreciate whatever help can be given.

If you can not make the fundraiser, but would like to help this wonderful family, you can read more about it at this website:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bazinks!

I think it's about time I get around to writing a birthday post for Bazinks.  These are important to me because I want to look back and remember what the kids were up to during their particular birthdays.  I'm not very good at writing down the cute things they say and then I always forget them when I'm trying to recall them later, so hopefully these birthday posts will help spark some memories as they get older.

Bazinks in now five years old.  He acts quite a bit older though - like a little man sometimes.  He gets embarrassed easily when he is laughed at so I think it makes him very careful about what he says and he comes across as sounding older than he is.  He's very observant and he likes to make jokes about what he observes.  Much to my amazement (compared to 6 months ago) he is turning to a rather responsible little boy and becoming much more helpful around the house.  He loves washing dishes with me and watching the "whirlpool" when we let the water out.

He is also very, very good at sharing.  He never gets a treat without sharing it with everyone - and if it's a small treat (like a lifesaver) he'll bite it into tiny pieces and give a little piece to everyone.  It makes him so sad to see others sad and he'll often cry if someone else is crying - especially if he thinks something is unfair.  He also works very hard to make sure I'm comfortable at night and brings me extra blankets and pillows just to make sure.

One of his favorite things to do is arithmatic problems in his head.  He's pretty good at it and he surprises us sometimes.  Like the other day, Spice was doing some math online and she started talking to herself as she was figuring out a problem.  As she was working through it she said, "7 times 9, I can't remember 7 times 9... 6 times 9 is 54 so if I add 9 more..."  Bazinks blurted out, "63".  We both looked at him in surprise and laughed.  I asked him, "How did you know that?"  "I just guessed," he replied.  I went outside just now to ask him a few questions to put on this post:

He's so cute isn't he?   A few nights ago he made me laugh because he took a math workbook with him to bed so he could look at it and figure out the problems.  What kind of a kid does that?  I thought it was pretty funny.  We'll see where this love of numbers takes him.

We "woke him up" as always by singing him a birthday song and opening presents.  He got a water gun, sandals, a candy bar, and some sand toys.  He also got a "wiggle car" later on that day from his grandma and grandpa.  He loves it. 

Reading his card from Ray

Reading his card from Bud
Opening presents
He picked his favorite meals for the day: Lucky Charms for breakfast (this is strictly a birthday food!), German pancakes for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner.
Lucky Charms - at least there's a green smoothie to go with it right?
He wanted cookies instead of cake for his dessert that night.  He wanted to save his birthday cake for when we took him to "a bouncy place" the following day.  My mom, dad and brother drove up for his special day.  It was specially nice of them since my mom came straight over after arriving at the airport from a trip to Florida to see another one of my brothers and his family.  She was very tired, but we're glad she made it!
A nice picture of his uncle teasing him.
Here's a better picture of my brother so he's not mad at me for the one above :-)
Nevermind, he'll be mad at  me for both of them ;-)
Caught cleaning frosting off his face with his suit coat.
Ray sharing a candle
The "bouncy place" the following day:

Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet little boy!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Did It! Some Easter Surprises.

We did it! We memorized The Living Christ. And here is the video to prove it:

My iphone run out of memory towards the end, but you can just trust me that they finished it all. This video shows their surprise recital to their dad, grandma, and grandpa.

Here is the text to The Living Christ in case you can't understand them well on the video (the sound is pretty soft):
As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fulness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

What a great way that was to prepare for Easter. The kids will often recognize a scripture or a phrase that they have memorized when they hear a talk. It's pretty fun.

What else did we do for Easter? Well, the kids got some of these:
 We did a little treasure hunt and they found the chicks in the basement at the end.  Would you like to hear about them?  I'm sure you would....

They already have them all named.

This is "Sweet Mama", the Leghorn.  She is only 2 months old and not a mama, but since she is the big chicken, all of the little chickens gather around her and try to cuddle up to her and slip under her wings.  She'll be ready to be put outside in a couple of weeks.
Sweet Mama
This is "Mrs. Whatsit" (from A Wrinkle in Time - Mrs. Whatsit had white wings), the ISA Brown.

Mrs. Whatsit
Here is "Bilbo" (she has fuzzy feet just like hobbits do), the Cochin.

This one's "Cleo" (short for Cleopatra - because of the eyes), the Welsummer.
 These two are siblings (from the same rooster and hen).  They are an Ameraucana mix.  They'll probably lay blue or green eggs, so that will be fun.  Their names are "Ranger" and "Tiny".
Ranger and Tiny

This is one is "Holly" because she is a Barnavelder chicken from Holland.
This is our Black Star Sex-Link. Her name is Starfish (the kids told Bazinks to name her and they gave him ideas like "midnight" because it's black. He came up with "Starfish" and everyone thought it was so funny that they kept it).
This last one is "Penny" our Rhode Island Red chicken.
Rock's mom likes to get eggs and hatch chickens in an incubator so she was nice enough to give us Bilbo, Tiny, Ranger, Sweet Mama and Penny.  We don't know if they are boy or girl chickens so we'll probably end up getting rid of some of them when we hear them crow.  Rock's mom knows a lot about chickens and her excitement is contagious.

We had a nice Easter watching the little birds and figuring out their different personalities.  Now I just need to find them a coop.  We tried different boxes for them to be in for now, and I finally found a really big one in our storage closet, so they have a pretty good place for the moment.  Here's their set up:
The outside (like the creative use of the baby gate?)
Their food and water on one side
Their sleeping spot with the heat lamp and perching stick - we've since changed the stick for a thicker one that they like more.
They are inside the house for now so we're changing their newspapers daily so they don't get too stinky.  We do have fun watching them and trying to keep Ray from throwing things in the box (this is the main reason for the baby gate on top).  Tico hasn't tried eating any of them (even though he does try to eat our hamster sometimes) so we're glad of that!

We'll see how this chicken project goes.  I hope I'm not in over my head.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Choir Performances

This post will be boring for anyone except maybe grandparents and aunts and uncles. I don't expect anyone to watch all the videos, but I wanted them on here for my personal use. The first three are of Bud's solo. They actually only had two performances, but Bud got to sing his solo twice during the first performance. The reason for this it that the power went out through most of the show and we got to watch the kids in the dark as they sung. Some of their songs (like Bud's solo) had a CD accompaniment which couldn't work without power, so they got to sing it A Capella. None of his solos was perfect. On one the microphone wasn't working, but the CD music was loud so it was hard to hear him. On another, everything was working, but he really missed the last note and he tries to fix it midway through the note (he still cringes when he watches it, but I think it's cute). On the other one, there was no power so you can hear him, but not see him on the camera. The one in the dark is my favorite - he did a great job despite the fact that he unexpectedly had no music to accompany him.

The theme of the show was "Believe" and many of the songs were from the 60's and 70's period so they dressed in 60's and 70's outfits. Bud is wearing a hemp necklace with beads that you can't really see on the film. Anyway, they were adorable and had a great time. Bud loved performing his solo. Their next performance will be of "Oliver" on June 8th.

Also, for family and friends who may be interested - they (Spice, Bud and Little Miss) are in a small play that they'll be performing on May 20th. It should be really cute. I'll let you know the details when I get them. Spice and Bud also have a piano recital coming up so I'll post those details also.

Anyway, here are the videos of their performance (forgive the shakiness at times - Ray was on my lap sometimes and it made it hard to hold the camera):

The first one (Bud's solo) is called It's Possible from Seussical the Musical.

Bud when the microphone wasn't working (I love to watch my friend's son on this one. He is next to Bud in the checkered pants. He cracks me up! You can also hear Ray trying to sing along next to me. He loves this song.)

Bud in the dark with no music when the power went out (this one is my favorite, but you can't see him!):

Bud with everything working, but missing the last note:

Here Comes the Sun medley (Spice is in this one and the next two - this one is long and you can't even see Spice in the last half.  I should have stopped filming somewhere in the middle):

I Believe in the Sun (this song is from an inscription that was found in a cave in which some Jews hid for three years during WWII):


Catch a Falling Star (everyone is in this one):

Merry ol' Land of Oz (Bud and Little Miss are in this one and the next 2):

You Can Fly:

I'd Like to Visit the Moon:

There Can Be Miracles (Spice is in this one):

I think they're pretty adorable.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ladies Night Out at my House on Wednesday Night

This is turning out to be a busy week and I need to blog about several things.  Yesterday Was Bazink's birthday (he's 5 now), so I need to write about that.  Today the kids are having a choir performance and I need to put some videos up about that.  This Friday is our ward's recognition night for the Activity Day girls.  I've been in charge of putting that together and I have several things left to do.  We're doing a talent show that night so I want to put Spice's performance on here too.

I did want to write a very quick blog post this morning to let anyone who is interested know about a presentation I'm doing at my house on Wednesday night.  Some of my friends heard about the presentation I did in Orem and they thought it would be a good idea for me to do it up here as well.
Here is the information:

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.
Wednesday, April 20th at 7:00 pm
My House - email me at for the address

Okay, I better go help some kids get ready for their concert.   Have a wonderful day everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feminism and the Sacrament of Birth

I read some really great articles a couple of nights ago that my friend sent me (thanks, Joanne!)  One of them is about feminism in the Mormon church.

I am a Mormon Because I am a Femininst

Ever since studying the proclamation deeply in classes at BYU and learning to understand stewardships, I have felt very equal to my husband in the eyes of God and very valued by Him.  I am thankful for my distinct feminine role in His plan.  I have learned to LOVE it.  I didn't always love it.  Becoming a mother turned my previously selfish world upside down (I was rather a spoiled gal).  I shed some tears and learned a lot.  As I devoted myself to motherhood, I came to treasure it and it has brought me more happiness than I could have ever imagined.

Here's one of my favorite parts of the article:
"Only the children could choose to leave, and to bring to pass a separation from their divine parents. And so in the Garden were placed a son and a daughter of God, and two trees. Two persons, two trees.

"Both Trees represented doorways along the journey of the Great Plan. The First Tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, symbolized the doorway leading from heaven, and the ordinances of entering mortality with a mortal body, gaining full agency, and having the light of Christ awakened within. The Second Tree, the tree of eternal life, symbolized the ordinances of salvation and exaltation, and the doorway back to our heavenly home.

"Eve was created second, then, not because she was derivative of Adam: she was created second to highlight that the giving of the gift of the First Tree was the gift to be given by women in the Great Plan.  It is through women that souls journey to mortality and gain their agency, and in general it is through the nurturing of women, their nurturing love of their children, that the light of Christ is awakened within each soul. And we should include in that list of souls Jesus the Christ. Even Christ our Lord was escorted to mortality and veiled in flesh through the gift of a woman, fed at his mother’s breast, and awakened to all that is good and sweet in the world. Women escort every soul through the veil to mortal life and full agency. It is interesting to think that even Adam, who was created before Eve, entered into full mortality and full agency by accepting the gift of the First Tree from the hand of a woman. In a sense, Adam himself was born of Eve."
She later explains the interdependence of men and women:
"The LDS believe that Adam and his sons will give the gift of the fruit of the Second Tree to the children of God, those who are worthy to receive it, just as Eve and her daughters give the fruit of the First Tree to all who are worthy to partake of it. The fruit of the Second Tree is the ordinances of salvation and exaltation administered by the sons of God. Just as the doorway through the veil into this life is administered and guarded over by the women, the daughters of God, so the doorway through the veil that brings us home is administered and guarded over by the sons of God. And those that have accepted the gift of the Second Tree from the hands of the sons of God will pass through that veil and back to that celestial place where they can be with their Parents once more."
I had never considered the tree analogy.

I found another gem of an article when I looked at the footnotes.  I encourage all of my pregnant friends to read it, as well as those who have been pregnant or will be pregnant or know someone who has been.

The Sacrament of Birth

I loved this thought,
"During this incubation period within our mothers’ womb, our bodies are constructed. Because the Lord considers our bodies to be temples, we can consider our mothers to be the primary temple constructers."

She brings up so many parallels and symbolism that have to do with birth.  Here is an example:
 "In order for pregnancy to take hold, an entirely unique organ, the placenta, must be created to link the mother and her offspring. In its original Latin, placenta literally means cake. This cake, or bread-like organ serves to transmit essential nutrients from the mother to nourish the developing fetus, and in return conducts life-harming wastes produced by the fetus to be processed by the mother’s body. The ‘Bread of Life’ performs a similar function in our lives as He nourishes us spiritually and bears the responsibility of cleansing us. Christ said of himself, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
The entire article was fascinating and gave me a renewed energy and perspective for this last trimester of my pregnancy.

I am so grateful for the incredible gift and ability to create and nurture a human life - to help Heavenly Father's precious children work through this test called mortal life, to learn to choose Him when not in His presence, to learn to see through their spiritual eyes, and to make their way back to His loving arms.   

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To Spank or Not to Spank...

Thank-you for your great ideas on my last post.  They were great reminders to me that you have to know your children and find what consequences work for them.  I had to laugh at the push-up idea because I could see that working for a couple of my kids, but I think Bud would make mistakes on purpose if he got to do push ups for them - he'd think that was a blast ! :-)

I'm writing this post as a response to a comment which mentioned that a lot of the consequence ideas don't seem to work with younger kids.  Keri Tibbets talked about this at her TJEd presentation.  I hesitate to share too much of what Keri talked about because she says it so much better than I do and I'm sure her e-book will explain things in a very clear way, but I thought she made an interesting point so I thought I'd share it for this friend that had the concern.

I should probably preface by saying that I have always been rather anti-spanking.  I've read a lot on it and it seemed to me that it taught some negative behaviors (although research does show positive outcomes for children under 6, especially boys).  I was mostly worried that it would teach my children to use force to get what they wanted and that it would create resentment in our relationship.  Furthermore, I was spanked as a child so it was my first "instinct" as discipline when I became a parent, and I knew for sure that spanking in anger was detrimental and I knew that if I gave myself permission to spank when not in anger - I would slip into it when I was angry.

It took work with Spice and I did spank her a few times when I didn't know what else to do.  It was always in anger and I always felt terrible and would apologize afterward.  I did better with Bud and he only got a couple of spankings.  Little Miss is a naturally obedient child so not spanking her wasn't difficult.  The issue has come to my mind again with Bazinks though.  He is a sweet, sweet little boy, but he has his determined side.  There have been a few times when I will say something like, "Bazinks, that was wrong, you need to go to time-out."  And he'll respond with something like, "No, I'm not going to time-out".  Then I would respond with something like, "You can either go in there willingly or I'll have to put you in there myself and you'll have to stay in there longer."  This usually worked and he'd angrily stomp to time-out.  There have been a few times when he would refuse and say, "Then I'll just get out again."

When he was first learning about time-out, I would have to hold him to the corner so that he couldn't get out, but I was never really comfortable with this.  I felt like I was letting him get away with a lot of disrespect that wasn't appropriate (wrestling with your mother is disrespectful isn't it?)  With Spice and Bud I would sometimes put them in a room and hold the door closed while they threw a tantrum (I read about this in a book) and then when they were ready to be good, I would let them out (or I'd have them clean up anything they threw during their tantrum).  Again, I wasn't totally comfortable with this approach because I was letting them get into the habit of throwing tantrums and disrespecting things when they were angry.

So back to Bazinks.  When he would say, "Then I'll just get out again," I would respond with something like, "Then I'll just put you back in and you'll have to stay even longer."   "Then I'll just keep getting out," he might say.  Then I'd go and pick him up, put him in time-out for 6 minutes (instead of 4 since I had to put him in myself) and if he'd get out, I'd put him back in and add another minute and I'd do it again until he got the idea and resigned himself to stay.  Thankfully, he's never been a child to try to hurt me when these things are going on (or I might have resorted back to the shutting him in another room method).  Again, I wasn't totally comfortable with this approach because it took a lot of my time and he got something that he wanted (my attention) during it all.

Keri talked about the detrimental effects of spanking (kids that react with violence, damaged relationships, etc) and then she said that there was one way to make it a powerful tool for good.  Her rule is that for younger children (that are too young to be responsible for doing a job well when it is given as a consequence) that she has found spanking to be a proper consequence when a child disobeys a direct order.

For example, if she says to her child, "Go to time-out" and the child does not obey the direct command, she would take him to a different room (so he wouldn't be embarrassed in front of the others), give him a hard swat on the bottom, comfort him until he stopped crying, and then put him right back where he was and tell him to try again (this is key I think).  She would then repeat the command, "Go to time-out" and the child would go.  If not, the sequence would get repeated.  I thought it was interesting that the child still had to go to time-out after the spanking - the spanking wasn't the alternative punishment if he didn't go to time-out.  It was a completely different consequence because of a child's deliberate disobedience.

She said her children quickly learned that disobedience is not an option.  They go willingly to time-out when they are told, or quickly obey any other command that is spoken by their parents.  This frees her up to give gentle consequences for mistakes and forgetfulness because she is not constantly battling with her children about whether or not they will obey the gentle consequence.  This creates a very calm environment where kids learn it is safe to make mistakes and that the gentle consequences to those mistakes are there to help them learn.   She said she has been able to stop worrying about teaching obedience and she can move up to teaching higher and better things like manners and respect.  She also mentioned that she has had to spank very few times because her children learned very quickly that disobedience was not an option and they got into the habit of obeying.

I wasn't sure what to think of it at first.  Someone in the class did ask if there was anything besides spanking that would yield the same results.  She responded that she would love to hear about it if anyone found something, but that she has talked to people who have tried different things (locking their child in a car seat, holding them in time-out, etc) and that nothing else seems to give the same result.

Like I said earlier, the idea of spanking had been on my mind a little because of Bazinks' disobedience at times.  I've also been reading a lot of older books like Laddie, Little House, Little Britches, etc in which there is a lot of respect for parents and it seems that spanking was a form of discipline in all of them.  The stuff I had tried hadn't taught my children the habit of immediate obedience.  I still wasn't sure about it though, and I went home just pondering it a little.  There were several things I saw of merit in the approach.  One of them was that by picking the child up and taking them to another room, the mom would have a chance to calm down and wouldn't just be "reacting" with throwing out spankings.

The next day gave me a perfect opportunity to think about it some more.  Bazinks had been at my mom's house the previous day while we were at the TJEd conference, and, you know how grandmas are, he had eaten more sugar than he's used to, had not slept as long as normal, and had had some screen time (which makes him grumpy).  So he was being a little extra rebellious that Sunday.  I can't remember what he did at one point, but I told him to go to time-out for it.  He said "no" and then started knocking things off the kitchen counter (he was on the counter at the time) just to show us how upset he was.  I repeated the command and the usual things I say when he doesn't listen to the initial command (see above).  He did eventually go to time-out and we proceeded with our day.  A few hours later, he did something again and was told to go to time-out.  He again started knocking things off the counter.  Obviously the previous lesson was not effective.  I decided to try Kerri's method.  I picked him up, took him to the bathroom, gave him a swat on the bottom, held him while he cried, took him to where he was and told him to try again.  I said, "Go to time-out".  He went immediately.  A little later in the day he had to go to time-out again.  He went immediately.  He didn't disobey direct orders the rest of the week.  I though I had it made.  If I only had to spank him once and he'd obey me for the rest of his life then it was well worth it.

I did have to give spank him again a few weeks later though.  I guess the initial lesson wore off and he had to be reminded what happened when he disobeyed.  I hated it.  It's a lot harder to spank out of duty than out of anger!  He has had no problem with it since then.  Okay, there have been a few times when he didn't obey immediately and I went over to get him and he'd remember and obey, but I don't have the heart to spank him anyway for the lack of "immediateness".  I suppose it would be more effective if I never let him get away with any disobedience.  The habit would be so quickly ingrained and become a part of him.  I'm too much of a pushover for that though, so we'll take what we can get.   I know I have to work at being consistent because I have to do what I know is best for them even when it's hard.  As I said earlier, the older kids get an extra job when they deliberately disobey and this has been effective for them as well.

So there you go.  I'm still kind-of wishy-washy on it and I would like to find something that didn't require the spanking.  It would have to be something that is quick and doesn't give them a chance to argue or practice their disobedience.  I think I've tried almost everything, but nothings else seems to fit that criteria.   I've read a lot of books on discipline - my favorite being  A House United by Nicholeen Peck (actually I haven't read her book, but I've been to her 2-day seminar and I really got a lot from it) (Ranee did a good job explaining it in the comments in my last post).  I think her methods go hand in hand with those I heard from Keri.  One difference might be that Keri doesn't talk about the behavior.  She gives the child the consequence and the child is left to think about it on his own.  She talked about how if we re-iterate the lesson to our children and lecture them after the consequence that they don't own the lesson like they do when they are left to think about it on their own.  I like that point.

I don't know if I can muster another spanking, but I'm beginning to think that it will be the best thing for my child if it really does teach him the habit of obedience.  Writing this post has helped me feel more intellectually confident with it.  If I truly think it is the best way, then I can make myself do it, despite how much I hate it.  I must admit that my little boy seems very happy to know who is in charge so he can just go on being a child without having to worry about testing who really is in charge.  He has been even sweeter and happier.  I feel more calm as well.  We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Consequence Ideas

I was talking to a friend yesterday who was having a hard time coming up with good consequences for her kids when they forget to do something they have already been taught or told to do.  Then I came home and saw a comment on this blog about a similar problem.   I thought it might be helpful to say what I do, but I would also love any comments from others in what works for them and hopefully we can learn from each others' ideas.

My "fall back" consequence, or one that I usually go to, is for them to find 10 items to clean up.  I did write on a little notecard some exchanges for items if there are no more items to pick up.  That probably doesn't make any sense, so here is what the circumstance might look like.

A child comes in the house and takes off her coat and leaves it on the railing.  I say, "Oops, you forgot to hang your coat in the closet so hang it up and pick up 10 items."  The rules are that the items can't be in their own zone or room or something that we were about to do for family work anyway.  If they don't see anything that needs to be picked up they can look at the notecard that I taped next to their work lists.  It has ideas of things they can do that count as "items".

Clean out and re-organize one drawer = 5 items
Clean out and re-organize on cupboard = 10 items
Clean out and re-organize one closet shelf = 5 items
Clean the baseboard on one wall = 2 items
Dust the blinds with at damp cloth for one window = 20 items
Pull two weeds = 1 item
Scrub one dirty toilet = 10 items
Wipe off an entire door (front and back) and trim = 10 items
Take out a full garbage can and replace the bag = 5 items
Ask mom what else needs to be done = ? items

They also know that it needs to be dirty before they decide to clean it (I don't want them cleaning the same baseboard every time).

If they have earned 10 items for the same thing several times, I might up the items the next time they do it (without warning) since the consequence wasn't big enough to change the action before.  In other words I might give 20 or 30 items for leaving shoes on the floor if it's happened multiple times.

The way I have chosen to help them work faster (getting their morning list done on time or cleaning the kitchen before the timer beeps) is that they get an item or more for every minute that goes past the allotted time.  Right now, morning lists and breakfast (Bud is in charge of making breakfast this week and Spice of making the smoothie) need to be done by 8 am.  I know they are done when a child says, "Mom, do you need anything else?" and then, "Okay, I'm done, will you check my work?"  At this time, I check their work and if it is done right, I look at the clock.  If it is past 8am - they get to pick up as many items as the number of minutes past.

The first time I did this, I gave no warnings since they had already been taught to do it before 8.  Around 8:20, Bud came and said, "I'm done with my morning list."  I said, "No you're not, you forgot the last two items.  He said, "Oh yeah, do you need anything else?"  I asked him to get the baby dressed.  Then he said, "Okay, I'm done, will you come check my work."  I did and it passed so I looked at the clock and it said about 8:35 so he got 35 items to pick up.  The other kids saw what happened so they hurried and finished and got to pick up the number of items they earned.  The next day, everyone had their morning list done by 8.

In the kitchen - since they only have 10 minutes to have it cleaned (15 for whoever has dishes - I'll help if there are a lot of dishes) - they earn 5 items per minute that they go over.  I'm enjoying not having to say, "Hurry guys, you only have 5 minutes left", etc.  I just let the timer do the teaching and I stay quiet.  This is much more effective.  They are learning so fast!

The same rule applies to when I ring the bell for a meal.  They come right away and wash their hands and set the table.  If they don't, they earn 10 items or more depending on the circumstances.

I also use "time-out" as a consequence.  I usually use this for contention (and then they try again after the time-out) or for my 4 year old when I can tell that it's going to take work to get him to pick up 10 items.  Sometimes I'll use it on my older kids for varying reasons.  One of my friends uses this as her fall-back consequence for even her older children because they are so good at working that doing extra jobs is not a hard enough consequence for them, and they really dislike time-outs.  You just have to know what works best for your kids.

In her class, Keri said she gives a big extra job (to the older kids who are responsible enough to do it) if they disobey a direct instruction (an instruction like "go to time-out" or "pick up 10 items").  I've done this a couple of times.  Yesterday, I told Spice to stop practicing the piano and come help us empty the refrigerator.  She asked to finish the song she was on.  I said yes.  When she finished that song, she kept on playing a couple more songs.  Then she came in to help.  We were pretty much done by then so she earned the job of wiping out the fridge while I washed the drawers and shelves in the sink.  

Anyway, I hope that helps.  Does anyone have other consequence ideas?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

De-junking and Cleaning Again

I have a very good excuse for not writing on my blog lately.  You see, I have been thinking about spring cleaning, and, as any of my fellow procrastinators know, thinking about starting something can take a lot of mental energy and time (as you find ways to not do what you are thinking you should get started on). 

The good news is that that I finally just got around to writing a list sometime at the end of last week.  I decided to do one item on the list each day.  It will take me 2-3 weeks to finish, but it won't feel too overwhelming and since I am now 6 months pregnant, I don't have the energy to do much more anyway.

Here are items on my list:
Clean out pantry (1)
Clean out and polish all of the drawers and cupboards in the kitchen (1)
Clean out the fridge, freezer and stove (1)
Clean out and polish the drawers and cupboards in the bathrooms (1)
Put my box of "to sell" things on EBay (I've had this box since the last time I de-junked) (1)
Go through everyone's clothes and get rid of stuff and see what we need (1)
Go through the new baby things and get rid of stuff and see what we need (1)
De-junk and deep clean each room (3)
Wash the inside and outside of all the windows (1)
Go through the yard and pull out the dead stuff and garbage (2)

The numbers in parenthesis are the number of days I estimate for each thing to take.  I should be done with it all by the time it's time to plant our garden and some flowers.  Then I can just focus on taking care of that and keeping it weeded.  We got the pantry cleaned out today.  The kids enjoyed it!  They lined up in a line and handed things down to each other to empty the pantry and then handed them back up to me when it was time to replace them.  They especially loved how little Ray got in line and worked hard right along side them.  He was fun to watch.  He exaggerates his face expressions and grunts like he is working so hard.  It's adorable.

I have also been diligently searching on KSL for a chicken coop.  I would like to get chickens this year because I feel like a hypocrite every time I buy the cheap Wal-mart eggs since I've seen how those chickens are treated and I know they don't eat very nutritiously (and therefore their eggs aren't all that nutritious).  I don't want to support that, but then we go through quite a bit of eggs (about 4 dozen/week) and I have a hard time spending $3/dozen eggs for the good kind.  I have several friends with chicken coops and it seems that it is something I could handle.

Thank-you all for your comments on my last post.  I'm glad it has been helpful to some of you!  It has made a big difference over here.  I no longer see coats and shoes all over, towels are beginning to be hung up after they are used, kids are coming right away when I call, and morning lists are getting done quickly.  What a simple concept that I never considered before - just letting my kids learn from their mistakes instead of keeping them from making them by constantly reminding them of what they already know.  I'm looking forward to reviewing the parenting e-book when it is ready.

The other thing I've been up to is trying to read some ancient classics (Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid).  I've started by reading the book Mythology that is recommended in the TJED for Teens book so that I can get a better background and I retain more of what I read about later.  I must say that I really dislike it all so far.  It drives me crazy when the people are rarely at fault for what they do because they were "made to fall in love" by the gods or had a fit of madness because a god was jealous, etc.  The gods are so temperamental and the things they do often don't make any sense since they punish people who had nothing to do with why they are upset in the first place.  I'm making myself get through it, though, because many of the books I've started reading lately (Les Miserables, Paradise Lost) make references to these myths and I want to understand what they are saying.  I must confess I'm not enjoying it though, but maybe I'll change my mind when I start actually reading Homer and Virgil (I just finished Mythology last night so the harder stuff is next).

That's pretty much what we've been up to lately.  We're getting ready for the kid's choir performance this Friday and Rob Gardner's The Lamb of God performance in Ogden on Saturday.  I haven't seen the kids perform any of their songs because the teacher has kept the rehearsals closed in order to surprise us, so I'm pretty excited to see them.  Bud has a small solo that should be fun to watch.

Anyone else getting some cleaning done?  I need to read some motivational posts.  Thanks to Deanna for writing this one and this one.  And to Christy for this one and this one.  I would like to go through the questions soon myself if I can ever get up early enough to blog (which I didn't do today so I'm on the computer during free time - which I try to avoid doing very often - and now I am going to be late to Spice's and Bud's piano lessons so I'm going to post this now without reading through it first - hopefully it's legible!)