Monday, March 22, 2010


Our lives are filled with stories. Not one story, but thousands-even millions of stories. Some take all of 2 minutes of our lives while some take decades.

Many times- most of the time the story line is out of our control. The main character- me, you, whomever' s life it is- is in control of the mood. Some stories are tragic and some heroic. Some can go through some of the most horrible situations and come out victorious. Others have minor difficulties yet can tell the most dramatic plot.

Stories can end and begin suddenly. Layoffs, pregnancies, deaths, car accidents, miracles, gifts, chance encounters can all happen in the blink of an eye and wherever your life is going takes a dramatic turn and one story ends while another begins.

There is great struggle in some stories, while others are light hearted. Depression. Excitement. Suspense. Heartache. Joy.

Frustration can come when the character of the story tries to finish it before the time comes. The husband that expects to finish the day with a hearty dinner and a quiet evening at 12 noon. The couple that plans to retire at 55 and travel together. The parents that envision their 5 year old as the first person on Mars.

I have gone through years of painful depression due to my inability to let someone else have control of where my stories will take me. Healing is such a beautiful thing.

Today my 4 year old found ants in the bathroom and she was scared of them. She told me they weren't supposed to be on the toilet but they were there because they were friends and wanted to play together.

Tomorrow, I am not sure what my story will be. Next year, my 40's, empty nesting, is a mystery. Life is an adventure. What I can be sure of is this. What I have today is a blessing and I will always cherish today. I will never be alone. I love the Lord and His promise says that "All things work for good for those that love the Lord." The rest of my life will probably be very difficult. After that, paradise.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Love Spring!

We've spent quite a bit of time looking for the signs of spring...................

Time to take the Christmas lights off the deck?

A little cleaning....

A nice snow on the first day of spring-

60 degree weather, snowing, 60 degrees....melting....

Green wheat fields

Ooops. I musn't have rotated this one. We planted this tree last fall and now the buds are forming.

Sedum peeking out from under the leaves....

We made a bud boquet....

Plenty of outdoor time!!!!

Time to break out the cute dresses and sidewalk chalk.....


I find the nicer it is outside, the less time I spend on the computer- and doing laundry.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rewards, Motivators...Whatever.

There are so many parenting books and theories out there. Really. I don't claim to know what is right about how to raise great kids. I DO have my favorite tactics, but there is always an exception.

Typically, I prefer not to use rewards or punishments- more like consequences- good and bad. However, there is a time for what you've sworn is not the best way. Here's my opinion.

I hate rewarding or motivating with food. That comes from my days at working with overweight children in a school setting where teachers were awarding mediocre behavior with THOUSANDS of calories. That's not an exaggeration.

Candy, cakes, cookies, etc. are fun and yummy and have their appropriate place in the world, but NOT as a reward for good behavior......well, at least with very few exceptions. (yes, I have done it before.)

Trinkets and toys are better, but still clutter up my house and give the child the idea that they should receive something any time they do something good.

Sometimes I say things, well, just blurt things out not knowing how it will be received. Last night Savannah was doing her Math and I told her that every time she got a problem right she "got" to do 10 jumping jacks. Well, what do you know, it worked! She was so excited when she got to do her jumping jacks. It motivated her! It gave her a little boost of energy to keep going...and going, and going. She had so much fun and was silly, counting 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9....100! Then fall over laughing, get another problem right and do it all over again.

I tried the same thing with Brooke today and it worked as well.

Other motivators I've tried:

  • Using a "Superstar" necklace that they get to wear if I catch them making a good choice. Then it is their job to catch someone else making a good choice and to pass it on. They are excited for each other and love to pass it on!
  • 15 minutes of computer time. I have a list of pre-approved web sites and a timer. The thought here is if they get their work done and done well then they can play. Work before play. I do always have "free time" play that is not earned because I believe in the benefits of it. Computer playing can be eliminated if need be, though.
  • Last year my Mom made each of the girls sticker books by printing graphics off of the computer and laminating and binding them at the school. Now I can motivate them with sticker and there is a place to put them- NOT on my furniture or walls!! Stickers can be cheap and fun.
  • Stamps are even cheaper.
  • Asking them to help me with something because they have shown that they are responsible enough to handle it.
  • And finally, let's not underestimate the power of positive words. "Wow, you really worked hard at that!", or "You must feel great about what you did today!", or " I saw how patient you were when we were getting ready for lunch!" Things like that work much better than criticism, believe me, I know.

Obviously, personality and preferences play a huge role in what motivates each child. All 4 of my girls are very different! They are so fun to study and to see what makes them tick. I LOVE my job!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Never A Dull Moment

Yesterday Sook told us he would meet us at Dos Reales for supper. I appreciate not having to cook. Eating out is hard work in a different way. Yesterday was entertaining as well.

On the way, this was our conversation (over the kid's CD)

Ellie: "Aunt Wendi, did we have lunch today?"

Me: "Uh, yeah"

Ellie: "Aunt Wendi, what did we have at lunch time?"

Me: "Pork roast."

Ellie: "What's a roast?"

Summer: "A roast is when you burp and that is roast." (she meant

We like Dos Reales for the quick, cheap food and free chips and salsa. The girls must like it for the bathrooms. I spend half of the time in the bathrooms there.

My tostaguac was very good. I only order one so I don't stuff myself but I really want to eat all of it! When I had a few bites left, Brooke announced, "Mommy!!! I have to go poop!!!"

I start shoveling my tostaguac. I want to finish it before we journey to the restrooms.

"MOMMY!!! I have to poop, I have to poop Mommy! I have to POOP!"

So I leave my tostaguac uneaten. I'd have to finish it later.

So I go to the bathroom with my singing daughter, she goes in, and says "la la la la cha cha cha ma ma ma ..." etc.

Brooke: "Mommy, I'm gonna wock you owt. You can't come in

Me: "Brooke, are you going yet?"

Brooke: "Mommy, you can't come in. I wocked you out! STAY

Me: "I don't want to come in. Are you done yet?"

Brooke: "Yeah, I'd done, I'm wiping."

Me: "Do you need help?"

Brooke: "Oh, yeah, I wiw wet you in now. Here you go. You can
come in now. I opened the door."

(I come in the stall)

Brooke: "Oh, I'm not done

(I go out of the stall)

Brooke: "Blah blah blah blah" (for about 2 more

Me: Brooke, I'm hungry. I'm ready to go back.

Brooke: "Just ONE more, Mommy! Three poops. That's all, Mommy.
I weft the door open. It's open, you can come in.....Uh,oh! I got poop on

Me: "Here, just let me do

We finish up. I go back to my seat. My plate was gone. Great. At least there are free chips and salsa AND free refills on my coke.

I am happy to report we had no spilled drinks, no meltdowns, and minimal climbing on booths that weren't ours.

When we get in the car and start driving home Brooke says, "When we get home I'm gonna eat supper. I'm hungry."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Case You Wanted to Know...

Right now, we are loving math. Yep, MATH!

I like to incorporate math in everyday life from counting to cooking, measuring, more or less questions, games, etc. I think this has given somewhat of a foundation for learning math concepts.

Recently I have found some super math programs that are working for all 4 of my girls (pre-K to 1st Grade currently)

Kid Zone- many worksheets and learning ideas- not just math but I like to be able to just go somewhere and print something off as needed. It eliminates piles of math books lying around.

Giggle Learn- for 1st-3rd grade. This teaches technique for addition and subtraction. I wish I would have learned from these people in elementary school, not the stupid point system. Up until now I have had to count the points on numbers for several equations. I love this program so far and so do all of the girls! (All with different learning styles!)

ixl math- online practice based on state standards. This way I know I'm not leaving anything out and the kids love "playing math" on the computer. You can do this for approx. 15 minutes a day for free, but if you subscribe they keep records of what your child has accomplished, give virtual prizes and e-mail certificates, all which motivate my kids. I think it is well worth it!

I am struggling with either sending my kids to bed on time or letting them stay up a while and do math. Since I am a night owl, the math usually wins.