Mommy said so….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou probably thought I had forgotten about it….but I don’t think any parent EVER forgets about the topic of discipline;)

Nope, sorry my writings are so random, it’s therapy for me as it helps me put my ponderings into more concrete insights, so I can actually make change….thanks for your patience:)

Anyway, so along this more recent in-depth study of discipline you know what thought keeps coming back?

“Meg, until YOU change, there will be NO change.”

Well that’s a bit disheartening for me, but it’s true. I’ve read and studied discipline since before having children and for the type of household and family culture I’m striving for, it is just NOT going to happen with my current habits.

Here the low-down:

I’m a control freak

I’m a perfectionist

I’m nearly OCD when it comes to planning and organization

I’m bossy

I’m NOT touchy/ feel-y nor do I deal well with high-emotional situations

Can you see where these traits might just cause some conflict in any home? But especially in a home where the other members are:

Care-free

Fun-loving

Impulsive

Independent

Fearless

High-emotion and physical affection oriented

Its a precarious mix to say the least.

Now, looking at it from a big picture standpoint (and considering my last post🙂  I think we have a lot to learn from each other. That being said, no one is going to want to listen to me if I’m a witchy, party-crashing, beast that only talks to give orders and demand obedience.

Besides my theological research, which I’ll share in a separate post, my latest VERY helpful book on the topic of discipline has been this book
What I love about it is it shares how societal culture has led to a shift in family culture, thus creating a need for different discipline approaches. Also, it helps YOU as the parent, define your parenting style and explains why that can cause conflict or future discipline issues.

What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about the incredibly smart author is that she’s created a whole step-by-step/systematic approach to tackling the subject of discipline AND she has a great website (www.positiveparentingsolutions.com) that offers free webinars, free trainings, and free surveys (to find your parenting style).

One of the very first things that this discipline approach suggests is to spend more quality time individually with each child, actually at least 20 minutes each day per child. This is something that I’ve been thinking about for awhile, even before reading this book, especially when I noticed that quality time and physical affection were so high on the “love languages” for my kiddos (you can find out more about love languages and discovering those of your family here) But when I heard the reasoning and statistics for the quality time, it motivated me more to try for more consistent individual time with each child.

Now, maybe it’s not a big deal for most, but when I think of 20 minutes each child, each day I think….”How in the….?”

So I figured I’d start with 10 minutes each day each child…but even that was too much and crazy/stressful for me, so I switched to once a week. We call is our “date night” each kid gets one night that they get to stay up 20-30 (sometimes more) minutes up past bedtime to have a date with me. Each child chooses what they would like to do (except for T.V ). This means Engineer usually chooses his latest project, we are currently working on a hot-air balloon. Fiesta usually wants to do nails and/or makeup or color pictures (Wanna see when she gave me a makeover? ). And Elf often does nails too but likes to read stories a lot as well.

Honestly, some nights it’s hard for me to calm my to-do list going in my head, but by the end of the date I’m always more relaxed and refreshed.

Even more rewarding has been the immediate changes I’ve seen in my kids, especially Fiesta. Most notable the day right after their date, they are more compliable, talkative (in a good way), understanding, compassionate and overall in better spirits. It has really been a blessing for everyone. Now I just need to work up to more time, on a consistent basis.

I’ve especially noticed that Elf really needs time every day, so I’ve been trying to be more creative with “dates”. We cook, bake, read, sit and talk, make something, have a tea party, go to the park or on an errand drive (if Marvel is home so we can go just the two of us). I’m really hoping it will become more natural to me as time goes on so I don’t treat EVERYTHING like a check-list. But step-by-step, here I go.

You can see other posts on my discipline journey here.

So please do share….What changes in your discipline approach have had immediate changes?

By the way, I’m not getting paid for the “advertising” on Amy McCready’s book nor website, I just love it and thought someone else might find it helpful. The link to the book is an Amazon Affiliate link, however, so if you do decide to buy the book I would greatly appreciate you using that link to support this site. Thanks!

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Romantic Rendezvous

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Since Marvel and I won’t be able to celebrate on the actual Valentine’s Day, I wanted to “surprise” him with something special before he left. The limits were diet (we have a lot of food sensitivities at our house), time, budget, and no babysitter.

Well, I don’t think anything turns out the way I have it pictured in my mind but considering having to do our school responsibilities, restock our nearly empty fridge, teething baby that’s transition from 2 naps to one, and getting (threatening?) the kids to bed early (can someone tell me why kids NEVER go to bed early when you want them to?)….it turned out presentable and my hubby was happy so all’s well that ends well.

So here’s how it went.

First I made a simple invitation to leave on his computer screen while he was showering in the morning (sorry, didn’t get a picture of that one before it got destroyed).

Then we finished up with school and thankfully he took two of the girls to run errands with him, so I just took my son and baby to the grocery store.

Came home and Engineer helped me put groceries away and make the lemonade (which I added the raspberries to later) while I got the bread sticks going. Another set back was the bread didn’t rise???!! (Still no idea what I did differently) Which is why they became bread sticks and I have that corny bread heart 🙂

I cut up the filling for the Beef Milanesa Roll (I made this up  that day, you can get the recipe here), being sure I cut up enough to make something similar for the kids on the actual Valentine’s Day. When I  got to the mushroom cutting I just chopped them all and made a mushroom soup that could cook while I finished preparing the beef.

I rolled up the Milanesas and made the sauce, poured it on and popped in  the oven. Then I got the first pan of breadsticks ready, cleaned up a bit and then stuck them in  the oven.

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Next I made the layered Maple Spice Cake (get it the recipe here) that is one of the few desserts my Marvel will eat,  and put in in the oven as well ( just cut it into a heart BTW). By now the soup was cooked and I turned off the heat for it.

I got the potatoes peeled and cooking in the pressure cooker. Then I made the breadstick heart and put them in the oven as I took the first pan of breadsticks out.

Got the kids bathed and in bed, cleaned up my mess, mashed the potatoes and made the salads and finished the lemonade….then off to make myself look like I hadn’t been cooking for the last couple hours;)

While I got ready I “set-up” the room with candles and our wedding playlist of music and made everything pretty.

After I was presentable I made up the plates and set the table and called Marvel to the table.

He’s always so cute and makes a big deal when he knows I put a lot of effort into something for him. He’s such a keeper:)

So….it was really a nice evening.  We ate dinner with a real conversation, no interruptions! Watched a movie…well, I watched a movie. As usual, he fell asleep and I got one of the action movies he likes so I couldn’t turn it off ‘til I found out what happened….and then couldn’t sleep cause I thought I was being chased all night:/ …And…. Well…there may or may not have been more to the evening but I’m not tellin’… 😉

Nailpolish, Puddles, and Sprinkle Tea

ImageDo you know how hard it was to take this? Haha, three little wiggley girls and newly painted toes!

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I was so busy having fun playing in the rain that I forgot to take pictures! But you can see that there was enough rain to have some good wet, muddy fun!

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Rose hip tea with star sprinkles! Warm and ready for bed after puddle-jumping!

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I always drink my tea and play in the dirty laundry, don’t you?

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My daugher is a better photographer than me!

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Even the baby loves this book!

Today was a good day as long as I think of it in terms of priorities. If I think of my long list of “to-dos” then I start to feel discouraged. This summer break I was determined to be more involved in my children’s adventures rather than just organizing and monitoring them. It doesn’t come easy for me. I’m a list-maker, task-oriented, work-aholic type. So I started by making a list of fun things I knew we could all do together, trying to focus on easy, economical activities. Then I started a mantra to myself, “What am I missing out on?” The truth is my kids will not be little forever. There are even fewer years that they will find such joy in little things and WANT to be hangout with me! So today I once again started on my list of to-dos but I kept my mantra in my head. Maybe I didn’t get the floor mopped and the rest of that shelf organized but I did some “to-dos” that were much more important and much more fun.

Instead of insisting that my 3 yr. old go back to bed when she woke me up this morning (before 4am) I went to her bed and let her fall asleep on my chest like she used too when she was a baby

We went to the park and everyone took turns getting dizzy on the merry-go-round

We had a pedicure party and painted all the girls toenails (mine too)!

I stopped what I was doing so I could read to my oldest daughter from the Wizard of Oz for the 40th time(O.K, O.K….so maybe only the 10th)

We went swimming in the freezing (well, cold to me anyway) pool and my daughter and I sang the Wiggles World theme song while she showed me her dance moves

We played in the rain, complete with puddle jumping and floating boats

I stopped what I was doing to let me son tell me his latest jokes (which I think are funny just because of the way he laughs at them)!

We all jumped on Daddy when he got home and gave him a proper welcome

We stayed up a bit later to read the next chapter in our read-aloud book just cause we love it so much

So, when I think of it that way…memories were made and bonds were strengthened…maybe we did get a lot done today.