Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions In The Making

Typically Monday's are reserved for my friend Nan's link up at her blog Mom's The Word. This week she's taking the week off, but you can still check out her latest blog post here. She's amazingly funny and insightful all at the same time!

Traditions are a big deal in my family. We have the typical traditions of the tree and the decorations and the gifts, but we also have some unconventional traditions thrown in there for good measure.

For example:

Christmas Adam: each year we do something different for the night before Christmas Eve (get it - Christmas ADAM?) This year we went with my folks to see the Christmas light display at the local university (well, 60-ish miles away IS local here!) then to eat. It's a walk-through display with lots and LOTS to see. The very best part was hearing the kids' excitement with every display. They of course had their favorites, and the hubbs and I had ours.

Christmas Eve Smorgasbord: No, we are not Danish, this is just something fun we do. Each year we have a different theme, with similar ingredients. One year we had a fish fry, one year we had a crawfish boil, one year shrimp and lamb chops (meat pops as my minecraft inundated kids call them . . .). They always involve seafood - kind of our answer to the Italian tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes.

Gifts of the Magi: Each year our children get three gifts from us (one from Santa!) - these three are to remind them of the gifts given to Christ by the kings when they came to see and worship him. They are usually fairly small gifts, but fun ones that the kids wanted.

We've also started some new traditions this year:

The Elf on a Shelf: No, we didn't buy one from the store. We actually HAD an elf that my husband got from his family some time ago. Who knew that all we needed to do to give him elf magic was to name him and sprinkle him with some cinnamon? E named him Buddy after Will Farrell's character in Elf. Buddy's gotten into a bit of mischief this year - we'll have to see what he gets into next year!

The Christmas Pickle: As it turns out, this is a REAL tradition! My husband is part German, so we get into the German traditions a LOT. This is one that we just found out about. The kids search for the pickle on the tree and the first one to find it gets a "special" gift as a prize! Not sure how this one is going to go with our kids . . . We may have to nix it next year!

And of course there are the traditions that I always WANT to do, but never get around to like:

Christmas Cards: I think I have FOUR boxes of these suckers. I ALWAYS buy them, and NEVER send them!! I don't know if it's laziness or what, but I haven't sent a Christmas card in  . . . well . . . Okay a LONG time!! All I can say is thank God for Facebook . . .

Christmas Cookies: I always want to bake, bake, bake the holiday season, but I NEVER have time to do it with all of the running around! So we rarely have Christmas cookies. Not sure what I'm leaving for Santa this year. Maybe rice cakes and a protein shake . . ?

The Gingerbread House: HahahahahahahahahaHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahahahahahaaa! Sorry. Got a bit carried away. Yeah. The Gingerbread House. Every year I say "we're going to do it this year!" and . . . nope. It's a laugh for sure.

Christmas lights: I want lights on the house so bad, but they never happen. Maybe one day . . . (hint, hint, hubby!)

So that's what our Christmas Traditions look like this year. What traditions do you and your family share?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When Your Child Can't "Go"

Yesterday I had one of the most frightening moments of my life.
E had been sick the night before - I'd assumed she'd eaten too much or caught a flu bug going around, so I brushed it off. Then, yesterday morning, I woke her up to get her ready for school. She had seemed like she felt better - playing with the puppy in her bed, smiling, and laughing (as she does). She headed back to get dressed and I went to get her clothes. I heard her in the bathroom, retching and my heart sank. I hate when my kids are sick - my heart just breaks for them. So I went in and helped her, then decided to help her back to bed - there was no way she was going to school. When we got to the door between the living room and the dining room, she stopped. I heard the scared tremor in her voice as she cried out "mama I can't SEE!" I ran to her and looked at her face. Her color had gone from her usually pale pink to an ashy grey-green. And her eyes, in a fully lit room, were completely dilated. My heart racing, I quickly helped her sit in a chair and called my mom, in a panic. She rushed over and we planned to take E to the ER in the next town over.

As time went on, she looked better and acted like she felt better, so we decided to take her to her pediatrician rather than sitting for hours in the ER.

Then, something dawned on me. E had been constipated (severely) the week before. We had done a clean out routine that involved Miralax and a suppository, and she had gone, but I didn't know how much (she wouldn't let me look). As it was, she hadn't gone to the bathroom since. Apparently, the clean out we did did not take and she wasn't completely cleaned out.

So WHY did it not work? We're talking 17 capfuls of Miralax in a pitcher of water and a suppository. And it wasn't until the suppository that she actually went.

According to our pediatrician, when some people digest their food, their bodies remove TOO MUCH water, causing what's left over to become too dry. This puts them into a continuous cycle of constipation. And not much can help with it. Miralax will, for a while, but once their bodies get used to it or they come off it, the cycle begins again.

FINALLY we're beginning to get some answers.
This explains EVERYTHING.

We have had issues with this since E was 3 years old. Now I know why.
The constipation was so bad that it caused Emily to get sick (this has happened before).

So what now?

Well for this initial clean out we have been told to use drastic measures after which we will be doing an unconventional treatment - suppository therapy.

We're praying this finally works for E. It's time for this cycle to end.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordful Wednesday: Ragamuffin

My spiritual life has been rocky, to say the least.
When I was younger, I turned completely away from God and into an opposite direction for a while.
When I returned to Him, I still wasn't the person I could be.
Even now, I am not the model image of "Christian".
I am a sinner.
I am a gossip, a fornicator, a drunkard, and a liar.
I fail, quite often, and I can be quite good at it.
And the beauty of it is:
Christ doesn't see these sins.
When I chose to accept Him, my sins were wiped clean.
I begin each day free and clear.

Salvation is a gift, freely given, of God Himself.
He does not require that we do anything to receive it, other than accept it.
When he sent Christ to die on the cross, it wasn't with conditions or stipulations:
He did not say, "I'll do this, but you have to do something for me first . . ."
Nope. All he wants is for us to accept Him.

Recently I started reading a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel.
This book speaks about Christ in a way I've never heard before.
You see, out of all the holy people in Israel during his life: the pharisees, the rabbis, the sadducees . . . He did not associate himself with them.
Instead, Jesus hung out with the rif-raf.
He dined with prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, murderers, and the like.
He sat with gossips, fornicators, drunkards, and liars.
Jesus' friends were all, to coin a phrase, ragamuffins.
He knew who needed him most.
He knew who needed salvation most.

Looking at my own life, I realize how big a ragamuffin I am, personally.
I am a sinner, sometimes in the worst way.

I hear a lot of "prosperity preaching", and have even heard some ministers and preachers say: "God has promised you blessings!" "You deserve to be blessed!" This is something that, no matter how hard I try, I just can't adhere to.

We do not deserve blessings. We are human, therefore we are sinners. Sin, according to the bible, is "punishable by death" (Romans 6:23). That punishment was taken by Jesus.

While God does promise blessings for His children, being blessed spiritually and being blessed secularly are two totally different things. God promises SPIRITUAL blessings. He doesn't promise financial, romantic, or any other blessing in that realm. In every scripture I've ever read about blessings, these are never addressed. (There are many of you out there that will disagree with me, and that's okay.)

Accept His Blessing (eternal life) - accept His Love - accept His Sacrifice (Jesus Christ) and you WILL be blessed.

I am His Ragamuffin.
Are you?

God Bless,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making Your Home Sing Monday: Turn Off The TV!

I'm a day late! But at least I got it posted, right? 

Hey there everyone! It's Monday again (not anymore)! You know what that means: I'm linking up with my wonderful bloggy friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her weekly link-up Making Your Home Sing Monday! Wanna know more? Go check it out and link up!

Hello. My name is Jen. And I am a TV addict.
So is my husband.
So are my children.
And let's not get started on video games.
We are a total gaming family.
But there's a problem with that.
We spend so much time in front of the TV having "screen time" that we don't really interact with each other much. We don't have dinner at the table. We don't play board games. We don't have very many meaningful, in depth conversations with our children, either.
This is a problem.
So this week, I am going to propose something that I have a feeling my family isn't going to love.
This week, we are going to turn the TV off.
Not completely mind you - my husband would NOT go for that. Rather, we will have the TV off from the time the kids get out of school until after dinner is cleaned up.
As for me, I will allow myself an hour of "screen time" a day.
Rather than watching TV, in the afternoons we will listen to music, play games, talk, the kids and the hubby will help with dinner/setting the table, etc.
My hope is that this will help my family get to know each other a little better.
Pray for us . . . This should get interesting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

*I had actually intended on posting this with pictures, but I did not end up making it last night! I promise I will post pictures next week!*

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken with Sauteed Vegetables


10-12 chicken legs or thighs, washed and rinsed


2 T lime zest (about 2 limes worth)
juice of 2 limes
1/2 C vegetable or canola oil
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C water
1 T fajita seasoning
handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped slightly

1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 purple onion, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 yellow or green bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. place about 2 T of the mixture into a smaller bowl and set aside. Pour the rest into a plastic storage bag. Add chicken to the bag and squish around until chicken is well covered. Set aside and allow to marinade for 15 minutes.

Pour remaining marinade into another plastic bag and add vegetables. Toss to coat and set aside. Allow to marinade for 10-15 minutes.

To cook the chicken:
Remove chicken from marinade and dry off (this is VERY IMPORTANT!). Grill 6-8 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 164 degrees in the thickest part of the meat. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

To cook the vegetables:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp cooking oil of choice. Add veggies and saute until crisp-tender (or as done as you want them to be - I like them slightly caramelized!) Serve warm.

Make it a meal:

Add some prepared quinoa or a salad to round out this delicious meal!

Did you try this recipe? Comment below and tell me what you thought!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Is Coming!

Monday's are usually allotted for Making Your Home Sing Monday, hosted by my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word. Today, however, she has something else in store! A wonderful two-part series on how to have a self-cleaning kitchen! Yes, I am certainly going to be taking notes on this one! Go ahead and run on over there and give her some love - and trust me when I say you'll probably learn something!
Go on! I'll wait!


'K, back? Great!!

Guess what time of year it it!
My FAVORITE time of year.
I LOVE Christmas so much. The lights, the decorations, the food, the gifts, the family time . . .
It's all so wonderful.
This weekend we decorated for Christmas (a week later than I wanted, but hey! At least it got done!)
We got the tree up,
Got the little decorations up . . .
Even put out my decorative scent warmer
And gave Leonard, our rat, a bit of festive decoration of his own.
But it's still not enough.

I love what two of my best friends have done in their homes - they've decorated the pictures, wall hangings, and family pictures around their house with little Santa hats and other festive decorations (picture Ringo Starr holding a Candy Cane - AWESOME!!)
I have SO got to do this.

I want decorations EVERYWHERE.
Seriously, folks, I want it to look like the Christmas Elf threw up in my living room.

But I have to stop myself and remember something important.
This time of year is not about the decorations.
It's not about the lights, the food, the gifts . . .
In reality, it's not even about the family time.
It is about a tiny little baby born over 2,000 years ago, the night that His earthly mother held Him for the very first time, and the light and love He brought into the world.
It's about Jesus.
Christmas would still be here without all the other stuff, but it would not be here without Him.
So, this Christmas season, I will be making my home sing by keeping the CHRIST in CHRISTmas and teaching my children the REAL meaning of Christmas.

God bless,

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Back Again! New Look, New Format!

So, I have been on a bit of a haitus. Not because I don't love blogging. Au contraire . . .
I have just been lost on this particular blog. With my other blog, it's simple. It's all about my weight loss. Nothing else involved. But HERE. Well, this is my forum to talk about anything and everything.

What's a writer to do . . ?

Then it hit me!

A blog about everything should be just that! A blog about EVERYTHING!
So, welcome to it.
This is my blog about EVERYTHING.
The new format will look something like this:

Monday: I will be linking up every Monday with my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her link-up "Making Your Home Sing Monday"

Tuesday: "Tasty Tuesday" will return! And most recipes will be low carb and/or Paleo based (and YUM).

Wednesday: "Wordful Wednesday" will come about - this day will be dedicated to scripture and religious discussion.

Thursday: As a Mary Kay lady, I have to throw in a few posts dedicated just for that, and they will be here! Thursday will be "Thnk Pink Thursday" and all about Mary Kay, including my own personal successes, struggles, and any specials I'll be running for that week/month!

Friday: TMI Friday returns - with a VENGENCE (let's just say that having weight loss surgery has given me a LOT of TMI Friday moments!)

Saturday/Sunday: These two days will be dedicated to photography, art, music, crafts, and writing.

I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and I hope you'll join me! Thanks for reading!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday Update: My Scale Sucks . . .

Seriously, I need a new scale.
Or I need to make friends with a doctor that will let me come weigh every week.

My scale SUCKS.
One day I weigh in at 220, the next 227, the next 220, the next 228 . . .
And let's not get started on when I step off and step on again.
Did you know it's entirely possible to gain 15 pounds in under a minute?

So here's this week's update:

(by the way, my laptop is a bit out of commission so vlogs are on hold until I can A) figure out why it's being a butt and fix it or B) I get enough money for the really cool gaming laptop I've got my eye on. I'll keep you posted)

Starting Weight: 295
Surgery Weight: 285

Highest Weight: 310
Current Weight: 220

How's my eating? 
Pretty good - I am now where I can pretty well eat whatever I want, within reason. I don't have any more issues with meat or eggs (thank God!). I do not do well with high-sugar items however - remember the discussion we had on dumping syndrome? As it turns out it DOES, in fact, affect a lot of sleevers. I happen to be one of them. Part of me is glad for this, but part of me (the whiny kid that is still addicted to chocolate donuts and pasta) really hates it. But I'll get over it. I need to focus on the GOOD rather than the BAD - both emotionally and food-wise. Making good choices means I don't get sick, I feel better, I keep losing, and, eventually, I reach goal. 

I still have issues with carbs. My husband and I went on a road trip this weekend and brought with us "naughty foods" with the sole purpose of eating as much crap as we could on this trip (this is how our vacations go, for some reason). The unfortunate thing is that we still have some of this crap left over. Guess what I ate a lot of yesterday. Yeah . . . There's a reason why I have to stick to a low-carb lifestyle. I never realized how much my food addiction focused on carbohydrates until now. I had always been taught that carbs were okay - especially whole grain ones. Apparently in MY case, that's not true. I can't resist them and apparently my sleeve really likes them because I can eat a LOT of them.

Now for some NSV's (non-scale victories):

First off, this weekend's trip was centered around a renaissance festival near Houston, TX (yes - we are the nerdy ones that show up in costume). I have, as part of my garb, a bodice that I bought a few years ago for around $250 (I swear I spend more money on clothes for faire than I do for clothes IRL {in real life}) - this bodice has lacings in front and in back. When I bought it, we had to add a second lacing to the back and the front lacing was open about 6 inches. This is what it looked like:

Before: Around 300 lbs

Okay . . . So maybe the bodice is MORE than six inches apart. Yeah. Pretty bad. And I actually thought I looked GOOD. *eye rolling*.
So, HERE'S what I looked like this weekend:

After: Around 220
The lacing in front is tightened all the way, and the back is almost to the point of removing the second lacing.

So, does the sleeve work? 
^^^^^You be the judge^^^^^

So I have 20 pounds until my next goal of 200. This is the weight I was when I graduated high school.
My goal is to reach that by December 1st. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tasty Tuesday! What I'm Cookin'!

Today I am making something yummy and delicious. 
Something that was quick and easy, but slooooowwww cooking all day long.

They're wonderful fruit. 
And you know what happens the more you eat of them . . . 

Well, let's talk about the beans themselves, shall we?


It has become my BFF in the kitchen and I use it at least twice a week.
Today it holds a favorite of my whole family.
Pinto beans. 

Here's how I did it:

I picked through a lb. bag of pintos, picking out all the broken bits and stones.

I poured the lot into my crock pot and covered it with two cans of chicken broth plus two cans of water 
(I used the chicken broth cans).
I then added a bit of chili powder, some King's Spice 
(from Scarborough Faire in Texas), 
some Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. 
Then I popped on the lid and let 'er rip.

I started them at 7am. It is now 9 and my house smells amazing already.

Tonight we have beans.
Tomorrow night I will take 1/2 the leftovers and mash them and make homemade refried beans.

Thursday they will go back into the crock along with a can of black beans, some hamburger meat, tomatoes, beef broth, seasonings, and bell pepper and onion for a delicious chili.
I love beans.
So, what are YOU cookin' today?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Helping Robert

See that beautiful smiling face?
That's my amazing, wonderful, fantastic nephew, Robby.
Isn't he adorable?
Recently, Robby was in a terrible accident.
While he and some friends were out riding their bicycles, Robby was hit by a 3/4 ton pickup truck.
He sustained extensive injuries including a fractured vertebrae, a broken pelvis, and a laceration on his kidney.
It is a literal miracle that Robby is still with us today.
Robby is in the hospital recovering, and doing well.
He's had surgery to install a metal plate in his hip to help the healing of his pelvis and will have to undergo another surgery in 3 months to remove said plate (to allow his bones to continue to grow)
He will be in the hospital for another two weeks while rehabilitating.
His father and step mother have both had to take off work to alternate being with Robby in the hospital, as a result, their income has taken a beating.
Robby will need extensive home care as well as renovations made to their home to accommodate the wheel chair that he will be in for the next few months.
Additionally, because of his parents current financial situation, bills (rent, utilities, etc.) are piling up.
They are in desperate need of help.
I am reaching out to you all - my wonderful followers - to help my sweet nephew.
If you look to the upper right hand side of my page you will see a "donate" button.
This button will link you to a pay pal page where you can donate whatever amount you want to help.
$1, $5, $10, $100, $1000 . . . Ever single dollar will help.
When you get to the pay pal page, please note that the page is in my mother's (Robby's Grandmother's) name.
If you can't help monetarily, then please donate your prayers.
If you go to church, please put them on your prayer list.
Robby is such a joy to us and such a blessing to so many people.
Thank you so much for being a blessing to him.

*please share this post with everyone you know - we need all the help and prayers we can get*
God bless you all.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

TMI Friday! Are You Mom Enough?

That's Right, Kids!
TMI Friday is BACK!
And this weeks topic is sure a hot one - 
and fits right into the TMI logic.

Picture Courtesy TIME Magazine, Copyright 2012.

Is there anyone on the planet that has not seen this magazine cover?
The image of a little boy suckling on his mothers breast is not one that I expected, nor desired, to see when I took my four year old to the grocery store. 
Now, let's get one thing straight here, I am 100% in support of breast feeding your child whenever and wherever. 
Within reason.
If you're still breast feeding your kid when he's four, that's you're business.
But please, let's leave it as your business.
I don't believe that breastfeeding a child that big in public is appropriate, AT ALL.
And quite frankly, the possible psychological ramifications from nursing that late really disturb me.

And to go even further, it's not so much the image on the cover that offends me.
I think it's a little strange, and I'm really horrified that the media would use such an image solely for the sake of stirring up controversy (which was exactly their intention). But it doesn't offend me.
What offends me is the implication within the article that I am not a good enough mom because I chose to not be an attachment parent.
No, I am not, never have been, and never will be an attachment parent.
First of all, my kids are way to independent.
Secondly, I really want my kids to learn how to care for themselves.
I am not going to be there when my kid is 18 and in college to nurse him or her to sleep at night because they had a bad day.
While I can see the benefits of attachment parenting to a certain age (like, 2), beyond that, I honestly believe it can do more harm than good.
We are raising a generation of children that will wrongfully believe the world revolves around them.
Their reality will be skewed and they will not be prepared to handle the real world that involves things like solitude, loneliness, and even losing every once in a while.
Additionally, the psychological ramifications that will come from boys growing in to men that have been attachment-parented for a long period of time. He will grow with the unrealistic expectation that any woman he marries will be as perfect as his mother - or even a second "mother" to him.

I certainly hope that extreme attachment parenting is a fad and goes away soon.
For the sake of the young men of America.

Alright ladies and gents, that's my soapbox for the week! How do you feel about this topic? What's you're opinion? SOUND OFF!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Are Children Such Jerks?

Yes, I said it out loud.
To me, to my husband, to each other.
They can be belittling and cruel.
They make fun of each other and call each other names.
They throw things, hit, kick, and bite.
What is it about kids that puts them into this mode?

One day my children are perfect little angels,
Playing well together, laughing with each other (as opposed to laughing AT each other)
Even defending one another and being helpful to one another.

Then the next day . . .
All H-E-double-hockey-sticks breaks loose and they become these little tyrannical monsters that appear to hate the world around them - including each other - including me!

Now this is not an everyday occurance - for the most part my kids are wonderful and amazing and I love them more than anything.

But some days . . .
I just wonder if the gypsies are still taking applications for children . . ?

Friday, May 11, 2012

God's Answered Prayers

This post was inspired by one of my dearest friends who is going through a tough time right now. In her struggle, she has begun to question her faith. This is to show her that sometimes the struggles aren't what they seem, but merely a pathway to something better and more beneficial for us.

Once upon a time there was a young woman.
She never thought she'd have anything worth anything.
She was single and alone, married to her work and her education.

Then one day, God showed her that he had plans for her.
He took away everything she held dear.

In their place He put a tiny child.
Then He put love,
A family,
A home,
And Hope.

God always answers prayers,
Sometimes it's not what you expect.
But sometimes it's what you NEED.
God Bless you all.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Geeky Side . . .

Hello. My name is Jennifer. And I am a geek.
You wouldn't know from this blog, but I am .
A HUGE one too.
I love Renaissance Festivals, Dungeons and Dragons, Munchkin, Console Gaming (PS3, Xbox, Wii, etc) - and not the silly kiddie games either - no, we're talking hardcore games. Infamous. Bioshock. Left 4 Dead. Skyrim. (O.M.G. I LOVE SKYRIM!!!)
Yes. I am a geek.

One of the drawbacks perks of being a geek mom is that you get to raise geek kids. This poses a problem sometimes - for example, D&D time is Mommy and Daddy time. Our 16-year-old doesn't understand this concept and can't understand why he can't just jump right into our game mid-campaign (D&D games can last YEARS).  Another example is that my four year old son can now play Portal and Portal 2 better than some adults. Why is this a problem? Well . . . Okay, it's not a problem, I just wanted to brag on my 4-year-old gaming prodigy of a son!

But there are moments too that really make a geek parent proud. Like when your child can compare the subtle nuances between Little Big Planet and Mod Nation Racers, or they can talk about the importance of breaking during a drifting moment in Burnout. Or they can give you advice on how best to avoid the Creepers in Minecraft. Or the fact that they not only know who people like Rod Roddenberry, Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day or Steve Jackson are, but they actually look up to them as the kind of people they'd like to be.

Sometimes it's rough being a geeky parent in these non-geeky times. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's a blast.

Speaking of being a geek parent, I have started a journey with my husband and our two best friends to leave a geeky legacy for our children to follow. We are recording our console gaming sessions and posting them on YouTube - mainly for our own amusement, but also for the amusement of others who enjoy laughing at someone's expense. Some of them are hilarious, some of them are . . . meh. But they all show my geeky side. Feel free to check them out at My personal favorites are the Portal videos with me and my best friend trying to play 2 player - pretty funny stuff!

Monday, April 30, 2012

10 Rules for Peaceful Parenting

Making your home sing Mondays

Today I'm linking up with my friend Nan at Mom's The Word for Making Your Home Sing Monday! After you read here, head over there and give her some love!

As the parent of two teenagers, a preschooler, and a special-needs school-ager, I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes the term "peaceful parenting" seems like a bit of an oxymoron. I mean, let's face it, parenting is anything but peaceful. But over the years, I've learned that there a few things that we parents can do to ensure that the chaos is lessened to a minimum. So, without further ado, here is my list of 10 Rules for Peaceful Parenting:

1. Take care of yourself. You can't expect to chase your toddler or help your teen with homework if you're not well taken care of. This means eating right, exercise, regular check ups, and taking time out for yourself daily!

2. Do one special thing for each of your children every day. Making your children feel special and loved every day works wonders for their behavior.

3. Lower some of your expectations. Now, yes it should be expected that your child will do his or her homework, or follow the household rules, of course. But when it comes to some things, I've noticed that some parents expect more out of their children than they're physically able to achieve. For example, little Billy might not be able to hit that T-Ball no matter how hard he tries. Sally just might not ever be able turn a somersault. And lets face it, most teenagers aren't going to do the dishes or wash clothes to our specifications. Just relax and remember: THEY'RE ONLY CHILDREN.

4. Raise other expectations. Other problems that can arise come out of parents not expecting enough out of their children. As I said in number 3, they are just children, but they are far more capable than many adults give them credit for. For example, your toddler may not be able to do the dishes yet, but he can certainly learn to pick up his toys. Your teenager may not fold the towels right, but she can keep her room picked up and keep her grades up.

5. Keep a schedule. This is especially important for children with special needs. My daughter, for example, has ADHD. She works really well when we have a structured schedule and keep it. This way, your child knows what to expect and when, so it's no surprise when you tell Sallie "It's time to turn off the TV and brush your teeth!"

6. Set ground rules and don't sway from them. It's important that your children know exactly what's expected of them at all times. If we let Colton jump on the couch one day and the next day tell him it's a no-no, he's going to get very confused, and inevitably will act out. The rule has to be set right then and there "Colton, the couch is for sitting only." And BE CONSISTENT.

7. Pick your battles. Sometimes arguing over something is more fight than it's worth. Kids need to feel like they have some control over their lives - so if David wants to wear his PJ pants to school or Emma wants to wear her Cinderella Costume to bed, really consider if it's worth arguing over. Now, of course, if it is a household rule that's been previously established, by all means it is worth the "fight". But some small daily details are usually worth letting go.

8. Keep a sense of humor. Remember that this too shall pass, and it's probably going to be quite funny when you look back on it at Junior's wedding. And lets face it, sometimes what some of our children do is quite hilarious.

9. Support your children's other parent. If your married, that means supporting your spouse. If you're divorced or a single parent, that means supporting your ex (as hard as that may be sometimes). BOTH parents have to be on the same page about discipline. And if your child is not living with you, then it's important that your respect the custodial parents rules and guidelines, even if they're a little different from your own. This will show your child that you are a strong support team and they cannot turn one parent against the other.

10. Keep the Faith. God should come first in your household - Faith is the foundation of family, and will strengthen your relationships. Every morning, pray for your children and spouse. Every evening do the same. Read the bible with your family, listen to worship music together, go to church. Teach your children about grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. You'll be glad you did.

These rules are by no means set in stone. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a child psychologist. I'm just a mom that has been there. Try one. Try two. Try all ten. Then get back to me and let me know how your parenting has changed.

If you already have parenting rules, post them here!

God's Blessings,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes . . .

Wow, has it really been since JANUARY since I blogged last? Wow! Of course, it's really no surprise, what with everything that's been going on the last few months!

There have been a lot of changes going on in our lives. A. Lot.

First off, we have started some changes with my daughter. Little Miss has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD and dysgraphia. In a nutshell, she's hyper, has a hard time focusing, doesn't do well with authority, and has REALLY bad handwriting. In the complex, her mind doesn't work the way it should, and she knows it, so she gets frustrated and angry with the world. Her hyperactivity affects her handwriting, and her frustration with that causes her to lash out at those she's closest too - namely me and her teachers.

After much prayer and discussion, we decided (my husband, Little Miss, and I together) to try medication. Since spring break, Little Miss has been on Vyvanse. This was not a choice that we took lightly. It involved MONTHS of research and other interventions to come to that choice. And I am so glad we did. Little Miss has improved by leaps and bounds on this medication. In her words: "I don't feel like I have to jump up and down all the time". As a result, her frustration level has diminished, and as a result of THAT, her behavior has improved. My daughter went from a straight c report card (with one failing grade) to A's, B's and C's. Needless to say, I am now a complete advocate on medication when it's warranted (**NOTE: Medication is NOT right for EVERY child/family. PLEASE do extensive research on your available options and work directly with your pediatrician before making decisions on something like that**).

The next big change we made also involved Little Miss. Because of her problems with encopresis and constipation (even on an adult dose of Miralax a day) we decided to try some dietary changes. Specifically, we have gone low-gluten. While we did have tests run and Little Miss does NOT have Celiac Disease, it's possible that a gluten sensitivity could be causing her issues.

The final, and biggest change (for me, anyway) is that I started my own business. I am now a full-on Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant! It's an exciting change for me for many reasons, but the main reason for me is that I now am able to supplement my family's income while still being able to be at home with Little Man and being able to be available in case Little Miss and Big Guy need me. There's also the fact that I'm having a blast. I love skin care and makeup, so this is right up my ally!

With all the changes taking place, it's a wonder my head is on straight! But despite all the craziness, this is my life, and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

PMM - Proud Mommy Moments

Today I am linking up with my friend KMama over at The Daily Dribbles for Proud Mommy Moments!
For more info on what PMM is all about, see this post.

Throughout my children's lives, there have been a myriad of moments that made me grin, even more that have made me cringe, and a few that just left me speechless.

This moment is one of those speechless moments.

My best friend, Laura, and I spend a lot of time at each other's houses. And by a lot, I mean that we are blessed to be able to see each other almost every day. Thus our children also spend a lot of time together. Laura's daughter and my son are both four. Same age, same temperment, almost the same personality.

They're both quite funny, in fact, and even when they do something outrageous, it is usually hilarious enough to keep them from getting into a lot of trouble. 

The particular day in question, the kids were playing nicely in the back bedroom with the baby. Usually we have sounds of screams and laughter - all loud, happy sounds. This was no different. Until we noticed that it had been unusually quiet in there for a whole five minutes - an hour in four-year-old time.

Concerned, we both made our way to the room to see what was going on.
We found our four year old children jumping on the bed together.
Completely, utterly, stark, buck naked.
Not a lick of clothes on except their socks.
My jaw dropped, then I had to stifle the biggest laugh, as did my friend.
Of course, we spoke to them about the importance of not being naked in front of each other at this tender stage of their development. When we asked who's idea it was, we found that it was my son who said to his "girlfriend" "let's get naked!"
Great. My boy's gonna be a mac-daddy.
But when I told my husband about it, his response was:
"That's my boy!" 
I'm so proud!

Okay! Now it’s your turn. Type out your Proud, or maybe not-so-Proud Mommy Moment and link it up! Don’t forget to check out Emmy’s Proud Mommy Moment as well! One last thing, PMM isn’t just for mom’s…anyone can link up!