Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kyle Joseph

  Today is my brother's birthday. The first of his birthdays that he will not be here to celebrate with us. I will celebrate his life and his amazing love for my boys. And I want my boys to celebrate Uncle KK on his birthday. Without his birthday, there would be no birth, no Kyle... and I am so grateful for his life. Though I miss him Every Single Day, I am so thankful for the years we had together. I simply cannot imagine my life without him in it for those 26 years, but I never thought I would be contributing to a scholarship fund created in his memory for his 27th birthday.

Kyle and I in the summer of 2010.

  Growing up, Momma always let us choose the menu for our birthday dinner. And every single year, he chose the same thing. Mom's Apricot Chicken. And so that is what I will be making for dinner tonight. Kyle's favorite birthday dinner. Momma baked his favorite birthday cake and took it to the middle school where he taught and coached. She said that this will be the first year that he's ever shared any of his birthday cake!

  Through the tears, I give thanks to God for creating Kyle... He was so many things to me. For one, he always provided free entertainment. No matter what he was doing, you can bet it would make you laugh out loud! And he was constantly (even the last time I saw him at Christmas) poking me in the ribs.

  It was his love for camping that forced Jonathan and I to camp/overheat in the middle of the scorching Texas summers to float the river with him, and led to Jon and I purchasing a popup camper (with air conditioning)! Camping has become such a joy for my boys, and is a tradition we intend to carry on.

Heading to float the river on our last camping trip together.

  Kyle had such a passion for football and for coaching. This is the loneliest football season I've ever experienced. My Daddy was a football coach, and from the time when I was just a few weeks old, I spent every Friday night at the game. When he retired, it was Kyle's games we would go to, even if that meant a 10 hour roadtrip to Alva, OK to watch him play for Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Once he graduated from college, Jon and I would pack up the boys several times a year and head out to watch the Ferris football games where Kyle coached. This is the first season of my near 30 years that I do not have plans to attend high school football games.

Alex and Abe with Uncle KK after a Ferris Football game in 2010.

  One of the greatest roles Kyle played in my life was that of cheerleader. I used to run track in school and he was always at the finish line, waiting to tell me that I ran a great race.

  And I know he'll be there, when I finish this race and meet him at Heavens Gates, and I hope that he'll be proud of the race I ran.

  In celebration of Kyle's life, leave a memory that you have of him in the comments.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Case of Misplaced Identity

  Moving to Arkansas rocked my world. Jonathan and I both felt God leading us here, and so I was rather at peace with the move itself. I was leaving a lot behind. I had 4 different part-time jobs (on top of my Full-Time Mothering) and an awesome group of friends.

  Once we moved into our house in Arkansas, I had expectations. I would keep the house clean, cook amazing meals, teach my children, spend time in God's Word daily, and meet up with new friends throughout the week. I was working harder than I had ever worked before, and nobody even noticed. If people appreciated me, why did they put their dirty clothes in the middle of the floor? If people knew how hard I was working, why wasn't I getting any fulfillment? I left behind several jobs in Texas where I was appreciated and recognized constantly. Now, I was just plain mad. Underpaid, disrespected, unloved.

  I took my frustrations to the Lord. How could I be feeling this empty when I followed God all the way to Arkansas?  I left everything that was home to me for this?  It was then that I realized the heavy weights I had placed on Jon. I was expecting him to give me unworldly appreciation, affection, and love. I was looking to him to meet all of my needs. And I was trying to figure out who I was without all of the titles I left behind.

  Somewhere along the way, I misplaced my identity. I defined myself by the hats I wore: Wife, Mom, Realtor, Party Coordinator, Math Tutor, etc. The problem with that definition is that those hats often change, resulting in a loss of identity. Being a believer, my identity should only be found in the One that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I am a Daughter of God.

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God...” John 1:12

  Once that light bulb went off in my head, I offered my empty cup to God Himself. Jon should never have been expected to carry that heavy burden. And this was found in my Bible that day:

  I have had to remind myself constantly that I work for the Lord and no one else.  He sees my dedication, effort, and hard work (and lack thereof).  And He alone gives me Joy and Purpose.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


  Easter was exciting for us!  We now live close enough to Oklahoma City that we were able to go spend the holiday weekend with our OK families.  

  Here are the boys hamming it up with my Grandmommy.  We spent Saturday night with her and went to church with her Easter morning.

After church, we went to Nana and Papa's for a great Easter lunch and an indoor Easter egg hunt (because it was storming!) with all of the cousins.

The week after Easter, we took the boys on their first trip to Braum's.  Here they are enjoying their Very First Ice Cream Cones (before we always had them eat it from a cup)!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My 30 Day Review

  I began my new career on April 4, 2011, a career that I longed for month after month. There simply is no job more important than that of a mother. I am happy to say that I am a full-time mom.

As with any change, the transition did not go as smoothly as I imagined. Jonathan and I were both sick my first week on the job. The boys spent much of that time watching Disney Jr. (a big deal for them b/c we don't have cable if we have to pay for it) while I counted down the seconds until naptime. Because they are not normally exposed to commercials period, much less on cable, they began to ask for everything they saw on tv! I think all I said that week was “No. No. No.”.

The second week Jon and I were both feeling better. We found a church, began to work out at our new gym, and started exploring our new little town, but things weren't going so smoothly during the day when it was just me and the little ones. They missed Ms. Sandra's class and their friends from church. They have experienced what it's like to feel lonely, and that makes me so sad.

It has been tough finding things for them do, and entertaining them is a Full-Time job with lots and lots of overtime required. It is exhausting. And having 2 three-year-olds is very loud (especially in a hotel)! It's hard for me to have phone conversations because I simply can't hear over the sweet music (or fighting) of Abraham and Alex.

I thought I was being fired from my new position on the playground. Both boys told me that I was not needed. I was asked to go away. I reminded Alex of my responsibilities, which included their Taxi service to and from the playground, and cooking dinner. Once he realized that he couldn't get home or eat dinner without me, he changed his mind. Poor thing sobbed right then and there saying he did in fact need my services. It gave me a sense of job security.

Looking back, I could have done a better job. I was more focused on the tangible things than the teachable moments. I wanted Jon to see what a great housewife I was, doing the laundry, cooking a great dinner with a limited kitchen, ironing his clothes. But I was missing out on those moments when Abe wanted me to read to him, and Alex wanted to cuddle. I have had to rebalance my priorities and use my time more wisely. I believe it is very important for me to be a great helpmate to my wonderful and hardworking husband in my new role. I believe it is in my job requirements to supply a healthy dinner, to make sure the laundry is done and that Jon's clothes are ironed. I just have to plan those duties into my day during naptime instead of them being the main events. The most important moments are not when I am doing housework, but when I get to laugh out loud with Abe and Alex.

I have to remind myself often that my children are like savings accounts. I'm having to work hard and invest a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but I know that they are worth every bit of it. I know the relationship that I am building with those sweet boys will be my reward. I am still adjusting to my new role, and I'm having to learn that its important to allow myself room to grow and grace when I really blow it. I am so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Swing for King Memorial Golf Tournament

Swing for King is the Memorial Golf Tournament for my brother, Kyle King.  My dad has teamed up with some of his friends to play (and in all of my near 30 years, I have never know him to set foot on a golf course) so this should be interesting!  My husband, Jon, and cousins will also be playing as a team.  I will be there to cheer them on!

All proceeds benefit the Kyle King Scholarship Fund at Ferris ISD.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Busy Bag Swap! (now Closed)

(Unfortunately, the swap is now closed.  I encourage you to organize your own!)

I am so bummed that I missed out on an opportunity to create Busy Bags with 30 other woman around the country.  So, I am taking matters into my own hands.  I am hoping that 29 of my friends (or friends of friends or strangers, whatever, I'm not picky) will be willing and super excited to jump into this adventure.

I originally tried to join here, but didn't make it into the top 30.  For a great explanation, you better go back and click "here".  For a mediocre explanation, please, read on.

For those of us with children toddler and preschool age, I'd like all 30 of us to choose 1 type of Busy Bag to make... and we will each make 30 of them.  You will then mail them all to me, and I will mail 1 of each (30 total) back to you.  That will give each of us 30 different activities to take on the go for our tots, or I'm planning on letting one little man use a busy bag while I spend some one-on-one time with the other little man in my life.  With us planning to homeschool in September, I'm thinking I'm really going to need these.

If you are interested, please comment below or email me at JanaLBrown@hotmail.com with Busy Bag Swap in the subject line.  Once I have 30 moms on board, we will proceed.  In the meantime, you can search around online and figure out which Busy Bag you'd like to make.  I want to ensure that we don't get duplicates, so you'll need to let me know once you've made a decision.

Now share this with all of your friends.  And hopefully your friends will share it with their friends.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A pervert. And Tom Hanks.

The boys and I have come to love Dave Peel park in Bentonville.  If the weather is decent, we head straight to the park after my morning workout.  This park has a steady stream of moms and kids, and we try to go 3-4 times a week.

Anyway, on this particular day, we got to the park and there was only 1 mom and her two little ones.  The park is fully fenced, and as we entered the gate, the mom approached me to warn me about a guy that had been watching the park.  His car was backed into the parking spot and he was sitting in the passenger side of the car facing the park.  She told me that he'd been there for at least an hour.  This favorite park of ours is just off of the downtown square and courthouse, so I was thinking that maybe he was waiting for a friend who might be in the courthouse... Plus, with the courthouse so close, there were sheriffs' cars constantly driving around the park.

Well that mom decided to leave.  And that left just us.  I was getting ready to leave because that man was literally staring at me.  Straight at me.  Gross.  And then here come 3 more moms and their kiddos.  I told them about the perv that was lurking in the old school blue car and they confirmed that yes, he was looking right at us.  And who knows if he was there for us good-looking women, or for our precious children.

One mom, I later learned her name was Monica, immediately called the police.  Within 5 minutes, 3 police cars quietly surrounded the suspicious perv-mobile and blocked off the street in both directions.  Wow.  Now that's service!  And then all policemen are out of their cars and practically rolling on the ground.  Maybe this creep is a friend of theirs?  One of them approaches us and asks for Monica.  She revealed herself as the policeman asked what she had against Tom Hanks.  What?  We were seriously confused.

If you look closely, it does look a lot like Tom Hanks.  And if you look really closely, you will see that it is in fact Tom Hanks... Forest Gump to be exact, in cardboard cutout form.

Well I felt much better after a good laugh.  The car (and cardboard) belonged to the neighbors that live just on the other side of the fence you see in the background.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Moving Day Play-by-Play (and Picture Overload!)

We're here!  It's been a week of adjusting and homesick boys, but what an adventure its been!  I'll give you a glance at my day-to-day play-by-play.

SATURDAY:  The day before Jonathan left for Arkansas, our sweet friends, The Blairs, put together a going away dinner for us at one of our favorite restaurants, Los Gallitos.  I don't know how many friends actually showed up, but we had a blast!  They have a playground there and somehow, my monkey Abraham, climbed on the outside of the tube slide up to the top, then had nowhere to go.  Being the wonderful parent that I am, I had no idea... until I see my very pregnant friend Jill with her hands in the sky praising the Lord... only then I saw that she wasn't in a time of worship, but trying to talk my son down from the top of the playground.  I ran across the patio in total shock, but Jill assured me that she had him.  She got him to drop one of his legs over to the side and she grabbed his ankle and told him to let go.  Thank God Jill was there to save the day!  I was a nervous wreck.  Here are a few pics from our last supper:

 This is our table of friends!

This is my sweet friend, Johnna, who helped me load my car and vacuumed my house while I cleaned the fridge.

Jared got really dressed up for us.  Here he is with Matt and Vim. 

And here are the girls (they are all pregnant except for Sarah who is holding her new baby, Paxton).  
Jill (who saved the day by saving Abraham), Becky, Lindsay, Sarah, and I.

My boys at dinner.  They had SO much fun playing with all of their friends! 

Our dinner entertainment was Rated R! 

The cake... it was huge and tasted Great! 

Great friends from our new Hometeam at The Bridge.  We had amazing bouts of laughter in such a short time with them. 


 Jill, Sarah, Paxton, and Lindsay.  I love Los Gallitos because they have an incredible view, ducks to feed, a playground, good food, and great margaritas.

Look at the boys' shirts.  I bought them after we found out we were moving.  They say "Mommy's Lil Cowboy".  Here they are with Baby Katelyn.  Abe has already asked if we could go by Katelyn's house because he misses her.

SUNDAY:  Jonathan left the next morning... BRIGHT AND EARLY!  Thank goodness Scott accepted my invitation for him to drive Jon to the airport.  If I remember correctly, they left the house just after 6am.

MONDAY:  I met my parents in Centerville at Woody's (aka The Super Gas Station) for lunch and to exchange the boys.  At some point during those 2 days, my jaw became so tight on my right side that I could not close my mouth.  Seriously.  If you really looked at my face, you could see that my face was crooked.

TUESDAY:  I found out that my home owners insurance policy would cancel the minute we vacated the house.  What?!?  Just one more thing to take care of before the moving truck pulls away.  That night, I went to the monthly employee meeting at Dream Dinners to say good-bye to all of my friends and co-workers.  Lisa had a cake just for my departure (and it was so Tasty).  

WEDNESDAY:  Introduce the Packing Crew.  Wow.  I was not prepared for such an emotionally draining day.  They were so incredibly LOUD.  Just them being in the house made me so anxious.  Did I mention they were SO loud.  By 5pm I needed a break.  My friend, Johnna, met me to get a mani/pedi and de-stress.  And then, being as awesome as she is, she came to my house afterwards and performed the above-mentioned loading of my car and vacuuming.  On the verge of a meltdown, she was a lifesaver!

THURSDAY:  Introduce the Movers bright and early.  This day did NOT get off to a good start.  By 8:15 am I was in need of a massage and a margarita.  Our camper somehow never made it to the survey with all of our other belongings and the moving company did not make arrangements for the camper to be loaded onto the semi with the rest of our stuff.  And the box that contained Jon's pride and joy, the TV, had a sticker on it that indicates if the TV and box have been mishandled.  And guess what?  Yes, that sticker has a ball inside of it and when the ball comes out of place, the sticker turns red.  Yes, the sticker was red.  Red.  This is the point where I retreated to the backyard in prayer for a major dose of peace.  I was quickly reminded that it is all just Stuff.  The important things like my children and husband, even my pets, were alive and well.  And all of my important Stuff had already been packed into my car.  The rest of our stuff was replaceable.  It's just stuff.  I thank God for that reminder because it turned out I had a lot of work to do.  I remembered that when we moved into the house, we had to remove the entire stair rail to get the queen mattress and box spring upstairs.  The movers are not allowed to take anything off of the walls (and I had tons of shelves still mounted to the walls because the packers said the movers would handle that job) or remove the stair rail.  My options included leaving the bed, or getting to work.  I shuffled through the garage and found a few tools.  I removed the rail, all of the shelving, and each and every screw and nail in the wall.  Once I did that, I realized there were big holes in the walls where the nails and screws once were.  The spackle had been packed the day before, so I got the toothpaste out and filled the holes.  Then I found some paint in the garage, but the only paint brush that wasn't packed was the smallest water paint brush that I had ever seen that somehow ended up under the kitchen sink.  After I painted all of the screw holes, I had to re-install the railing.  This railing had just been painted days before, and removing had of course cause large chunks of the paint to chip off.  Thank goodness I had seen an aerosol can of KILZ (the packers couldn't pack any aerosol cans) that worked perfectly to mask the missing paint.

Once I finished all of that manual labor, I packed ONE box, ONE and only box of random things that had been left out.  The hard-working movers taped and loaded that one box on the truck.  And when they asked me to move my car so they could load the garage, I couldn't find my keys.  I had an extra set, but they were safely packed in my car (that was locked).  And thank goodness my car has the digital key pad that will unlock the doors, but the code is safely hidden in the manual that sits in the glovebox.  We looked high and low for those keys, and in an empty house, it doesn't take 3 people and a full 30 minutes to realize that the keys were not in the house.  And that left only ONE place for them to be.... remember that ONE box I packed?  The movers were not happy with me at this point.  They began looking in all of my 180 boxes that were loaded on the truck for the one that I packed.  And they found it.  I know because I was in the backyard an my keys came flying from the the truck all the way into the backyard.  

The camper had to be left in the garage, but we're trying to make arrangements to get it here.  We found out that the TV was packed in a box that had already been used and the sticker was from the previous TV.  Our TV should be fine.  I guess we'll find out when we move in to a house.

I left shortly after the moving truck and headed to my parents house.  My car was packed to the ceiling and I had Hannah and Kitty with me.  Kitty was in a crate because I was afraid she would climb somewhere and something would fall on her or I wouldn't be able to find her once I arrived at my parents' house.  Kitty was not fond of the crate and meowed and meowed and meowed.  Finally I decided that maybe she needed a potty break.  I stopped at a Rest Stop well after dark to remove her from the crate and put her in the litter box.  She refused to potty and then we got in a sort of wrestling match when I tried to put her back in the crate.

Anyway, I arrived about 10:30pm to my parents.  Tired.  Exhausted.  As I'm sure you are after reading this far into my post.

FRIDAY:  My parents decided to take their car and make the drive with me.  The boys rode in my parents car and the animals were with me.  We left about 10:15am and drove and drove and drove.  We spent 3 looonngg hours winding up and down through the mountains where the roads were narrow, cell service unavailable, and the speed limit was 65 mph.  Once we were out of the mountains, the road widened, cell service returned, and the speed limit was 50 mph.  Does that make any sense?  No.  But I was thrilled to be out of the mountains.  We arrived at our new (temporary) home just after 6.  Hungry.  On low fuel.  With a cat that had been in her crate all day.

 I was hoping for a Welcome to Arkansas sign that wasn't on the side of a busy highway... In Texas we have a complete Welcome Center, but no, this is all we had to work with... quickly, because we were on the side of a busy highway.

 My Lil Cowboys in their paper Cowboy hats that they made at school.

We joined Jonathan and all went out to eat at Colton's (think Texas Roadhouse).  They had Texas decor on the walls, so I was feeling pretty at home there.  Until Alex choked on a green been and Threw Up on the table.  Ugh.  Needless to say I did not finish my dinner.

SATURDAY:  We went swimming at mom and dad's hotel (because of course our pool is out of order). We had Subway for lunch, and mom and I went shopping at a new mall they have here.  For dinner we took my daddy to PF Chang's to celebrate his 60th birthday.  We went swimming again before bed.

SUNDAY:  We took the boys to the park, explored Bentonville, and ate Mexican food at Maria's.  They advertise themselves at being the "Flavor of Texas".  The food was good and cheap (just like I like it).  My parents headed home and the rest of us took a much needed nap.  Afterwards we made our first visit to Aldi and I'm in love!  Strawberries for 99 cents a lb and grapes for 78 cents a lb!  Yay!

We've now been here for a week, and have 45 more days in temporary housing.  I've quickly come to appreciate the small things I brought with us to the hotel (bubble bath, my scentsy, food, etc).  We have cable here (we haven't had cable for a long time) and I've realized that I haven't missed anything.  Its nice not having to wash towels or sheets.  We have a 2 bedroom suite with a living area and small kitchen.  We don't have to pay for dishwashing detergent and there is a continental breakfast every morning.  We bring whatever milk we don't finish during breakfast and the boys drink that for the rest of the day.  They have washers and dryers downstairs, so I do several loads at one time every other day.

We have joined a gym and the boys love going there to play with their friends while I work out.  The boys are homesick and Alex cries about not having his tricycle daily.  We have found the library and they have a great storytime for the boys!  We also found a great park that stays fairly busy so the boys can play with other kids.  

Just yesterday we were at the park and I was so proud of Abe.  He asked another little boy "May I play on this please, sir?" and then thanked another little boy for sharing his airplane glider as the little boy left by yelling "Thank you for showing me how to play with your airplane".  Another funny moment from Abe was when he noticed my mole on my neck.  It's easy to see now that I have 12 less inches of hair.  He said "Mommy, you have a nipple on your neck."

And just today as Alex woke up from nap, I told him he was so stinking cute and he replied in a frantic voice "I'm stinky??? Why am I stinky?"

Thank you for reading the longest post of the century.  I'll leave you with some pics of us that were taken this morning of us in front of our home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

And We're Off!

I feel as if I've been caught up in a crazy tornado!

Since my last post, my brother was in a horrific head-on collision and went home to be with Jesus.  The fog is lifting and my energy is returning.  I miss him terribly, but I am so thankful that God allowed me to witness Kyle accepting Christ as his Savior.  Knowing where he is provides great comfort to me, and I know God is giving me strength and His mercies are new every morning.

God has shown Himself in amazing ways.  My parents wrote a check and paid off my student loans, making us DEBT FREEEEE!  Praise the Lord!  Jonathan also received an offer to relocate to the Bentonville, Arkansas area with American Greetings.  God knew exactly what we needed financially and I am SO excited to be able to stay home with Abe and Alex and homeschool them next year.  Things are moving so quickly!  Jon leaves on Sunday, March 27 to begin work in AR and I am hoping to have the packers and movers here that week so we can all be reunited in AR the first week of April.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Meal Planning!

In trying to be true to my Frugal bone, I am spending a few minutes each week planning the meals for my family.  I won't go into detail yet.... I'm just testing the waters, but I was born a Planner!

Everyone knows if you buy in bulk, you save, right?  Well I have never used a full 5 lb bag of potatoes.  I'd use one or two for a recipe and forget the others were there until they were sprouting roots everywhere. So, when I found a great recipe that I wanted to try that needed potatoes, I decided to Plan Ahead and find another recipe that also needed potatoes.  I could save money by buying the 5 lb bag, and use all of the potatoes in those 2 recipes.  AND it worked so well!  No wasted potatoes = no wasted $$.

Anyway, I just purchased a Freezer Menu that includes 20 recipes that you prepare, but not cook, and then freeze from SavingDinner.com.  There is a 20% off coupon that is good on the 20 Meal Freezer Menus (freeze20) so I decided to give it a try.  Pork was on sale last week, so I have lbs of pork in the freezer with no plans for it.  I am going to use my new freezer menu planner to make the pork chop recipes (that sound fantastic!) and then freeze them so they are prepared and ready to be cooked as needed.  This will allow me to purchase meats when they are on sale and use them without forgetting they are in the freezer.  I'm really excited about this!  I'm great at stockpiling, but I have to admit that when I clean out the pantry, I often find something that I forgot I had and have to throw it away because it expired.  I'm hoping that my few minutes of planning ahead and making my complete grocery list in advance will prevent this from happening ever again!

Do you plan your meals in advance?  Leave a comment with your tips!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This recipe is from a Big Fat Binder of family recipes that my mom gave me for Christmas last year.  I love it and use it weekly!!  Thanks Mom!

4 Baking Potatoes
2/3 Cup Flour
6 Cups Milk
1 Cup Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1 Teaspoon Salt (I used seasoned salt)
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Sour Cream (I used Fat Free)
3/4 Cup Chopped Green Onions (plus more for sprinkling on top)
6 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used Turkey Bacon)

1.  Bake potatoes.  Peel and coarsely mash.
2.  Lightly spoon flour into a large pot.
3.  Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.
4.  Cook over Medium heat until thick and bubbly (approximately 8 minutes).
5.  Add mashed potatoes, cheese, salt, pepper.  (I also added a few shakes of minced onion) Stir until cheese melts.
6.  Remove from heat.
7.  Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions.
8.  Cook over Low heat for 10 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.
9.  Sprinkle servings with cheese, onions, and bacon.

Makes approximately 8 servings.

Positive and Effective Tools for Discipline

As a member of Fort Bend Parents of Multiples, I had the privilege to hear Patina Sehorn speak about Positive and Effective Tools for Discipline. Because I learned a lot from Patina in that short amount of time, I thought'd I share my notes.

Patina is an educator, mother of 3, and co-author of Answer Keys: Teachers' Lesson Plans for Successful Parenting. (I am the proud owner of an autographed copy of the book!)

Positive and Effective Tools for Discipline

Children are blessings. With Blessings come responsibility.
As humans, we are born to say “No” and “Mine”. We must be taught to share, to be kind and loving.
As a parent, its okay to get it wrong. You have 365 days EVERY year to try again.
Discipline and Social Skills must be taught. If you don't teach them to share and take their turn, the world will, and the world can be nasty.
Social skills should be learned before Kindergarten.
Its our job as parents to set standards, expectations, and limits.

Time Out:
2 Rules of Time Out:
  1. Be Consistent. Show that your words mean something and that their behavior will have consequences. Do not let them slip even once.
  2. Use when being disobedient or not listening.
Both parents must be fully committed to Time Out.
The goal is to teach them to stop, gather themselves, and solve problems.
Time spent in Time Out=1 minute for every year (3 yr old=3 minutes in Time Out).
When a child is in Time Out, do not engage with them. Do not speak or respond to them.
If they are screaming, simply say “If you are screaming, you might not hear the timer go off”.
Your choice sent you to Time Out, that wasn't my choice. While you are in Time Out, I'm going to go about what I was doing before you acted out. Put the child on a mat somewhere where they can see you carry on with your day.
Do not respond to temper tantrums and poor behavior until they are reasonable and calm.
Once the Time Out is over, mentally hit the Reset Button and have fun the rest of the day.
When a child is screaming and upset, it is NOT a teachable moment. Send them to Time Out, let them calm down. After Time Out, ask them why they were sent to Time Out. Explain that you know they are disappointed, but that you know they will make a better decision the next time around.

Do not expect a behavior that you have not modeled, expressed, or taught.
Do not make any threats that you do not fully intend to back up.
Develop your Authority by following through. When you say it, it has to happen. Establish Authority by giving consequences, being 100% (NOT 98 or 99%) consistent, and always follow through.

Natural Consequences: We learn from the things that bother or inconvenience us. If they make a huge mess at dinner, they need to problem solve and learn to clean it up.

Build Trust, Affection, and Confidence by giving them undivided attention for at least 10-15 minutes per day EveryDay. Quality time together can be helping you cook dinner or sitting down to read a book.
Say Yes to Everything! Can I have an ice cream sandwich (10 minutes before dinner)? Yes! Right after dinner. Go ahead and pick out the one that you want and we'll set it aside.
Give them choices. In the bath, ask “Do you want to wash your fingers or your toes first?”.
Don't embarrass them in a public setting. Pull them all the way to the side. Use soft words, don't raise your voice.
Save them from themselves. If they are acting inappropriately, tell your friends that its been a long day and pack up and leave.
Everything going “fine” won't come knocking at your door. You have to work to achieve that status.
FUN is a choice and should not involve you pulling out your wallet.

Get on the Same Page:
Write down the consequences for each behavior.
Have a plan for home, public, Grandma's house, etc.
Answers must be the same, no matter if it comes from mom or dad.
If you know there will be a meltdown (wedding right in the middle of naptime) decide in advance who will take the child out to the car for time out.
Life isn't fair. If you have to leave the park because one child is acting out, tell the other child that you will take him back alone after dad gets home (or the next day).
Know your child's currency. Each child has a different currency and it will change over time. When you take away a privilege, make sure its one that will be effective. (Curling iron, cell phone, car, etc.)
Just like the list of consequences, have a List of Rewards (again, this should not involve you pulling your wallet out).
There is no discussion when you say “You are not allowed....”

Car Talk:
Use every minute in the car to communicate with your child. Do not get out of the car until you have discussed expectations and checked for understanding.
Have the children fill in the blanks: “We may not get up from dinner and _____ around the table.” When they fill in the blank with “run”, they have proven that they know what is expected. Hold them accountable.
Do not speak to them unless you have eye contact and they are able to repeat back to you what was said, followed by a “Yes, Mom”.

Right now, our children are like a Savings Account and we are making deposit after deposit. Your return will be seen later in the relationship you have built with your children.

When you are praising them, go All Out! Celebrate their good choices. Call Grandma and the whole neighborhood to let them know about the good behavior.
In times of disobedience, speak soft and slow, using very few words. Be deliberate and specific. Tell them what to do with their hands, feet, and show them what that looks like.

Disrespect is unacceptable and not tolerated. If you give them a specific behavior and they continue to talk, telling you why they thought it would be better a different way, begin to count. Whatever number you get to before they stop is the number of new tasks they must complete. (Example- Counted to 4: 1. wash dad's car, 2. 2 loads of laundry, 3. vacuum the living room, 4. dust all dining room furniture)

The Book:  I haven't had time to read through the whole thing, but when I know I'm going to be waiting (doc office, picking the boys up from MDO, etc) I take it with me.  Its broken down into bite-size pieces, so there's a stopping place every minute or so.  I'm skipping around reading about things I want to know right now, and I'm really learning a lot!  If you'd like to learn more about the book, go here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Goals for 2011

As a new year begins, I've made some serious goals for myself and my family.  And there's no better time to start my first blog!!

As I share my goals with you, I hope that you'll hold me accountable.  I decided on goals rather than resolutions, and have an action plan to accompany most of my goals.  I'd love to hear what you're going to do with 2011!

1.  Become a better Couponer!  If you know me at all, you know I don't go near a restaurant without a coupon in hand, but I had become a little sloppy with my grocery coupons.  So, I threw out the old and started anew.  And I am armed with 2 new resources that my friend Debra shared with me.  www.MoneySavingMom.com and www.SouthernSavers.com
2.  Utilize my Home Control Journal to stay on top of household chores.  If you don't have a Home Control Journal, or have NO idea what shining your sink can do for your sanity, click on over to http://www.flylady.net/.  In conjunction with my Control Journal, I am also going to write all appointments and events in my planner.  If I don't write it down, it won't happen.
3.  Get the boys' clothes out for the next day when I do my Before Bed routine.
4.  Stick to the monthly budget and balance the budget at the end of each month.  If you don't know already, I use cash for everything and am a huge Dave Ramsey fan!  You can be weird with me by following him at http://www.daveramsey.com/.
5.  Work out a minimum of 3 times a week.  If you live around here, we go to the Y!  I'd love a work out date!
6.   And in my quest to have more quiet time to grow in my relationship with Christ, I'm going to make an effort to journal.  I'm starting small in the journaling department, but each day of January I am going to write one thing that makes me thankful for Jon.
7.  Plan a week of meals in advance.  I'm not going crazy on this one, just want to make sure we have several dinner options each day.  And I'd like to get better at inviting friends over for dinner.
8.  Family Night once a month.  We enjoy renting a kid-flick and popping some popcorn, but we've never been intentional, so it rarely happens.
9.  Date Night once a month.  Its so important for Jon and I to continue to build and grow our relationship, so we have decided to plan one date night each month.  It may be leaving the kids at home and grabbing a bite to eat, or putting the boys to bed early and having a quiet dinner at home.
10.  Keep the stairs free of clutter.  I am so bad about stacking things that need to go upstairs on the stairs.  Not only is it an eyesore, but its also a safety issue.  If there were an emergency, we'd have a hard time getting up the stairs in the dark with all of the stuff that accumulates there.

So those are my goals for this year.  Really, they've been my goals for quite some time, but I've never been serious enough to write them down.  I'm organized and prepared to conquer them now!