She’s here!

I’m sure that’s why some of you are still checking this blog!  We welcomed our new daughter Halle!

She has tons of dark hair and was a chub at 9 lbs 9 oz and 22 1/2 inches long.  We are doing great and Katie and Rachel love to hold her.   When Rachel got her first chance to hold her at the hospital, she sat down and said, “I’ve got my baby hands ready!”

“Katie, I can make you happy!”

Well, people, I’m still here.  I haven’t died or otherwise become incapacitated.  I just get distracted easily.  And the weather was really nice so we started to spend a lot of time outside.  We also had to celebrate a brand new three year old and a brand new however old my mother is.  And I got excited about sewing again.  And then I got excited to read again.  And so here we are, a month and a half later.  We’re all healthy and happy.  So for now, to see if I can’t get back into the swing of blogging (don’t get your hopes up!), here’s a little Rachel story.

Whenever Katie gets sad, Rachel will run up to her and say, “Katie, I can make you happy!” and then make this face at her:

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M-A-M

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My mother-in-law has been meeting with Katie 2-3 times a week for the past few months.  She volunteered to teach Katie how to read using a program she taught in elementary schools when she was in college.

Part of this particular program involves using letters, on individual index cards, to form nonsense words.  This way, the child doesn’t memorize the words and instead works on sounding out the letters.

At first, Katie struggled trying to blend the sounds together.  Sometimes she got the wrong sounds and sometimes she just had trouble putting them together,  “nnn-aaa-fff, fan.”  So Grandma would correct her and help her with the blending, “nnn-aaa-fff, naf.”

While Grandma and Katie practice reading together, Rachel and I, of course, have to be right at the same table.  Sometimes Rachel reads stories, sometimes she sits on my lap, and sometimes she asks for her set of index cards with letters on them and then quizzes me what each letter is just as Grandma quizzes Katie.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that while Katie is sounding out letters with Grandma, Rachel is, while seemingly not paying attention, picking up on quite a few new sounds and letters.  The other day, I heard her say,”mmm-aaa-mmm, mam.”  Now both her and Katie wander around the house repeating, “mmm-aaa-mmm, mam.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to see her pick up reading fairly fast seeing the introduction she has already had with Katie.

Rachel’s sweet and sour

img_1087-blogRachel’s sweet and sour tonight was:

“My sweet is that Daddy has to go to a meeting.
My sour is that my Mommy stayed home all day.”

Well, we both made it into Rachel’s sweet and sour today.  I laughed hard…and then the song that came into my mind was:

“I’m so glad that Daddy has to go
Glad as I can be…”

Happy Easter!

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Rachel’s thinking “What kind of a silly hat are you wearing?”

Highlights of our Easter:

  • Easter baskets–the bunny brought candy and scooters for each of the girls
  • Dinner with my parents, grandma, sister, and her kids
  • Finding out some interesting information from my grandma that I did not know before*
  • Church–listening to beautiful songs, lessons, talks, and testimonies of my Savior

*My grandma served a mission in the Western States mission before she married my grandpa.  I asked her how many sisters were in her mission at the time (assuming there probably weren’t many) and she surprised me by saying there were 10-12.  That was more than I had anticipated.  Then she surprised me again by saying there weren’t any elders.  WHAT!?!? I said.  She told me that the Church was not calling elders at the time–World War II was going on.  So the men were tied up with the war or the draft.  However, as she was transferring from Denver to New Mexico, the Church sent the first group of elders to their mission. For a while, all of the missionaries met together for dinners and meetings.  And part of that group was a handsome young man that would later become my grandfather.  They saw each other a few times before Grandpa left for Nebraska and Grandma left for New Mexico, but really met and became acquainted later at a mission reunion in Salt Lake.

Pictures!

When I started this blog, it was mostly dedicated to pictures I took of my kids (or other people’s kids) and was updated sporatically.  Now my blog is evolved and I don’t post as many pictures of the girls as I used to.  On Saturday, I went with a friend and we took some pictures of my girls.  I know…very convenient…I invite someone to come take pictures of MY girls.

Here’s just a few that I really liked.  Some of the others will make an appearance on this blog later.

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One of our favorite toys

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Katie and I pulled out the blocks today that she received as a birthday present one year from her grandma (maybe her second?  or third?  I really can’t remember now.)  And I was reminded how much I like these blocks.  They are painted really fun colors and the best part are the little animals and people.  Whoever painted them was really creative!  The idea is really simple–the animals and people are both made out of wood doll heads or pegs that can be found at a craft store.  So if I was that creative or patient, I could make my own.

And I love watching Katie and Rachel construct buildings and imagine what the people are doing.  Rachel is more into building towers and she loves it when Scott or I build a tower and then she gets to knock it over.  Katie really likes to build houses and put the people and animals inside it.  Today Katie and I built a bridge with a pathway leading to it.  I tried to put the dog under the bridge, but she told me what there was water there.  She was ok with the duck under the bridge because ducks can swim.

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Staying at zero

Remember that awesome post I wrote yesterday about staying at zero?  Yeah, well it didn’t work so well for me today.  I was more grumpy than I was happy and more frustrated than I was helpful.  My poor kids.  And I have to say they put up with me rather well.  I am so grateful for their forgiving attitudes.  I am sure that we are given children to learn from rather than to teach.

The other day I remembered to take some pictures of our daily activities.  Here’s a few of the girls first thing in the morning.  We are all about babies and strollers around here.

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Katie feeding her “baby” Eliza.

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Rachel going to school.

Parenting Tips: Positive Discipline Part Two

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I am going to try and address how to stay at level zero before going into the tools for discipline.  What is level zero again?  It is the attitude you have when you are not frustrated, angry, or upset at your child.  Why is it so important that you stay at zero?  You can best teach your child at this point.  Will a child learn if he is being yelled at?  Yes, but mostly what not to do to make you so angry.  (He is learning out of fear.)  Positive discipline means that you are teaching out of love and teaching what to do instead of what not to do.

So how do you stay at zero when your child is driving you crazy?  That’s just it–if you’ve made it to crazy, you have passed level zero.  Look at the diagram above.  After you ask your child to do something, watch yourself.  As time goes on and the child does not do what you have asked, you get more upset.  You have to act early.

First as I wrote about last week, fill their emotional bank accounts (ten positives to one negative).  When a situation comes up where you have to discipline, they will be full emtionally.  Then keep your word.  If you tell your child that they can only check out three books at the library and they want to pick four and won’t listen, give them one warning (tell them what will happen if they don’t listen), and if they still won’t listen, carry through with the consequence.  (Yes, this did happen to me, and I told Rachel that she couldn’t check out books if she didn’t put one back.  She chose to not listen, so I carried a screaming Rachel out the door and strapped her in the car and listened to screams all the way home.  Was this acutely painful for me?  Yes…probably more so than for her.  I really wanted her to check out books…I know she loves stories…but she also needs to learn to listen.)  After you carry through the consequence, continually strive to be consistent.  I can’t give in when I’ve told Rachel the consequences no matter how painful it is for me or her.  If I do, she learns that if she whines loudly and long enough, she gets what she wants.

Here are the first two discipline tools.  Remember that they are only two of about 10-12 choices.  So if it doesn’t work for you or your child, try something else.  And don’t rely completely on one tool.  Use many as you discipline your children.

1.  Choices.  This is just what is sounds like.  You give two choices and allow your child to choose.  It allows them to have power over their decision.  A couple of things to remember when you give choice.  Both choice have to be ok with you.  (aka you can’t have a predetermined answer.  If I give Katie a choice of wearing two different outfits, but I really want her to pick a certain one, then choices doesn’t work.)  If a child doesn’t choose, I have the right to choose for them.  This has worked really well lately for Rachel.  I give her two choices and then she usually mopes about it.  I tell her that if she doesn’t choose, I will choose for her.  That really gets her attention and she picks her choice really quickly.

2.  Gaiting.  This creates a win-win situation.   An example of this is telling a child that they can watch TV when they have picked up their toys.  For this to work, your child has to have a hot button.  If  the child doens’t care to watch TV when they find out they have to pick up their toys, it won’t work.  You have to be careful using this one exclusively.  You can create a manipulative child if they start thinking that everytime they do something around the house they “get” a priviledge.

(Remember, that I am no parenting expert.  I am trying to do my best to implement all of these ideas given to me in my parenting class.  And if some of you think I was harsh to not allow Rachel to check out books, I probably was.  Does it really matter three books or four?  Probably not, except that I have a hard time keeping track of all the books after they check them out.  They sure don’t keep track of them!)

Another daily family tradition

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I forgot to add this one in the post about our daily family traditions. Every night during dinner, we ask each other what the sweet or sour thing was from that person’s day.  Then that person gets to talk about one thing that was good and one thing that was bad from the day.

This started a few months ago when we were watching a friend’s four children while she was traveling back from a trip to Utah.  We fed them dinner and during dinner, the oldest said “We have to do sweet and sour.”   Since then Katie and Rachel have insisted that we do sweet and sour in our family.

The other night, Scott instituted a policy of only sweets (at least for the day) because he was tired of hearing Rachel’s sour.  “My sour is that Daddy came home.”  And this had been her sour for several days in a row.

In the picture above, on the middle finger of her left hand, she has a bandaid given to her by my mom.  She had an owie on her middle finger and in her best Grandma-I-need-a-bandaid-because-my-finger-has-a-teeny-tiny-owie-on-it whiny voice,  she asked her for a bandaid.  And of course Mom had one.  And a Dora bandaid no less.  This bandaid became the most prized possession for over a week.  And yes, we showed it to everyone we saw.  (Mind you it was on the middle finger, so this included flipping off everyone we saw.)  And yes, that bandaid wore out.  And when it wasn’t sticky anymore, it changed fingers quite often.  Finally it tore open.  And we finally threw it away.  (I try not to think how many germs were on that bandaid.)