Monday, May 31, 2010

The Real Hero

Bennybud's newest favorite thing lately is to wear this costume EVERY chance he gets. The very first thing he does in the morning is put on the costume, and then after school he immediately puts it on again. He runs around the house jumping off couches and acting like Superman. I was beginning to think that Superman was his favorite superhero...

But today he said, "Mommy, Superman is not the real superhero. JESUS is the REAL hero. He loves everyone and He can help us when we get hurt."
So true Benny. I hope you always remember that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


So the kids filled up their Rupee jar, and we followed through with our promise to take them on a special camping trip. And it really was special!! It was great timing, because Daddy had just completed his exam that he had spent months studying for. So, it was so nice to just have some unstructured time together after months of craziness. Here are a few pics from our camping adventures...

Charity's marshmallow caught on fire. The kids were highly amused. :)

Jakey had a hard time waiting to make "Snores" (as the kids say) with his marshmallows. He even ate them before they got toasted...

It was a relaxing morning... for most of us anyway. While Daddy was setting everything up, the kids had fun climbing trees, playing the harmonica, reading, playing card games, and feeding the birds.
And for anyone who thinks I went camping in a tent 8.5 months pregnant... um... NO WAY! This is our comfy pop-up camper... with soft beds, and a heater. In my mind, this is the ONLY way to camp! Especially with young kids.
"Can you catch me Daddy?"

Charity is such a Daddy's girl!!

It was so fun to read stories and sing together by the campfire. Here's Celeste reading "Rapunzel" to all of us.

There was this beautiful sandy beach within walking distance from our campsite. It was warm enough (barely) for the kids to go play, and they had a blast!! There was no one around, so it was especially fun to have the entire beach to ourselves.

My favorite part about the whole trip was on Sunday when we went for a hike together. We wanted to make it a spiritual time to honor the Sabbath, so during the hike we stopped at each bench along the way and the kids each chose a hymn that we all sang together. It was such a spiritual experience to be out in nature with my loved ones and to help teach the kids to appreciate the beauty of the earth.

What a wondeful getaway. The kids have been especially well-behaved lately in hopes that we can go camping again soon! And I'm being pretty generous doling out those Rupees, cause Daddy and I want to go again too.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thoughts on Motherhood

I had such a wonderful Mother's Day on Sunday. I'm so grateful for my little ones who made it so special for me. Jon and the kids brought me breakfast in bed and my parents sent a delicious edible arrangement! Isn't that sweet?!

I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it!

Then Mr. Wonderful gave me these beautiful flowers. I am truly lucky to be the mother of his children. Not just because he gives me flowers. ;)

The kids made some cute stuff at school too. This plant is so cute! It says, "Thank you for helping me grow"

Unfortunately, after a few days, this is what it looks like now! Hopefully I'm better at raising kids than plants. :)

I read something on a friend's blog on Mother's Day, and it has been on my mind ever since. It had a real impact on me, so I had to share it...
"Last year while on vacation, I attended church at the local ward and one of the speakers in Sacrament Meeting shared something so sad, I don't think I will ever forget it. She was, I think, in the stake Young Women's presidency, visiting with the Young Women from one of the wards one Sunday. One of the other members of the Stake YW Presidency asked the girls to raise their hand if they wanted to be a mother some day. Not a single girl raised her hand. Sure that she had been misunderstood or was misunderstanding she reiterated the question and received the same response. Finally she asked the girls about it and was blown away by what they told her, "Why would we want to do the same thing that makes our mothers so unhappy?"

These girls had only ever heard their mothers complain about the stress and responsibilities of their position. They had seen no evidence in real life of Motherhood being joyful or fulfilling in any way. Under those circumstances, I really don't blame them for having no desire to do it themselves. Those poor, poor girls. So my Mothers Day message to all the women in my life is this: Cherish your motherhood. Cherish the nature of your Mother Heart. Vocally and often, tell others, especially your daughters, how much you love the privilege God has given you to nurture His children. Take a moment every day to reflect on every good thing about being a mother and reset your mindset so the tasks of your life aren't only drudgery."
Thank you Carol, for your beautiful post. It's an inspiring reminder for all of us mothers.
And here is some wonderful counsel from Elder Ballard:
"What can young mothers do to reduce the pressure of raising young children and enjoy their families more?
"Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: 'The biggest mistake I made as a parent is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of my three children sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
I am truly grateful to be a mother, and I recognize how blessed I am to have this sacred opportunity. But I wonder if my kids see that joy day in and day out? When they're fighting, or when I'm exhausted, or when the house is a mess, or when I feel pressure to do more than I have time or energy to do... these are the times that I need to remember to keep smiling and to focus on the blessings. I hope we as mothers never feel insignificant, or like we're "JUST a mom." The First Presidency of the church has made it clear that as mothers, we are performing a holy and noble work...
“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. Because mothers are essential to God’s great plan of happiness, their sacred work is opposed by Satan, who would destroy the family and demean the worth of women."
I am grateful to all of the women in my life who are such wonderful examples of joyful motherhood. And especially for my own dear mother who was such a shining example to me growing up. She wasn't perfect, but I never doubted her love for our family, and her love of motherhood, and that made such an impression on me. It is her unfailing love that instilled in me a desire to be a mother. I can only hope to pass on that kind of legacy to my own precious daughters.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rupee Jar!

One of my 30 by 30 goals for this year was to develop a reward system for our family that actually works. When it comes to discipline, I believe positive reinforcement is so much more effective than punishment. I've made many discipline mistakes over the years, but I've learned that positive reinforcement helps me focus on and reward their good behavior throughout the day. Instead of nagging, criticizing and dwelling on the negative, all of which can damage a child's self worth, it feels right to build them up and inspire them to make good choices.

We've implemented various systems in the past that worked for a while, but over time, they were all unsuccessful. But I think we've finally found one that works for us. We call this our Rupee Jar...

It's very simple... when we catch the kids saying or doing something kind, when they're obedient, or basically when there's any kind of behavior we want to reinforce, the kids earn a rupee to go in the family jar. When it's all filled up, we all celebrate and go on a special outing together!

Here's why I like it:

-The reinforcement is immediate. One dumb idea I had once was to have them choose something out of a treasure box at the end of the day if I felt they had a good day. Um... that's simply ineffective for a 2 or 3 year old! Duh. I quickly found out that it needed to be more immediate so they could learn to associate the reward with the good behavior.

-It fosters family unity. When I first implemented this, each kid had their own jar, and they would earn rupees individually, but I noticed they would constanty compare with each other, and it seemed to create a feeling of competition among them. Now we work together to earn the family reward and we all win! It creates a feeling of love and support, and helps us root for each other and remember that we're all in this together.

-I hear tattling way too often throughout the day, and it drives me nuts. The rule in our home is that you only tattle when someone gets hurt... but there's still a lot of tattling! With this system, there's happy tattling for a change. I hear, "Mommy! Benny just helped Jakey put his shoes away!" And I get to say, "YAY! Go get a rupee Benny!" So I think it helps teach the kids to look for the good in others.

-It's a system that's simple enough to be successful. When the kids earn their rupee, they get to put it in the jar themselves... even Jakey can do that. With sticker charts, I would have to stop what I was doing several times throughout the day, and put the sticker on for the little ones, which turned out to be unrealistic and too difficult for me to continue.

- The final reward is family togetherness. This week the kids chose to go to ChuckECheese, and when they fill it up again, we're going camping on the beach. Instead of treats, toys, or money, they learn that the real treasures in life involve creating happy memories with loved ones. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Innovative Gardening

I've been teaching the kids lately about seeds and how certain foods grow out of the ground. So today, Benny and Charity decided to start a garden of their own. And when they were finished, they proudly showed me what they had planted...

They planted a carrot, a strawberry, and... string cheese! LOL! Maybe I didn't teach them as well as I thought I had. These kids make me laugh every day!


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