Monday, November 24, 2008


1. What time do you wake up? On school days I get up around 6:00AM to wake up the kids. I then go back to bed and keep waking people up every time snooze goes off 2-3 times before I get out the squirt bottle. (Just having it in hand usually does the trick.) On weekends I usually sleep in as late as possible, so it depends what we have going on.

2. On a good night, what time are your kids in bed? They are in bed by 8:30PM, but the boys usually fool around in their room for at least another 30 minutes or so. (On a good night, that is. You don't even want to know what happens on a bad night!)

3. How long have you been a mommy? A little over 11 years.

4. How old were you when you became a mom? 25

5. What is your favorite chore? That is a tough one. I would have to say it is usually doing what ever needs the most attention and makes the biggest difference in our homes appearance. I do have an odd sense of appreciation when ever windows, mirrors, or any other reflective surfaces are spotless however. I also love the look of polished wood.

6. What is your favorite meal to cook? If we are talking about mealtimes, it would be dinner. If we are talking about dishes, it would be cheesy bean burritos or sloppy tacos.

7. What meal do you cook most often? Lunch and dinner are a pretty close tie.

8. What are 5 things about being a mom that make you smile?

1) Seeing my children happy and excited.

2) Watching my children doing nice things for others.

3) Seeing my children happily learn and excel in a new task or talent.

4) Witnessing my children grow up and accomplish their dreams.

5) Seeing my children enthusiastic about the wonders of the universe.

9. If you could take your kids anywhere, where would it be? On the vague side, it would be everywhere possible that would provide good learning experiences. On the more specific side of things, they would love to go to England.

10. When was the last time you went out without your kids? Dave and I went grocery shopping a few weeks back without the kids. As far as having a date, it's probably been a month or so.

11. What is your most heartbreaking moment as a mom? I have to admit, we have been fairly lucky and blessed when it comes to having these kinds of moments with our kids. No stitches or broken bones for us so far, thank goodness. They all had a pretty bad sunburn one time that was rather sad to witness and they all screamed bloody murder when they had to get their shots when they were younger. Seeing Christina struggle with her Dyslexia and ADHD has been rather difficult to deal with at times though. I would also say that I was pretty scared the one time Nolan fell off the bunk bed and passed out from crying too hard. I wasn't sure if it was because of the crying or because of a serious injury. He was only 1 year old.

12. When was the last time you told one of your kids I love you? I tell my kids I love them every time I drop them off at school and when they go to bed.

13. When was the last time you were told I love you? Christina tells me she loves me all the time. The boys usually tell me that they love me after I have told them that I love them first. Dave is the same way for the most part, though he is more creative and funny in his responses, imitating movie lines such as "I know" (Star Wars), "ditto" (Ghost), or other ingenious phrases that don't actually use those 3 precious words but mean the same thing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Congratulations Matthew!

This past Wednesday night, November 19TH 2008, Matthew was presented with his Webelos badge and his Arrow of Light (the highest honor available in Cub Scouts) as he said "goodbye" to Cub Scouts and "hello" to Boy Scouts. I must admit that as his mother I have seldom been more proud of Matthew, not because he just received these awards, but because he really earned them without us having to nag him much as parents.

You see, Matthew is a strong willed child, who often doesn't even do the things he wants to do if he feels he is being coerced or manipulated in any way by others. We have found it difficult to be there for him, to offer him help when needed, and to encourage him to do the things he should without overstepping the boundaries of productiveness. As each deadline approached to earn a new rank, Matthew would drag his feet until the last possible moment. Then, only when he realized both parents and leaders wanted him to earn his badge, were willing to help, but weren't going to force him, would he put his foot to the pedal and finish in the nick of time.

Yes, Matthew was blessed to have good leaders like Brother Lloyd, Brother McFaddin, and Sister Goltz etc..., a good home teacher like Brother Essarine, and parents who were both able and caring enough to assist where necessary. We are grateful to them all. (No boy could get far without at lease one of those.) But, despite all of this, Matthew still had a choice. Some boys aren't left with the option to fail like Matthew was, and only a few of those that are given that privilege fulfil their requirements. That is why I'm extra proud of him! He chose to go the distance every time; Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, and now Webelos and Arrow of Light. Way to go Matthew! (Sorry, no pictures yet. I will be sure to post them as soon as I have them ready.)

( Arrow of Light, the only honor that carries over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Visual aid for "Leadership"

In case you can't read what the picture says, it reads: Always remember that fear and intimidation bring immediate results.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What the heck?

While searching for a picture of a child with a runny nose for one of my previous blog entries, I came across this disturbing picture. I couldn't find an explanation though. Is this even possible, or is this some sick joke? Ewe!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Teaching Money Management to Kids

Today's frequent use of credit cards, debit cards, checks, and ATM's often give kids the subconscious idea that money merely spits out of machines, or that it comes from some other magical, renewable source, rather than having to be earned by good, old fashioned, hard work. Of course most kids have been told that it's not all that simple. Many can even explain how all of the before mentioned processes really work, though it probably seems surreal to them.

It's as if some magic trick has been performed before their eyes. They've been told it's just an illusion, but the flawless performance throws them off. The conflicting messages causes their minds to be wary and unsure about which source they should trust; their own eyes, or the words of others. Mix all that with the fact that magic is more adventurous, romantic, not to mention less work, and "presto!", there you have it: A youngster who subconsciously believes in unlimited resources and minimal consequences to some degree.

Though growing up dispels some of the myths children learn while in their younger years, others are so deeply rooted that they may become a life long struggle for them and their loved ones. Those that know better try to help the rest, but it is a long, hard journey belittled with mixed results. What exactly should be taught? How do we approach such taboo topics? Is this person open to learning such matters? What is the best way to learn these lessons? Should people be bailed out ever? If so, where does the line between giving someone a fresh start and enabling them fall? What are our duties as loving friends and family members anyhow?

Although I don't know the answer to all of these questions, I've learned a few things from both ends of the spectrum which can be useful to those searching for ideas. And, though the answers vary according to the individuals involved, there are a few sound fundamentals which I've learned that can at least help us better prepare the rising generation for their financial future. After all, our kids will never be more malleable than they are now, nor the consequences as benign.

Like most parents, Dave and I have tried various systems over the years to provide our youngsters with opportunities to earn money because we felt it necessary to start practicing young. The children mostly spent their money, and we seemed to be making little headway. We assumed that we just hadn't found the right reward system and tweeked things a few more times.

Then we started having problems with the kids' school meal accounts, as their lunch money would be out before it was supposed to be. We tried punishing them, reiterating the rules, and we even had them pay us back from time to time, but the problems still continued. It became evident that their money troubles ran deeper than we thought.

It became clearer that consistency was part of the problem, so Dave and I worked out a uniform consequence. We also realized that this type of discipline needed to include a way for our children to make the necessary reparations, as well as supply additional reproof until they had done so. We settled on having them bring sack lunches to school until they had paid us back in extra chores. This was a slow process, and though we saw some results, we didn't think that they were enough. The kids weren't passionate either, or trying to fix things that hard. They reacted like a dog tucking it's tail between it's hind legs; obedient, but dejected.

We wondered if there was a better way. Then we read the following article in Scouting Magazine, which got the wheels turning some more: (Although I highly recommend you read this report, it isn't necessary to understand what I'm about to say. It does have some additional useful tips though.) It talked of not just giving kids money, or having them earn it, but of having an age appropriate responsibility go hand in hand with it. Something that will automatically provide the child with a natural consequence should he abuse his funds. The expert used the example of supplying younger children with snack money with the understanding that they are to buy their own snacks whenever they go to the movies, or other family outings. If their money is all gone when a particular event comes up, they participate snack less. Teens could be given a clothing allowance with which to buy their school clothes etc... The frequency of these payments should also be age sensitive, but there should be absolutely no loans or bail outs!

After discussing how we would apply this principle to our own family's situation and needs, Dave and I sat the kids down to a family council. We then announced that instead of putting their lunch money onto their meal accounts like before, we would give each child their fair share in cash every weekend. They would now be responsible for deciding how they would utilize that money. Because we also wanted to encourage them to learn how to sacrifice, save up, and be thrifty etc..., we told them that they were welcome to take sack lunches from home free of charge for now, but that there would be no complaining at the monotony of their selection. We told them no loans or advances, and that we wouldn't replace lost or stolen money either.

Well, you should have heard all the "whoops" and "yippees" and seen their bright smiley faces! You would have thought it was Christmas! LOL So far the system is working, though I am sure we will need to tweek things from time to time. In fact, now that we have had this system in place for 3 weeks or so, Dave and I are now going to require them to buy their own sack lunch supplies. They will get an additional dollar too. This way they aren't getting anything even remotely close to a bailout, and they can also learn to make sacrifices in order to pay their tithing and save.

The nice thing is that this doesn't really cost us anything either. In the long run it will probably costs us less, by the time you figure in how much extra they spent on second helpings and treats, not to mention the stress of dealing with it all. Now the kids are their own bad guys (ie...the one's enforcing their own rules). If they don't like a decision, well it's on them.

In conjunction with these hands on opportunities, we are going to be starting a series of FHE's that don't just teach the kids the how's and the why's to money management, but other practical exercises that lets them see it's effects. (Stuff that we didn't completely understand very well when we were little: such as how advertising works, interest, and how long it really takes to pay off a credit card and so forth.)

Dave also found a cool game online that we would love to get, but seeing as we have our own lessons to learn... well, you get the idea. Although the adult version is nearly $200, here is the link for the kid version ($40) if you are interested: (It better be a good game for that kind of price!) Between all of this, we are hoping that our own kids will grow up to be even more savey and better prepared than we were when we first got married.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh, the joys of babysitting!

As many of you know, I watch 3 adorable germ factories in my home, ages 1, 3, and 4. (We all know how kids at that age spread their wealth via slime and uncleanly habits. ) Sometimes I watch a 4Th child (age 8), who incidentally attends a different elementary school than Christina and Nolan, adding to the mix her own brand of bacteria and virus' even when she doesn't come because she is the sister of the other 3 kids. Then you have Matthew, who attends a different school as well, which then multiplies our exposure to even more illness provoking life forms.

Mix in 3 other adults, aside from me, who each have contact with numerous friends, coworkers, church families, service personnel, neighbors, and so on. They, in turn, have their own cesspools going on as well, exponentially magnifying our chances for exposure to what ever sicknesses going around even further. And, if that weren't enough, we had Halloween, when countless numbers of people passed out candy concealing who knows what kind of stowaways, incidentally providing the perfect food source for said trespassers once they settle in with their new hosts.

Ewe! It's no wonder we all have Strep! The fact that this type of Strep tests negative for in-office testing, but then positive for the more stringent lab tests, makes it all the harder to eradicate. Maybe I should just wipe my home down with alcahol and bathe everyone in vinegar!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just a Few of My Blessings

Though counting my blessings would take far too long, naming a few will do for now. And, since putting them in order of importance requires more time and brain power than I posses at this late hour, I will list the few things that I am grateful for in no particular order save the wanderings of my sleepy mind. So, please do not be offended if you feel jipped, as I most likely am grateful for you more than you realize, and more than I have probably ever expressed.

1. The beauty and miracle of life, whether it be through the lives of loved ones, friends, or of the many creatures and plants that dot the face of this planet. And, not to sound selfish, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to take place in it's miracle.

2. The diversity and intrigue in non-living elements (whether it be of this world or another) and the many great creations that can come of them.

3. The marvelous plan of salvation and all of it's divine components, such as repentance, faith, and the atonement, of which I have been blessed to learn about through the gospel of Christ.

4. For my relationships with all family and friends, including the various ward families in which I have lived.

5. For every experience I have ever had, which have both taught me much and shaped who I am today.

6. For the basic needs with which my family has been bestowed, in addition to an abundance of love and mercy.

7. For a Father in heaven who loves us enough to give us freedom of choice for our own good, despite the pain and sorrow it causes him when we do those things which he has cautioned us against.

8. For the health and strength with which my family and I have been given, for there are many who suffer far worse than we ever have.

9. To live in a country where I am able to receive an education and not be forced to live my life the way another dictates, or in which I am unduly oppressed.

10. To live in a fairly peaceful part of the world.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Have you ever had a day, or a moment, when you were totally unable to think outside the box? When you had somehow fallen into a mental trap that things could only be approached by certain angles? Then, to your amazement and/or embarrassment, someone else comes along and says something so simple and effective that you can't believe that the same idea hadn't occurred to you as well? Well I have. And, if things couldn't be any worse, it was a young child who brought me out of my stupor! Ouch!

A few weeks back I was agonizing over how to keep Pierce (the cute 1 year old I watch) from destroying my downstairs array of African violets and other indoor plants. The gate which Dave had made for me had fallen apart and needed some serious repairs. Since Dave was sick, I needed to come up with some other temporary fix until he could mend it. I decided to block off that same corner with a double stroller and toy bucket, as moving the plants would only change the location of my dilemma.

Soon the little whippersnapper figured out that if he climbed up the couch, mounted the arm rest, and reached over, he could still get his hands on some of the forbidden foliage. Unable to think of any other alternative, I then resigned myself to the stress of keeping Pierce completely off of the couch for several days, or distracted at the very least. He tested me every time he thought I wasn't looking ,though. Over and over, bee-line after bee-line, he persisted until one day the inevitable happened. He decimated one of my poor plants!

"What did you do?"

(Hmm...... tempting.)

The other kids came running and shouting once they saw what he'd done, eager to tattle on the little rascal. We then confined the culprit to his high chair, gave him some crackers, and cleaned up the mess. After we were all done, I turned my attention to what was left of my African Violet and tried to see what I could salvage.

It was then that Christina bounded up to me and cheerfully declared that she had fixed the problem. Sceptical, I asked her what she had done. "Moved the couch!", she said matter of factly. "What?" I said doubtful, then walked over to see exactly what she had meant by that. Sure enough, when I got there I could see that she had moved the couch over to the left about 6 inches or so, which consequently left enough room for the stroller to be place directly between the armrest and the speaker, rather than in a diagonal like before. "Oh!" I said, rather dumbfounded at the simplicity of her genius.

We then placed Pierce on the armrest to see if things had been moved far enough. He worked it, and worked it, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't quite execute his old menacing plan. Bewildered by our laughs of triumph (and sighs of relief), he realized his predicament. After a few more tries he gave up in frustration, and moved on to find the next thing that would cause the same kind of uproar. Meanwhile, I just stood there incredulous to all of the waisted time, energy, and agony I could have used else wise, had my head been screwed on just right. :/