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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Parenting Practices: Self Esteem

This was a little research I did about helping kids have good self-esteem. Basically you get to read through my processing on a topic I have been working on in our home.  Of course in saying this I am assuming:
·         Someone is looking at this blog
·         Someone is actually reading the posts
·         Someone actually finds interest in the inner workings of my brain
Sorry folks, I have high expectations for my readers, and perhaps an over-inflated idea of myself and my blogging adroitness, aptitude, and intrigue.  Either way I am doing it, because I don't want to forget it!

I am adding a couple pictures of things that are helping my kids create a positive self image because a post is not a real post unless there is a picture.

This processing comes after reading an article titled, “Helping Children Like Themselves” by James Harris.  I have this concern for each of my children, but Ben in particular.  I also think Aaron and I need apply these in our own lives, and do a better job with them with our children.
1.       Teach your children about their spiritual beginnings and their divine destiny.
·         For me personally this is “God is our spiritual Father and we are His children” and as such we contain within us divine qualities and abilities. For general application, “We come from something greater and as such we aspire to greater heights.”
2.       React positively to your children, minimizing weaknesses or deficiencies.
·         Words can be sharper than a sword and cause lasting damage.  De-emphasize undesirable characteristics and accentuate the positive.  From the article, “We all know of people like the plain girl who has a smile that lights up the world”
3.       Concentrate on your children’s individual strengths, avoiding negative comparisons with brothers and sisters.
·         I’ll never forget the time I was struggling during a tutoring session and my chemistry teacher, who had also been my Father’s chemistry teacher, said to me, “Well, I guess you aren’t your father’s daughter.” 
4.       Allow opportunities for personal growth and encourage your children to do things for themselves.
·         This is where I fail. This is a MAJOR weakness for me.  I have expectations that my kids do certain things for themselves, but there are a lot of things I would rather do for them because I want a better, bigger, faster, prettier, tastier, cleaner etc… outcome. 
·         “Usually parents who over-protect their children and do everything for them act out of good—though mistaken—motives, such as pity or a desire to protect them from any adversity or inconvenience. But sometimes the behavior is self-serving. A mother may attempt to bolster her ego or gain praise from others by demonstrating how wonderful and self-sacrificing she is.  “The potential results are—dependency, lack of self-confidence, limited initiative and creativity, and low self-esteem.”
5.       Boost your children’s feelings of importance and self-worth.
·         This is another major weakness.  I am VERY stingy with praise.  I want my children to be humble, not prideful.  I don’t want them to build themselves up by cutting others down.  (I’m smarter than you attitude)  This is the one weakness that I am not sure how to strengthen, but I do understand the underlying need; a parent should build up, not cut down.  I will have to ponder on the application of it.  Please feel free to share your successes.
6.       Spend quality time with your children.
·         This is one where I have grown leaps and bounds over the past 6 months.  Kids LOVE one on one time.  I used to make a big deal out of it.  We would go somewhere for the day, or eat at a restaurant, or I would buy them something special.  I am now learning that while that can be fun sometimes, the kids love just 10-15 minutes of just sitting and talking.  I have learned so much about my kids this week by just spending a little time, just with them.
7.       Take time for training.
·         As adults we sometimes forget that tasks that seem relatively clear-cut and simple to us may be confusing or overwhelming to a child. It may be necessary to work side by side with him several times until he can proceed confidently on his own. A feeling of competency in assigned tasks will help develop self-esteem.
8.       Teach your children to look for the good in others and to praise others.
·         Hey look, the solution to #5!!!!
·         Fifteen-year-old Carol never seems to have a good word to say about anyone. Her teachers are “stupid”; kids in the neighborhood are “weird”; and her parents “never listen to me” and “don’t understand me.” The words stupid, idiot, gross, spastic, and boring dot her vocabulary continually. Because of her negative attitude, other children avoid her; she is very much a loner.
How does Carol feel about herself? Her negative view of others and of her world may be a reflection of her own poor self-concept. And her speech and poor attitudes invite criticism and rejection, further deflating her already low self-esteem.  It is interesting that people tend to see their own strengths and weaknesses reflected in others.
·         A person with a healthy self-concept is likely to see those around him as individuals of worth; one who hates or distrusts himself is likely to have similar feelings about others. A person with a genuine feeling of self-esteem has no need to cut others down to make himself feel important. Rather, he has an increased capacity to lift up those around him.
9.       Teach your children to look for the good in themselves and not dwell upon their limitations.
·         “Perhaps the best way to teach a child to look for the good in himself is to model this behavior for him. It is good for parents to be able to admit mistakes and honestly say at times, “Boy, I sure goofed this time!” Such honesty need not detract from one’s own self-esteem or from the child’s image of the parent. Children should know that adults make their share of mistakes too. Being casual about a mistake or failure can help to teach a child to accept his own limitations casually. By the same token, an honest recognition that “I like the way I did that; things worked out quite well” can help the child learn to feel good about his own efforts, thus building self-esteem.”
10.   Openly express your love for your children, both in word and action.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reckless Recreation: Proof

For years Ben has been telling everyone how he doesn't sleep.  

"Good morning Ben, did you sleep well?"
"I DON'T sleep!"

Dr: "Ben tell me how school is.  Are you eating healthy food, not too much sugar?  How are you sleeping?"
Ben: "Oh, I don't sleep."  Which every time sends a shocked look of concern with raised eyebrows from the doctor in my direction.

"Ben, it is late, you need to go to sleep."
"Mommy/Daddy, I told you, I DON'T sleep!"

There has been talk of things that we could do to prove to him that he sleeps.  They usually involve permanent markers, shaving cream, make-up and the like.

However one morning I checked on him, chuckled and began to walk away when I realized the moment had arrived.  I went and got my camera and took several pictures with the red eye light and flash and he did not stir.  When he woke up I asked some questions to see if he was just playing with me, but he knew none of the answers.  So I showed him this:
He was shocked.  "When did you take that?"  "I was doing that?"  "Why is my blanket wrapped around my head?"
That my dear is what we call...PROOF!

Monday, May 20, 2013

L.S.N.E.D.: Plaster

Life lesson # 9,434.7 From Lauren:

Let's say you happen to be sanding plaster, and you happen to think it will be quick and easy so there is no need for a mask. And you haven't been educated on the safety issues surrounding plaster

#1 There is a high probability that you will inhale plaster dust.  

#2 That dust, when wet, becomes plaster.  You know, that wet goopy stuff that we use to repair cracks and nail holes in sheetrock?

#3 The nose has turbinates called nasal concha. Their role is to slow the air entering the respiratory pathway.  Theses "speed bumps" allow the air to become more warm, moist, and clean.
#4 When the moisture in the nose comes in contact with above mentioned plaster dust, they MAY combine to create said wet goopy plaster.

#5 This plaster might get confused and think nostrils and openings at the back of the nose and throat are nail holes or breaks in sheet rock.  It will then go to work doing what it was created and driven to do,  and create a plug in said openings

#6 The neti pot is an effective remedy should this situation arise in your life.
So grateful so many people were willing to post pictures of themselves using the neti pot so that I didn't have to model for you.
I can neither confirm nor deny that I have had personal experience with this situation to qualify me to offer guidance and advice on the subject, but let's just say, I hope that you are able to learn from other people's experiences rather than your own personal experience.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reckless Recreation: Facing Fears

Today I faced a fear of mine and lived to tell the tale.  I have wanted bees my whole life. (Ok fine, I have wanted them for the past 5 years, but it feels like I have ALWAYS wanted them.)  You know how when you want something badly enough you see that thing everywhere, but it can't be yours? 

Before Aaron and I bought our house and we were in the process of trying to find a house where we wanted, for the price we wanted, and finding a bank that would be willing to finance a couple of student loan laden paupers, we would see abandoned houses and call out to them, "Give the house to us! We will love it and take care of it.  We want a house and can't get one and this one here is rotting."

I could go on here, but I am off topic, which never happens to me.  "Oh look a chicken!"  Ahhhh slap me!  So the above diversion was an example to demonstrate the concept.

This was happening to me with bees.  I would see beehives every where.  Then an acquaintance would get bees or someone would mention some special breed of bee they had gotten, but theses were survivalists and I was out of their league.  Finally my college roommate posted pictures of the bees they had just gotten.  I now had someone I knew and had personal experience with.  I asked her a few questions and got super excited.

Then I did what pretty nearly everyone does when they want to know about something.  I googled it.  I began researching how to be a beekeeper.  That of course led me to the next thing everyone does, watching You Tube videos.  That is where the fear set in.  As I watched them handle the hives with the bees flying all around and landing on them, I felt that wall of  panic hit my stomach.  Just watching and not even handling bees in real life had me feeling panicked and in an instant my dream was gone.  Right then and there I decided that bees were just not part of my future.

Now fast forward to just a few weeks ago when my dear friend and visiting teacher posted a video of her handling her hive as she explained everything to the videographer.  There was someone I knew and loved talking all about bees in her familiar voice.  I felt no fear at all.  Instead of watching and feeling panic at the sight and sound of bees, I was fascinated.  I wanted to learn more, I thought "I want to have bees!" for the first time in over a year.  

I explained  my experience and she offered to show me her bees.  I was so nervous up until the point that we got to the hive and she began telling me how much she loves to just sit and watch her bees.  The moment she began all fear was gone and I was fascinated.
They are such busy, industrious little artists, or as my friend called them, "little math nerds."
They never once acted threatened or concerned that we were pulling apart their masterpiece.
I got right  in close to get this shot of larvae and capped honey comb without even an antenna in my direction, let alone a "bee"hind.
Look at the absolute perfection of those honeycomb, and the COLOR.  Don't you just feel sunny and warn and sweet looking at it?
I could go on and on about all the amazing things they do, but the best part of the day?  Sampling fresh raw honey straight from the hive.  And to top it all, I was a hands on participant.
A HUGE shout out goes to my extraordinary teacher.  Thank you so much Hilary!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Parenting Practices: How logical, why didn't I think of that?

Ahhhh spring cleaning.  Opening the windows and letting all of the nasty trapped winter air out and fresh invigorating spring air in...that is what I was looking forward to.  But no matter how much I cleaned there was a rotten smell.  

Part of that cleaning was putting away the winter clothes and I figured I would wash the boys boot liners before storing them.  Toward the end of spring break, I pulled them out and discovered they were still wet so I tossed them in the washing machine ready to go when there was a full load.  

The funny thing is that when I did that, the perpetual rotten smell moved into the laundry room.  I gave up waiting for a full load and washed the liners.  When I pulled this out of the washing machine:
I discovered the true source of the stench.  

Me: "Boys, can anyone explain to me why there was a carton of milk in your boot?"
Ben: (Is anyone surprised here?) "Oh yea!  I was bringing that home from school and I thought I would carry it in my boot.  I guess I forgot about it."
(Not direct quotes, just the gist of it)

What was I thinking?  I mean it is completely logical to store an open container of milk in a boot.  It should have been the first thing I checked when those boots came off at the start of vacation!

So parents learn from my superior wisdom.  Check your kids shoes for food.  Apparently, there is no end to the wonders you will find there.

Monday, May 13, 2013

L.S.N.E.D: Roles

Last week I tried an add on for my internet browser that was supposed to help me make better use of my time.  You create categories and task lists, set priorities and make short and long term goals and then color code the goals and alarms to remind you of your goals.

After spending 45 minutes, unsuccessfully, trying to set it up I decided that perhaps my time would be better spent elsewhere.  What I did learn from it and have decided to apply to my life comes from 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.  I have never read it so I know nothing about it except that according to this application we all have roles.  After determining what your roles are, you choose a goal for the week that will best help you fill that role.  I guess the theory is that we don't have to feel frazzled by everything we have to do because when we narrow it down to our roles rather than the task list, we are more effective.

My Roles &Goals (in no specific order):
  1. Wife: This is Aaron's crazy month and he will be out of town chaperoning the senior trip this weekend.  My goal is to keep the household running as smoothly as possible so that he has a refuge from stress and so that we are not adding to his stress
  2. Mother: Spend one on one time doing an activity with each of the kids this week, walking, shopping, science, craft, reading.....
  3. Housekeeper: In addition to regular upkeep sort, wash, fold and put away the laundry
  4. Community Member: Contact Sophie's teacher to find out what the next fundraising activity is for the Boston trip
  5. Church Member: Practice hymns and children's songs
  6. Family Member: Letter writing to grandparents, contact with siblings
  7. Self: Exercise Daily (except Sunday) Get hair cut
See, that is simple enough right?  I feel like these are attainable goals.  Also I found another add on that you very simply add a list of tasks for the day and while you are on the internet it counts down and then speaks to remind you of what task you should be working on.  I am thinking it will help eliminate my biggest distraction and time waster...THE INTERNET and access to instant information whenever I want. It's a blessing and a curse.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Family Friday

Aaron: Biggest news of the week for Aaron is that he met with the otolaryngologist  to investigate a possible cause for his sleep issues and constant fatigue.  I am not sure what they didn't look into this when he did a sleep study, but the good news is that Aaron's airways are MESSED up!  This is good news because there is a solution to many of the problems he has has for years (pain sneezing very uncomfortable head colds, lack of taste and smell fatigue and muscle pain...)  So sometime this summer (thank goodness he is a teacher!) Aaron will likely have surgery to correct a deviated septum that blocks both nasal passageways, to reduce the size of his enlarged turbinates, and possibly something to do with his tongue blocking his airway when he sleeps.  More info will come as we get it.  Aaron is THRILLED even with the prospect of a summer of being miserable from surgery and recovery.

Lauren: Tests are scored, grades are in, papers and applications have been filled out.  I ended my medical terminology class with an A meaning that I have successfully completed everything required to get my Allied Health Preparation Certificate.  Onward and upward!

Sophie: Dance is occupying most of Sophie's time as they approach the BIG spring performance.  For those interested Sophie will be dancing with her class as a fire bird and also as a lead dancer for another firebird dance and the ocean dance in The Little Humpback Horse Saturday June 8th Dibden Auditorium@ Johnson State College.  Time TBA .  All are welcome, though you should know that there is an entrance fee.  Oh and I felt I needed to clarify about my Tuesday post.  It was meant to be praise for Sophie and her abilities and my need to let go of things.  I don't feel venomous watching Sophie bake, I was merely painting a picture
A practice sock bun that Sophie was certain looked awful and removed as soon as she was allowed in class.

Ben:  More to come on this, but tonight Ben tested and passed the requirements to receive his yellow belt in taekwondo.  He has worked very hard on things that do not come naturally for him such as focus and body awareness and control.  I am very proud of him and all his hard work!

Jacob: Jacob got shafted in the photo department this week, but he also has been working hard in taekwondo.  He struggles with holding his body still, but when he does the patterns he is very good and is actually more precise than Ben.  He graduated from his dragon class (age 3-6) and moved into a brand new class created with him in mind; too old for dragons, but not quite ready to move on to tigers.  Ben better get cracking on his progression, because Jacob is catching up FAST!

Noah: Let me record for posterity that the fact that I have so many pictures of Noah is not because he is the baby or because he is the favorite.  He is just at home alone with me all day, giving me ample time to take pictures of him.
Some early morning sandbox play brought a dinner of hot rocks.  I invited him to come in for real breakfast and he informed me we had to eat rock dinner.
I love finding little set ups like these and knowing that Noah's little brain has been working hard on developmentally appropriate tasks
Heard the bath running and found this...
 That is all the news for now from Craftsbury Cottage! 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Parenting Practices: Control

I am a pretty good cook.  I think so, my husband and children tell me so, others who eat my food assure me I am.  In fact it might be something I "pride" myself on.  I know what to do and how to do it well.  So naturally where pride is involved, humility is never too far behind.  And I am pretty sure one of the reasons God wants us to  have kids is because they are built in humility makers (I am actually kind of serious about that now that I am thinking about it, but that is a topic for another post).

So Sunday Sophie wanted to make cupcakes.  I can't stand to watch Sophie bake because she makes the recipe ALL WRONG.  She melts the butter instead of softening it.  She doesn't measure exactly.  She improvises (GASP!!) She mixes the batter then adds the eggs later.  She beats it too much or not enough.  I watch and cringe because you Just. Don't. Bake. Like. That.  

I should have a picture to go with this post, but I was too busy freaking out inside to take the time to photograph the baking venture.  And once we ate the cupcakes, darn it all if they weren't the BEST cupcakes I have had in a VERY long time.  Better than any of my cupcakes.  They are long gone and there are no cupcakes to take pictures of.  I suppose I could post a picture of an empty cupcake paper...
Instead I'll share a spring crocus from the garden.  I just have to have a picture.

Monday, May 06, 2013

L.S.N.E.D.: Disk Defragment

My classes are over and I will be receiving my Allied Health Certificate.  February of 2014 I apply to the nursing program at VTC and Fall of 2014, if all goes according to plan, I will begin VTC satellite nursing program in Newport.  

Classes being over means that maybe, just maybe, I have a few brain cells to spare for blog posts.  We'll see.  Now for what I have learned new today:

This week is spirit week at the middle and high school.  Each day they have a theme they have to dress up for.  I think there is some sort of point system involved, but I am not entirely certain.  Today's theme:
HIPSTER vs. Country
It has been quite and education for all of us to learn what a hipster is. 

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. 

Please note that these are not my opinions on the matter, rather images I found while doing a google search of hipster.

And finally our take on hipster with things we had in the house.
These poses stem from information Aaron found about hipsters, who are supposed to act aloof and like they don't care.  So, there you have it.  Consider yourself educated.