Saturday, March 28, 2009

Parenting Advice

Missy over at It's Almost Naptime asked a question about the best parenting advice you had ever received. A couple of things came to mind. As a parent of 6 children ages 8 months to 15 years, I have received and read a lot of advice. I think the things that have stuck with me the longest are both from Dr. James Dobson.

The first one was from a radio show. The guests were a father and mother with their two grown daughters. The dad said that he trained his children that he was the boss. He would ask, "Who is the boss?" and they were to answer, "You are." And then he would ask, "When do you obey?" and the answer was "The first time." I began using this on my oldest two who were at the time 3 and 5 years old. The younger one hated to admit that I was the boss. He would look for any answer he could, but when he would say I was the boss, it changed his whole demeanor, and he would obey. My children who are stronger willed fight admitting that they are not the boss and that I am. Getting them to answer the question and admit that I am the boss helps them to fall in line and listen and obey the first time. Now this isn't something that I say all the time or even everyday. I use it more when a child is failing to obey or starts to argue with me. It is a good attention getter for the kids.

We have valued obedience in our children from the time they were very little. This has made it so that our now 6 feet tall 13 and 15 year olds obey me without question, and we have a very good relationship. Not to say they don't at times challenge my authority, but they acknowledge that I am the boss and they need to obey me. Very helpful when there is no physical way to get them to comply!

The next piece of advice is from Dr. Dobson's book Dare to Discipline. He said that parents need to get behind the eyes of the child and see the world from their point of view. By really trying to do this, I have been able to figure out what my kids were doing at all different ages and why, and with a few of my kids, I can hear them thinking! And that is a good thing for a mom!

Children are a blessing from the Lord. Laying a good foundation when they are small reaps rewards when they are older and the teen years are not to be dreaded. I enjoy my teens tremendously and it is a privilege to see the young men they are becoming.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Snow Day

We finally got a winter snow storm yesterday and today. The kids were so excited. This is the first one of the year and last year we only had a little snow the beginning of December. So, here are some pictures of them enjoying the snow, playing together, and just enjoying the day.

And a little snowball fight!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life among pits

There seem to be all kinds of pits in life. Some we create ourselves, others that are created for us, and some we just fall into. The two older boys are creating a huge pit at the back of our property. It started out being a foxhole, and now it seems to be on its way to being a bunker or something like it. They are having a good time out there digging away. Here are a few pictures of them and their work.

This is what it looks like from the back of our yard area looking out onto their pit. Sometimes we can't see their heads when they are digging away!

And Obi wanted Yoda to get in on the action, too!

Recently all of the kids went to the dentist. Our boys have all had one or two "Developmental pits" in their teeth, which of course require a filling. The dentist said some people just have groovy teeth. Now, if we were on the Brady Bunch and someone said we had groovy teeth, that would be a complement. Not so now. Too bad!

The other pit we have been in lately is one of loneliness. We are missing our life, family, friends, and our house back home. It still doesn't feel like this is home. I know it takes time. But, sometimes, time just seems to drag. We have met many nice people here, but we still feel like visitors. How long does it take to feel like you belong in a new place?

We are studying the book of Genesis at our Community Bible Study. We are on Joseph right now. Boy, he landed in a big pit. A bit of his own making, but his brothers put him in a physical one. He must have been lonely, in despair, and wondering what would ever become of his life. Later, he ends up in prison as an innocent man. Again, he must have been in a pit of despair. But, God was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did. God had a plan. And through Joseph, God preserved the new nation of Israel, plus saved the Egyptians from starvation. But Joseph didn't know any of this when he was in his pit.

Now I am not saying that we are Joseph. But, as we are following God's plan for our lives, discovering pits along the way, we can all rest assured that God is in control, he has a plan for our lives, and it will be for our good and his glory. And with that hope, I can keep on keeping on. And see what God has in store for us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Awana Games for Teens

A few months after we had moved here, we met a family who was crazy about the Awana Olympics for the teens. Back home, the Awana program ended after 5th grade, so we had no idea about the Teen program. The older two boys hadn't been involved in Awana for some time, so they were a bit leery about the whole thing, but they agreed to go and they started after the New Year. Well, they have had a lot of fun going to the club meetings, and game time is one of the highlights. About 6 weeks ago they started having extra practices getting ready for the Olympic games. Still, we couldn't quite understand what all the fuss was about.

Well, this past Saturday we finally figured it all out! We went to Colorado Springs for the Games and we all had a great time. In the Journey group, (high school and Han's group) there were 12 teams total, and in the Trek group (7th and 8th grade and Obi's group) there were 10 teams. They did a first and second round and then the winners from those progressed on. There are 10 different events in the games, and our guys each did several. At first they were split between the Journey groups in the gym on two different circles, and the Trek group was down the hall in the cafeteria. So, Hubby and I were going back and forth trying to see as much as possible. After the first 2 rounds, they moved everyone to the gym, and the Trek was on one side and the Journey on the other, so we could see both boys.

For some reason, the event that I was the most excited and nervous about was the three way tug-of-war. Both our boys were the anchor for their 3 man team. It was so exciting that we took terrible pictures and the video isn't the best either. It is hard to video and cheer and jump up and down at the same time. Anyways, Han's Journey team made it to the top 6 and then were out, and Obi's Trek team took first place! We were so excited!!! This team also took first last year, so they were excited to repeat first place.

The boys have never been in any type of tournament setting, with crowds cheering and the team cheering others on. They had so much fun. We can't wait for next year!
Here is Obi and his team in the tug-a-war.

Here is Obi holding the team trophy that the church gets to display. He is wearing his first place medal around his neck. He was so excited and had so much fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Silly Pictures

This is a picture of the girls Baby Zoo they made in their room. Yoda was a good sport and played along.

Here is a close up of Yoda in the Baby Zoo.

This is what the brothers did while I was on the phone with Daddy! Help me Momma!

This is what the sisters did to Yoda. Boy, it is hard being number 6!!

Goofy Girls! Leia is wearing Padme's clothes, Padme is wearing Yoda's clothes!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Tribute to Jack van der Geest

First let me say that I am a huge fan of history. I even got a degree in history just because I had taken enough classes just because I was interested in them, to qualify for a degree while I was working towards a different degree.

I got an email from my mom this morning letting me know that Jack van der Geest had died at the age of 85. This man had an amazing life, and I had the honor of meeting him and getting to know him a little. Here is the link to the newspaper article about him.

When I was in college in 1987, Jack van der Geest was a guest speaker in my history class. I was amazed by his story. I went home and told my dad, a history buff, about him. My dad actually knew him from doing some work at his home. My dad didn't know anything about Jack's past. I bought my dad Jack's book, Was God on Vacation, and my dad, my husband, and I all read it. His story is truly remarkable.

Fast forward to March 2001. I was working at the hospital, 7 months pregnant with Leia, and Jack van der Geest became my patient. I was absolutely thrilled. I probably scared him at first with my enthusiasm at meeting him. He had an injured shoulder, and so 2-3 times a week, he came in and saw me and I worked on his shoulder, leaving much time for conversation. I reread his book and asked him as many questions as possible. When I went on maternity leave with Leia, I discharged Jack, who was off to Europe for a speaking trip. I was hoping that hubby was going to get a job and that I wouldn't go back to work. I truly felt that God had allowed me to meet and treat Jack as a parting gift to me.

I could never get a feel for Jack and his relationship with the Lord. From the article in the paper, it says that he had a lot of faith in God. I truly hope and pray that Jack was right with the Lord and celebrating in heaven right now. The thing about Jack that struck me the most was that he had lived an unbelievable life, experiencing and doing things that are unfathomable, and yet he lived a productive life, raising a son, and was a delightful man. A tribute to the human spirit and a man living the American dream. I hope to meet him again in heaven!


As protestants, we have never celebrated Lent before. I became intrigued with Lent about 10 years ago after talking to a few different ladies about how they celebrated Lent. One lady described how she draped her whole house with dark fabric and they ate bland food for the Lenten season. Then for Easter, she removed all the dark fabric, replaced it with bright colors, and served a wonderful Easter meal. She also said she even found edible flowers to put in her salad. This surprised me for two reasons: first, I didn't know there was such a thing as edible flowers, and second, who eats salad at Easter??? Anyways, the point was, she made an effort to make a visual picture for her kids to see the contrast of the darkness of the Lenten season and the joy of Easter morning.

I could never figure out a way to bring this into our home. For the past 6 or 7 years, I have spent the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday focusing on Easter and Passover. But, Easter is a hard time for me. Christmas is easy. Jesus comes as a baby and we rejoice. But, to get to Easter, we have to get through Good Friday, and that is hard. I don't like that part. It is sad, and violent, and awful. I don't want to look at what happened to Jesus. But, we can't get to Easter without it. So, how do we look at it, without traumatizing little kids, but really try to appreciate what Jesus did for us.

Speaking of traumatizing little kids.... Last year at Easter, I was pregnant with Yoda and feeling just a little bit emotional, and Padme was three years old. Now, I thought Padme had an understanding of what Easter was about. So, Easter morning we are in church singing Easter songs, and tears started rolling down my face. Now that is not the norm for me, so Padme became alarmed, and said, loudly, "Mommy, why are you crying!!??" I was trying to tell her I was sad about what happened to Jesus. She said, LOUDLY, "What did they do to Jesus! Why did they kill him! I don't like those bad guys!" Yikes. I was trying to whisper answers to her, and keep her quiet, and not cause a scene. By now, the other kids are looking at us and asking questions! I was thinking, good grief, why didn't I take her to the nursery?

Anyways, I got a free download from a curriculum website last week at that had 49 different activities for Lent. So, the kids and I decided we would try it. Most of the ideas are just simple little things we will do to remind of us of the sacrifice of Christ. As it gets closer, we will do more. The kids and I also decided to give up a few things to help us remember. I will post more of the activities and how it is going as it progresses.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Read With Me Mommy

Leia and I are going to a Read With Me Mommy book club that is part of our home school group. Last month was the first one and we read the book Hitty: The First Hundred Years. It was a book about a carved wooden doll and all the adventures she has over a period of 100 years. This doll had an amazing life! Leia really liked the book, although I thought it was a bit over her head at times.

At the club meeting, all of the girls, ages 7-11, got to tell their favorite part of the book, and had a little discussion about it. The leader gave the girls a picture of the real Hitty doll in a picture frame and they got to decorate it. Then they had snacks, consisting of real tea, which Leia was so excited to taste, but ended up hating it. Just like her mom... Anyways, then the girls had some time to play. Leia had such a good time, and it was fun for her and I to have something that we did together.

Here is a picture of her with the book, her decorated picture, a book mark, and a quilt square she made. She keeps them all on her dresser. The girls can make a quilt square for all of the books they read, and then at the end make them into a quilt. That means I better learn a bit about quilting between now and then!

Tonight, we went to the book club and talked about the book The 100 Dresses. This is a very good book, but it is kind of sad, with a very good moral lesson to it. Leia really liked this book. At the meeting she made another quilt square after a good discussion of the book. She also had fun playing with the other girls after the craft was over. Here is a picture with her book and quilt square.

Next month the book is A Little Princess.