Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sometimes Kids SHOULD feel bad - Interesting Read

So I admit I have felt guilty on many numerous occasions for speaking harshly to my children when correcting them.  I am disappointed in Evan when he doesn't try his best because I know his potential, and I want to see him use it.  Of course, I love to praise my children when they do something really well, but I don't want them to think that they are always entitled to be praised for mediocre work.  Evan has a tendency now to rush through his school work, and he is needing that extra push to slow down and do the work more carefully so he doesn't make careless errors.  After all, attention to detail is important!  It can be the difference between that A and a mediocre C.  The world today tends to teach us parents that we must never be critical of our kids because we'll ruin their self-esteem.  Kids today seem to be growing up with this attitude that they can do no wrong and are entitled to praise and rewards even for mediocre work (or no work at all).  I wasn't raised that way, and I don't want my children to be.  This article that was sent in my monthly e-mail publication from Brody's preschool just really helped reiterate these facts for me.  A good read for all parents so I am sharing:

Sometimes Kids SHOULD feel bad 
By:  John Rosemond

Before mental health professionals built the Tower of Parent-Babble, when common sense rule the rearing of children, parents held children accountable for their behavior.  They taught children the universal accountability principle: For every choice, there is a consequence. Good choices bring good consequences and bad choices, bad ones.  Parents also understood, however, that life in the real world wasn’t exactly that simple. A person must make a lot of good choices over a relatively long period of time to reap the rewards of his efforts, but a bad choice is usually punished immediately.  Therefore, parents (and teachers) usually didn’t make a big deal over the good choices a child made.  They simply encouraged him to make more of the same. But when the child made a bad choice, look out.

Today’s parents, by contrast, have been told by the keepers of the Tower of Parent-Babble that they are responsible for making their children feel good about themselves. This is accomplished by making big deals over the good things-nay, even mediocre things- children do, as in, “Oh, Bubba! I like it so much when you flush the toilet after using it! You’re such a special little fella! Yes, you are!”  Because you can’t make children feel good by making them feel bad, parents are not, under any circumstances, to make them feel bad about anything. And when they do (by mistake, of course, probably because they themselves had a bad day), they are to make up for it by performing extraordinary acts of compensation.  I keep seeing a certain poster in schools around the country. It reads: “For every time you say something negative to your child, praise him/her 10 times.”  When I see this poster, I think, “Babble.” What is wrong with telling a child who’s wronged someone else that he ought to be ashamed of himself, or that you won’t accept a piece of second-rate work, or that he’s in need of an emergency attitude adjustment?

In the real world, of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of this. Every real-world parent knows there are times when its necessary to make statements of this sort to children, sometimes even followed by punishment.

“But, John, don’t statements along those lines hurt a child’s feelings?”  Well, yes, they do. But inflicting temporary hurt to a child’s feelings and destroying the child psychologically are entirely different. A social conscience cannot develop without occasionally causing a child psychic pain, as in shame, embarrassment and remorse.  Please don’t exaggerate what I am saying. I’m not talking about causing children to loathe themselves, but rather to view themselves with humility.  To develop humility, a child must come to grips with penance and atonement. The spiritually mature adult, when he does something wrong, will impose penance upon himself and prescribe appropriate means of atonement.  But a child is not spiritually mature; therefore, it is rare that a child, after doing something wrong, will voluntarily impose and prescribe these things upon himself. They must be imposed on him by adults.  Unfortunately- and largely because of the keepers of the tower have confused the realities of child rearing and replace them with the mythology of “progressive parenting”- there is today a dearth of parents who fully accept this responsibility.

In the same schools where hangs the above poster, teacher and principals told me that many if not most of today’s children refuse to accept responsibility for their misbehavior, feel they should be rewarded for any work, no matter how mediocre, and are generally self-absorbed and disrespectful.  I rest my case.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday Lessons: What a Friend we have!

Sunday’s sermon was just one of those uplifting messages that I don’t want to forget.  It is such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us.  We are immersed in a study of David, one of the most well-known figures in the Bible.  His story has so many twists and turns.  Why was such a man so highly favored by God?  Was it because he was perfect and holy and never sinned?  Absolutely not!  The Bible tells of how this man committed some of the worst sins known to man, including adultery and murder and failings as a father.  But for some reason, he was chosen to become the new king of the nation of Israel above the more seemingly acceptable and godly choice of Jonathan, David’s beloved friend and son of King Saul.  Does God only love the just and holy and perfect?  Absolutely not!  If He did, then who would He love?  Although David fell short on many occasions of living a holy and sinless life (as is to be expected from any of us), he chose to truly love and keep his faith in God through all of the challenges life handed him.  As he was hunted down by Saul’s men and driven away and separated from his true friend, he did not lose that faith.  He truly loved God.  I can only imagine that he had glimpsed the picture of the loving God that we can now know through Jesus.  I think it was harder in Old Testament times to see that picture because people had to overcome centuries of thinking and teaching of God (other religions don't teach of a loving god or gods who would sacrifice for humankind) as an authoritative, wrathful, jealous, vengeful judge without the picture of Jesus to help them see God as a loving father who wants to bridge the gap and welcome his children home.  I think it is often hard for people today to match the Old Testament picture of God with the New Testament picture of Jesus, God in human form, who showed love, mercy, forgiveness, and patience in his teachings and actions.  After all, the people of the Old Testament were still struggling to understand God as a true friend to everyone without the help of the picture that Jesus would later bring.  Jesus was truly a friend to everyone He met, but can we say the same of God?  I think David could.  He knew God on a more personal level, and he knew that God loved him despite all of his shortcomings.  God used David as He had used David’s ancestor, Abraham, to fulfill His promises and prepare the world for Jesus.  I guess I just liked this reminder that God was the same loving and forgiving God in the Old Testament that He was shown to be through Jesus in the New Testament.  When I try to discuss the view of God as shown in the New Testament with an unbeliever, I usually get the Old Testament thrown in my face because of all the old laws and rules that the people of those times were being taught they had to follow during a time when people were struggling to understand God as more than a harsh judge.  I am not a biblical scholar and don’t claim to be, but I've been hearing and reading these old Bible stories since I was a child.  I guess I just needed the reminder that God has been and always will be a friend to any that seeks Him! 

I also truly enjoyed reading further explanation of these differing pictures of God from sweet Jessica, the mother of precious Henry who is now in heaven with God.  Her picture of God continues to help her get through the hardest trials of life, and I know that it will bless others who read her words.  She is a very gifted writer, and I am so thankful she is sharing her journey with us.  If you have a few minutes free (I know most of us don’t but maybe you can steal some time from your daily social media allowance), I think you will be blessed by reading her words! 


Friday, February 22, 2013

SUYL: How We Do Family Pictures

When I saw my blog friend, Natasha, do a post for this Show Us Your Life link up with Kelly, I just knew I had to share some of our favorite family photography.  We have done a few special professional photography sessions with a photographer we love in our area, but mostly, we prefer to do our own family photography.  We can choose the perfect moments to capture when our children are "at their best."  If you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean!  Here are some of our favorites:


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The first professional family picture when Evan was about 3 months old. 

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Our second professional family photography after moving to Charlotte when Evan was about 6 months old.  Hard to tell in this one that he is a lot older.  I should scan in more of these beautiful photos because this one does not do them justice.  We got a whole book of pictures of Evan and did the same for Brody.

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Our family portrait as a family of 4. 

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New baby family picture with Brody ~ 2011

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A shot of us at my Dad's church.  I think it was for Memorial Day.


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Easter 2009 ~ We always always take family pictures at Easter.  It is my favorite holiday!
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Easter 2010

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Easter 2011
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Easter 2012

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2009 - Beach Photography is another favorite of ours.  
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Beach 2010

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Beach 2010

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Beach 2011
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Beach 2012


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Random Moments Making Me A Proud Mama

I am always amazed by my boys.  Really, kids have always amazed me with how quickly they can learn and retain knowledge.  I used to teach children at church and was always so surprised by how much the kids would learn and remember.  Evan's intelligence has always amazed me as he learned to communicate effectively at a very early age and has just always had such an easy time learning new things like his alphabet, numbers, loads of facts about subjects like dinosaurs and space, and now reading.  His profound thoughts have never ceased to surprise and amaze us.  This week, he came home telling us all about George Washington and what a great president he was.  His sweet and caring personality just always makes us smile.  His advanced sense of humor keeps us laughing.  Brody really does amaze us too.  He likes to surprise us.  He doesn't like to just do things because we ask him to.  He likes to do things when we aren't expecting them like giving and blowing kisses, waving bye, and remaining very quiet and not talkative and then just suddenly surprising us with an unusual word used at an appropriate time that we've never heard him use before.  Tonight, both boys were in a mood to surprise and amaze me.  I met the boys for dinner tonight (my night off from school) at one of the restaurants we frequent often.  Brody and Evan eat well here and usually both get shrimp and fruit.  When we arrived, I needed to use the restroom since I hadn't been home yet.  I took Brody and Evan with me so they could wash their hands.  Brody went into the stall with me so I was trying to use the bathroom while making sure he didn't touch anything.  Before I could stop him, he said a word that sounded exactly like "flush" and then quickly reached out and flushed the potty.  This boy just loves flushing...hoping that means he'll be very interested in potty training.  Ha!  But seriously, the child hardly talks and then he says a word like "flush."  I just think that is so weird.  He is definitely unique, but he keeps showing us that he is paying attention and knows a lot more than he lets on.  He likes to flip our light switches and turn the lights on and off at home, and the other day while doing it, he said "off."  Last night, when Daddy was home alone with the boys, Evan was doing his nightly reading ritual.  He had picked out one of his books to read but apparently Brody didn't approve.  He kept hitting the book and trying to get Evan to stop reading.  Then, he climbed off the bed and went to Evan's room and came back with a book of his own.  He got back on the bed and started looking at the pages and pointing.  Whenever Evan would try to continue reading his book, Brody would gesture and point at his own book.  He had chosen that beloved Dr. Seuss book "Hop on Pop" and finally Evan read that one to him.  Brody was happy.  Tonight, I got to listen to Evan read the book to Brody.  Brody just laid there so sweetly next to his big brother listening to him reading.  It melted my heart!  Evan is doing such a great job with his reading too.  I just can't believe the progress he has made since the beginning of the year.  Anyway, I just needed to write down a few of these little things the kids have been doing these last few days so I wouldn't forget them.  Plus, I know one day I may need to use their intelligence when I am too old to learn new things.  Haha! - Glad I could show you how to turn your computer on, Mom

UPDATE THIS MORNING:  I just have to add one more amazing thing to the list.  Brody never ceases to amaze me with his surprise kisses.  This morning, he and I were doing our morning cuddling before I have to get up and get ready for work.  I was lying there and closed my eyes like I was going back to sleep, and the next thing I know, I feel the softest little kiss on my lips. Oh that boy knows how to steal his mommy's heart! When I opened my eyes, his smiling face was right there, and he gave me another one.  I love you to the moon and back, little man!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

21 & 22 Weeks

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Monday, February 11, 2013
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Time is ticking by and two more weeks have brought us closer to meeting this little one.  I have been busy making many baby decisions, but I just don't want to go and buy the big stuff like bedding yet.  I don't need a lot of "essentials" this time so I can concentrate on the gender stuff.  I am thinking of waiting until after we get a 3D/4D ultrasound to just double check that the gender is correct.  I am pretty confident, but I just want that extra assurance before I go and buy a bunch of girl stuff.  I am having fun planning for now.  Physically, I don't think too much has changed although I think she is higher now, and my belly seems to be out more everyday.  I guess that is the joys of being short.  Ha!

Weight Gain:  Ugh, don't even ask!  I still might remove this one.  I don't even want to remember how much I gain at this point.  I guess it is maybe between 5 and 10 pounds, but I just hate seeing those numbers on the scale that are the heaviest I have ever been thanks to pregnancy and law school.  *Sigh*  

Maternity Clothes:  Still the same.  Yep, I'm wearing plenty of those.  I have some pants with the stretchy waistbands that still work well as I'm not quite ready for the belly jeans yet.  I can still wear some loose fitting non-maternity shirts and dresses if they are long enough.  I still haven't purchased anything new to wear yet, but the closet is getting a lot more limited.  

Sleep: Still pretty good.  I wake up occasionally to change sides as my hips and back start hurting, but I've had those issues since Brody.  Ha!  I am using a lot of pillows now (one for my head, one under my hip, and one between my knees.  I should probably invest in a body pillow but this works. 

Best Moment of this week: Just spending time with the boys doing fun stuff and playing in the snow. 

Movement:  I can definitely feel those flutters now.  No hard punches or kicks yet although I think she is getting stronger. 

Food cravings:  Still haven't gotten any Pinkberry frozen yogurt lately, but I was loving some snow cream this weekend!

Food Aversions: Nothing really although I have been trying to stay away from heartburn inducing food which is hard because everything seems to give me heartburn.  Ha!

What I miss:  Free time.  School is definitely in full swing, and I am just not loving it.  I am just so ready to be done.  

Gender:  Sweet baby girl to join a house full of boys!

Symptoms: Heartburn and back and hip pain are the primary symptoms so far.  I do still experience the occasional nausea brought on mostly by not eating soon enough or gagging.  Seriously, I have a terrible gag reflex!

What I'm looking forward to:  Being done with school so I can enjoy more time with my babies!  I am really missing them lately! 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Brody's 1st Snow!

The day I had been longing for this winter finally came.  It was a bit of a surprise, but it was a nice one.  We had spent our day on Saturday at the fun dinosaur show, and then we decided to go check out Daddy's new office that he has been working so hard to get ready.  Daddy's old office was in the basement of a county office building in uptown Charlotte, and it just felt like a closet.  He spent as little time as possible in the office for that reason.  The process of getting his new office started over a year ago.  Several volunteer fire stations in the Charlotte area were being closed, and one of the stations offered the building to Eddie for his office.  Of course, giving property to the state involves lots of red tape and is not something that can be done in a day.  Talk about inefficient!  Anyway, the paperwork was finally signed and everything was official a few months ago, but the building still needed lots of cleaning up and work.  Since Eddie is still waiting for his assistant's position to be filled (again, very inefficient system), the bulk of the work fell on him.  He painted, acquired office furniture, and is in the process of getting everything set up.  There is still lots of work to do to the building, but the office is almost functional.  The fire station is a large metal building with several large bays for parking fire trucks and equipment.  He is going to be able to store some of the district's big equipment in there.  It has a pretty yucky and outdated kitchen area too.  Anyway, he is pretty excited about the progress he has made.  While we were checking out his office, I looked out the window and noticed very fat snowflakes were falling.  We have had a couple of teasers this winter so we assumed that this wouldn't last long.  It had actually snowed a little that morning at our house for maybe 5 minutes.  We rushed the kids outside to at least get to see the snowflakes.  Brody loved the big snowflakes hitting him in the face and sticking to his long eyelashes.

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Brody loved seeing the big fat snowflakes falling and feeling them land on his face.   Notice the blue stuffed giraffe.  It has become a fixture lately. 

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Happy snow baby! 

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Evan rushed outside so fast that he didn't zip his coat or put his hood on.  He loved the snowflakes hitting him in the face.  

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We only hung outside for a few seconds because the wind picked up and was blowing the snow around fiercely. 

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Already learned to stick his tongue out to catch some. 

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Contemplating this white stuff hitting him in the face. 

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We piled into the van and headed home, and the ground was covered in seconds. 
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By the time we arrived home 20 minutes later, we had our very own little winter wonderland. 

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Beautiful snow covered trees. 

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Evan checking out his backyard while mommy set out lots of bowls to collect some snow.  A little excessive perhaps but she was determined to collect enough for snow cream.  Unfortunately, most of the snow had already fallen so the bowls didn't fill up, but she was able to fill 3 large bowls with snow from the clean snow that accumulated on our patio table. 

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Snow covered play equipment.  Snow makes everything look lovely. 

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My little snow baby. 
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And for comparison, this was Evan in his first snow at about the same age in 2009.  We did get a little more that year, but the smiles on their faces are pretty similar as they wear the same snowsuit and coat. 

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It was actually still daylight outside, but this is what the pictures look like if you use a flash  in low light conditions.  

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Without the flash, you can tell it was still plenty light outside although dusk was near.

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I just love his little happy face.  Unfortunately, the cold did nothing for his cold he has been fighting.  It escalated the next day, and he ran a slight fever and developed a bad cough at night from all the congestion.  

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Aiming his first snowball at big brother. 

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Almost time to go in as he was getting so cold. 

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But first, we had to get some group pictures. 

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I just love these boys. 

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And Daddy and his little men.   This is the first year that we haven't all been in red coats.  Evan graduated to a green one. 

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Love all of those boys!

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And later after the boys had their baths and we were waiting for pizza to be delivered, the lights went out.  They stayed out for a couple of hours so we enjoyed dinner by candlelight, and a lovely game of Candyland in the dark.  Brody was just fascinated by the burning candles and just laughed and smiled at them. 
The next morning we headed out to enjoy a little more of the snow as it was quickly melting away.

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Uh oh, looks like we had a four wheeler accident. 

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Brody's four wheeler was low on power so big brother gave him a boost. 

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Brody's cheese face

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Pretty snow baby

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Happy snow baby

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Just amazed. 

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Mommy looks like she was caught in a blizzard as the wind  brought down snow from the trees.   The last time we had snow in winter of 2010/2011, I was pregnant with Brody.  
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Christmas Snow 2010 - Mommy even made a snow woman with a little bump.  
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Evan likes swinging in the snow. 

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Brody's first snow angel!
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Evan makes his snow angel. 

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She wore a green "dress."  Ha!

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Making snow angels together.  Brody actually liked lying in the snow. 

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My littlest snow angel. 

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Two snow angels.  Evan got a little too close to Brody's. 

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Mommy and her little boy going for a snowy walk. 

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Brody didn't make footprints in the snow...he made tracks.  He shuffles when he walks apparently and doesn't like to pick up his feet. 

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The sweetest smiles 

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Big brother's antics had him laughing. 

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Yum!  His first snow cream!

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Evan could eat a carton of this stuff.   He wanted to put candy in it.  I told him in my best Gollum (from Lord of theRings) voice that he would "ruins it."  Haha!

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Brody digging in for more. 

So although we didn't get too much snow and it was gone very quickly, we are thankful we shared these sweet memories!  Brody can't wait for his second snow!



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