Thursday, April 21, 2011

You're hot then you're cold

Walt is telling me "No" because he didn't want his pic taken!
Our weather has been so odd recently. Two days ago it was 90* and muggy. Yesterday was 60*, overcast and crisp. Today the first half of the day was cool and rainy and the second half felt like we were in a sticky sauna.

The 90* I can do without since it means indoor play all day unless water is involved. The 60* was totally awesome and made me want to live in Moss Beach, CA. We played outside all morning in the sand.  Today was doable. It was great running in the misty cool morning.

Walt got the one shoe on himself...
I am so happy we have our playset. And I'm happy we finally put sand in the sandbox last month! It's been the funnest thing to at home. One of our favorite games to play is "crush the castle".  I'll "build" a castle (usually only 1 or two rectangular bowls of sand dumped upside down) and then the boys smash it to smithereens yelling "CRUSH THE CASTLE!" Some days the boys have to be washed down multiple times through out the day before they're allowed to touch anything in the house.  Some days I miss some sand and find my couch or the boys' beds covered in a fine film.  Today was their longest run of playing together without me, which was about 10 - 15 min. Dean came in looking for me after that. I asked why he didn't go back and play with Walter until I was done with dinner prep and he said, "Because Dean wants to play with you. Not Walter." Baby steps...

I have just felt so blessed to be able to be home with these guys. I'm trying to savor the day to day play and know that it is some of the most important "work" that I'll ever do in my life.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adam and Eve according to Dean

Every week after church I ask Dean what they talked about in class and his reply is always the same, "Dean don't know."  In a similar vein, he never wants to tell Matt what they did at preschool, "It's a secret. Dean don't want to tell dad." I told him that we were talking about obeying parents in nursery today, and he said they talked about being obedient too. That was as much as I could get out of him.

So, I thought it was kind of funny today when his primary teacher posted a msg on my facebook wall. She said they were talking about Adam and Eve today in class. "Dean understands the docrine of the fall perfectly...'if you don't obey your parents, you lose your priledges...and that's why they had to leave the garden...'  We had a discussion on that, because the other kids understood after he said that..."

I'm glad he's participating and listening and learning, even if he rarely wants to discuss it with me. After I got that, I started asking him questions about Adam and Eve, and he answered most of my questions. As for disobedience and losing privileges, yes, Dean does understand that concept very well by personal experience, poor guy. I think he's wired to push the limits.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So what would YOU do?

I have wanted a grain mill for a long time now. I had finally convinced myself to buy one for my birthday. I couldn't choose between the Nutrimill or the KoMo Fidibus 21 so I haven't actually made the purchase yet.  Then last night I drove an older sister to a Relief Society meeting and the topic somehow came up. She told me she had a brand new (refurbished) Whisper Mill that I could possibly have. Their old Whisper mill caught on fire (yikes!) and the company replaced it, but they ended up buying a Nutrimill instead so they didn't actually need the new Whisper mill. They had already promised it to someone who failed to follow through and pick it up, so she said she'd ask her husband if she could give it to us. She called me today to tell me I could have it if I wanted it. So the boys and I went and picked it up.

  • It's a NEW $240 grain mill that I'm getting FOR FREE if I choose to keep it.
  • It's a top brand
  • It mills very fine flour because it pulverizes rather than grinds
  • There are a lot of parts. Parts to clean. Parts to break. Filters, buckets, etc. etc.
  • There are super strict rules about turning it on and off with grains in the hopper. I'm a little worried about screwing something up.
  • I kind of feel bad taking a brand new mill from someone, even if they're not using it. (I did ask if they wanted it back if I decided to purchase a different one, or if they wanted me to pass it on to someone else who needed a grinder, and they both heartily said to bring it back to them...)
  • It's bigger and uglier than the KoMo. There are 2 parts to it, so I guess you could store the mill on the counter and just bring out the bucket when you wanted to mill, but still. It's a big bulky plastic thing.
  • It doesn't grind grains coarse enough for cracked wheat or muesli. 
My biggest hang up: I had just convinced myself to buy the KoMo right before she offered me this one. The cheapest I've found it is $320.  It's a small, simple, and pretty wooden object I wouldn't mind sitting on the counter. Nothing to clean. Nothing to break really. You can turn it on and off with or without grain in the hopper. Did I say nothing to clean? No filters. Pretty much as low maintenance as you can get. 

So what would you do? Take the free one? Or give it back and buy the one you really want?  Seriously. If you read this post I want to know.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The big 3-0

Yesterday I turned 30. It was a great day.  The boys woke up in a good mood. We had puffy oven pancakes and strawberries for breakfast. Yum.

While Dean was at Preschool, I took Walter to the park. I think it's the first time we had been to the park without Dean. Walt definitely was a little lost without him. He stuck by me way more than normal.  At lunch I let Dean have a picnic (Walt was already in bed for nap) on our half tiled kitchen floor. As he ate, he laid down on the blanket, sandwich in hand, and said, "Dean is going to rest now so Dean won't need a quiet time after lunch." =)

I took the kids to Target after their naps. I let Dean pick out flowers since he's been begging to buy them since Matt bought me some for Valentine's day. I looked through necklaces since I know Walter loves when I wear them. He really wanted to get me one, but I couldn't find one I really liked. My main goal for the day was to avoid whining kids. I basically gave them everything they asked for because I wanted a whine free day. Those bunny shaped marshmallows that I'd never have bought? Yep. I bought them. And I let them have the marshmallows in the car on the way home before we even had dinner!  Dean wanted to buy me a big foam hammer he found, and couldn't figure out why it wouldn't be the perfect present for my birthday. =) Walter was begging to go ride on the tractors at Lowe's next door, so I let them be the "driver guy" on all 20 riding lawnmowers before heading home.

When Matt got home from work, he quickly made my traditional "better-than-sex" cake. Though that is a misnomer. It should really be called, "better-than-regular-cake" instead. I don't care for cake much, but this cake is always good for a piece or two. He let the caramel and sweetened condensed milk soak in while we set off for dinner. We went to a Mexican place (Petra's) we'd never tried but had heard good things about. I got a sampler triple taco plate to share with the boys and get a good overall feel for their food. Matt got a burrito. His was $3 less than mine, but way more food! Less meat, but more filling in the end. I actually ate my entire entree, something I NEVER do. I was full, but not so full I couldn't have a piece of cake when I got home. The food was ok, but we'll probably never eat there again.

When we got home, Matt lit up the cake (our A/C came on and kept blowing out the candles, so this took awhile. Most of the candles were nearly stubs by the time he brought them out). Dean helped me blow them out.

Matt got me the King Aurthur's cook book and an Arts and Crafts with Kids book that I'd had on my Christmas list. I bought myself a Sansa clip mp3 player and headphones, and I will buy myself a grain mill when I can settle on which one to buy: the KoMo Fidibus 21 or the Nutrimill.  The Nutrimill is about twice the size of the Fidibus and has a lot more components you have to clean. The Fidibus is self cleaning and is much nicer looking in my opinion. It could easily stay on my counter and I could mill even a 1/4 cup of grain if I wanted to for cereal (muesli or cracked wheat) in the morning.  It is also $100 more, thus the difficult decision.

I have a feeling it's going to be a great year. I don't have any qualms with 30. It is just a number. I'm slimmer and healthier now than I was before I had kids.  I'm training for a half marathon. I'm feeling pretty good actually. My stage of life is pretty challenging for me, and I often feel like I have a big NEEDS IMPROVEMENT in the parenting department, but these two cutie pies are worth it.

I got to chat with my sister Julie (who is totally amazing and is watching my sister Amanda's kids while she's in DC for her BIL's wedding!) which is always fun. My parents also called and visited for a few, and my grandparents sang me a beautiful happy birthday duet, harmony and all!

Oh, and as I was changing Walter before bed, he said, "potty!", got up, and ran to the bathroom, sat on his little bjorn potty chair and peed in the pot or the first time. He's sat on it before, but that was the first time it was actually used properly! I thought the possibility of two potty trained boys was a nice gift.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Parenting 505: Life with Bedlamites

To do lists vs. To be list.  "As a parent, when can I check my child off my list as 'done'? We are never done being good parents, and one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior.  When children misbehave, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, but the do is only a symptom of an unseen motive in their heart. What attributes if understood by the child would correct this behavior? How do parents teach these attributes to our children?"

[paraphrasing and thoughts] Discipline should not be done in anger, but meekness and love. It is teaching, not just punishing. They learn of consequences connected to behavior, but they also need to learn doctrine of the spirit so they can become better people, not just act better when we are around. The sword only focuses on behavior, or the do, not on the be.

Those with meek and gentle children are enrolled in parenting 101. Those with children who push the limits of our patience are enrolled in parenting 505. "Consider the more challenging child as a blessing. Could it be possible that you need this child as much as he needs you? Be careful to not say things that imply that their behavior is who they are. They are God's children. That is their eternal identity and potential. Bad behavior is an act, not identity." Elder Lynn G. Robins, April 2011 General Conference (Watch it, it's super great!!)

This was probably the most poignant talk out of the 10 hours of  "church instruction" for me this General Conference. There were tons of wonderful talks, but this was the one that seemed written for me. He spoke of being vs. doing and how we need to have both aligned together or we are hypocrites if we outwardly do but aren't inwardly converted or self-deceived if we think we have faith but our actions are not in line with the Lord's will. Such a fantastic talk. I need to read/watch it 5 more times now. Every sentence had a little nugget of wisdom I could ponder on.

The terrible threes are in full swing at our house. Dean has been acting out physically quite a bit at home, preschool, and church. I have witnessed him hitting, kicking, body bumping, stealing other kids' things out of their hands, and pulling hair.  I have been told of him throwing things at other children (including a brick!), as well as the afore mentioned things. I have been called to pick him up early from preschool, and he's been taken out of Sunbeams and brought to me because of bully behavior. It's easy to start thinking of him as "the bad child" (and Walter as the "good child") or "the bully."  But really, I'm doing him a disservice to follow that thought since his behavior is just an act, not necessarily who he is.

Today at the grocery store, he wanted a gift card while we were returning an item. I said no, and he started throwing a whiney fit and then hit me. Yes. He hit me, and the cashier gasped. He lost his computer, tv, and wii privileges for the day. But that obviously wasn't the key to stopping his behavior. When we came home, he continued kicking Walt and even went so far as to hit Walter on the head with a cooking pot.  What am I to do???  On bad days every interaction that doesn't go exactly as he thinks it should results in a major flailing melt down. On good days those melt downs are limited to maybe 4 or 5.  It definitely tries my patience.

So I re-watched this talk from conference yesterday, and there are so many helpful truths in this talk. While I do try to teach him to recognize how his actions affect others, a lot of our discipline in our house focuses on behavior, and truth be told, a lot of it is done with an angry, frustrated voice. Bullying is something I despise, and I can't stand watching him hurt other kids. Yet, disciplining in anger is just another form of bullying to try and get him to behave better. Parenting is definitely the hardest endeavor I have ever undertaken, but I need to learn and re-learn, and remind myself daily that this is the proving ground. This is how we are tested and tried. This is how we learn to become more like our Savior. I need to refocus my perspective, respond with more love and meekness, and remind myself to not only act as the Savior would act, but be who he wants me to be. The more my character and actions reflect the Lord, the easier it should be for my kids to do and become more like him as well.