Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Be still my heart...

A couple Saturdays ago, Pat and I took the kids to Barnes and Noble - one of my favorite places in the world! I could stay there all day camped out in the children's section - and we practically did. After a bit, I noticed Pat getting a little ansy as the kids and I were still pulling books off of the shelves. I didn't even realize we had been in the store for almost two hours. Talk about total engagement.

I was proud of myself though. I exercised restraint this time and only ended up buying the kids a cookie, although there was a book that I really wanted - vibrant colors, clever rhymes, and every animal you can imagine constructed completely out of hearts!
Click here to see the trailer on the book's website for the full effect! Abby and Noah watched it probably ten times when we got home that afternoon. It's genius!

Not only is it clever and cute, but it is the perfect book to help younger kids recognize and describe their feelings.

Emotional awareness is the ability to identify and express what you are feeling and to have empathy for what others are feeling. It’s the building block of a healthy emotional life. Children who are comfortable with the full range of feelings have an easier time connecting with others, are more at ease with themselves, and are strong communicators. Fishful ThinkingSM teaches parents how to help their children express their feelings in healthy ways and how to cope with sadness, anxiety or embarrassment.

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd give My Heart is Like a Zoo to my kiddos as part of their gift (so much for restraint). And if I can get my act together, I may even throw them a little Valentine's "savoring" party. Everyone could bring an item that they LOVE to "show-and-tell". We'll read the story and make heart animals. Then we'll dance to a little Mood Music!

Okay, now I'm excited. Now to come up with a (small) guest list...

*And speaking of parties, Fishful Thinking is hosting a Twitter #GNO event this Tuesday, Feb.2nd from 9-11pm EST all about positive parenting. (Pepperidge Farm is also giving away a FT prize pack that includes a DIGITAL CAMERA!) I finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon a couple weeks ago (@writingthewaves) just so I could join in. I'm SO excited to be a panelist, and I'm in major need of a GNO, even if it's only virtual. I'll take what I can get.

Done any Fishful Thinking this week? Link on up!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WfulW - I can take a hint...

Last week, my mom sent us a package, just out of the blue, with stickers, Melissa & Doug write-a-mats and crayons, and a couple bags of cookies for the kids. They loved it. (Thanks, Mom!) It's so nice to get something in the mail other than bills.

She also included a couple of things for me...
I actually love this kind of stuff...or at least the idea of it. My mom gives me a calendar like this every year, and I swear I would give my right arm for my house to look even close to the pictures in that magazine.

I was an elementary school teacher for heaven's sakes. Everything had its place.

That's not so much the case anymore...
Since having kids, my organizational (and housekeeping) skills are not what they used to be.
Oh, to have alphabetized spices and be able to find something without rummaging through antacids, cookie cutters, playdough, and fish food.
These pictures are mild in comparison to the state of my house right now. But I tell ya, I'll pick up everything off the floor, put all the laundry away, do the dishes, etc...and by this time tomorrow, it will all reappear, like I never even lifted a finger.

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing
is like
shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."
- Phyllis Diller

You're telling me.

For more Wordful Wednesday posts, click here!

P.S. I'm on Twitter now at writingthewaves - just one more way to avoid housework. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Makes My Monday - 100th Day of K!

Today marked Abby's 100th day of kindergarten! She couldn't wait to take her poster to school this morning. (It's been ready to go since last Wednesday.)

Her enthusiasm, her sweet smile, her cut- out heart covered in stickers, her new outfit (clearance at Children's Place) and butterfly necklace that she was SO excited to wear - all definitely make my Monday...

but especially the fact that the school year is more than half way over. I can't wait to have my baby girl home with me (& Noah) this summer. I am counting down the days. :)

Link up to MMM over at Twinfatuation and celebrate Cheryl's 700th post!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Snapshots - BOOK IT!

This little gal was BEYOND excited last Saturday to go and redeem her BOOK IT Reading Award at Pizza Hut.
Not only was it her first reading award, but it was also the first time we'd ever taken the kids to Pizza Hut. Noah was stoked too. He LOVES pizza. Abby? Not so much. She does not like "the sauce".

Tomatoes? Yes.

Tomato sauce? No.

Even still, she was so excited about that reading award and getting her own PEPPERONI personal pan pizza that she ate the whole thing! And she kept saying how "delicious" it was. (Ours was really good too. It's been awhile since I've had a deep dish pizza - yum!)

The waiter made a BIG deal out her award too and had her sign a poster that was up on the wall and then gave her and Noah two quarters each to put in the plastic egg toy machine and get a prize! How nice is that?

When we got home, she kept reminding me to make sure to write the other books we've read on the calendar in her assignment book so she can earn another reading award for January.

I just hope we have the same waiter again next time. But in case we don't, I'd better make sure to bring some extra quarters.

For more Saturday Snapshots, click on over to Cheryl's place!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"The Can Do Challenge" a la Fishful Thinking

*My Fishful Thinking pal Cecily told me to link this up to Photo Story Friday too. Don't mind if I do! Thanks, Cec.

Noah loves to help me do the laundry. As soon as he hears me lift the lid to the washer, he runs in the laundry room, "I will help you wid da laundry, Mom!" he exclaims. He especially loves to spray the stain remover on the clothes. "I can do it, Mama! I can do it!" And he does a pretty good job. I usually get spritzed a couple times in the process, but if his enthusiasm for this dreaded chore lasts through his teenage years, it will be worth it.

As I was folding clothes, I was thinking about how I could "transform this activity into a mastery moment" for him. One of my goals for this year is to start working with Noah more on mastering those preK skills - writing his name, identifying letters and numbers, sorting, etc... So I asked him to find all of the black socks in the pile and count them. He was so cute lining them all up on the bed. He counted 11 of them and then announced - "One sock is missing!" I was so surprised - not that the sock was missing, I swear my dryer eats socks, but that he realized one of the pairs was not complete. He was really paying attention.

I was also surprised this week when Abby got the bread out of the pantry, a piece of cheese out of the refrigerator, slapped 'em together, and made a sandwich all by herself. She even surprised herself.

"Look, Mom! I made a sandwich ALL BY MYSELF!" she announced with the biggest grin on her face.

The next day she insisted on making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - a bit messier process. I had to fight the urge to intervene, but she was so proud of herself that she could do it. Noah had to get in on the act too. It was funny listening to Abby tell him exactly what to do. I did have to assist him a little bit to save the bread from being completely mangled, but yesterday, I did let him do it 95% by himself.

FT Empowerment tip: Creating space for a child's exploration of independence can be challenging, but the opportunities for the growth and confidence it provides are worth celebrating!

So I am challenging myself to The CAN DO Challenge! - resist that temptation to always do things for them (even though it would take me half the time), foster their independence, and create more opportunities for those mastery moments.

I can do this!!! (unless I'm running late somewhere - another one of my goals for 2010...)

Done any Fishful Thinking lately?

Friday, January 15, 2010

PSF - Once There Was a Snowman...

We had high hopes for a couple inches of snow last week, but alas, we only got dusting. Still, the kids were determined to make a snowman...
Abby took this picture. Abby's snowman is on the right and a that's a "snow dog" in the middle. Noah's snowman is on the left. He wanted to take a picture too...

The kids tried to give them faces, but being that they were only about five inches high, even chocolate chips were too big to use for eyes, and a baby carrot nose was definitely out of the question.
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maybe you or someone you know can help...

I just came across this post about the conditions in Haiti and a plea for help from the women who run the BRESMA orphanage. They are looking for someone with access to an airplane to transport the children. Click here to read more.

Also a friend of mine posted this link to LDS Humanitarian Services where your donation to help those in the midst of this terrible disaster goes to the relief effort 100%.

My heart aches for these victims. I saw a picture this morning on the news of a mother carrying her child on her back through the rubble. I can't even imagine.

I hope and pray that these people will receive the relief and assistance that they need as soon as possible, and that they will feel the love and comfort of the Savior.

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Movin' & Groovin'

"Hey There, Delilah" is Abby's new favorite song. She first discovered it on our iPod a few weeks ago and then on New Year's Eve, she blasted the Kids' Bop version over and over again while we played a twenty minute game of freeze dance. It was a fun way to ring in the new year with the kids (four hours before midnight) - funny dance moves, silly poses, and lots of giggles.

We've actually been serenaded by this same CD (a happy meal freebie) almost every night this week during dinner. (The kids have figured out how to use the CD player.) And freeze dance has become Noah's new favorite game, especially when he is the one who gets to press the pause button.

As I was browsing around on the Fishful Thinking site, I came across this Mood Music activity that I think they will really like considering all the movin' and groovin' that has been going on around here:

Music and dance are great ways to help express feelings. Choose music that represents different moods: heavy classical music for sadness, pop music for happiness, heavy drumming music for anger. Put on the music and ask your child what feeling the music reminds her of (again, no wrong answers) and then dance to the music in a way that expresses that feeling. A variation on this is to get household items - pots and pans, spoons, bells, boxes of noodles, etc. and make music that demonstrates how it feels to be angry, happy, sad, etc. Some kids like to do this by choosing a card that has an emotion word written on it and others have to guess which emotion they are expressing through the music they make.

I may even let them use the long as they don't start sword fighting with them.

*Done any Fishful Thinking this week? Link up and share! Thanks!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Makes My Monday - "Mama, Look!"

As Noah and I were in the car on the way to do a few errands this morning, I hear him from the backseat yelling excitedly, "Mama! Mama! Look! That's the cloud that Jesus lives on!"

I wish I could have taken a picture of it. I paused at the stop sign and looked up at this beautiful plain of white clouds against the blue sky above us. As I turned the corner, I found myself getting all teary-eyed as Noah continued, "I think I see a part of Jesus' house, Mama!"

"You do?" I asked. "Wow! Should we pull over and look at it for a minute?"

"YES!!!" He had a huge smile on his face as we sat there and looked up at the cloud that seemed to go on forever.

Such a sweet example of faith. Such a sweet little boy.
And being his mama Makes My Monday.

For more MMM - click over to Twinfatuation!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Am I the only one...???

- who does not have a twitter account? (to tweet or not to tweet...)

- who didn't know that your kids (or you) can have strep without running a fever? (We are all hopped up on amoxicillin over here.)

- who didn't know until recently that if you add both baking soda and baking powder to cookies, they turn out SO much better?

- who secretly wishes my husband's favorite football team would have lost the playoff game last night so I could avoid having to endure another one next week?

- who is still going to watch the Bachelor tomorrow night even though the fact that 25/15/10/5 women completely throw themselves at this one man drives me absolutely crazy...that and the fact that 95% of 'em have implants? Geez!

- who has a major case of cabin fever and has been letting my kids watch WAY more TV than usual due to the bitter cold outside? (We only got a dusting of snow. A dusting. But at least school was still canceled for a couple days. yay! We did at least make five inch tall snowmen and cut out some paper snowflakes.)

- who cannot wait until spring???

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Testing, 1, 2, 3!

As promised earlier this week, to celebrate my new position as a Fishful Thinking faculty member (my first conference call is tonight!), I figured out how to add "Mr. Linky" to this post....I think.

That's where you come in! We need to test this thing out and make sure it works!

All you have to do is write a post about any of the following:
  • a Fishful Thinking activity your family has done
  • an experience your family, your children, or you have had that relates to the five key ingredients
  • any other "Fishful Thinking" thoughts or ideas you'd like to share
Then link it up using the "Mr. Linky" widget at the end of this post. (If "Mr. Linky" is new to you - just click on the title of your post, then copy and paste that specific url into the space in the box so others can go straight to it.) I realize that I am very late posting today. We've been hit with a triple whammy of strep throat in our house - me and both kids. ugh! So feel free to link up anytime over the next few days.

I'm hoping that in the weeks to come, the participation will grow and, together, we can help spread the word about this great positive parenting resource. I can't wait to read all about your Fishful Thinking moments!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WfulW - Wishing for a snow day...

The high today was 27 degrees. Have I ever mentioned that I am not much of a winter person? Seriously, if it is going to be THIS COLD, there needs to be snow on the ground. Otherwise, it's just cold, and what's the fun in that?

We did get a dusting a few weeks ago. It was on Pat's birthday, in fact. He and the kids were outside at 8am that morning playing around in it before it all melted (two hours later).

There is a 70% chance of snow for Thursday afternoon. Only a couple inches, but we'll take what we can get.

Bring on the rosy cheeks, 6-inch tall snowmen, lots of hot chocolate, and wet hats, gloves and boots strewn all over the entryway...and an extra day off from school. (Abby was so happy to go back today, but as for me, I wasn't quite ready.)

So, Jack Frost, if you could send a little snow our way, you'd make this mama (and her kiddos) very happy!

*To help increase our chances, the kids are wearing their pjs inside out on Weds. night. I'm sure Pat will too. They think it is so funny. I don't know if that's just a VA thing, but when I was teaching school that's what my students would always do when snow was in the forecast. Worth a shot!

New Year, New Opportunities

My apologies for keeping this exciting bit of news "under my hat" for the last couple of weeks. I have been on pins and needles waiting to blurt it out, but I didn't want to jump the gun and post it for all the world to see (or the handful of people who read my blog) until everything was finalized. But now...

It's official!

I just received the email today welcoming me as the newest Fishful Thinking faculty member!

I can't even tell you how excited I am about this opportunity to work with the other nine faculty members, Mr. Youth, Pepperidge Farm, and Dr. Karen Reivich to help further promote such a great program.

And you thought I posted about Fishful Thinking a lot before... :)

To celebrate this new opportunity, I going to learn how to add "Mr. Linky" to my Fishful Thinking Thursday posts in hopes that more of you will be inspired to link up and share your family's experiences that demonstrate those key ingredients - Optimism, Empowerment, Goal Setting, Emotional Awareness, and Resilience.

(If anyone has any Mr. Linky tips, I am all ears!)

Best wishes to you all in 2010! Happy New Year!