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Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Club Post 1

I started my online book club yesterday here. The book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, discussed here. We discussed the opening letter, foreword, and introduction this first week. And it's now too late to join in. I was planning on discussing the book on Fridays here along with questions and thoughts to ponder.

First let me start with how much I appreciate Stephen Covey and his strength of approachability. After reading the introduction, I felt respected and valued as a person. I never interpreted a haughty or self-righteous tone, but a genuine concern for me and the need to understand where I've come from before speaking. In fact, what he wrote here encapsulates it well,
No one will ever know the full reality of your situation, and until you feel that they do, their advice is worthless. Similarly, you will never know the full reality of another family or another person's family situation. Our common tendency is to project our own situation onto others and try to prescribe what is right for them. But what we see on the surface is usually only the tip of the iceberg. Many people think that other families are just about perfect while theirs is falling apart. Yet every family has its challenges, its own bag of rocks.
I underlined this in the book to come back to as a reminder for myself to not impose my own realities on someone else, or compare my bag of rocks with another person's bag of rocks. I valued knowing Covey wasn't trying to say he fully understands what my family is like or even pretend to know the hurt, or joys. Instead, he wrote about knowing that each family dynamic is unique (and there are a lot of them out there) and how do we work with what we have; rather, than trying to live out something we don't have.

With that in mind, he laid out the premise of the book in three steps and using the analogy of families being like a plane flight. There are times when the pilot has to deter from the navigation, they get off course, but in the end the only important component is getting to the destination. And so as a family, it's knowing that we will get off course 90% of the time; but, what's important is knowing where we're going.

Therefore, he writes about wanting to help the reader develop three things to stay on course:
  1. A clear vision of your destination (this is a shared vision within your family and seeing your family as a unique make-up, a family mission statement)
  2. A flight plan (knowing regardless of situation, the 7 Habits will help diagnose your situation and become an agent of change)
  3. A compass (knowing your four unique gifts you bring to your situation and your families' situation)
There are many stories that Covey shares throughout the book, which inspire change from within and turn the reader's independent mindset to an interdependent mindset. Here are some questions to mull over:

  1. In relation to the airplane analogy, when do you feel your family is "off-course?" When do you feel your family is "on-course?" When were times when you threw your family off-course? How did you go about being an agent of change to redeem that situation?
  2. How do you learn and share together as a family?
  3. If you were to view each family member having a love piggy bank (love being an action not a feeling) and in need of daily deposits, what would those deposits look like for your spouse, child and yourself?
  4. Covey uses an illustration of the Chinese bamboo tree where after planting the seed you see nothing for four years, because the growth is happening under the ground. It isn't until the fifth year that the tree grows up to eighty feet tall. How does this impact the way you think about your family and the struggles you face? Are there any specific areas or relationships in which we need to allow time for growth?
I hope your weekend is a blessing and I'll be posting Book Club Post 2 next Friday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Truly Tayers




Do those eyes say they're up to something? You'd be right!

Do you know when you talk about your child, or someone talks to you about their child, and you or they say how social, or easygoing, or happy they are? Then, only to see the child crying or in hysterics every time they or you see them. Yeah, I feel like this would be true about Tayers. We started putting her in the nursery during church service right around her one year birthday. She would protest and scream, and we've had #79 (I think that's the number) flash a couple times (it's one of those number flashers you see at the DMV), which means this little bug has persistence running through her veins.

And I can hear the nursery workers now, "Oh little so & so is mild and calm...(interject me saying how easygoing Tayers is)...little Cadence just isn't very happy most the time." Well, she really is happy most the time, it's just, hmmm, how do I put this nicely? She's happy, she just doesn't like the caregiver I guess. Because she truly is a happy kid. She gives some of the best kisses. Seriously, I'm not just saying this in that biased mama tone. She's 14 months old and has perfected closed mouth kisses. And she wants to give you more than one, more than two, more than three, etc.
I wouldn't necessarily kiss her with blue marker face, but who am I kidding, I probably would.

And her cuddles and hugs. They brighten up the grouchiest mood I have, because I cannot help but melt. Sure, she has her moments. You know, those full scale, proselytized body on the ground tantrum (yeah already at this age). She's a kid who knows what she wants. I always thought Veronica was a "passionate kid," that was--until I met Cadence.

Here are some things I love about this girl (in no particular order):
  • She squeals with pure delight when her sister comes into view.
  • She still has that infectious laughter that brings light to the darkest soul.
  • Her new word is "no," but the way she says it makes you keep at it to get her to continue to say "no."
  • She is proving to be picky about certain foods, yet astonishes me how she likes other ones (isn't a big fan of cheese, but likes Thai food).
  • She loves purposefully dropping her sippy cup on the ground (I think this is a common trend among 10-18 month olds).
  • She loves her music Aquarium now that mama has finally changed the batteries for I don't know how long (the lights turn on for the first time, which is like watching TV in bed).
  • She doesn't feel quite right about her day until she has had adequate snuggle/holding time from mama.
  • Her favorite book is Quack Quack!, which Auntie Mimi got for Veronica's first birthday (don't you love how toys, books & clothes get handed down).
  • Her crawling, climbing up & down the stairs (or anything), standing alone and cruising skills are impeccable, but you only get to witness them if you're lucky (now just waiting for confident walking feet).
  • She is afraid of Mumble and apparently Bella the dog (our friend's dog).
  • She ties for my #1 taste tester in the home (Veronica is the other).
  • Her smile melts me.
  • When she says, "Oof, oof," for a doggy sound.
  • When she says, "buh bye, buh bye!" while waving with her hand.
  • Her ability to be a total ham (and she KNOWS it).
  • Her photogenic capabilities are truly amazing, especially how she knows what to do when you say, "say CHEESE!" (as evidenced in the photo below)


We think she's pretty much one of the cutest kids we know, and...

...definitely one of the silliest.




A brief video of Tayers saying no



Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Mama's Reflections


Dear Veronica,

Well my little sweetpea, you turned three. That's quite an accomplishment. Luckily, I remember when you were born and all the hours leading up to it. I remember how naive I was before giving birth to you. All my ideals, thoughts, and grandiose visions would lay by the waste side while I simply learned how to "survive" as a new mama. Being a teacher to 30 kids at Hillcrest Kids seemed like nothing to this new task of being mama.


After a very short labor & delivery and without any complications, I was head over heels smitten with you. You had this cute little Indian nose, a faint sweet cry, and I never wanted to let you go...this was all in the first day. By the second day, I was what most people call "the sleep deprived zone." Nursing was made to sound like we would both "get it" and magically connect. Well little, that was not the case for either of us. It was hard, really hard. Especially, when you decided you were hungry and we were at home and I had no idea how to get you to latch well. My visions of grandeur subsided quite a bit and I was scared, anxious, and lacking that much desired sleep, which caused me to lack so many other things.

It wasn't until you were four months old that I said to daddy, "Wow, she's not going to die!" To which he responded, "Nope, she's not." You have taught me so many things about myself. I know God gave me you to do that. To tell me that all I need is to be secure in him, not in anything else. When people, or the doctors made comments (or inquired) about how little you were in the early months, or ask about you not walking quite yet...I took it as a stab at me. I heard them telling me that I had failed, which in return made me embarrassed to be your mama. That somehow when you didn't meet a status quote, it was a reflection of me as a mother, which would then lead to me wishing you were different and compare you to other children.

But the thing is...I loved you with all my heart, but I sensed God telling me how much he loves you. And wow, you know what 'loves?' His love is bigger than all the Strawberry DVD's you could imagine.

In December, I was listening to a sermon from Pastor Jim. It was about Zechariah & Elizabeth and how they didn't care what other people thought of them (her being way past her prime and never becoming pregnant...that being viewed as a "less than" thing). They only cared about what God thought of them. It was God speaking to me in that moment to remind me to only care what he thinks of me, what he thinks of you, and not anyone else.

And so God gave me you Miss Veronica Storey as my firstborn for a reason. He gave me a girl who has always been observant about the world. He gave me a girl who didn't walk till right before that pesky 18 month deadline. He gave me a girl with a small dermoid in her left eye and what would seem to be a defect to some is the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes I have ever looked into. He gave me a girl with one of the most bright personalities, telling stories, living up life with a HUGE imagination and talking to an imaginary friend on most days. He gave me a girl who bathes in affirmation from her parents and who seeks to do what is right. He gave me a girl who has big emotions and I continue to pray that they will be yielded to make you strong.


He gave me a daughter who has weaknesses like the rest of us, but is using those weaknesses to make her strong. He gave me a daughter who took about a year to warm up to her baby sister; and, although never mean to her, just wasn't that interested in her...but now you wouldn't know it by her saying every night, "Sister Cadence come to my bed to laugh." He gave me a girl who wants to rectify the wrong, who has compassion & kindness flowing from her veins, and is one of the most gentle-hearted girls I know.

Miss Veronica Storey--you have so much of life before you. You've filled everyone you meet with a special light. Your cautious, thoughtful approach on life is an asset, but don't be afraid to take risks when life is calling your name. Your gentle, timid heart is admirable and I never want you to lose that sensitivity, so I pray you would heed the Spirit of God when to stand upon injustice. Thank you for being my daughter and thank you for being you.

Love

Mama

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nana's Dress

Last week we got a package in the mail sent to Veronica. Inside the small little white box was an Autumn colored tier dress perfect for three year old who resides in our home. When I took the wrapped gift out for Veronica to open it up, her eyes lit up and she hurriedly began stripping down to her bare essentials. I told her since it was winter we could simply put the dress over her clothes (it was sleeveless).

The verdict...








A week later.....



...and it's still her top pick.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Birthday Week

Two weekends ago we were fortunate to spend Saturday celebrating all things Veronica. Actually, when I was talking with my friend Biz back in November, she mentioned a family who celebrates birthdays for the whole week. They extend it, so they're not piling everything into one day. Granted they have like six kids, so they probably do it out of practicality. But, I wanted to adopt this for our current two child family.

We did little things and big things throughout the week leading up to Saturday, which was her actual birthday. One day we went to the Mall in search of Strawberry scented hand sanitizer. And would you believe it, Bath & Body Works doesn't carry the Strawberry-n-Creme Hand Sanitizer anymore. I mean, yes, I did buy it when Veronica was born three years ago, but...didn't they realize that this baby girl born three years prior would grow to love all things 'strawberry?' To no avail, not one store we went to had a strawberry scented hand sanitizer. Let me rephrase that, they did have strawberry scented ones, but it smelled like they took regular hand sanitizer and put some minute amount of imitation strawberry smell in it to make a 99% to 1% ratio of the two.



We made special Danish Cinnamon Rolls for a breakfast, while delivering the rest to Ben's work and Hillcrest Kids. We had special times for playing games, pulling out the tent & tube to goof around in and got a charm bracelet with a Happy Birthday Cake for it. It was a fun week talking about what mama was doing three years ago and how we were eagerly anticipating meeting the baby inside mama's belly. I think this was one of Veronica's favorite parts. You know she is really liking a story that you're telling if her face is in a kind of glazed look. So as she lay on the bed I would tell her about her birthday week three years ago and she took all in.




I also liked an idea I got from this friend on her blog, where they have the amount of balloons match the age of the child in the living room ready to greet the child on their birthday morning. Except, we had been wanting to get her a Strawberry Shortcake mylar balloon we had seen at a local grocery store a couple months back. Veronica was thrilled to greet her berry best friend Saturday morning, since she is almost as tall as our 40 inch three year old. Veronica would hold Strawberry's hands dancing with her, talking with her, discussing three year old's political events (the social injustices of going to nap, not watching a DVD, etc.).




Veronica also got to invite two friends over for her party without their parents. We had a good laid back time, enjoying pizza from Costco (I wanted to make lunch, but who could pass up $6.99 for a take & bake pizza--not to mention more sanity for myself), playing with all the toys, and finally eating the coveted Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. Pure Bliss!






Here's what Veronica was saying about her party the hours and days after the party ended:

"Eronica opened the door, but mama said Adri's not there. Then, Adri came to the door. Eronica open (imagine the inflection) the door and Adri took off her coat and gave me a present. I eat pizza (all this is going like 50 miles a minute), then everyone sings a song. Mama put a candle in my ice cream cone, and I blow it out (she puts her hand near her mouth as she says this pretending to blow & show the proximity of the candle to her face). Then, I lick the ice cream frosting and eat the ice cream cupcake. Gavrie ate his cone. Eronica goes peepee's and then open presents."
As a mama, it continues to get more surreal as I see my little grow into a big girl. Even as I looked at pictures from this past summer compared to now, we've seen more baby fat fade and a little girl blossom. While Ben and I were getting ready to go to sleep one night, I was reflecting on a future realization that I can lose track of at times. How although I'm her number one right now and she adores me, needs me and wants to be near me right now...all that will change and she won't necessarily adore me, need me, or want me. I realized how much I need to cling to these precious years of her being my little girl, snatch all the snuggles & hugs I can get and chase after the moments of her & me time while I can.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Semi-Retraction


I knew I would think differently after my post from yesterday come two hours later. And I'm glad to report that I did. It's as my father-in-law says, "We would've thrown Ben (as a baby) out in the snow if he wasn't so cute." Isn't this the truth. There are those moments in my day when I feel like my patience and sanity is being challenged left and right (and I honestly don't know if I can get past it). There are times when I can remove myself from the stimulus (screaming, whining, crazy child), think about my response, and then give a thoughtful, calm, & collected response.

However, there are definitely moments or days when I do not think about the stimulus and simply respond. But isn't it interesting how both responses are using emotion & feeling. They're just using them in negative & positive ways, which is something I've been learning a lot as a mother and teaching our girls the same. In the 7 Habits book, Stephen Covey talks about this principle, which is monumental for anyone wanting to give dignity to others and receive for themselves. It's the 1st Habit, "Be Proactive," which states, "change starts from within." We are given a choice in how we respond to the stimulus' of life.

So as we've been working hard, specifically with Veronica (as she has words) to name her emotions (rather than show them in full display, "Yes Screaming...or...THROW THINGS!"), we had a break through moment yesterday. She ran into the kitchen rather frustrated with her sister Cadence saying, "NOO Baby Cadence!" I asked her what happened.

Stimulus: She replied, "Cadence took my doughnut (toy doughnut)!"
Pause between stimulus & response: Then there was a thoughtful pause...
Her response: "That makes me angry!"

It was one of those break through/the light is shining at the end of tunnel moments. I suspect we'll have many more break through moments to come and a couple more set backs as well; but, it only makes us stronger right?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Naptime




Okay, so it's 3:14 in the afternoon and I put the girls down for a nap around 1:45. Veronica is still awake and I'm getting a little tired of this game. In the past five days alone, her nap record is 3:2 (no nap:nap). Now, she's gotten to the point where she thinks five minutes of laying her head on the pillow is good enough.

The thing about it that drives me a bit bonkers is her talking. The girl never stops talking. Seriously! If I were to follow her with a recorder from rise to sleep, we could easily run out of tape more than a few times. It's hard as the girls share a room and Veronica is talking while keeping Cadence awake. Of course, it's not all Veronica's fault, because I know I hear both of them on certain days being chatter monkeys. However, on days like today when I hear the door open I don't know how many times (she's wondering if it's time to wake up) and then to find Cadence standing in her crib, rubbing her eyes and an overly exhausted Veronica. Oh Lord save me!

I know she's hitting the stage where naps can become obsolete; however, I'm not thinking that is true for her. Because whenever she doesn't get a nap, she is SUPER crank pants by 3:30 or 4:00 and then bedtime is near impossible when it comes to the semi-reasoning you can do for a three year old. But you throw in the no nap and wake up at 6:00 and that's one long day. I'm thinking of checking myself into a mental institution about now.

Well, thanks for reading my spill session and I promise the next time I post I will write about my undying love & adoration of this same girl. As I'm sure an hour from now I'll be over it. Back to the trenches I go:)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Spy on Canaan




Two weeks ago I sang an old Camp Berachah song to the girls before bedtime. It is one of those "speed up as you go" type of songs. V & C loved it, which meant this mama sang it over & over. Cadence would giggle while Veronica would get excited trying to memoriZe the lyrics.

Tonight while I began to sing I realized V knew the hand motions and especially loved the part where it goes, "two were good" (then you throw your arms up and shout "WOO!"). As she squealed for more songs to be sung, Ben & I realized she misinterpreted a vital word to the song. Here are the lyrics:

Twelve men went to spy on Canaan.
Ten were bad...two were good.
What did they see when they spied on Canaan?
Ten were bad...two were good.
Some saw giants big and tall.
Some saw grapes and clusters fall.
Two saw God was in it all.
Ten were bad...two were good. "

But this is what we heard:

Twelve men went to spy on Cadence...
And so forth where you find the Canaan's.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Club

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am going to start reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families as part of my New Year's Goals. I've also mentioned in another previous post about SimpleMom.net and how much her blog centers me and inspires me to do life. So as I went over to the site today I found out that she announced her 2010 Book Club List and what would you know! The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families is the first book to discuss. If you would like to join with me there--that would be great. If not, I will be posting discussion questions and thoughts by Friday morning.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Did I Mention???


That I made V's Christmas dress? Well, I did and I have to say that I am very proud of it. I'm not much of a seamstress and during Home Economics (three years), the sewing portion had little to be desired. Mainly, because I liked everything to be just right and I couldn't be rushed. Both qualities making it rather difficult when we had a deadline.

All that to say, and you'd think I hated it so much I would never touch a sewing machine again. Well, that's not completely true either. When it comes down to it, I simply don't have the patience or diligence to do all the steps. I absolutely abhor cutting out the patterns. Then, to have to pin and cut some more. My least favorite step. Actually, anything with pinning is my least favorite, which is truly one of the basis for accuracy. And I'd be kidding myself if I said accuracy didn't matter. However, I did hardly any cutting for patterns for this dress.

In fact, I basically measured V and then went from there creating my own template and two days later....
yes blurry, but imagine it's artistic

Another thing I'm proud of is the price I paid for such nice material. And here it is me to you (as if you didn't know this already)...Sewing Tip #11: Always check out the discount fabric. I got this lovely cranberry formal fabric for something like $3.00 a yard (you have to boast when you find a steal--right!). I knew I wanted a peasant dress to make it easy and then I got two different notions. One off-white lace to line the arms and the other lace to line the front, giving it texture and a bit more "OOMPH." I'm taking orders now for Christmas 2010 dresses. :)