Friday, April 18, 2014

Strong Willed

Sweet boy Jack, all you want to wear, EVERY SINGLE DAY, is a pair of shorts, an FSU t-shirt and your FSU hat. You will only wear your grey New Balance sneakers and refuse to wear a collared shirt or Tom's or anything decent looking, unless we bribe you with skittles. Speaking of skittles, I think you could live off of milk and skittles. Also, I have no idea just how in the world to get you off of your Nuni's (paci's). Your older brothers never took to a paci (thank God), so this is all new to us. Please, Nuni fairy, come in with your magic wand and take them all away. I just do not have the strength. This is how it works, right? Also, the latest sleeping arrangement has got to change. I always swore I would NEVER let a child sleep in my bed, or drive a mini van, and we can all see how life has made a mockery of me.

Before I launch into all of the difficulties that I face with my sweet 2 year old boy, I want to make one thing very clear. I love this boy of mine. Love him so much that if I dwell on it, my insides ache. His laugh infects my soul and his smile brightens my days. I love him so much more than I ever thought possible. But, parenting a strong willed, or "spirited" or "compassionate", child is exhausting. Jack has fought me about anything and everything. He thrives on attention, the positive and the negative kind...and we have tried every tactic. From rewarding, to disciplining, to ignoring, to praising, to redirecting, to encouraging, to distracting, to bribing...he has a set routine, with boundaries and structure and is smothered with love, but to no avail does he like to follow our rules. He likes to have a say so in everything. It is just Jack. And lately, he is pushing my limits. I am trying to focus on his positives, because he really does have many, many more pros than cons! He is such a fun child, who lights up the room with his grin and giggles. He is the first to comfort someone in need. He loves to help and be involved and is the world's best snuggler. He has love pouring out of him and rainbows shooting from his eyes...hahaha... Having a child with a strong voice is a good thing, I guess. Having a child who feels deeply about things lets you know they are connected. We are working on setting boundaries and keeping them. Following through ALL OF THE TIME.

Even through this phase in life, I think he is one of most special people I've ever met and love him to the moon and back!

Oh Jack..............I love you so very much my baby boy!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey Batter, Batter

God sure knew exactly what he was doing when he created 3 boys for our family...
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Baseball is the sport that they both seem to love the most, so far anyways. This makes their daddy beam with pride! Their little team, The Black T-Cats, is the sweetest thing you ever did see. It is incredible to see how far they have come in just one month!
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I am thoroughly enjoying watching them play...that gleam in their eye when they hit the ball just perfectly. And how they shoot me a thumbs up from 1st base and how they both always make sure I am watching them. I know that I need to cherish these moments, as I will, soon, probably be an embarrassment to them...

But, for now, they are totally loving spending time as a family. It was beach weather, for oh, I don't know, maybe 24 hours...
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During that time period, we were also able to discover that Jack is terrified of the Easter scream your head off for 30 minutes, terrified. Seriously. He hid in the corner of Sal's yard until the Easter bunny "Went back to his house". He must have asked me 50 times throughout the course of 24 hours if the Easter bunny was still at his home. Allyson and Emery wanted nothing to do with him, either!
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And, add a little 'touch of Spring' to the front porch...
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And, Celebrate Great Grandmothers 88th birthday, with a surprise birthday party at Pop's and Donna's condo...
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And, take a stroll to our neighborhood beach...
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And, with one little push, Wade and Brody are no longer needing training wheels. Literally, they picked it up their very first try...Wade asked first:
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And, not to be out done by his twin, Brody followed suit...
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So big, and so proud!
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Speaking of big, this little guy potty trained himself. Just took a few skittles and spidey undies and he was good to go. No boot camp or anything. I was stunned!
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Jack even accompanied me and Nanny on a weekend in ATL to go to shopping and did not have one accident throughout the road trip and endless hours shopping. You can see from the pics that he loved being "Up high", looking down at the city and people watching. You can also see how much he loved shopping at Ikea. Little guy has not been in a stroller in over a year...ended up sleeping for over 3 hours, as we reclined it and I played the white noise app on my phone. Ain't nobody got time to listen to a whiny kiddo while!
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We did leave enough time for him to get all of his energy out at Piedmont Park and Chastain Park. (Big city livin' is so different from our everyday world. It seems as though it takes effort to do EVERYTHING...from parking and valeting, to navigating through downtown detours and taking over an hour to find our hotel every single time because of said detours, it is just different. Nice, but harder.)
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Couldn't resist a few rest stop selfies with my little boy!
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Fells good to be back! Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 11, 2014


This, (copied from another blogger online, Casey Wiegand), is how I want to spend my time with my boys...intentionally.

We desperately want our kiddos to feel freedom to learn, explore and grow within rules and structure. I believe that everything can be fun and exciting for your little ones.

1. Time in Attention: it is important that each child has 5-10 minutes of just one on one time with each parent throughout the day.

This is big for families with multiple little ones. Chris and I take each child for 10-15 minutes each day and do something just us. It can be a simple walk down to the end of the block and back. Rocking a child and reading a story one on one. Something sweet and simple just the two of you to fill up their little tank! You can also do longer activities. I always take one of the three with me if I am running somewhere real quick and then we might stop for a quick ice cream together before we get back!

2. Behind their Back: It's probably obvious that you should never say something negative about your little one when they are in ear shot or can hear you. Or really ever. BUT something that they LOVE is hearing you praise them "behind their back". Chris and I love love this one! We do it all the time, it's a great example of positive reinforcement.

"Hey Casey, did you know that Aiden put away all his toys today without me asking??"
"He did?! Are you serious?! That was so kind of him to do all of that work! And no one had to tell him?? Amazing!!"

3. Ask toddler to help you with tasks. They love this. They love little roles and jobs that make them feel big and important. It's also a great way to take ten minutes to clean the kitchen for the afternoon but also involving them. Even if it takes a bit longer or isn't done perfectly, this will help build their little confidence!

4. Play Silly: Sing a song wrong and let them correct you. "Happy Elephant to you...." // We do this and Aiden hysterically laughs every time. "No mom!!!!! It's happy birthday!!!!" Ohhhhhh, you are so right!!!! Thank you for helping me!

5. Practice areas that they struggle in.

If one of our kiddos responds incorrectly to something, I normally will say real quietly and calmly (I get down on eye level with them). "Hey I know you are very passionate about this. Could you help me? Can you practice asking for that the correct way?"

An example our teacher gave was that her son would always take off running as soon as she would drop her hand from holding it. She would go a few times a week in her backyard where it was safe and say "Okay, lets pretend we are in the grocery store parking lot about to get some food, I need to grab my keys// I am going to drop your hand now, what should you do?" - She said through practice in a safe environment he eventually learned!

** this is so important: often times toddlers start throwing a tantrum because you have not identified their emotion.

Example: You are at the park, you have given all the " we are leaving in 5 minutes".... you say it is now time to go and they start melting down. Usually you start going into these long explanations which are going over their heads because they are screaming and kicking. Try this.

Grab them, say " You're mad. pause You're mad. pause You love the park."
they stop, say yes!
you say " I know you love the park! We will come back later this week".

Something about validating that emotion helps!

6. Plants seeds of kindness through fairytales. In our home, we can make up fun stories about a blonde boy who loved dinos and his sister who loves tigers and they are traveling to a far away jungle! They both want the same boat paddle! The boy was so kind and had such a beautiful heart he let the girl use the paddle first and they shared! Wasn't that so nice of him??

Using these fake stories you are planting seeds of kindness!

7. Your children may have a quality that comes across negative right now but it is a quality, a gift that God gave them and they just do not know how to "channel" it yet. Don't put that quality down! Talk to them about it in a positive way as you try and teach them how to channel it properly.

Bossy : A Leader
Defiant : Brave
Hyper: Passionate
Nosy: Curious
Picky Eater : Discerning (knows what they like)
Shy : Careful
Stubborn : Tenacious
Whiny : Outspoken

"Wow, I know that you are being so careful right now and that is a beautiful quality! But you know what? It's super sweet to introduce yourself to new friends. Show them that wonderful smile of yours!"

8. Never make unfair comparisons to siblings or other children. Every child is different. don't compare.

9. Have fun. If there is something they don't want to do (brush their teeth) try and make it fun! Be really silly and start singing a song and brushing your teeth and see how quickly they want to join.

10. Compliment them constantly. Be positive. Shower them with Love.

Okay so I made this last one up myself ;). I believe in this so much. We praise our kids constantly throughout the day. I pump positive reinforcement into their little lives 24/7. It makes a HUGE difference. The first week at our new church Aiden's teacher looked at me and said "You sure have a lovebug on your hands". YES. He knows love because he feels it constantly.

11. Don't apologize on their behalf. How many times are we in a store or at a friends house and to save face we apologize on their behalf. " I am so sorry he is acting this way.... yada yada"

This is not good. You can crush a spirit with criticism, sarcasm and ridicule.

12. Exaggerations also kill the spirit. " You never do this.... You always do this..."

13. Give yourself Grace. Us mamas, us parents- we need to give ourselves grace!