Friday, June 4, 2010

Trekkin' It

So, we begin today (almost) on our epic summer adventure.

The house we are renting is only a 10 month contract. Rather than finding a new place we decided to come back here (it's a great place). So for two months we will be homeless (not really, I just like the shock value of those words).

Actually, my saintly parents have invited us to stay with them in Virginia. But, before we make it back there we have to hang around Utah for girls camp and cub scout camp. (Luckily all 3 were in the same week.)

Thus begins our true homelessness (again, with the shock).

I am constantly amazed at the generosity of people who are willing to open their homes to a family as large as ours. I feel truly grateful. (I have such a great family, close and extended.)

In the meantime, the whole family (all 9 of us) will be traveling around in our 9-passenger suburban.

It will be a tight squeeze. (Ha, understatement of the year!)

Especially with all "the stuff" we have to take.

I feel a bit like the handcart pioneers. I have given my children guidelines on what they are allowed to take:
6 outfits (incl. church clothes)
1 swimsuit
1 book
1 toy/stuffed animal
1 pillow
1 blanket
At least we don't have to pull it across country, hopefully. (insert childhood memories here of road-trips and over-heating radiators, hanging out on the side of the road, etc.)

I have grand visions of how joyful this "vacation" will be.

Eating in the car.

Reading scriptures, in the car.

Sleeping in the car.

Visiting historic sites, in the car.

Listening to books on tape, in the car.

Singing obnoxious songs, in the car.

Creating inside family jokes, in the car.

Listening to babies scream, in the car.

Sibling rivalry, in the car.

Dad turning around, in the car.

In the car, in the car.

OK, my vision is deteriorating quickly. aaaahhhhhh!

It will be fun, it will be fun, it will be fun.

And so, off we go. Bon Voyage. Auf Weidershen. TTFN.

I might make it back in one piece (but it probably won't be my brain).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thank You

I've been trying out some new parenting skills I've learned. The book I've been reading is, "The Power of Positive Parenting" by Glen Latham.

The idea is that the behaviors you pay the most attention to are the ones that will increase.

So, if I spend all my time yelling at my kids for something they're doing wrong then they actually will continue to do it more. So instead, I've been looking for the positive things to focus on.

This is so hard for me.

Not because my kids aren't doing good things. It's just that I'm such a coach and I want to help them improve. I want to point out what they're doing wrong so they can get better.

Anyway, I've been trying to be more positive. There's been a lot of:

"Thank you for chewing your food quietly."
"Thank you for putting your plate in the dishwasher without being asked."
"Thank you for not slamming that door when you wanted to."
"Thank you for . . ."

It's driving some of my kids (mostly 'A') crazy. "So are you going to be one of those moms that just says nice things all the time?" That was seriously one of her questions. Of course, now she says, "Remember, you're supposed to be positive!"

Well, this all felt very manipulative to me at first. But then I realized it really is just a better environment I'm trying to create.

Yes, I want my kids to behave, but it's more important that they feel loved and appreciated (by the way, a coach would never say that).

So how has it been going?

Things are better. I don't always stick to the game plan, but I hear the words thank you a lot more. And not just from me; from my kids, too. They seem to get along a bit better as well.

But, the crowning moment came when my husband asked our son ('D') to clean up something. The response?

"Thanks for telling me what to clean up Dad."


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