Thursday, March 31, 2011

35 Gifts to Give your Children that They’ll Never Forget

I must admit, I did NOT come up with this list. I am borrowing the advice from a friend. It's a great reminder that the best things kids need are US.
1. Affirmation. Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. So make sure your children know how much you appreciate them. And then, remind them every chance you get.
2. Art. With the advent of the Internet, everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to…
3. Challenge. Encourage your child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.
4. Compassion/Justice. Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, I want my child to be active in helping to level it.
5. Contentment. The need for more is contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is an appreciation for being content with what they have… but not with who they are.
6. Curiosity. Teach your children to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that should never leave a parents’ mouth.
7. Determination. One of the greatest determining factors in one’s success is the size of their will. How can you help grow your child’s today?
8. Discipline. Children need to learn everything from the ground-up including appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve their dreams. Discipline should not be avoided or withheld. Instead, it should be consistent and positive. (See Parenting with Positive Guidance by Amanda Morgan).
9. Encouragement. Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that you choose to speak today can offer encouragement and positive thoughts to another child. Or your words can send them further into despair. So choose them carefully.
10. Faithfulness to your Spouse. Faithfulness in marriage includes more than just our bodies. It also includes our eyes, mind, heart, and soul. Guard your sexuality daily and devote it entirely to your spouse. Your children will absolutely take notice.
11. Finding Beauty. Help your children find beauty in everything they see… and in everyone they meet.
12. Generosity. Teach your children to be generous with your stuff so that they will become generous with theirs.
13. Honesty/Integrity. Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.
14. Hope. Hope is knowing and believing that things will get better and improve. It creates strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.
15. Hugs and Kisses. I once heard the story of a man who told his 7-year old son that he had grown too old for kisses. I tear up every time I think of it. Know that your children are never too old to receive physical affirmation of your love for them.
16. Imagination. If we’ve learned anything over the past 20 years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world tomorrow looks nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
17. Intentionality. I believe strongly in intentional living and intentional parenting. Slow down, consider who you are, where you are going, and how to get there. And do the same for each of your children.
18. Your Lap. It’s the best place in the entire world for a book, story, or conversation. And it’s been right in front of you the whole time.
19. Lifelong Learning. A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home. So read, ask questions, analyze, and expose. In other words, learn to love learning yourself.
20. Love. …but the greatest of these is love.
21. Meals Together. Meals provide unparalleled opportunity for relationship, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else. So much so, that a family that does not eat together does not grow together.
22. Nature. Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them. As a parent, I am frequently asking my kids to keep their rooms inside the house neat, clean, and orderly. Shouldn’t we also be teaching them to keep their world outside neat, clean, and orderly?
23. Opportunity. Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. And contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to require much money.
24. Optimism. Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
25. Peace. On a worldwide scale, you may think this is out of our hands. But in relation to the people around you, this is completely within your hands… and that’s a darn good place to start.
26. Pride. Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments.
27. Room to Make mistakes. Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of your patience. Give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes.
28. Self-Esteem. People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their values and stick to them… even when no one else is.
29. Sense of Humor. Laugh with your children everyday… for your sake and theirs.
30. Spirituality. Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.
31. Stability. A stable home becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. They need to know their place in the family, who they can trust, and who is going to be there for them. Don’t keep changing those things.
32. Time. The gift of time is the one gift you can never get back or take back. So think carefully about who (or what) is getting yours.
33. Undivided Attention. Maybe this imagery will be helpful: Disconnect to Connect.
34. Uniqueness. What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for all the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
35. A Welcoming Home. To know that you can always come home is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in all the world. Is your home breathing life into your child?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Update on My Path to Forgiving

It's been a little over a week since I decided that I needed to move on and work on forgiving my step-grandma. I've prayed like crazy, gotten FANTASTIC advice, and had lots of time to think. In the last week I've come SO fact, on Sunday I actually SPOKE with her...for the first time since the night we argued. It went well, I survived and we spoke kindly and without bringing up the ugliness. After it was over I didn't even feel anger toward her. It was gone.
I still feel like I'm not COMPLETELY there, but I have come SO far and I believe I'm nearly there.
One of the things that truly helped me on the road to forgiveness was this quote: "Forgiveness is giving up the hope that you can change the past."
I've realized that I can't change what happened, but I can resolve my feelings about it and move on.....and it has helped me SO much.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can You Keep a Secret?

It's the middle of the night (I know you wouldn't know this unless I confessed, so I did.) I am all by myself in my living room. The television is off (if only my kids saw it that way....they'd freak out.) I'm sitting on the computer looking up as many songs as I can by a few of my favorite artists.....
Seriously, can you keep a secret??
Cross your heart? Hope to die, stick a needle in your eye?
I really mean it.....
I'm head-banging and fist-pumping to Pink, Katy Perry, and a few other rockers. I watched a few videos from Pink and wish she was my best friend....
I think I'm secretly a rocker-chick. Oh, whatever would Steve think if he saw me now?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Built Upon the Rock

Jake's new favorite thing to do is sing "The Wise man and the Foolish Man." Today he insisted he needed an actual rock to sing his song....this is his result. (Forgive my sad video quality....)
He's so proud of himself too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Collecting Black-Mail for the Future...

Are we EVIL parents, or what? ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ever Have One of Those Sundays??

Do you ever have one of those Sundays where EVERYTHING you hear at church seems directed at you? Every prayer, every talk, every lesson seems applicable to YOUR life? This was my Sunday.
Sacrament Meeting went well. Lately I've tried to make a conscious effort to concentrate on the Savior during the passing of the sacrament, and today, it just totally slipped my mind. When the deacons were returning the water trays, I remember thinking to myself, "Wait! I forgot! Can I have a do-over?"
Once the speakers started, I DID get my do-over. The first speaker talked about being Christ's hands and responding quickly to promptings. He talked about how we say our prayers praying for someone to help us and they come and DO help us, why can't we be the answer to someone else's prayer?
Then our choir sang one of my favorite songs, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I sang with the choir, and before going up I warned my boys to be good....Jake followed us up onto the stand and then stood at the front and peeked over the edge. Nice, my son is the ward's entertainment.
The second talk was about forgiveness. I come from a long line of grudge holders, and have perfected this trait myself. In fact, I've been struggling lately, but I haven't really mentioned it here, but I will now, because I need some help and perspective to get past it.
About a month ago, on one of our many Family Home Evenings, I had a blow up with my step-grandma. She is constantly telling me what to do, and treating me like a little kid. She's not very nice about it, and acts like she's my mom and I'm an incapable child. Well, that night, she tried to tell me something (at the same time that my own mother was telling me the SAME thing) and I got frustrated. I've held in my true feelings for years. And unfortunately, I blew up. I yelled and screamed and basically acted like a baby. I told her that I was an adult, and that I did NOT need her to tell me what to do. I can take care of my own family and she didn't need to get in the middle of it.
Now, the message is one that she might need to hear (since she is a butt-insky and is always trying to micromanage everyone around her....) but my presentation was HORRIBLE! I felt terrible. I wanted to apologize to her for yelling, but not for my message. So after consulting with some friends, I decided to email her my apology, but tell her that I will not put up with her treatment of me anymore. I meant what I said, but that I felt bad about yelling and acting like a little kid.
That was the single most SCARIEST moment of my life. I did NOT want to hurt her feelings, but I felt like I needed to stand up for myself and let her know where I stood. A week went by...she had not responded. I felt like things were going to be okay, and she was just going to let this blow over. I was relieved that we were "okay."
Unfortunately that is NOT how it ended. By the end of the week she had sent me a very nasty email saying that I was a horrible mother and wife and that she needed to tell me what to do because I was so incapable of doing it on my own.
I was hurt and angry. (Truth be told, I'm STILL hurt and angry.)
I have not seen NOR spoken to her since's very odd, and I have guilt that she is keeping herself from the rest of my family because of me.
When I heard the forgiveness talk today I KNEW that it was Heavenly Father's way of telling me that it is time to forgive her and move on. I just don't know's so hard to forgive someone who refuses to forgive me (yes, in the email she told me that she will NEVER forgive me....) and someone who treats me and my family so badly. (I've been thinking over and over at how she treats my sweet Cameron....and it brings Mama Bear out EVERY time.) Someone told me that I need to let go and stop stewing over her, especially when I haven't seen her or talked to her in such a long time. That it is Satan trying to get me into his nets.
I admit that I should, but I am SO good at holding grudges. I mean, I'm amazing at holding grudges.
All through his talk I felt the Spirit tell me, "You need to forgive her. Forgiveness will make you feel so much better and you know it."
I know I do, and so in the middle of that talk, I said a small prayer that I will be able to find a way to forgive her.
Sunday School was great as well. The teacher spoke of parables and how we need to change ourselves to be receptive to truths. (Hello, I must need to do a lot of changing, because forgiveness is one of my weaknesses....)
Relief Society was probably the place where I was touched the most. I will tell you, I love my ward. LOVE them. And I've been trying to sit in different parts of the room to get to know every body and to switch things up. I sat by one of my favorite people and settled in to enjoy the lesson. Our opening song was "As Sisters in Zion." Again, a hymn that I love and that means SO much to me. I didn't have a book, so I felt the power of the words coming through my heart. It was very special.
Then the lesson was about Charity. This is something I wish I had a better grasp of. Charity is something I wish that I had for everyone, but I've been learning that I am very judgmental and I don't love everyone the same way Christ does. I've been trying to change. It's started a while ago with my younger brother, who has made so many wrong choices. One day I commented that something he loves is for "weird people" and he chastened me by saying "no, it's for people who are judged...." I have been quick to judge first and not to love as quickly. I've tried to change this about myself, and can truly feel stronger love for my brother.
During the lesson today I realized, "Charity is the answer to your forgiveness.... You need to learn to love your step-grandma the way that Christ does. Not only do you need to find Charity in your heart for her, but you need to share this love with your husband and children. They are the ones who are most deserving of your love and understanding. Treat them ALL better and you will be happier."
I spent the remainder of the lesson in tears and being chastened by the Spirit. (The teacher didn't make the lesson out to be one where you feel bad, in fact, she did an amazing job! I just took the truths she was teaching and applied them to my situations.) The closing hymn in Relief Society was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version of "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus." As I think back to that song, I'm tearing up. It was beautiful and so true....we need to" love one another as Jesus loves [us]. Try to show kindness in all that [we] do. Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, for these are the things Jesus taught." It shouldn't be so hard, it should be simple and easy to follow in his footsteps.
I've tried applying these lessons into dealing with my children, and while I have fallen a few times (yes, I've failed a few times in the last few hours since church...) things are going SO well. My boys aren't going to turn to me immediately, but I believe that if I love them with the "pure love of Christ" then things will be better and I will be happier.
The best part of the day came after the closing prayer. My favorite lady, that I sat by, leaned over and said to me (while the tears were pouring down my cheeks...) "I want you to know, that whenever people mention 'Dawnyel,' I hear nothing but good things. You are so sweet and we all just love having you here." Could there not be a better way to end the day?
So many lessons learned in such a short amount of time. It's been a fantastic Sunday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting Ridiculous...

For quite a while now I've found myself falling asleep in any comfortable spot. I can be on my couch, at my parents' house, sitting quietly at the doesn't matter. I will fall instantly asleep. My boys are quite used to it, and Jake has learned to entertain himself rather well...despite his new coloring fetish. He will play with toys or find something to eat.
Today we had a "friend" over. (You should know, any child that is Jake's age or interacts with him is his friend...he has a lot of friends.) This friend was a little boy I've never really met before, but seemed sweet enough. He was fairly mellow, and Jake and he got along VERY well.
Part way through the play date, I turned on my sleeping nemesis: SpongeBob. It doesn't matter HOW many times I've seen the episode, SpongeBob WILL put me to sleep. Soon enough, I was snoozing, and the little boy came over to me and asked, "Hey, are you sleeping??" I quickly answered that I was, and he should go and play with the trucks or watch SpongeBob.
I just cannot help myself. I need help...this is getting ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ten Minutes of Chaos

Today was a fairly uneventful day....except for little 10 minute block. It was right after I turned off my computer this morning. As I turned around to talk to Jake, he began choking on a jelly bean. He had it stuck pretty he came running to me, gasping with tears running down his face the whole time. I grabbed him and did the Heimlich Maneuver a few times until he was breathing (bawling) and okay. He was pretty scared, but only stayed on my lap for 30 seconds before he was off and running again.
A little bit later, I told him NOT to eat anything but I had to go switch over the laundry. Our laundry is in our basement, and there's a locking door between the two floors. Usually I keep the door open and I don't worry too much about it. I hurried down and switched the clothes over and talking to Jake, who was at the top of the stairs by the door. Soon the door slammed. Once I'd gotten my laundry gathered I was at the top of the stairs I couldn't open the door.
He'd locked it.
I wasn't dressed...I was in my pajamas, bare-footed, and my front door was locked anyway....I banged on the door and yelled for Jake to open the door. He couldn't, because he didn't know how to unlock the door. Finally, after a minute of coaching, he opened it.
ALL this happened within the same 10 minute time frame. I don't think I can get away with ANYTHING anymore. He's too smart for his own good.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Crayon, Crayon EVERYWHERE!!

Jake loves to color. That's fine, until he colors OFF the page.
His latest artwork includes:
The back of our desk on beige, BEAUTIFUL!
The screen of our BRAND new TV.
His white socks (blue this time.)
Our red-neck mirrors in the living room.
The wall at the bottom of the stairs, yellow and red.
The computer screen.
The lid to his toy box in his bedroom.
And finally, his hands.
I promise, I am NOT encouraging this, I do remind him that we only color on paper, but this Van Gogh has different ideas....

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Funny Things Jake Says

His new favorite saying is, "Mom! Cameron's annoying!!" Um, where EVER did you learn THAT word little boy? *whistles innocently*
Funny enough, he says it at appropriate times. He MUST know what it means.
His other funny saying is "Mom, you a BIG boy!" When I tell him yes, mommy's big, but I'm a girl, he gets indignant, "NO, mom, you a BOY!"
Okay, so I'm a boy, and Cam's annoying.