Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm still alive

Life has been busy, as usual, with four kids and by the time I get a minute to think about a thought provoking, inspiring post my eyes and brain are fried and I just end up going to bed. I have so many ideas in my head about what to blog about, I just can't seem to get it all straight in my head, so right now I am making a list and am making plans so that starting in January I can really get back in to blogging on here daily! So is there any one subject you want to know more about? Leave me a comment and let me know so I can make sure to blog about it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expectations in parents

As I mentioned last week I have been thinking a lot about expectations and its effects on relationships. I have especially been thinking about the expectations among the parents and how that dynamic can influence the whole family unit. You know the expression "Happy wife, happy life?" I really think there is some truth to that. I think the woman sets the tone for the mood of the home. There is the other saying that says, "If momma ain't happy then no one's happy." Why is that? In my opinion it is because the woman serves a lot of roles in a family and so if she is feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or taken advantage of then those emotions leak in to other dynamics of the home.

Often times the reason the mom is so stressed out isn't because dad isn't willing to help but is more because he doesn't know he's supposed to be helping! Think about it. How many of us who have kids now can honestly say that their dads helped their mom out all the time? Not many. The family dynamic has changed a ton over the past decade and dads are helping a lot more than they used to. My father was the bread winner and discipliner who occasionally took us camping or some other fun activity, but he was the ultimate head of the house. Rarely did my dad cook dinner or wash dishes. He never picked us up from school or took us to an extracurricular activity because he was working and that was mom's job. Dads weren't known for getting on the ground and playing Barbies with his daughters - that was almost unheard of. So of course it is harder for most men to stop and say, "Hey that basket of laundry needs to be folded" when they would rather throw their sons around or clean up the backyard.

As I have mentioned in previous posts we all bring something to the table in parenting and the biggest thing we bring is our expectations. I remember my mom used to wake up early every morning and pack my dad a lunch for work, so when my husband went through the police academy I felt like that was something I was "supposed" to do. So for a few days I got up early and packed him a lunch and sent him off and then went back to bed. Well I am NOT a morning person and after a few days I was tired and really didn't want to make him lunch and he told me he didn't need me to make his lunch, in fact he never expected me to in the first place and boy was I relieved because I wanted to sleep! That is why it is so important for you to talk about your expectations with each other, maybe you are stressing yourself out over something the other person doesn't even care about. Maybe they are resenting you because they expect you to do more. In order to be a good functioning couple I think you need to sit down with each other and really talk about each others expectations and see if you are on the same page or if you have completely different views!

So out of curiosity, what is one thing you expect from your partner and think every man/woman should do? For me I expect my husband to be completely involved in my child's life - meaning he helps put them to bed, he helps feed them, he helps change them, he picks them up from school, he volunteers at school, he goes to all of their performances and games, etc. He is not just to be a sperm donor or discipliner but a parent! (which he is an amazing parent and sometimes my kids prefer him over me)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It seems like everyone I am close to and talk to pretty frequently is having struggles in their marriage or with their kids, including me and my spouse. I have mentioned in previous posts that we grew apart and now we are trying to rebuild and reconnect and it is easier said than done. There are a LOT of conversations about our situation and why we are where we are, how to improve and what is bugging us right now. As I have been thinking a lot about myself, my relationship with my spouse, my kids, and my friends I have realized that there is a recurring theme over and over again in my thoughts and that is, what do I expect from them and from myself in those relationships.

My husband is a great guy and very helpful . . . on things he thinks needs to be done. For example, one day there were literally about 8 baskets of washed laundry that needed to be folded and put away and it was obvious that I was pretty stressed out and trying to get a lot done and when my husband woke up that day instead of saying, "Hey I can see you have been working hard all day so let me fold this laundry for you" he went outside and spent an hour cleaning up the backyard, taking care of the dogs, and sweeping the pool that we are no longer able to swim in because it is too cold. He then had to rush to get ready for work and eat dinner and then left for work leaving me with those 8 baskets of laundry, plus the dishes from dinner, plus the responsibility of making dinner, and taking care of our four children and well you get the idea. The main problem was not so much that he left the laundry unfolded, it was that I expected him to help around the house but didn't vocalize that expectation and therefore he was unable to meet that expectation.

Let's apply this to kids. How often do you expect your children to behave well at the store only to get there and have them try escaping you, scream when they don't get what they want, knock things off the shelf, etc. Or do you expect them to come home from a long day of school and immediately sit down at the table and work on another hour of homework only to have them come home and fight you every step of the way.

The problem is not the behavior of the people in our lives the problem is our expectations and the way we are expressing them. Sometimes we expect too much from people, other times we expect too little. So how do you set the right expectation? The main thing is to look at the individual and their own special circumstances. Is it reasonable to expect a two year old to share his toys with other two year olds? NO, two year olds do not share! You can help them to share, you can involve yourself in their play to ensure they share with others but to expect them to immediately be o.k. with sharing with another kid is setting yourself up for disappointment. If you are aware of the fact that two year old don't share, or that a fourteen year old believes they know everything about life and you know nothing, then when they behave in that manner you aren't disappointed or frustrated (well maybe a little frustrated) but instead you can focus on ways to help them be the best two yr old or fourteen yr old or even 50 yr old they can be. Now this is going to go against what I just said, BUT, it is important to set expectations high so people can stretch and grow to reach that expectation, but you also have to find what you are o.k. with until they reach your expectation. For example, I expect my children to grow up to become well behaved, smart, respectful adults and therefore I am going to teach them how to become that but am not going to become upset or disappointed when my child behaves like a normal 6 yr old, 5 yr old or 2 yr old. Does that make sense?

The other thing you do not want to do is set your expectations too low - because wherever you set your expectations people will meet them (as long as they are reasonable and they know what those expectations are). If you expect your child to disobey you then they will. If you expect your children to be lazy then they will be. If you expect your husband to act like your father then he will. If you expect your friends to take advantage of you then they will. Whatever you expectations you set people will meet them!

I encourage you to really think about and write down what you expect from the people in your life, especially from those who seem to be disappointing you the most. Are your expectations reasonable? Are they attainable for the person you expect it from? Have you expressed these expectations to those people and discussed them with each other? If not, do it! There are so many more things I can post about expectations so keep an eye out for more on this subject!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

make your own lunchable

I recently started watching my friends two kids while she finishes up her masters degree. Every time she brings her kids over she also brings a lunch for her kids. Today she packed a lunchtime and when I pulled it out for lunch O went nuts because he wanted one. We don't have any on hand and I almost made him something else, but then I thought hey I can make my own! So I pulled out my turkey lunch meat, and my cheese slices and a little flower cookie cutter and cut out flowers of the meat and cheese. It made quite a bit of flowers, then I put them on a plate with some Ritz crackers and ta da everyone has a lunchable!
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Team Jesus

O is 2 right now and I have to admit that most of the time I love 2 yr olds . . . but I do not love 2 yr old attitudes and 2 yr old power struggles. 2 yr olds are hard because they aren't quite old enough to negotiate with you so you have to be extremely patient and extremely consistent with them. If you give them an inch they will literally take a mile! 2 yr olds are also impossible to distract, once they have in their mind what they want their is no convincing them otherwise so I find myself asking the question, "How important is this issue right now?" IF it is extremely important for his future well being (i.e. no snacks if you don't eat your dinner) then I will fight the fight and I will win because I am the parent and it is my responsibility to teach him. But if it's not that big of a deal (i.e. going to bed in his clothes instead of pajamas) then I don't fight it.

Well the other day it was time to get ready for bed and I told O that he needed to have a diaper change and then get ready for bed. He on the other hand didn't want to have a diaper change, he wanted to play and as he so eloquently stated to me, he wasn't stinky, so he didn't need a diaper change. Well long story short I end up getting firm with him and I change his diaper and the whole time O is screaming like he is being seriously injured when he wasn't - if you have ever had a 2 yr old you know exactly what I'm talking about! My 5 yr old J is observing what is happening and after O is changed and dressed and we are sitting on the couch for stories J looks me in the eye and in his most serious voice ever he says to me, "Mom, are you on Team Jesus? Because I don't think that's how Jesus wants us to act!" I asked him how he thought Jesus would have handled it and he said, "Well, Jesus wouldn't have gotten upset and he wouldn't have let O cry. Jesus doesn't get mad, he just loves us!"

I could have argued with him about how it is my responsibility as a mom to make sure my child doesn't go to bed with a wet diaper that is just going to get more and more wet, and therefore I was completely justified. But I didn't. Instead I thanked Jacob for reminding me that I needed to be more understanding and more patient with O.

Later that night as I was laying in bed and reflecting on the day I thought about how Jesus would have handled that situation and I thought about how I handled it, and I came to the conclusion that I was quick to lose my temper and easily frustrated with him and that I had forgotten that O was 2 and that I need to have more patience with all of my kids. I thought about how my parenting would differ if the Savior stood beside me as I disciplined my kids and if he would say, "well done" or "let me show me how to do it better." So I thank J for that little reminder and I hope that it is a good reminder for you as well!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time and the importance of it

What if in five minutes from now there was a freak accident and your child who you just yelled at died. How would you feel if this morning you frantically rushed to get your kids ready for school and you lost your temper and spanked them and then on the way to school there was an accident and your child died? How would you feel if your child kept begging you to play with them and you just couldn't find the time because there were too many other things to do and then they no longer could play with you because they were gone from this life.

I apologize for the morbidity of this post, but I want to know, do you really realize how fragile life is? Do you truly appreciate the fact that in an instant your child could be gone? I do and that is why I have the patience that I have. That is why I am quick to say I'm sorry to my child and show them how much I love them. Some people make fun of me because they say I live in fear, but I don't live in fear. I know what it is to lose someone in an instant and because of that I do not take this life or my child's life for granted. Imagine the difference in your parenting if you knew today would be the last day you could hold your child in your arms, or hear their sweet laugh, or watch them learn something new. Would you be a different parent than you were yesterday? Would you be kinder? More patient? More involved? More understanding? Cherish the moment right now with your children because you will never get it back once it's gone.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Motherhood is a calling

Found this printable on Pinterest check it out here!
The other day I read this amazing article about the worlds view of being a parent and our attitudes and thought I would share it here with you. I have been struggling lately with finding the right balance of time for the Lord, my spouse, my kids, myself and everything else in my life and I feel like this article was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I love how it talks about how becoming a mother is like a kind of dying, a dying of ourselves, but also a chance to live a better life than ever possible without becoming a mother. I always tell my friends who are having their first child to not try to rush having that baby too soon because they will never ever not be a parent again, and to cherish those last days of just having to worry about yourself. I don't mean this in a bad way at all, it is just a reality! Once you hold your newborn baby or the adoption becomes legalized that person is tied to you forever. There will never again be a moment in your life where you don't think about that child and whether you are doing enough.

I often hear women comment on how they have lost themselves because of being a mom and I always think, no you have found a new you! You have discovered a you that is (hopefully) unselfish, responsible, compassionate, patient, a teacher, a friend, a counselor, a cheerleader, a supporter and a million more things. Somewhere over the past year I have lost sight of that and became focused on me more than my family and over the past two months as I have refocused my priorities and obligations and have removed the fog that was over my brain I have found a new joy in my life!

I have found that as I put my kids and God first I find that I am less interested in "me" time and more interested in time with them. Earlier today was my definition of perfect as M & J were at school and O, N, and I were cuddling on the couch and singing "EIEIO" (aka Old McDonald had a Farm) over and over and over and hearing the laughs from O and N as we tickled and made funny animal songs. Then later after school was over and N was down for a nap, T was helping J and M with homework, I was folding laundry and O was laying at my feet I just felt a peace and joy to be a part of this family I helped create. I am disappointed in myself that I lost sight of that. I strongly encourage you to read the article, it is very short, and really internalize what it says and see where you can improve!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drop that Pop Tart!

I posted this on my family blog but since that is private I thought you would all get a kick out of this as well!

Yesterday morning M had a pop tart for breakfast (I know my mother-in-law is cringing as she reads this) and she had this pop tart in a bowl so she can break off the "crust" she only likes the gooey inside. When her ride for school came to pick her up she hadn't finished eating it, so she just left it in the bowl on my living room floor. Now N, who is now 6 months old, was no where even close to this bowl so I wasn't too worried about her getting to it, (do you see where this story is going). I talked to my friend who takes M to school for a little bit and then off they went. I checked on N and she was still nowhere near this bowl and as I was headed over to pick up the bowl my phone rang. I answered my phone and it was my primary president who is a chatter. We got to chatting and I didn't think twice about that bowl until I looked over and didn't see N. I then walked around a little bit and there she was, right next to the bowl and sucking the life out of that pop tart! I told my president I had to go because N was eating a pop tart and she just laughed and said she would call me back. So then came the task of retrieving the delicious chocolatey pop tart from a little girl who has just discovered for the first time of her life the joy of chocolate! Let's just say N was not going to let go of that pop tart, fortunately for me I am bigger and stronger so I was able to retrieve it from her determined little hands. She of course had chocolate all over herself and if I was thinking I would have snapped a photo of it because it was pretty awesome. But I was more concerned with cleaning her up than anything else! Crazy girl is on the move now and she is quick! I can't believe how quickly time flies!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am going to focus on what I am thankful for. I am thankful for the following:

The Savior, Jesus Christ and the atonement that allows me to forgive myself and others for the hurtful choices that have been made

My spouse, even though he isn't perfect I will always be thankful he is my husband

My four beautiful children, they love me for me and nothing else. They are my everything and I am sorry I lost sight of that.

My friends who do not judge me but are there for me constantly reminding me of who I am.

My family who is far from perfect, but I wouldn't be the person I am today if not for them

My inlaws - they have learned to love and accept me for who I am and I love that I know they are always there for me if I ever need them.

My church calling - it is such a blessing to see and hear the testimonies of the children grow each week.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to teach your children

I remember thinking how excited I was when I decided to go to college to get my degree in Early Childhood Education. I couldn't wait to learn the best ways to teach my kids their abc's and 123's. I was determined to have the smartest kids in the world all because of what I was going to learn in college. And then I went to my classes and had the biggest awakening of my life. Every single professor told me DO NOT SPEND YOUR TIME TEACHING THEM THEIR LETTERS AND NUMBERS! I was shocked! I could have sworn they were wrong and that their was no way they could honestly be telling me to not teach my children their letters and numbers. But they insisted on this over and over and over and over. Finally I decided I would hear them out and try to figure out what on earth I was supposed to teach them to be ready for school and do you want to know what that was? It was to provide developmentally appropraite activities to children that used as many senses as humanly possible to help them develop a love of learning. That's it! The absolute best way you can prepare your children for school is to expose them to as many things you possibly can in the most fun way you can possibly think of! Here are some suggestions:

Writing skills:
Roll up playdoh into snakes and make letters and numbers out of the snakes
Fill up a pie tin with flour and give them chopsticks and have them make designs in the flour
While playing in the mud, sand, snow, use your fingers to write their name or draw pictures
Give them a blank piece of paper and any writing tool and just let them go wild.

Reading skills:
The only way your child will learn to read is if they are read to!

Math skills
Make patterns out of buttons, rocks, leaves, anything!
Count items around the house
Have children make groups of items that are the same - i.e. put all your girl barbies in one pile and your boy barbies in another.

Science skills
blow up a balloon
cook with them
make messes with sand and water, cornstarch and water, flour and water
blow bubbles

If you are ever trying to think of the best way to teach your child always remember this: the more senses involved in the activity the quicker they will learn. Can they smell it, taste it, hear it, feel it, see it? This even applies to teenagers! Make it real and concrete!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to handle a 2 yr old tantrum without losing your cool

I have a 2 yr old who I love to pieces. He is the funniest, craziest, cutest 2 yr old on the planet, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom, it's the truth. This kid seriously is awesome. That is until he gets tired and he gets angry and he can't handle the emotions so he has a 2 yr old meltdown. You all saw the video I posted of his tantrum a few weeks ago all because he wanted to get M out of school after we dropped off J and that wasn't an option. When he gets mad he gets really mad and he goes insane. It is like a little monster emerges out of his body and he is no longer my sweet angel but my insane devil child.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I haven't been my normal awesome self as of lately and am slowly refinding myself and becoming the patient, understanding mom I used to be before having raging hormones from pregnancy and nursing. So while I was in my funk and O would begin having his tantrum I would immediately feel my body tense up and prepare to go to battle with this two yr old. I would carry him to his room, yell at him, close the door and then hold it closed because he wouldn't stay in there on his own. Well the other day he began melting down and losing his mind and as I began to feel my body tense up I immediately stopped myself and thought, "Kim you are 28, he is 2! I am not going to engage in this battle with him" so instead I walked over to him, picked him up and carried him to his bed to remove him from the situation (which probably had something to do with his older brother bothering him) and then I laid down next to him, held him in my arms and began singing. At first he tried to fight me because he thought I was going to react the way I had been reacting the previous 6 months. But after the first two lines of twinkle, twinkle little star he slowly began to calm down and let me just hold him. I sang a couple more songs with him until he was completely calmed down and then I told him I loved him, and asked him if he was ready to be a happy nice boy or if he still needed me to sing him some songs. He said he wanted to be happy and nice so we walked out of his room together and he was happy once again.

The moral of that story is this: the key to handling a tantrum is first, to remember you are the adult and have a lifetime of experience to learn how to handle your emotions whereas your child is still learning how to handle their emotions; second is to remove them from the cause, and third shower them with love and patience and give them the time they need to calm down.

What are your tips for handling tantrums without losing your cool?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Everything is a choice

For those of you who do not know I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and twice a year we have what is called General Conference where we hear great and inspiring messages from the Prophet and apostles of our church. I absolutely love General Conference and I always hear exactly what I need to hear while watching it. One of the talks given was all about choices and I don't remember the exact quote or even who gave the talk so for my fellow church member if you remember please leave a comment so i can give credit and the exact quote. Anyways, he said something along the lines that we don't arrive at our destiny by chance but by the choices we make.

I knew this already, I teach this to my children on a regular basis, but for some reason when he said those words it was like a glass of ice cold water was thrown in my face and I stopped and took stock on the choices I was making. I thought about how often my kids would ask me to play with them and I would tell them after I cleaned up something or after I finished reading the chapter (which sometimes ended up being after I finish this book) or after I finish this show or . . . well you get the picture. I laid there and thought about all the choices I had been making in my life lately.

I then began thinking about how this applies to being a parent and a spouse. How often do we give our children choices and expect them to make the correct choices but then we make the poor choice? Did you know that it is your choice to get angry or frustrated with a screaming 2 yr old or you can choose to stay calm and help teach that screaming 2 yr old how to properly channel their emotions? Did you know it is your choice to lose your temper or to keep your head? Did you know you can choose to teach your children to behave appropriately through love and being an example rather than through fear?

You choose what kind of parent you will be and only you. It isn't your mom or dad or your spouse or your best friend or your church leader. It is you and only you! So ask yourself what kind of parent do you want to be? Do you want your children to be afraid of you? Do you want your children to always feel loved and cherished? Do you want to be a patient, kind, but firm mom? Do you want to be a doormat? Do you want to be their boss? Do you want to be their friend, their confidant, or their enemy? The choice is yours to make and yours alone and your actions will always tell on you!

I would love for you to leave a comment stating what kind of parent or even teacher you want to choose to be and what changes you are going to have to make to be that person!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


My husband was recently challenged to make a list of his top ten priorities in order from most important to least important. As he was telling me about this task I told him that he needed to be brutally honest with the list. Little did I know the impact that little statement would have on me!

First let me back up. This past year has been hard for our family for a couple of reasons. The main reason it has been hard is because we had health drama this past year. We chose to have another baby so I got pregnant and then became very sick, I was literally throwing up every day for 8 months straight, then when I hit nine months I felt awesome but was the size of a whale! Then in December of last year my husband got a hernia from lifting weights and had to have surgery to repair it. Through all of this drama it was hard for us to want to do a whole lot more than wallow in our own misery and pain and so our once strong connection began to fade. T and I both responded to this differently and neither way was healthy for our relationship with each other. Over time it became like there was six people living separate individual lives in our home.

Fortunately for T and I we are both always willing to change and work harder to get what we want and what we want is to be an eternal family who loves to spend time together and respects each other above anything. Thus started our road to change. I would love to sit and point the finger and blame on T and pregnancy and everyone else, but I was just as responsible for our falling away from each other as anyone else. Since I made that one comment to T about the importance of being brutally honest about where his priorities are I have been deep in thought about the honesty of where my priorities lay.

I would love to say that my priorities are:
1. God
2. My Husband
3. My children
4. Myself
5. My extended family (my siblings and my inlaws)
6. My friends
7. Financial Stability
and really that is all that is important to me but in reality my life became more like this:

1. Me
2. Me
3. Me
4. Me
5. My friends
6. My kids
7.My hubby
8. God
9. My inlaws
10. My siblings and parents

If I am being completely honest with myself all I have to do is look at how I spent my time. I would spend it online or on Photoshop almost all day.  I would get annoyed when my kids asked for a snack or a drink because that took me away from my precious forums and Facebooks and scrapbook pages. I would rush through the bedtime routine without really interacting with my kids but forcing myself to read them a story or the scriptures because I knew it was important but there was no joy in the act. I would sit on the couch to watch TV with my husband but the whole time I was on the computer, designing something, editing something or checking my Facebook just in case one more person made a comment. If I wasn't on the computer I was on my smart phone. My thoughts were constantly on what I could design next, what I would blog about next, what my next Facebook post would be. I put my self esteem and all I had to give into something that could never give back to me like my children or my husband could. I would escape into a world where true joy and love and connections cannot exist! They can start there but they can never replace the real connection you get from cuddling on the couch or talking face to face or laughing over silly jokes and eating ice cream!

I feel that worse than growing apart from my children and spouse I grew apart from the Lord. I stopped reading my scriptures every day, I stopped saying my prayers, I stopped finding joy in serving but instead felt under appreciated.

It is not easy to admit to myself that I became more important than anyone else in my life and my wants and my desires and my needs became number one. Now I am not saying we need to take care of everyone else over ourselves, but I honestly believe that as we serve our family and spend time with one another then our own wants and needs fall into place. If I spend an hour playing and reading with my kids then they are more likely to play alone for an hour so I can have some me time. If I am willing to take care of my spouses needs and spend time with him then he is going to be more open to taking care of the kids while I get some me time in. Most important above all else if I build my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior before I build my relationship with an old friend from high school on Facebook I will feel more peace and joy in my life and the Facebook will still be there.

Most importantly I have found that it is how I spend my time. Do I spend more time talking to friends than my own children and spouse? Do I read my scriptures and say my prayers before checking my facebook page, emails and blogs? Do I stay up all night on Pinterest.com but am too tired to make love to my husband or say prayers before bed? How you spend your time and thoughts will truly show you where your priorities are!

So I challenge you to really contemplate where your priorities are, are they where you want them to be and if not what can you do to change that?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sometimes kids just lose their mind

I was not happy he was left at home and M & J were at school. He was convinced that we should go back! Oh how we all love those tired 2 yr olds.
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Are you a Phineas & Ferb kind of parent?

Lately my kids have fallen in love with Phineas & Ferb. It has both boys and girls in it which makes it an easy pick for both M & J. If you have not watched this cartoon the premise is that Phineas and Ferb are brothers who love to invent things, much to the dismay of their older sister. Their mother is always in the episode, however, she is often shown doing miscellaneous household chores and appears to be completely oblivious to what is going on with her kids. As I was watching this cartoon today I began thinking about whether or not I was a Phineas & Ferb kind of mom, and I think that I have been from time to time but I am striving not to be.

Now you may be thinking, what do I mean am I a Phineas & Ferb kind of parent? What I mean when I say that is are we so caught up in doing the mundane every day tasks of living that we are completely clueless about what is going on in our kids lives? How often do we hear our kids fighting and react without actually knowing the full story? If you remember a few posts back I posted about how angry J is and what I was going to do about that.One of the biggest things I have realized since posting about that is that I really didn't have the full picture. You see J is smack dab in the middle of O and M who think they have the best ideas ever and everyone should just do what they say and J often gets lost in the mix. M and O are such outgoing, fun loving kids whereas J is a loner who likes to be left alone in his own space with his own toys doing his own things. Since I have been watching more and more I have seen that J is not so much angry all the time, but is frustrated because no one will just leave him alone when he asks to be left alone. Likewise I have noticed that O is quite the antagonizer who loves to pick at J until J can't take it anymore. O is probably not too happy with me being much more observant because he gets into a lot more trouble nowadays!

I also feel that sometimes our kids play so well together that it is easy to kind of tune them out and do our own thing. I am as guilty as the next person of turning on a movie for the kids and then getting lost in the wonderful world of the internet where I go from blog to blog and website to website until the movie is completely over and I didn't watch one minute of it with them. Or we get to cleaning one thing and then we just keep on going because the kids are playing so well and then before you know it it's time to put them to bed and how much do you know about what really went on with your kids that day?

How are you when you go out with your kids? Are you the mom that everyone wishes would pay a little more attention to their kids while at the park or at a playdate, or are you the mom that knows where every child is and what they were doing and are missing out on half the conversations because you are keeping an eye on your kids? Or are you somewhere in the middle? 

So if this sounds like you, what is something you can do to change? For every person it is going to be different, but one thing I have done is rearranged my house. I have brought all of the toys out of my kids bedrooms so they are forced to play out in the living and play area of the house and I can always hear what is going on. I have also brought the computer out of the office and have converted the office into a guest room / storage room so that even if I have to get on the computer I am still where my kids are and can know what is going on. I am also striving to only schedule my time for when the kids are in bed so that I do spend more time with them and focus on them more. In fact if you play Words with Friends with me at all you know that there are times when there are 2 days that go by and I haven't played because I am making a conscious effort to not get sucked into my phone and computer but am focusing more on being involved with what my kids are doing in the day.

So I challenge you this week to really pay attention to what kind of parent you are, are you a Phineas & Ferb kind of parent or do you know what your kids are doing throughout the day and actively striving to be involved in your kids lives? If you are a Phineas & Ferb kind of mom, are you o.k. with that? Does that bother you? And if it does bother you what are you going to do to change that?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Where did my brain go?

I have decided that nursing babies don't just suck the fat away but they suck brain cells away as well. I normally have an excellent memory but lately I am forgetting everything and can't seem to focus on anything. The days are whirlwinds and blurs all the time now! For example, the other day I was talking to a girlfriend of mine and she needed to stop by my house for something and was wondering when a good time would be, I told her I would be home all day and didn't have anything planned, but then twenty minutes later remembered that I would not be home because I was going to weight watchers and then out to lunch and then to pick up kids from school. Then the next morning I was laying in bed feeling like I was forgetting something but couldn't place what it was then halfway through getting ready for the morning I remembered that my kids had their first night of gymnastics that night and because I completely spaced it M didn't have a leotard for gym, luckily she still had her dance leotard and she was able to wear that with some shorts for her first night. Then halfway through the week I remembered I signed up to feed the missionaries and thankfully I bought extra steaks for that nights dinner when I went shopping. I completely spaced that I was supposed to volunteer at my kids school and scheduled a Dr. appointment for N in the morning and a presidency meeting right after that so now I can't volunteer.  Thankfully my kids have amazing teachers and totally understand but this is so unlike me! I am literally the person who forgets nothing! I used to tell my sister in law who is very forgetful how I wish I could be so forgetful so that I could "miss" things because "I completely spaced them" but then people would know I was lying because I don't forget, until now! I don't even remember to check my email or blogs half the time I just get so into living in the moment and thinking about that precious sleep that often eludes me and I forget everything else. I have even forgotten to pay the power and gas bills which is so unlike me! I mean it is on my bill pay how hard is it to remember to go to my bank account and schedule the payment? It's not, I just forget to do it! I am blaming it 100% on the fact that I have a nursing baby and not nearly enough sleep! 

And to top it off as I am typing this post I just got a call from the pharmacy saying that my prescription is ready for pick up which I scheduled to pick up 3 days ago and completely spaced it! Oh my, I really need to get my brain back!

So my question to you is this: what are your best strategies for remembering things in a hectic busy life. I know I should write things down . . . which I do . . . but then I forget where I put it! So tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Keeping the romance alive after kids

The other day I was taking to a girlfriend of mine about how hard it was to go out on dates when you have kids because babysitters are so expensive! We were also talking about how hard it is to be intimate after having a baby because you feel so tired and the minute you hit the sheets you aren't thinking about anything but sleep, where as your hubby probably is.

So today instead of me giving you advice I would love for you to give me some: how have you kept the romance alive after having kids?
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

J is so angry

J is my difficult child. He didn't talk until he was 3 years old and since then he has a hard time expressing himself and M and O do not always listen to his words so he physically attacks them. I do not believe in spanking my kids and literally the only times I have ever spanked was because one of my children were putting the other child in danger - for example one time M pushed J under the water in the bath when he was a baby and without thinking I smacked her while getting J out of danger. So last night J got mad at O and was suffocating him and then tonight M didn't play the way he wanted so he choked her so he got a spanking tonight and I yelled at him pretty good and then I thought well that was genius Kim, I don't want him to hurt others when he gets upset but when I got upset I hurt him. So I started thinking about what has been going on and how I can help him resolve this issue. He has never hurt another kid outside of our family ever and I doubt he ever will, but that is not a risk I am willing to take.

After doing some serious reflecting I realized that from the time J woke up this morning until he went to bed I don't think I spent more than ten minutes focused solely on him all day, he watched TV, he played video games, he went to school, and then he came home and watched more tv and then he hurt M and then we went to a friends house and he played with friends until it was time for bed. Looking back on yesterday it was similar minus the playing with friends part and I did spend more time with him but still not a lot and I honestly feel like his aggression is a cry for attention and he feels like he isn't being listened to so here is my plan:

1. I am removing all toys from the kids bedrooms - I have noticed that it is when they are playing in their rooms unsupervised that he tends to be the most frustrated and does the most hurting, we have a playroom and so all toys are going to be in the playroom from now on and whatever doesn't fit in the playroom is getting put away for now.

2. I am banning technology! Television is nice but it is too easy for me to allow one tv show to turn in to three hours and right now we have a television with dvr in almost every room of the house so for now no more tv or video games or playing on the phone. I will wait until my kids are in school or asleep to get on the computer or watch my shows because I need to be an example to them. I will text but no more checking Facebook or blogs or forums that I hang out at all day. All of that will be done at night or while they are in school from now on.

3. I am going to spend more time one on one with J and play with them more and supervise their playing more. If this was going on in a classroom setting I would be doing a ton of observations where I note what is happening before, during and after so that is what I am going to do at home - I am going to observe and then take what I observe and teach all of my kids better ways to handle situations that come up.

4. T and I are both going to work harder at controlling our own anger. This is not easily accomplished right now since T and I are going through some pretty rough stuff as a couple and I think it bleeds over into our parenting of our kids, plus I haven't had a solid 5 hours of sleep in who knows how long so that is wearing on me and I have less patience with my kids - but it is not my children's fault for any of those things so it is my responsibility to not take it out on them.

5. I am going to talk to J more about how he is feeling - a lot of time we get angry because of cognitive distortions (that is a blog post in and of itself) so I am going to figure out what cognitive distortions he is feeling and help him redirect his way of thinking.

Some of you might be thinking that this is a little drastic and a lot of work (my hubby said it was unrealistic) but you know what I can guarantee if I do these things every day that within a month at the most J will be a completely different kid. I firmly believe that when you choose to have kids you choose to sacrifice your time and wants and desires for their sakes and waiting to teach him how to control his emotions is only going to make things worse so it is time for me to put my life on hold a bit and focus more on him and his needs. I will keep you updated on how things progress!

Back to school

So last Wednesday T and I decided to go to California for a few days and then we came back in time to get ready for school. School finally started on Monday here and I am loving it! I have a 1st grader and a Kindergartener this year and I think once I get used to the new schedule of our life I will be able to get a lot more accomplished, as of right now it is pretty hectic because I am going to the school three times a day, running errands, trying to keep the house clean, spend time with the kids, spend time with the hubby, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the list goes on. Needless to say by the time I get a chance to sit down I am pretty exhausted! In fact last night after I put the kids to bed and made M's lunch for today I thought I would take a relaxing bath and read a book and I fell asleep in the tub! The kids love school though and I think their teachers are pretty fantastic! Needless to say life has been hectic but I will post more about listening soon, I promise!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There is more to listening than using your ears

In order to be able to communicate well with others you have to learn how to listen. Even if you are the one with the problem and seeking help from a friend or loved one you need to learn how to listen so you can get the most out of the conversation! Did you know that your environment and your body language has more to do with listening than actually hearing a person's words? Everything from how you are sitting to where you are sitting applies to listening. These are called "attending skills" and there are thirteen of them. I am only going to cover half of them here then the other half tomorrow. Watch for these when you are talking with people and see if it makes a difference in your conversations.

1. Space: meaning how close or how far away you are sitting from the person you are talking to. Every parent knows (at least I hope they do) that to really get their child to listen they have to get on the child's level and close to them. The same goes for adults! If you are upset and sitting on one side of the room and trying to talk and come to terms with a person who is sitting clear across the room the conversation will not go very well, also if you are too close you will feel uncomfortable and unable to truly express what is bothering you. A good distance for listening to others is arms length.

2.  Movement: Have you ever tried to talk to someone while they were walking away from you? It is pretty frustrating! How about when they are walking towards you? They usually hear you and pay attention to what you are saying, right? How about sitting on a couch facing you, did you know that if you lean towards to the person it is your body saying you are listening and if you are leaning away from them it says you're not? So make sure you are always coming towards a person with your body instead of away - but keep an arms length between the two of you!

3. Posture: How are you sitting or standing while trying to talk and listen to each other? Are you slouching, rigid, leaning away? Are you relaxed but attentive, seated and leaning toward the person? Are your arms folded or open? Did you know that if you are sitting with your legs crossed, arms folded and leaning back your body is telling the person that you don't care what they say you are closed off and your mind is made up? But if your feet are both on the floor and your hips are shoulder length apart, your arms are resting on your knees and you are leaning towards them your body says you are keeping an open mind and are listening.

4. Eye contact: are you looking at the person and maintaining eye contact or are you looking all over the place, anywhere but at them? If you are looking at the computer and not the person talking to you where is your attention really? I used to never be able to look in a persons eyes because I had such horrible self esteem and didn't feel worthy to look in a persons eyes so keep that in mind if a person is looking at you but not your eyes it might have more to do with them being uncomfortable than not listening.

5. Time: There have been many times in my married life where I have been reading a book and my husband has started talking to me and I have literally not heard him because I am so into my book. Or I have been reading a blog and he has called and I have tuned him out completely. This is what time is referring to, are you continuing what you were doing before the person started talking to you or have you stopped, put it aside and given the person your time? I have to literally close the laptop or put the book away if I am going to really be able to pay attention.

6. Feet/legs: are you using your legs to keep distance between you and a person or are they unobtrusive and unnoticeable? Have you ever been sitting on the couch facing another person and your legs or the other person's are on the couch creating a barrier? Move your legs to the side and keep the space between you and the person you are talking to open and free.

7. Furniture: Think about a counselor's office, when they have you sit down it is typically them sitting in a chair facing a couch or two chairs and then you are sitting on one of the chairs/couch facing them and there is nothing in between you. I am not going to have a deep conversation with a person at a table, I am going to move to the living room and ideally have us both sitting on the couch facing each other.

Think about these things as you talk to people throughout the day - even if it isn't deep and see if it effects the conversation!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Share your problems with your spouse!

Life has been hard around our house since I had baby N. I have felt overwhelmed, disinterested, lonely, and slightly depressed. I was embarrassed to talk about it with anyone and slowly withdrew more and more into myself and away from my husband and kids. My husband noticed something was off but never said anything because he figured I would just figure it out and then things would be fine again.Which normally would be true, but for some reason I just couldn't kick the melancholy I was feeling. I wasn't mad or angry or overally sad I just felt nothing.

So finally one night while we were folding laundry I started talking to T about it and telling him how I was feeling. I expressed to him how overwhelmed I felt with getting everything done and not being the mom and wife I know I am capable of. It didn't help that he sprained his ankle pretty bad and then ended up getting bad headaches which put extra work on me with a newborn baby. I told him that I needed more help around the house - he is an amazing helper already but only on certain things, he doesn't know what a broom or toilet brush look like I swear! I told him that I needed his help for me to not feel guilty about spending time working on my blogs or photography or digital scrapbooking.

He was such an amazing listener and not once did he get on the defensive, instead he kept telling me that if I was unhappy then he was unhappy and it is his responsibility as my husband to ensure I am happy. He thought he was being helpful already (which he was) but after explaining to him the help that I really needed he realized his help wasn't much help at all.

Since we have talked I have slowly started to feel happy again. I am far from being my normal happy self but I am closer today than I was before I talked with him. Just being able to tell him what I was feeling and not have him go on the defense was a huge help!

The day after I shared with him my problems, we began talking about how both of us sensed something wrong was but never said anything about it and why we thought that was. I honestly think that we let our fears and insecurities get in the way of sharing our problems with others and so we internalize them and we just get further and further away from our family and then it's not that hard to find connections elsewhere and fall out of love with each other. But by talking about it and sharing in a loving and supportive way brings you closer together and unites you guys in a battle against your problems. Sharing your faults and weaknesses, in my opinion, with each other can only make you stronger.

So if there is something in your life that you are struggling with but are too afraid to share it with the one you love find time this week to share it with them, and before you begin express to them how important it is to you that they don't go on the defensive but stay open minded and help you both find ways to help you through your struggles. I will be doing posts this week about great ways to communicate so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Life Happens sometimes

Wow life sure has been busy over here, so busy in fact that I just realized today that I had not thought about or typed on this blog in a week! I try not to go too long between posts, however this week was M's dance concert so we had dress rehearsal at her studio on Monday, then technical rehearsal on Thursday, dress rehearsal on Friday and Concert on Saturday - thankfully J was done with basketball so I didn't have to worry about getting him to practice or games. I love having my kids in extracurricular activities BUT I am also extremely grateful that we don't have anything until September and then I am going to try to put J and M into the same gymnastics class and not mention the word t-ball or basketball to J and hopefully then life won't be too hectic! On top of that life with a 4 month old who has RSV has definitely made life a bit harder because we are doing breathing treatments for thirty minutes at a time several times a day. My sister in law is sending us some essential oils to try and I am hoping they work to clear up her cough and congestion because it is really bad and she coughs so hard she wakes herself up at night so I'm not getting a lot of sleep. And that is what life as a parent is about sometimes, busy!

So on to a parenting experience for you:

This morning we were getting ready for church and J accidentally knocked over my purse and a bag of Wheat Thins fell out of my purse. He was so excited and showed me, I told them that they were not to be eaten and to put them back in my purse while we finish getting ready for church. I expect my children to obey me so I then left the room and gave N a bath for church. After bathing her I heard the kids playing in a way that sounded like they needed to be checked on (you know the sound) so I found them hiding in my bathroom with their hands behind their backs and something in their mouth. I told them to show me their hands and when they did I saw that they had gotten into the Wheat Thins. So I said, "I guess since you guys chose to eat my snack out of my purse without my permission you don't need snacks at church today." Then I walked away from the sounds of utter outrage! My kids came chasing after me and were begging for one more chance to please show me that they could listen and I sad, "I already gave you a chance when I told you to put them back in my purse and not eat them, since you chose to eat them now I will not be bringing any snacks to church. You may have snacks next week as long as you don't make the same choice again." So M thinking she is smart says, "Well we are just going to beg the whole time until you give in." My response to that was, "That's fine with me, I am the queen of ignoring!" They then proceeded to beg, scream, plead, throw themselves at my feet and I proceeded to ignore them completely - face and all - while I finished getting everything ready to eat. After a few minutes M says to J and O, "She really is the queen of ignoring" and they stopped their attempts at changing my minds and guess what they survived the whole 3 hours of church without one snack! Well O had snacks in nursery but you know what I mean. And I can guarantee that they won't be sneaking things out of my purse again. That ladies and gents is how you give logical consequences and tantrums.Any questions?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Give in? Not me!

I don't know what is going on this summer but my kids are sick again! M has strep, O has pink eye and N has RSV so I am trying to do everything I can to keep them away from each other since they are contagious and help them get better as quickly as possible since M has dance rehearsals almost every night this week and her big concert on Saturday! So yesterday I was getting drinks for my kids and I am giving them orange juice to drink since milk is not the greatest when you are sick - I've had to learn that the hard way - and O didn't want Orange juice but wanted milk, well I had already poured it and so this was what happened:

O: I want milk

Me: Sorry buddy I already poured you juice and you need to drink juice to get better

O: screaming - I want milk!!!!

Me: you can have juice or you can have nothing

O: throws himself on the floor and screams at the top of his lung for one minute straight - yes I timed it :)

Me: completely ignoring O's screaming and getting M and J their drinks

J: (while covering his ears and almost crying) Mom please just give him what he wants so he will stop crying

Me: No, just ignore him

J: I don't know how! Just give him some milk

Me: he will stop screaming in a minute and drink his juice just watch

O: after screaming for a minute straight he sees M and J drinking their juice and gets up off the floor, walks over and picks up his sippy and says, "Thanks Mom" then drinks his juice

Stick to your guns, ignore the tantrums and they will end and they will do what is expected. But if you give in and give them what they want - they will continue to throw tantrums in order to get what they want! So do yourself a favor this week and don't give in!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Naked Party

My house has been suffering a lot lately because I have just been ridiculously busy and this week I finally didn't have anything that had to be done or anywhere I needed to be at so I decided this week would be a fabulous week to clean my house, and when I say clean I mean scrub, declutter, dust, the works! I actually threw away toys and gave some to D.I. . . . shocker, I know . . . but seriously the toys were getting outta control. Anyways tonight my plan was to scrub the bathrooms and while I am cleaning mine (which is the size of my kids room) I realized it was getting close to bedtime so I told the kids to clean up their toys and get their pj's on and then I went back to cleaning my bathroom. After a few minutes I came out to get the broom and heard quite the mischief going on in the kids bathroom so I decide to investigate and this is what I walked in on:

M naked and sitting on the big potty

J naked and sitting on the potty training potty - you know the one that DOES NOT flush and you have to scrub out every time someone goes potty in it

O standing naked in the middle of the bathroom holding his you know what (luckily he was not peeing)

Me: J what are you doing on that potty?

J: Well O made me do it

Me: O is 2, you are 5, how did he make you do it?

J: Well he told me to!

Me: So you chose to listen?

J: But he made me do it!

Me: It's o.k. I'm not mad, (in fact I was trying not to laugh) just get up

I was really hoping he had not gone potty . . . but he did . . . oh well I needed to clean their bathroom next anyways

Me: J next time you need to go potty, please go in one that flushes.

J: O.K.

Me: now will someone please explain to me where all of your clothes are?

M: We are having a Naked Party!

Me: ok well umm how about we have a pajama party now instead!

Just thought I would share this with you in case you needed a laugh!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Out of curiosity . . .

Last week I posted about stopping the blame game and I challenged all of you to stop blaming people in your life and I am wondering if any of you took that challenge and would be willing to share if you noticed a difference in your kids? Or in your own life somehow? Leave a comment with your experience or shoot me an email: tkmiller81002@yahoo.com!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

from "I hate" to "I love"

In case you don't know this my family is very religious. We go to the LDS church and I serve in the primary (kids 18 months to 12 yrs old) presidency and my husband is the Elder's Quorum president (men over 18). We go to church every Sunday unless we are sick, we have family home evening after church every Sunday, we pray for every meal and at bed time and we also read our scriptures before bed. I am not telling you this to brag or to say look at me but simply to give you a picture of how our family functions in relation to teaching our children about religion.

If you have been reading this blog you know that J, my almost 5 yr old, is my difficult child and has been from birth. In our church the children begin going to nursery at 18 months - which every parent can't wait for because it means you can actually hear a lesson every once in a while in church! Well when J started going to nursery he would scream like he was dying and physically attack the nursery leaders for about 10 minutes straight then he would calm down and play. We had an amazing nursery leader who let me know that if she couldn't handle him she would gladly bring him to me and she never did. It took until he was 2 1/2 yrs old to finally walk into nursery without screaming and the reason for that was because I did the number one thing parents should never do . . . I BRIBED HIM! I told him that if he walked into nursery without crying and without attacking the teachers he would be able to pick out the movie we watched that night but if he cried or hurt the teachers I would let M pick out the movie. He was old enough at the time to start not liking the "girl movies" i.e. the princess movies so this worked wonders!

One day out of the blue he told my husband and I that he hates church and he hates Jesus - he was 3 at the time. I was shocked! What 3 yr old hates Jesus? I had never met one and I was very worried. I know how important the early years are for children and I didn't want him to hate church as a child because I knew it would only get worse the older he became. So my husband and I talked about it and we both agreed that the last thing we wanted to do was to force the church on him and try to force him to love the Savior. We went about this by not overreacting every time he told us he hated church or Jesus, we just said that's o.k. or ignored it a lot of times. He would refuse to pray but we did require him to kneel with our family to show respect. We took him to church every Sunday because as a family we attend church and as long as he lives under our roof he will attend church. Then one day I asked him why he hated Jesus so much. I was humbled by his answer, he told me, "I hate Jesus because I don't want to have to die on the cross like He did." At church the kids learn about how the Savior died for us and he took that to mean that we all had to die like the Savior and that scared him. We talked to him about how Jesus died for us so we don't have to die like he did. I didn't go too much into death and resurrection because he was only 3. From that moment on he started to begin to like Jesus a little more, it wasn't an immediate change but gradually over the next two years he has come to the decision on his own that he loves Jesus and the church and the scriptures. He is now the one to remind me about saying bedtime prayers, and about reading our scriptures and he says some of the most humbling and amazing prayers! In fact tonight we went to Sonic for dinner and I bought the kids a cherry slush and asked them to add real cherries, when we got home and he saw that they gave him 3 cherries he immediately told me that he had to say the prayer for dinner and in his prayer he thanked Heavenly Father not only for the dinner but that we were able to go to Sonic for dinner and he thanked him for his "3 cherries in his slurpee." He will take the time to thank Heavenly Father for everything he did that day, anything that he received from anyone, and for each person in our family without being coached on what to say. The other night he also got scared in the middle of the night and came running into our room crying. When I asked him why he was so scared he told me it was because he couldn't see his Jesus statue. He told me that when he can see Jesus in his room he isn't scared! What faith and what love all from a child who 2 years ago HATED everything to do with that.

So how does this apply to you? From watching him grow over the years I have learned the value of three things. The first is to be an example to your children. I could have told him that the church was good and that he had to love the Savior and never did anything myself to show him that I loved the church and the Savior. Instead I made sure he knew I felt that way by living the Gospel. The second is the importance of exposing things to children over and over and over until they like something. The third is patience and consistency, I guess that is four - but I knew that J wasn't going to change his mind overnight so I had to be patient and trust that I knew I was doing the right thing and that eventually he would figure it out for himself! So let's say your child hates eating vegetables and literally refuses to eat them but you as a parent know that vegetables are healthy and that our bodies need those nutrients what can you do? The first thing is to be an example, make sure your kids see you eating the veggies and enjoying them and second put them on their plate every night for dinner and tell them they have to eat at least 5 peas to get dessert, and eventually over time they will eat their veggies without a fight and may even love them! Oh I also learned one more thing - don't make it a fight! I didn't fight with J about his feelings, instead I told him how I felt about his feelings, i.e. "I am sad to hear that you don't like church" and then told him what was expected of him, i.e. "we go to church every Sunday and even though you don't like it, you still have to go." So whatever trial you are struggling with hang in there, be patient, be an example, be consistent, be loving, and eventually your child will learn to love it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It wasn't me!

The other day I ran out of my pills and went to call in a refill and when I called the pharmacy said they needed to call my Dr. and verify the refill, which I thought was odd because I had just gone in last month and had my blood done and the Dr.s office supposedly called in for 3 more refills. So I asked the pharmacist about that and they said they didn't have any record of the Dr.s office calling it. I told them and I would call my Dr. and get back to them. When I called the Dr.s office I was very polite and just said that I think there was some kind of mix up and I needed her help to straighten it out. She took great offense to the fact that I would even suggest she did something wrong because she knows for a fact that she called it in and that she has it in her notes so I needed to tell the pharmacist to contact her directly. I called the pharmacy back and told them that she thought she called it in and that they needed to contact her and I gave them the number. A few minutes later the pharmacy called back and said, "We got it straightened it out, it wasn't our fault she called the wrong pharmacy and your prescription will be ready in an hour." After I hung up the phone I was a little annoyed that he made the point of saying, it wasn't us. Not once in my phone conversations did I get upset or blame anyone for the mix up I just said I need the pills and so how can we straighten this out, so why did both the receptionist and the pharmacist feel the need to put the blame on the other person, I didn't care whose fault it was I just wanted it fixed. The more I thought about it I realized that it was probably just a knee jerk reaction because we live in a world where everyone is so busy pointing the finger at everyone and assigning blame that nothing is done to fix it.

Take our economic disaster for instance. Is it the home-owners fault because everyone bought houses they couldn't afford on crappy loans and then walked away from their homes which crashed the market. Or is it the banks fault because they refuse to work with people and let them lock in interest rates even though they are upside down in their house, and the banks funded the crappy loans to people who couldn't afford it. Or is it the politicians fault for allowing the loans to be legal and then on top of that spending a ridiculous amount of money trying to fix the problem but didn't fix the problem instead made it worse? I personally think it is everyone's fault the economy is so crappy, it is the banks, the homeowners, and the politicians because they all made choices that added to the problem. The problem is that the country is so busy pointing the finger and trying to assign blame that nothing is getting done to fix it and we need it fixed!

Then you have the adults who blame everyone else for why their life is so screwed up. It's your mom's fault you are such a terrible mother, it's your dad's fault you have trust issues, it's the banks fault the check bounced, it's your friends fault the relationship fell apart, its your husbands fault you are so miserable, its your bodies fault you are overweight. You have no control over your life whatsoever it is always someone else's fault. Right . . . WRONG! It's your fault, sure those people might contribute to the situation but how you react is what determines your life not them. You are in charge of you and your fate, your happiness, your success, your pain everything is from you and NO ONE ELSE.

The same goes for parenting. How many times a day are you asking your children if they did something, i.e. did you hit your brother? Who spilled the milk? Who lost the remote? Did you put your clothes away? Who threw the ball that broke the vase? I know I do it and I am resolving right now to stop! It doesn't matter who did it, the fact is that it happened and now what are we as a family going to do to fix it? I think when it comes to kids it is almost always two peoples fault for things happening - the parents and the kids.

For example, the other day M, J, and O were bouncing a ball in the house. I was watching them bounce the ball and didn't think anything of it until the ball bounced and hit a decoration I had on a shelf and the decoration broke. Now it is both the kids fault because they threw ball, but it's also my fault because I allowed them to bounce the ball in the house and blaming the kids doesn't fix or clean up the broken decoration. Not only does blaming not help fix a problem, but I also think it causes more fights among the kids. When you are constantly looking for the culprit it puts the kids on the defensive and they will automatically throw their siblings under the bus. Wouldn't you rather teach your kids to be united and know that they can trust each other and get each others back? Plus aren't you tired of being the bad guy?

So here is what I have been doing to stop the blame game, I am no longer asking the question, "who did it?" Instead I am simply asking for help to fix it. For example, the other day one of my kids decided to get ll of the board books off the bookshelf and leave them all over the floor right in front of the bookshelf and the kids doors. I didn't care who made the mess all I wanted was the mess picked up. I knew that all of the kids had been playing in their rooms and hallway for most of the day so I told them that they needed to pick up the books and put them back on the shelf before going to bed, I also expressed that I wanted them all to work together and because I wasn't watching them when they made the mess I helped them clean up as well. Guess what, not once did I hear, but I didn't make the mess! All that happened was my kids saw me willing to help and they all dove right in and helped clean and in all honesty the only help I gave was helping straighten the books on the bookshelf because it's pretty hard to get books on nicely when you are 6, 5, or 2 yrs old!

So my challenge for you is to stop asking who did it, and stop placing blame on everyone else in your life this week and see what a difference it makes!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Amazing Blog to keep things in perspective

I stumbled across this blog the other day and I am in love with it because it really helps me appreciate my children and life even more. This is a blog written by a mom of five kids and moving forward with her life after the death of her child last December. I couldn't stop reading this blog the other night and literally bawled my eyes out as I read her posts. After I read several of her blog posts I realized that I really need to focus more on my kids and not so much on the mundane things of life. Here is the blog, I highly encourage you to check it out to really help you appreciate your children more and make sure you have a box of tissues handy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Battle of wills

We are finally mostly better at our house! I took N in for a follow up appointment today and while she still has a lingering cough she no longer has croup or an ear or eye infection! Yay, M is also better and now the only one who is under the weather is my hubby with a sprained ankle and sore throat. I will take that over everyone being sick any day of the week.

While it is great that we are all better now, my parenting skills were seriously lacking while we were all sick and now I have to get my butt back in gear. Some things that were lacking was my caring about where and what we ate. Every morning I just put out pop-tarts and a bowl with sippy cups of milk then went back to bed while my kids watched tv. (I know there is someone reading this thinking what a horrible mom I am for doing that but if you had the nights I had with a sick baby you wouldn't judge me) So because I went back to bed they took their pop-tarts and sippy cups into the living room where they mashed the pop-tarts into the couches and carpet, left sippy cups turned upside down to leak all over the couch and floor and well you get the picture. It didn't just end with breakfast, I did this with most meals because I was trying to take care of the baby and everything else so my couches looked HORRIBLE!

Mondays are my super cleaning days where I clean every inch of my house from top to bottom. So yesterday as I was vacuuming my couches I was so disgusted with them that I thought there has got to be a way to get these clean so I look and sure enough I can strip them all the way and wash the cushions in the washer, which I ended up doing and now my couches look beautiful and practically new once again. Because of all the work it took to get them clean I am determined to keep them clean so I instilled a new rule of no food or drink on the couches - much to my family's dismay. But seriously my husband spills as much as the kids so I mean business!

Well today O wanted  a banana so I told him he could have one up to the table. He yells no and I tell him then no banana. I have the banana in my hand and unpeeled so he can see it and he keeps yelling at me to give him the banana and I keep calmly telling him that he can have his banana at the table. Finally he walks over and gets the banana then tries to run past me into the living room (he was watching Toy Story 3 and wanted to eat his banana on the couch) I of course grabbed him and sat him on the chair and told him he could eat the banana at the table. He then tries to run into the living room again and this time I take the banana out of his hands and tell him he can eat it at the table. I just kept telling him over and over again what I would let him do and never told him what he couldn't. Well after about five minutes of us going back and forth he finally walked over, sat at the table and said, "eat the banana at the table" I said o.k. and gave him the banana and he happily ate his banana, while watching Toy Story 3 while sitting at the table. After finishing the banana he then asked for an apple and I told him he could eat it at the table, he told me no on the couch, I told him at the table, he said o.k. at the table and ate his apple at the table as well. For dinner he just came and sat at the table and didn't even try to take his food into the living room.

The moral of the story is: stick to your guns, fight the battle, be consistent, be a broken record and eventually it will pay off! If you give them an inch they will take a mile.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What I learned today

N is 3 months old today and unfortunately it was not a fun day for her. On Saturday her eyes got all goopy and then last night she started sounding really congested and coughing and her cough was like a barking dog. On top of that M has been crying about her ear hurting since Saturday, so today I finally got them in to the Dr. and it turns out M has both a middle ear infection and a swimmer's ear infection in not one but two ears! Then N has croup, an ear infection and an eye infection. Great times at my house can you tell! So while I was at the Dr.'s office he told me to use a cool mist humidifier to help with her croup, so I asked him if I could do the Nebulizer with Albuterol and he gave me a genius idea that I never would have thought of before so here is what I learned today: he suggested that I put the Albuterol in the fridge to create a cold mist or to also just put cold water in the nebulizer. Ingenius in my opinion, I never feel like our humidifier does much of anything so this way I can guarantee she is getting some good cool mist a couple of times a day! I will keep you posted on how it works for her!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is your child easy, slow to warm up or difficult?

A while back I mentioned that I would do a post about temperament and then life happened and I haven't had a chance to sit down and write a really good post about it. Well right now N is sound asleep for atleast another hour, my laundry is going, M, J, and O are playing nice so here you go!

Understanding temperament is HUGE in my opinion because it helps you establish expectations of your children that are reasonable and that your child can meet. If you have a child with a difficult temperament then you are not going to be disappointed in them when they don't behave in an easy way. Temperament is not something that is learned, but rather is something that all children are born with. A child's temperament is visible as early as 3 months of life. Temperament is similar to the idea of personality traits except for the fact that a temperament trait (shyness or aggression) is not learned where a lot of personality traits are (honesty and humility).

In a classic study called the New York Longitudinal Study (NYLS) researchers found that "each newborn has distinct traits that are coded in the networks of his or her brain" and from this study we receive the categories of easy, slow to warm up, difficult and hard to classify. In the study they also discovered nine dimensions of temperament which I am going to discuss in this post! As you read the following dimensions answer right down which one suits your child best for each individual dimension:

1. Activity level: motor activity and the proportion of active & inactive periods. An example of a child with a high activity level would be then when a friend comes to visit your child immediately starts a game of running around wildly. An example of a child with a low activity level would be that given a choice of activities, your child usually selects something quiet such as drawing or looking at a picture book.

2. Rhythmicity (Regularity): The predictability or unpredictably of the timing of biological functions such as hunger, sleep-wake cycle, and bowel elimination. An example of regularity is if your child's big meal is always lunch time. An example of irregularity would be if your child sometimes fall asleeps right after dinner and other days she is up until 9 or 10.

3. Approach or Withdrawal: the nature of the initial response to a new situation or stimulus. Approach would be when you go to a playgroup and your child jumps right in and withdrawal would be your child started preschool and taking a week before beginning to participate

4. Adaptability: what is the nature of a child's long-term responses to new or altered situations? Here the concern is not with the nature of the initial response. High adaptability would be a child who moves from playing to having lunch, adjusts to new surroundings right away, leaves school willingly, eats chicken even if promised burgers without complaint. A low adaptability would be a child who doesn't like school at first and takes the entire fall to become content with it, protests when new children enter a game, protests loudly when having to stop playing when it is time for lunch, protests loudly when they are given chicken instead of promise burgers, cries when has to leave school.

5. Sensory threshold: what is the level of stimulation it takes to evoke the child's response to sounds, smells, sights, movement, textures, other people's stress, etc. A high sensory threshold would be whether clothing texture is smooth or rough doesn't make a difference, she seems comfortable in every type and a low sensory threshold would be that she complains about any pants if the waistband is the slightest bit tight.

6. Quality of Mood: is her typical mood positive (expressing pleasure, joy, optimism and friendliness) Or is it negative (more serious, analytical, less joyful and friendly) A positive quality of mood would be getting new shoes and running around showing them off to everyone and a low quality of mood would be coming home from school full of complaints about the other children.

7. Intensity of reactions: the energy level of response, both negative or positive. A high intensity would be that as soon as she has trouble with a puzzle, she screams and throw pieces. She gets so excited when she finds something she likes. A low intensity would be that you know she likes a new toy because she smiles quietly.

8. Distractibility: how easily an outside stimulus can interfere with the child's ongoing behavior. A high distractibility would be that your child will ask for cookies once or twice and if you don't have them they will accept a substitute. A child will have a low distractibility if she decides to go out and play but can't because it is raining, she will fuss and won't accept any substitute.

9. Persistence and Attention Span: persistence is the continuation of an activity in spite of difficulties. Attention span refers to the length of time a particular activity is pursued without interruption. A high persistence level is if a child's wagon gets stuck they will struggle with it until it moves again and doesn't give up. A low persistence would be asking for help in drawing a dog and then losing interest after the first try.  A child with a long attention span would get absorbed in playing in the sandbox for almost an hour and a child with a short attention span would like to play with a new toy but concentrates on it for only a few minutes at a time.

"Easy children are typically happy and outgoing most of the time, and adjust quickly to almost any change. Difficult children are the opposite, irregular, intense, unhappy, disturbed by every noise, and hard to distract . . . Slow to warm up are unwilling to adapt to new people and experiences at first but they do adapt with time and patience." (The Developing Person)

You cannot change a child's temperament it is who they are and has nothing to do with nurture but is solely nature. However as a parent you can learn what your child's temperament is and teach them to cope and handle situations in a more positive way. M, O and N are all my easy children. They make being a parent incredibly easy because they are just go with the flow kind of kids and don't make a lot of waves. J, however, has gone from being an extremely difficult child at birth to now a difficult child because I have remained patient with him and taught him ways to manage his emotions and feelings. He still challenges me daily but it keeps me on my toes! It is so important that if you have a difficult child you learn to maintain your cool, and keep your patience because the more you reassure them that it is o.k. and not pressure them to be something they are not then the easier they become. It is also important to not cave and just give the difficult child what they want so you don't have to deal with it, because by doing that you will ALWAYS have to deal with it. I will go more into ways on how to handle a slow to warm up child and a difficult in another post, but I am curious to know what your kids are so leave a comment and let me know if you have a slow to warm up, an easy or a difficult child! If you aren't sure leave a comment and I will help you figure it out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Natural consequences at its best

Lately my kids have been experiencing A LOT of natural consequences. If you don't know what a natural consequence is, it is when you as a parent don't have to dish out the consequence, it just happens naturally. I know that sounds confusing so I will give you some examples:

1. Your kid refuses to wear a jacket in the winter, so they go outside and they get really cold
2. Your kid hits a kid and the kid they hit hits them back.
3. Your kid refuses to eat dinner and then they are hungry.
4. Your kid lies and they are no longer trusted.

Those are just some examples, the key here is that as a parent you are not dishing out the punishment but letting the natural flow of life discipline your child. When your kid doesn't eat dinner and then is hungry an hour later that is nature teaching your kid that it is important to eat dinner so you don't have to be hungry. Does that make sense?

I LOVE natural consequences because I remain the good guy and my kids learn that sometimes mom is right and they should listen to me. So here is an instance where my kids have experienced natural consequences.

The other day we had a very busy shopping day planned so we knew we would be eating out. One of the stops we had to make was to Costco and so my husband and I decided the best deal we could get for the family would be Costco's hot dogs and drinks. We of course asked our kids if they were ok that or if they wanted chicken nuggets from McDonald's. They chose Costco's hot dogs. So we are in line waiting to order and M says that she wants pizza. Now at Costco they have HUGE hot dogs and a 20 oz soda for 1.50, or a very large slice of pizza for 1.99 with no soda. Granted their soda's are only .60 the point is it costs more for a pizza and soda than for a hot dog and soda. T and I already decided that we would buy everyone the same thing and so I told M that she could have a slice of pizza, however, she would not get a soda with her pizza but I had bottled water and she could drink that, she then said that she wanted a hot dog. J then said that he wanted a slice if pizza so I told him the same thing I told M. Well T was right there and he said, No, everyone was getting a hot dog. I politely disagreed with T and told him that if J wanted a pizza he could have it I just wasn't going to get him a drink because I thought it was important for J to choose what he wanted for lunch, I wouldn't want someone dictating what I could have for lunch! T agreed and told J the same thing I already told him (don't you love when you are handling a situation and the spouse jumps in to help and not always in the best way). So J agreed and said he wanted a pizza and no soda. Great! So I go up and place our order thinking all is well with lunch. The cashier gave us our drink cups and I handed them over to T to fill up. J quickly realized that everyone but him was going to get a soda and quickly ran over and said, "Wait mom I changed my mind, I want a hot dog now." I told him, "I'm sorry J I already paid for our food and you chose pizza knowing that you would not get a soda. You may ask O if he will share his soda with you, but I am not ordering you a hot dog now that I have already bought you a slice of pizza, and maybe next time you will make a different choice." He was livid of course and refused to talk to me or anyone else and was very angry that I didn't budge and buy him a soda. But you know what, once he started eating his pizza and O shared his drink he was happy as can be. He then told me thanks for the pizza and that next time we go to Costco he is getting a hot dog! Lesson learned and all I had to do was keep my word! How awesome is that.

The key to natural consequences is to stick to your word, what do you think would have happened if I just bought him the hot dog - after all it was only 1.50 I have that in loose change in my car. I will tell you what would have happened, he would have learned that if he throws a tantrum he can get what he wants and he wouldn't respect me, he wouldn't learn how to make a right decision, and he wouldn't learn that our choices have consequences!

Natural consequences are an everyday factor life. As an adult we experience natural consequences all the time - we choose not to do the laundry we don't have clean clothes, we choose not to wash the dishes we don't have clean ones. We choose not to nurture our relationships with others and those relationships fizzle out. We choose to gossip and people stop telling us things. The same is true when it comes to our kids, if you can let your kids experience a natural consequence they will be better for it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Having a newborn baby in the house has really brought some insight into parenting for me. The main insight I have had is that everything involving kids can be solved by asking the magic question, why! As I have been caring for N I found myself often asking myself why is she crying? Why isn't she pooping? Why is she not sleeping better? By asking myself why, I found myself coming up with answers to the why and being able to correct the situation. For example, when she starts to cry I would think why is she crying, then look at the clock and notice that it was time for her to eat so I knew to feed her. When she would keep waking up after I laid her down I would ask myself why she was doing that and I noticed that as soon as I laid her down Owen would run over and bump the bassinet to see her so I would move her into my room where no one would disturb her sleeping and then she would sleep!

I then realized I often ask myself why when it comes to my older kids as well. I have been struggling a lot with O and J lately, the two fight constantly! I could have just gotten upset with them, yelled at them, spanked them, taken things from them and that would have stopped the fighting for oh about five minutes, but by asking myself why they were fighting it forced me to really pay attention to what was going on. I discovered that often time J wants to be left alone and O wants to play with J so J will get frustrated and he has never been a big talker so he uses his fists to express his frustrations and then O gets mad and hits him back. So now that I know what is going on I can work with J on learning how to better handle his anger. I also noticed that I would discipline J more often than O so J was feeling picked on and like O could get away with murder so now O is getting disciplined as well as J. It is going to take time and patience and consistency on my end to help them stop fighting so much, but had I not asked myself why they were fighting I wouldn't even be close to fixing it.

By asking yourself why your kids are behaving in the way you do, you can find ways to help fix it. Here are some common reasons why your kids might be acting up:

1. They are tired
2. They are hungry
3. They are bored (especially now that is summertime)
4. They are sick
5. They don't feel safe (big reason kids lie and hurt others)
6. They want your attention
7. They want to have more power over their life
8. They are scared
9. They don't know how to express themselves and their feelings in a healthy way
10. They have been given too much power over their lives
11. They are insecure
12. They are behaving like a typical child (especially when they are 2!)
13. They are over or under stimulated

So look at your biggest parenting struggles, is it that your kid is constantly lying, or do they refuse to listen to you, or are they really whiny? Why do you think they are being that way? After you figure out why they are doing something what can you do differently to help them?

Another important thing to note, never ask your kid why they did something. By asking your kid why they did something it automatically puts them on the defensive and you are not going to get a clear answer. Instead ask them what happened, what they were feeling, what the other kids did or said, what they were thinking. By asking what you show them that you aren't blaming or accusing them but are just trying to find out what happened. You will get much more honest and open answers when you ask kids what instead of why!

Monday, June 6, 2011

"Choose your love. Love your choice." -Thomas S. Monson

I have been thinking a lot about marriage lately and wanted to share some of those thoughts with you guys. I have been married for almost 9 years and I can honestly say that I am still head over heels in love with my hubby! He is an amazing husband, friend, father, provider, and every day I strive to be a better wife for him. Our marriage hasn't always been perfect. When we first got married we both had very different ideas on what a marriage looks like. T is a checklist kind of guy, he has a to-do list that NEVER ends! When we came home from our honeymoon he literally sat down and wrote out a schedule for our week and he scheduled me in at 10:30 at night because he felt that he was finally able to check "get married" off of his to-do list and now he needed to focus on his other life goals. So after he wrote up this schedule and showed it to me I walked over, picked it up, ripped it to shreds and threw it in the garbage. He was shocked and a little bit bothered that I would do that until I told him that a marriage isn't something you check off your list and pencil in to fit into your life. A marriage is a partnership where his goals are my goals and my goals are his goals and we work together all the time, we spend more time together married than we did dating, we support each other and we have to work at it every single day to keep it going. He quickly agreed and our lives have been better for it. Over the years we have had our ups and downs like most couples, but we have approached our struggles with a positive can do attitude and have been able to grow closer because of it. Here are some of our success secrets:

1. Love your spouse more than you love yourself. I never think about what is my husband doing to show me he loves me, but I always think about what I am doing to show my husband I love him. Literally from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I fall asleep at night I am always thinking about how my actions will affect my relationship with my husband. I know T appreciates a clean house and so before I ever sit down to read a book, or get on the computer, I make sure all of the main rooms of my house are clean, so when he wakes up he won't have to worry about cleaning and he can spend more time with the family and less time cleaning. And guess what, because I am so focused on showing him that I love him, he constantly shows me he loves me! In all of the marriages that I have seen that have problems the root of their problem is that they love themselves more than their spouse and they are more concerned about what their spouse is doing for them than what they can do for their spouse.

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! My husband and I are not psychics and we can't read each others minds so we have to tell the other person what we are feeling, what our plans are, what our expectations are, etc. If I am upset about something that T did or did not do it is my responsibility to let him know I am upset and why and vice versa, and then I need to be willing to listen to him explain his actions, reasoning, etc. Just because I am mad he did something doesn't mean he was wrong, I might have misinterpreted his actions, or had a different perspective than him. There have been times when I have been upset and after talking with him him about I have been the one to apologize because I might have overreacted. My husband and I are both extremely busy people so it is also extra important for us to communicate our plans to each other. Every day we ask each other, what do you have planned for the day, and whenever we make plans we let the other person know right away. If we both make plans then we compromise and decide which one is the most important. Church is always number one priority and trumps all other plans. If the other person still wants to go out then it is their responsibility to make arrangements for our kids. This way there is minimum fighting.

3. Be a support to one another. I have a dad already and so I don't need my husband to be my dad. He already has a mom so he doesn't need me to be his mom either. What we need is a supportive spouse whose main goal in life is to ensure that we are happy. So when T gets a crazy idea (which is very very often) he doesn't have to worry about me telling him yes or no, but instead we talk about how we can make it work. If I want to go out with my girlfriends once a month I don't have to ask him permission I just have to let him know I am planning on doing it and I know he will support me and take care of the kids so I can have some me time. We never ask each other for permission, we simply ask for support.

4. Have friends outside of your marriage. I think it is important to remember that we were friends with other people when we were dating and it is important for us to have friends outside of our marriage. Friends can be a great support to your marriage, they can give you an outlet that your spouse can't. Let's face it your hubby will never be a great girlfriend, he doesn't understand the intricacies of how the woman's mind works and you will never be a great guy friend because you don't have a male brain. So it is important that you each have friends that can fill that need. However, your friends should never be more important than your spouse and they should never encourage you to do things that would harm your marriage.

5. Teach other how to be the spouse you need. Before our wedding day I had never been a wife and my hubby had never been a husband so we had to learn and what better way to learn than from your spouse! I have heard so many friends complain about how their husbands treat them, and all I can think is that you taught that to them. I look at controlling relationships, where the husband tells the wife what she can and can not do and I blame the wife for part of that controlling relationship because she has allowed her husband to control her. If my husband ever told me what I could or could not do I would let him know that he can shove that notion up his you know what. I am a grown woman and I can decide for myself what I can and cannot do. But too often the wife or sometimes even the husband is too nonconfrontational and even though they are upset that the spouse is dictating their life they allow it because they don't want the fight. But believe me your needs and wants are always worth the fight! If you don't teach your spouse how to fulfill your needs then they never will and you will live in an extremely unsatisfied marriage. A great book about this is called His Needs, Her Needs - I swear by that book!

7. Teamwork! My husband and I are a team. We work together to raise our children, save money, clean the house, and build our relationship. My husband is amazing in this regard! He never complains about doing the dishes, vacuuming the living room floors, cleaning the toilets, taking the kids with him to run errands, taking care of the kids while I take a nap, etc. Our attitude is that we both live in the house and it is both of our responsibilities to keep it clean. We both chose to have kids and it is both of our responsibilities to take care of them and ensure our needs are met. His contribution to their life is not just his sperm and yet too often I see dad's having that attitude. Heaven forbid they have to take care of their own children every once in a while so their wife can have a break! We are also a team when it comes to our spending habits. I know my husband works hard to provide for our family and keep us out of debt so I work hard to manage our money in a way that doesn't add stress to him.

8. Always look for the positive. If I look for the negative aspects of my husband's personality then I will find them and focus on them and that's all I will see of him and I will miss out on a lot of positive aspects of his personality. The same is true if I focus on the positive aspects of who he is and what he does for our family and our marriage and that is what I will see. I encourage my friends who are struggling with their marriages to every night think about ten positive things about their spouse - maybe they remembered to put the toilet seat down for you, or they helped put the kids to bed. Maybe they gave you a kiss when they walked in the door and told you you looked beautiful. Focus on the good they did and they will do more god things. I also think it is important to tell them the things you love about them. I love hearing my husband tell me all of the things he loves about me, or when he first walks out of our room from sleeping and he immediately tells me how nice the house looks. It makes me want to keep doing those things.

9. Always be honest with each other. I believe in honesty in all aspects of my life and if you want to know the truth about something you can come to me and I will tell you. There is no bigger marriage killer than deceiving one another - just don't do it, no matter how much you think the truth will hurt them, lying will hurt them 10 times more.

10. Respect one another and not just to each other's face but behind their backs as well. How would you feel if you found out that the person you love was trashing your name behind your back? How would you feel if he treated you like an idiot or called you insulting names? Treat your spouse the way you expect to be treated!

There are lots and lots of more things my spouse and I do, but these are the main things. How do you keep your marriage alive? What is something you struggle with in your marriage?