Thursday, March 31, 2011

Surprise!

I went to get all the fixin's for Conference weekend.  There are certain foods and traditions we keep every year.  After I unloaded the car and was putting things away in the pantry, the doorbell rang.   #6 and #7 both ran to get it.  I heard a very familiar woman's voice say, "Hello.  Is your momma here?"

When I got up the stairs and looked toward the door, it was one of those double-take experiences that life sometimes hands you.  There stood my friend, Heather, from way back when #2 was just a baby.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I haven't seen her since then; although, I send her a Christmas card (and receive one from her) every year.

I ran to the door and threw my arms around her.  What a GREAT surprise!  She happened to be in the neighborhood and brought my address with her.  She now lives about an hour away, so it was a wonderful treat to get to see her and visit with her for a few moments.

I LOVE this kind of stuff!  It's been such a good day so far.

Nails

When I put her to bed last night, #7  reached up and clawed my upper lip.  I'm pretty sure she was just reaching up to touch me, but her nails need to be clipped badly.  Anyway, she drew blood.  I looked in the mirror and this is what it reminded me of.  EWW!





All I need is the toothpick.  If you don't recognize this guy, he's from the movie Uncle Buck--CLASSIC!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pansies

I bought pansies today at Costco.  They were an assortment of the dark purple, the blue-ish (which I love) and the light yellow ones.  I went and bought pots for them too, but on my way into the store where I bought the pots, guess what....They had more pansies--the pinkish ones.  So I bought them too.

I'm now feeling very springish.  They make me happy.



Before we went to pick up the boys from school, I pulled off some of the dead blossoms.  #7 wanted them, so I gave them to her.  She carried them all the way up and all the way back from the school.  There were a few times she thought she'd dropped one, so she'd stop, look around, shrug and say, "Where he go?"  But she made it all the way back to the house with her tight little handful of dead flowers.

That girl loves nature...Even dead nature.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dinner Broken Down

We did a little computing last night and came to the realization that we paid $1.42 per person for dinner last night.  The amazing thing...we were all full when we were done.  Yippeeee!!!

I think I've finally, I know it takes some of us longer than others, figured out how to do the menu/coupon/shopping thing.  I figure out the coupon deals first, create the menu from that and then make the shopping list.  I create my menu based on what's for sale and what I have coupons for.  I then fill in the blanks and create the shopping list

For example, last night's dinner was two of each of these:

.99 at Fred Meyer last week (I bought four)

Approx. .75 on sale with a coupon (purchased awhile ago)

On sale for $3.99 plus a $1 off coupon for each

3/$5 so $1.67 on sale

 We put the meat on the bread, cut it into pieces for each person and sauce to dip in.  It was delicious!

Tonight is tacos.  We are on a total taco kick.  I make them at least twice a month if not more frequently than that.  You can't lose with tacos.  Just got the beef for $3 per package.  I buy and prepare two of everything.  I got the taco seasoning for .42.  I got the lettuce for .99, and the cheese for $1.  The tortillas were $1.99 for 10.  I figure salsa and sour cream were roughly $4 when figured together, so this alone is less than $2 per person, but rarely do we only eat one taco, so it'll end up being about $4 per person.  Still much better than eating out if you ask me.  Wait....no, it's not!  Taco Bell's soft taco supreme is cheaper than this.  What am I doing?!  We should go out!

Connections

You know how sometimes, in a very rare while, you meet someone you just click with and identify with?  Well, I have to share this....because that's just how it is.

I have some friends who are going through some really hard times right now.  First thing I ran across this morning on Facebook were these two quotes.  I hope, if you're struggling with something (and who isn't tha?) that these'll help lift you up and carry you through today:


"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."   — Marilyn Monroe 

Love this quote.  So defines most women; at least it does me.


"Tough times never last, but tough people do." 


As we had family prayer this morning, we included praying for some people that my children don't know.  There's a little girl, who is just a year older than #4 and lives a couple states away.  She was bullied at school and has been in and out of the hospital since.  Pretty serious stuff.  I just can't explain the feeling in my heart.  It felt good to pray for her by name.   The second quote is for her and her mom.   Hang in there my friends!

Monday, March 28, 2011

21 Months


Today this girl turned 21 months.  She is a joy.  I can't imagine that we thought we were done before she came along.  She just mellows out the whole crew and helps make the madhouse not quite so mad.  She is a huge blessing.

So, now a return to this photo:

If you've been to Oregon, you know what a beautiful state it is.  One thing that makes it beautiful is it's pine trees.  Yes, in #7's hands are pinecones.  They are one of her loves.  When we walk the boys to or from school, she always stops and picks up the cones that have fallen from the neighbor's tree.  She carries them all the way--it's nearly a mile.  Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I end up with a pile of them on my kitchen counter.  She has a specific kind that she likes.  They are only found two doors down from us.  We walk through a forest on our way to school.  There are quite a few douglas firs and a few other kinds but she doesn't stop for these.  It is only this kind:


So, in order to get her to sit for the photo, the kids started handing her pinecones.  It worked for awhile until she saw that they weren't "her" kind.  Funny girl!  Gotta love her!

A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 2



Proverbs 31:13-15  Do you plan and prepare for the day?  Do you start the day with a quiet time with the Lord?  Are you ready to meet the challenges of the day?  Write a post about how you set aside time to plan and prepare for yourself and your family everyday.  Whether it be meal planning, scheduling, grocery lists, chores, or what you do to make sure you have time for Bible study and prayer with God.


This could end up being a VERY long post, but I'll try to keep it brief.  If you want more specific information, just ask.  I'll post a more in depth post or two if you want.  This is something I spend a lot of my brain power (what little is left of it) on.  I just don't know if I could run this household if I didn't.  It would be kind of like driving the party bus (that's what it was dubbed by the kids' friends this weekend) without sensors on the bumpers--so NOT possible, at least for me.

Here's the scripture reference:
 13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
 14She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
 15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.


Sunday is designated as planning day.  We sit down as a family and have a family council each week.  After that, I go to my own calendar to see what's there and what I have to do to fulfill all of my commitments that week.  I come up with a to-do list.  I have to be careful not to go overboard.  I have a tendency to add "breathe" and "blink" and sometimes an occasional "swallow" to my list.
I just naturally wake up at the same time nearly everyday--5:45am; although I wish I wouldn't.  I usually stay in bed for 15 minutes until my alarm goes off.  I used to use that time to try to go back to sleep--always unsuccessfully.  I've just started using this time to have some quiet thinking time.  I don't get enough of that any more, so maybe the early wake up is a tender mercy after all.  I think through each of my children and their needs.  I now find that, because of this time, I am more mindful of what I can do during the day to meet help meet those needs.
I have a schedule that I've referred to in other posts.  When I list it out, it looks like an incredible amount of stuff, but it's really not.  I have set routines in my day at various times--6am, 8am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm, and 8pm.  During those times, I have a list on my Blackberry that I refer to.  I find that I have to focus on one job at a time or else I get easily overwhelmed.  In between, I get my to do list things done.  I try to be in bed each night (except for weekends) by 9:30pm--haha!  Yah, right. 

Each day of the week also has a specific job attached to it.  Today, for example, is laundry day.  I do the laundry and clean and organize the laundry room.  

My routines have to be altered many times during the year as I learn to bend to my family's changing activities.  You know, just to give some variety to life.  **Grrr**

I study mid-morning, while #7 naps and #6 is at preschool and again in the early afternoon, while #6 and #7 nap/have quiet time.  I can see an ending to #7's morning nap coming very quickly toward me on the horizon, so I'm going to have to, again, flex the ol' schedule.  Do I dare say "Grrr" again?

With each class, when I start, I create a spreadsheet that becomes my study schedule.  Before I study, I always pray and take a half an hour to study the scriptures.  I also pray as part of my first routine of the day and my last.
In order to answer the other questions in the first paragraph, I'd have to show you my routines.  I throw dinner in the crockpot as part of the 8am routine.  Grocery lists are part of my Wednesday tasks, which has been a bit tricky this school year as it's the only day #6 has off of school.  I try hard to stick to these schedules, but I tend to be a bit of a random thinker.  I fall away a lot, but at least I have them in my Blackberry, so I can jump back on when I catch myself out in left field.  It must be really nice there because I tend to spend quite a bit of time there.  Funny that I've never noticed the beauty of it, actually.

As far as household chores go, we have a rotating list of jobs on a white board that hangs on the fridge.  I have never called them "chores" just because of the negative connotation of the word.  I should start calling them "opportunities for service" that'd make the medicine go down, now, wouldn't it?  The person who does each job (er...service opportunity) changes weekly.  Here they are:

Dishes
Kitchen
Yard/cars
Front room, halls and stairs
Family room
Bathrooms
Watch #7 (but of course, we don't refer to her as #7 here)
Set table (everyday for now) - #6

The main responsibilities are to keep their areas free of clutter/picked up.  On Saturdays we have a list for more in-depth cleaning and scouring.  At least once or twice a week, we work together and clean the entire house unitedly--ignoring the original list. 

So, there it is...insanity at its finest.  I like that I don't have to reinvent the wheel each day.  I tend to be easily distracted (like I mentioned before), so having it all written down in one place brings me back to where I need to be. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Way to Help....Finally!

I've been trying to find a way to help.  Just received this from a dear friend, so here it is....
"[An] LDS Bishop... in Gresham, works for a company that has a factory in Shirakawa, Japan.  It is in the Fukushima Prefecture (made famous for the nuclear reactor catastrophe).  Virtually everyone at the plant was impacted by the earthquake and tsunami.  A number of employees are missing family members. 
"[This] company is sending a shipment of food and supplies on April 4th to Shirakawa.  He has room for 1,000 quilts.  These will be distributed to the Japanese people who don't have heat or other supplies needed for their winter season. 
"If you would like to donate a blanket or comforter for him to take,
The GUIDELINES are:
  • New or nearly new quilts and blankets.
  • Twin, double or queens. Random sizes are fine too-- just not too small. The size of a throw is too small.
  • Each quilt and blanket must be put in a plastic bag.
  • Please donate items that will provide warmth, no thin blankets.
  • Flannel quilts or comforters would be perfect, as would other warm homemade quilts, double sided polar fleece blankets and wool blankets.
  • Sleeping bags are welcomed too.
"To make a quilt, use two flat flannel or cotton-poly sheets  1.sew all together with batting, leaving one short end open  2.turn like a pillowcase  3.sew the open end closed 4.tie the quilt with crochet thread. This can be done in a day (or less if you're good).

"If you  buy a blanket or comforter. Andy and Bax on Grand Ave has wool blankets for $25. Stores such as Kohl's, Walmart, Big Lots and Target have blankets and comforters.  Fred Meyers has any size  polar fleece blankets for $12.99 (reg 19.99)

"Inexpensive, rectangular (non-mummy) style  sleeping bags used to be $20 or so at some seasonal camping supply places. (Costco, Bi Mart, Fred Meyers).  The price maybe higher since I last bought some but the heavier, simple ones are relatively cheap.

"Wrap them in love.  Attach a note to each quilt or blanket, letting the recipient know that you care, are thinking of them, and are praying for them.

"If you would like to make such a donation, please have your items ready no later than Wednesday, MARCH 30th.  The shipment is LEAVING on the 4th.   I need to get the blankets to their central location early enough for them to be prepared and packed into the plane."
If you can help, please leave a comment or email me.

Can You Guess?


I can't look at this photo without completely cracking up!  Can you see what #7 has in her hands to keep her seated?  I'm going to let you guess.  I'll be back later to tell you.  If you know (Julia), don't tell.  Thanks!

Prayers Please

Tonight I checked on the status of my friend Mayumi who left the United States and returned home to Yamagata, Japan the day of the earthquake (obviously not knowing it was going to happen).  She is coming back to her husband and the U.S. tomorrow.  Would you please add to your prayers a plea for her and her baby son's safe return and for her family as she leaves them in Japan.

This was her status on Thursday:
"Got scared from an aftershock (magnitude was about 6.5) this evening. I packed stuff in my backpack after that. I really pray that we can travel safely on April 8....We really need your prayers. The frequency of aftershocks are decreasing, but we still have them every day. I have heard that the initial earthquake lasted about 5 minutes, and my parents barely could stand while it happend although my hometown is about 200 miles away from the epicenter. Thankfully, only about 100 houses were destructed and only 1 death in my hometown, Yamagata prefecture. The next prefecture is Miyagi (Sendai), and already close to 6,000 death, and 10,000 collapsed buildings."

YW Broadcast

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes:
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never - no, never, no, never forsake!”
(How Firm A Foundation, Hymn #85)

This was the final verse of the  closing hymn of tonight's Young Women's broadcast.  As we listened to the young women sing it, I felt touched.  #1 leaned over to me and said this was her favorite verse.  It speaks volumes.  Just thought I'd share.

The Lunch List


I know I had a bunch of people were wanting to see the list my children use when making their school lunches. so here it is. 

All I did was take the food pyramid and break it down into what we have in our pantry and fridge that fit those categories.  I make sure these items make my grocery list each week.  I also add things from time to time depending on what I have coupons for.

I put it in a page protector and taped it (beautifully, as you can see) to the inside of the cupboard.  In the past, when I've had little ones who can't read, I've read it off for them until I got smarter and created a list with words as well as pictures. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Totally Excited!

One of my facebook friends who goes to the same school with my eldest, asked for help on couponing as her facebook status last night.  I jumped in.  I know a number of young girls who are the shopper/chef in their homes.  I'm hoping that some of these girls will come to my house for a little coupon/menu/crockpotting class.  The idea came to me last night, after responding to this girl's status.  I realized that I have a number of things to offer to these girls.  Hope it makes their lives easier.  They are amazing people.  I'm excited to get to hang out with them for a little while.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Terrible Shopper

I took my two eldest daughters shopping yesterday.  Funny thing...they still ask me to go with them.  Yes, I'm the driver, and they could just ask me to drop them off.  They knew they would be spending their own money, so it was for that reason either.  Could it be that they still like having me around?  If not, don't burst my bubble, okay?

We went to all the shops they wanted to go to along with a few of my choice.  As we walked into Hollister, my oldest leaned over to me and whispered, "Welcome to Hollister.  Would you like a flashlight?"  It was that dark in there.

The best deals for the girls were found in Aeropostale.  We found hoodies for $10.  We bought three.  One for each of them and a guys hoodie for #2.

I spent some time in The Childrens Place.  I found little boys' sweaters for $3.  I bought two for #7.  Yes, she is a girl, but they were just girly enough that they could pass, and how could I say no to $3?  I also found sunglasses for kids for $3, so I bought two pairs.

For me, we went to Coldwater Creek and Van Heusen.  In both stores I found shirts I liked and wanted.  They were both on sale, but I couldn't get myself to buy them.  Both shirts were white.  Both had kind of a wrap effect to them.  I tried on the one in Coldwater Creek in a medium.  It was a little large--I was shocked, but I couldn't get myself to go to a small.  I just don't think this will last.  It's also interesting that I only choose white and black.  I've GOT to break out of my comfort zone.

Some people use retail therapy to work through hard times.  I need therapy to learn how to shop again.  My other bad habit with shopping is if I pick something for myself that I like and walk around the store with it for too long, I will talk myself out of it.  If it's for me, it doesn't matter if it's $6, I will talk myself right out of it  and put it back on the rack.  Pathetic!

So, I left with nothing for  myself but something for everybody else.  Is someone out there willing to teach a poor pathetic case like me to shop again?  I need some serious help.

Fish Tacos

I have to be honest here.  I've never had fish tacos.  I've heard they're wonderful, but I've never even seen one in real life.  Sad, but true.  I guess I don't get out enough.

I find myself this afternoon with a large number of tilapia filets, and I'm thinking along the lines of fish tacos for dinner tonight.    You can tell where this is leading, can't you?

Can you help me out?  Do you have a great way of making fish tacos?  Is it just the same as regular tacos only using the fish as the meat portion?  Can you direct me to a good recipe?  I don't want these to just be good, I want them to be GOOD.  But, then again, I'm not one of those people that has all kinds of gourmet ingredients at her fingertips.  I'm kind of a plain Jane, so maybe I'll just have to settle for good.

Can you help me out with this one?
Thanks!

Intimidated and Intimidating

We arrived home safely from the beach only to find that my cord for my laptop remains plugged in in my in-law's dining room.  This may limit some of my online time for awhile until I get it back.  This would not be such a bad thing.  The words, "The mind-numbing effects of the internet," keep popping into my brain.  My use of the internet is limited to blogging, email and facebook, but too much is bad, so I'm trying, daily, to keep things in balance.  I think I'm doing okay.

When we arrived home, our mailbox was full.  I forgot to contact the post office to have the mail held.  Oops.  In the mail was the invitation to the Mother/Young Mother of the Year Gala.  At the luncheon early this month, we all introduced ourselves, so it was hard to tell who was whom and who was nominated for what.  It looks as though there are three women up for Mother of the Year for 2012 and two for Young Mother of the Year--me and one other woman.  The Warden--always the optimist--says, "Well then, you have a 50/50 chance."  I laughed!

Okay, so here's the thing....The other woman is amazing!  I mean two kids and runs an at home business.  She helps other women build their self-esteem, etc. etc.  Hmm.  A bit intimidating.  I remember her standing to introduce herself.  She was all confidence and charisma.  I'd vote for her.  I liked her.  So, so much for that 50/50 chance.  It's okay.  I can go back to life as normal when all is said and done, and it'll all be good.  It will have just been fun to have learned from this opportunity.

After we got unpacked and kids down for naps, I read with #5 for a little bit and then opened my computer.  I found the nicest comment on one of my posts.  I went to that woman's blog.  In the past 24 hours, I've had two women mention my blog on their blogs.  Wow!  I feel so honored.  I mean, that's a huge compliment.  I went to this latest one and got to laughing when she said I was "intimidating, but then she said some really nice things that overshadowed that, so it was all good.  I just got to wishing that she knew me in the flesh.  Maybe I need to write a reality post, so you can really know me and see that I'm not intimidating at all.

The first time I had that word used for me was in regard to a young man who liked my oldest daughter.  She told me that he was "intimidated" by me.  Yeehaw!  Mission accomplished!  I'm great with that kind of situation, but I don't want to be intimidating to anyone else.  How do I undo that?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gotta Get Home

One child won't sleep tonight and another's coughing up a storm--one of my asthma boys.  We have no inhaler here.  Gotta get home to take care of my sickies.  They weren't sick when we arrived.  **sigh**

A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 1



Found this on a blog I just ran across the other day and decided it was a worthwhile endeavor.  I'm a few weeks behind, so this may end up being a semi-weekly post kind of thing until I catch up.  For today, here's week 1.

Looked up Proverbs 31 and pushed "images" this is what I got.  Pretty, huh?
Week 1: Proverbs 31:10-12 Are you a virtuous and capable wife more precious than rubies? Does your husband trust you, and do you enrich his life? Do you bring him good everyday? Write a post about something you would like to change about yourself, and something you love about yourself. How does this add to the enrichment of your husband's life?

Wow!  Why is this so tough for me?  Yes, I believe I am a virtuous woman.  Capable wife?  More precious than rubies?  Okay.  I'll take it.

Yes, I believe my husband trusts me.  Do I enrich his life?  Hmm.  That's where it's tough.  I try to, but not consciously.  I don't wake up every morning thinking, "How can I enrich my husband's life today," but maybe I should.

I think I bring him good.  We have a fairly peaceful life together.

What would I change about myself?  Oh wow!  Where does one begin?  Lately, I wish I was more organized.  I know when I am, I feel better about myself and am more able to get things done.  So, yes, that's what I'd change.

What do I like about myself?  I like that I can laugh at life and find lessons in things around me.  I like that I continually try to better myself.

This adds enrichment to my husband's life in that I work to make our household better too.

To be honest, I think all he wants is that I be happy.  He continually tries to do things to bring me joy.  He's a great man!

Caught for Posterity

Yesterday, when we were in the car with my mother by marriage and were talking about Dog, I came to realize that we, as a family, have our own little sub-culture.  We have our inside jokes, our own language, etc.  Sometimes it can be rather disturbing.

My mother by marriage volunteers at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum one afternoon a week.  We went there today for the first time.  It was such a great place.  I love stuff like that.

While upstairs, we were walking along looking at some old school photos. We stopped in front of a photo of a basketball team from sometime around the 1930s.  Our older kids were already there--laughing.  Amongst the chuckling, I caught the words "fly open."  Sure enough...last kid on the right--unzipped.

Just now, we were sitting at dinner, and my mother by marriage wanted to know how our trip was at the museum and what we thought of it.  First thing shared, of course...that photograph.  Not only did the kids mention it to her, #2 opens his cell phone AND...he had taken a picture of it!  Can you believe it?!  He actually flipped open his phone and took a picture.  Now grandma has proof.

How'd you like to be caught for posterity with your fly unzipped?  Ugh!  Poor kid!  Then to have some 15-year-old punk catch you again on his cell phone?  That's downright disturbing, but somehow, it defines our culture--just slightly twisted.

We've Ruined Her

And this is how we did it:






The pancake eating experience will never be the same again, and she's not even two yet.

Oh how I LOVE this stuff!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Other Addiction

The Warden has gotten so he'll say, "Sistah," whenever the situation lends itself to it.  Every time he does it, I crack up.  Just can't help it.

Today, we were in the car with the Warden's mother when he came out with another "Sistah."  I started laughing, and she knew she was completely out of the loop.  She wanted to know just what was going on that she didn't understand.

The Warden started to explain my great love for this show we've been watching on Netflix.  It's Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Years ago, on one of our six month get-aways, we were channel surfing and came across this show.  If you haven't seen it, it's about a guy named Dwayne Chapman, a.k.a. Dog.  He runs a bail bond company in Hawaii.  On the show, he and his sons, daughter and wife go after these people who owe them money, those who have failed to appear, etc.

It's pretty intense, but they always get their guy (or girl, whichever the case may be).

My mother by marriage commented on how this just didn't seem like my kind of show.  You see, she thinks I'm Mary Poppins, a.k.a. Molly Mormon (first impressions die hard--even after more than nineteen years).  But, to be honest, this really isn't my type of show, but I LOVE it.  I've faced the fact that it's because of the adrenaline rush they go through on a daily basis.  I guess I'm a little jealous of that.  I'd love to hang out with Dog's wife Beth.  She's so opposite me that I think it'd be a very fun experience.  I'd love to have her call me "Sistah."

So, one more confession, last Saturday night, when we were working in the temple cafeteria, there were a number of times when I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel room so I could catch the next episode of Dog.  Oh m'gosh!  That's TERRIBLE!


Well, I got my mother by marriage turned onto Dog.  She's sitting watching the first episode right now.  I'm curious to see what she'll think about it.  Good times, Sistah!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Evolution of Why I Blog

Eons ago, shortly after I started blogging, I did a little post on why I blog.  When I was done with it, I remember how lame I thought it was.

As time has passed, and I've had many, many experiences with this blogging thing--good and bad, I've realized that my reasons for blogging have changed.

When I took part in the 30-day blog challenge, it occurred to me the real reason I do this.  As I would go kiss my parents goodnight, when I was a child, I remember numerous nights that I would find my mom sitting writing in a journal.  I remember wanting to know what she was writing.  I never asked; I knew it was too personal.  After she passed away, my dad would ask me which of her things I wanted.  I told him it was her journals and pictures that I wanted.  I have many of her photos now in my possession, but her journals have eluded me.

As I did the 30-day challenge, I realized that I had in some more modern way, become like my mom.  As my kids come to kiss me goodnight, sometimes they catch me blogging; writing down things that are on my mind.

I don't want my kids to ever wonder where they can find me and my thoughts as they were growing up.  I want them to be able to turn and find my personality for that's what I want from my mom now.

Last night, I had a rather serious discussion with the Warden.  I faced some facts about why I love blogging and facebook so much.  You know what it is?  It's the instant feedback.  I love it when I can carry on a conversation with someone and know their feelings.  I love it when people make me laugh by the funny things they say.  I appreciate that there are so many others that go through the things I do on a regular basis.  I honestly just adore the fact that I can interact with others so regularly and frequently.

I have set a goal for myself that any time I go to someone else's blog, I will post a comment about something.  It's made such a big difference.  I always go to the blogs listed on my sidebar when I see they've updated, and a few times a week, I go to this site and read other LDS women's blogs.  It has been from this site that I've made some of my dearest blogging friends.  I'm finding that everyone has something to offer.


Here are a few things from today:

I found this blog:

http://howtobesuperwoman.blogspot.com/
  She's participating in a "Woman of Noble Character Challenge" each week.  I'd love to do this.  She got it here.

I also received a "Parents" magazine today.  I was a bit surprised, but then I realized that I paid a few cents for the subscription.  I had forgotten ordering it.  It said some wonderful things.  One was that you should use your time with your family as sacred and nothing should get in the way of spending time with your family--when the husband and kids are around, your time is there's.  I appreciated this little reminder.  I'm working on that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nineteen Years

Before (1992)

After (2011)
I know....I know.  We haven't changed a bit.

Simpler with Seven

Years and years ago, we decided to expand some of our entertainment horizons and turned our kids onto musicals.  It all started with The Music Man.  I remember #2 as a toddler saying, "When the man dances, certainly boys, what else, the piper pays him.  Yessir!  Yessir!"  Of course, it didn't sound much like that, but because we were so familiar with the show, we knew exactly what he was trying to say.  Here's that little link (plus some) for your viewing pleasure:








Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has become a big favorite.  The kids used to choose which brother they were--when we had six.  Everybody fought over who got to be Frank.  This is the first time we've seen it since we've had seven kids.  It became easy to decide who was whom.  No fighting.  No arguing.  The kids sang along to every song, but this is our favorite.  Enjoy!



I couldn't get the video to embed, so the link is what you get.  Sorry.

Love My Ward!

The Warden and I ran away for the weekend.  It's our six month get-away.  We left the kids in charge of themselves.  This morning, we return home to see if things are still standing.  When we called last night, #2 told me that #3 had cleaned the kitchen beautifully.  When it comes right down to it, in my mind, if the kitchen is clean, the whole house is clean, since that's where I spend the majority of my time.  #3 can clean that kitchen like no other.

Monday is the Warden and my anniversary--19 years!  I know...the man's a saint.

The first evening we were gone, I watched a news broadcast in which a geologist (who had been right on previous predictions) said there would be a major earthquake on the west coast of the United States between the 19th and 21st.  I watched that on the 18th.  Here I was away from my kids.  Ugh!

I don't believe everything I see and hear, I promise, but be honest, wouldn't that make you a little nervous too?

On Friday, I had told some of the people in our ward that we'd be gone.  As the weekend progressed, one friend called the kids to let them know he was around if they needed anything.  Another friend actually stopped by the house while she was out running around yesterday.  Wow!  I have great friends!  It's so nice to know that if I wasn't around, there would be those who would care for my kids.  So reassuring!

Months ago, the Warden signed us up to volunteer in the temple.  Yesterday was that opportunity, so as part of our weekend get-away, we went to the temple.  We got to work in the cafeteria.  The Warden did dishes, and I got to work the "front line."  I have to be honest, I didn't love it.  I much prefer doing the dishes.  I have this perfectionist attitude and am scared of messing up in front of everybody.  They told me that a ward was coming in at 5pm, so we should be ready before and after that session for an onslaught of people.

At 7-ish, the people came, but it was my own ward.  PHEW!  I hadn't connected the fact that my ward had temple night and that the 5pm session would be them.  It was JOYFUL to serve them.  Nice to know that if I screwed up, they'd be forgiving.  Although I know the other people who came through would have been equally forgiving, these were people I knew would joke around with me about it.

I feel blessed to be in such a marvelous ward.  It's perfect for us.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Track Meet

The "victory signs" were their way of giving tribute to Japan.
As you can see in the photo above, the first track meet of the season was rainy and cold.  #1 ran the 4 by 100 (the first race of the meet).  Her team came in first.

#2 ran the 800 and the 1500.  That's him in blue and white.  He ran well for his first race, but learned a lot from this experience.  We think he should be a sprinter like his sister, but last year, we told her she should be running distance.  She proved us wrong, so what do we know?  The boys sprinting team has the best runner in the state on it.  #2 doesn't want to compete against him; he wants to win.  Can you blame him?

During the meet, the weather turned NASTY!  You can see the football field in the picture where #2 is running?  Compare it with this one.  Hail started in.  They took a ten minute break.  That's #1 out there in the black with her hands under her chin.  The hail went on and on and on.  This turned out to be a 4 1/2 hour meet.  Ugh!

I don't know what it is, but this photo speaks volumes about #1.  She's a "gaman" type of girl.  If you read the article about Japan that I shared in a previous post, that's #1.  I ABSOLUTELY loved the article, so here's the link again just in case you didn't read it the first time.

#1 ran the 400 and took first place.  She also ran the 4 by 400 (the very last race of the meet), so it was a long evening.  My toes were frozen.  I can't imagine how the runners keep their feet thawed so that they can run.

I got in a nice warm tub after getting home.  It took a long time to warm back up again.

Creating Spring

Yesterday I volunteered at the elementary school.  I walked into #5's class and found the usual note waiting for me.  Typically, this note will say that I need to read with children A, B, and C, but yesterday, it said, "Please put the flowers on the wall in the hallway.  The flowers are on the shelves behind you."  I turned to find some HUGE watercolored flowers.  I was told that I should go find the school's step ladder, so I went, searched it out and came back to the stapler and flowers.

Here's how it ended up:




If you don't live in the Pacific Northwest, you must understand that this time of year is grey and rainy.  Yesterday was no different.  As I put these flowers up, it just made my heart happy.  The kids'd come to the doorway and peek out and oooh and aaahh about their flowers.  It just felt like I was in on something beautiful.  It felt great to create a little piece of spring.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day of Silence for Japan

I'm joining other bloggers in this:


To learn more about this, go here.

Oh Man! Stinky!

I am not one to have a sensitive nose, but WOW!

Last week was the Warden's birthday.  I bought him some new pillows.  I don't know when the last time was that he had new ones.  He loves his old pillows.  I mean really loves them.  He brags about how wonderful they are.  We, #1 and I, tell him that they're rocks.  Well, one of them got a hole in it, so it's spitting out feathers all over the place.  So, time for a replacement, wouldn't you say?


When I bought these, I thought I was buying such a thoughtful gift--something he needed and sure to be as good as, if not better than, the pillows he adores.  He got them out of the package and PHEW!!!  Just one whiff, and I had a headache.  NASTY!

We took them out and thought we'd air them for awhile and see if they did any better.  After three days, they may have been a wee bit better but really not much.

I finally went to Ikea and found the perfect pillow for him.  It must have been comical for the people walking around me to see me squeezing and sniffing all the pillows in the store.  I'm very happy with my purchase now, and these stinkers are going to be returned.

Here's stink #2.   Man, my house is full of stink right now!

The other day, there was a call to my cell phone from the Warden's cell phone.  I'm glad I didn't answer it in some crazy way because it was the Warden's vice principal calling to talk to me.

He said he noticed that the Warden's knee was having some pretty bad troubles.  True.  It has been.  He instructed me to go get some Tiger Balm at Rite Aid, so we did.  And MAN!!!  STINK!!!



But, the Warden claims that his knee does feel better, so I guess I'm going to have to live with this one for awhile.  Better get used to it.  The things that don't kill us only make us stronger (or something like that), right?  Oh, I'm going to be so strong by the time we're done with this stink.  Pile a few more blankets on the bed cuz I'm sleeping with the windows open from here on out.

I'm just imagining the pillows and the tiger balm in the same room.  Ugh!  So glad the pillows aren't staying.

Self Control? What Self Control?

We received some of this amazing stuff as a gift.

The plan was to save it until the weekend so the Warden and I could enjoy it together.  Too good for childrens' tastes, ya know?  Well, yesterday, I was walking in the kitchen just minding my own business, and it called to me from the top shelf--the moose call.  I took it off the shelf and put it back.  Good job, huh?

Well, it called again.  I couldn't just ignore it, so I pulled it down again and assessed the fact that the Warden doesn't appreciate dark chocolate.  He really doesn't.  Now milk chocolate....That's a completely different story, so it wouldn't kill him if we saved one of the two packages for the weekend, right?

You can probably tell what happened after that, so I'll leave the rest of this tale to your imagination.

All I have to say about it is that it was REALLY GOOD!


But I did share it.  Does that count for anything?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Glimmers of Hope


http://www.hoax-slayer.com
Everywhere we look, there is negative to be found.  It's hard not to get pulled in and under by it.  It is tsunami-like in its proportions.

http://www.japaninfoswap.com
I have, naturally, been very intrigued by what has taken place in Japan.  I have been sent many links to information on it from friends who understand my interest in it.  I am deeply saddened by it, as I'm sure the entire world is, but I want to share a few glimpses at the other side of this Japanese coin.

I have found some amazing facts that I want to share--little glimpses of light in what seems to be an insurmountable darkness.

As I shared in a previous post, I have been learning more about God's tender mercies for his children.  Having seen these tender mercies in abundance in my own life as I've dealt with my own little challenges, it gives me great hope in what lies ahead for Japan as I become aware of some of theirs.  I know, with no doubting whatsoever, that God is in charge, and this is all part of His plan.  Prophecy is being fulfilled.  Good things will come from this.  But, amongst all the horrifying images we see on the news, are you aware of the good that is going on at this very minute because God's hand is in all of this?

First, of all, I want to share the miracle of the missionaries.  The more I think about this, the more aware I am that God has had something to do with this.  The area of Fukushima, the farthest south area in the Sendai mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was hit extremely hard by the quakes and tsunami.  It is the area with the nuclear plant.

http://www.deseretnews.com/
In these areas, companionships of elders are placed in some of the most remote and outlying areas.  It is no question to me that, had these elders been out proselyting at the time of these disasters, there would have been little chance of survival.  But, all of the elders and sisters serving in Fukushima prefecture were at a zone conference--a meeting that takes place every six months (I believe).  They were all at the church at Koriyama (a very safe place in the area) all together with the mission president.

These zone conferences are not an every day occurrence--like I said.  Coincidence that they were doing this that day?  I just don't think so.  Someday I'd love to hear the mission president's story on how that particular date was decided upon because I would bet that it was no mere choice of a date.  I have little doubt that it was prayerfully decided upon and that the Lord had some say in keeping His servants safe.  Tender mercy #1.

http://nippon-jin.com/town_01.html
On March 10th at 3:57am, my friend, Mayumi, a girl I knew from the ward in Yamagata when I served there, wrote this on her facebook page: "Leaving for Japan with my son today."  As you are probably aware, our March 10th is Japan's March 11th because of the international date line (the day of the quake).  In response to her post, there were many comments about how excited people were for her to see her family after so long.  She currently lives in Virginia with her American husband.  I commented, "Kiss the ground for me!"  This was the first opportunity Mayumi would have to introduce her family to her baby.


Needless to say, when I heard of the earthquake when I woke on the 11th, Mayumi came to my mind.  Did she make it?  I went to her facebook page, but of course, there was nothing but worry--people here, in America, inquiring as to her whereabouts and well being.

The next day, we heard from her.  She had arrived, but not without an amazing story.

On Sunday, March 13th, at 6:19am (Japanese time, I believe), she shared part of just what happened to her.

http://www.fnetravel.com
When the earthquake hit, they were on the plane and heading to land at Narita, the international airport of Japan, but they had shut down the runway, they headed for Haneda, a domestic airport.  They were stuck at Haneda for the night.

She said they were given a blanket and some emergency food.  While she was trying to get her baby to sleep, an old lady saw her and became concerned because she could see that Mayumi was alone with a small baby and had just flown in from a very long international flight, so  she asked one of the airport workers if they could find her a quiet room--these rooms are typically reserved for V.I.P.s.

They arranged it for her, and she was give place in the baby lounge. The next day, she found herself with a stand-by ticket and wasn't even sure if there would be a flight to Yamagata.  She said she was "constantly praying," and finally found herself given a seat on a flight to Yamagata.

When she arrived in Yamagata, there was no power, and Mayumi was unable to contact her family to let them know of her whereabouts.  She caught a taxi and headed to her parents' home.  I can't imagine their joy when she showed up on their doorstep.  Wow!  Can you imagine that reunion?  According to Mayumi, "They just repeatedly said, 'So happy to see you.'"

She will remain in Japan until April 16th.  I hope and pray for her safe return.  In the meantime, there is no doubt the strength that she is adding to her family.  Tender mercy #2.


The reason I know that Mayumi is a strength is because of what I know about the Japanese people by the short time I lived in their culture.  A few days ago, I ran across this amazing news article.  This writer sums up what I learned while in Japan.  I hope as you read it, it also gives you hope.  To me, this article was tender mercy #3.

So, what tender mercies are you experiencing?  What have you seen from all of this?  I hope these little instances give you a little added hope to combat the tsunami wave of ugliness that threatens to engulf us all.  God is aware of us, each individually, there is no doubt.

Visit from a Cousin

This was first thing this morning.  Can you tell who the morning people are in the photo?  HaHa!

On the far right is my cousin.  Let me see if I can explain this relationship better....

My great grandmother was this cousin's grandmother.  My grandfather was her mother's half-brother.  Don't you just hate it when people talk like this and start trying to explain relationships?

I had never met this cousin before; although, there were photos of her as a young child and Christmas cards from her family amongst my mother's things.

When this happened (please read the link, so you'll truly understand), I found that because my mother was an only child, we, my grandmother's descendants (my siblings and I) would be the only ones who would really care.  It also hit me that I don't know my mom's side of the family at all.  I felt that I needed to get to know them.  I decided that my family would go to Spokane during spring break and would invite all that we could find of the Stegner family to meet us there.

Well, to make a long story short, Carol came from Boise for the last three days to help organize the family reunion that will now take place in June, not March.

I watch my  kids every year when we arrive at our family reunion and how they pick up where they left off with their cousins.  It's magical.  I feel like I had an experience akin to this with Carol.  I enjoyed my time with her immensely.  I'm so glad she came and was sad to see her go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oregon Mothers

Here we are.  After you go to the link, click "Oregon Mothers Honored" on the left hand side of the American Mothers website.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Small, Personalized Miracles

My good friend Becky spoke in church yesterday.   She based her comments on this talk

Here is a short clip of some of its highlights:




As I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday, my mind wandered--not an uncommon occurrence.  I wondered if the Japanese members had had the sacrament passed to them, and I was sure they had.  I thought about the comfort that would be in such a time as this.  I thought about my little boy who was passing positive, upbeat notes with his friend (things like "your AWSSOME), who was sitting down the bench from us, during the meeting, and wondered if there was a similar boy somewhere in that country who had a friend like that to buoy him up.  I hope so.

I realized that tender mercies are available to all of us.  I have no doubt that individuals in Japan are receiving day by day, moment by moment witnesses that God is very much a part of their lives.  That reassures me.  That gives me hope.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Natsukashii (fond memories)

This is the mission home of the Japan Sendai Mission.  We came here first and spent about three days receiving training from other missionaries on how to bow properly (I was terrible at this; don't know if I ever got it right.  No one ever acted offended, so hopefully, I mastered it at some point.  Still don't know what I was doing wrong), how to introduce ourselves to people on the street, etc.  It was a nice way to acclimate ourselves to our new world.
The first area I was called to serve in was Aomori.  It's far north on Honshu.  On the map, there's a little dip at the top central part of the island; that's where Aomori is located.  It was right on the ocean, and I remember walking to view the ocean frequently.

It was an entire day on the train from the mission home and three transfers.  I went alone.  I was sure I would miss a train somewhere along the way, but thankfully, I arrived just fine.

Aomori is famous for its apples.  I remember seeing orchards where the workers were on ladders wrapping each apple on the tree so that it would have even coloring all over.  Amazingly tedious work, I'm sure.

I arrived in Aomori in July.  It was very warm.  I transferred in January.  At that point, the snow was amazing.  Thanks to some very patient companions--Sisters Okimoto, Tazura, and Nakamura, I learned pretty much everything I needed to know to be a missionary in Aomori.

Next, I transferred to Yamagata.  I served here from January to July(?).  Yamagata was known to have the record hot temperature in Japan (at that time), so I stepped out of freezing Aomori to balmy Yamagata.  It grew colder a few weeks after I arrived, so it was an interesting shock to my system to have two falls and two winters in one year.

I loved Yamagata.  I think I felt like I had things pretty well figured out by the time I arrived here.  The members were so warm and wonderful.  They were in Aomori too, but by the time I got to Yamagata, I could understand what they were saying and I could hold a pretty good conversation too (or at least I thought I could).

I'm not sure if I remember all of my companions from this time frame, but I'm going to do my best (they may even be out of order)--Thompson, Honda (my across the hall neighbor from the dorms at BYU), Morii, Yoneda(?), and Sala.

My last area was Nagamachi in Sendai (close to the mission home).  It was a very hilly area.  We were on bikes the entire time in Japan, but I hadn't done hills like Sendai's before this point.  By the time I got home, I had VERY buff calves; without the constant bike riding, though, they quickly returned to normal--zanen!

This building didn't exist when I first arrived, it was under construction, so we met in a rented space.  This building was dedicated in August of 1990.  I departed in November.  We witnessed many people join the church in this area.  It was wonderful!

Here, I was companions with Sisters Yoneda and ?, Takahashi, and McNair.

What a wonderful experience it ALL was!  What a blessing to get to serve in such a wonderful part of the world and to get to meet so many great people.

So, today, I worry about them especially those from the Nagamachi Ward.  As far as I know, the missionaries currently serving in Nagamachi are not yet accounted for.  I hope they are safe and are able to report in soon.  My prayers and my family's prayers are with them.

Praying for Japan

Like the rest of the world, I was shocked to hear of the earthquake in Japan that took place last evening.  I've been searching news reports and found this one.  It showed people and just what precautions were being taken. 



This was my mission area.  I've, thankfully, been able to touch base with a couple of my friends through facebook.  Most of the area, at this point, is without power.  It is now Friday night there, so people are heading off to bed.  Hoping to hear more tonight.

I remember my first earthquake there, I was living with three Japanese sisters.  We had just moved to a new apartment on the fourth floor.  As I recall, we were, prior to that, living in a ground floor apartment, which was not okay.  Now I see why.  So, we had to move.

The first night in our apartment, I dreamt that I was in the top of a tree and the wind was blowing really hard.  When I woke, I realized that the apartment was slightly swaying and there was a whooshing sound all around us.

The Japanese sisters slept, so I woke them.  I learned a whole lot of new vocabulary that night.

They were not concerned at all.  This was part of their existence.  I asked them if it was a "jishin."  They responded that it was, but it wasn't a big deal, just go back to sleep.  I then inquired, "What if it was a big one?  What would we do?"  They told me that we'd turn off the gas and go stand in a doorway.

They went back to sleep.  I laid there until the rocking stopped and went back to sleep.

The epicenter was in Morioka.  I believe it was a 5 point something quake.

So hoping and praying that all will be well soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Wouldn't've Imagined

I had to do a double contraction in the title.  The thought of putting two apostrophes in one word was just too exciting.  Well, there you go.  That's the thrill of my day.  Well, except for that trip to Ikea.

Life is kind of boring lately.  I went to a church meeting the other night where they talked about reducing stress.  They said it was important to make time for yourself, and I realized that I'm afraid to do for myself.  My dumb reason is that I'm afraid that whatever I choose to do, I'll get carried away and I'll lose balance.  Well, in reality, what I have right now is not balance.  It's called a rut, and I'm not really loving it.  So, the Ikea trip was my way of getting some kind of balance.  I had to get out of my house for more than just running my kids to school or track practice or whatever else they might be involved in.  I needed to get out to do something I consider fun...and it was!

Okay, so back to the title (outside of the apostrophe thing)....I've been reading the David Archuleta biography (autobiography?).  I never would've thought that I would like it.  It was kind of slow starting.  I was making myself read it.  At some point, however, probably right about the time he went to Hollywood for the first time, I got interested.  His life became interesting.  I'm finding that I relate to this kid.  His lack of confidence in his own abilities.  His shock at finding that value in his own abilities.  I'm loving his success story.  I'm not done with it yet, but I sure am enjoying it.

Oh, and when he mentioned how much he loved Portland, Oregon, I became a fan.  I'm with him!

Ikea Trip

Went to Ikea today.  Had to get some things for the house, so I grabbed a friend, and we went.  We got their Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes with lingon berry sauce--YUM!  We then went and check our kids into the playland.  #6 is the only of my children that fits the qualifications for this.  #7 went shopping with us.

I really enjoy Ikea, but this time, I just couldn't get myself to go the right direction.  There are arrows on the floor, and I just couldn't get into sync with the arrows.  Hmm....Kind of like life.

I got some towels, a shower curtain, a set of bedside lamps (which I love) and a pink candle for my kitchen--just to make me happy.

The lamp I bought is very simple and very inexpensive.  It's called a Grono lamp.  I just found this website that gives some fun ideas on decorating a lamp like this.  I think I'm going to do this.  CUTE!

Needing to Be Needed

I once had a mother drop her oldest child at my house.  He, after entering the house, dropped his mother's hand and ran off to play with the kids.  The mother called him back, "Are you sure you're going to be okay?  I'll miss you.  I'll be here at 11:30 to get you...."  He said, "Yah, yah, yah," and ran off again.  She, however, stood there in the entryway with a very sad and worried face, seemingly shocked that he's just run off that easily.

I assured her that all would be okay.  We'd watch out for him.

Mind you, this was just a playdate.

It seemed rather clear that this mom hadn't left her son much in the past.  When she called five minutes later to check to see that he was okay without her, it was clear that she needed to leave him more.

It is true that as mothers, it is a total rush to have little babies so very dependent on us.  A little one that loves YOU more than anyone else on earth.  When little ones start to stray from our sides, it's a blow to our egos.

In some cases, I think separation anxiety is brought on largely by the parents.  I don't know, but I think some of my kids are very in-tune with my feelings.  They get my vibe.  They can feel when I'm anxious about things.  Thus they reflect that feeling.

This is what we've done to set our kids up for success when it comes to being apart from us.  With some of our kids it was easy.  With some, not so much, and it took a lot of patience and practice.  I would venture to say that the easiest were the ones who trusted us the most.   First of all, this is an opportunity for a child to learn to trust others, so my job is to make SURE that whenever I leave my child, I know that it's the safest place possible for my child.  If they are unsure, I verbalize that, "You know I love you and would never leave you in a place that I didn't believe was safe."  If I think the place isn't safe, there's no way I'm leaving my kid because it reflects on me and can destroy my child's trust in me.  My child's trust is the most valuable thing I can have.  Second, we, the Warden and I, talk the place up to our kids.  This has been particularly true when they become of the age to go to nursery during church.  "You get to go play with the kids?  Oh, you're so lucky!  I love the kids....."

If they are crying when I leave them, I know they will get over it once they start having fun.  I don't stay.  My child needs to learn coping skills.  They need to learn for themselves to calm themselves and find the fun.  If I stay and do it for them or with them, they will learn that I am the fun and I have deprived them of learning a very valuable, and I'd say vital, life skill.

My job, as a mom, is to train my kids to face the world.  This task is SO not easy.  I feel like my heart gets ripped out almost on a daily basis.  It's hard to watch them let go of and stop needing me as much as they once did.  But the more this eventuality is delayed, the harder it is to teach.  The more they fight against it.

I am just now learning, as I face the reality that in the near future, one of mine will graduate and leave home, that every opportunity I give them to learn something that leaves me with less to do for them, the more I bind them to me out of respect and love.  I believe that cutting my children loose by giving them responsibility for themselves has saved us all a lot of grief and has made them closer to me.  We have avoided many power struggles.  I'm not saying we haven't had any.  Oh, we have, but I do believe there were others that were diverted just by letting the children choose and allowing them some independence.   They grew, and we grew closer with the kids just with them knowing that we trust them to make good choices.

Just like the little boy who came for the playdate, all children seek for independence.  My belief is that little by little, it should be granted, but not without teaching and training so that they can be successful.  We, as parents, sometimes have to take the ego hit and deal with the pain.  It's not them rejecting us, it's us letting them love us more.  We're letting them grow up and become who they are meant to be.  But, man, it's not easy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bully Proofing

I was looking for this article for a friend a number of months ago and couldn't find it.  Well, today, there is was.  Too late for this friend, but this is such a charged topic right now, I'm sure it would probably help someone.  When #2 started middle school, he was bullied by a boy in one of his classes.  This is what we used to get on top of it.  The bullying lasted all of two days.  After #2 learned what to do, that bully actually became one of his friends.  Hope this helps!

Teaseproof Your Kids

By Jim Fay
"Mom, I don't want to go to school. It's not fair. Mrs. Taylor tells the kids not to tease me, but they still do it when she's not watching 'em. I try to ignore 'em just like you said, but they just do it all the more."
Loving parents who are confronted with this feel like a piece of their hearts is being ripped out. What a hopeless feeling we have when our kids are being rejected or teased by other kids. It is not uncommon at these times to have feelings that include both heartache and rage.
We think to ourselves, "Why can't the school people protect my child? Don't they realize that we put our kids in their hands, and therefore, our trust?"
The sad truth is that the more a teacher protects the child who is teased, the more resentful and aggressive the other children become. A teacher who tells kids to be nice to a specific child actually "marks" that youngster and sets him/her up for more intense rejection and ridicule.
When it comes to teasing, the only person who can protect your child from teasing is your child. Kids have some sort of built-in sonar that causes them to zero in on certain kids and they can be unmerciful in the torment.
Watching this happen can be a gut-wrenching experience for any adult. But the good news is that we can actually help kids become "teaseproof."
Have you ever noticed that some kids never get teased while others are constantly subjected to teasing? There is a pattern to this.
Kids who are never teased never worry about being teased. They can't imagine that it would ever happen to them. They have an aura around them that says, "I can handle myself."
Kids who do get teased constantly worry about being ridiculed and send out non-verbal messages that indicate lack of confidence and fear of teasing.
Children are especially in tune with non-verbal signals of weakness. Without realizing what they are doing they zero in on these kids. Two subconscious goals come into play. The first is, "I can show others that I am superior to that kid,"and the other is, "That kid's weak and I better show him that he needs to toughen up."
Remember that none of this happens at the conscious level. It just happens and appears to be human nature.
The trick to "teaseproofing" a youngster is giving him/her the skills to be able to handle teasing. Once the child realizes he/she can actually handle the problem, you will see a change in the non-verbal attitude. The other kids will recognize this and start looking for different targets.
Mr. Mendez, a wonderful second-grade teacher, "teaseproofed" his whole class. He said to the class, "Kids, the reason kids tease other kids is that it makes them feel superior. Now you can let them get away with this or you can use an adult one-liner. But first of all, we all have to practice the ´cool look.´"
This teacher had the kids practice standing with their hands in their pockets, rocking back on their heels, and putting a cool grin on their face.
He practiced this over and over. Every now and then, he would yell out, "Let's see your ´cool look.´" The kids would all jump out of their seats and put on the "look."
Once they had all mastered the "cool look," he said, "When kids start to tease you, put on your ´cool look.´ Keep the look going while they tease. As soon as they get through putting you down, use your one-liner."
The one-liner he taught them is one of the famous Love and Logic One-Liners, "Thanks for sharing that with me. "Mr.Mendez had the kids practice this, making sure that they kept the "cool look" on while they said the words.
Every now and then, when the kids would least expect it, he would yell out, "Let me hear your one liner!" And the kids would practice saying the words, making sure to grin while they said them.
Once the teacher felt that the class had mastered saying, "Thanks for sharing that with me," in the appropriate way, he started having them practice jumping up out of their seats, putting on the "cool look," and saying their one-liner.
The next step was for the kids to learn to turn around on the last word and walk away fast without looking back at the teasing child. Needless to say, they all did their practice until the skill was mastered. They even spent some of their recess time practicing this on the playground.
Now that the skill was learned, practiced and mastered, Mr. Mendez could implement his part of the operation. When children came to him to tattle about others teasing them he consistently asked, "Did you let him get by with it or did you use your 'cool skill'?"
In the event that child admitted that he had not used his/her skill, the teacher said, "How sad that you let him get away with it. Do you suppose you are going to continue to let him get by with it or are you going to use your skill? It's your choice, but tattling to me is no longer a choice."
Mr. Mendez tells us that the amount of tattling and complaining has been reduced by over 90%. He also proudly tells about one of his students who came to him asking if they had to use the one-liner he taught them, or could they make up their own.
This second-grader wanted to demonstrate to the class the one-liner that he used so successfully on the playground.
He stood before the class and said, "This other kid on the playground was dissin' me. He said I had the skinniest arms in the whole school. I put on my ´cool look.´ I grinned and said, ´Bummer, I thought I was cool, man.´ I walked away before he could figure out what to say. Man, I blew his mind!"
All the kids clapped for this skillful second-grader, and the teacher beamed with pride as he thought to himself, "Now that kid is really 'teaseproofed' for sure."
You don't have to wait for the teacher to "teaseproof" your kids. You can do it in your home the same way Mr. Mendez did in the classroom. What a gift you can give your child, and come to think of it, what a gift it is to a parent to know that we can send our kids out into the world "teaseproofed."
Since the development of the "cool look" skill, many different kids have found sanctuary in its use. One of the most creative applications was seen at a local school where the kids seem to take great pleasure in claiming to do research on the behavior of other kids' mothers and attacking each other with this information when they are mad.
One kid yelled out to the other, "Yo momma's a ho´. The youngster being attacked put on his "cool look"and returned, "I tell her to be nice, but she gets mad when I tell her what to do." With this he turned and walked away.
The teacher who witnessed this reported that the attacker's mouth fell open and all he could say under his breath was, "Man, that guy's weird. He be weird."
Now the kid who pulled this one off is absolutely "teaseproofed." Even if kids try to tease him, the attacks will bounce off like Ping-Pong balls off a stone wall.

(from http://www.loveandlogic.com/pages/teaseproof.html).  For more helpful ideas:  http://www.loveandlogic.com/articles.html#all

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