I am a Mormon stay-at-home-mom of six. Yeah, I know, "that's a lot of kids"! Sometimes it truly is A LOT. Most of the time it's not. It's simply put...our normal. On my page you'll find spiritual thoughts, tales of trials, happy moments, recipes, funny stories, and more. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kindness begins with each of us

There are a lot of unsettling things flying around on Facebook and the internet.  There are a lot of very hateful words spilling out of people's computers and devices.  It saddens me.  Isn't this what our great country was founded for?  Equal rights.  Religious freedom.  And yet here we are trashing others because they have chosen a different lifestyle than we have.  It's wrong.  And makes me sad.

I am a Christian; a Mormon Christian.  The full name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints.  I believe in kindness, in goodness, in loving one another, in charity.

No matter if we are White, African American, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, or any other form of beauty, we are a human being; an individual worthy of being treated with kindness.  It doesn't matter if we are Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, Protestant, Christian or any other faith.  We are all human beings with a God given right to worship how we may.

I have chosen to marry a wonderful man and have a family with him.  This is the lifestyle that brings us joy and happiness.  I have friends who are gay and transgendered.  That is not the lifestyle for me and that's okay. I don't have to agree with their lifestyle choice to still love them and appreciate them. I try to always treat others with respect and kindness.  They are all amazing individuals who deserve to be treated as such.

It doesn't matter who we are, what our lifestyle choices are, or how we decide to worship or not...we are all STILL human beings; unique individuals.  We should always try to treat each other with kindness and respect.  We all have our off days.  We all say stupid things.  That's where forgiveness and repentance comes in. If we don't allow ourselves to be offended by others, we will be happier.  We can also forgive quickly...and promptly forget it too....never bringing it up again.

Don't let the slimy putrid goo of hatred stick to you and canker you or your soul.  Find ways to think positively towards others.  Say kind words.  Fill another's bucket with goodness, kindness, and love.  Find ways to serve others.  Bring joy to someone today.  Step away from the negativity and create a positive atmosphere around yourself where others will feel welcomed.  Kindness begins with each of us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Crochet, crochet...I love to crochet!

In an effort to support my habits and to make a little bit of extra money, I have started making hats and other crocheted items to sell.  Today I finished making my facebook page where I will sell these items.  I spent most of the morning doing this.  I can't believe how quickly time flies when I am working on the computer.  It's crazy!  No wonder my littlest Miss was cranky!!

Please take a minute or two and look at my page here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The First Day of Spring

Today is the first official day of Spring for 2013.  Spring...just the thought of Spring makes people happy.  Spring can pull people out of the cold-weather blues and make them feel alive and energetic again.  But when the weather does not cooperate with the calendar it can make a child with Autism very upset.

Mr. Man's teacher told him that the first day of Spring is today.  He is very literal.  Very black and white.

This morning we woke up and it's in the 30's.  My son was not happy.  He growled, and grunted.  He slammed and stomped.  He screamed and yelled.  He blew at us, because in his mind that's mean, but he doesn't always get into trouble for it.  He hit us with his clothing.  He doesn't want to have to wear pants and long sleeved shirts anymore.  It's Spring.  He doesn't want to wear his winter coat.  It's Spring.  He's mad at the weather.  He's mad at me because he wants me to fix the weather.  It's Spring.

I tried to reassure him that it will be warm eventually, but he didn't like that.  So I simply smile.  I tell him, "I'm sorry your upset." Or..."It'll be warm in a couple of weeks." Or..."Use nice words."

This frustration about Spring has been building.  I'm glad that Spring really will be here soon.  Eventually Mr. Man will understand.  Until then, I will continue to hug him and reassure him calmly.  Maybe I'll even help him throw his clothing around....could be a stress reliever for me as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stress reducers and relaxation

Everyone is being bombarded with all kinds of stress in their lives.  Too many bills, not enough income.  Food costs too much.  Tragedies occur. Car repairs.  Dental bill.  Things come up that we weren't expecting.  No matter the stress causers in my life, I have had to come up with stress reducers to help me cope.  Without which...I might be...admitted to an institution...

 I am deficient in magnesium when I don't supplement because my body does not like to absorb it well.  Therefore, I take magnesium  along with my multi-vitamin on a daily basis.  Magnesium deficiency can cause many symptoms.  Here is a website that explains it well.  I have anxieties as well and have found that taking a daily dose of a good form of magnesium is very helpful in reducing my stress and anxiety.

I recently heard about the book called The Miracle Ball Method from my sister-in-law.  I tried out a couple of the exercises in the book while we were visiting them.  I was amazed at how relaxed I felt after I completed it.  It may not work for everyone, but it could be something that truly helps you.  This book also contains helpful information about deep breathing.

One of my good doctors, whom I respect, taught me how to use deep breathing to help reduce my anxieties.  It is wonderful!  If you can MAKE the time to do it, it can help you feel very relaxed.  Below is more info about deep breathing.

Quote about deep breathing:
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in the morning or just before you fall asleep. Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.1
Key points
  • The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.
  • Breathing exercises are easy to learn. You can do them whenever you want, and you don't need any special tools or equipment to do them.
  • You can do different exercises to see which work best for you.
For more info about deep breathing go here. Another set of instructions are posted here.

If you are the scripture reading and praying type of person, then here is an idea for you.  I can't take credit for it. I got the idea from a dear friend a few years ago.  She said that if you "book end" your day with scripture reading, it will make a huge difference!  And she is right!  I am not good at keeping up the practice all the time, but when things get really crazy, I start reading once in the morning and once at night.  Along with that, make sure you are having your morning and evening prayers.  

Another idea...get a notebook and before going to bed write down everything that is running through your mind.  Keep the notebook and pen or pencil handy so that if you wake up and can't shut off your mind you can write down what you are thinking about.  This will help you to clear your mind; shut off the chaos, and go to sleep.  

Now...go find what works for you, get relaxed, and find you Zen place.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Patience, Oh where art thou?

Looking back over the years I see a significant difference in my parenting skills from when my oldest was small until now.  One never is truly prepared for being a parent and how trying it can be on one's patience.  I am pleasantly surprised and impressed with myself today, because I can see that my patience and coping skills have increased.  I am still far from perfect, but I am able to see improvements in my personal growth.

Yesterday when it was time to go pick up my boys from school, my four year old daughter began throwing a huge screaming, kicking, flailing fit.  This is a new phase, and I don't particularly enjoy it.  She has a sweet little friend who she LOVES to play with.  She begs to play with this little girl.  She would rather I drop her off at her friend's house while I go shopping so she can have fun with her friend.

Recently, when trying to leave our friend's house, not only did my daughter start in screaming and protesting, but her friend began "protecting" her from me.  It was a joint effort.  They tried SO hard to keep me from taking my little Curly Girl with me.  They both screamed and cried.

Yesterday, we had been having a play date for the kids at my home while the adults visited and a few of us crocheted.  The children were having a wonderful time playing and learning to share.  When it was time to go the screaming and thrashing began.  At first it was just my Curly Girl screaming and throwing a fit, in hopes that I would allow her to go to her friend's house to play again.  I calmly explained to her that she needed to come with me and she began screaming, "NO!!" at me.  I explained that the answer was going to continue to be the same, especially because she was treating me so poorly.

Our friends gathered their things and packed their children into their cars.  By the time they were all strapped in, Curly Girl was at the door screaming as loudly as possible with crocodile tears flowing down her face and her little friend was in the car screaming right along with her.

She refused to get into the car or move from the spot she had chosen to plant her feet on.  I ended up having to pry her fingers off from the door frame and carry her flailing body football style to the car.  I then had to hold her down while I buckled her seat belt...all the while thinking calming thoughts and keeping my face calm. I didn't speak.  I just breathed.  She continued to scream loudly saying, "LET ME GO!" and "MOMMMMMYYYY!!!" most of the 5 minutes to school.  I turned on The Piano Guys and focused on smiling and breathing.

At the school, I got my youngest out of her seat and walked to the other side of the car, all the while reminding myself to speak softly and calmly.  By the time Curly Girl got out of the car, she was sniffling but now screaming.  I felt that was a success.  I carried both girls as far as I could and then had to have the oldest walk on her own.  She stuck right by my side inside the school and was just quiet and pouting. Once we began walking down the hallway again to go out to the car the screaming began...all over again.

By the time we finally got home, it seemed like an eternity, I carried the Curly Girl in and put her on my bed to watch a show.  Within minutes she was out cold; sound asleep.

I felt pretty good about how I had handled the insanity.  Even after it was all said and done, I was calm.  What a great feeling that was! No regrets.

I have had many moments where I wished I could have a "re-do".  Even while in the moment, I knew the things I was saying or doing weren't the right ones, but I wasn't sure how to fix them. That's the marvelous thing about the atonement...it allows us to be forgiven for the little mistakes we make and move forward, eventually becoming the person we are meant to be. I have learned  and continue to learn to have patience with myself....I am a work in progress.

Monday, March 11, 2013

ADHD and Autism...

Living with children who have Autism and ADHD is the "norm" in our house.  It's part of our daily routine.  It's not easy at times...but it's OUR normal.  Although...couldn't we say that each and every home has it own normal? I think so.

After all these years I must say that ADHD is harder for me to handle than Autism...MOST of the time.  When we go somewhere new or go on a weekend trip...I am reminded of the way things used to be all the time....with Autism. But as he has grown, many of his behaviors have decreased in severity.

We took a short trip to attend the temple in Kansas City.  During our short trip we stayed with family.  The cousins played and enjoyed their time together.  But when it was time to go home our son got very upset...had to be restrained...yelled and screamed loudly...and created a scene.  Thank goodness our family is very supportive.  I was then reminded how different our normal is.  And I was extremely grateful for improvements too.

ADHD is different.  He doesn't lash out and kick, scream, hit, punch, slam or any of those physical things, most of the time.  He doesn't give up. He is relentless.  He does NOT give up.  (Did I say that already...)He keeps asking...he keeps begging...he continues to present his point of view...over and over. He gets stuck on something and can NOT let it go.  He is attached to everything.  I would want him on my side in a debate!  He will not give up until he wins!  What a great quality to have!

He is smart, sweet, kind, thoughtful and helpful.  He is easily distracted by legos or television and other toys.   He has a great memory.  He LOVES to repeat lines from shows or movies he has seen.  He has a WONDERFUL sense of humor.  He is very....VERY dramatic! Did I say very dramatic?  Oh yeah....he is extremely dramatic!  And here I thought the drama would come with the girls!  Bah!

ADHD requires constant reminders.  And I mean constant. By the time the kids head out the door to school I am worn out!  I am thankful for a small break while they are at school.  For several years I sat with him at the table while he did homework...every night.  We sat for hours.  I redirected.  And redirected.  Until...he was finished.  Some nights it was until dinner time. Other nights it was until bedtime.  Eventually he got so he could accomplish his homework on his own and more quickly.  Now I only help on occasion.

Some days I feel like I never graduated from high school because I STILL have homework to do!  It's all part of being a parent.

What I think I love most about my son with ADHD is his persistence!  He doesn't give up!  I could learn a thing or two from him!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday's Wonderings

Everyone needs brownies sometimes! 

At those critical moments in life that call for a warm gooey pan of brownies, you hope you have a mix in the cabinet.  On those horrific occasions when you find you are out of brownie mix and just NEED that fix you might begin to wonder if you could possibly make some from scratch that taste as good.  I finally found this recipe and it's the closest thing to chewy brownie deliciousness from a box that I have ever made!  Now I NEVER buy the box mix.  I always have the ingredients in the house for those "chocolate fix" kinds of moments.  

·         3/4 cup white sugar
·         3 tablespoons butter
·         3 tablespoons water
·         2 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
·         3 eggs
·         3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 cup all-purpose flour
·         1/4 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
1.     Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease an 9x13 inch pan.
2.     In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the chocolate mixture. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. It's hard to stir and will be lumpy but they come out great!
3.     Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies set up. Test with toothpick for done-ness, a couple of inched from the edge, but not in the center. Do not overbake! Cool in pan and cut into squares.

Now, go make some deliciousness in a pan!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday's Topic

Good entertainment

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of entertainment.  Kids seem to think they need to be entertained ALL. THE. TIME.  They are drawn to the TV screen, sucked in by the computer, lured by electronic devices, seduced by commercials, and eventually ambushed by their favorite pastimes.

Choosing appropriate entertainment can be daunting.  The rating system on movies leaves something to be desired.  In order to protect them from the unnecessary visual and verbal information we have to be aware and prepared as parents.  One of the best places to find out what a movie is really about is call Kids In Mind. It is VERY specific about the possible inappropriate material in movies.  So specific that it's sometimes humorous.  BUT, it allows you to be aware of exactly what is in a movie before you tell your child they have permission to watch it.

I watched a trailer for a movie recently that appeared to be a really fun movie.  The trailer made the movie look intriguing and exciting.  I was sucked into the teaser!  But when I went to Kids In Mind, I was appalled at the material being portrayed.  Kids are saying that the things being portrayed are normal for teenagers today.  This thought made me feel sad.  The morals in our society have decreased so much that many things are "okay" never would have been when I was a teenager.  The best we can do is provide a safe haven from the world inside the walls of our homes.  There, we can teach our children good morals.

Not only do we have to be careful when choosing movies, but we also need to be cautious when watching TV.  The television screen brings so many things into our home.  We can't control the language, or the unnecessary scenes.  We can't skip over the commercials.  Therefore, we must be aware of which channels provide the best, most appropriate entertainment for our families.  Be an involved parent.  Be aware of what your children are viewing.  Make sure computers and electronic devices that have access to the internet are being used in a room where the family hangs out together often.  We put our computer in the kitchen.  Some put them in the living room.

Another great way to help protect our families is to purchase a parental control or protection for the internet like Kids Watch or Net Nanny.  We have used both and they work well.  They allow me to feel more at ease with my kids doing homework or other research online.  They can't happen upon inappropriate websites or photos.  It gives me peace of mind, and helps my family stay safe.

On a regular basis check the contents of your child's cell phone or electronic device.  Take the time to talk about what is or is not appropriate.  Be an involved parent.  It takes time, but will be worthwhile in the end.

Be informed, be aware, be vigilant.  Your family will thank you for it later.   

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday's Marvelous Memo

No Energy

I've been feeling very tired and lazy lately.  I don't have the energy I know that I can have.  I don't want to do the house work.  I don't feel like fixing dinner.  I would rather sit and crochet or read someone's blog, or search for things online.  Part of it had to do with my husband being gone on business.  It's really hard to find the energy or desire to do much when your husband won't be home later to notice.  Another part of it has been all the snow and subsequent snow days.  

The week before last we had snow days on Thursday and Friday, which made for a long weekend.  That alone would have been fine.  We had school Monday and then yet another pile of snow on Monday night.  Tuesday was a snow day and on Wednesday when they didn't cancel school I kept my kids home because it was so unsafe on the roads still.  There were at least 2 buses that got stuck trying to go pick up kids.  

By the time Thursday came, all I wanted to do was get the kids out of the house.  They were fighting, arguing and only wanted to watch TV all day.  

Saturday I realized how very lazy I had been all week when we started to clean up the house and I started feeling energized by the movement and accomplishments.  

This morning I had a "DUH" moment! I remembered that I KNOW how to get energy and I haven't been doing it. What have I been thinking?  The key is to exercise and eat right.  On the days that I exercise I feel better.  I have energy.  I am more positive.  It's a mood lifter.  

My goal this week is to exercise for at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days.  I will also eat more lean proteins and fruits and veggies.  

This is going to be a great week!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday's Scrumptious-ness

Feeding a picky child

My children have all gone through a phase where they want to eat on the run.  It usually occurs around 3-5 years of age.  They don't have time to stop and eat.  They're hungry before mealtime and not hungry at meal time.  When they eat during mealtime they eat like a bird.  They are distracted by their toys, drawings, TV shows they want to watch, or games they want to play.

My 5th child and first daughter is in this phase currently.  It's frustrating and there are always lots of tears and screaming on her part.  She wants what she wants when she wants it.  And sometimes that just doesn't work with a normal, heatlhy routine.  The last few nights she has asked for "cut-up apples" at about 9pm.  Once she eats a few she zonks out!

This morning I remembered something a friend of mine suggested with another of my children.  She cuts a bunch of different kinds of food in the morning and creates a plate or container with all these items in it.  She has it easily accessible to the child throughout the day.  This way the child is eating something healthy, and tasty during the times when they are really hungry. I have found that the times when they are screaming and wanting sweets or other items, the cause is, they have waited too long to eat.  For my daughter, waiting too long causes her to become very grouchy.  If I avoid feeding her late, she usually stays pretty happy.

Food suggestions:
a stack of cheese and crackers
rolls of sandwich meat
sliced hard-boiled eggs
sliced veggies and fruit
pb&j sandwich cutouts (use small cookie cutters to make them fun!)
tortilla rolled up with peanut butter in it, or cream cheese and jelly
celery with peanut butter, with raisins on top OR celery with cream cheese
salad dressing for dipping veggies

Use healthy items that your child likes.  If you find they don't like a food, simply eliminate that from the list of items and pick something new.  Try to avoid things like fruit snacks and other items filled with food coloring and high fructose corn syrup.  Where possible, make treats from scratch. Make the cookies mini size for fun and freeze them to be used when you need them. Adding a cookie or two to the plate can be fun for them.  But, if your child is like mine, you may have to leave the cookies off the plate until after supper time, or that's all they will want to eat.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday's Frantics

Today I am plagued with the ...what to write...what to write...frustration! My husband has been gone all week for business and just got home last night.  He took the day off today so he could spend time with me and the girls. It's wonderful AND it totally throws off my already not-so-rigid schedule.

We had grand plans to acquire the materials for assembling a diaper sprayer while we were out running errands.  Any of you who cloth diaper your babies know how AWESOME it is to have to dunk the dirty diapers into the toilet.  This wonderful gadget would reduce that necessity.  And since I'll be cloth diapering for another year, or so, I thought this would be wonderful to have.

We get to the hardware store with the list that my husband scribbled down quickly and stood in the aisle F. O. R. E. V. E. R.  He couldn't seem to find the right parts, and being a plumber in a past life, he knows enough about plumbing to know what he needs...but he just couldn't locate it. We decided we were done and would come back later and then he turned around and went to look again.

By this time my back and legs were getting sore from standing in one place for too long.  I was leaning over the cart, the girls were fighting and screaming and crying, and I just wanted to go home.  He finally decided that he needed to come back home and look at the list of items needed more thoroughly.  Lo and Behold...he didn't look close enough and there was at least one part he didn't see.  Hence...the confusion.  ;) Now we need to go BACK to the store and get the parts.  I guess I'll be dunking the diapers for a few more days.

I was reminded, today, of the title of a book that was once recommended to me.  It's called, "Strangling Your Husband Is NOT an Option".  If nothing more, it's a book worth having on my shelf merely for the title!  It's a great reminder.  I love having my husband home and every time he has to travel I am reminded how much I truly enjoy his company.  Take the time to enjoy the little things with your spouse.  Remember why you first fell in love with them and fall in love with them even more.  Having a good, healthy relationship not only strengthens your marriage, but strengthens your family as well.