Monday, June 30, 2014

Motherhood Monday - Can Your Child Really Talk to You?

Yesterday, in church, our Bishop gave a lesson based on the Ensign article, Can Your Child Really Talk to You? by Brad Wilcox.  It is definitely worth the read.

Sometimes I fail to communicate well with this child of mine.  So, I am going to be trying to implement some of these suggestions.

Notes from the article:
Sometimes children build invisible walls around themselves... They may build them for protection, or perhaps because of feelings of insecurity, distrust, fear, or misunderstanding. How can parents most effectively penetrate such barriers? How do we talk to children who don’t particularly want to talk to us? How do we make ourselves into the kind of people our children will open up to?
We must find a way to remove the obstacle. We can look over the wall, or find a loose brick to let us through, or dismantle it entirely. Although the responsibility for removing obstacles of communication is one shared by both parents and children, this article focuses on what parents can do to help improve communication with their children.
Learning to communicate with our children can be done in 3 ways:
  • Look over the Wall
  • Find the Loose Brick
  • Dismantle the Wall.

Do you love me? Do you care? Am I a priority in your life? Such questions rarely come directly from children, but they do come. Often, the most important part of communication is to hear what isn’t being said. Children’s emotions and needs are usually expressed in coded messages that we must receive and interpret.
Remember when your child was a baby? He cried, and you didn’t know why. You thought, I wish he could just talk to me and tell me what he wants! As children get older, they still don’t know how to voice needs clearly. They just give off signals, and you have to figure out what they really need. In their own way, they may still be crying—only now, the tears are inside.

Rand Packer wrote, “Having laid a few brick walls in my time, I have discovered that every wall has a weakness, a brick that is loose. … My dad had taught me long ago that part of working with young men is discovering the flaws in their armor, the weaknesses in their walls, and then to tap away at them until you gain entrance to their lives” (Congratulations—It’s a Dad, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 2). When working with a child who has built a wall around himself, we must find the loose brick—the one interest, dream, or ability that will let us penetrate the wall. A brick may be motorcycles, sports, food, computers, horses, guitars, skateboards, or even journal writing. 
Once we locate that loose brick, it may be just a matter of spending the time required to push and pull at it until we break through the wall.


Dismantling the wall is done in 3 ways:
  1. Love
  2. Trust
  3. Respect
LOVE - Perhaps the reason some parents have difficulty talking with children is the way love is communicated. We tend to take on more of a “boss” role. We exercise authority over them, demand accountability, and then, if they comply and put together a good enough track record, we finally convey our approval and love. That is not how God approaches us as his children.
Our caring and love must be constant—given first, and given freely, through good and bad, transgression or testimony, brilliant success or utter failure. Regardless of their choices, children need our nonjudgmental love.
TRUSTTrust is also important in communication. One parent asked, “How can I trust my child? He is totally untrustworthy.” The truth of the matter is, we don’t have a choice. We can’t follow children around the rest of their lives. In God’s eyes are we, as adults, always totally trustworthy? Yet, Heavenly Father trusts us with many things, including his restored gospel. Perhaps he is giving us something to live up to—focusing on our potential as his children and not on our current problems. Our children need the same message from us.
 Trusting relationships can be established by allowing for some freedom and by keeping confidences. Another way to gain trust is to compliment young people.
RESPECT - Showing respect for young people allows for open communication.
The quality of our communication with our children will improve in direct proportion to the amount of respect we show them when we talk together. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Outdoor Movie Family Night - Tips for Attending an Outdoor Movie

Monday night, for Family Night, we went to see Frozen at the Outdoor Movie sponsored by our city.  We participated in this event last year also and I blogged about it, here.

We grabbed some +McDonald's for dinner and ate it once we were at the park.  Everyone was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the start of the movie.

But at then end of the movie, not so much!

Again, here are my tips for attending an outdoor movie:
1.             don't forget to bring chairs for the adults.  adults really are more comfortable in a chair.  if you forget them, you will have to send your husband to get some which may or may not annoy him.
2.             don't allow your children to drink too much in the hours leading up to the movie.  take them to the bathroom once before you leave home and once right before the movie starts.
3.             do remember to pop your own popcorn at home and bring it with you and bring candy/other snacks if you think you'll want them.
4.             have the kids dress in pajamas for the movie.  it is so much easier when we got home late to just slip them right into bed.  
5.             bring more blankets than you think you'll want.  you can always leave them folded up in a bag if you don't want them, but if it gets a little chilly (or starts to sprinkle) you'll be glad you have them.
6.             bring an umbrella or rain ponchos, just in case.  You can leave them in the car and send someone to get them if you need it.
7.             bring a jacket for everyone, even those who say they don't want it.
8.             bring a couple of full water bottles, but limit the amount the kids drink, especially those who have to use the restroom often.
9.             set clear rules with your kids about their behavior.  this may seem weird, but i think it is necessary.  before we left home, we told the kids that we expected them to stay with our family and watch the movie.  we did sit next to some of their friends so that made it easier, but i was amazed at how many kids were just wandering around, chatting with their friends during the movie.  i did let the kids go and play before the movie started, but i told them as soon as the movie began that they were to come back and sit with us.
10.          expect that little ones are going to get tired and whiny.  it is way past their bedtime usually, so expect this. 
11.          if allowed, go an hour or so before the movie starts and set out your blanket and chairs.  
12.          don't be late.  seriously, is there anything worse than people walking in front of you, in the dark, searching for their blankets after the movie has started.

13.          if you are going to leave the movie early, do it quietly and quickly.  gather your items while you are still sitting!  only stand when you are ready to leave.  if you have folding chairs that need to be put into bags, just take the chair and the bag with you and once you get to your car (or at least behind the people watching the movie), put it in the bag.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Tree Trimming, Yard Cleanup, and Little Shopping Carts

1.  A few weeks ago my hubby trimmed our trees.  He was super happy that I wanted to document the occasion with a picture.  You can see in the below picture that he telling me how happy he is about it!  :)

2.  After the trimming of the trees, we decided we had quite a bit of garbage laying around the yard that we needed to get rid of.  Nathan brought a dumpster home and we spent some time cleaning up the yard.  I wish that I could tell you that our whole family sang happy songs and worked hard until it was all done.  Not us.  There was complaining, yelling and bad attitudes.  You can count on me and my family to keep it real.  It was nice to have it all done though.

Even one of Isaac's friends pitched in to help.  He might have been the only person who didn't complain and yell....

3.  Took this little cutie to the grocery store with me.

She loves to push around the little carts, and she looks super cute doing so. :)
She also loves to run into things and people with the little shopping cart. oops!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motherhood Monday - Focus on Service & Christ-like Love

In LDS General Conference this past April, Elder Ronald A. Rasband said,
"Focusing on serving our brothers and sisters can guide us to make divine decisions in our daily lives and prepare us to value and love what The Lord loves."  

I believe that my children are my heavenly brothers and sisters, as we are all children of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.  When I read this quote, my mind automatically went to my children rather than to my other "heavenly brothers and sisters" who surround me in this world.  

The Lord loves and values my children individually.  He also loves and values the role of motherhood.  If I want to increase my love for my children and place a higher value on my role as a mother, this quote holds good counsel for me.

I need to focus on serving my children and show them Christ-like love.  In turn, I will be guided to make "divine decisions" that will entice me to value and love what the Lord loves... my children and motherhood.  I know, I know.... easier said than done. 

Elder Rasband goes on to say,
"When we are engaged in His work, we feel His Spirit with us.  We grow in testimony, trust, and love."
Elder Rasband was specifically talking about helping others when he gave this talk, but our Heavenly Father has a lot of "work" to be done.  So, again, I tweaked this quote toward motherhood.  After all, isn't motherhood also considered, "His work"?  So when I am ENGAGED in His work (motherhood), I will feel His Spirit within me.  I will grow, individually, in testimony, in trust, and in love.  YES, PLEASE!!


What do you take from this quote?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Motherhood Monday - Running Partners

Apparently I'm still cool enough to hang out with and I guess my kids like me enough that it really doesn't matter what we do, as long as we are together.  That makes me feel really awesome, especially since I mess up the "mothering/nurturing" thing so often.  I sometimes joke with Nathan that we don't need to be perfect parents, we just need to save up for the counselors our kids are going to need.  :)

I love that my boys will go out and run around the neighborhood with me.  I love that they are bummed when they have plans that won't permit them to tag along.  Normally there isn't a ton of communicating going on... I'm usually just trying to breathe and not die, but it's time alone for me and my kids.

Even when they get tired and refuse to jog, the conversation and bonding is always great.  Just after I snapped this picture, Isaac asked me if I had any money.  I told him I hadn't brought anything like that with me.  He said, next time, he was going to bring some money so we could stop at the nearby gas station and buy a candy bar to eat on the jog home! Bahaha!!!  I love that kid!

Nathan told me not long ago that as a younger man he struggled to come up with a way he could bond with his mother.  They didn't have a lot of the same interests and she wasn't able to get down and wrestle or be active with him.  He said that he finally figured out that they both liked TV and movies.  So occasionally they would watch TV together and go to movies.  He told me that he was glad the boys and I are doing this together, because it provides us an opportunity for me to do something with them - something that we can bond over.

Who knows how long they will continue to enjoy this and want to go with me.  Who am I kidding?  Who knows how long I am going to last do the thing I dislike the most.  But while it lasts, I'll take it!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jared's 6th Grade Graduation

 Last week, as part of the end of school festivities, we attended Jared's 6th grade graduation.  It was a nice program.

Here is Jared getting his graduation certificate.

Showing it to mom for the picture.

My not-so-little man!

Grandpa and Grandma Carter were able to come.  Jared also received an Outstanding Art Award as well as The Golden Eagle Award.

 Afterwards, we took him to +Kneaders for dinner and dessert.

So proud of my boy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cavity-Free Crew

Last week we all hit the dentist.  Fortunately, there were not cavities.  In traditional fashion, I present you with a cavity-free selfie.

The not-so-good news is that it is time to head back to the orthodontist!


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