Tuesday, 29 January 2013

My Highlight Reel

I have been up the last two nights several times with a teething baby.  I sensed that he had a low pain tolerance and boy, was I right.  He has not handled the pain well at all!  We are praying that he toughens up or this is going to be a long couple of years.
Even though I had a total of 5 hours of sleep, I still managed to get up and get Munch and I to his preschool on time.  It was so cold (-30 C with the windchill); the wind just smacked me in the face so hard it felt like nails.  It was my day to be helper and those are always fun for Munch and I.  I was a little nervous leaving a miserable baby with Dad but I just trusted that things would go as rosy as they usually do with him (why is that?).
When we returned home, the baby was ready for a feeding but as I thought, he was great for his daddy.
For lunch, I heated up the leftovers from the night before.  It was salmon baked with sundried tomatoes, black olives and basil.  So good!  I fed the boys, put on a movie for them while I fed Baby Goo and rocked him to sleep.  Once the movie was over, we made smash-able cotton balls and a pinata.  We cleaned up and  the boys played together while I made some supper.   We ate, enjoyed some table conversation, smashed the cotton balls, had baths and got ready for bed. Even Baby Goo was ready.  Apparently, his teeth have gone back undercover.  


Okay, so when you read about my day, what did you think?  What did you honestly think?  Did you think, "Wow, how does she do it?"
Here's the truth:

 The leftover salmon dish was made by a friend who came over and cooked for us on HIS birthday. ( I made him extra dry, chewy rice crispy squares because I realized I didn't have eggs).  I put the dirty dishes away from lunch when I needed room to make supper.  The boys watched a long movie so I could feed the baby and rock him to sleep (he did not want to be put down), all while searching Pinterest for some sort of activity to keep them from driving me crazy in the afternoon.
Smash-able Cotton balls. Worth attempting again. 
We made the smash-able cotton balls fine.  There was flour and water paste all over the floor, all over our clothes and on the baby (because I put him in a sling but he kept swinging out trying to grab at everything.)  The boys were more interested in stirring their goop so I ended up dipping the cotton balls.  

Paper Mache. Note the mop from when I cleaned the floors last week. 
We had so much leftover paste that I thought we could paper mache the half dead balloon that had been kicking around the house. I put the baby in his crib because I thought he was tired again, showed the boys what to do with the paper and paste and then started ripping paper for them. They decided that they didn't want to get their hands dirty anymore so I gave them the ripping job while I mached.  The 2 year old was handing pinky sized rips of paper and the older one was handing me half pages, bragging that his were the "right" size. I frankly, just wanted to get the craft over with.  The baby started crying (he wasn't tired) but my hands were full of paste so I carried on quickly still replying, "Nope that's too small, no, rip that one more, no, don't just put it in on the balloon dry, and don't put it on that spot, it already has paper...."  We finished it up and I realized it is way past supper, I had no idea what we were going to have and realized there wasn't any meat thawed out.  I offered Ryan soup or waffles and he picked soup.  So, we sat down to Mushroom soup and some left over tomato and basil with quinoa (again, made by our friend).  We sat and visited while the 2 year old slowly picked through his soup, asking for 'miss crackers"-he can't say more) because if one person gets up he thinks supper is over and quits eating.  The boys tried to smash the cotton balls but they just caved in instead of smash and we had to pick them up because the dog thought they were food and snuck one.  We threw the kids in the bath and into bed...exhausted.  

I tell you all this because I want to throw any false fantasy about how my life is so put-together out the hand-smeared window! As the Bible says, "do not cause anyone to stumble."  I don't want you to covet something that doesn't exist.  Don't get me wrong, we had a great day, we did lots of things but in our own way and in our own craziness and dysfunction.  We got messy, I lost my patience during the craft, they lost interest in the cotton balls after the first attempted smash.  It was wonderful and real and that, I invite you to enjoy with me. 
I don't mean to downplay my life but I just feel in this day of Facebook and Pinterest, we need to help each other and be real.  Let's not compare ourselves to what we don't even know to be fact most of the time.  Don't read a great status update and assume that girl's marriage is perfect or that she has it all together and please don't lie to your friends and make it look like you have it all together when you are really just wanting to have a good cry on their shoulders.  I am not saying only share the bad and complain but let's do each other a favour and be real. Let's celebrate the great moments and laugh and cry through the not-so-perfect ones.  What 's the saying? "Don't compare you behind the scenes to someone else's highlight reel.  That sums it up! 
It was hard for me to take that picture of my piled up dishes because there is a part of me that would like you to think my house looks as neat as you see it when you come to visit.  I would also like you to think that I clean my toilets every week!  
Can you believe that after carrying around a cranky baby and trying to keep two tired kids busy, I actually thought my house should look immaculate? What is that???!!!! I had to tell myself, "It's okay, Angela.  You only have one arm today."  It was the insanity of my thoughts that brought me to this post.  I needed to free myself from the bondage of trying to be Martha Stewart, the Baby Whisperer, Rachel Ray and June Cleaver all-in-one.  I hope that I can help free you from any of the same kind of bondage today too.  
Here's some things to try to get started:
1. Invite a new friend over and don't tidy up. 
2. Go out shopping without make-up
3. When someone asks how you can pray for them, tell them what you really would like prayer for instead of sitting quiet like all is well and you don't need anything.
4. Ask someone for help
5. Tell your kids, "Mommy is tired and needs a few minutes to myself" and don't feel guilty. 
6. Ask God to forgive you for lying to everyone about who you really are and start living the truth. 
Lastly, laugh at yourself.  Laugh at the insanity of those off days.  Share it with others and let them laugh with you.  Help free someone else by helping them see that you are just human too.  Enjoy the good stuff but don't hide the not-so-good; its probably not as bad as it seems anyway (like my dishes). 
Bless you friend, as you walk in this imperfect but wonderful life!  
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 
 

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Rebelution

I was told by a friend and blog reader that maybe I should chill out a bit and not write so many posts.  When I mentioned this to another friend, she totally agreed and admitted that she couldn't keep up.  Funny, because for some reason, I was thinking that this is what one must do when one has a blog...  stay up into the wee hours every night writing away so that readers have a slice every day.  I admit, I have been very tired and my bathrooms have been neglected so....I will heed this wise council and start posting blogs every 2-3 days, depending on what's going on.  I will always try to have a new one for Saturday mornings; kind of like a Saturday morning paper with your coffee.  Now maybe some of you can catch up a bit.  Thank you so much for the amazing support. I am still really enjoying this.  Next week, I will posting some great sleep advice from my friend and kid sleep expert, Michelle Todd. 
Today, I remembered the story of some unique teenagers named Alex and Brett Harris.  They wrote a book together called "Do Hard Things" and also have a movement called The Rebelution.  Here is a little of their description of the movement:


The official definition of the 'rebelution' is "a teenage rebellion against low expectations." When you look around today, our culture does not expect much of us young people. We are not only expected to do very little that is wise or good, but we're expected to do the opposite. Our media-saturated youth culture is constantly reinforcing lower and lower standards and expectations.
The word 'rebelution' is a combination of the words "rebellion" and "revolution." So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it's not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It's a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious, and apathetic culture. Actually, we like to think of it as rebelling against rebellion.

Ryan and I were so impressed when we heard them speak on Focus on the Family a few years back.  We had just started discipling a group of youth so it was so relevant and timely.  If you want to check out more here is the website: http://www.therebelution.com/
The book is filled with stories that will challenge teenagers to live with purpose now and to encourage them to believe that they have much to offer the world and not to wait until they are "adults". 

Easy game to make with a non-destructive ball! Yay! 

For the Pinterest Best Activity of the Week, I thought I would go with something simple.  This is just fun and hopefully will help your kids to play together for, you know, 5 minutes!!! (I am trying to teach my boys that when playing hockey, you don't need to fight over who gets the puck and who gets the ball, you play together with one of them, so far they just want to do slap shots by themselves.)  The idea apparently came from the blog http://theweekendhomemaker.com/ but I can't find it on there.  If she had one nice idea though, I am sure there's more where that came from, just wanted to give her creds. 

Speaking of Pinterest, enjoy these funny Pinterest fails that I totally relate to.  Thanks Dorie!  








Hope you had a good laugh and lightened up on yourself and your Pinterest expectations like I did.  Have a great weekend! 
-Angela

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Near death

We visited some friends who had a baby in November.  We had not seen or talked to them since the Summer and had just heard that they had their baby.  We did not know they she had almost died.  Their story was inspiring and challenging.
There was no indication of problems in her pregnancy. She was considered low risk.  She went in for a c-section and then there world flipped upside down. 
She lost 60 pints of blood, went into cardiac arrest and the doctors thought this was it for her.  After being with her for 4 hours, all they could tell her husband was that his wife might die.  He prayed and prayed.  They finally stabilized her and she was moved into intensive care for 5 days. 
She said that in the moments she was near death, she wasn't thinking about her kids, her house, her car or wasn't even aware she had a baby. She said all there was was her and God.  She told me she was thankful for God's second chance.  She said "this world is just vanity, none of it matters."  She told me, "Just serve The Lord, Angela.  That's all that matters.  In the end it is just you and Him. People will either go to Heaven or Hell.  This world is just vanity."  
The doctors were flabbergasted that she lived through this ordeal.  The one doctor said he had practicing for 22 years and never seen anything that bad.  He said, "Are you Christians because there must have been some divine intervention."  Our friend was quick to give all glory to God.  She told him that The Lord spared her life because there was more work for her to do here.  She was expressively thankful.  "All glory to God; He is my redeemer and sustainer."  She was obviously transformed by this experienced and after hearing it from her, so was I.  
Her husband told us that while meditating on all that happened, God told him, "Tell people to give thanks for unanswered prayers." You see, they prayed so hard that she would be able to have a natural birth.  If they would have had Gabriel naturally, she would have died for sure.  This was a traumatic experience but being with these people, you wouldn't know, other than by their words.  They exuded the joy of The Lord.  They believe that God is good and trustworthy and they give him all the glory, even if they don't have all the answers.  Profound.  So profound.  Too profound not to share.  
Blessings to you and your household, today. 
-Angela 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blessed Teething

Ah teething. I forgot.  That should be encouraging; that we forget.  We forget the 4 am wake up, the 4 am wake up where baby all of sudden has more vigour than at 4 pm and thinks its time to play.  How about the constant slobbering; having to change baby every few hours because he got a chill from being so wet from all of his drool?  Then there's the gnawing of hands, fingers, teething toys, your fingers, your shirt, the dogs tail, his blankets, the piece of apple his daddy gave him when I strictly told him "he's only 4 months old!"  Now the constant needing to be held, and comforted and hugged and talked to...that is hard to forget, but you do.  You remember that it happened but you actually look back at it as a special time of bonding and snuggling and soothing.  You lose count of how many times in the night they woke up from the pain and the number of shirts that were covered with snot.  You may even forget which tooth came first and when.
You won't forget how adorable they were when their gummy smile turned into a 2 toothed one or how their looks changed when they suddenly had these seemingly massive white chicklets hanging below their top lip.  You might remember that you got bitten while breastfeeding but it's more of a funny story now.  What you will think after it is all done is, "Wow, that went by so fast."
Mom, sometimes it seems like that night will never end.  Sometimes it seems that 8 months will never end.  It does...and it will go faster than you would like.  One day you will wake up and they will be losing those teeth that they agonized over, only to verbally express their excitement for their replacements.
So, cuddle them when they are fussy. Carry them around all day if you have to.  Empathize as best you can (we "hear" it is a horrible pain).  Take one 2 hour night sleep at a time.  Enjoy the slobbery kisses and wet shoulders and be patient with the nips on the finger or boob.  Put a bib on them to catch the drool and use all the necessary means to ease their pain.  Enjoy each smile with its new teeth. It may seem hard to believe now but the memory of all of this hassle will be fuzzy and faint.  Pray for them, comfort them and savour those moments.  This too, shall pass.

...this was a pep talk for myself, but if it works for you too, awesome.

my little munchkins in different stages of teething



Bless you today as you walk in this blessed journey of mommyhood.  Let's give extra cuddles and kisses today and thank God for letting us care for His wonderful creation for a time.  Have a great day.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Thrifty

I I just typed out a whole post only to have it disappear into nothingness.  Frustrating.  This leaves me wondering if that particular topic was just not meant to be for this time.  So, lets move on.
Ryan is doing an interview for the documentary tomorrow so my parents and I are heading to Costco with the boys.  My mom is a great grocery shopper.  She is a great everything but let's just go with groceries for now.  Tomorrow I am going to have her educate me on what is actually a good deal and what is just more for more.  I will let you know how I fare.
I am learning how to cut costs and get more from little, now that we are living on a humble missionary budget.  Some people amaze me.  There is a blog out there of a woman whose family live on $14,000 a year!!  She has some great posts about grocery shopping once a month only and buying stylish clothes on a budget.  I need women like her to learn from. I am just not good at finding the deals.  I don't have the patience to find that $200 pair of jeans for $20 hiding in the racks at Value Village.  I am the girl who rips out the coupon, goes to the store, buys the product and then returns home realizing I forgot to use the coupon.   I have a lot to learn.  It really is a skill...or maybe a gift.  My one girlfriend is a great shopping companion.  She is a walking flyer/calculator/coupon brandishing/price comparing miracle!  If I could glean a quarter of what she knows, our family would be blessed.  Do you have any neat tricks to save money? I would love to learn from you too.  Please comment on this blog.  I don't think you need to be a member; just sign in as Anonymous (I heard someone was inquiring about that).  I would love to hear from you.
Here is the blog that I mentioned earlier.
 http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com/2013/01/weekly-meal-plan-printable-shopping.html?m=1

About Ryan's interview? It is with a friend who hears the voice of God almost daily. He has amazing and challenging stories about healing the sick, encounters with God's angels and miracles.  Check out the documentary website soon for a sneak peek.http://www.thunderandlightstudios.com

clean finger painting

Sometimes, the boys just don't want to have a bath.  I know a way to get them in there every time.  They love finger painting in the bath tub and I love the easy-to-clean mess!    They can even get paint all over themselves but then just get so excited about washing it off.  Fun fun!




On the Lighter Side-Simple solutions and neat ideas

My parents are here for a couple of days before they fly off to Arizona for a month.  I am very excited for them to be able to hang out with all their friends in a warmer weather (-27 when they left home).  They have had a hard year and need a good break.
The boys love to have their grandparents here.  We enjoy that they go to them when they wake up in the morning.

I love those neat tips on how to use household items in your home for other purposes.  I have come upon some really cool ones and wanted to share them.  Get a coffee/tea and enjoy these simple solutions:

  • Use a pumice stone to remove sweater pills. (I have been looking for a solution to the pilling of my new sweater).


  • After shedding soft cheese or other sticky foods, go over both sides of the grater with the pulp side of a lemon to get rid of residue.


Use an ice cube tray to store your jewelry.  They are stackable too for you Stella and Dot crazies.







Add 1/2 a cup vinegar to your bath water to soothe dry skin-and get a cleaner tub.  You can use essential oils to counter the scent.  





Have an extra wine rack sitting around? Use it as a magazine holder. (I had this one collecting dust...can't wait to use it)

Don't throw away that Tic Tac container, use it to hold your bobby pins. Bubblegum has a Tic Tac addiction and I constantly misplace bobby pins- great team!

Remove gummy stickers with vinegar.  Let it sit for 5 minutes then wipe it off....voila!











Have a happy Monday!  

-Angela

Saturday, 19 January 2013

brothers and friends

We are really working at creating a long lasting friendship between these two brothers.  They are as different as night and day.  In the parenting guide from Dr. Gary Ezzo, Growing Kids God's Way, he outlines some essential ways to prevent and combat sibling conflict.  This has helped us to establish some positive habits to get our boys to be friends forever.  
Right from the beginning, we have talked about the other brother as being the other's best friend.  "He will be your friend forever and we want to treat our friend with our best don't we?" -Stuff like that.  A big one that we are dealing with is curbing the tattling.  Dr. Ezzo talks about how some tattling is healthy if it is for safety or for honest need for parental intervention or justice.  The kind that comes from the intention of seeing the sibling get in trouble is considered sinful and needs to be dealt with immediately.  He explains that when raising his kids, the one who tattled got more attention than the one that committed the crime, so to speak.  Munch, being the personality that he is, will sometimes tattle on Bubblegum in order to make himself look better in our eyes.  We do not stand for that.  I have often reminded him that Bubblegum is supposed to be his ally, not his enemy, and that Mommy and Daddy do not appreciate him looking to get his little brother in trouble.  

Another thing we really encourage is building one another up.  When one brother does something cool or commendable, we encourage the other to verbally praise him.  What they often want to do is compete and say, "Yah well, I am faster than that!"  I think that there is place for healthy comptetiveness. However, we are trying to teach are boys to be Christ-like and that is to be a true servant, not wishing to be first over others. 
It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and gave his life as a ransom for many. -Matthew 20:26-28
It seems to be such a contrast to the world around us and of course there is the fear that this will lead them to be walked all over by people.  I will trust God with the results of that.  There is nothing like seeing the big brother verbally praise the little one for something that he did. What is more wonderful, is the reaction of the one being praised.  They stand just a little taller.   

There are many "I'm sorries' in our house with a precocious 2 year old.  The boys are expected to apologize for hitting or hurting, even by accident.  We also have taught speaking forgiveness.  Munch is so forgiving of his little brother.  He will always forgive tearfully, even if it is a hockey stick to the face.  Bubblegum still gets confused and will often say he's sorry and he forgives all in the same sentence.  He knows those words are to be said but at this point I don't think who knows why and by whom.  

A big thing we like to do is get the boys to work with and for each other.  I am getting the two older boys to take more responsibility with the baby by helping with things like getting a new diaper for him, talking to him when he is needing attention, bringing him a blanket, toy or soother.  I try to have them do work together and to help each other out with projects.  It fosters a selflessness in them and creates a camaraderie that I pray will continue on forever.  

It will be interesting to see how Baby Goo fits into this dynamic as he starts interacting with the other two.  I see how my dad and his two brothers have remained friends and have actually become closer friends into their 60's and it encourages me that this forever friendship is possible, even if there are challenges and tensions throughout the years.  

It's one of my favourite things, watching the boys interact.  I am sure that it will only get more interesting and complex the older they get.  



Thursday, 17 January 2013

I got hit by a chinook!



The great Chinook Arch 


Chinook winds (pron.: /ʃɪˈnʊk/), often called chinooks, commonly refers to foehn winds[1] in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America.[2]
  A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below -20°C (-4°F) to as high as 10-20°C (50-68°F) for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels.

Today is a Chinook day. It is 8 degrees and windy.  These days are bitter sweet.  On one hand, it is a nice break from cold weather.  On the other hand they cause wicked headaches or migraines for some people, they tend to make me feel nauseous and give my kids poor sleep.  It's a love/hate thing.  I am sure for those into their third month of below 0 temperatures, it seems glorious (like my parents in Northern Manitoba where it is -30.) For that I will say, "Yay for chinooks!" We can walk to the mailbox in coats undone and no mittens or toques, yay for not having to shovel or let the car run before driving. Yay!  This balmy weather is really helping me with my New Year's resolution to get outside everyday.


Need a kids' Bible?  

Our family loves the Jesus Storybook Bible.  The writing is so good that even Ryan and I have learned something out of it when we've read it.  All the stories, from Genesis to Revelation point to the One that it is all about-The Rescuer, Jesus Christ.  There is a cd version that the boys love going to bed too.  I am very excited that they have now come out with a dvd version and curriculum.  I think I convinced our church leadership to use it in our Sunday School (it helps that my kids are 3 out of 8 kids in our church family).  



Aren't preschooler conversations hilarious? Here are some of the things that my boys said that made me laugh today: 
-(the 4 year old to the 2 year old) "No, that is not a museum, a museum is another word for a zoo. 
-(2 year old during a conversation about what kind of girl the 4 year old wants to marry) "Mine, biiiig!" Then shows his muscles. (4 year old) "My wife is going to bigger and stronger than his wife"
-"I have good news and bad news. I am going to tell you the good news first, okay?"  To which he made up some good news and bad news.  
Once our other two really start talking, I can only imagine the crazy conversations that will be had. I can't wait!  
Have a great Friday!  


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Food and Fun...and Stewart

I haven't introduced our dog Stewart.  He really is a good dog.  I have had him for 12 years, with the exception of 1.  I was living somewhere that didn't allow dogs so he lived with family; that didn't go so well.  Ryan adopted him when we got married and you would really think that he has always been Ryan's dog.  They are the best of friends.  Me and him, on the other hand, well its complicated.
After we had kids, things changed.  He just became a nuisance to me.  I have asked other dog moms out there and they too said that once they had kids they lost patience with their dog.  I guess its because he's the lowest guy on the totem pole and ends up getting the frustration from the day.  It might be because he is the one thing leftover from a broken relationship. Or maybe its because he poops in the vehicle when we leave him in it for more that 5 minutes, I don't know. Tonight, while sitting with the family, I reached down and petted his head; something I rarely do anymore (thank goodness he has 3 boys to do that).  He looked up at me as if to say, "Really? You do still love me?"  It was a special moment and kind of sad too.  I remembered the many walks we used to take back when I had the patience to let him pee on every pole, snowbank, tire or whatever was within reach on our journey.  I remembered the summer that he came with me to work when I was a counsellor at a Crisis Pregnancy Centre.  Those girls, so afraid, would hold him tightly while he licked the tears that dropped on their hands.  I wished that I could give him my time and energy like I once did and I think he was thinking the same thing.  He really is a good dog....except when he yaps at our neighbours and pees on the floor when guests come over.  He really is.


We actually tried out one of the Pinterest activities I have pinned.  The boys loved it and played for at least an hour and a half.  Let me share it with you:

Here is the pin pic. 
Pinner said, "This kept my 2 year busy for an entire hour and my 4 year old busy for 2 hours! YAY! Drop vinegar tinted with food coloring onto a pan filled with baking soda. Sheer minutes of colorful fizzy fun!"
Here are my boys doing the activity.  




photo(312).JPG.jpg
Lastly, here's another great recipe I tried.  My male tribe loved it.  Ryan said I could make it every night (that's when I know it's a hit).  Crock pots rule!  Enjoy! 
Oh, it is a high sodium meal so I did not add the salt or the garlic salt because I knew there was already a tonne of salt in the soups.
  


If you are enjoying this blog, please subscribe to receive
 my posts by email and/or become a follower.  Have a great Thursday. -Angela  


  

Quiet time?

Our 2 year old, Bubblegum, has stopped napping.  Well, actually, he would still nap but then he would stay up past 9 pm.  Munch was already off naps, for the most part, for the same reason.  Now I am trying to find something to replace that much needed break in the middle of the day.  I googled it, and wouldn't you know, there are thousands of moms doing the same thing!  Here are some great links to check out if you are in the same boat:

http://simplemom.net/how-to-bring-peace-to-the-witching-hour/






I am on day 3 of implementing quiet time.  So far, Bubblegum cried one day and feel asleep the next.  I will let you know how the week pans out.  
Do you have any good tips? I would love to hear them.  



Love and Respect

Yesterday I wrote about learning to respect my children now I want to share the mother of all lessons...respecting your husband.  Oh, oh oh don't write me off now as some crazy subservient Christian wife. Hear me out.

I was introduced to the book Love and Respect from a sermon at the church I attended in Calgary. The pastor actually did a month long sermon series just on this book and the love and respect concept.  I am sure it was in response to the over 50 % divorce rate within the Church (which I was included in at the time, another story). I bought that book and it blew my mind; wishing I had read it 6 years prior.  It is based on Ephesians 5:33
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Basically, the author believes, and experience would prove that the reason God put this very command in the Bible is because we need to be commanded to do it in order to do it. Huh?  
The Bible does not say "wife you must love your husband" or "husband you must respect your wife"? Why? We naturally do that because we love how we want to be loved. To explain, here is a quote from the author Emerson Eggerich :

What is Love and Respect? We believe love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Research reveals that during marital conflict a husband most often reacts when feeling disrespected and a wife reacts when feeling unloved.  We asked 7,000 people this question: when you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?  83% of the men said "disrespected."  72% of the women said, "unloved."  Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict, and this difference is as different as pink is from blue! 

Oh my goodness, right? I had to share that with all my friends.  The reactions were almost all the same. "Really?!!" Dr. Eggerich mentions telling your husband you respect him for certain things.  Like, actually saying something like,"I respect you for the way you handle our grouchy neighbour" or "I really respect you for the hard work you put into the home."  I remember thinking, "That's way too obvious, as if he would like that."  Then, when I had the opportunity to use it, I tried it and IT WORKED!  Ryan stood up straight, he almost glowed when I began to tell him how I respected him.  I could have told him that I cherished him and loved being around him all the time, but he just wouldn't have received it the same.  Another suggestion he gives is showing an interest in what your husband is doing.  For example, sit with him while he plays his favourite video game and genuinely compliment him on his skills.  I called Ryan one day while he was at work and asked him to play something he was working on (he was a radio producer at the time).  "Really?" he asked shocked.  When he did, I went on and on about what I liked about it and how he was so good at being a producer (i meant it because he is really great at what he does).  I asked him questions about how he made that one sound affect and so on.  He loved it!!! I got a text a couple minutes after we got off the phone telling me how much he loved me and he couldn't wait to come home to me!!! Seriously!
However, this also means that when I am not showing him respect that there would be the opposite effect. This would be when I make put him down in front of people or correct him in front of the kids.  In times where I have shamefully done such a thing, I have seen the immediate deflation of his spirit.  We women are good with our words and I don't think we realize how much they can cut men.  Of course they wouldn't admit or show it the way we would, but it happens.  I remember when I shared this concept with some newly married girlfriends, one of them really struggled with the idea.  As much as she loved her husband, she felt that at times, he was just too cocky and needed to be put back in his humble place.  "That is not your job though," I said.  "Your job is too make him feel like he is the smartest, funniest, strongest man that you know."  It was hard for her to take and I admit, it is often hard for me.  However, as someone who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I have to trust that He will talk to Ryan about the areas he needs to work on so I just pray.  There are times when I feel God telling me, "You need to tell him how you feel when he says that/does that." That's when I pray and approach Ryan,  doing my best to keep respecting him.
There are times when I have to ask myself if I am showing respect to Ryan.  When life gets hectic, it seems that I start reacting and that is when my tone is sarcastic, my thoughts are bitter and my loving behaviour is conditional.   It is something that needs to be kept in check.  I guess that's why it is in the scriptures...as a kindly reminder.  I am so glad that I learned this little treasure and I am sure Ryan is too.
"What about the guy?"you ask. Well, there is a whole other side that teaches men how women feel loved and how we need that to be communicated.  It is great and if you read it you will be nodding continuously, saying, "Yes! You tell him!" It also gets into how if the man does not feel respected he will not love his wife well and if the wife does not feel loved she will not respect the man well and so goes what he calls The Crazy Cycle.  However,  he encourages each person to do their part and to not demand the other person do theirs.  We are only responsible for our part of the vow.  He says that often times, when we are focusing on loving our spouse the way we are supposed to, they will respond with the kind of love that we need.  There are always exceptions, of course, which makes me sad.  He addresses that too.
If you have some stories about how this concept has worked in your marriage, please share with me.

Here is the link for the book. There are some great resources on the site, as well as testimonies as to how Love and Respect has saved marriages.  This is just one of them.

http://loveandrespect.com/

Bless you, Angela 

Monday, 14 January 2013

A little r-e-s-p-e-c-t


"They have no respect for me."  Have you said that?  I received a great book a couple of years ago called "Have a New Kid by Friday".  It was when I was at a loss with how to handle Munch's stubbornness.  I called Focus on the Family for some counsel. (You can do that, you know, they are fabulous).  The counsellor sent me 2 books for free, this one and The Strong-willed Child (also very good).  I remember looking up the word "respect" in the back of the book thinking, " Yes, finally, the answer to why my child shows such little respect towards me and the adults in his life" ah....huh?
I read:
"This is a fundamental issue for all families..." -yep, that's right.
"...After all, if a young man doesn't learn to respect his mother, who is he going to bring home someday?..." - For sure! Teach it, Dr. Leman! 
"...A parent's outlook on life is transmitted to the child..." - Wait, what does this have to do with me? 
"...Respect is a two-way street. If your child isn't respecting you, take a look at yourself first to see if you're the problem..." -Me? The problem?
"...Most of the time, respect issues stem from the Attitudes, Behavior, and Character of both parents..."
-Just who do you think you are Dr. Leman?  
"...Please hear me out, for your family's sake. You are the key to your child's behaviour. In order to move your child to respecting you, you have to be willing to make changes in the respect area yourself.  Are you, through your words and Behavior, respecting your child? If not, why should they have respect for you?" - Gulp. 

I could just copy the whole chapter for you, it's so rich but maybe you should just go get the book.  Can I just say, how shocked and convicted I was?  I don't think I am a mean mom but I know I could work on the area of showing respect to my children.  My tone with them can often be annoyed or sarcastic.  They can tell when I am not really listening but say that I am with my "oh, uh huuuh."   I am sure they have heard me complaining about the incompetent server at the coffee shop or bravely lipping off the driver who cut me off in the safety of my sealed vehicle?  I started paying attention to how I was respecting those around me and was flabbergasted! "They did learn that from me!!"   I have used a tone with my kids that my parents would have sent me to my room for. Who did I think I was thinking I could get away talking like that to a child? And why was I surprised that I had sarcastic little punks? You know the, "I'm comiiiing!!!" Whe-where did you learn to talk like that young man? 
Now that Munch is 4, he calls me on my tone. The other day, he asked me for help and because I was doing something on my own, hardly important, I huffed and said, "Fine, what do you want?"  "Mommy, I am sorry if I am frustrating you." The Holy Spirit gently corrected me and I just had to apologize.  "No buddy, I am sorry.  It is okay and expected for you to ask your mommy for help.  Me being frustrated is my problem, not yours. You don't have to say sorry for asking for help."  He was so gracious in that moment. He forgave me and we moved on.    I am learning and growing. 
Tomorrow, I will chat a bit about respect in my marriage as I had another huge "ah hah!" with that one too.  
Here are some of the great resources mentioned in this post.
Have a New Kid by Friday -Dr. Kevin Leman
The Strong-willed Child- Dr. James Dobson
http://www.focushelps.ca/  Focus Helps offers counselling in an area of your life and can refer you to a trustworthy counsellor in your area for further help.

Also, for some practical ways to teach your children values, check out :

All the best, Angela

Friday, 11 January 2013

One of those days....

It was one of those days.  "I hate today!" I complained to my husband.  It wasn't a selfish day.  I was exhausted.  The baby was up in the middle of the night and the toddler was crawling in to bed with us just before 6 am.  No one is taking naps anymore because we would be escorting them back to their beds until 10 pm.  Currently, I am doing research on how to have effective quiet time for your non-napping children and how to work well through the "witching hour" (between 4 and 5 pm? You too? I plan to share what I have learned next week). It was one of those days where I had to give myself a time out because I could feel myself entering a dangerous state where I usually act as childish as the kids.  I went to my room, sat on the floor and vented to Jesus, then begged him for patience and wisdom and to help redeem the day (I don't know why I beg, he is always so willing).  It didn't miraculously make everyone behave or fall asleep like angels, but it changed my attitude.  My two teething boys and one overtired preschooler eventually were sleeping soundly and I survived the day without having regrets for anything I said or did in the most trying times.
Mom, you are not alone.  We all have those days.
This quote I found hits home. I hope it speaks to you and helps you in your journey.  Have a great weekend.

P.S. Don't forget to play.  Drop the "have to's for 10 minutes and be in the moment.  You will never look back and regret taking that time.
-Angela

Thursday, 10 January 2013

On the Lighter Side



It has been snowing for almost 24 hours straight now.  We did go outside for a little bit but everyone got a little cold from the wind so it wasn't long.  Munch tried to slide down the massive snow pile from our 3 shovelling jobs but it was a little too fluffy.  I promised we would check out their favourite sliding hill tomorrow.  
When we are in keeping warm and dry we are going to try this neat art activity out.  I am hoping we will have some great abstract pieces to put up on our bare walls.  Enjoy the Pinterest Best Activity of the Week.  Let me know if you try it and how it goes.  

Are you good at buying toys for your kids?  I just am not.  Even the suggestions that I have had for the grandparents have been duds.  They have finally stopped asking me and just buying what they want...and have scored.  This year the boys were really big into marbles.  They were using their car ramps and other things around the house and marbles were flying all over the place.  I saw that there was this great marble racer tower on for a good price and Toys R Us so we went and bought it for their Christmas present.  They were so excited to get it....until they had to wait for us to assemble it.  And then the 2 year old knocked it over.  It took another 25 minutes to put it together and then....let's just say we are packing it up for a couple of years.  I think I will ask the grandparents what to get my kids next time.


I tried a great recipe today; if you are looking for some ideas on what to do with quinoa, this is a great one.  I didn't have spinach or cilantro on hand so just used Romaine lettuce for some green and everyone loved it....well, the 2 year old gagged, but he's in a bit of a picky phase right now.  Let me know what you think.

This afternoon, I rammed a door into my big toe. It almost ruined my mood.  I wanted to be so mad and start this inner rant like, "Isn't that how it is, the big toe with the hang nail gets hit by the door, that is just my luck....."  BUT I stopped, took a breath and sang "The Joy of the Lord is My Strength"....and moved on.  Little steps to joy.
Bless you girlfriend.

Hot Mama



The other day I took a good look in the mirror.  My eyes were dark and tired, my bangs a bit disheveled and my skin a little dry around my eyes.  "I look older," I thought. For the longest time I haven't felt like I look my age.  I remember my mom at this age; she was old. (Sorry Mom). I am not that old.  If you asked my mom though, she would say she isn't as old as the books say she is either.
When I saw that I looked older, I wasn't sad....I was actually good with it.  For once, I wasn't complaining about how tired I looked.  I was admiring the look of a woman who worked hard that day.  Can you admire your wear and tear?
My girlfriend just shared a wonderful story with me.  She has had 3 children and she has stretch marks and loose skin covering her flat tummy (because she has a great body for a mom of 3).  Her husband loves cooching her belly skin and it drives her crazy.  One day he was rubbing her stomach and she asked him to stop.  He asked, "If someone tried to shoot you and I jumped in front and took a bullet for you and had a big scar on my arm to show for it, what would you think of it?"  Of course she said she thought it would be sexy.  To which he explained, "This tummy and the way that it is reminds me of the 3 beautiful children you carried and bore for me. I love it.  It is sexy to me."Wow, huh?
Girlfriend, when you are on that diet, or getting those extensions or spending all your money trying to get rid of those smile lines, who are you doing it for?  Is it worth all the effort?
I believe in taking care of yourself and keeping fit and healthy but I also believe we have a problem with trying to be something that we are not for all the wrong reasons.  We can't stay 25 forever and the harder we try to the sillier we look.  If you ever watch What Not to Wear, they are usually trying to help women find the beauty of their own age and not the age they once were.
I knew a woman once who had the most glorious silver hair.  I am sure she went grey early because she couldn't have been more than 50. What I learned from her was to embrace the look of age and make it work for you. Seriously, she was stunning.  I thought, "That woman makes me want to have
silver hair."
What is with us thinking that a hot mama has to look like she is 19 and hasn't had a baby or worked hard? Why are we buying into the "get your pre-baby body back in 30 days"?  Those tv stars we are jealous of are slaves to their diets and work outs; plus they pay someone to show up at their door every morning and kick their butt.  For what? No seriously, for what??!! Who are you doing it for?
I'll admit that when I get crazy about my hair, skin, body fat or clothes is when I am feeling insecure because of other women.  It's not because of my husband.  He tells me that I look hot and he means it.   Why do we women do this to each other?
Yes, let's encourage one another to look after the temples we have been given by exercising, eating well and caring of them. Lets NOT encourage each other to put ourselves down because, heaven forbid, we are still 20 pounds overweight after having 2 children in  2 1/2 years or because we have
lines on our faces that mark the thousands of times we have laughed in our lifetime.  Lets help each other to be beautiful at 20, 30, 40 something.  Lets enjoy the marks of bearing children, stressful life events that we survived and signs that we were able to live another day.  Lets remember that those
movie stars can't even live up to their own airbrushed pictures in the magazines.
You, my friend are beautiful.  You are a created being, made in God's image.  Your face, your body, they tell a story.  Enjoy it.  I will remember to as well.

Monday, 7 January 2013

From my homeschooling research

Just listened to a great talk about why homeschooling is a good idea.  Again, this is from Gregg Harris.  I am so glad I have stumbled upon this man and his wife.  They have the testimony to back up their lectures too....very amazingly talented and wise children who are making a big impact in this world.

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?m=t&s=62306133912








To be a Parent



Like I said before, "mothering" did not feel natural to me. There has been this tension throughout my four and some years as a mom and I could never really put my finger on it.  Then one day this truth hit me right between the eyes, "You want kids but you don't want to be a parent."  Ugh.
Does that resonate with some of you? We want lots of things without the responsibility. I wanted a car but I didn't want to be the owner of a car loan, drivers licence that could be ticketed or a yearly subscriber to high insurance.  I always wanted a dog but hated the responsibility of walking him, picking up his poop and paying for his haircuts.  The same went with kids.  Being pregnant was fun,  picking out baby clothes, a name, a stroller and getting lots of attention was great.  I didn't really fully process the fact that I would be responsible for a valuable life.    When I get cranky with the boys, it  is usually when I am giving into selfishness and thinking life is all about me and the things I want to do....and not looking at those  precious human beings and being grateful  that I am their Mommy.  That conviction has changed my perspective, attitude, future and daily activities.  I have to make a choice every morning to not just be Angela, who has kids, but Mommy to 3 wonderful gifts from
God.   I ask The Lord every morning to help me find the joy in being a parent to each kid.  I pray for each boy and ask for help to "train them up in the way that they should go."  That has made the biggest impact on my attitude in daily parenting.  These boys deserve at least that.  I have a long way to go but I am thankful for the way I have "grown up" since 2008.  So cool. Thank The Lord for continued grace as we journey along this life.
Have a great day Mommies.  I pray that you would find joy in your awesome calling as a parent.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

For brand new or soon-to-be-Mommies

Dear Mom who struggles with breast feeding,
After 4 months, I am starting to feel like I have gotten completely comfortable with nursing Baby Goo.  It was so horrible in the beginning, I wouldn't have believed that I could get to this good place. What a shocker that was; this was my third child, it should be a breeze to nurse.  I had so many troubles with my first that I thought I had all the expert advice possible.  The second baby was no problem at all so why all of sudden, was I struggling like I had never done it before.
Enough about me, this post is for all you soon-to-be moms or brand new moms who could be struggling with breast feeding.  Let me tell you, it can be very hard, very painful and frustrating.  Whoever says it's natural, is...well, not in touch with the majority of the world! Is it worth it.....YES! A hundred times yes.  Once the pain is over, I was so glad that I didn't give up.  I don't knock those who couldn't do it, for whatever reason, but I want to encourage those who are stubborn about it like me. And for those of you who had an amazing experience, "great", please be gracious to those who haven't.
Here is what I learned:
1. Get help right away.  It may feel like everyone and their dog is grabbing your breasts but if it helps, let them! Everyone will have something different to contribute, one of them will work for you.
2.At the first sign of trouble, get an appointment with a lactation consultant.  Sometimes, it can take a month to get into one and you just may quit by then. You can always cancel.
3.Give yourself a break. Not everyone else had it easier. When you ask around, you will get the horror stories, that will actually strangely make you feel better. I remember my husband calling all my girlfriends talking about nipples and pumping out of complete desperation for me.
4.Rest. Rest. Rest. Drink lots of water and eat well. Don't stress about your home or other people.
5. Tell yourself over and over, "this will get better." I went through it twice, gaping wounds and all...and now I barely remember the details.
6. Dr. Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment.  My doctor hadn't heard of it and had to Google it but the pharmacist had, she had a tub ready to go!
7.Relax.  You may get too much advice to the point where every time that baby cries you panic because there is just too much to think about to do it right.  In the end, you will find what works well for you and baby. Really, I am not even sure if it was what the nurse, the lactation consultant, the lactation doctor or the 10 well meaning women said to me that helped or if it was just time.  One day, it just seemed to come together and I am comfortable and pleased. I hope this helps someone. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us,"you can do this." And you can.