Thursday, April 3, 2014

Goals Update - 1st Quarter

Goals update! Since we set the original goals for 2014, things have changed, so inevitably, some of our goals had to change, too.  So, here are the updates and additions of new goals.


1. Finish up Baby Step 2 by the end of the year

At this point, we have my 2013 medical bills (thank you FAI surgeries!), Hubs' student loan, and my student loan left. Current Expected Completion: December - We're planning to save all extra money coming in this year since our income will be somewhat unstable until we get settled into this new situation.  Once we know more how things are going to shake out, we'll be able to start using the money to put into the house and paying off debt as well as saving for our 10-year vow renewal celebration.

2. Organize garage

We need to clean it out once again and set up stations with more buckets. We already have heavy duty shelves all around the garage but we're not using them efficiently. Need to "pinterest" (c'mon, 10 years ago, Google wasn't a verb either...) some ideas. - This is still a definite in the plans; the only problem is that we're in the beginning of April and have only had about 1.75 nice days so far this year.  But, this will get done.  We're also planning on getting a new garage door once the organization part is done so that we can start parking at least one of the vehicles in there again.  It's only been since 2011...

3. Career movement

Hubs is looking for a full-time job that will allow for more family time and we are praying for the opportunity of full-time ministry for him. I would love to start working in the paralegal field. I completed my certification in May and then had surgery, so that had to be put on hold for the moment. My first, concrete, short-term goal is to get involved with the IPA in my area for networking and learning opportunities. - This is where the biggest change is happening.  Due to the difficulties we've had finding a regular babysitter over the past month, our mind-set shifted.  You can read about it here.

4. Read one book per month

I need to create a list of the books I want to read this year but I'm sure I can easily come up with 12. Some fiction, some career, some christian living/family books. - I've done fairly well on this one.  So far this year, I've read Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and most of Waiting To Be Heard by Amanda Knox.  Hubs and I were teaching a class and putting together curriculum in addition to other things we've been involved with so far this year, so the past month has not given me much time to read.  But, I'm hoping to finish the Knox book and then move on to Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman.  I like autobiographies, can you tell?

Confession Time: In February, we did poorly re: eating out but March was better.  April's budget for eating out is already gone, so we're going to have to start being more intentional in our planning, scheduling, and when we say yes to invites.  We love our friends and family and want to spend more time with them.  But, we'll just have to find ways to do that for free or inexpensively.

I haven't seen the inside of the gym in about seven weeks.  I'm planning to go starting next week, at least twice.  Now that I don't have to get up at 5AM to go, I think I'll have more success.  We are playing volleyball right now and I have been walking a bit more, so I've at least been doing something that resembles exercise.

Thanks for reading!  I'd love to hear how your goals are progressing so far this year.  Let's keep each other accountable!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ch-ch-changes

It's been a while since I've blogged about anything.  I was doing pretty well on my Empty Shelf Challenge but wasn't reading anything worth blogging about.  Just more for entertainment.  We've been remodeling our bathroom for the past month and that'll be wrapped up within the next week. And I will definitely be posting pictures.  This project is long overdue!  Benji has his first loose tooth, Calah's hair has really started to fill in and she has mastered the English language and getting herself changed and dressed (she's crazy!), and Jo has been doing much better with potty accidents and talking without all the whining and fit-throwing to which we've grown accustomed (not fond, accustomed).

But, the biggest change is that after much prayer, thought, planning, we've decided that it was time for me to come home.  My last day of work is next Thursday, April 3rd.  I've been so torn, frustrated, and weary lately.  Balancing work and motherhood is one of the hardest things I've ever done.  And I've done it since Benji was born six years ago.  Full-time, year-round employment.  I'm really excited about what's to come and am trying to prepare myself as much as possible through:

1. Prayer and seeking God's wisdom and guidance
2. Writing a daily/weekly schedule
3. Writing and actually following-through on weekly meal planning
                **As a subset of this, I'm searching for more from-scratch recipes and am planning some diy food projects.
4. Getting the boys time to work on their kindergarten and preschool skills books
5. Looking into preschool options for Jo in the fall
6. Cleaning up the yards and re-cleaning/organizing the garage.  Remember this?  Yeah, it's even worse now.
7. Bringing in some extra income.  I've already been looking for babysitting jobs.  I'm reading up on becoming a licensed in-home daycare provider, but anyone with experience, please share some my way!

Before I was thinking about coming home, I set up a job interview for a part-time paralegal position locally.  It's an entry-level position and it's close to home. Those are very rare and since I don't have any experience yet, just a certificate, I felt like I should keep this interview.  So, next Friday, April 4th, I am interviewing.  So, I could use some prayer warriors on that front because I'm a bit torn and am not sure what I'd do for childcare, which would potentially only be needed a couple hours three days/week thanks to Hubs' mostly-afternoons schedule.

"Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways, acknowledge HIm, and He will direct your paths" - Prov 3:5-6

We are trusting God in this whole process that He will open doors for things that probably wouldn't have been possible without this change.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Takeaways from Creative Correction

At the beginning of January, I posted about the Empty Shelf Challenge and decided that my first book of 2014 would be Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel because our discipline was needing a tune-up.

In my last post, I listed the things I was hoping to take away after reading this book (for the third time).  Well, I'm glad to say that I did it.  I read the whole thing and took a bunch of notes on most chapters, so I thought I would share my thoughts here in case it might be helpful to anyone reading this blog.

1. Creative Corrections - Over the past six years since we have been parents, we have used several methods of discipline to help our kids to really "get it" and build godly character as a result.  But, time outs and taking away a toy for the day can only go so far.  We do always have a conversation with the offender about what he did wrong, why it was wrong, and what he needs to do better going forward.  Often, we go on a little too long to ensure "got it"-ness is fully achieved.  I'm pretty sure we lose them after the first sentence.  And sometimes, depending on the infraction, we will pray to ask God's forgiveness and help.  But, the behavior is not curbed for very long and we have started to notice some attitude changes in the boys that can be destructive if allowed to continue, especially as they get older. 

In the book, Lisa (we're on a first name basis) always tries to tie the conversation and correction directly to the heart issue at hand.  Disclaimer: I don't necessarily agree with all the methods in this book.  We will never use hot sauce on our kids.  But, a lot of the object lessons and use of scripture to correct our children, I really do find helpful.  So, here are some things I really liked:

~Always start the correction with scripture.  If you're not a Biblical scholar (this girl right here), you might find this step intimidating.  Lisa gives lots of verses by topic in the first toolbox.  Start with one.  The biggest one that your kids have trouble with.  That could be anger, obedience, fear, deceitfulness, or any number of things.  Help your kids memorize one scripture at a time so that, as they grow, they can come back to that verse and remember the right thing to do.

~If your child has to be corrected about the same issue over and over, he's not fully understanding the problem with his behavior.  This is where good object lessons and stories can come in handy.  Lisa uses an example in the book about a child who had a chronic issue with obedience and one day, he went out on an ice pond without permission and fell in.  His disobedience led to a major safety issue.

I don't know about you, but I'm not a great storyteller.  I don't remember the details well enough to retell it.  Noone is on the edge of their seat listening to my stories, trust me.  Except when they're planning to make their getaway.  Eh, we all have our strengths.  Anyway, I know this one can be difficult, but I think you can approach this in two different ways.  1. write down some notes to pull out when you need them or 2. have your child sit on his bed for a few minutes while you find/think of a story to tell that would help them grab on to the lesson.

2. Better use of my tone/voice - no more yelling in frustration/exasperation - I can honestly say that since I've been reading this book and trying to hold on to some of these ideas, I have yelled a lot less.  With my middle child, almost every day, I have had to count to 10 (sometimes 20 or 30) and take some deep breaths before I say anything.  And you know what?  That has really cut down on the frustrated, yelling, angry responses coming out of my mouth.  If I learned nothing else from this process, I could still walk away happy with this one.

There have been times when I have grabbed the book or my notes so that I can plan the correction.  For example, the other night, Jo (3) started tearing the stuffing out of a pillow that had torn.  Normally, he'd go to timeout or go to bed early.  But this time, I took him into the playroom and dumped out all the blocks on the floor and told him that it's not okay to be destructive and tear things apart.  We need to use our time building things up.  I told him that he needed to get all the blocks put back in the bucket and gave him three minutes.  For every minute after that, he would go to bed a minute early.  And, he got those blocks cleaned up in that three-minute window.  Then, we had a short talk and he apologized for destroying the pillow.   I was pretty proud of that moment because it didn't take much effort to do something different and I really think he connected the problem with his actions.

3. Teaching with Scripture - I have already mentioned the list of verses given in this book, but there are probably verses that we all have memorized and can help our kids "hide in their heart" for when they are faced with a tough situation.  That is one of the most important things we can give our kids.  Good decision-making tools.  We have to let them fail at home when the consequences are small so that when they go out into the world, they have a better chance of making the right decision when the consequences are big. 

Anger - Psalm 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."

Arguing - Proverbs 13:10 "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

Attitude - Proverbs 15:15 "All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast."

Kindness - Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."

Obedience- Colossians 3:20 "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."

Personally, I have been quoting Philippians 2:14 "Do everything without grumbling or complaining" a LOT. 

The other night, Benji came out of his bed and told me that he was afraid.  We always talk about how dreams aren't real and they go away as soon as you wake up.  And that God is always there to ease his anxiety.  But, this night, I was reading my book when he came out, so I gave him this scripture from Psalm 56:3-4: "When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust. I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?"  We have talked about the verse a couple more times briefly since then and it's apparent to me that it's sticking with him.  So, that's an encouragement to me that if we keep at it, he (and they) really WILL get it. 

I am really glad that I read this book again and I'm sure it won't be the last time I'll need it.  But, for now, I'm on to my next book, UnSweetined: A Memoir: A Memoir by Jodie Sweetin.  This is her autobiography about her time on Full House and her struggle growing up afterwards.  

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