Love & Logic: Review Part 1

One would think that a clinical social worker can handle herself and her children in the best manner – at all times – how not true that statement is!

Parenting and motherhood is THE hardest thing I have EVER done in my entire life! I taught multiple parent trainings that centered around self care, emotional awareness, regulation skills and cognitive stimulation. These trainings only grazed the surface on what all went in to parenthood, but I felt like I knew more than the average person about child development and what to do in tricky situations. Boy was I wrong…ha

Making the decision to start a family is a HUGE decision in one’s relationship. It comes with life style changes, husband and wife challenges, and oh yeah…those cute little babies! The thing with babies is they grow up and turn in to toddlers, threenagers and beyond – all with their own challenges.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I our oldest daughter has given me a run for my money lately (check out these posts here and here to get an idea of what I’m talking about). The two kid challenge has really tested my social work skills and mommy brain – now with the third on the way (within 2 weeks!) – my stress level has peaked.

With all this going on I decided I need to stop complaining and start doing something about all my miscues and stress level. I went back to some training material and was reminded about a few different parenting books that were used to give tips and tricks during parent training. One of which was Parenting With Love And Logic by Cline and Fay.

I have not opened this book since my early social work years, and have yet to finish it – there are so many good points that I figured a mid book summary was okay! I will say, I am not TOTALLY convinced on EVERY.SINGLE.THING they promote, but the general gist of the book and the ability it has already had to make me stop and think about my words is working for me.

Cline and Fay begin the book by talking about the basic premise of being a “Love and Logic Parent”. This meaning that the parents are raising responsible children who learn from their mistakes and consequences – whether positive or negative – (they call them Significant Learning Opportunities). A Love & Logic parent helps their children “move from total dependence on us to independence, from being controlled by us to controlling themselves.” This theme carries itself throughout the entire book and is referred back to throughout the scenarios and tips given.

They jump next in to different parenting styles – and here is my disclaimer: I am not promoting any of these nor am I trying to make anyone feel guilty about which one they “fall” under. I think each person needs to find what works best for them and focus on improving that skill as a parent. I find myself in different categories that they describe at different times in my motherhood – I’m trying to focus on changing some things I do personally that works best for my kids and my family and so should you!

  • Helicopter Parent – Cline and Fay describe these parents as those who are always coming to rescue their child. They run lunches, permission slips, homework to school. They are always pulling their children out of a jam. “Whenever their children send up an SOS flare, helicopter parents, who are ready hovering nearby, swoop in and shield their children from teachers, playmates and other elements that appear hostile”.
    • Cline and Fay feel that these types of parents are loving, but depriving children from learning. “Such children are unequipped for the challenges of life. Their significant learning opportunities were stolen from them in the name of love.”
  • Drill Sergeant Parents – They love their children and the more they “bark orders and the more they control”, the better their kids will be in the long run. They are constantly told what to do.
    • “Kids of drill sergeant parents, when given the chance to think for themselves, often make horrendous decisions…these kids are rookies in the world of decision making”. Cline and Fay claim that these types of children are followers because they never learned how to make decisions for themselves.
  • The Consultant Parent – “Love & Logic Parent” As children grow, they move from being concrete thinkers to being abstract thinkers when they are teens. Children need thoughtful guidance and firm, enforceable limits. The authors state that as children grow into adolescents, this parenting style becomes even more important.
    • Children have been taught to make their own decisions. They are offered choices while young (but can still be started in teen years) which forces them to think about choices and the consequences. “In order for children to succeed, their kids need to learn to make their own decisions.”

According to Cline and Fay, being a consultant parent is “the” way to go – again to each their own, and I have found myself at times in all three of these categories. I’m stating again that I am LOVING this book for the fact that it is making me stop in my tracks, reflect on how I interact with my children, and forcing myself to make a better choice of words or actions next time the situation arises.

Multiple examples are given throughout the book which help with understanding – most of which pertain to a little bit older children, but the underlying meaning is still relevant. The authors also put in “Love and Logic Tips” that are excerpts of personal stories they use as teaching moments. These are SUPER helpful and easy to refer back to when needing a refresher.

I think the hardest part of parenting, which they nail on the head AND encourage, is that we as parents have to see our children fail. I mean how hard is that?!?! Look at these cuties and tell me you don’t want to help them not ever have to feel trials!

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However, through these failures come consequences (they refer to them as Significant Learning Opportunities) and are the lessons that children need to learn. The positive end of this for us parents is through these SLOs, children learn responsibility and independence. “Children who grow in responsibility also grow in self-esteem, a pre-requisite for achievement in the real world…there is a direct correlation between self-concept and performance in school, at home , on the playground, or wherever children may be. Kids learn best and are responsible when they feel good about themselves.”

So far I am enjoying this book. The many examples and phrases they say NOT to do, I have done – and they couple that with what I should be saying to create a lasting relationship with my kids. I love that it is making me stop and think – as that is how I best learn as a parent – and learn new ways to interact with Paisley and Carson. It is helping me step towards my goal of 2017, which is to become a better mother, wife and friend.

I will continue to post reviews of this book as I get further in to it. If you have any questions along the way, do not hesitate to ask me! I’d be happy to give my opinion (and it is JUST that…my opinion – you are the expert of your own life!) and what the book suggests one to do.

Thanks for reading!

~xo~

A Nice Little Reminder

Last night I received a text from one of my besties – and it literally made me tear up. It was the SWEETEST thing ever and just the right thing I needed to hear. The gist of it was that she was super impressed at my ability to have 3 babies (soon!) in 3 different states and not even blink an eye…..if she only knew! ha. But seriously…who sends these random messages to their girlfriends at just the right time?!? It was so needed and made me feel like all my doubts need to be pushed aside. So thanks lady (you know who you are!)

This got me thinking the about the last few months and if I have been working my best to improve myself. If you have kept up with my blog, you know that I’ve made a commitment to myself this year to stop comparing myself to others (BIG TASK…I know…ha) and to be my own person. Begin to discover who I truly am and what makes me feel special. I continue to get sucked back in to comparing myself to others (see this post, this one,  and this one if you need to see this recurring struggle happening in my life) – It’s a vicious cycle that I keep finding myself in – struggling to make it out.

But this text, just a simple 2 second thing that my girl sent me – just because she was thinking of me – got me back on track. As many of you know, I am currently pregnant with our 3rd kiddo…and I’m freaking out a bit. I find myself struggling daily to keep my cool with Paisley and Carson, only to realize I blew it…again…and the day starts over – me trying to stay calm and patient. Most days I feel pretty successful, but there are times where I think back to how my day went and feel ashamed. Ashamed at how I yelled again…ashamed at how I put myself first, rather than taking the 2 minutes to address their needs…ashamed at the satisfaction I feel when it is finally naptime!

I think to myself “how am I going to do this with 3 kids?” This is a daily struggle and concern. My feelings of inadequacy run deep – not just around raising children, but in most facets of my life. As much as I don’t like to admit (and as weird as it feels to say/write them down), this blog is actually helping me realize these negative thoughts and feelings I have about myself and my abilities. Just scrolling through these posts, you can see that I think about these things a lot. I tend to share them a lot too (a lot more than I had intended), but for whatever reason it makes me feel better. So they will continue.

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When I realize these self-doubts, I have to remember that they come from a dark place – the adversary is a tricky guy and he gets very good and getting in to our hearts and minds. This text I got last night is the reminder I needed – I Am Enough! I can do this. Someone out there thinks I am a wonderful mother and example. She has faith and trust in me that I can do this, that I am not alone. That I am strong. I’ve proven it time and time again – multiple moves, multiple children, multiple life changes – and I’ve done all of them! I grew stronger with each new step. I am becoming my own person and we as a family are continuing to grow closer and rely on each other. I am a mom to 2 (almost 3!) amazing and wonderful children. They are the reason I was placed on this Earth. To guide them, teach them, show them the way.

A little pep talk for myself this lovely Wednesday afternoon. Thanks for hanging with me throughout my self-discovery process. I promise not all posts will be this heavy, but just felt that this needed to be shared. It gets it off my chest – so if it only helps me, that is good enough for me!

The next time you feel the need to call or text a friend, please do! Act on that prompting. It may seem small to you, but it may be just what that friend needs to hear.

Happy Wednesday All!

~xo~

2 Kids + Airplane = Travel Chaos

To say that we travel a lot is an understatement. With all our family outside of California, holidays and other times throughout the year you can find us on an airplane or buckled up for a long journey.

I wouldn’t say we are “experts” in this whole traveling with kids thing, but I would say we are pretty good at it by now (ask me in a few months if traveling with 3 makes me change my tune. ha).

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Carson has been traveling back and forth to California since he was 7 weeks old ( I do NOT recommend traveling with a baby this small…or at least don’t expect to get much house hunting done with a baby this small. Their no-schedule phase is not a pretty one when trying to navigate a new area, with WAY more traffic than necessary, and “sight-see”). When it was just him and he was that young, I needed way less stuff than I do now. I could get by with the diaper bag, a carrier or wrap, a few changes of clothes (for him and I…just in case), snacks for me and a good book. Things have changed now that he is 18 months and Paisley accompanies us on all our flights!

In the past year visiting California and since moving here, we have flown at least 5 times with children. Typically with both children and a WHOLE bunch of luggage.

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Our last trip, we met up with our family in Las Vegas and spent a few hours driving to Phoenix for Spring Training (which was a blast, check it out here). We finally had an ah-ha moment when packing for this trip. Previously, we used a shuttle service, lugging all our bags and 2 car-seats from our car to the shuttle, from the shuttle to the check-in counter – which is a nightmare when you only have 4 capable hands to really do all the work. It is a miracle if we travel with less than 5 checked items (3 suitcases and 2 car seats), add in two kids and we definitely look like a hot mess. Brian came up with the genius idea to drop myself and all of our junk at the airport prior to parking the car at the shuttle company. That way it would eliminate the biggest hassle of 2 unnecessary loading and unloading of junk – and the balancing act of getting all that cargo from the shuttle drop off to the check-in counter.

This little idea has saved us so much stress. You do have to account for an extra 30 minutes or so in your travel time, but it is well worth the headache. Paisley, Carson (that way we can get car-seats out, too) and I wait at the curb while Brian  parks the car and hops on the shuttle. Once he meets up with us, we only have a short commute to the check-in.

We don’t typically bring our stroller, as it is one more thing to mess with, but on the Arizona trip, we had our BOB Double Stroller, which came in big time – carrying more than just Carson. We stacked both car-seats, clipped on our carry-on bags (using this handy Mommy Clip), and threw on a few other smaller bags, so we had more hands available for pulling the larger bags. Paisley is also a huge help and loves to pull luggage, so she gets a bag to take to the counter as well (always a helper!). Once bags are checked, the rest of the trip is easy-breezy.

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For the actual plane ride, Paisley again is a champ. Just give her an iPad  loaded with some fun games and she is set (not even embarrassed to admit that this is our go to!). Carson is fine flying as long as there are enough snacks to pass the time (seriously he might eat the entire time). My travel bag of choice is Stella & Dot’s Getaway Bag and here’s what inside (and yes it ALL fits in this bag!):

  • Snacks – I can’t say this enough. We as adults get bored and want to munch, so it’s no surprise our kids are the same way. Go with the most loved and least messy. There is nothing worse than gunk all over your pants or your stuff. We love applesauce in these reusable pouches made by WeeSprout (click here for my more in depth review). Throw in extra fruit snacks, crackers and always have a water bottle for each kid. We love this Munchkin Snack Container and this these Munchkin no-spill cups!
  • Books – Carson is in to textured books, flap books and interactive books. His favorites are First 100 Trucks and Things That Go, On the Farm , and Moo Baa La La La (really any book by Sandra Boynton, she’s amazing!)
  • LeapFrog LeapPad – Paisley refers to this as her “green iPad”, but it is full of educational games, a note pad and music player. Her favorite is the camera feature!
  • Color Wonder Markers and Books – These are super kid friendly and virtually mess free. They make a bunch of different character themed books and markers, so you can easily customize this to meet your kiddos loves!
  • iPad – This is easily Paisley’s favorite accessory we bring on the trip (Carson is slowly realizing it’s amazing power! ha). But we load it with some fun games and shows that she gets to control. I am sure to download a few of her favorite movies (just be sure you have enough storage) from the Plex app. Her favorite games involve puzzles, matching, sorting and coloring (and it makes this momma feel less guilty knowing they are “educational”…right?!?)
  • Pacifiers – I am admiting that our 18 month old still relies on his paci to self-soothe and relax. And I’m not ashamed of it. He is so much different than Paisley in that respect. Getting rid of the paci is just not a battle we are ready to fight yet…so we typically have 3 on us whenever we travel. It’s just a good rule of thumb!
  • Blankets – Each kiddos gets to bring a blankie with them, and both typically opt for their aden + anais muslin blankets. Huge perk for momma is that they weigh practially nothing!
  • Headphones – Nothing special for Paisley, just a set like this to help her hear her games and movies better (and it saves this momma plus the others around us from having to hear them!)

By the time we fly anywhere again, we will have 3 kids and Carson will have his own seat. This could be a game changer for us, so I’m anxious to see how that goes for the first time. All I know is I get my own row with the new baby and Brian gets to share the row with Paisley and Carson…what could go wrong?!? haha

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for flying and/or traveling with kiddos. The more ideas we share the easier it will be for everyone!

~xo~

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

We’ve all heard this phrase a million times, but for some reason today it hit me a little more than usual. I am working on stepping out of my comfort zone, to push myself and grow. It’s scary, it’s hard and sometimes not fun. What I have found is that it causes a whole bunch of self-doubt and necessary recovery from that, AND an entirely new, positive perspective on life.

I sat down this morning to read my scriptures and happened to be on Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon (it has been WAY too long since I’ve done this and trying to get back in the habit…again…for the umpteenth time!). The number of times I have read or heard from this chapter is probably among the hundreds, but for some reason it felt different today.

We had the missionaries over for dinner last night and their message to our family was about faith. What is faith? How do you grow your faith? They too referred to this chapter (coincidence, I think not), asking Brian and I to describe how we have gained faith, what it means to us and how we play on that every single day.

A general understanding of faith is something that is hoped for, but not seen. There is also the understanding that without works, faith is dead. Faith is not something you have and then it grows. Faith is something you believe in will grow, and you work towards doing the necessary things to make it grow.

This can be with anything in life, not just religion or spiritual growth. Take my example of growing this special child for the past 7 months…wow, ha! There have been multiple times, especially of late, where I have to stop and calm myself down because the thought of having three kids truly freaks me out. I know people do it all the time, but there is just something about this time around that is making me REALLY nervous and anxious. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel like I am handling myself  very well with two, maybe it’s that pesky little self-doubt creeping back in my mind, maybe it’s the fact that we are still trying to get settled here in California all the while having our sites set on a new opportunity on the horizon…so much unknown in our future is apparently starting to get to me.

I am trying my best to create and establish a well-balanced life for my family and myself, running a side business, and this blog. All of which are definitely giving me a run for my money. I struggle to meet my own demands with these hats I wear, and I often find myself wondering if it is worth the stress. After all of these negative thoughts, comes the light at the end of the tunnel.

The phrase “feel the fear, and do it anyway” is played out a lot with various twists that all generally mean the same thing. There is nothing wrong with being afraid, being anxious about change, or the unknown. What is important is to have the faith and hope that things will be okay. Even if we just have the desire to have that faith, that is enough to build upon. None of this is going to be easy, but with this desire to find the good and push through trials, things will get better. It takes work, it takes effort, but what good thing doesn’t?

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a motto for a lot of people. It gives us permission to set aside our uncertainties, find the faith and push towards that goal. We find ways around obstacles and support from those who want to help. We find answers to the questions “Why is it so hard?” and “what’s in it for me?”. Having the desire to find faith is enough. Just the smallest amount of belief is all it takes.

As for me, reflecting on the joy and unconditional love I have for my kids is where I start. I have the desire to be a better mother and wife, the faith to know that three kids will not break me (although that may still take some convincing, ha!), and the hope that my future will be okay and better than I imagine. These three things help me to continue to push myself, to grow and learn new things. To get up at 5 am so I can get my head on straight and have a few hours to myself. To take time out of my daily to-dos and spend it with my kiddos. To put down the electronics and talk to my husband. I am still striving to be better, but I know that with time, all things will be okay.

~xo~

*featured image credit to Imagefountain Photos*

My Tasmanian Devil…and what to do about her!

Whoever dubbed the term “terrible twos” had not yet had a “threenager”. Brian and I joke about this all the time, but in reality, we both feel that the transition to a 3 and now almost 4 year old has been WAY more difficult than a 2 year old.

I have found myself struggling this past year to maintain my parental calmness around Paisley at times. My social work brain continually tells my mommy brain that she has been through so many big transitions (new baby brother, cross country move – separating herself from all her family and friends, staying home full-time with me) this past year, “no wonder she is acting this way”. For some reason, even though I know this, it doesn’t give me the peace of mind to reassess how I feel in those moments of irritation and anger, and how I handle myself as a result.

When I speak to Brian about it, his go-to response is “what would your social worker brain tell you to do”. As much as I don’t like to admit it, but he is right. I needed to step out of my mommy brain and look deeper into the root of the behaviors. I decided to crack open the old therapy books and give it a go.

*Disclaimer: I am trained as a social worker that focused on individual therapy with children who experienced trauma, mainly who lived in the inner-city, and who’s families experienced “complex trauma” (multiple, generational traumatic events). My experience and background speak to that. I also focus on strengths-based approaches, shying away from punitive or shaming techniques because they don’t fix the problem and rarely help. My techniques will be relationship building and strengthening techniques, and most of the work is to be done by us…the parents. ALSO, techniques I share may or may not work for your child. Each one is different, along with parenting style and personality. It truly is an experiment that is best done consistently and for a 2-3 week period to determine if it works for your family.*

A little about 3 and 4 year old development to help set the stage for the strategies that I suggest:

  • 4 year-olds want to try new experiences. They want to be self-reliant and seek to expand the areas of their lives where they can be independent decision-makers
    • Seeking to test limits and boundaries, love to be “helpers” and seen as capable
  • Their brains are developing quickly to desire to learn words and letters, problem solving, shapes and colors. They understand days of the week sequence, but cannot tell time.
    • Cue all the “why” and “what’s this” questions!
  • Emotionally, 4 year-olds continue to learn what causes certain feelings and realize that others may react to the same situation differently. 
  • They have learned to better manage intense emotions with coping strategies like talking it out or drawing a picture.
    • ONLY if they have been previous taught to do so.

After going back through these main points, it helped me realize what is going on in her brain. Before I can do anything about strategies to try, I have to stop and think what triggers I have – what behaviors she does that make me go coocoo cachoo!

My biggest struggle with Paisley is the seemingly blatant not listening and her attitude (screaming “I don’t care”, running away, and the occasional temper tantrum to be a bit more specific). I find myself trying to figure out how much discipline needs to be done, if I have too many rules and restrictions, am I being fair and providing reasonable consequences for her age and developmental stage, was I too mean/harsh, not enough? The struggle is real!

If I started talking about strategies without explaining a bit on the brain, I feel I would be doing you a disservice. Very brief and basic…Our brains are split in to 3 separate parts: Brain Stem, Limbic System, Prefrontal Cortexparts-of-the-brain

This picture was taken from Dr. Bruce Perry’s presentation about brain development. He is my favorite psychologist to refer to when discussing brain development and the impact trauma has on the brain. But that is a total side note…if you want to read a more in depth explanation of brain development go here.

When we react to situations, we are coming from our limbic system (emotional state) rather than responding from our prefrontal lobes (thinking/logical state). As parents, it results in us yelling, threatening, or throwing tantrums ourselves rather than helping our children address their needs in those moments in a logical manner and teaching them the correct way to respond or act.

So back to my examples of Paisley’s behaviors that drive me nutty! She has developed a habit of being SUPER whiny and throwing a fit when she doesn’t get what she wants (which lead to not listening or exhibiting a negative attitude). Depending on the day, will determine whether I react or respond. My reactions usually coincide with my internal feelings of completing my “to-dos” or not. If I feel like I haven’t had enough time to get what I want done, I usually am already frustrated and typically react…and it’s not pretty. After raising my voice, threatening her, etc. her body language says it all. Her shoulders are slumped, she won’t look at me, and sometimes will even yell back “I don’t want you to look at me!” There is nothing worse than feeling like you have screwed everything up for you kid.

Before we can even try to respond to our children’s behaviors we have to get ourselves in check first. It’s all about self-care, taking care of ourselves first. Think airplane oxygen mask example. The flight attendants always tell you to put the mask on yourself, then on any kiddos. What good is your kiddo if they have their mask on, but you don’t? We have to have our brains calm enough to respond appropriately and teach our children the skills they need. (I did a few posts about what self-care is and how to incorporate more ideas into your daily routine. Check them out here, here and here.)

So what do we do to help ourselves NOT react this way? How do we shift the discipline paradigm in our own brains from “punishment” to “teaching”? What strategies or ideas have been helpful in the past and need to be re-introduced?

Discipline has such a negative connotation. Discipline is about teaching a child the skills to calm themselves down, not punishment. Discipline is not something you do to children, but something you develop within them.

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We, as parents, have to find what our children need and that will give us our answer on how we respond to those needs. Needs are tied to the parts of the brain. Always ask yourself:

  • Is my child safe/being safe?
    • Basic needs of safety and security (brain stem portion of the brain) – food, shelter, water, love
    • The way to respond is with attachment, nurture, love and care
  • Is my child seeking connection?
    • Respond with attention, self-regulating activities (dancing, singing, rocking, swaying, hugging, etc)
  • Is my child bored, seeking challenge?
    • Respond with stimulating activities, increase skill level to create a challenge

*I will get more in to this in a different post, as this is already getting lengthy!*

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We cannot teach what we do not know. Modeling appropriate and wanted behavior is the easiest and most effective way to teach.

First and foremost, we must remain calm and in control of our own internal state (it helps keep us in our prefrontal cortex/logical part of the brain). Literally stop your thoughts, take a deep breathe (may even require us to leave the room – as long as the child is safe – and collect ourselves prior to speaking) and tell yourself “I can do this”. Next, focus on assertive language with your child. Tell them what you want them to do not what you want them to stop. Paint a picture of what you want your child to do.

For example, Paisley loves playing with cars (so much so, she literally played with cars and “parking spots” for 2 days with grandpa this week…all day). Prior to dinner or bedtime I may say, “It’s time to clean up the cars. Put the cars into the bucket.” (specific and clear, assertive instructions)

If she complies, say “You did it! You are cleaning up the cars and putting them in the bucket.” (positive affirmation and awareness that she is doing what is asked)

If she refuses, say “I’m going to help you start putting the cars in the bucket.” (modeling appropriate behavior, providing a relationship building moment by assisting)

If she complies this time, say “That’s it. You’re doing it. It’s hard to stop when you are having fun.” (tuning in to her desire to have fun and not wanting to stop, makes her feel heard)

If she refuses and turns or jerks away, notice her body movements and say, “Your arms went like this (demonstrate) and your head went like this (demonstrate).” (tuning in to her body language and actions, makes her feel heard, but also serves as a distraction or stopping her brain for a bit)

When she looks to see what you are doing, take a breath and say, “There you are!” Then offer two positive choices such as, “You can put all the blue and red cars in the bucket or you can put the silver and purple ones in. Which do you choose?” (noting that you see her looking at you, offering two choices – gives her a sense of control/putting her in her prefrontal state or logical brain – end result is cleaning up the cars)

When she chooses to clean up, give positive and specific praise. I realize that this example seems pretty “fluffy”, but cleaning up is one of our biggest struggles – cue the raging tornado and drama-mama or this sweet girl who does it the first time. Her not cleaning up when I ask, makes me nutty and sometimes turns me into the wicked witch. But going back through these very simplified steps and realizing that she is ONLY 4 YEARS OLD (barely 4, she’s been on this earth longer as a 3 year old than a 4 year old), helps me remember that she just doesn’t have all the skills and self-control I think she should have, or that she showed yesterday!

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I have to continually tell myself that children are just that, children. They learn through play. They learn by example. They dive deep into their play and trying to pull them out of it before they are ready can result in the tasmanian devil showing up for a bit. They are people just like we are. They have feelings just like we do. What they don’t have yet is the social-awareness and self-control to keep them in check like we do.

 

That is where we come in as parents and caregivers. It is our job to teach these skills, to model appropriate ways to behave, to help them through a tantrum rather than trying to make it stop.

It is a big task to be a parent. Being a parent means we signed up for the most self-less job in the world. We give up a lot to put full focus on the needs of our children. With this, we need to remember that we are people too, who have needs.

We need to take time out EVERY SINGLE DAY for ourselves, even if it is something small. It helps re-balance our brains to put us in our prefrontal state – logical/thinking brain – so we can best provide for our children.

I hope this is somewhat helpful and not too all over the place! My brain wants to go in so many different directions with these topics, but I am trying my best to keep everything coherent.

I posted on Facebook a few days ago about topics you all were struggling with as parents, hoping to gather some direction on content you’d like to see. So far topics are potty training, discipline, babies who seem inconsolable, strong-headed children (and parents). I will do my best to address these in ways that I know how. And please know that not all my strategies or suggestions will work with your kiddo. It truly is a game of trial and error to figure out if the example above works with your child or sets them off even more.

For all you readers out there, here are a few books that I love for parenting:

I’d love to hear your concerns or what strategies you use that are effective! I am NOT THE EXPERT, just someone who has tried a lot of different strategies and found some that work for my kiddos and those I used to work with.

Happy Thursday!

~xo~

SoulPancake – Advice

I stumbled on this video on SoulPancake’s Facebook page. Just felt the need to share it here. I love hearing from others and think you could benefit too!

If you have never seen a video from SoulPancake, then you HAVE to check out their page. They post the best “feel-good”, and thought provoking videos. I just love how they capture what truly goes on in every person’s head on a daily basis – and put it out there for the world to see.

I will start to regularly post some of their videos, just to break up the negativity I see throughout my daily life!

Enjoy!

~xo~

Valentine’s Day Gifting Round-Up

Quick little gift guide for all those who need it! Valentine’s Day is coming quickly. Let me know what you think!

For Her:

for-her

Diamond Initial Necklace: Gift her something she will love. White or black diamonds, 14k gold or white gold necklace. Get the first letter of her name, first letter of her last name, or a letter for each of her kiddos. These look great worn alone or layered.

Leather 3-in-1 Crossbody: Stella & Dot has been killing it lately in the bag department! This beauty can be worn 3 different ways, one of which converts to a clutch for those classier nights. I am also loving the new Sloane Bag. It comes in a fun spring mushroom color or a neutral saddle.

Engravable Bar Necklace: Personalization is the new ‘it’ thing these days. Engraving is included on this necklace and you can get kids names, wedding date or special coordinates. PLUS if you choose the gold finish, you can get it for $19.99 when you spend $50, now through Monday February 6th! Get her a $50 e-gift for later and the engravable necklace for now. Win-win!

Date Night Shoes: I just went to Target today and am LOVING all of the shoes they have out right now! If your date is more casual (ice cream and a stroll), you need to get her these Dolce Vita slip ons! I bought the pink suede version, but they have a cute black style too. For a more dressy date night I love these Journee Collection Peep Toe Pumps, these Merona Wedge Sandals, or these Dolce Vita Peep Toe Booties.

Planner and Pens: In my book, you can never have too cute of a planner or too many pens. Especially colorful pens! Target has a bunch of planners, but I’m loving this style. I also have a Mormon Mom Planner and like the way the daily calendar is laid out, the monthly planner and room for notes, budgeting, monthly goals. It is all in one place. My favorite pens are either Sharpie Pens or Staedtler Pens

Graphic Tee: I completely ruined my Valentine’s Day already and opened my present! Usually Brian ships gifts to his office, but he forget this time. When it arrived I didn’t recognize the sender and opened it! It was a sweatshirt from Saturday Morning Pancakes. Her graphic tees and shirts are amazing and this sweatshirt is SO soft! He got me a small and it fits over my prego belly! I’m loving this tee too.

For Him:

for-him

Jord Wood Watch: Unique wood watches that come in a variety of wood colors and watch styles. I am loving these two options the best tho! Frankie Series and Dover Series

Pocket Squares: If your hubby likes to show off in a suit, let him customize it a bit with a splash of color or pattern from a pocket square. Found these Pocket Squares these on Amazon and they offer a variety of color and pattern options.

Tie Clip: Finish off the chic suit look with some tie clips. Brian is gigantic, so a tie clip is an absolute must-have. I love these tie clips, that gives him some options.

Fit Bit: Brian is loving his Fit Bit Blaze. It is similar to the Apple Watch, but doesn’t have built in GPS. Easily syncs to his phone and app. There are a bunch of additional band options, as well. Found this one on Amazon, but the options are literally endless.

Date Night Sneakers: I am totally a Nike sneaker girl, but for a date night or something that needs a bit more class I love these Timberland sneakers I got for Brian. They go with everything. Saw this pair of Steve Madden’s that look great!

For That Little Girl:

for-girls

Necklace & Bracelet Set: Paisley loves this set. It’s her “long necklace”. Bright coral beads with a sparkly flower brooch and grey ribbon. Matching stretchy bracelet finishes the look.

Earring Trio Set: Silver ribbon earrings, pearl and heart earrings set. Perfect for a girl with new ear piercings or to add to her collection.

Friendship Bracelet: This cute adjustable bracelet comes in silver or gold, with braided string and a fun tassel. Wear it alone or stack it with other pieces. Get one for you and one for her for a matching set!

Notebook: Get her a fun and stylish notebook for all those doodles, homework or notes! This one from Amazon is super cute and holds the staple girl anthem! 😉

Love Tee: I love finding shirts that not only fit holidays, but that Paisley can wear year round. This one looks great with jeans or leggings (because that’s all Paisley will wear!).

Kid Safe Knives: Paisley has asked me daily to help cut veggies in the kitchen. Meal prep can sometimes be a hard time to keep the kids happy and get dinner ready. I found these knives from Amazon and we had the chance to test them out tonight! She chopped carrots (with a little help from me making them skinnier) while I did the onions and broccoli. It was SO nice to have a helper and keep her occupied.

~xo~