Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Review: Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.

This book was really really interesting. I would really be interested in having other parents reading this book and telling me what you think. I will warn you that I have a feeling that some of the book would tick people off, because it questions many things that most parents commonly do (myself included).I was a little on the defense during some parts of the book when it talked about things I do, but in general, I love the challenge of reading something that makes me question how I parent and live my life. How can we improve if we don't learn about ideas that question how we do things? How I will incorporate some of the changes mentioned in the book... I am still brainstorming, but I have some ideas in the works.
Although there are some concepts in the book that are harder for me to grasp and I am still trying to figure out if I totally agree with Kohn on.... the main concept of the book is amazing. When we use rewards (sticker charts, overusing the phrase "good job") and punishments (lots of times outs, "Because I said so" mentality, or physical punishment to name a few examples), we are often times teaching kids to do or not do xyz because of what the result will be (good or bad), and we are taking the focus away from teaching them to do things because they are right.
Kohn says: "How do we raise our children to be really happy? That's an important question, but here's another one? How do we raise our children to be concerned about whether other people are happy? It's important that we don't allow the first issue to upstage the second, or for that matter, that we don't spend more energy trying to get kids to be polite and well behaved than trying to help them become genuinely compassionate and committed to doing the right thing. We want our kids to ask, "How will doing x make the other kid feel?" not, "Am I allowed to do x?."
Read this book. Like I said, it will make you a little or maybe really defensive depending on your current parenting style, but I am excited to explore my parenting style more to make sure that I am teaching my kids (through word and example) how to treat others and to leave the behavioristic part of parenting behind when possible.
Okay to end this post (I have a way of dragging things out, don't I?), I will just write some points to work on to become a more unconditional parent that are mentioned in the book:
1)Be reflective
2)Reconsider your requests
3)Keep your eye on the long term goals
4)Put the relationship first
5)Change how you see , not just how you act.
7)Be authentic
8)Talk less, ask more.
9)Keep their ages in mind.
10)Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
11)Don't stick your no's in unnecessarily.
12)Don't be rigid.
13) Don't be in a hurry.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Soap Box: Consumption in America

I had a sick feeling in my gut all day yesterday after I saw this article in the New York Times:
I never go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, because it gives me anxiety thinking about a bunch of Americans in stores pushing each other around so they can save $20 on a kitchen aid (not saying that everyone is pushy obviously). I enjoy good shopping (too much sometimes), but shopping during the holiday season is not fun for me.
We as a society need to slow down. The fact that something like this could happen is just too difficult for me to imagine. It is disgusting and I am so sad that someone had to die because of people's need to consume. Hopefully this will be a lesson to us all! It definitely makes me rethink how I consume and do things.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Baby Steps

Right now it is 9:30 on Thursday night, and I am proud of myself. This is the first night I have begun the weaning process from Grey's Anatomy. I been a lover and defender of Grey's Anatomy for a long time, but it is just getting ridiculous. Come on Izzie, you are doing what with your ghost boyfriend? I have to draw the line somewhere to the trashiness, although I don't want to because I am addicted. No offense to anyone else who loves the show, because I do/did too.... I just want to try to fill my time with more worthwhile things... like blogging Haa.. :). (p.s. I know that my blog is getting lame without pictures, but my camera is broken and I need to send it off to get fixed).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good Advice

I like my doctor. He is not your average doctor. I think that I mentioned in another post that he is the one who initially planted the idea of natural childbirth into my head. When I have asked him questions about circumcision/vaccinations and many other topics, he is open to listening to my ideas and then in a fatherly way telling me his ideas.
At Gabe's last well child appointment, I was telling him about sleep issues... namely the fact that he doesn't sleep great. I explained to him that he slept with us for the first 11 months and that he was having a much harder time adjusting to the crib than Sofia did when we transitioned her around the same age. The first thing he asked me is if they sleep in the same room. I explained to him that Gabe is a really light sleeper and that Sofia would wake him up all of the time so they are in different rooms. He told me that he wonders if they would sleep better if they shared a room. He then went on to tell me his fatherly story of how at one point, he had 5 of his own children in the same bedroom when they lived in a small apartment, and that they all slept great with the comfort of having siblings close by.
That night I went home and asked Sofia if she wanted to move her bed into Gabe's room. She was so excited..... and we all lived happily ever after.. J/K. Things are not perfect still, but Gabe is sleeping better, and they are both so happy being in the same room. Why didn't I think of this before? It makes sense that kids would sleep better together and be happier with the closeness of another human that they love. Most of us would believe the contrary (and Sofia has woken Gabe up a couple of times), but it just makes sense. I'm not saying that this is a cure all for sleep problems, because like I said, things are not perfect, but don't be afraid to try at least if you are running out of options!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Music

I had to do it. I got carried away making a playlist of Christmas music. I know that it may be too early, but I love love love Christmas music. Why I get all teary eyed when I hear Judy Garland sing "Have yourself a merry little Christmas,"... I do not know. Christmas music brings such a great spirit into the home. I am already adding a disclaimer that some of the people I chose are cheesy. Clay Aiken is a dork (not that we all aren't too), but the boy has pipes for singing Christmas music. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Look Alike

It is always funny to see who people say your kids look like. People always say that Gabe looks just like Chris, and I never really saw it all the way, until my father-in-law sent this picture. Holy Cow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma

We've all heard the old saying "Ignorance is bliss." Let me tell you friends, when it comes to what we eat, Ignorance is bliss. Once you read this book, you will not be able to eat the same. I promise. This book traces the history of 4 different meals. 1)Mcdonalds 2)Whole Foods 3)Food from a local amazing farm 4)He does his own hunting and gathering for a meal. This book is not a fast read. I actually didn't finish the last 75 pages in time for book club, so you may be thinking that it is boring, but it isn't. It is just a lot of information to process. The first 50 pages alone talk about corn. While I'm on the subject, the overuse of corn in our country is freaky. You'd have to read the book to understand, but the next time you go to the grocery story, see how many items you can find in the cereal isle that don't have some sort of corn as an ingredient.
Another topic they talk about that is insane, is where our meat comes from. What is injected into beef to make them beef up, ready to slaughter so fast, how many organic "free range" chickens are still treated horribly and live in disgusting circumstances.
The book even explores the idea of organic. Organic is better then most alternatives, but since this market has been industrialized, it too has many many flaws. Eating locally is the best. Okay, this was a lameo cliff note version of the book... but there is so much to talk about, I don't even know where to start. We had such a great conversation about this book at book club. Although I still have many things to work on concerning being aware of where my food comes, here are some things I am working on to try to be more conscientious of not only what I eat, but where it really comes from.
1)I buy local eggs from free range grass fed chickens (this is important) from a friend every week.
2)I try not to buy anything that has "High fructose corn syrup" on the label or "partially hydrogenated oil."
3)In the summer, I buy pretty much all of my produce locally or pick as much as I can. I actually have a little bit of an obsession with this if you will remember from a previous post of mine. I like seeing where my food comes from. I like harvesting. I like being outside with my kids.
4) I try to make as much homemade food as I can... thus avoiding processed food as much as possible. (Obviously we eat processed foods too... I just try to keep it to a minimum). I am on a homemade applesauce kick right now, and I try to make homemade bread when I can.
5) Meat... I am having a hard time deciding what to do with meat. I am not ready to throw in the towel and become a vegetarian, but I do have issues with meat. I buy non-hormone oregon chicken... but this probably isn't good enough. I am not sure what I will do with chicken. I also found a place that sells oregon beef that is hormone free. I really want to find someone who will sell me part of their grass fed cow next summer so I can freeze it. The ultimate thing I am learning about meat is that we really should eat it sparingly. I need to make more vegetarian meals, and I also am starting to use less meat when I do cook with it.

This list is not mean to make people feel bad if they are not doing the things on this list, because like I said, I have a lot of things to work on. I was already doing some of these things before I read the book, but the book made me want to be even better. Read the book and tell me what you think!!

Primary Program

Sofia, Gabe, and the beloved "Baby Chuck" before church
Yesterday we had our primary program at church. I am the music person in primary, so I was really excited for the kiddos, and also a little excited to have it over with so I can just focus on Christmas music now!! The kids did such an awesome job, and the spirit was so strong when the kids sang. I love working with the little kids. It is the best calling in the church. I love that in primary we focus on the simplicity of principles instead of making everything overly complicated. I love that children are humble and teach us how to be better people. I love all of the songs that we have worked on this last year, but there are two songs that touch me so much when the kiddos sing them. I thought that I would share the lyrics in case you need a pick me up today :).
"If the Savior Stood Beside Me"

If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?
Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?
Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I say the things I say?
Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?
Would I try to share the gospel? Would I speak more reverently
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

He is always near me, though I do not see Him there
And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care
So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me.

"I'll Walk With You"
If you don't walk as most people do
Some people walk away from you
But I won't, I won't
If you don't talk as most people do
Some people talk and laugh at you
But I won't, I won't
I'll walk with you
I'll talk with you
That's how I'll show my love for you

Jesus turned away from none,
He gave his love to everyone
So I will, I will.
Jesus Blessed all he could see
then turned and said,"Come follow me,"
So I will, I will
I will, I will
I'll walk with you
I'll talk with you
that's how I"ll show my love for you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Alright Karli, I will go along with being tagged. I will name 8 people at the end to be tagged, but don't feel like you have to do it. Here we go:
8 Favorite TV Shows:
1. Ellen
2. Oprah
3. The Office
4. America's Next Top Model
5. Grey's Anatomy (I know it is trashy... I need to wean myself)
6. American Idol (although I am really bored with it the last couple of season and don't really watch).
7. What not to wear
8. Baby Story (I am obsessed with this show for a few months after giving birth, and then I have no desire to watch it anymore).

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Blew my nose a lot. I am feeling congested and yucky.
2. Hung out at Heather's house with family in Eugene.
3. Went to Kris' house to do a family birthday party for Sofia.
4. Exchanged shoes at REI
5. Made cupcakes for the fiesta
6. Read a few more pages from "The Omnivore's Dilemma" (book review to come soon)
7. Went to Trader Joes to stock up on food. I love Trader Joes... we need one in Corvallis.
8. Worried as little kids kept almost hitting each other on accident instead of the pinata.

8 Favorite Restaurants (Disclaimer... this is hard since we don't go out to eat with kids very much... it's just not fun with kids)

1. Cafe Rio (I used to dream about it after we moved here from Utah)
2. Tucanos (Also in Utah.... the best Brazilian food)
3. American Dream (the best pizza in Corvallis)
4. Big River (I have only had a meal there once, because it is spendy... but if I could I would eat there more).
5. Sweet Tomatoes (food is not that awesome, but it is an easy place with kids).
6. Jamba Juice
7. Nearly Normal
8. New Morning Bakery

8 Things on My Wish List

1. To learn to have better self control
2. High Metabolism (come on, why didn't I get Buddy's genes?)
3. A ranch style house with a family room
4. A trip to Brazil and to Machu Pichu in Peru (Elisa... we will visit you someday if you stay long enough)
5. To live abroad with my family
6. To have the courage/time/resources/energy to start my own non-profit.
7. To become a better musician and write children' music.
8. Perspective. I just want to be happy and to have a happy family. I wish there was a magic fairy dust that could be sprinkled to help give me an eternal perspective when I am sweating the small stuff and help me prioritize my life better.

8 People I Tag to Play Next (Although I know that many of you won't do it)
1. Niki
2. Kim
3. Jaime
4. Anita
5. Sharon
6. Adrienne
7. Tonya
8. Margaret

Friday, November 7, 2008

Be the Change

Warning: This is a happy, cheesy, and optimistic post ahead. Leave your negative thoughts and energy at the door.
I have gone through an emotional roller coaster since we have found out about our new President. Here are a few examples of why.
1)I am so hopeful and happy. The day after we heard the news, we were having a family dance party (yes, we really have those) to the 'Yes we Can" video. I got all teary eyed when Sofia and Gabe held and hands and danced around in a circle with Sofia chanting "Yes we Can." Do you all have this picture in your head? It was so sweet, and how can I not be hopeful... it was so pure, sweet, and foreshadowing of the great future in store for my children. I just have to believe they have a great future a head of them, despite some of the awful things going on in the world right now.
2)Things that made me sad. Reading in the news, on blogs, and listening to anti-Obama people's reactions to his winning. Some people have been saying some craaaaazy things this past week. I'll admit that I have jumped in a couple of times to defend my beliefs, but it has just been hard for me to handle the ignorance.
What do do from here:
It is obvious that people all over the country are disagreeing about pretty much everything. The truth is, I could post 100 more political discussions, and we may never all agree on all of the issues. This is why we need to all be better and rise up to become the UNITED States of America (key word...united). It's that simple, we need to unite. It is so easy for us to all focus on our differences, but the truth is, positive change will only come about when we come together and work to make the change we want. I think that Obama is a genuine guy with good intentions, but the truth is (and what he has been saying all a long), is that the change has to come from us. We are all different, but most of us want the same things for our future, and especially for our children's future-Happiness,joy, education, opportunities, strong character.. the list goes on. Let's stop focusing on our differences and how we all disagree and use that energy to become better people and to make a better country. I know this may all sound overly optimistic to some of you, but this is my blog, and I am allowed to be however I want to be.
I have been brainstorming and setting goals as to how I can improve my self and the country, and here are a few ideas that I have had.
1) Simplify my life. We live in a society that buys too much, eats too much, and worries to much. I am going to continue to buy second hand as much as I can to cut down on waste (do we all realize what we do to other countries so that we can have lots of stuff?). I feel like I have been spending way too much lately on things I don't need... and guess what? It doesn't make me any happier. I will not go into debt so that I can live a lifestyle I don't need. I am going to work on being healthier (I signed up for a half marathon). I am going to only add things to my life if they bring balance. I am going to try and enjoy my family and my life more. I have a great life. What a waste for me to not take time every day to appreciate what I have. I am going to keep a gratitude journal to remind myself of how fortunate I am.
2) I am going to drive less and bike more when possible (or stay home more).
3)I am going to find causes I am passionate about and find ways to help. I am thinking about looking into becoming a CASA volunteer. Chris and I talked and thought that it would be a great idea to spend Thanksgiving this year doing service for others. I want to show God that I am thankful by my actions more.
4)I need to work harder to receive spiritual guidance and to become more like the Savior. I need to put into practice what I read in the scriptures(oh and I guess that means I should read the scriptures more regularly).

Those are a few ideas that I have. I am so so far from perfect, and I am sure that I won't be perfect in working on my goals, but I thought that writing them down may help keep me focused. Imagine what this country would be like if we all committed to stop fighting and to instead use our energy for good. I can not look at these pictures of my sweet children, thinking about their futures and not try to think of how I can do my part to make things better. Actions speak louder than words, so let's all stop talking and fighting so much and start doing!!!

My Cutie Pies

Chris took the kids up to this new wedding location a couple of weeks ago to go pick up some equipment, and left me at home to take a much needed nap. Thanks Chris. He took these adorable pictures of my sweeties that just melt my heart.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My weird prayer

Today I gave the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting. No big deal, right? Well, usually I would not even think twice about having to do this, but I gave the weirdest most scatter brained prayer today. It may not have been as bad as Ms. South Carolina's answer in the video, but it was so scattered. In no particular order, I prayed that we could all remember to vote, thanks for the testimonies (that I didn't hear since I was in the foyer half of the time), thankfulness for this great country that we live in. The more awkward my prayer got, the more I felt like I had to say something to counteract the weirdness, when I really should have just ended it. Oh well, as my excuse, I did wake up this morning at 5:30 with daylight savings time and I did have to last minute hand off a wild Gabe so that I could even get up there. Oh well, my heart was in the right place... just not my mind.


Halloween was a hoot this year. Between all of my family having birthday in October and November, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas... this is a busy time of the year. The kids had fun dressing up and going downtown and to the trunk or treat at the church. Sofia said that her favorite part was handing out candy to kids at the church. Besides having a good time with the familia, my favorite part was eating some of the fruits of her hard work (she's too little to eat a lot of candy... it was my duty to help her out).