Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Reading

I've been getting some more reading done lately. I'm great at starting books. Not so great at actually finishing them. These books were good enough to get to the end. Here's my unsolicited opinion.

The House that Cleans Itself

The basic principle is that you first need to change your home to better work with your family's needs and habits. Only then can you work on changing any behavior that needs to be fixed.

Likes: It makes perfect sense. Some people are naturally neat and organized. (I am not one of those people. I keep things pretty clean, but clean and neat are two different things.) I have accepted that housework is not tops of my priority list. I think with some changes I could have a house that (almost) cleans itself. She gives lots of practical ways to achieve this.
Dislikes: I will note that this changing your environment thing looks to be a looong process. If I steadily work at it, I guess it will take me no less than several months. And with the little guys to attend to, I'm thinking it will take even longer.

Bottom Line: This provides a logical process for streamlining your home to fit your family's needs. Definitely worth a read if you are not naturally neat and tidy. I will have to keep you posted about how it goes.

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood

The basic theory of Love and Logic is that you use empathy (aka love) and logic to teach your children to make good choices and to think for themselves. Sounds like common sense but I guess if it was so easy for me I wouldn't be reading all these parenenting books. :P

Likes: This is a practical book. A few of the strategies seemed like they won't work for us exactly as written, but they were easily adaptable. Oh yes, the scripts! That is my most favorite part. They tell you what to say when your child misbehaves. I seriously made note cards so I can memorize the phrases I want to use. You've heard, "Consistency is key!" Well this is all about consistent responses and logical consequences. For me, knowing what to say and how to react BEFORE we are in the moment is crucial. Otherwise I am likely to respond in anger and frustration. Not good.
Some of the things from the book are things I do already, like offering choices on inconsequential things. So I am comfortable incorporating more "Love and Logic" into my parenting.

Dislikes: In the book it says that a healthy parent-child bond is crucial for this approach to work, but they don't seem to elaborate much on how to achieve that. (The Baby Book by Dr Sears is a much better book for developing a healthy attachment with the under 2yo set.)
They propose that developmental levels don't apply to their strategies, but in my experience some sense of child development is important when dealing with little ones.
Also some of the wording took on a more "shaming" flavor than I'm comfortable with, but it's one of those take-what-you-can-use things. I'm guessing that a lot is in the delivery.

The bottom line: This is a great read for anyone with kids in the 2 to 6 who wants some new, effective discipline strategies that will translate to the teenage years and beyond. I thought it was useful enough that I tracked down the audio version for Papa K to listen to during his commute.

Ordinary Mom Extraordanary God

A Christian devotional book with short 2-3 page essays. As the title implies, it's written specifically for moms.

Likes: I like the devotional format. I can grab some quick encouragement as I drink my morning coffee. It is written in a friendly, conversational tone. Ok, so I'm only half-way through but so far all the topics have been applicable to my life. :)

Dislikes: Really not much to dislike. I guess a more scripture references would be nice if someone wanted to study a topic more in depth, but I don't think that's the intent of the book.

Bottom Line: I am enjoying it and I recommend it. :)

I've got a few more books on the nightstand: Raising Your Spirited Child and Grace Based Parenting are almost finished, but in limbo. And I just picked up Radical Homemakers, Playful Parenting and Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful

Disclaimers: I have not been prompted to or compensated for this post. Just an good old fashioned book review. The links to Amazon are affiliate links, but I never get paid anything from them so I don't really take it all that seriously.
As an aside, I do read books I don't care for. But I never finish them and therefore don't really offer an opinion unless asked.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's Electric!

My oldest is OBESESSED with all thing eletrical... especially lamps and fans. So I went with a robot/lights theme this year for his birthday. I didn't do as much as I wanted because I was sick (sick-as-a-dog-flu-sick) the week before. :(
Here are a few pics...

Lightbulb Cake (shaped from a sheet cake) made by the talented Dirkey.

Birthday banner was made by me. This was a super easy project, but I'll put the instructions in another post with a better picture.
I snapped a pic of W and played around with it on Picnik.com. I had some plain 4x6 notecards I affixed to the back and wrote the "thank you's" on there. Theme appropriate and cute! I'm so pleased with how they came out. (BTW the background is a playsilk we pulled out of the toy bin.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A fond farewell to 3!

Can I just say, I have no idea why 2 year olds get labeled "terrible 2's." Sure they are curious and start getting into trouble. Maybe it's because that's when tantrums start for some kids? (For my short tempered kids the tantrums start before one, but anyway...) I'm sorry my friends, THREE is the true terrible age. I have often thought that maybe I'm dealing with something a little "extra" with my guy, but only time will tell on that front. However, most mom's of 3's seem to agree. This is a very challenging age. They are trying so hard to assert their independence that they practically push us over the edge. Yes, I know that four will come with it's own unique challenges. I know enough to know that it's pretty naive to say the worst is behind you.

It's not all terrible though. Three has also been filled with some lingering baby snuggles and some hilarious commentary on life. My son's imaginary friends have been most colorful!
Sure I'm always a little sad to see another milestone distancing us from our first baby. The challenges of this age have really been a catalyst for my own personal growth. I am learning to be more patient, more self-less and humble. (Seeing your child yell at you exactly the way you've have yelled at them is pretty humbling.) I have had to re-evaluate what works and what doesn't work in our family. I daily seek God and ask him for the strength to do a good job.

Still, I say FAREWELL to three with a smile on my face. Happy 4th Birthday, baby boy!