Monday, December 26, 2011

Our 2011 Christmas Story

Merry Christmas!

Well, the kids are all busy playing with their new toys and the kittens are working on taking down my tree. So I'll take a moment and share how our Christmas weekend went.

Thursday we were blessed with a full day of good health for the boys. This is a true blessing for this months as the boys have been sick almost every day of the month. We took the opportunity to go into St. George and finish our shopping. That evening we went to the Tuacahn Center for a wonderful festival of Christmas lights and a Live Nativity in their outdoor theater. They brought in live animals including camels. It was a special night with a very memorable wind chill. We ended up going to the DI to buy warmer clothes for the boys. We were very grateful for the night because it was one of the few evenings we were able to go out and celebrate the season.

Friday was a tough day. The boys relapsed back into a very sickly routine of terrible diapers. I was very grateful that grandma was able to come to the house and watch the boys for a while while Leif and I did the Christmas stocking shopping. It was a much needed out.

Saturday (Christmas Eve) I woke up feeling good. I worked on thinking positive the night before. My sweet husband helped me throughout the day to get the house cleaned up really well. We finally decided to trim some of the branches of our Christmas tree. It looked so much better and it filled the house with a wonderful Christmas smell. Throughout the day our home was filled with the cheerful Christmas carols which worked on healing  my weary mother heart (because of my boys' sickness.)

Towards the middle of the afternoon it was clear that the boys were still sick and I would have to stay home from the family Christmas party to be sure Great Grandma and Grandpa Dixon were not exposed to the very contagious illness the boys have (whatever it might be.) I was surprised at the peace that I felt about missing the important gathering. I missed the family a lot and I felt bad that I wasn't able to enjoy all of their company and join in the festivities (thank you aunt Stacey for coming up to visit me, your visit meant a lot to me.) But I felt a calming peace as I made the salad to send down with Leif and I planned what I would do with the little boys while Leif and Jakob were gone. Added to that peace was the wonderful surprise I got in the mail. My sister sent me a box of her homemade goodies. Anyone who knows my sister knows that she is an excellent cook and baker. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and  I was not disappointed in her amazing talent! Thank you Heather!!!

That evening I sent Leif to the the video rental store (Netflix and Internet were not reliable enough for this night.) While he was gone I enjoyed a short and sweet moment of quiet creativity with my boys. With Netflix not working we had the TV off and Caleb asked to do an art project. I was surprised to find that Jakob wanted to do one too. I brought out the large paper, cotton balls, and glue. With Jon Schmidt Christmas quietly playing on Pandora my boys proceeded to build their own igloos topped off with a few cowboys and army men to hold the fort. It was such a simple moment. But I was grateful for the calm love that filled our home for that moment.

I spent the rest of the evening  caring for the little boys. Bedtime finally came and I watched a beautiful short clip of the Nativity online with Caleb. That was another special moment. I tucked the boys in bed and waited for Leif and Jakob to come home. When they got home Jakob was wound up tighter then the Energizer Bunny. I forced him to lay under the Christmas tree and watch the lights while he listened to the Christmas music to help him calm down. Eventually he was able to calm down somewhat and Caleb had woken up in the meantime. So we sat with them and read the final page in our Christmas Advent book and let them open their Christmas Eve present (PJ's, of course.) From there it was off to bed so Santa could come! For some reason we didn't really have a hard time getting the kids to bed at that point;)  Just after getting the boys to bed Leif was called out for an EMT call. Someone drunk driving. Luckily she didn't hurt anyone. FINALLY Leif and I were together and we had a great time setting out our gifts and leaving the rest up to Santa:) This year I would say we did a good job staying with our Three Gift goal. The only side tracking was for Jakob's much needed extra pajamas and Caleb's potty training necessities.

(Sunday) Christmas morning didn't come soon enough for any of us. Leif and I always wake up several times throughout the night leading up to Christmas morning:) The boys actually slept in until almost 8:00. This was one of the few years where we didn't have any grandparents with us on Christmas morning. Though it's fun either way, I enjoyed it being just us. Especially since Caleb struggled and whined a lot because he had to be patient.;) Truly, it was a wonderful Christmas morning.:)  We all opened our presents and I was so touched by how grateful the kids were for their presents. Just hearing Caleb's "Oh ntchu (Thank you) Brother!" when he opened a gift from Jakob was enough to melt my heart, but then to hear Jakob repeatedly and randomly say thank you for his gifts has definitely done the trick!

Once we got the living room cleaned up Grandma and Grandpa Baron came up to our house after they came home from church. It was nice to hear how the service went and we felt bad that we didn't make it. But sometimes you just do the best you can. We all had a great time opening more presents and giving a few. We are blessed to live close to grandparents.

Christmas afternoon we experienced another one of those special and quiet moments. The words "all is calm, all is bright" come to mind.  After the gift opening and festivities had settled down I found myself surrounded by my family but it was completely peaceful. No crying, no fighting, no one making requests. Everyone was completely content to play on their own. There wasn't even any music in the background.  Just quiet calmness. This was a special gift in itself!

The rest of the day and into the night was filled with lots of toys, candy, and a good Sunday movie. It was a very Merry Christmas for our little family!

Monday started very early for us! Leif was called to a fire in Kanab with our local fire department. He was there from 3 to 10AM. It was a large fire and Leif's first structure fire. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. Though it is a sad story.  I am very proud of him and so grateful for his willingness to serve his community! The rest of the day will be spent as a Play Day! Leif is playing his new NBA computer game and Jakob is trying to figure out his new Star Wars Legos Wii game. At some point we will help Caleb learn how to play his new Grover Wii game. The boys are happy and cheerful but they are still not healthy. So we look forward to tomorrow when their test results should be in. Gratefully we have A LOT to be thankful for and much to distract us from the frustration of their illness.

I am so very grateful for this precious season of the year that turns our hearts to the goodness in each other and ultimately gives us a whole month to focus on Jesus Christ. For without Him, I would be lost in every sense of the word. Thank you Dear Father for sending us Your Son!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ways to Fight the Flu and Diarrhea

We are finally on the mend after a terrible case of vomiting and diarrhea that wouldn't let my boys go. After three+ weeks of the illness cycling through my family Leif and I were at our wits end. I finally decided to buckle down and figure out how to fight this with the knowledge that I've gained through my holistic health studies. Why I let it go on so long before doing this I have no idea! But I did finally come up with 2 Very Simple remedies and I truly believe they helped my boys finally sleep without vomiting or Diarrhea.

I mixed 2 Tablespoons of Pure Honey with 1 teaspoon high quality Cinnamon. I was thrilled to see that my boys licked this off of a (baby sized) spoon like it was a lolly pop. I just needed to be sure to wipe their little mouths so the cinnamon didn't irritate their skin. But they didn't let that little irritation stop them from sucking this down several times a day. I really believe it helped!
Here's why I used these two ingredients:
Cinnamon is one of the world's most widely used digestive aids, helping to improve most gastrointestinal problems. It is greatly effective in relieving intestinal gas and eases diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It also contains propanoic acid, which helps to stop the formation of stomach ulcers without interfering in the production of the gastric acid needed for good digestion. Germany's Commission E approves Cinnamon for loss of appetite and indigestion.
Cinnamon is now on the list of antivirals. An Israeli researcher has demonstrated that a Cinnamon extract has been able to quickly and effectively immunize fowl against Newcastle disease virus, and further studies on Avian Flu H9, HIV virus and herpes simplex-1 also achieved positive results. Furthermore, Cinnamon extract may also be useful in combating the deadly Bird Flu H5.
Honey: In treating diarrhea, honey promotes the rehydration of the body and more quickly clears up the diarrhea and any vomiting and stomach upsets. The anti-bacterial properties of honey, both the peroxide and non-peroxide, are effective in the laboratory against MRSA strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and are sometimes responsible for the closing of hospital wards.

I monitored and planned their food. My boys were fine during the day so they would eat. But their stomach wasn't breaking the food down fast enough and it would all come up at night when they slept. So this is how we ate:
Breakfast: We had a regular breakfast (cereal, toast, yogurt, etc.)
Snacks: Juices, cinnamon toast, bananas or applesauce (no snacks after 3:00PM)
Lunch: For lunch we ate oatmeal (quick oats) with a lot of cinnamon. We used soy milk to limit dairy. Oatmeal could cause problems for some. You could make hot cereal with brown rice (google it for a recipe or purchase it at the store.)
Dinner: This is the most important meal to monitor! You want it to be light and smooth. No chunks! I made a chicken broth soup with boiled potatoes. I added a Butternut squash pasta sauce as a base. It still wasn't quite thick enough so I drained some of the juice out of a can of southwestern chicken veggie soup and added the contents into the pot. After bringing it to a boil I poured it into my Vitamix and blended it until smooth. It was very tastey but we ended up wanting to drink it.;)  This was the perfect meal to ease the stomachs. It had a touch of garlic and a touch of cayenne both have soothing and healing properties. The next night we had leftover soup, mashed potatoes, and bananas dipped in cool whip.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Have I Ever Told You?

Have I ever told you what my absolute all time favorite thing to see is during this particular season of my life? Well let me tell you...

I LOVE to watch my precious children play! I love to sit back away from their action and watch them play. Whether they be all by themselves with their little toys or side by side each other playing together, the sight is precious to me! Even more precious is when I hear their little voices as they play. To hear my sweet Caleb say to Jakob, "yes sir (sure) Brother, we can play dat (that)..."  Priceless!

From JJ 3 Months

I'm Praying...

I'm Praying that we are at the end of this incredible sickness that has gripped us. I'm hoping and praying!  My JJ needs the chance to rebuild his strength and gain the weight that he's lost.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Going on Three Weeks

If I have to clean up one more puddle of puke or worse, I might just go insane! My kids have had one type of flu or another for the past three weeks. I am So Weary! I won't go into detail. I just needed to vent for a minute. Thanks!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

3rd Annual Country Women's Christmas Candy Making Party

I just returned home from my annual candy making party. It was another great time filled with holiday festivities and spirit and great company.

My sweet friend ended up with a house full of sick kids this year. So we held the party at the church instead of her house. We missed her a lot but the set up at the church went great! I wanted the day to still feel cozy cottage like. So I tried to decorate and bring in the Christmas spirit. My precious mother in law came to the church and helped me set up. We hung a wreath on the door to welcome my guests. Then we wrapped the three large tables in wrapping paper. We used chair back covers to cover the chairs and then wrapped pretty bows around the chairs. This added a special touch. I set up a small fiberoptic Christmas tree. Then to add the final touch I set up a CD player with Christmas music and turned on my candle warmer with a Scentsy Caramel Pecan scent. *Perfect!*

To make things easy and the least divided as possible I brought my microwave to set up in the room with us so that no one had to leave to melt all of the different ingredients. This was really nice as it kept us all visiting and laughing together.

I always love to see who is able to come, both those who I know and then those who I don't. This year we had two ladies come that I was able to meet for the first time. I just Love that this party pulls people out of the woodwork and brings people back year after year.

We made A LOT of wonderful treats this year. Several repeats from years past and a few new treats as well. all of the recipes are things that we can make with a microwave, plenty of chocolate, and several glass bowls. Here are the recipes:
Here are the links to the recipes:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Holiday Truffles
Toffee Peanut Clusters
Oreo Cream Cheese Truffles (AKA: Hosts of Ghosts for Halloween)
Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Rods
Butterscotch Treats

1 C. Butterscotch pieces Nestle Tollhouse
1/2 C. Creamy peanut butter
3 c. Corn flakes
On cookie Sheet with edge, cover bottom w/ wax paper, set aside
Put PB and Butterscotch pieces in a 2 qt pan. Stir and melt on Medium heat, when all melted, remove
fromt heat, add corn flakes stirring until well coated. You can add more cornflakes until they are all
drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet, place in fridge- and they'll set.

It was a wonderful afternoon filled with the treasured sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas. I am so grateful for the chance that I have to give back to my wonderful friends, old and new.
Merry Christmas Dear Friends!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Home School Month in Review November

November was a busy month. But we managed to fit Home School in with my Finals. Jakob also went on his first extremely long road trip with Grandma and Grandpa Baron to New Mexico. It was a 12 hour trip and he loved it (not necessarily the drive;)

Our main focus this month was on Jets/United States Air Force and Thanksgiving/Gratitude. The other subjects came in as Netflix Documentaries. So here's the rundown of some of our favorites.

Jets and the USAF: (I can't remember the books that I already returned to the library:(
Dog Fights Season 1 and 2 (documentary), Supersonic Saints Audio Book, the Aviation Nation 2011 air show. It was spectacular!! Jakob went to White Sands Missile Range Museum and loved that as well!

Thanksgiving/Gratitude: The Untold Story of the Mayflower (Movie/documentary) We watched this as a family and enjoyed the history and the story. I would recommend purchasing this DVD for your Home School curriculum. Standin' Tall by Janeen Brady Audio Book GRATITUDE (they loved this!) BOOKS: Fire Fighters Thanksgiving by Meribeth Boelts, Thank you Sarah the Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Hales Anderson, Squantos Journey by Joseph Bruchac

Creatures That Defy Evolution: Vol. 1 (AWESOME!! There are 3 volumes.)
How Smart are Animals?: Nova scienceNOW
Lizard Kings: On the Trail of the Monitor
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Cleaner
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Smaller
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Stronger
Making Stuff: Nova: Making Stuff Smarter
Animal Planet: Safari: Saba and Rhino's...

Math: I'm still really happy with the BJU Press Math DVD!!

Creative Thinking: Jakob made a photo collage of some of the things he is thankful for.

Gospel Studies: We started something new. We give the boys a piece of paper and a can of crayons as we get ready for scripture study. Then the boys illustrate what we're reading about on their paper. Jakob writes the chapter we read at the top of the paper. We'll compile them in a book as we go. So far, so good! I'm still very happy with the morning devotional book that I purchased The One Year DEVOTIONS for Preschoolers by Crystal Bowman.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Lighting of the Christmas Tree

Written Sunday November 27, 2011:
Tonight we spent the evening putting the Christmas tree up and stringing the lights. The evening was really special. The boys watched a Christmas movie while Leif and I strung the lights. Stringing the lights isn't really the fun part. But it was fun working together and enjoying the moment. Caleb and JJ were especially excited about the beautiful twinkling lights this year. They were both bubbling over with glee. The tree was finished just as the kid's movie ended so we transitioned right into the bedtime routine. Instead of scriptures tonight we gathered next to the tree and I read the boys the Legend of the Candy Cane. This is a story that revolves around Jesus Christ and the True meaning of Christmas. While I read the story Leif passed around cups of Cinnamon Eggnog. We couldn't have felt more CHRISTmas Spirit if we tried.

I am so grateful for my precious family. Life can get so busy and overwhelming at times. I am so grateful for a husband who will take the time with us to invite the Spirit of Christ into our home through these little traditions and special moments. The calm that comes into our life is invaluable.

I am most grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who brings meaning to all of these traditions and festivities. He truly is The Light of the World!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Healthy Habits Contest!

My sister in Law Heidi has put together a great contest to help us all feel more healthy for the new year. I want to invite anyone else who wants to join us! Let Me Know!!

Here are the Rules (Written by Heidi): 

1. By the end of tomorrow  (Dec 6) everyone will email me (HeidiBoydPotter at back with your BMI (Body Mass Index). If you go HERE  It will ask you a couple questions and calculate it for you. I think it is better to go off of this number, rather than actual pounds lost. As we are all different sizes and have different goals :) I will keep a record, so that you don't have to announce it to the whole group, and I'll keep track of everyones, so that we know who the winner is at the end.

2. By the end of tomorrow (Dec 6) everyone will email me (HeidiBoydPotter at back with your goals. For example, Mine are... I would like to lose 20 pounds, Exercise 6 days a week for a minimum of 30 mins and wake up before 6 am every morning and go and read motivating material with my hubby :) Your goals can be whatever you wish. I'm just simply making you write them down and say them to somebody. Ya' welcome :)

3. EVERY monday, you must respond to the weekly email that I send. You will respond with your updated BMI, and how your goals are going for you, and, if you wish, any recipe ideas, and/or tips you learned the previous week that you would like to share! But, I AT LEAST need a quick check in email with your BMI.

4. As far as what you eat. This is not too strict, However, if you wanna win, you will do whatever it takes. I suggest going off of soda completely. Narrow your sugar intake way down and eat less carbs and more proteins and grains. You can use for healthy recipe ideas. Try to avoid going out to eat as much as possible during this time. Plan ahead. Make lunches for yourself the night before. If you do go out to eat, on the weekend, than CHOOSE WISELY. For example, ask for no mayo or extra sauces on sandwiches. Choose a salad with a light dressing. AVOID YELLOW CHEESE!! It's no good. Just trust me. Think about switching to Almond milk. There is better health benefits than regular milk. Eat Greek yogurt, instead of regular..Eat lots of veggies and fruit.

5. If you miss reporting on 2 emails. You are DISQUALIFIED. So don't do that. If you had a bad week, report anyway. We are all going to have bad weeks, let's be honest, it's the holidays. SO, just report, and keep going. It will be worth it.

6. You will take a picture of yourself every week and hang it up on your bathroom mirror to see each week. (this is the part I dread) 

7. Every morning, you will wake up and say OUT LOUD one of these two options " I am Alive. I am Alert. I feel GREAT! " or "I am Happy. I am Healthy. I am TERRIFIC!" and no... I'm not kidding. You WILL do this. If you feel so inclined, you will also repeat these thoughts to yourself as you go to bed at night. 

GREAT! Now, here is the PRIZE idea I have..

* Everyone, besides the winner, will put $25 towards buying the winner a gift, and if necessary, mailing it to that person if it cannot be delivered by you. Think of how fun it will be to be the winner and receive 8 thoughtful gifts in the mail. I know right ???!! Oh, and PS don't send a restaurant gift card, it needs to be an actual present. Be creative :)

THE Competition Begins NOW and ends March 5. We have 90 days to make this happen!!! If you know of other people that would like to join, please send me their email address and they may participate. 

And remember * This is not a DIET, Diet's have a beginning and an ENDING. We are making a healthy eating HABIT. Habits take 30 days to develop, so be patient with yourself for the first month and keep plugging along. 

Alrighty folks!!!  I figure, if we are going to do this, we are going to keep ourselves accountable and on course. BECAUSE, We are so SUCCESSFUL!! Yay team!! Now, happy healthy shopping for food!!

Email me back with any questions!  We will also set up a blog as soon as we get going to help us stay in touch. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Tree Hunting 2011

This year we almost didn't go Christmas tree hunting. Our house feels smaller and smaller and we hesitated about getting anything else to take up space. But I'm really glad we decided to go. We went with Leif's parents as usual and his dad led the way as usual.

Well, this year we ended up weaving into the hills of the Kaibab mountain and it took a while to find a spot that didn't have too much burn out from forest fires. This lengthy drive could have been miserable. But we were very blessed and the kids stayed happy and content. Leif and I did something that we don't do enough. We sang together for the children. We sang all of the Christmas carols that we could think of. It was extra special when Jakob joined in with the songs he knew. Otherwise the kids just sat back and took in the moment and the Spirit that was with us. One of those truly special moments as a family.

Eventually we found a spot with some trees that might work. That was after the boys and I got to ride in the back of the truck while Leif followed in our car. We had gotten all of the snow gear on and I didn't want to stuff everyone back in their car seats just for a little ride up the road. Jakob and I sang Jingle Bells on this little trip and I was able to explain to him the story that the song told. He thought it was neat that we were "dashing through the snow" just like the song says. Caleb loved pointing out the tall trees and at one point he was helping me count them. JJ sat in the cab of the truck with Grandma and Grandpa.

Upon our arrival to our hunting spot we piled out of our vehicles and started walking through the beautiful forest. There was snow on the ground and a bright blue sky. We hiked through the snow covered hills and before we knew it we had found the trees we were looking for. The hike out there wasn't a big deal. Grandma helped Caleb. Leif carried JJ, and the rest of us walked. Well, the hike back wasn't as easy. I didn't bring the carry pack on the hike (I left it in the car.) We had hiked further then we realized. But you do what you have to do when you're in this kind of situation. Grandma took Caleb again (who now insisted on being carried.) I tied my scarf into a makeshift sling and carried JJ. Leif carried one tree and Mark carried the other. Jakob carried himself and he may have been the loudest grumbler out of the bunch;) We hiked up a hill and made it back to our cars though and we all lived to tell about it.

The final adventure of the afternoon came as we were driving out of the canyon, right at the last bend. The snow had piled up on this particular hill and though both vehicles had both picked up speed to get through the snow the truck started to get stuck and we had to stop. Fortunately the truck got out. Our little car didn't. I really didn't want to get stuck. But it was actually kind of fun trying to work together and I was blessed with more strength then I thought I had. And the children stayed quiet and understanding. The funniest moment was when Mark climbed in our little Ford Focus with the little boys and backed it way up. He then came back around the bend at top speed racing with the boys hoping to break through the deep snow. He didn't quite make it through the snow but we all got a great laugh out of the attempt. Just as we were trying to put traction down on the road (bark, limbs, etc) a large 4X4 truck came up the road and promptly pulled us right out without a second thought. A true blessing!

We wound ourselves down the mountain toward home to the sound of the little boys first and ongoing   expressions of discomfort and hunger. I didn't mind them at the moment because I knew we were on our way home. I was just grateful they waited this long to breakdown.

We arrived home with two really nice trees, a few sunburned faces, and several great stories. We all went in the house and dished us up yet another plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. Great memories with a great family. We are Truly Blessed!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tom the Turkey Stole the Show This Year! - Pit Roasting a 36 Pound Turkey!

I have mentioned in previous posts that we raised a turkey especially for Thanksgiving this year. Well, he grew up and we prepped him for our Thanksgiving feast. WOW! Was he Big!!

He wouldn't fit in our oven. So we dug a deep pit outside and lined it with bricks. In the meantime, I pulled the turkey out of the fridge (it took up a full shelf) and I put him in my MIL's bathtub, filled it with water, and poured in about 12+ cups of salt. There was actually the top inch of the turkey that didn't get covered in water. So I poured a bag of ice over it to keep it cold. After a few hours in the tub I seasoned and stuffed the turkey with spices, fruits, veggies, chicken broth and ginger ale. Then we wrapped the turkey in about four layers of tin foil. We then wrapped it in chicken wire.

Going back to the pit: In order to heat the bricks up we started a fire the night before Thanksgiving and kept it burning through the night. Leif and his mom took shifts to keep the wood on the fire. At around 7:00A Leif and I went down to put the turkey in the pit. We moved the coals to the side, lowered the turkey into the pit breast down, threw a wet sheet over it, covered that with coals (next time I would use burlap because the sheet held a lot of water and put some of the coals out that could have been useful for the top of the turkey), and then we buried the turkey with the dirt that we had dug out to make the pit. He cooked in there for 6 hours.

While he was cooking we cooked and baked all of the other yummy fixins' for the dinner. I ended up making three really yummy pies. I made a German chocolate, a pumpkin, and a pumpkin cream cheese. I used one of the pumpkins we grew in our garden for the pies. They go a long way. And, MMM! Yummy! I made an amazing sweet potato casserole thanks to a recipe my sister sent me. There was so much good food. More food then we could fit on our plates. We've eaten leftovers for lunch and dinner the whole weekend. It's been Awesome!

So going back to the turkey. We pulled him out of the ground an hour before dinner was scheduled. We put in the thermometer on the back (top) and it wasn't cooked all the way (Bummer!) However, we turned him over and the breast that had been directly on the bricks was finished. So we cut that off and served it for dinner and then put the rest in the oven to finish cooking. It turned out great and we have enough meat to feed us through the winter (for real!)

We had a really nice time visiting with family throughout the afternoon and evening. We've enjoyed sharing meals and adventures together throughout the weekend as well. We went Christmas tree hunting. But that's a story for a different post.

We experienced a fun homestead style Thanksgiving this year and it was a lot of fun! The best part was sharing the fun with the family for sure!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Great Laugh to Start Your Day!


After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on
 her trips to Target.

Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and
preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is
like most women - she loves to browse.

Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from
the local Target:

Dear Mrs. Clifton:

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a
 commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior, and have been
 forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against
 your husband, Mr. Clifton, are listed below and are documented by
 our video surveillance cameras:

1. June 15: He took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put
 them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in housewares to go off at
 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: He made a trail from a jar of brown gravy on the
 floor leading to both the ladies' and men's restrooms.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an
 official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away." This caused
 the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from
 her  supervisor, that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing
 management to lose time and costing the company money.
5. August 4: Went to the service desk and tried to put a bag of
 M&Ms on layaway.

 6. August 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a
 carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and
 told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring
 pillows and blankets from the bedding department, to which twenty
 children obliged.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him
 he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me
 alone?" EMTs were called.

9.. September 4: Looked right into the security camera
 and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting
 department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while
 loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.

12.. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his
 "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed
 through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud
 speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE

And last, but not least:

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited
 awhile, then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here."
 One of the clerks passed out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Traditions! Traditions! Traditions!

It's been a little while since I caught you all up on life.  My sweet little JJ is walking around the house calling for his brothers. He's the only one home this morning and I think he's a little lonely. Personally, I'm loving the moment with just him and me. We just finished playing chase and going through his books. Now I need to try to wrap my head around the upcoming weeks and the traditions that will be followed.

I'm completely finished with school except for one last exam on December 3rd. Ahhh, that will be nice to get out of the way and off of my to do list! I love taking classes. But not when I'm as busy as I am with my little family. Anyway...

We have Thanksgiving in a couple of days. We are in the process of digging the pit to roast him in. A 36-37 pound turkey does NOT fit in an oven. Wish us luck on this adventure. I also need to get to the grocery store during this time with one child.

We have a Christmas Tree hunt just after Thanksgiving to look forward to.

We have a table to decorate for the annual orchestra festival dinner. Still thinking about this one...

We have dear friend who will be delivering a baby soon and we get to watch their kids. This will be a fun couple of days for the kids.

We have my annual Country Women's Christmas Candy Making Party just around the corner. I always look forward to this.

And then there's the gifts to give, the scriptures to read by candle light, and the carols to sing. Yes, this is a busy and precious time of year.

Let the journey begin!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Precious Children

I just stepped down the ladder from Jakob's loft and I was filled with the power of a mother's love for my precious children tonight. Leif was out on an EMT run so I put the boys into their beds on my own. Jakob was crying up in his room because he was mad about a consequence he was given after sending a fist and a nasty glare to his dad as he climbed his ladder for bedtime. Leif requested his new jet as a reminder that his behavior was not acceptable. Leif also reminded him of the fact that we are his captains and that behavior would receive some heavy penalties in a game or during a combat mission.

After putting Caleb to bed I climbed the ladder.  I don't go up very often so Jakob knew I was there for a visit. He welcomed me with a tearful smile. I proceeded to do what most mother's do during a talk with their boys in their bedrooms. I started straitening toys and books. Gathering up dirty clothes, and making a mental note of the status of the loft and what still needed to be done. I checked all of the safety precautions to make sure all was well. All at the same time as I visited with my son.

We can have the most interesting conversations. We talked about what he liked about having his own room. What made him scared (the dark), and whether he sleeps on his mattress or not. We talked about how he's used up a whole role of Scotch tape to make a wide array of gadgets and gizmoes to play with, and how difficult it was to place them just right on the tape. And then we wound back to the reason he won't be able to play with his jet when he wakes up early in the morning. He assured me (without my asking) that he knew that if he shook his fist at a commanding officer he would be sent to military court and might get kicked out of the military. Well, I assured him that one of our least favorite jobs as a parent was dishing out consequences. He then came back with  the sweet response of "Ya, I think we've read that in the scriptures somewhere haven't we?" I told him we very well may have and that Father in Heaven is very sad when He has to send us consequences to remind us to be our best selves.

Some how we got on the train of conversation about leadership and he thought it would be nice to become the commander so he could enforce the rules. I explained to him that even the commanders had people that they answer to. We talked about the leaders and their leaders all the way to the president. He paused and asked who the president answers to. I told him that because we live in America the president answers to the people of America and if we wanted to bad enough, we could vote him out. That lead us to the subject of voting. The amazing kid asked what my vote was for this president. I explained what it was and how the majority wins. He then said that he would want to add his vote. He was disappointed to learn that he can't vote yet. I told him that when it gets closer to this next election we would teach him about the men and women who were running for president and he could let us know who he would vote for if he could. He appreciated that. :) And then the kicker... As I was climbing down the ladder he asks, "so what do I need to do to be voted in as President of the United States?" ...pause... Uhh? Recover: You need to go to school and learn as much as you can and when you're old enough and have the experience you need you can run for president and ask people to vote for you. "Oh, okay, that sounds like a good plan."   Seriously! The kid never ceases to amaze me!

Upon climbing down to the main floor of the house I could hear Caleb calling me from his bedroom. I walked into his room and he says "Mama, I need you! I need to give you a hug and a kiss and my feets are cold!" Ahhh, the beauties of motherhood!

Truly Beautiful!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Foto Friday: October

Halloween 2011


We had a fun easy going Halloween this year. The boys made things easy by choosing really easy costumes. At first they wanted to be Knights again (same as last year.) Then they found a couple of really neat guns that they wanted. So to go with their guns they chose Halloween tee-shirts and crazy hair color and went as "crazy haired pirating soldiers." Well, something like that anyway.:) I had picked out a Lion costume for JJ. But then I decided to put it back because it cost too much to use only once. I made him a cute clown costume instead. I took a pair of PJ's and sewed random shapes all over it. Easy enough:)

So Halloween finally came and we spent the day letting the boys watch Halloween movies. Then we carved pumpkins and got costumes on. We then headed to the Trunk-or-Treat. We all enjoyed yummy chili and I took the kids around the parking lot while Leif stole the show with Oscar the Grouch as his puppet friend helping him hand out the candy. It was adorable to watch all of  the kids have so much fun when they got to our car. I SOO should have recorded it! Duh! Anyway, I loved to hear Caleb's little "Fricker Freat!" And "Shank You!" Ohhh so sweet!

We had a great Halloween, Hope you did too!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Just One Of Those Great Days!

Today was Sunday. We usually need to be up and to church by 9:00A. Today we stayed home due to some terrible sounding coughs. We had breakfast together and then met in front of the computer for a round of Mormon Messages. Wow! The spirit was strong and we loved all that we watched. Jakob especially loved the clips about the Mormon Mustang (a WWII Jet.)

From there we spent the afternoon listening to Papa practice playing the guitar. While I put together a rabbit stew Leif read out loud to all of us from the Book of Mormon Storybook. We then had a healthy and tasty lunch and it was off to nap time.  While I was trying to fall asleep all cozy in my winter blankets I felt pure peace. I Love just being home on a cloudy cold day inside our cozy home with no agenda for the outside world. We all slept really well without any interruptions (such a blessing!)

I read the story of Sarah Hale to the boys about how she petitioned the country leaders for years to make Thanksgiving a holiday and her journey of doing good. We then read The Little Red Hen. By then everyone was hungry and the stew was ready to eat. Yummy!

Jakob had the idea to invite grandma over to play Yatzee. I love that he is old enough to play some of our family's favorite games. Grandma came up and spent the evening with us. We turned on Pandora's Enya Radio Station and the peace we felt as we all played and laughed together was priceless. Papa made soap while we played the game, ate nachos, and a bit of candy. Then grandma let the boys pull out the kid's charades game. We had a lot of fun watching grandma and the boys act out their cards. In the midst of that it began to snow so of course we all had to go stand on the porch and enjoy the moment. The boys pulled a flashlight out to shine at the snow. The flashlight has a low grade laser on it. We had a good laigh teasing the kittens with the laser.

We closed the night with a treat of Corn Chex mixed in chocolate and peanut butter, MMM! Papa read us some scriptures and I read enough of Hansel and Gretel to get Jakob anxious to finish the story tomorrow. From there it was prayer, teeth, diapers, and bed (in one order or another:)

A great day filled with a lot of love!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

While the Cold Winds Blow

Kind of a fun title...;) I thought of it because the cold winds outside are whistling through the cracks in our window air conditioner that needs to be covered. I don't block the cracks because I like the sounds. Ahhh, well it's quiet at the moment. Always a time to be valued. I;m tired at the moment. I thought about taking a nap. But my bed is covered in laundry to fold. Don't want to fold it. So here I am.

We did some home improvements again. Suuprise, Suuuprise, Suuprise! We're always working on one thing or another. Poor Leif, he said last night that he felt like he had been running an obstacle course all day long. He had been and I was the mean bossy instigator. I woke up and decided that I was sick and tired of walking into our house and being able to see the whole house from one end to the other. Especially since the back half always looks chaotic and cluttered (office, TV, and Home school area.) So we reorganized JJ's room, shifted furniture around the whole house, hung a curtain, had to put all the pulled out clutter away, and viola! A new look. Always a fun thing.

In the middle of all of that Leif took Turkey and butchered him for Thanksgiving. Can we say 37 pounds of Thanksgiving Turkey! WOWSWERS! It was something I have never seen before. HUGE!!

While Leif was away taking care of Turkey, I managed to flood the bathroom again with the washing machine water (the hose fell out of the sink.) I was also able to get the dishes done, and sew a hole up in a pair of Jakob's pants. Not bad for one day.

Today I'm hoping to get the laundry finished, some studying in, photo's uploaded and blogged. Wish me luck! So far I've fed, clothed, and diapered a couple of times.  We had devotional, art project, set up the November calendar and art display board, and made cookies to count by twos.

Jakob just came in and asked me where the leaf rake was so he could do a service project for grandma. Score! The Service Unit hit its mark! Praise Be! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trading Places

I know I should write about Halloween. But that will be another post. Tonight I will tell you about my great day. I have A LOT of school work to tackle in the next couple of weeks. Leif delighted me by sharing a great idea to help me find the time to study. He offered to take care of everything at home if I would go to the Spa and man the desk during the times he doesn't have appointments. Brilliant!

Today I was able to write a paper and read a chapter without any interruptions from children. I was also able to run errands and eat a salad all by myself! And to top it off, I was able to schedule 2.5 hours of appointments for Leif tomorrow. Awesome!

It was so nice to have a full day all to myself. I walked away with a few goals made and a plan of action for success. Thanks to my Stress Management class. That class is killer when it comes to studying, but the material is invaluable!

I need to trade places with Leif a lot more often! Thanks Love!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Five Years Ago

Five years ago I lay in a hospital bed feeling the awe and sadness of the circle of life. I had delivered twins hours earlier. One of them had already returned to her Father in Heaven five days earlier. But we could feel her presence very strong as we sat reverently next to her sister in the NICU.

I remember one particular moment after I came from visiting Rhea. I was resting and my room was filled with warmth and peace. I just knew I wasn't alone. I sat wondering who might be with me. My father in law was in the room resting at the time. Later he told me that during that particular moment he too felt the peace and he was blessed to see our visitors from beyond the veil. It was my daughter LeOra and his Mother LeOra. They were visiting me and then he saw in his mind's eye them go to Rhea's (LeOra's twin) bedside. I believe that my grandmother Rhea was with my Little Rhea as well.

It was such a hallowed time. The colors that come to mind are glowing sunshine.... Light. So much light.

How grateful I am for the peace that comes through our Savior Jesus Christ. It was His light that carried us five years ago yesterday when I delivered our precious baby girls. Though there were moments, days, months, and even a year of great sadness and some darkness. My Savior's light Never left my soul. I will be forever grateful for His Divine Love!

Until we meet again my precious girlies! Happy Birthday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Child Guidance: Gordon's Theory

Lena Baron
Child Guidance 2610
GRADE: 10/10
COMMENTS: "Phenomenal paper! Excellent application of both models and I absolutely loved your conclusion."

Theoretical Application #3 Gordon

Define a problem (provide age and context).
Three-year-old son is whining a lot, bullying pets and younger siblings.  

How would Gordon define the problem? Thomas Gordon might define this particular problem as that of a child filled with pent up frustration and anger because of poor communication skills between the child and his parents. He might say that the child has been dictated to (belittled and corrected) so often that he is no longer willing to work to verbally communicate clearly with his family members. 

What solutions would Gordon suggest for solving the problem?
Gordon would most likely suggest that this child’s parents take the time to counsel with their child, using non-damaging communication skills. For example; when the child whines the parent might say, “I feel bad when you whine because I can’t understand what you are trying to say and I want to be able to understand you.” Instead of, “stop using your baby voice; use your big boy voice!” Also, when the child is bullying, the parent might take the time to go to the child calmly and say “I feel bad when you hit your sister, why are you hitting her?” Then the parent would listen and communicate with the child using the six steps to implementing Gordon’s No-Lose method (define, generate solutions, evaluate solutions, decide the best solution, work out ways to implement solution, and evaluate how it worked.)

How would Skinner define the problem? What solutions would Skinner suggest for solving the problem?
Skinner might define the problem of a whining, bullying child as that of a parent-child relationship that lacks clear guidelines, expectations, and follow-through. Skinner would most likely suggest that the parent redefine the guidelines and expectations for behavior within the home and then diligently follow through with what has been decided.

What advantages are there to Gordon's approach? Skinner's approach?
Gordon and Skinner’s approaches for the most part are opposite of each other. Gordon encourages the parents to use a more democratic psychotherapeutic approach where Skinner encourages a more, authoritarian, vaguely parent-owned problem (with the hope that the child will learn to own the problem) approach. The advantage of Gordon’s approach is that if done correctly the child will come out a well-adjusted emotionally literate child. One of the advantages of Skinner’s approach is that it tends to be a lot easier to follow for parents then Gordon’s approach. It also teaches the children to look for and reach for the goals within the challenge. It also teaches the child that there should be a reaction positive or negative (or consequence) to every action.

Which approach do you prefer? Why?
I would love to say that I follow Gordon’s approach to parenting. It just seems peacefully ideal. However, Skinner’s approach seems to be a lot more realistic and is still beneficial to all involved. With that said, I think that I lean towards Skinner most often and try to apply Gordon as often as my patience allows me to. Parenting is exhausting and stressful. It is also very time consuming. If you have more then one child, it is not always easy to stop and have a long drawn out conversation about every feeling, request, and frustration. In fact, I know this from experience. I applied Gordon’s approach with my first son for the first four years of his life, as he was an only child. It was wonderful! However, he is no longer an only child. And because he has been conditioned to discuss EVERYTHING there is often conflict. Skinner’s approach leaves little room for confusion. The guidelines and expectations are set. With that said, I prefer Gordon, but I use both Gordon and Skinner in my everyday parenting.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home School Month in Review October

This month wasn't quite as exciting and fulfilling as September. It may have been the subjects or the fact that I was busy with my own classes. Either way, we still had fun. Here are some of our favorites.

Native Americans in Early America: History's Greatest Warrior Series Comanche Warriors by Bellwether Media, Look inside a Series Tepee and Pueblo by Mari Schuh, The House on Maple Street by Bonnie Pryor, A Traditional Pueblo Indian Story Crow and Hawk retold by, Michael Rosen, Brother Eagle, Sister Sky by Scholastic, Children's Atlas of Native Americans by Rand McNally, Video: Davy Crockett (Thanks Grandpa it was a Great addition this month!!)

Age of Exploration (Columbus): Columbus by Ingri & Edgar Parin D' Aulaire (a more Christian view of the story of Columbus.)

Pirates: Magic Tree House Research Guide Pirates by Mary Pope Osborne, How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Malinda Long, Videos: Peter Pan Broadway version with  Cathy Rigby, Peter Pan with Jeremy Sumpter, Peter Pan by Disney, The History Chanel The Great Ships: The Pirate Ships 

Phonics: Website Clickn' We moved Jakob back to lesson 10 because he wasn't able to read the sentences at the lesson he was at (30+)

Student Reading: The Fall Festival by Mercer Mayer, Spooky Hayride by Scholastic, Love the We Both Read Series!

The Human Body: The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body, The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses, Usborne Beginners Your Body (we enjoyed the websites listed in the book) Let's- Read - and - Find Out Science My Five Senses by Aliki

Fall and Halloween: Went to the Corn Maze and Stahli Farm, etc.

Creativity: Video Terry Jones Ancient Inventions of War and City Life

Classic: Nursery Tales around the World

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Praise Be! I Passed The Exam!

I feel a huge sense of gratitude and relief tonight. Thanks to Father Above and my good husband, I passed the exam that I have been studying for. It was a big exam, worth a lot of points. We prayed a lot. Leif made a couple of affirmation recordings for me. I studied. Then Leif helped me study through discussing the past quizzes today before I took the exam. It was all worth it. I'm so relieved!

I learned a lot about myself through the process of studying for this exam. I learned that I am used to being enabled (someone making things easy for me) when I play the victim. I wrote my professor and told her of my fears of failing this exam and how I struggled with studying and remembering. I thought she might "have mercy" on me. Instead she told me basically to buck up and study. I was bugged by her response. But I knew as a mother that she was right in her answer. But as a child I was scared and frustrated. I learned however, that she was right in her answer to me.

I learned that I recall things better if I read them, write them, and then talk about them.

I learned that listening to positive affirmations do work.

I learned that I can!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bronchitis... Lovely!

Our sweet Caleb came down with a sudden and strong case of Bronchitis today. He went to bed with a fever and woke in the middle of the night struggling. By the afternoon we were at the Dr and by the evening we were back into the ER because he couldn't catch his breath. They gave him a steroid shot and a nebulizer treatment. It opened him up enough to fall asleep. Oh how I hope it all just goes away soon. This was a bit of a scary day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stress Update!

Some how I missed the due date for an extra credit quiz in my insane Stress Management class. I needed those extra 5 points. STUPID! I can't keep up with it all. That's when you know it's time to take a break on something. When you start forgetting important due dates. Even though you've studied for the quiz. I think I'm going to run away today and tomorrow and just get everything done for the week. Then I can focus on the fun things in life for the rest of the week.

On a different note, a positive one. Leif made me a couple of Positive Affirmation recordings. I've listened to them every night (except last night) and I can feel a difference. When I listen to them I wake up with good things floating through my thoughts. This morning I didn't, and I feel it. The goal however, is to help those thoughts become natural. I am still working on it.

Music. That has been a great tool lately. I turn on the music and I feel the extra strength and calm that I need in our busy day.

Leif and I are trying to find a place to set up a gym type set up. His parents have a lot of equipment. Leif wants a treadmill and I have the DVD's. It would be great to have a place to go close by with Leif to exercise and de-stress. It's a thought and work in progress.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stress Management Assignment 2: Anger - Fear - Hope - Faith - Balance

Lena Baron
October 23, 2011
Stress Management 3400
Score 20/20
Comments: Unavailable
Assignment 2
Anger – Fear – Hope – Faith - Balance

While reviewing my list of the top 10 stresses in my life I found that the majority of my stress revolves around fear. I have some anger issues. But even those are wrapped up with fear.
Because my issues are so intertwined between fear and anger I will list them together and explain which emotion has led to the other. 
Issue One: “I wish I could either heal, and be a normal healthy mother, or just accept my ailments 100% and learn to work around them and find pure happiness.” I am angry at myself for my weaknesses and afraid that because of me my family will be negatively affected.
Issue two: “I wish my mother was a nurturing mother.” This issue is mostly wrapped around anger. I am angry at my mother for way too many things to name here. However, along with this anger I fear that I will live with this anger forever rather than finding a way to purge it out of me and forgive her, preferably before she dies.
Issue Three: “I wish I could control my sweet tooth.” Again, I am angry at myself for my weakness. Yet, wrapped right in with this anger is fear that I will gain weight as well as teach my children bad habits and possibly instill addictions into their lives. Which leads me to be angry at my parents because I feel that they helped create this habit within me as a child by routinely feeding me “beddy –by snacks” and ice cream rewards.

What is an optimist? An optimist is Cory ten Boom and Viktor Frankl. People who in the face of a challenge or a crisis naturally, and sometimes by choice, find the positive in the situation. An optimist is someone who finds the good side in everyone and everything. The glass is never half empty, it’s always half full.  A pessimist is someone who focuses on the negative side of the spectrum, someone who prepares for the worst, and warns others of the danger in store. Personally, I find President Obama a great example of a pessimist. I feel that he is constantly warning the country about the next upcoming “crisis.” For a pessimist the glass is never full enough.
            When I asked myself whether I am an optimist or a pessimist, I found myself somewhat disturbed by my answer. I am a roller coaster. My self-image is pessimistic. Yet, when I am faced with a crisis I take on the faith that I have and I am optimistic. As a parent, I teach my children to look on the bright side. But I worry for them as a pessimist would. Fascinating! I think that the imbalance comes from my lack of good self-esteem and my faith in God. From experience, I know that He can bring about miracles. But the pessimism comes when I start to focus inward. Unfortunately and fortunately, lately I have focused inward more often than not, which means I have felt more pessimism. I fight against pessimism. But I need to come to a balance.

            When taking the Stress-Resistant personality Survey I found myself recalculating my score over and over (again the pessimistic thoughts.) My score was 47. A score of 30 or higher indicates that a person most likely has traits associated with the Hardy, Survivor, and calculated risk-taker personality. The score shouldn’t really surprise me. I do carry many of these traits within my personality. The key is to find the best within all of these and refine them. So how do I do this?

The power to change is within my thoughts which will lead me to change my behavior. I have taken an inventory of my most common thought processes, the thoughts that are on repeat. The most common is: “I am so tired.”  I find myself thinking this not only when I feel fatigued but also when I feel flooded emotionally. I might have a strong negative memory, or argue with my kids, a negative phone conversation, or an overwhelming schedule, and the only words that come to mind over and over is “I am so tired.” Sometimes I will force myself to finish the thought by explaining what I am really feeling. This at least helps me to complete the thought and acknowledge how I am really feeling. However, I know there is a lot more that needs to be done in order for me to heal my self-esteem and bring out the best in my personality.

I have taken a few steps recently to try and help me begin to change the pattern of my thoughts. One of the first things I have done is to cling to any and all hope I have within me. Hope tends to ease fear. It also leads to my faith in God. I have hope. Sometimes in the face of the unknown, that is what gets me through. Also, my husband has skillfully recorded a few different Words of Affirmation recordings for me to help me reverse some of my thought patterns. This has been surprisingly helpful. I find that if I listen to them as I fall asleep I wake up feeling the optimism from them in the morning and then I bring them back to mind when needs be.  Another way that I have helped bring more optimism into my thoughts is through music. I have turned music on more throughout my day, music that inspires me or sooths me, whatever I might need. This has helped me as well as my children.

Reconstructing self-esteem is no easy task. By being aware of my thoughts and reconstructing them to be more optimistic I hope to eliminate the fear and anger that has entwined itself within my soul and accentuate the positive within my personality. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jakob's Attic Loft

We finished Jakob's loft enough for him to sleep in it and we are all THRILLED with the results! I hoped it would turn out something like THIS. We were happy to find some decorative wall paneling in our wood pile. It added just the right touch. We will soon line the edges with weathered wood and I'm sure it will be covered with pictures before too long from Jakob and I. I would also like to hang a sign somewhere with Jakob's name and such.  So here is Jakob's Attic Loft. THANK YOU Papa for Building it!!

From October 19, 2011
From October 19, 2011
From October 19, 2011
From October 19, 2011
From October 19, 2011
From October 19, 2011
From October 19, 2011

Child Guidance: Skinner's Theory

Lena Baron
FCHD 2610                
GRADE 10/10
COMMENTS: "Lena good job on your paper. I especially liked how you pointed out how application of Skinners model would look different for a 2 year old v.s a 12 year old. Great job."

Theoretical Application #2 Skinner’s Theory

Scenerio:Your 12 year old daughter has begun to speak to you rudely and to do her chores sloppily.

What are some common solutions to the problem?
Working with pre-teenagers is a tough job all around. They are testing their limits and you’re trying to figure out what the limits are supposed to be at this new stage in childhood, not to mention the fear of the teenage years looming ahead in the no longer distant future. Often times the most common solution for a rude and sloppy child is arguing and nagging. Unfortunately, another common “solution” is threatening the child that their behavior will result in the loss of a privilege. However, the threats aren’t carried out. On the other hand, often times Skinner’s behavior modification theory does come in to play for the caregivers who are willing to take the time and effort to follow through and grounding or loss of privileges for the lack of good behavior is often the tool used. 

How do the common solutions you have mentioned fit into Skinner's framework (i.e. positive reinforcement, punishment, etc.)?
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph Skinner’s reinforcement theory has become very much a part of the traditional “positive parenting” life style of today. And for those caregivers who go against Skinners theory and fail to follow through with the right type of reinforcement when working with children are often considered lacking in their care giving skills. For example, if a parent has a rude and sloppy teenager according to Skinner the parent should not reinforce that behavior by completely ignoring that behavior. Especially if any boundaries, rules, or expectation for positive behavior has been previously discussed. A parent must follow through immediately by giving consequences a.k.a reinforcement to positive and negative behaviors. I do want to make it clear that working with a 12 year old is different then working with a 2 year old. Skinner has indicated that ignoring a 2 year olds temper tantrum might be considered the proper reinforcement. However, ignoring a 12 year olds sassy mouth is most likely not the reinforcement that Skinner would suggest.

What solutions would Skinner suggest for solving the problems (define with his terms)?
 When working with a rude and sloppy teenager Skinner would most likely suggest the (RUP) Rules- Reward-Punishment system. He would make sure that the rules for positive behavior are clear as well as the consequences to negative behavior. RUP then requires that the caregiver be vigilant in their follow-through/reinforcement according to the child’s behavior. The Token Economy is another suggestion that Skinner might give. Using tangible tokens along with praising words can be a helpful reinforcer for older children. And finally, Catch em’ Being Good might be a suggestion Skinner gives as a spontaneous extra token/reinforcer of their positive behavior.

What advantages are there to Skinner's approach?
Skinner’s approach gives the child accountability. It also gives clear boundaries and expectation for the child and the parent. This cuts down on the conflict and arguments, especially when there is consistency in the reinforcement.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stress Management: Is it Possible As a Busy Mother?

Stress Management. Is this really possible?! I ask myself this question every day. Especially as I go through my Stress Management course this semester. I know I said that I was going to blog all of my Stress Management diary posts. But some just don't need to go public.:)

Last week I read every word of the chapter that was assigned. By the time I was finished I found myself in a stupor of frustration, yet wonder. Especially as I read about Maslow's theory about Self-Actualization. I believe that he has hit it pretty close on what our potential is for true inner peace. I just don't have a clue how it's possible to find the time to take the time to reach the steps as a crazy mother of three busy boys. I can barely gather my thoughts to blog let alone analyze my inner self and it's thoughts. I NEED TO though! I have said before that I need to get away and write. I really believe that that will be the only way for me to sift through my inner self. And that will take an insane amount of planning and inconvenience for way too many people. So how do I maintain the ounce of sanity I have at the moment?

I've taken more afternoon's off in the last couple of months then I have... ever. Outings just for myself. Mostly to go to the Spa (it really helps to know the owner;).

I've listened to meditation and relaxation programs before I fall asleep. This has been a good experience. I hope to find more and explore this avenue.

I breath more. Seriously.

I've laughed out loud as much as possible.

That's how I've maintained this week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Evening Update

I've found myself with a moment to myself. This is rare indeed, so what should I do? Read my school chapter, no. Read my novel, nah. Blog, sure. There's plenty to share!

We were getting the kids down for the night, just finishing up the stories (tonight just happened to be Mama and Papa sharing about our baptism's) and Papa's EMT pager went off, long and loud. That meant that they meant business. Apparently there's a three car accident in Kanab and two cars are on fire. When you live in a small town, you can't help but wonder and worry that you know someone involved in the accident. So Leif's off to the accident hoping to help. The kid's went down really well:) So here I am.

We've remodeled the house again. We're really good at that here on the Baron Homestead. Caleb is now back in the nursery room. The computer is back out in the living room. JJ is in the boy's room (soon to be play room), and Jakob now has a loft in the rafters of the barn. We did it! And it turned out great! I still have some finishing touches to add before I put pictures up on the blog. But Jakob LOVES having his own space. And we Love that he has some space. They all do. Caleb enjoy's his own space as well.

We're still trying to decide whether or not to build JJ a little room in the corner of the house and turn the bedroom into a full playroom/indoor jungle gym. We'll put a wall up for our bedroom as well. In my dreams I ponder the idea of repainting the walls a more neutral color and hanging nice decorations. I'd love to carpet the main room with professionally done carpet (although the carpet we have is extremely durable.) I would also love to put flooring down in the kitchen and entry way and in the different rooms. Oh, I guess a proper ceiling would be nice too;) Right now it's still butcher paper. However, that is holding up well, gratefully. I want to put the computer in a computer cupboard. And the dressers in the individual bedrooms instead of the living room. I hope for a flat-screen TV to hang on the wall. I need to figure out a way to organize everything so my clutter isn't out for everyone to see. I think I have enough storage shelves and such, I just need nice baskets and containers to disguise the stacks of things that need to go on the shelves. Ahhh, always something to work on. If there wasn't, I'd be blubbering about that.:)

And then there's the Kitties. We still enjoy having them. But we do need to make a proper place for all of their necessities. It's just a matter of time and supplies. I think we've decided to build a shelter for them on the back balcony and put a kitty door in the door. Now we just need to do it. I think I'll ask Leif to cut the wood and I'll put it together.

Well, my schooling is no fun and not worth talking about. The boys' on the other hand is fun and worth a line or two. One of Jakob's favorite books that we read is our Daily Devotional book. It's called The One Year DEVOTIONS for Preschoolers. The short little stories are short and sweet and they really hit home for him. I'm thrilled! We started a daily exercise routine. Right now we're working out with the DVD, Kick to Get Fit. So far so good! Jakob started asking us to teach him Spanish (over and over.) So we took him up on the idea. However, we ordered an Italian language program because that's the 2nd language Leif speaks and it's very possible that we'll spend some time in Italy some day during Jakob's growing up years. So hopefully he enjoys it. We ordered the program off of Early Advantage. Caleb is progressing leaps and bounds lately. He talks in sentences for the most part and he is trying to draw and cut out more. He insists on playing with Jakob's math blocks (unifix cubes) during Math time every day. He also really enjoys his preschool. We've missed it this week since his teacher's out of town. We're so grateful for her love and talent!

I scheduled an afternoon at the spa today. WOW! I had a detox body wrap and had my legs waxed. Yep, it hurts;) But I think it will be worth it! Either way, just to be alone focusing on my well-being for a few hours was Amazing! Not to mention that I had the hottest therapist around (My hubby;);)

Well, that aught to get us up to date a little bit. I'm ready to climb in bed and read my book. Leif just called with an update. The accident was a terrible mess with two fatalities and all of them were tourists from out of town. So sad! Be patient when you drive and DON'T pass unless you are positive the lane is clear! Praying for the loved ones left behind tonight...

Loves! G'night!
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