Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Works For Me - Sarah Crowell's Table - October

It Works For Me - Sarah Crowell's Table

Sarah C. - Give your child a few sprinkles (let them pick which kind) to make getting allergy shots, medicine or potty training easier.

Sue - Interrupt Rule: teach children not to interrupt by having them put their hand on your arm or leg to get your attention when you are mid-conversation or on the phone, acknowledge them by putting your hand over theirs and then when you have a break ask what they would like to ask you or tell you.

Jill - In order to get your children moving in the morning when they don't want to wake up, tell them they need to get up and use the bathroom and then they can lay down for another 10 minutes when they are done...usually by the time they are done in the bathroom they are awake enough to not want to lay down again.

Christina - When your kids ask for a soda, mix together sparkling water and a little bit of juice.

Emily - To avoid forgetting to bring diapers and pajamas into bathroom for after bath time, store a few sets of pj's and some diapers right in the bathroom.

Amy - "Happiest Baby On The Block" is a great book when you are raising young children, suggests using white noise to help your child sleep - Make a CD with hair dryer noise.

Yesenia - Teach your child to say "No Thank You" when they don't want to do something or play with someone, it sounds much more polite. Use a "No Thank You" spoon at the dinner table: if your child doesn't want to eat something that you are serving they may say "No Thank You" to that specific dish and then they still get a teaspoon size serving...mommy and child both win!

Grace - If you bring your husband lunch now and then or even make him lunch to take with, put love notes or encouragement notes in with their lunch to brighten their day. When your kids are having a rough day with their behavior, give them hugs and kisses anyway and tell them you love will make them want to do better.

Della - To help prevent diaper rash, keep a blow dryer next to changing table and shoot a blast of cold air on their bottom before you put the new diaper on to get rid of the moisture and avoid accidents while you let them run around the house to try and air out their bottoms with no diaper on.

Thank you ladies for all of your great tips!

Controlling Your Emotions (this is not a joke)

Oh, the irony. 

Sometimes I think God is really funny; or clever. Probably both. Definitely both clever and funny, and also he must love me very much to give me a topic called "Controlling Your Emotions" exactly one day after probably one of my worst mommy-fails ever.

Let's start with this week's meeting. So, I really look forward to MOPS, initially because I never buy donuts, and there are usually donuts there. And now that I'm pregnant, it's become very important for me to be near the front of the breakfast line, in order that I get first pick of the donuts.

I would have taken a picture of my plate full of wonderful yummy goodness, but I ate very quickly. So here's a picture of my empty plate. You'll notice I did choose a little bunch of grapes; for the antioxidants.

So that morning we watched a MOPS video, with Lisa TerKeurst as the speaker. The topic was on controlling our emotions. I know we already covered that, but I wanted to refresh your memory after the donut discussion.

Lisa talked about 4 different ways we tend to (mis)handle our emotions, or react, to conflicts that may arise.

These reactions are Exploders Who Blame Others, Exploders Who Blame Themselves, Stuffers Who Build Barriers, and Stuffers Who Collect Retaliation Rocks (I just love the name of that one, it's cool).

So let's go back to my Monday morning of this week. And let me also tell you, that with my kids, I tend to be an "Exploder Who Blames Others." They bring this out in me, I tell you.

Anyway, we'd just had a week off of our normally scheduled programming, aka "fall break," and no one wanted to be getting up at 6:30 to eat breakfast and get dressed for school. I was cranky, my daughters were moving so slow... so, sooo slow... and my lack of sleep contributed to my very yelly attitude that morning. Pretty much everything set me off. They weren't listening to me: "Why is NO ONE LISTENING TO MEE!!!" They didn't eat their breakfast fast enough: "Eat your FRICKING BREAKFAST!!!" And at the end of all this, they were sitting on the floor, trying to find which shoes go on which feet, all while bickering about something I don't even remember, and I yelled, "Everyone SHUT UP!!!"

Now, we don't say shut up. I teach my kids, saying shut up is rude, and we don't tell each other to shut up. But at this moment, it was my emotional reaction.

I liked how Lisa explained that these out of control emotional reactions tend to pop up when something/someone either "exposes" us, or "opposes" us. Upon first glance, I was feeling opposed. I needed the morning to go as planned, as I had planned it, so we could get out of the house at the planned time.

But, when I thought about my temper tantrum later on, and remembered how I'd ended my tantrum in a heap of tears -- upset that I couldn't find any of my older daughter's water bottles because she'd lost them all at school -- I realized I also felt very exposed that morning. 

Do you often catch yourself yelling or criticizing your kids, and a little part of you realizes you're actually yelling at yourself? It's not them that's failed you, you feel as if you've failed yourself? You haven't met your own expectations?

Monday morning, as I apologized to my 6 year old before dropping her off at school, I recognized that I was angry at myself that morning. "I should have's" had been running through my head all morning. I should have found another water bottle for my daughter to use, I knew they were missing; it was a mommy-fail on my part. But instead of accepting that and moving forward, I exploded in rage and blamed my daughter for her carelessness. She's 6. She loses stuff. Duh.

I also was angry at myself because my kids were still acting "coughy" after having been sick over vacation, and I was feeling like a failure. "I should have" made them go to bed earlier, given them cough syrup the night before, put a humidifier in their room... I could keep going. But the fact is, kids get sick, and they have residual coughs, and instead of accepting that, I got angry. And it all came out towards them.

So, coming back to Lisa's talk, she has some suggestion for people like me, us "Exploders." 

She asks us to bring PAUSE. To think: am I about to attack or address the issue? I guess apparently there's a moment between our emotions and our reaction. I have a hard time finding that moment, but I'm going to try. Anyway, it's in that very brief moment, that we must think. We must pause. It's healthy to address the issue; it's unhealthy to attack the people we love.

I'm very blessed that when I said, "Bella, I'm so sorry mommy was so cranky to you this morning." She, without any hesitation, said, "It's okay, Mommy. I forgive you!" (And I cried behind my sunglasses because how humbling is THAT?)

I really don't want to put her in that place very often. When I mess up, I've made it a point to apologize to my kids; but I hate having to do it. Because that means I did something awful. And they don't deserve that. And I want them to be able to see how I react to life, and have it be a good example. I don't want this short time to go by and have it all be a lesson in "What not to do's."

So here's to learning how to control the Beast. We are tired, emotional, hormonal, guilt-ridden mommies; but through Christ who strengthens us, we can do this. 

Let's do this thing! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Finding Balance - Photographically Speaking

Picture this... 
You and your little one are hanging out at home, and she does something particularly adorable.  You run away briefly and return with your fancy camera, trying everything in your power to get her to be adorable again so you can capture the moment and savor it over and over again.  The problem is, your tiny tot is no longer in the mood to perform, and now everyone's frustrated.

Or perhaps you've forgotten the aforementioned camera on a once-in-a-lifetime trip and now you'll never forgive yourself for not being able to zoom in just so to create the clearest, most detailed picture of your children the world has ever seen.

Jerad Hill, our speaker at today's meeting, encouraged us to forget about perfection (because there are apps for that!), and stop lugging our giant camera bags around because "The best camera is the one that's with you."
With the advent of social networking, our culture is bent on preserving every detail of our lives in photographs.  But how much are we really able to experience - in living color - if we're focused on viewing our lives through the camera lens?  And what are we teaching our children?    

I loved hearing Jerad's thoughts because he has the experience of a professional photographer, but also the perspective of a loving father who wants to participate in his young boys' lives.  He challenged us to find a balance between capturing memories and taking part in them.  

Save the editing for when the kids are in bed.  The world can wait to see your son's newest trophy till morning, but your son wants to see the pride on your face - not the camera that's covering it up.  Your daughter wants to see that her dances delight you, even when the camera is safely stowed in your purse.

And let me encourage you to also remember to include yourself in some of these photos.  As moms, we tend to do most of the photography, and our children's scrapbooks are filled with photos of everyone but us.  

By using your smart phone and a few easy-to-use apps, it's possible to effectively capture snippets of your family's adventures, and then tuck it away so that you can really engage in what's going on.  Jerad introduced us to Camera Genius, which is a photo-taking app, and several photo editors including SnapSeed, Diptic PDQ, Photo Editor by Aviary, Afterlight, and Visco Cam.  And he suggested using as an easy way to turn your photos into a slideshow.

If you're interested in learning more from Jerad, make sure you follow him on Facebook ( and Twitter (@jeradhill) and visit his website (  Also, if you do like to use a "giant" camera, learn how to get more out of it by taking his online course called Ditch Auto ( for FREE and stay tuned for a smart phone version as well.    

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mom of the Month

Mom of the Month: OCTOBER

Melissa Basi

Who is in your family?
Pinder (husband), Me, Mia (10), Kiley (8.5), Jordan (23 months), Bex (12 weeks). We are a blended family, his (Mia), Mine (Kiley), Ours (Bex and Jordan).

What is your favorite childhood memory:
My favorite memories from childhood are from Christmas. This was always a very special time for me growing up with my family and my siblings.

If you had a free vacation anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to visit some place in Europe. I hope one day I can travel to many different countries.

What is your favorite "waste of time?"
I waste a lot of time on Facebook! I do a lot of online shopping too because I don't get out of the house a lot these days.

What bit of advice or encouragement can you share with other moms in our group?
Oh my goodness... I feel like I'm the one that needs advice and encouragement right now! Keep calm and carry on. If anyone needs help getting their baby to sleep through the night (8-12 hours) I'm your girl. I've been successful with all of my babies by 6 weeks and have helped my sister and many of my friends achieve this goal. It's my only claim to fame! lol!