All you need is Love…


My funny, little Valentine!

** Happy Valentine’s Day!! **

Today is a great day to remember that the most important thing you can give your children is your love & your time!! Your time is not only the single most important thing you can give your child, it’s also the one thing they want the most! Family time builds confidence and self esteem; and needless to say, it makes for happy parents too!

So, yesterday, we spent a little Valentine time together, just me and my kids. It was a little more challenging than I anticipated though.

We went to Walmart to get a few things, but specifically for Drew Elizabeth to pick out Valentines to take to school. In 1st grade, Valentine’s Day is quite a big deal, you know. As for Joshua, in 5th grade, not so much. He wouldn’t dream of giving out Valentine’s. (Although he will be thrilled when the chocolate covered pretzels I am having delivered to his class arrive.) He’s growing up way to fast, apparently by the time you get to 5th grade, Valentines aren’t so cool. So, I was glad he helped his sister with her Valentines, and without his help Drew would have gone to school with no Valentines to give out.

BTW- I DO NOT recommend waiting until February 13th to get Valentines for your kids to take to school. By this time, the choices were beyond limited, one thing left was Princess Valentines, which Drew Elizabeth would never give out. (She says she “DOESN’T DO” princesses!) The other choice, Origami Valentines… HA…. not as fun as it sounds…..

When we started in on the cute little origami ladybugs and butterflies, it didn’t look to hard. Fold in half, fold this way, crease that way….

We got the ladybugs done, not too bad, fold in half, fold up a little at the bottom, fold back down, fold back up, turn over, diagonal fold, another diagonal fold, and low and behold, we had a ladybug, CUTE!! Well, that was only half of them. Now time for the 16 step butterflies…..but first, it was time for dinner. (Thankfully, my husband had that under control while we were folding away.)

Origami butterflies are NOT easy, especially if you haven’t done origami before. This was when I was glad to have a brilliant big brother helping, and fortunately he has done origami before. Josh tried, and tried, I tried and tried…. Josh finally got the already folded display butterfly off the box to unfold and figure out. Then, we went online looking for “how to fold a square into and origami butterfly.” Found it, but it wasn’t any more helpful than the picture directions we already had that were about as clear as mud. Drew was getting tired, we only had enough ladybugs for half the class, and Josh was ready to give up….. Daddy’s suggestion, got to bed….

I looked at Drew, she was so tired, but also sad, if we gave up there would not be enough Valentines for the whole class, it was all or nothing now. Josh and I kept at it, as Drew sat there yawning. (My poor girl, she loves her sleep.) Then, Eureka…. Joshua finally figured it out!! 

It was time for an assembly line, Drew did the first 3-4 folds, I did the next tricky part, and Josh finished them off! (Daddy just quit on us and went to take a shower.)

So, today, Drew Elizabeth was off to school with her bag of origami Valentine cards to give out. There is no way in He!! that those first graders will understand how much trouble those stinkin’ things were, but they really are pretty darn cute. 😉

So, lesson learned, spending time with your kids is always a winner, regardless of the challenges… never give up… perseverance pay off…. and NEVER EVER buy origami Valentines again!! 

I hope you are enjoying this Valentine’s Day with your family, it’s one of the sweetest parts of the journey! 😉

“Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” – Mahatma Gandhi


Origami Butterflies & Ladybugs… Too cute!

Praise & Encouragement go a long way…Be your child’s cheerleader!

Kids need to know that they are doing the right thing, and they depend on Mom and Dad to keep them in check!  We all have had our moments when our children are definitely not acting the way we raised them, or so we thought.

Remember, much of our teaching is by example, and much of what kids learn about behavior is observed.

I find myself raising my voice more often than I like, it is a bad habit that I am trying to stop.  There are days that Joshua just makes me lose it, and if I don’t walk away, I could turn into a Drill Sargent. When I say do something, I expect it to be done, you know what I’m saying??? I don’t want to have to repeat myself 2, 3, 4 or more times!! It definitely takes a lot of patience to be a parent, more than I ever imagined!

The louder I get, the less they hear…. The longer I talk, the less they hear…. 😦

It’s not that I have chosen to parent this way, there are just those days that I’m on the go and/or stressed over something, and I have less patience. On days like this, I am grateful for a husband that can balance me.  Fortunately, we balance each other well! 🙂 When he has his days, I have to call him down too. We talk about it, and know we need to keep our cool and address the issue at hand.  Instead of focusing on what Josh has done wrong, focusing on the behavior and how to change it is the key. I mention Joshua, because he IS the reason James Dobson wrote the books, Raising the Strong Willed Child and Bringing Up Boys! Which I highly recommend! Good info, and fun to read!

Consequences are the best answer to unacceptable behavior!! I have tried to chose my words carefully with my children.  It is important to mean what you say, and follow through! Don’t give empty threats; like Santa won’t bring you any toys……Really? I doubt it! I do tell Josh that I can take those toys Santa brings and put them in the basement!!  😉 This is the ultimate consequence for Josh. If we take a toy that he is currently obsessed with, he straightens right up.  We have started to take some of the toys and electronics away during the school week.  It makes for better focus, and actually more “creative time”!!  I’ve talked about the importance of what I call “creative time” for a child’s self esteem. Win – Win!

Praise is one of the most effective mechanisms of good parenting. Praising a child makes them feel good about what they have accomplished…making them feel good about their self… building self esteem! When children feel good about an accomplishment, it creates drive and ambition to create something else that mimics that ‘feel good’ feeling.

Encourage your child to reach for the stars!! Children are limited or unlimited by their surroundings. An environment that is negative and lonely can severely limit a child. Children want to be loved and accepted, it is a basic human need. If a child feels neglected, they will do whatever it takes to seek the attention they so desperately crave. These attention seeking behaviors can be acting out, crying, throwing toys, and in adolescents drug use and sexual promiscuity, just to name a few.  Encouraging a child to take that next step, like singing that song in front of the church congregation, or playing a sport, or building a lego house….. Whatever it is that they want to do, encourage it! 

Basically, if you praise and encourage your children for their positive actions and behaviors you will get positive behavior in return. Be your child’s cheerleader! Tell them they have nice manners.  Encourage them to do well on that test and on the playing field. Cheer them on! Be an example of happy, positive behavior!

Pick your battles. Let them express themselves! Encourage pink or purple hair, if that is what makes them happy, it’s only hair, long, short, or different colors, what’s the big deal (unless there is a special or formal event).  I saw two kids yesterday, one with pink and one with purple streaks. I thought it was a fun way for them to express themselves. BTW- Drew Elizabeth wants purple hair, we settled for a couple feathers in her hair the for the first time, but I’m all for the purple hair.  I’ll definitely keep you posted on this one!

I ask the teenagers that I see in the office what they want to do when they grow up, some know, some don’t.  I ask them what they like to do the most?  When they have free time, what is it they are doing? I tell them to take whatever it is that they like the most, and think about a career that is similar. I tell them they can take whatever it is they like the most in the world and use their imagination to find a way to make a living doing it. They look at me, smile a little bit, and I can see the wheels start turning.  Teens are a different bunch, they torment their parents, I’m not looking forward to the teen years.

SO, Praise your children & Encourage them to reach for the stars….It makes for happy healthy kids!! Happy, healthy kids are what this journey is all about, ENJOY!