We have a winner!!!

Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic
Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic

Hey everybody!

We have a winner from the Fit to Burst giveaway!!

Drumroll please…

…the winner is…

Bonnie! 

She commented right here!

You’ll be getting your prize soon, Bonnie!

Thank you so much to all who entered!

Have a lovely weekend! (It’s raining here -so perfect!)

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winner chosen with random.org

And yes, only exclamation marks are allowed on giveaway winner announcement posts!! It’s so exciting!!!

31 days of training my kids: No elephants on the stairs

Don't try to figure out what this picture has to do with elephants because the answer is nothing at all. I just love it.
Don’t try to figure out what this picture has to do with elephants because the answer is nothing at all. I just love it.

We live in a second story apartment surrounded closely by seven other families.

In the last year we have moved from safely maneuvering four kids up and down the stairs to teaching them how to consider others in how they go up and down the stairs.

After several attempts to explain consideration, stepping lightly, being quiet… an idea dawned:

No elephants on the stairs!

And they got it!

Of course, they took it to the next level, “Be like cats and cheetah’s!” Cheetah’s is because sometimes it takes forever. But I try to downplay the cheetah thing as safety is still the number one concern with them being little and everything.

Have you ever thought of a ridiculous line that helped your kids finally get what you had been working on for months?

Why this… as the end to 31 days of training my kids?

Because in my mind, it boils down to creativity and consistency. Neither of which are possible without our Faithful Creator. I get the blame for all the mistakes and He gets the glory for all the victories.

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I have to be honest, I have enjoyed this series/challenge; but I’m also very glad it’s done.

I have learned a lot. 

Hopefully, I’ll post about that some time in the future.

In the meantime, you have thirty-nine minutes left to enter the giveaway… and the competition is heating up. = )

Thank you so much to all who have read and encouraged. I’m so thankful for you!

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Don’t forget my sister and I did this together! I have completely loved her series! Thanks so much, Laurie, for going through this craziness with me. You’re the best!

31 days of training my kids: two things I’m lenient about

In the interest of mixing it up here at the end, I thought I would talk about two specific things where I really take my hands off.

They’re completely unrelated.

Mckayla's first weeks 033
I know this picture is fuzzy, but I love it.

The first is how very young children treat a new baby. My girls were all very young when the sibling after them was born. Really, they were young enough to not even have jealousy or other what-happened-to-my-mommy issues. That being said, I realize that what I’m about to say will not apply to everybody.

I tried very hard to not be overly careful or stressed about how the toddler treated the new baby. Rough hugs, kisses, squeezes… even the occasional toy being tossed at them enthusiastically were all okay. For some reason, I didn’t want there to be an immediate connection in their mind between “new baby” and “No.”

We said “Shhhh…baby’s sleeping,” “Be gentle,” and yes, “No,” when Hope was pulling two fistful’s of Sophia’s newborn hair.

But for the most part, it was “Hey look, this is your future best friend!”

Next is slightly more serious in my mind and also perhaps a little more unconventional.

There’s no cool way to say it, so I’ll just blurt it out: I let my kids play with my Bible. Even when they’re young and prone to wrinkle, fold, or even tear it, if they want to sit on the floor and page through it, I’m okay with that. Don’t get me wrong, intentional disrespect and dismemberment is duly treated.

But here’s my thought: I don’t want (again) their first connection between them and the Bible to be “No.” I want my kids to love the Bible. I want them to read it for curiosity, for fun, and eventually for nourishment.

So if they pull it off of the shelf or the desk and start to flip through it, I’m not going to take it away.

Are there some Bibles in our house that have paid the price? Absolutely. Two of my Bibles currently have a few pages stuck in the back after having been torn out. But in my mind, it’s a small price to pay to nurture a love for reading God’s Word even at the earliest years.

We talk about how special the Bible is, how wonderful it is to read it, how God has been so kind to reveal Himself to us through it, and how to treat it carefully. But let’s face it, a two-year-old is probably more likely to catch on to “Hey sweetie, I’m so happy you’re reading the Bible,” than “I’m going to take this now and you can have it again when you can turn those flimsy pages perfectly.”

Does it work? Only time will tell; but this is something I’m willing to take a chance on.

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Do you have areas of purposeful lenience in your parenting?

(and hopefully this won’t be the last post in the series even though I didn’t finish it before midnight; one more and then we’ll be done!) = )

31 days of training my kids: Hope, quite literally

imageWhen we were expecting our first daughter, it didn’t take us long to settle on the name “Hope.” Her name has several layers of meaning for us. One in particular has just happened this past year.

There will be days where I feel like I’m constantly working with the younger girls to just obey.

How hard can this be? Your life (and mine) would be so much easier! I really am doing what’s best for you!

Sometimes in the middle of these days I’ll mindlessly ask Hope to go do something. “Take your shoes to the room, bring me a diaper, go brush your teeth, whatever.”

And she does it. And then I think, “Maybe, when they’re five, they’ll just do it, too.”

Though she’s certainly not perfect, Hope for the most part obeys with a good attitude. Sophia even does most of the time. I have to stop and realize that they are two to three years further along in this process than Gracie and Mckayla.

There really is hope!

This wouldn’t have occurred to me at all until my third or fourth child. (This is one of the blessings of having so many close together!) I can see in living color the different stages of learning obedience. I can remember when I thought we would never get Sophia straightened out with certain issues; and now that we’re re-living many of those with Mckayla, it doesn’t feel quite as hopeless.

I guess my point is, tonight, if you only have one or two small children and feel like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel… it’s there! It might take a few more years to see it, but faithfulness to God’s Word will bring fruit!

If you feel like you got a late start and are just now beginning to work with older children, persevere!

The goal is not to make your life more comfortable. Four and five year olds have their own unique challenges- that we’re just beginning to learn. But the goal is for your child to bend that oh-so-destructive will to their parent’ authority, and eventually to God’s.

My sweet little Hopey brings me joy and peace in so many ways.

Here’s to “Hope”-ing the others follow along.

31 days of training my kids: practicing self-control

The general idea of practicing self-control, just it's individually. They were so thrilled about posing for this picture. = )
The general idea of practicing self-control, just it’s individually. They were so thrilled about posing for this picture. = )

Here’s a great little trick we learned from Steve and Megan Scheibner of Character Health.

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Put two chairs facing each other. The child sits in one and the parent sits in the other. Use a timer (I use my phone) and set the timer for one minute.

Each person must sit there with their hands folded and their mouth closed until the alarm goes off.

Seem simple?

It is!

But it teaches the all-important skill of sitting still!

We actually start out at thirty seconds. When I felt that the girls were ready, we’d bump it up to a minute, then a minute and a half, two minutes, and three minutes.

Three minutes is the goal! (according to the Scheibner’s)

All in all, when I do this with all four kids, it takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Every now and then we let everyone go twice, but most of the time everyone just does it once. Of course, the older girls get longer times and the youngest is still working on thirty seconds.

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Now here is where I have to confess.

I’m terrible at doing this!! 

Which is so frustrating, because it helps the general welfare so much!

I don’t do it every day, but I should. Some weeks I don’t do it at all. But when I do, I’m always very, very happy.

I think it communicates a few things to your kids.

1. Daddy and Mommy are helping you learn how we expect you to behave.

2.You can sit still!

3. Self-control is a vital skill in life that you will need from now until the day you die.

Here are a few situations where having this “skill” can really save you:

1. Before meal time. “Okay kids, everybody at the table. Fold your hands and practice self-control until we’re ready to pray.”

2. When a child is having trouble stopping their crying. “We’re going to fold our hands and close our mouths until you are done.”

3. When the wiggles come during church or any other need-to-be-quiet-at function.

4. When a child is getting so wound up that they’re about to get in trouble. “Let’s sit down for a minute and practice self-control before you hurt yourself or someone or something else.”

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For awhile, I did a lot better at this, but it just seems that days are so busy now that it’s hard to fit in.

But that’s ridiculous.

Doing it definitely saves time in just about every other area.

Isn’t that the goal with training? To let your kids know what you expect and help them practice so it will be second nature as they go throughout their days?

For the record, my girls LOVE this. Like every other training game we do. = / C’mon, Mom, get with it!

And now, I’m officially convicted. We are doing this when Mckayla wakes up! Isn’t that the point of this series anyway?

My ideal would be to do this twice a day, four or five days a week.

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Do you have anything like this that works for you? Any ideas on making it a regular part of the day?

31 days of training my kids: always a tradeoff

Which one is the culprit?
Which one is the culprit?

I walked down the hallway after the many-eth time of putting a little girl back in bed. I saw things that needed to be put away, jobs I thought surely would have been done by now.

Why haven’t I gotten to that… I began to think; and then I realized… this is what I’ve been doing!

All week.

And suddenly, I didn’t seem to mind the mess as much.

One of my little sweeties has just given me a run for my money this week. The piles and laundry and cluttered counters that I meant to take care of mean that I actually concentrated on a bigger problem that was happening.

Thankfully, I can also remember when this happened with another one of our little darlings, and guess what? We got through it! The house even returned to normal. How comforting!

There’s always a tradeoff when something like this comes up.  I’m choosing to believe that something more permanent than the status of my house is being accomplished.

(and if nothing else, someone is now sweetly sleeping) = )

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I’m giving away Fit to Burst, by Rachel Jankovic. Check it out here!

31 days of training my kids: Fit to Burst giveaway

Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic
Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic

I’ve already mentioned in this series that one of my favorite blogs is Femina Girls, and that one of my favorite books is Loving the Little Years.

Well, they’ve been featuring all these giveaways over at their blog for the new book by Rachel Jankovic, Fit to Burst… but, I haven’t won.

So I just decided to buy the crazy thing! And I’m so glad I did!

It just came yesterday; I’m only through the third chapter. All that to say, I can’t give you an official review, but I can tell you that it is fantastic!

She describes her book as a “collection of ‘field notes’ from a mom seeking to honor the Lord in her daily life. “I write about what I know, and what I know is the challenges, the joys, and the work involved in raising little people.”

I’ll try to pick favorite takeaways from the chapters so far.

“The Paradox Perspective”

Most of us grew up in a culture that despises this kind of thinking {a life of Christ-like sacrifice} and it may not come naturally to us. But we need to have the language of Scripture define our way of thinking, and not truisms from the world. 

Have you taken on the form of a servant? … This is how we imitate Christ: We esteem others greater than ourselves, and that turns into action. You will be humbled. You will have opportunities to humble yourself further. Choose to do so gladly, not resentfully. 

“The Unbaked Biscuit”

{on mommy guilt} I thought of biscuits. I would like to be a person who makes biscuits for my hungry children. I do not feel like making biscuits right now. I will make biscuits another time. I will have time when I am not tired and feeling fat. The kids won’t know. I wish I had made biscuits. I could have made biscuits. I’m such a bad mom who doesn’t make biscuits. I am not as good as all the moms who are everywhere in this stupid world making biscuits. People who talk about making biscuits are self-righteous. I hate biscuits. They make me feel guilty. Jesus loves me! Biscuits or not! Jesus doesn’t care that I didn’t make biscuits! Home free! Biscuit-free! 

{what she writes after that is even better}

Fruit is intimately connected with forgiveness. When we are forgiven, we do not gallop out into a life of ambiguity and indifference. We do not become great negotiators of whether or not it matters that we aren’t doing things. We become filled with gratitude, love, joy, and peace. And then, having a firm foundation of another’s righteousness, we are free to go out and do. Jesus does not care even the tiniest bit what you do for your salvation, because there is nothing you can do for it. But he cares very much what you do with it. 

“The Mean Boss”

…I was telling him about my expectations. And apparently my expectations were not aware of what my life is actually like. … My expectations were a seriously mean boss.

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The book is short and the chapters even shorter. I’m pretty sure every one could be read in ten minutes or less. (however, when I read Loving the Little Years, I liked to read a chapter and then think about it for a few days before moving on

Want some super fun, favorite Friday news? I ordered two books!! Yes, look back at the picture (by the way, if you follow on facebook you would know why the books were in a pile of *clean* laundry). = )

Want to win Fit to Burst? Here’s how.

Leave a comment here.

Leave a comment on facebook.

Share the giveaway on facebook.

Follow the blog on facebook.

Follow the blog by email here.

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There, that looks like some sad kind of modern poetry. But I’ve seen one too many rafflecopters lately, and this is my boycott! = )

I will count every entry, so if you use more than one method you will have more chances to win. If you comment here or on facebook, let me know if you shared, liked, pinned or other such qualifying nonsense.

The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on October 31, and the winner will be announced soon after!

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And now, I have to go… so I can keep reading!

and may you be more fortunate in your giveaway endeavors than I have been in mine = )