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.


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!


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: over and over

Thanks to my sweet friend Liz who takes such fun pictures of the girls!
Thanks to my sweet friend Liz who takes such fun pictures of the girls!

When my sweet little Hopey was learning to talk I remember how curious it was to me that she would say words over and over. Being my first, it didn’t bother me at all; I just found it so interesting. (Clearly I had not spent much time with babies)

At some point it occurred to me that that was how she learned. That was how she mastered her words and concepts. I’m pretty sure she didn’t think, “That word ‘cracker’ is hard one; I better say it over and over so I don’t forget!” But even at a young age, the idea that practice makes permanent is built into our bodies.

When we practice something over and over, we will eventually be able to do it without thinking.

This is the beauty and the hardship of training children. We can teach them to obey even as very small children, but it takes a fair amount of effort.

Over and over.

Thankfully, we’re given plenty of opportunities. (even without “Here, let me show you what I expect and let’s think of a fun way to practice” times)

Kids have to eat… over and over.

Brothers and sisters have to play together… over and over.

Toys have to be cleaned up… over and over. (even if it is a few days in between on occasion) = )

Seat belts have to be buckled… over and over. Oh what a happy day in our house when the oldest two could do this without complaining or getting frustrated!

Wants have to be put aside… over and over.

Mommy has an opportunity to practice patience… over and over.

Mommy has an opportunity to model confession… over and over.

We go back to the gospel after being all out of sorts… over and over.

It can be so frustrating when kids slip back into habits or attitudes that we thought had been taken care of. But it’s always worth it to keep talking, keep teaching, keep disciplining, keep modeling… over and over.


The grand and glorious things we’ve been working on this week have been no more than sitting in your chair correctly at the table and obeying with a good attitude. This is not the first week we’ve worked on these things, nor will it be the last.

What have you been working on this week?

31 days of training my kids: white rice

imagePardon a personal story that I need to remember next time I’m sitting at the table waiting for a child to finish something they don’t want to.

Within the last month, Sophia has made it clear that she does not like white rice. Unfortunately for her, she still has to eat it. Unfortunately for us, we have to help her eat it.

I promise: the last three times we’ve eaten white rice, I’ve given her a purposefully small portion. That didn’t seem to matter, however, while the centuries went by as she ate it.

You have to understand, when you’re sitting at the table, wishing like never before that you hadn’t said they had to eat it, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s frustration for all parties involved. You just end up questioning why you have decided that it is important for a four year-old to eat all the food given to her on her plate.

Well, white rice night rolled around again; and I again dished out a small portion to Sophia. Unexpectedly during dinner, she began making excited noises and pointing to her plate with her fork. I didn’t get it, so when she had swallowed her food she exclaimed, “I just took a bite of rice!” (possibly the first time she’s ever waited to swallow her food before speaking) = )

She continued to eat all of her white rice before anything else on her plate!

At this point, I have to postpone the celebration and interject that Paul is the one that taught them this. He always works his way from least favorite to favorite on his plate; unlike me, who gobbles up the meat and carbs and then pushes my vegetables around until I realize there are small people watching me. He’s talked with them many times about how it’s better to eat your least favorite thing first, but this was the first time any of them had tried it -willingly!

There were cheers and hoorays and praises all around. Finally, something had sunk in!

Now, as I said with Mckayla and holding Mommy’s hand, this doesn’t mean anything for next time.

But I want to remember it next time I’m growing old at the table.

31 days of training my kids: definitions, goals, plans

imageWhoo!  It’s 8:17 and I’m hoping the girls sleep until 8:30 which gives me thirteen minutes to do this.

Already this challenge has been a help to me because I’m up and ready!

No time for formalities!

Definitions (which will be shorter than I had thought)

Training is foreseeing circumstances or events that a small child will encounter and preparing them to handle those. This might be how to act when left with a sitter or going to bed when told. For me at the earliest stages it has meant teaching them to come when I call, stay with me out in public, and hold my hand while walking around.

It can also mean teaching through problems that have already happened. How many times do we wake up and watch our child “break new ground” in some unsightly fashion or another and think, “Okay, I guess we’re going to have to work on that.”


My goals for this month have less to do with my kids and more with me.

Am I taking the opportunities I’m given or missing them because something else is on my mind?

When I do see that undesirable behavior out in public, I know I probably wasn’t working as much at home as I could have been.

My main and super general goal is to spend time every day in training of some kind. And to really watch and think about what I see going on in my children’s hearts and behavior.


The plan right now is to get the girls up, work on Awana verses and eating quickly at breakfast, and try something new with homeschool which I’ll let you know later if it works. = )

See ya round!

What the fly on the wall heard, week 3

“Mommy! I haven’t wiggled at all yet!” (Sophia whispered loudly three-quarters of the way through Sunday’s sermon)


All the girls learned to say “Yeah” as their first positive response; and we were thrilled with that… when they were babies. However, lately I’ve been realizing that that is still their initial response and wanted to bring it from a “yeah” or “yep” to a “yes” or “yes, ma’am.” So I told the older three girls what I expected and then we played a little game where I would ask them a yes or no question, and they would have to reply correctly. Of course Hope answered with precision. Gracie got mixed up between sir and ma’am, and Sophia…

“Sophia, are you two?”

“No, ma’am!”

“Sophia, are you four?”

“Yes, ma’am!!!”

“Sophia, do you like pickles?”

“Yes, mammy-sir!!!!!”

“Sophia, is it dark outside?”

“No, mammy-sir-ee-b0b!!!!!!!!”

And then we stopped.


(Gracie to me) “What’s your name?”


“But you call yourself Christie.”


(Mckayla, every time Paul walks in the door) “Daaaaaa-deeeeee!”