Why Blog?

I have always admired those who take time to offer thoughts and advice through blogging. And I have learned so much through their words and have often been encouraged. With three girls, working on the family dairy farm, a passion for youth ministry, I find it difficult to find something just for me. I have had a journal for all of my adult life, and find writing very therapeutic, so why not. I don't know if my words will have an impact on anyone, or teach anyone anything. But I will be satisfied knowing that I am taking some time out for me. This is my great escape.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potty Training...Day 1

I always tell people that you can do anything in 3 days, when it comes to common parenting milestones. Like taking a soother away or bottle, getting your child to sleep through the night, changing a bad behaviour, or potty training. Now I know some of you are thinking I've fallen off my rocker, but I believe that with a lot of consistancy and patience you can do many things in three days.

Today I started training my youngest (and last) child. It is bittersweet to not have a "baby" in the house, to be rid of diapers, and "onsies", but every stage in a family brings new joys, and as good as these last stages have been, I know that the joy ain't goin' anywhere! :)

Isabella is the 6th or 7th child that I have trained. Having an in-home daycare in the past sure adds up the amount of times you experience potty training! I have learned several things when it comes to potty training that I thought I would share. Take 'em or leave 'em.

1. Set small goals. Very small. This leaves very little room for disappointment.
2. Flood train. A good friend of mine works with autistic children and they use the "flooding" method to train. She told me about it when I trained Savannah. This way there is no guessing game. You know they are going to pee, and likely a lot which hopefully allows opportunity for some success. (Thanks great friend....you know who you are ;) )
3. Be patient. Don't get frustrated with little puddles, and the 10 changes of clothes on the first day.
4. Be the ultimate encourager. I find that kids don't really need treats or bribbery. It may help you both, and that's ok, but what they need most is a LOT of encouragement. For instance, tell them how great they are doing just sitting on the potty. Every time. No matter how little or how long they sit there for.
5. Get excited! There is nothing that I love to do more then get excited after a little tinkle ;) I mean, I shout and holler and jump up and down and dance and sing and laugh and hug and kiss... which makes little ones giggle and smile and shout and holler and jump up and down and dance and sing and giggle and smile more and more!!!!! They beam with pride!!!

Isabella isn't trained...yet. But I just set a small goal today (see #1) I hoped that she would know when she was wet. That was it. And guess what....she did!! I guess that's what happens when you give them lots to drink (#2) By being patient with her (see #3) I didn't get frustrated with the puddles (or when she peed right on me, or in my chair....twice...little monkey), she wasn't nervous or unsure of anything. She was free to learn, even learnign to help clean up the puddles :). That goes right into encouraging her. (#4) Every time she had an accident I would get her to sit on the potty. And I would say, "this is where your pee goes" which she would reply, "oh" LOL. I know that she just needed some time, and finally I caught her at the right time, and she made it to the potty in time!! (See #5) WOOT WOOT!! Once a child sees that excitement and recieves all that love and encouragement, I know that it just helps the process along :) Now remember, it wasn't my goal to have her pee in the potty today (Although I was sure hoping for it) In my eyes as far as I was concerned, if it had ended there, and she just kept having accidents, I would have considered the day a great success. But it just kept getting better! All together Isabella had 10 accidents and 6 successes :) The very last time she went, she went all by herself to the potty, before having any accidents. And everytime she did have an accident this afternoon, she went to the potty right after without me even having to ask her!

Potty Training Day 1..... huge success!!! I'll keep ya posted on how things go tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Laundry. A never ending cycle...

Being a mom of three girls, and working on a farm means lots and lots and lots and lots of laundry. Lots. I have stated in other posts that laundry "ain't" my thing. I hated it!

Well I am pleased to say, after over 7 years of doing (or mostly ignoring) laundry. I don't hate it. Not even a little. In fact, I kind of like it. All stages... Let me tell ya why!

This summer, because it was so very hectic, my mom graciously offered to help out with my laundry. So we made an agreement that she would wash the girls laundry. Which then just left mine and J's, towels and barn clothes. Now I realize that not everyone has a mom like mine, who has this weird love for laundry (love ya Ma ;) ) But for me, it was a step in helping me realizing that I could actually maintain the other laundry. The laundry was always done....for like, the first time ever!

After a short time, I did a little bit of research about laundry... sounds a little bizarre I know, but clearly I wasn't born with any common sense regarding the issue. :) On the website Circle of Moms (which is basically a website where moms from all around can ask questions, offer tips and advice) It gave several suggestions. Here are the ones that helped me.

1. Do at least one load of laundry everyday.
                        Simple right?
2. Have a separate laundry hamper for every child.
                        This is the one that has made the BIGGEST difference for me, so I will explain a little bit here. Isabella, has her own laundry hamper, but Savannah and Lily used to share one. Which once things got to the folding process, I was left with a lot of sorting. Now, I know that doesn't seem like a big deal, but Lily and Savannah are close to the same size, and even though I am their mom,  there are too many pink girlie clothes to be able to always know what belongs to who. Therefore, I was always looking at tags, which made the whole process longer. Since getting their own hampers, I can put everything in the washer, and when it comes out, I already know exactly where it needs to be put away!
3. Fold as you take it out of the dryer.
                       Anyone else out there guilty of piling laundry cause you just wanna get it done and washed?!?! My room was often floor-less because I would wash all the laundry, saying I'll fold that later....but then I was left with even more sorting...big piles of sorting...
4. Keep drawers cleaned out.
                       There is nothing more frustrating then trying to shove clothes into a drawer. So I cleaned out dressers. If it wasn't the kids favorite things then we took them out, or if things were stained we now use them as barn clothes. The biggest thing here is rotating the clothes so that their drawers weren't full of clothes that didn't fit. Keeping things better organized in the drawers makes putting away easy and less frustrating.
5. Put clothes away after folding.
                       Now that the girls stuff is all separated, it makes it easy to put the laundry away promptly.
6. See laundry as a blessing.
                      If I have laundry, and a lot of it, it clearly means that God has blessed us with being able to have lots of clothes, and there are many people in the world that are not as fortunate. I am also blessed with a working washer and dryer. I don't have to take my laundry to a laundry mat, or wash things by hand.

I hope this helps anyone who battles and struggles with laundry. And to those of you who already know what your doing...keep up the great work!

I'm back....I think... LOL

Wow, has it really been June since I posted last? That really wasn't my intent on leaving the blogging world for so long... Oh Well!

Let me give you a sneak peak at what summer has looked like for me.

July was a busy, "growing" month. Helping out with VBS at our church was so much fun. There is just something about turning a sanctuary into an adventurous place for kids that makes everyone excited! This year we did SonSurf beach bash. It was a huge success in my opinion :)

About a week after that, myself along with other volunteers and the Youth participated in a mission tour called Tidal Impact. This event was definitely the highlight of my summer. The way that God stretched me, and opened my eyes to see our youth on a whole new level, was life changing. Along with serving people within our church and community, meeting people's needs through lots of hard work really shows why it is God calls us to serve. There were blessings all around!

Aside from church activities, life on the farm has been of course busy. Putting up silage and hay, and working away at the other normal chores have kept me busy. Most recently we trained calves for the the local exhibition. Leading the calves, washing and clipping them. It was so fun! And we learned some ways that we can improve some of the mistakes that were made this time, so that the calves do better another year, or in another show. Doing these things has really given the girls some first hand experiences, and taught the some responsibility. They enjoyed it all. The good the bad and the ugly :)

Now, things are are starting to settle into a good fall routine. Lily is back to school. Grade two...hard to believe really. But she is enjoying it and looks forward to going each day. Now, I realize this is only week two, but I am hoping that it sticks. It's been nice to not always be counting down to the weekend.

I guess that the summer in a nutshell :)

Stay tuned for info about some of the things I learned this summer to keep me better organized!