Friday, February 26, 2010

Nature and Boys

One thing I have noticed about my boys is that they LOVE nature.  I'm sure all kids do to some extent, but I have really found that my boys are happiest when they are running free through the sand or the trees, wind whipping through their hair, and they are finding bugs.  Martin took Micah on an "adventure" recently and Micah can't stop talking about it.   They hiked down to a part of the beach and explored the tidepools.  Now Micah keeps wanting to go on more "adventures" to find "treasure."  Maybe this has something to do with him finally seeing Peter Pan - I'm not sure.  But he loves to find strange things in the sand and calls them all his "treasures".

At our old house there was seriously a lack of nature.  It was only a few miles away, but it took forever in traffic to drive to some of the places where we could find trees and water.  Now we are a little closer - we live about 2 miles from the beach, 3 miles or so away from a "Wilderness Park", 2 miles away from a nature preserve, and there are a lot of parks in our area.

They are both at a really fun age, so I think I'm going to start using every Tuesday as our Adventure Day.  I am realizing that I don't have much time left with both boys during the day, since Micah will start school in the September 5 days a week, so I want to make these days memorable.

Here are a few pictures from our recent Adventure Days:

At the Nature Preserve with their Dollar-Tree "Bug Keepers":  
(All we found were ladybugs but they loved it anyway)

This isn't the best picture, but here the boys are exploring in the rocks at the Long Beach harbor:

We went here yesterday and the boys collected rocks. I sat on the sand and looked
for dolphins, but didn't see any :(

Isn't this amazing?!  It is a staircase leading up from the beach to someone's house
(it is hard to fully see the distance up in this picture):

At the beach again; Micah was SO happy:

The boys playing in the boats (that Agent was very smart!!):

The beautiful sunset:

I don't consider myself much of a beach person, but I'm so glad it makes the boys happy, and it is  breathtaking. Hoping for more fun adventures soon!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

40 Days to Freedom

I have debated whether or not to share this on my blog.  This is something that is so personal to me, yet so shameful, that I have often just decided not to write about it.  You never know who is reading your blog and you don't want to just put anything out there.  But the past few weeks I've really been struggling with something and feel that by blogging about it, maybe it will help me.

I joke about this a lot, and most of my closest friends know, but I am really addicted to sugar.   I don't mean in a funny, light-hearted kindof way, but rather - it is like a drug to me.  This started when I was a little girl, and I used to go to the candy store with my best friend Kourtney and buy tons of candy and eat it together. I'm sure every kid does that at sometime, but for me, it has never really stopped.  I have gone through 2 periods of my life where I gave sugar up completely, and it was very, very hard for me.  I tried doing it last year but failed, and the year before that, I gave it up for 40 days and then shortly went back to it.

Most people I know would say, "Oh, I'm addicted to sugar too!!"  But really, this is bad.  Let me be brutally honest and share yesterday's "diet" with you:

Breakfast: 1 cup of raisin bran with milk
Snack:  1 container of Reeses Pieces Eggs
Snack: Handful of Animal Crackers
Lunch: Turkey & Cheese Sandwich
Snack: 2 handfuls of chocolate chips
Snack: 3 bites of cookie dough (I was baking cookies)
Snack: Approximately 7-8 oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven
Dinner:  Fettucine Alfredo with Broccoli & Garlic Bread
Snack: About 3 more cookies
Snack (9pm): Slurpee

Are you gasping yet?  Normally I don't even make cookies at home because I know what will happen. But yesterday I was wanting to make them for 3 different people, so I got rid of most of them. The rest I ate right up.

A few years ago, I really could eat in moderation.  It wasn't so much an issue.  I could have a box of See's Candy and spread it out over a week.  But something happened (I'm not sure what yet) about 2 years ago, around the time I had Jaden, where I just lost all sense of self control.  Now, I have no problem eating an entire pan of brownies in one day.  (I'm still trying to figure out at what point that change happened for me).

As I've been praying about this for a few weeks now (and having 2 of my prayer groups praying for me as well), last night I knew what I needed to do. I need to, again, give sugar up completely for a period of time (maybe forever, but I haven't gotten there yet).   My cravings have control over me, and I don't like it.  I have somehow separated this issue from letting God take over.  I have let God have control over every other area of my life, but I have said "leave this one out.  Leave this one up to me."  Yet I realize that I really am in bondage to this in my life.  I need some serious help.

I decided to start today and go for 40 days, then indefinitely.  Do you know what 40 days from today is? I didn't know until this morning.  It is EASTER!  I don't think that is just coincidence.  Two years ago, I also did this and ended at Easter.  I also didn't realize this  until this morning.  I think God is doing something in me.

Because I want to spare my normal blog from my every day journaling through this issue, I'm going to start a new temporary blog as I navigate through the next 40 days.  It is really just my way of journaling and working through the issues.  If you'd like to read it, or join me in this, I would love to have some encouragement along the way.  I need a change in my life; a big one.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seeing God in the Dolphins

Before I get to the dolphins, let me back up a bit...

Valentine's Day was coming, and I did not know what to do. I am not the romantic one in our relationship. My husband can outwit, outlast and outplay anyone in a romantic date challenge. Every time a birthday or holiday comes along, I kindof freak out inside because I know that whatever effort I make will be lame compared to his creative displays of affection. This Valentine's Day, I asked him to keep it simple. All I really wanted was to go to dinner and a movie (after all, V-Day is all about me, right?) :) Just kidding. But that really was all I wanted. So, I went to find our two gift cards from Christmas (we haven't been out much lately), and realized I had lost our dinner gift card. I spent all day Saturday tearing the house apart looking for it. I was SO sad when I realized that it was really gone. Our "free" Valentine's Day was going to cost money, and I was really bummed about it. I was in tears about it up until 10 minutes before we left. My loving husband, however, reminded me of what was really important and we went to the same restaurant anyway. We then went and saw the movie Valentine's Day, and it was such a great night! We had so much fun!! I felt like something good happened out of something bad.

The next day, we decided to take the boys down to Long Beach to walk around the harbor area. When we got there, they were advertising Harbor Cruises where kids went for free, so we jumped on the idea and within 30 minutes, we were all on a Harbor Cruise! After about 10 minutes of setting sail, I asked the captain if he ever saw whales or dolphins. "Very rarely," he replied, "because we are in a Harbor. Maybe about once a year for whales, and a little more often for dolphins." My heart sunk a little because I just love dolphins. Something about them is just so amazing to me, especially to see them in their natural environment. I remember saying a quick prayer in my heart about it: "Please help us to see dolphins today!" Well, within about 2 minutes of that conversation, I looked out ahead and saw about 20 dolphins in the water just ahead. I ran and told the captain and he pulled up right in the middle of them. They started to do flips right in front of us!! It was so amazing!! And it was then that my heart lept and I was reminded "God hears me!!" It reminded me of God's power. My friend Laura says that God likes to "show off" for us, and I really felt like He was showing off!! It was awesome!! I truly felt like I was seeing God's power displayed right in front of me. The dolphins played in front of us for just about 5 minutes and then went on their way.  (Believe it or not, I had my nice camera with me but the lens was not working!  Ugh!!)

A few days later, we had plans to go to Disneyland for another date for Valentine's Day, since that was something I have always wanted to do. I have always dreamed of going to Disneyland for Valentine's Day and eating in the Blue Bayou restaurant (in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride). Early Friday morning at 7:59am, I called the reservation line, thinking that for sure I'd get a reservation since I'd be the first one calling!! :) Little did I know people make reservations for this place MONTHS in advance!! I was so sad to hear that they had no reservations open. I called about 6 times that day hoping for a cancellation, but there were none. I prayed and even asked others to pray, because I was so bummed about it! We arrived at Disneyland and went straight to the restaurant to ask about it. The hostess said "Oh!! We JUST had a cancellation! How is 7:30pm?" I could barely contain my excitement! We were able to have an amazing, romantic dinner in the Blue Bayou restaurant. We even got to ride a few rides before we got in!

It sprinkled as we were leaving, which we loved!!

There are just some weeks where you need to see God work before you, and remind you that you are His and He loves you. This was one of those weeks for me. We also went down to the beach twice and it was breathtaking. I was reminded of Him and His glory through the dolphins, through the sunset, through getting us into the restaurant at Disneyland. I agree with my friend, that God often "shows off" for us and we just have to look for it. To the average person, these might have just been seen as coincidences, but to me, they were God's handiwork! How has he shown off to you this week?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finding Joy

Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to speak at my MOPS group.  I had been praying for months about what to speak about, and really felt led to speak on "Finding Joy" (as a mother).  The first video is what I opened with- a slideshow of our funny moments as a mom, that we don't often find joy in right away, but later on we look at them and laugh.

The second link is just the audio of my message; it is about 26 minutes, and if you have time to listen to it, I hope it greatly encourages you!!

(This slideshow is comprised of pictures that our MOPS moms submitted to me, as well as a few funny ones I found online):

Here are the notes from my message:


(Listen to the audio to hear the introduction and expanded points with illustrations):

Four areas that we lose our joy as mothers:

1) Comparisons
Mothers are really hard on each other. As much as we try not to do it, we judge other mothers all the time. We also, almost subconsciously, compare ourselves to other moms all day long.

We look at the ones who seem to be able to “do it all”, and we feel lame. We often compare ourselves, which makes us feel low, and then we judge someone else, which temporarily makes us feel better again. It is a vicious and un-godly cycle we can find ourselves in. I think the root of this is that each of us wants what is best for our kids. But by comparing, we lose our joy. We feel bad about ourselves. We focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths. You’ve probably heard that phrase “comparison trap” because that is exactly what it is: a trap. Once we get into comparing, it is hard to stop.

We often compare
-mothering styles
-things (possessions)

Another thing that can cause us to lose our joy is
2) Isolation

You can have friends, yet still be isolated. Maybe none of your friends have children, and so you don’t have anyone that “gets it.” They want you to go out all the time, go shopping, etc.. and don’t understand why your husband just can’t watch your baby whenever you want. It is so important to have friends who “get it”- Who are IN your place in life. The isolation can cause us to lose our joy and feel alone.

A third thing that can cause us to lose our joy is
3) Mommy-guilt

You probably know exactly what I mean when I say “mommy guilt”? I have SO many stories of things that happened to my boys that I feel guilty about, even to this day. This mommy-guilt is so overpowering that it can cripple us. It can hover over us and put a heaviness on us like nothing else. I remember one day last year when I picked up my son Micah from school and realized that I had just missed his Mother’s Day Tea. I was the only mother who was not there. The thought of him sitting alone just broke me and I cried about it numerous times. The sad thing was that I had nothing going on that morning; I was looking for something to do, and completely forgot about it. He came out of his classroom carrying a gift for me that he had made, this cute necklace, and this guilt just washed over me. This guilt can be overpowering and steal our joy from us, haunting us for years.

A fourth thing that can cause us to lose our joy is
4) Fear

I never really knew fear until I had kids. I want them to be safe, secure, and healthy. Yet I don’t want to keep ourselves locked in our house because of fear. If you’ve ever dealt with a health issue with your child, you know this fear well – sometimes we let our minds go to the farthest scenario of what could happen, and even the thought of it cripples us. We become fearful, anxious, and angry.

We fear of what will happen to our children when we send them off to kindergarten, and they are around other people for 7 hours every day. We fear “letting them go” and we fear of them getting hurt. But living in fear is also not the life God wants for us, his daughters. Fear can rob us of joy.

So how can we find joy as mothers?
I have not overcome each of these areas in my own life. I come to you as a mother who shares in these struggles and wants to overcome them, so that I will be a happy mother who my kids and my husband will want to be around. Thankfully we have our mentor moms who can encourage us in these things and share their stories of hope with us.

In preparing for this message, I asked God to show me His remedy for these areas in our lives. How can we find joy when we face these obstacles every day? Let’s look at what His word says we can do if we are feeling any of this:

1) Instead of comparing, choose contentment.
The reason I use the word “choose” is because each of these responses is a choice. We choose not to let our minds focus on the negative, but to choose a godly response instead.

Recognize that God has given YOU strengths as a mother that another mother may not have. And your weaknesses as a mother may be another’s strength. Focus on the blessings. When you are feeling down, like everyone else has everything going right, Go back to basics: thank you God for the roof over our head, for our food, for our health, for my husband’s job. Thank you for our family.

Our children can tell when we are not content. Whether it’s comparing ourselves to another mom, or comparing our lives to other friends or family members who have more than us, our children pick up on that so easily.

Remember that this is just a season.

Philippians 4:12
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

2) Instead of isolation, choose involvement.

In other cultures, and in biblical history, women were together all the time. They cared for each other, taught each other, took care of each other’s children. They even nursed each other’s babies. In our culture today, we are so isolated and alone. We are so busy we don’t have time for friends. But if you are isolated and alone, recognize that this is not how God designed you to be.

Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." The reason I like this version is because it shows that WE have a part; we have to "show ourselves friendly" and reach out if we want to find friends.

Reach out. It takes work to make friends, especially after having kids. But if you can even connect with another mother once a week, it will give you something to look forward to. Invite someone over during the day, or go to someone’s house. You have to make an effort to connect but it is worth it. Join a Bible study. Join a MOMS group. Do what you can to surround yourself with support, even if they are not your closest friends.
Connect. Engage. Give to someone. Be joy for someone else.

3. Instead of Guilt, choose Grace- recognize that guilt is a tool that Satan uses to torment us. We all mess up.

“There is no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a great one”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (New International Version)
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Hebrews 4:16 (King James Version)
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

4. Instead of fear, choose faith. Fear is a reaction, while Trust is a response.

Exodus 2:1-4 –
"Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him."

I think of Moses' mother here: think of the amount of faith this woman had to wrap her baby up, make a basket for him, and set him down in a large river. She didn’t know if he would float away, if he would fall out and drown, or if anyone would find him. The Bible says that when he was found he was crying. Can you imagine the pain she went through to “let him go”? Yet if Moses’ mother would have held on to him and hid him out of fear, he would have never become great. He would have never become the leader of Israel. It was because of his mother’s act of faith and choosing to let her son go and trust in God.

Nothing will happen to our children that has not passed first through God’s hand. Our children are his children first.

Proverbs 29:25
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe."

Isaiah 41:13
"For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you."

Each of these responses is a choice. We choose to let our minds go down the paths of fear, of guilt, of comparisons, and even of isolation. We have the ability to stop our minds from going down those roads and choosing a different response instead.

These are things that can bring joy to our lives. When we are choosing not to compare, not to fear, not to isolate ourselves, and to not succumb to guilt, we will find joy.

Think about one of these areas that stood out to you the most. I can relate to all of these, but the one that stands out to me the most is fear. I struggle with that even more than the others. Rather than go home and feel overwhelmed that now we have all these new things to change about ourselves, I just want you to pick one area that you are struggling with right now. Pray about that area right now, and let God replace that area with his peace and his joy as you trust in him.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Fine Frenzy

I was thinking about how to title this post and that phrase came into my mind (no, not the band).  That is how I would describe the past 2 weeks.  It has been a frenzy, but it really has been fine.  But today I really needed to sit down and write, and just process all that's happened.

Mike has been living with us for 2 weeks now, and it has been good.  Every day brings a new challenge but then God comes through and gives us the exact wisdom and provision we need for the moment.  Last night we sat down with Mike to discuss his options after he leaves here in 2 weeks.  He has 4 options, but only wants to do 1 of them.  That one option is, in our opinion, not a good option. The other 3 are good options, but he doesn't want to do those.  I told him that never have I witnessed, first-hand, how God has pursued someone intensely as He is doing to Mike.  When Mike makes a decision that is not what is best for him, and starts going after that, God has stepped in EVERY time and prevented that from happening.  It is like I am watching God work right in front of my eyes, and it is amazing.  It is clear to me now that Mike has a calling from God on his life and God is protecting him and preventing him from going down the wrong road.  But I also know this is very hard for Mike and he has never given control of his life over to anyone before, because he's always been hurt.  We've been talking lately about how he can trust God, that God has a plan for him, and that plan is so much better than the life he's lived before.  He looks into our eyes like he wants to believe us, but doesn't know how.

Life has been very different for us since we are now a "family of five."  Our food budget has gone up. This boy loves milk, and he loves cereal and food in general :)  I have had to adjust to cooking for 3 adults every night, and we haven't been able to just "fend for ourselves" like we do sometimes; I have to be more intentional about actually making meals each night.  It is good, though.  It is nice to have another person at the table to eat with and laugh with.  We take him to work and pick him up on many days.  He spends time with us as a family, eating with us and hanging out.  He is living in our office right now, which is small and cramped, but he keeps it neat and clean.  He helps around the house and entertains the boys (they think it is very cool that a skateboarder is living with us).  We have definite boundaries but he is keeping to those.  Our boys just love him, and it is neat to see Mike be taken aback by that love and learn to receive it.  Jaden gives him spontaneous hugs, and Micah now rushes to the door when Mike leaves and says "kisses and hugs!!!"  I know Mike is receiving love he has lacked in his life, and it can be overwhelming.

Martin and I have had to really "make" time for each other these past few weeks.  We are missing each other more.  Our conversations usually have to wait until midnight when we're both in bed and very tired, but have lots of catching up to do.  We haven't seen each other very much lately because we've been so busy.  On Saturday we have our first date in months, for Valentine's Day, and we so badly need it.

Add to all of this our schedule for the past two weeks:  Church on Sundays, small group on Mondays, discipleship group on Tuesdays, MOPS and worship practice on Thursdays, having random people over during the week, Saturday morning prayer, and preschool 3x a week..... tonight I'm really feeling it, and I am tired.  And if Mike ever finds this blog and reads it, just know that we love you so much and are so thankful you are part of our family, and you are not a burden at all, but a blessing to us.  We wouldn't have it any other way right now.  God is growing ALL of us through this and you rock.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Giving Project: Month 2 (February)

Thanks to all of you who shared your enthusiasm and participated in The Giving Project for January, giving food to someone God laid on your heart.  I heard some great stories of giving from a few of you who participated, including this one:

I was feeling reluctant to serve [a certain person who I had already given to many times before] again. I prayed on it knowing that God doesn't just want us to serve "good" people etc. Just then I came across your blog and The Giving Project with the message about sharing food. It was totally God telling me to serve this family anyway regardless of my feelings about them. It really builds my faith when I see God working and speaking to me that clearly.  So I thought that story might encourage you as it did me because God used your blog to impart guidance! Neat.  :)

This person is right, sometimes God calls you to give to someone you've already given to before, even when we feel they might be taking advantage of "help" offered to them.  It is hard to do.  Little did I know that very soon after I wrote that post, God would call us to give in a BIG way.  This "small" Giving Project turned into a huge "life project" for us!  And we don't mind at all.

I was praying this past week about what the challenge should be for February.  I really believe God laid it on my heart yesterday.  This month, I challenge all of us to reach out to someone for Valentine's Day.  Yes, arguably one of the most marketed, commercial days of the year.  So, why Valentine's Day?  Because there are a lot of lonely people around us who are reminded on Valentine's Day that they have nobody to share that day with.  There are many people who feel grief particularly hard on this day:

-Those who have lost a spouse
-Those who have lost a child
-Those who are single and sad about it
-Those who just broke up with a significant other
-Older people who feel forgotten 
-Maybe even you.

So, here is the project for February:   Choose at least one person in your life who you know is alone.  Send them a Valentine's Day card and let them know you are thinking of them.  Or have your kids make them a Valentine's Day card (who doesn't love that?!).  If you want to go a step further, give them some flowers from your backyard, or some homemade cookies, or some loot from your kid's Valentine's Day party.  You pray about it, and see who God might bring to your mind.  

You might be thinking "but the person is ME! Valentine's Day is hard for ME!!" Then this challenge is especially important for you; that you make this day all about reaching out to others and connecting.  In doing that, you will be so blessed.  

In about 2 weeks, we can all get back here and leave comments to see what creative ways people came up with to give.  Have fun and make someone's Valentine's Day!!!

(P.S. Sorry about the formatting & font issues; I have these issues every time I copy and paste a quote into my page and then can't get the rest of the font back to normal.  Anyone have a fix for this?)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Secrets to Successful Naps

Oh wow, that title is deceiving. Because I think if someone actually had the secrets to successful naps, they'd be the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller.  Every child is different, so there really is no "secret" to successful naps.  But I thought I might share a few things that have worked for us some of the time.  (Note that I said some, because on many days I am going nuts trying to get them to sleep, but usually after 30 minutes it has worked.)

When Micah was a baby, I put him on a regular routine - first he had two naps, and I tried to make them around 9am and 1pm daily (he was an early riser).  As he got older, we switched to just one nap around 1pm.  For me, nap time was my #1 priority. I wanted him to be a good nap-taker, so I planned my day around it.  Not everyone likes to do that, but again, it was just what worked for me.  However, I was glad that we did that, because it was such a routine for him that he never missed a good 2 hour nap.  Ah, the bliss.  For awhile he fought it, but I really insisted that he take one.  He would get in trouble if he got out of bed.  If, after an hour, he was still awake, I would let him play quietly in his room.  I read a book called "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber, and he really recommended routine.  That worked for us.  (Some people prefer Babywise. I personally wanted to burn that book, because no other book I read made me feel like a more horrible parent than that one.  Just me though.)

Micah- 16 months old

When we had Jaden, our boys started sharing a room when he was about 4 months old.  We had a new challenge for nap time.  Would it be possible for them to take simultaneous naps and not wake each other up?  For Jaden's morning nap, I would have Micah play out in the living room until Jaden woke up.  As J got older, I started trying to push his 2nd nap to 1pm so that they would sleep at the same time.  It was rough the first few weeks, but eventually they got on the same schedule. We would put Jaden down first, and then as soon as he went to sleep (usually 5-10 minutes), we would bring Micah in the room. We told Micah that he was not to be loud or wake Jaden up, or he would get in trouble.  I think it was kindof fun to him to have to whisper and be quiet (so not true for some kids, I know.  But hey, maybe a reward system would work well here?).  Jaden would usually wake up before Micah, so we would have the baby monitor on and run in and take him out before he woke Micah up.

Oh man, this picture was so cute I couldn't help but post it.  Even if it wasn't relevant :)

Bedtime worked the same way.  We would put Jaden down at 7:30pm, and then Micah down at 8pm.  Micah knew that if he made noise he would get busted (I use that term lovingly) :)

Sometimes Micah wanted to sleep with Jaden.  But it only lasted about 2 minutes.

Now that they are older, 2 and 4, they fight naps more often.  But I think because it's been my #1 priority each day (seriously, it is my NUMBER ONE priority that they take naps), Micah still takes naps at least 4 days a week, and Jaden at least 5 or 6 (I have found the key to that is having them play a lot outside in the morning so they get all their energy out).  Now they go take a nap at the same time- around 1pm every day.  I give them three rules:

1. No talking
2. No playing
3. No getting up
or they get in trouble

I have them each repeat the rules to me, and then I count to three and close the door.  I think counting to three lets them know "the rules start right now."  For some odd reason, my boys love telling me the rules, and even when I forget, they both say "Mommy, ask me the rules!!!"  Sometimes they break the rules and I do have to correct them, but after awhile they stay in bed and are quiet.  (Right now as I write this, Jaden has gotten up twice and I have had to go in there and correct him.  But he seems to be staying in bed now).  I let them take a toy to bed and put it next to or under their pillow, but they are not allowed to play with it.   This seems to help with the transition and teaches them self-control. If I catch them playing, I just take it away.

After 45 minutes or so, if Micah is not asleep (because he's older and doesn't always fall asleep), I will let him get up and come read books in my room or the living room.  I don't let him watch TV during this time (on most days) because I don't want him to avoid a nap just to "get" to watch tv.  There have been a few days where Micah fell asleep but Jaden didn't, and I do the same thing with Jaden.  He has to look at books quietly in another room.

Sometimes, the plan doesn't work, and neither takes a nap.  This happens rarely, but it does.  But I know that if I do take the 20-30 minutes of consistency in making them lay down, the next 2 hours of quiet is worth it.  These boys are CRANKY if they don't nap, especially during the "witching hours" of 4-7pm.  And that makes mommy cranky.  Nobody wants that.

So, these are just a few ideas that have worked in our home.  Like I said, I know these will not work for everyone. Every child is so different.  Some people prefer no naps because then their kids go to bed earlier.  Ours, thankfully, still go to bed around 8 or 8:30pm even with a nap.  So now, I want to know: what  has worked for you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Fun Week in Review

This past week has been so busy but fun. This morning we were supposed to go to the Farmer's Market for our monthly church staff get together, but I opted to stay home and rest instead.  I'm so thankful for Martin, who took the boys with him so that I could have 2 hours of peace.

On Friday we went to Disneyland again for a few hours - always so much fun!!!

Oh, and check out this 3 year old girl who was having a birthday party, escorted around the park by Mary Poppins and Bert, followed by a marching band and a fairy godmother.  Okay.  Honestly?!

On Saturday we had a yard sale that was really small, and I was hoping to come away with $100.  We actually made $200 and sold almost everything!!  Now we are going to get Jaden a twin sized mattress to replace his toddler mattress that he's been sleeping on on the bottom bunk (surrounded by pillows and stuffed animals to fill the space) :)

Saturday night we had some friends come over, along with my sister and Mike, who is staying with us.

On Sunday we had church and then celebrated my beautiful friend Laura's birthday.

On Monday, I took Mike all over town to run errands.  We had a good talk and I found out his life story. He has gone through a lot and had to grow up very young.  Thankfully he got hired yesterday and started his new job this morning.  He will be a sign twirler on the street for a business :)  Hey, it's something, right?!  And it actually pays well!   It has been weird not to be in our normal routine since he's been here, but he is not a burden at all.  We enjoy having him around; it is just an adjustment getting used to another person living in your house.  He is great with the boys and they love entertaining him.  Please continue to pray for him; he will be here for a month.

Excuse me now while I run and grab breakfast while I still have a few moments to enjoy!!!