Monday, August 23, 2010

Joy in the Journey

Oh look, I still have a blog.
I wonder if after the tumble weeds pass if there will be anyone left to read.
If not, that's OK, I still have me, myself and I to write for.
School starts this week.
It seems like just yesterday all of our cousins would be home and there was the promise of endless Summer nights and gallons of lemonade in our future.
All the lemonade has been guzzled and all the nights have faded.
We had a wonderful Summer filled with park days, the rodeo, fire works, watermelon, swimming, parades, horse rides, camping, hiking, music filled Sunday evenings and much, much more.
It's time to turn our focus back to our family routine.
I love our routine.
When I think about it I get a nice comfortable feeling.
It keeps me sane.
I have slowly been easing back into it for the last few weeks and this morning was a sheer joy.
I love home schooling my children.
While others are having back to school hoopla, we are eating our regular breakfast and doing our regular jobs and cuddling up on the couch (all 5 of us) for our morning devotional and the beginning of our "school day".
I love having my children close and reading scriptures together.
Today we read about the creation.
It seemed appropriate.
I love reciting and memorizing with my children.
I love to hear even the baby-who's-not-a-baby-anymore repeat the words we say.
He's one of us now, you know.
He's a big kid and he does literally everything the others do.
I love Doodle bringing me her math book and showing me the 7 pages she completed.
I love hearing the stories they write.
I love hearing my kids read their first words.
Today that is just what Dubs did.
We were playing with the alphabet flash cards and I laid out the "a" and the "t".
He read them.
Then I put the "c" in front and he read "cat".
Then we changed the cards from "c" to "h", "b", "f", "m", "n" and he read "hat", "bat", "fat", "mat", "nat".
He thought it was the best thing ever.
He laughed uncontrollably the whole time.
Meanwhile I was stunned that my little boy was reading real words, simple as they may be.
It's like he's on the edge, just ready to embrace it all.
I really do love this journey.
I have so many goals for this year, I am so excited.
The big one of course is to get through this pregnancy so I can love on that new baby.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Number Five

I'm pretty sure 5 is a lucky number.
At least it is for me.
I am so excited I can hardly contain myself, literally.
Mr Bird told me I had to wait until my first doctor's appointment to say anything about baby number 5, who is due to join our family April 2, 2011.
Well, today was my lucky day.
I told Mr Bird that I would not be able to wait that long until I spilled the beans, especially to people like my sisters and favorite nieces and certain family members and good friends.
I think half the world already knew before today.
So if you already knew our big news consider yourself in at least one of those categories.
What can I say, I just can't keep my mouth shut.
From the moment I knew for sure I felt like I would bust at the seams with excitement.
Part of me was a little nervous though.
I had fears of twins.
A friend of mine recently had a pretty ugly ectopic pregnancy (love you girl) and for some reason that put the fear in me.
Every little twinge of pain would throw me into sheer terror.
I had not experienced that terror with any of my other pregnancies.
So seeing our single little bean in the right place with it's fluttering little heart beat on the monitor today instantly put my fears to rest.
I was struck by how tiny and vulnerable this little being is.
I was struck by how much I love my baby already.
I just can't wait, it's going to be a long 9 months!
I guess this means Baby Cakes need a new bloggy name.
Any ideas?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Guess what? I have really good news!
I have a reader!
I am so excited about this.
I really thought I was just writing to myself and stuff, but as it turns out someone actually reads my psycho babble.
I guess last week when I posted about The Ladder I mentioned SOADS and I never followed up on what they were.
My reader pointed out my error
(truthfully, I did not even remember I'd promised to explain. I'm getting old).
So here we go, SODAS is one of the little secrets I learned from Nicholeen Peck.
I use them all the time and I love them.
The kids, not so much, but I'm sure they will once they become parents.
SODAS is an acronym for Situation, Options, Disadvantages, Advantages, Solution.
So when a child is in 24 hour consequence they get to practice SODAS, a lot.
I give them a situation, for example: Your brother knocks down your block tower.
The child then has to come up with 3 options for his reaction.
For example he might say, "I could get mad and hit him or I could go tell mom or I could chose to share the blocks and build another tower with my brother."
Then we take it one step farther and he comes up with 3 Disadvantages for each option.
For example, the disadvantages of getting mad and hitting would be a time out, or the brother could hit back or his brother could get hurt.
He comes up with 3 for EACH option.
Then he comes up with three Advantages for each option.
For example, the advantages of getting mad and hitting might be the brother does not want to play anymore so I get all the blocks to myself, etc.
A lot of times they can't come up with advantages for bad behavior, or disadvantages for a good option.
Thus, they teach themselves the lesson by thinking it through and problem solving rather than me lecturing all the time.
Because we all know that when mom starts talking they tune out.
This is a brilliant way for the kids to teach themselves the things they need to learn to get along in the real world.
From Nicholeen's blog:
"The idea is that your child will become so natural at doing mental SODAS that they will problem solve all of life's problems, by the time they are adult age. By the time youth reach age 18 they should have all the basics of problem solving down, so that they can achieve their goals and lead out in their communities. "
I love this. As parents, it's our job to help our children to become reasonable and responsible adults.
I can't think of a better way to meet that end.
Cause and effect.
The last 'S' is for solution.
After talking about all the advantages and disadvantages they choose which option they think is the best and this is their solution.
Sometimes, just to be ornery, they still will say, "I'd chose to get mad and hit!"
And that is fine with me.
Again,from Nicholeen:
"Remember, whatever they choose to pick during the SODA is OK. Don't try to make them pick what you think is right. After going through the exercise, they know what is right, but sometimes they will test you to see if you really want them to choose for themselves, or if you want them to just choose what you think they should choose. Let them choose, and then if they choose a bad choice, simply say, "It is very interesting that you chose to... I am so glad that I know how you would handle this situation...This helps me better be able to decide what kinds of situations I can allow you to be in and not be in."
As long as they know that when they chose that behavior, the consequences will follow.
They, in essence, hand pick their consequences.
Doodle is to a point where she writes this out like an assignment, it's way better than writing, "I will not hit my brother." on the chalk board 100 times.

Beano and Dubs don't have terrific writing skills yet, so it's verbal with them.
I love getting in their brains and making them think and see the lights come on.
Baby will come to love them in time as well, I'm sure of it.
You really do need to read Nicholeen's post about SODAS, she's amazing.
Happy SOADS everyone, and Happy Birthday TO ME!
P.S. thanks for reading!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dream Number 5,297

My Blog.
In my dreams I post on my blog at least once a day.
I always have something witty and thought provoking to say.
People come back day after day to laugh at the musings of me.
They just can't get enough.
I have tons of followers and people just want to give me stuff because they like me.
While all of this is happening I spend quality one on one time with each of my children every day.
I still make beautifying and cleaning my home a top priority.
In fact it's so clean all the time you could eat off the tile in the kitchen if you really wanted to.
I prepare gourmet organic meals 3 times a day and my children love and eat every bite of their meals.
We never waste food because we know there are starving children in Africa.
Laundry is always clean and perfectly folded and tucked neatly away in dressers and closets.
There is never a stray sock to be seen littering the bathroom floor.
I never yell or scream or nag at my children.
My children get up in the morning and spend several hours studying music and math and history without even a word of encouragement from me.
I spend my time in service projects to better our local community.
I teach all kinds of home school co-ops and our home school friends think of our house as their second home.
I bake fresh cookies several times a week to share with visitors and sick neighbors.
Sound out of reach?
Maybe, but I'm working on it.
I have such ideas about my ideal life and, as you can see, I fall short every day.
Really though, I feel so guilty when I neglect my blog for so long.
Maybe when all my kids leave home for bigger, better lives I can find a spare moment or a shred of energy to stay caught up.
For now, I guess you'll just have to take what you can get.