Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Laying the Smack Down

Here is part II to Annette's question from Live, Learn, Love. "How do I handle discipline?"

You would think with five children I would be a pro of sorts about discipline, but the fact of the matter is, I'm not. I hate discipline, whether it be in my own life or in the lives of my children, but unfortunately it is unavoidable. It's one of those things that God directs us to step out of our comfort zone to do. I would say it is one of my biggest struggles as a mom, followed by what to fix for lunch. It's one of those areas where I clearly see my faults and I wish I were better with follow-through and that I didn't yell all the stinkin' time.

Like everything else with motherhood, it seems like the disagreeable behavior seems to be cyclic. Right now I'm dealing with Keely not listening the first time around, the same problem I had with Ryleigh a year ago. Brynna is having the issue of trying to be the mama and constantly correcting and discipline the little ones, something I had to have a heart-to-heart with Jace about 6 months ago. And just like every other stage in dealing with children, when you are in the throes of it, it seems endless and overwhelming.

The one think I think I do well regarding discipline, is back Brian up when he corrects the children. Even when I don't agree with him or his method, my poker face is on and I stand behind his decision. This is not to say that we don't have discussions later about it, or that I don't do "eye messages" when the kids backs are turned, but I believe in providing a united front. Brian and my other strong suit is that we choose our battles. We try not to get hung up on little things. We try to focus on the core values of our family. Do they obey us? Are they being respectful of others? Are their words and actions loving? I love how the Duggars use the acronym of JOY (Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third), when I remember to use it, I do.

Punishment for the above mentioned infractions result in a time-out, a paddle (depending on severity and times of repeating myself) or loss of something important, privileges for the older kids and treats for the younger ones. These consequences are normally prefaced by a warning , "Don't do _______", followed by a, "I'm going to beat the living tar out of you if you don't listen", a "I'm going to paddle you into next week, now stop it," or "Do I need to lay the smack down?" (Annette, these are the empty threats I was telling you about.) After I blow off steam along with my self-confessed horrible sayings, I finish up with the correct punishment.

As for tantrums, I've never (knock on wood) had a child have a major meltdown in public, at least not one that I can remember (you'll see why below). We do have them at home on occasion. I tell them to stop or they can go in their room. If they continue I ignore them, if it still continues I pick them up and put them in either their crib (Vance) or in their bedroom (Keely) until they stop it with the crying, flailing, and all-around-fit-throwing. With Keely I actually have to stand outside her bedroom door holding the door shut until she gives up with her escape plan. It's awful, but after she cries it out and calms down we can talk and I can get an apology. Normally when we are at this point, it's because she is too dang tired to reason.

Speaking of tired, I try not to overload my kids. Major grocery shopping is done by myself on nights or weekends. If I have errands to run, I limit how many I can do at one outing and plan to do the most boring and difficult one first so that there is something to look forward to. This might make me run into town more than once a week but doing two days of three or four errands is far less stressful for everyone and is well worth the gas and anxiety I feel as I break out into a sweaty mess when my kids begin to run a muck.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

An Introduction of Sorts

The questions continue. My bloggy friends are so kind to offer up some more, this time Annette from Live, Learn, Love has inquired about my discipline methods, as well as, a family picture.

I'm a wimp, I'm going to start with the easy part, the introduction to my brood and a couple of pictures. Truth be told, I have to figure out how to word my discipline style so that I don't alarm people. You'll see what I mean in my next post when I confess how I spew many empty threats daily and often lack follow-through, especially if I'm on the computer.

In the mean time, Annette (and others who are not familiar with us), this our family:

We have five kids gracing our holy mess of a home and one in utero.

Jace is our oldest son, he is 11 and entering the 6th grade.
Brynna our oldest daughter and will be turning 9 in less than a month. She is going into the 4th grade.
Ryleigh, another girl, is 4. Although she is ready for kindergarten she is not eligible this year since she turns 5 the day after Christmas and in California the cut-off date is December 15th.
Keely, yet another girl, just turned 3 in June. She does pre-school activities with Ryleigh and for the most part can hang pretty well.
Vance, a boy, is 16 months and as much as I would like to say that I am currently working with his vocabulary or cognitive skills, I'm not. He grunts or squeals and plays with toys that aren't appropriate for his age, such as match box cars and Nerf guns.
In December we will be having our 6th child, and like the other five we will be surprised by the sex.

Note: I have no recent family photos, these are all from our Christmas card shoot we did in November 2008, but you get the point. Hair is longer, kids are taller, and all these clothes are tighter, stained and no longer look new.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Worries and Prayers

In an attempt to get me blogging I asked for you, my bloggy readers, to post some questions for me about things you might want to know about how I run our home, deal with situations or just what my take is on life. My dear friend, Tonya from Life in Our Zoo, posted some questions for me. I really think she just didn't want me to feel bad when no one really cared what I do with my life and asked me no questions. Thanks Tonya. Here are her questions:

"Have you started homeschooling Jace yet? How do you feel about it? Why are you doing it?
Can you write funny stories about life from when you were a newlywed (if you can remember back that far)? Like when you lived out in the deserted part of the desert. :-)"

I will answer the first part, since my brain has seemed to suppress the early years, and in the mean time I will see if hypno-therapy can help me out.

I have not started to home school Jace yet. The program we are going through begins on September 8th, but I think we can sneak a few subjects beginning next week since they will release the online portion at that time. We are using a curriculum through K12. The best part is that in California, it is offered as a "virtual public school", so aside from our tax dollars we don't pay anything for the books, labs, art supplies, computers and printers. I am very impressed with the subjects, supplies, etc. and am looking forward to the accountability the program offers.

The plan was originally to have our kids go to public elementary school and then to home school our kids when they came of middle school age, unless we could miraculously afford private school again. The plan changed, the miracle didn't happen and the thought of home school seemed impossible the more children we had. I thought that I would become certifiably crazy if I home schooled and had little ones to tend to as well. So in true God fashion, He made happen what I had given up on. He had Jace request to be home schooled. At first I dismissed it, but the boy didn't let up! So I took the leap and signed up after a couple of months. We began to receive the boxes of goodies and I felt bad that Jace was getting such an awesome opportunity with such outstanding curriculum that I began to feel bad for sending Brynna back to public school. I asked her if she wanted to be home schooled and she refused stating she would miss her friends. Fine. I then got her state testing results and was not pleased. I know Brynna is a smart girl, but her take on life is more creative, non-traditional and the disconnect was apparent when looking at the scores. I tried a different approach to swoon her, I offered to get her horseback riding lessons. Still no. Okay, I thought, to each his (or her) own. I wasn't going to force the matter. Out of nowhere, the week before public school was to start, she changed her mind. We were at the doctors and she said she wanted to learn at home because sometimes she didn't hear things at school and the teachers would not repeat it. I don't think I will ever know what triggered the thought. The impending vaccinations for her siblings? Playing "I spy"? Singing songs? After a hundred "Are you sure's", she remained firm in her choice, and I signed her up too.

So, now I am home schooling both of the older kids (4th and 6th grade), piecemealing a pre-school curriculum together for Ryleigh and Keely (they beg everyday for home school), and will have an infant and a toddler at home. The first two weeks after accepting my new found role, I was stoked. Couldn't wait for it to start. Feeling confident. Cleaning and organizing the playroom like never before. Then something happened. What? I'm not sure. But I doubt myself now. Doubt our decision. The "what if's" flood my mind. What if I can't find the time necessary? What if the kid's test scores drop? What if the kids think I'm an idiot? What if others think I'm crazy? What if I am crazy? What if I loose even more of who I am to this mothering thing?

Ridiculous, huh? Maybe, maybe not. My feelings are real, hopefully not correct, but definitely worries of mine. I'm clinging to the fact that this is not uncharted territory, many a woman has done this before me, many are doing it now. My pressures are not so different then others; there are teaching moms with more children and less resources than I and they are raising well-educated, well-adjusted individuals. But still I fret. I'm praying. Praying I can do this. Praying I won't screw my children up too much. Praying that Jace and Brynna don't discover the truth too soon; that their mother doesn't know everything. Praying that I don't get lost in the jobs I do, but that they enhance who I am. Praying that the teacher's manual will fill me in on what the heck a predicate is again before I have to teach it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A few weeks ago I did an interview for the Homemaking Cottage. They are doing a series on large families and I volunteered to give a glimpse into our lives and the reason why I keep birthing more children. Click here to read my interview and check out the other moms too. Don't you just love the vicarious peek blogs allow us into others lives?

I found that answering questions was a lot easier to do then to sit in front of an empty blog page searching for inspiration. It was reminiscent of journaling in elementary school. The topic is already picked, I just have to respond. So, with that being said, if you have questions let me know and I will answer them. (A note to family: this is not the time to ask when we are coming East.)

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