Saturday, April 18, 2015

Barrett-Jackson Car Auction

It was time for another cultural event, and the next on the list was the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction.

We weren't quite sure what to expect, but it turned out to be quite enjoyable. There were new cars and old cars, not too expensive and very expensive cars. There was even some art and jewelry available as well, and definitely food. It was surprisingly crowded, although more so in the afternoon, so we're glad we went in the morning. Then we came home and watched the auction on tv, which was much more interesting having been there in person that it would have been if we had just happened upon it while surfing channels.

A car on its side was a new one for me!


My favorite car was the authentic "Herbie" car, probably because it was the only one I recognized! Which car was your favorite?
We got home in time to watch the auction from the comfort of our couch - $115,000 is a bit out of our price range, but probably worth it. Other cars went for more!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Works for Me Wednesday - Paying for Scout Camp

Brad's Eagle Court of Honor
Last week we attended our ward's youth fundraiser dinner, and it reminded me of an ingenious plan Wayne devised to encourage our sons to use their time at Scout Camp wisely. We expected our sons to attend Scout Camp, and we also expected them to pay for it themselves, although we also tried to provide opportunities for them to earn the money.
Weston and friends at Camp Wolfboro
However, we didn't just want them to have fun at camp; we also wanted them to work hard while they were there. We knew from experience that some merit badges, like Environmental Science, are just easier to accomplish when you have the resources available at camp.
Brad and friends at a Court of Honor
So, we made a deal with them. Every merit badge they earned at Scout Camp would be worth a $25 credit towards the next year's camp (or super activity). You'll have to ask them what the record was, but the incentive seemed to work. They each definitely came home with a handful of completed blue cards, and none of them had to pay full-price out of their own pocket for the next two years of camp. 
Brad, Jeff & Steven at another Court of Honor

In addition to earning merit badges, they strengthened relationships with their friends and leaders, learned important life skills, and made great memories. I'd say we got our money's worth.
Jeff's Eagle Court of Honor

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jonathan Dickinson Park - April Visit

Wayne's parents are in town, and that gave us the perfect excuse to go back to Jonathan Dickinson State Park. This time we decided to take the boat tour to Trapper John's old homestead.

 It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day!

The tour guides (one on the boat, and one on land) were friendly and informative.

Awesome alligator skull!

I'll never tire of the combination of blue and white and green that we have here!

After docking again, we enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch before driving home again. We wish all of you could have joined us on our beautiful outing. Maybe some other time!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Works for Me Wednesday - Discipline Philosophy

A while ago, two of our daughters-in-law mentioned on Facebook that they were reading a book called The Whole-Brain Child so I decided I should read it as well. It's a great book and I enjoyed learning some new things. While I was at the library, I checked out another book the authors wrote, called No Drama Discipline. I haven't finished reading it quite yet, but it contains some sound principles. Scientists may have discovered new insights over the past 30 years, but principles don't change. Since our children have grown up to be productive members of society, and some of them are now in the process of teaching the next generation, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the principles that worked for us.

Discipline is not synonymous with punishment. To discipline is to teach. When we discipline our children, we're teaching them how to control themselves, helping them develop their moral compass, and telling them we love them.
What would your reaction to this be, hundreds of miles from home?
Or this, in the parking lot just outside the apartment door? 
It was still happening 10 years later!
Messes weren't limited to outside locations, either!
When I received my patriarchal blessing as a teenager, one of the phrases that stood out to me said something like always having peace, love, and harmony in my home. I knew that if I wanted that result, I would have to work for it. The first step was to marry someone with the same goal. The second step was to teach our children to love one another. Since our children didn't come with a User's Manual, we relied on the scriptures, living prophets, prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost when problems arose. I'd encourage you to do the same.

So, here are some of the things we tried over the years as we taught our children. I probably learned more than they ever did, but that's the way it's supposed to work, right?

I learned early on that there are some things you can't MAKE children do, no matter how much you would like to. One of those things is to fall sleep. It took a while before I stopped saying "You have to go to sleep," and said instead, "It's bedtime; you must stay in your room." I also remember sitting in the hallway in front of their door to enforce that.
This was not one of the times I sat at the door!
I learned that labels can be harmful, and to be aware of how I used words. It's important to separate the act from the child; say "You did a bad thing," not "You're a bad child."

I learned there's a difference between natural consequences and logical consequences, and when to use them. For example, the natural consequence of touching a hot stove is getting burned. However, if we're trying to keep our toddlers safe, we'll figure out another way for them to learn that lesson. A logical consequence would be to remove them from the kitchen when we see them heading to the pan of boiling water.

I learned there's a difference between a bribe (given before the desired action) and a reward (given after). Bribes don't work; rewards can.

I learned the difference between "go" and "come" - see this post.

I learned that it's easier to teach children to be obedient if there isn't a mile-long list of rules to obey. We created our family motto of Show Respect to cover ALL of the family rules.

"Summer Hours of Worth" - Our motto helped us have a productive summer one year.
I learned to give warnings before expecting a child to drop everything and come. I like being able to finish a chapter in a book or complete the next step in a project, and I tried to extend that same courtesy to my children. Saying "dinner will be ready in 5 minutes" or "we need to leave to pick up your brother in 10 minutes" actually cut down on waiting around time.

I learned to count down instead of up. Instead of counting to 3 or 10 or whatever, I'd start with the upper number and count down. If the expected behavior hadn't changed by 0, (and usually it had), the prescribed consequence needed to happen.

I learned the importance of being consistent. It was a constant struggle! (There's a story to add here someday, about Mother's Day and Sunday television.)

I learned the importance of keeping my promises.

I learned that children need boundaries, but that they'll test them to make sure you're serious. I also learned that they'll live up to high expectations.

I learned to look for motives behind behavior. Often something I would consider a "no-no" (like the 3-year-old carrying the day-old baby across the apartment) was done with the intent to help (the baby was crying and needed his mom).

I learned to come up with creative solutions. Some of our favorite included the Reverence Chair, being banished from your room for 24 hours because you trashed it (and then having to help clean it up again), having a child make a middle-of-the-night bed on the floor next to me instead of climbing in with us, creating an internet password of "obeymomanddad" when computer privileges were restored to a teenager, taking family scripture study to the bedroom, and staying up late to help Mom create a new Purple-People-Eater head (after destroying the original).

One of the scriptures we reiterated over and over and over comes from the Book of Mormon - Mosiah 4:14-15 -

     And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
     But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

Many times I would tell quarreling siblings that I wanted to keep the commandments, which stated I couldn't allow them to fight, and I needed their help so I could be obedient. Often that worked at stopping the bickering. Separating offending parties might have helped as well.

One summer I focused on the phrase "serve one another" and I wish I had done that sooner. We had each child compile a list of things they would like someone else to do to serve them. Then, when we had problems with teasing, the offending parties would choose something on the list and do it. That was actually quite effective.
I found another picture with Green Hat!
I learned to teach by example, which is how my parents taught me. We can't expect our children to do something we're not willing to do ourselves. I learned that as I followed my Savior, and tried to teach our children to do the same, we did indeed have the promised blessing of a home filled with peace, love and harmony. You can, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Works for Me Wednesday - Interruptions

One of the things I shared in our Relief Society meeting in January was another "A-ha" moment that I had many years ago, when our first three sons were little.
Weston - 5, David - 3, Brad - 4 days old
Although I thoroughly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, there were still plenty of challenges. Here's the evidence in the stress-rash that bothered me for a few months after Brad was born. (I only allowed that picture to be taken because I knew I'd regret it if I didn't have a picture of us together on his blessing day.)

About that time I was reading a book on time management. Although it was geared to a business setting, when I read a description for a secretary the light bulb went off. It's a secretary's job to handle interruptions so her boss can work effectively. All of a sudden I realized that my job description included being interrupted. I chose to stay home so that I would be available to my children, to be there when they needed me, not necessarily just when it was convenient. That change of perspective made interruptions much less disagreeable. It also probably helped the rash to disappear!
later that summer, with the monkey at Hogle Zoo
We also made a plan to minimize the more annoying interruptions. For example, it seemed that whenever I sat down to nurse Brad, David would want a drink. He wasn't big enough to pour his own juice, but he was big enough to open the fridge. So, every morning we'd prepare a supply of pre-filled sippy cups and keep them in the fridge for him. A week after I shared this story in our Relief Society meeting, a friend with a current three-year-old and two babies told me this piece of advice was a lifesaver for her. Maybe it will help one of you too!

As always, feel free to share something that works for you. What do you do to minimize unnecessary, annoying interruptions?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Robyn's Baby Blessing

This past weekend we took a quick trip to meet our newest granddaughter. I'm trying to do better at going through the pictures more promptly. Maybe I shouldn't take so many; that might make it easier.
Not enough vacation time, so instead of driving we got on a plane.
Part of the Atlanta skyline
Brooke had a lot to show us. She likes washing the kitchen floor, standing on Great-Grandpa's foot, teasing Grandpa, reading with Boppa (her other grandpa), and telling us "I'm 3, and I'm 3 feet tall!"
First on the itinerary was a picnic in the park. Although it was overcast when we arrived, the sun came out and it was a gorgeous day. A lot of other people had the same idea, but Piedmont Park was large enough for all of us.

Robyn was content to meet her great-granddad, but she wasn't too happy about getting a 4-generation picture.
The two grandmas took Brooke to feed the ducks; unfortunately, they weren't very hungry. Some of those other park visitors must have had the same idea.
Brad said this is the Spinning Rock; it's just sitting on a street corner in Atlanta.

All cleaned up and ready for bed!
Sunday was the baby blessing day. It was rainy so we took a few pictures inside instead of outside.
The happy family
Mom and Dad and Robyn
Brad and Robyn
So grateful for priesthood power!
Grandpa C, Great-granddad B, Daddy, Robyn and Grandpa W
Brooke loves her little sister and is learning how to be gentle!

We'll keep her!

Think there might be a family resemblance?