Thursday, December 30, 2010

No More Choices!

I have found myself annoyed and often balking at the sheer self-centeredness of my children. After each episode of toy stealing or "me first" attitude I try to have a conversation with them that involves me telling them to not be so selfish.  I would even throw Bible verses in there to drive my point home. But, as you can imagine, this was having little or no affect.  So I got desperate and ordered a book...

I'm glad I did. 

Surprise, husband and I are, in fact, fueling their selfishness not only by our own actions but by empowering their own selfish actions. 

I'm about half way through the book but my household has already done a 180 degree turn. And here's the main reason why:


I learned that developmentally children need parents to make decisions for them for a long time. I came across this handy little chart on page 63.

Percentage of the Decisions Made by the Child

Age:                   Birth to 4     5 to 8     9 to 11    12 to 15        16-19

Percentage:           0%              20%         40%        50%            80%

My children have now lost all ability to make decisions in my house and it is WONDERFUL. 

~ No more fighting over who gets the purple bowl. Mom decides.

~ No more "my turn to choose!" which TV show to watch. Mom decides.

~ No more "I don't want yogurt for breakfast!" Mom decides.

~ No more "I want to wear this outfit not that one!" Mom decides.

~ No more "I want this or that." Praise the Lord in Heaven!...Mom decides.

This has cut down on at least 50% of fighting and whining in our house (there's still plenty to go around).  After adopting this "no decisions" method it has become really clear to me now that my kids wanted me to decide for them. They weren't able to make a decision on their own and it caused them to act out and become selfish when I asked for their opinion. 

The only crappy part is that I have a lot to work on about myself to show my kids how to put others first! So, I just thought I would share if you are having selfishness issues in your house too. I totally recommend this book (what I've read so far anyway..). 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Advent Conspiracy Gifts

I posted a while back about our church doing the Advent Conspiracy. While we didn't do a great job of spending less money, Eric and I tried to make our gifts more meaningful this year.  We still bought several gifts but really did give a good college try to make many of our gift receivers feel like we spent more time thinking of them.  Here are a few things we came up with:

Eric made this for the girls:

The stable turned out so cute and the girls love it!

I made this for my sister in law with much appreciated help from Carisa, a very patient and awesome knitter!  (I also knitted some washrags for my sisters and mom like I promised! I'm sure they were thrilled...)

Made the black one for my friend Anna's sister - it's a little scary homemaking something for others, but hey, if I can do definitely can!
 I had my friend, Amy (who can make any idea come to life) make these prayer journals for several members of my family:

My sister in law was selling Bead for Life bracelets which I thought made perfect gifts for the girl's AWANA, preschool and Sunday School teachers!

I think she's still selling them until the end of January if anyone wants a bracelet or necklace for a good cause!

We wrote a Welcome to the 'Boro pamphlet for Eric's brother, who just moved here, humorously highlighting places to go and things to do. (Also got him some chamber bucks to spend so he wouldn't feel totally jipped).

I got my blog made into a book for my Grandma and Grandpa who don't have a computer:

Maybe next year, we'll figure out a way to spend less money and also give meaningful gifts, but I think we got a good start anyway.  I also found it to be even more exciting to give gifts because while we were making some of these things we spent so much time thinking about the people we were gifting to.

I definitely recommend trying the Advent Conspiracy in one form or another. It was fun to get creative for a change!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Birthday Party for Jesus

The Idea

I decided to host a birthday party for Jesus at my house this year.  The idea came after we celebrated Austyn's birthday in October. We live for birthday parties around here and the girls kept asking me "who's birthday is next?!"  I would say, "Well, it's Jesus's birthday."  So I began to think, why don't we have a party? We have a party for everyone else in the family and Jesus is a member of this family too.  I tried to talk myself out of it several times because of the busyness that is December but I couldn't in good conscience not do it. This is the reason for the season after all!

I would be lying if I said it didn't stress me out, but I only snapped at my husband a few times so I'll call it a success.

The Party

I decided to go with a Follow the Star theme and managed to get a few invitations out.

Found some perfect plates and cups at Hobby Lobby.

I read A Star for Jesus book and then had the kids help decorate Jesus's cake by making it as bright as possible. This was a ton of fun! We also made a star ornament for the kids to take home.

I wanted to invited so many more kids but we were bursting at the seams as it was...I think we had 13 kids not counting the babies!

I also had the kids bring a toy from their home that they could give away to a boy or girl that wouldn't get any toys for Christmas.  The next day I had so many awesome toys to take to Main Street Ministries I was so excited by the kids generosity! The parents brought a bunch of canned goods and food items too!

I forgot to say and do a few things I had planned so I don't know how well I got the "real meaning of Christmas" message across....I even forgot to pray! Good grief.  But, the excitement level was at an all time high and the kids had so much fun at Jesus's party so I'll call it a success!

The Learning

This is what I learned from my party.  I need to utilize my resources, in other words, ASK FOR HELP! My friends have such amazing abilities and I didn't have any of them help.
Oh, how much better it could have been if I would have:

Let her bake the goodies

Had her read the story and talk with the kids

Had her do the crafts

Any one of these awesome moms would've helped if I had only asked...some even offered and I said "no I got it." I don't know why it's so hard for me to receive help.

 My control issues have to go! I'm the only one to blame for my stress, so next year there will be a party and it will be better because I will get off my high horse and ask for help!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More on NY

Here are some things I expected to see in New York....
The subways are, in fact, a murder scene waiting to happen

Steamy streets

Pigeons everywhere
  I also expected great food and I wasn't disappointed, a little spendy maybe, but amazing.

There is frozen yogurt under all this. And yes, that is captain crunch, chocolate crunch and the fruit of your choice. Never had anything better. Must visit Pinkberry if you go to NY!
Best place to get a hot dog

Best place to get pizza - Joe's

The New York Life is crazy!

Loved this cool furry writing board in Adam's apartment
He lives in Harlem and wrote this in the fur to welcome us :)

He lives up 5 flights of stairs and this is his view out

We went for walk the first night we were there.  I tried to walk as close as possible to Adam and his girlfriend Sam without seeming obviously scared.  I eventually asked if they feared for their lives a lot. They laughed and said "no."  I was glad for their confidence because I was just sure my own crime scene was just around the corner.

Since there are hardly any gas stations there are little conveniece stores (bodegas) everywhere - the cats are there for rat control

There are huge piles of trash on every street corner - the garbage truck runs at night.

A New York Christmas

Saw this couple on the subway bringing home their Christmas tree

I almost forgot! We did go there to see the game in Madison Square Garden!

I had to snap a picture of the crowd behind us.  They seemed so New York, wearing suits and dress clothes to the game.

Thomas Robinson came into the stands after the game. I think I can find a place on my basement wall for this!

Thanks Adam and Sam for taking us under your wings! Pretty sure I would be in a body bag if it weren't for you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

You Think You Know Someone...

You'd think after nearly 10 years of marriage I would know everything there is to know about my husband. You'd think there would be no more surprises.  You'd think I could anticipate his thoughts.  His actions. His feelings.

Well, you'd think wrong.

New York was an eye opening trip for me. Not only did I find out that my husband would rise to any challenge, he is also an undeniable fame whore.  I had no idea.  He will go to any lengths to see and be seen.  If you would have asked me before the trip I would have denied it.  But the tape doesn't lie.

There were 3 main occurrences that led me to these new found conclusions. First of all was, of course, our appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. We were 48th and 49th in the standby line and didn't think we had a chance of getting in. When they came out to tell us that we made it in, they picked certain people from the line and told us we would be dancing behind R. Kelly. What? First things that came to mind, "yay! we must still look young enough to get our groove on" and "oh, crap! we can't dance!"

Waiting, waiting and more waiting...

But so worth it - we made it!

Had to buy some t-shirts to commemorate our TV debut because "no pictures allowed" in the studio

Our debut can be seen here. (This is the only site I could find that didn't cut us off in the end, you will have to watch a couple commercials but fast forward until about 1 min from the end.) 

My husband's the one frantically waving behind R. Kelly....though the kiss is pretty sweet I must admit. I just wish I didn't look like I was denying him on national TV.

The second occurrence of my husband trying to catapult himself into the limelight came just a few hours later. The day after the show we went on a group tour of the NBC studios.  We got to see the SNL, Dr. Oz, and news sets. At one point in the tour they asked for volunteers to do a mock news cast.  Guess who's hand went up....yep.  He volunteered me for the desk job and himself to forecast the weather in front of our group. We got a DVD copy of it and I desperately tried to download it to the blog, but couldn't make it work.  It was that good. Think stuttering, mixing up east and west coasts, and flat out forgetting lines. It's a must see.

We got to see Kathy Lee and Hoda in action

The third occurrence surprised the heck out of me too. We were on the plane ride home feeling very jet legged and exhausted from all of our TV appearances.  I decided to throw down a dare.  We run our marriage on bets and dares.  I highly recommend this because, if nothing at all, it keeps life interesting. As I spotted the stewardess coming with the snack cart I dared him to ask her for "penis" instead of peanuts. (I do apologize to all you mature readers out there. I can't help myself, the word "penis" will always be funny). I never in a million years thought he had the guts.  But alas, we each got two bags of "penis" and we couldn't stop laughing the rest of the flight. I now have to make his favorite suppers for a week...he should've upped the ante - I would have done much more.

Did I mention that I wouldn't want to go on a trip without this guy?  And did I mention that we had the time of our lives?  And did I mention this is why I love him?  He keeps me guessing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Reason for My Vanity

I just wanted to let you that I had good reason for my last post. And here's why:

At the KU Game
Top Row: Erin and Collin
Bottom Row: Marcus, Anna, Sam (Adam's girlfriend), Adam (Eric's brother)

This is a picture of some of the people we hung out with in New York.

This is a run down of some of their jobs:

Sam: Designs bedding for different companies. Her largest client is JC Penny's.

Anna: Attends the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where only 10% of applicants are accepted. She designs jewelry too.  Sees the runway in action!

Erin: Designs clothing for White House Black Market. She's also merchandised for the Home Shopping Network.  She started talking to me about day dresses...what is a day dress?

Marcus: Web designer for the Wall Street Journal

Everyone I was around had more creativity in their pinkie finger than I have in my entire being.  They were all super sweet but I couldn't help but wonder if they wanted to throw up when they looked at my clothes.

My riding boots could only take me so far.

Aren't they just so New York?  Love it.

Sam and Adam

Despite my lacking wardrobe, I managed to have the time of my life.  And things quickly looked up - my favorite store was on every corner so I got to do a little cheap shopping on 5th Avenue. Yay!

We went through DASH - home of the Keeping up with the Kardashians show.  There were like 5 pieces of clothing in the store. (The mannequins didn't even have clothes on.)

Things were a little spendy in the Big Apple...

The major trends in NY are boots, boots and more boots!  Mostly without a heel.  No heels in sight actually...I'm going to attribute it to the insane amount of walking you have to do.  Long,warm, and puffy coats with knitted hats, scarves, and mittens were everywhere.  It was freezing there. 

More about NY and our 15 seconds of fame soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My New York State of Mind

Eric and I are leaving for New York soon to visit his brother and take in a KU game at Madison Square Garden.  Yay!  No business this time, just pleasure. So, this is what's on my mind as I get ready for my trip.  Not worried about leaving the girls.  Not thinking about what sights we get to see.  Not excited for the game yet. Nope, this is what I'm thinking about:

What the heck am I gonna wear?
(The bed bug outbreak is a close second...)

We are going to the fashion capital of the world and I, of course, have nothing in my closet to offer to the fashion world.  I do have my new knockoff pleather riding boots or my $20 painted on skinny jeans.  But, these people spot a knockoff a mile away.  We're not in Kansas anymore.  And everyone says "wear comfortable shoes" but as you all know, comfortable doesn't equal cute.

NY women's fashion trends
NY men's fashion trends

 So I've prepared my advance apologies...

I'm sorry New York for

-my boot cut jeans
-my comfortable cotton shirts
-my worn out tennis shoes
-my hopelessly bad hair
and, last but not least

-my overall horrific fashion sense

But, ready or not, here I come!

*I will not apologize for my husband because if he ever comes near a pair of skinny jeans or a velvet jacket he will no longer be my husband.

And to the bed bugs:

Do not come anywhere near me, my husband, or my suitcase.
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