Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Happens When ...

... Your Daughter is out of School for the Summer?

She reads like crazy. Since school has gotten out we have been to the library 3 times. She picks out five or six books and has them done in a couple of days. She is then begging me to go back to the library to get more. She and Connor each got Pizza Hut coupons for their reading.

She has fun with cheerleading camp. She got to spend five hours with the Portage Warriors H.S. Cheerleaders. They learned cheers, stunts and a dance routine. She got to make a fun hair tie and she received a neat backpack. She was sad that she will miss the July camp, but is excited to attend the August one. She will then perform at a football game in September.

... Your Son Did His Potty Training in the Summer?

He drops his drawers everywhere to go to the bathroom. Last summer/fall as he was potty training, he would have accident after accident while he was outside playing. I think this was because he did not want to stop playing to come inside and pee. I told him he could just pee outside. Now he is a bit out of control: At our house he has peed on the dog. At the neighbors house he peed on the play set. At some friends house he was peeing off of the back deck. At the beach it was just there in front of everyone. I think that it really just embarrasses Brian and I since all the other adults just laugh. We will have to teach him a little bit of modesty.

... You Take Three Kids Strawberry Picking?

Emeric wants to pick all of the leaves off of all of the bushes. He gets really mad at me as I pull him away. Connor picks a few strawberries for the bucket and one for his mouth, a few for the bucket and one for his mouth. That is until he gets sent to the car to have a snack and wait for us to finish. Angela was a real trooper! She picked and picked and really seemed to have fun doing it. We then made ten cups of freezer jam, had some sliced on our ice cream and used some to make milkshakes.

... Your Husband is Gone During the Summer?

We head to the park a lot. We have had a couple of picnic dinners and a couple of picnic lunches at the park. It is not as much fun planning and making big meals for just the kids and I. It is a lot more enjoyable to have something little and let them run and play for a few hours. They sleep a lot nicer too.

... You Leave the Fish Tank Empty for too Long?

Your husband and children put a snake in it. Connor has been on a big kick regarding Garter Snakes. He saw one once and has since then wanted to hold and touch one. Brian made it his mission to find Connor one. This past week at work he did. He brought it back to the kids with the thought that they would look at it, touch it and then let it go. Next thing I know Connor is asking Brian if they can put it in the fish tank. So I guess now it is a snake tank. I don't know if it will still be there when we get back from WA, but for know the kids really like it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load

Jen Hatmaker has hit the presses again with her new book Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to lighten your mother load. This new book brings a light and humorous look at mothering while focusing us on Christ Jesus.

Hatmaker is the mother of three (ages 8, 10 and 12), and it is her parenting experiences that she shows to us. If anyone can seem genuine and humble in their parenting it is she. Some of the topics she addresses are:
• Parenting and Spiritual health
• Serving our children
• Relationship with children vs. with God
• Instilling independence in children
• Disciplining children
• Raising children in an unsaved world
• Keeping a strong marriage
• Keeping up friendships
• Asking for help
• Struggles new moms face
• Mom-comparison trap

As you read through the devotionals you will quickly notice that you are not reading something from your mother’s era. All of these devotions have a life and vitality all of their own. It reads as if you were sitting on the couch surrounded by a bunch of girlfriends gabbing about your life and your kids. Maybe this is because Hatmaker feels it is essential to have girlfriends she even goes far enough to say, “You’ll die without girlfriends.” She states, “We need out friends. We need their counsel and companionship; they need our compassion and comic relief.” I believe with that said, I now have a new friend – Jen Hatmaker.

She focuses her comic relief on teaching the need for a strong support system in our parenting. This support system includes God, His Word, our husbands and our friends. Through each devotion she graciously portrays examples of leading her children and family towards God. Now before you think she sounds too perfect to pay attention to, you’ll need to read a few of the devotionals. She is the first to say she has screwed up in times of her parenting. She has noticed that those are times where she is short on patience, sleep, time, reading the Bible and praying. It was this real look into the Hatmaker household that kept me reading through the book.

I know that I am an imperfect mom and that it is okay to be who I am. Too often though I don’t consciously remember that. The devotions kept me grounded on the fact that I don’t need to be perfect because Jesus is. All I need to be is the best that I can and if I am not one day, then I can try again the next. This is a book that I will read again and again. It is one of those books that when you read it once you will get one thing from it. Then when you read it again you will get something else. It will constantly provoke new thought and deeper insight into who you are and how you want to be.

Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Monday, June 7, 2010

Momology: A Mom's Guide to Shaping Great Kids

Shelly Radic, author of The Birthday Book, brings us a new book on mothering: Momology: A Mom’s Guide to Shaping Great Kids. Radic, the mother of four children, brings us a book that is backed by more than 30 years of professional organizations research, surveys and many one on one interviews. She spins a refreshing take on how “mothering is part art, part science, and always a work in progress!” (Momology Back Cover)

The book is divided into four parts each of which cover an important aspect of parenting. The four parts are broken down into smaller sections to make reading them manageable in the hectic life of mothering. The four parts are as follows:

• CORE – knowing who we are.
• FINESSE – knowing what we are capable of.
• CIRCLE – knowing who we can count on.
• GRANDSCAPE – knowing who God is.

Each section includes a wealth of knowledge presented in the form of stories from moms just like us, survey results, research information and Radic’s own mothering experiences. And she does not just end it with that; she gives us a chance to put in our input as well. She does this through her practicum sections which she encourages us to share with other moms (friends, mentors, anyone). For those of us who are online often, we can also share our thoughts at www.mom-ology.org.

The four sections walk us down a step by step path towards great mothering. To be an effective mother we must know who we are, we must explore our CORE. Radic explains what core resilience is and then takes us into getting to know ourselves. She then helps us to reinforce our core while remembering our values. Once our core is firm we are then able to explore our finesse: intentionally knowing what we are capable of. Including looking at our time and actions and how we are using them. This must include a perspective for mothering and much patience and prayer. It has been stated, “It takes a village to raise a child”, and to this Radic seems to agree. She explains in the timeframe of one day our children and ourselves will interact with many different people who will all influence us in some way. She breaks it down into three rings and within those three rings are our acquaintances, our friends, our extended families and our immediate families. As she leads us into the Grandscape of knowing who God is she first addresses his love for us. Next she takes us into finding him in our lives then going from there into sharing him with others. While looking through these four sections we are reminded again and again that we are not alone in mothering and that others are right where we are at too.

At first glance this book looks bright and welcoming to read but that was not 100% the case. It was really refreshing to hear hers and other mother’s stories on mothering. Some of them positively reaffirmed the job I am doing. Others gave me some pointers and tips of where I could be doing better. Still others were just a light hearted laugh which is much needed in mothering. The first two sections were good reads but the last two are what stuck to me. The section on your circle and the community really gave me some good insight as my immediate family has moved five states away from our extended family. I dog-eared quite a few pages to help with my growth in this area. The most important of my growth will come from the final section on the Grandscape. Growing in my relationship with Christ is tantamount to my growth as a mother. Of all the verses she quotes, Jeremiah 31:25 stood out to me, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Many days as a mom I feel weary and faint, having her include this verse into the book gave me a way to connect with her writing. Unfortunately there were times when I had difficulty connecting. The book reads as if it were a text book. Often as I would sit down to read, I would find myself nodding off and having to read sections over and over again. I found that I would need to read the book at certain times of the day when I was most awake, alert and receptive to reading. This downside was not enough to make me set the book aside and quit reading it. Quite the opposite, I was eager to finish it and saw this as an unfortunate side affect of the sometimes clinical feel of the book. I would recommend that you give this book a try.

“Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”