Friday, February 24, 2012

Story Cubes Make for Dinnertime Fun

There's always talk about making dinnertime "quality time" with family, and all families have their own ways of making that happen. Our family tried something new last night that was really fun.

We used Rory's Story Cubes to craft stories. Have you ever heard of them? It's a set of nine cubes that each have six pictures on them.

So, here's how it works.

We started with Tyler. He rolls his cube. It lands on a magic wand, so he starts the story, "Once upon a time, there was a magic wand..."

Then Alyssa rolls and adds to the story based on her picture of a castle tower, "which the princess, who lived in the tower, used to turn her eyes green..."

... and so on. It was so fun! The kids loved the chance to tell their part of the story in their own way, and I loved watching them be creative. We were all giggling and having a fun time! It was one of those great living in the moment moments!

How does your family make dinnertime special? Got any ideas to pass along?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Scream of Terror

Since yesterday was a holiday, today was the first day of our week, but it didn't start off too well.

At precisely 6:30 a.m. the scream of a terrified Alyssa came curdling down the stairs into the kitchen -- the result of her new alarm clock that apparently scared the heck out of her! (Oops!)
A picture from a happier day!

As I was hugging her and calming her down, she said, "Mommy I feel weird."

"What kind of weird," I replied.

"Like I'm going to throw up," she said.

Oh geez! I rushed her to the bathroom to be near the toilet, and she stood there hunched over it for a minute or so. "Great, the stomach bug," I thought. But she never really threw up -- only phlegm came out. I was thinking we were lucky that her stomach was empty from the night before.

I noticed she was hot and sweaty. Suddenly burning up. White as a ghost.

She said she wanted to sit down for a minute, so she did, on the bathroom floor, when suddenly her eyes rolled back into her head and she fell over. OMG!! "What the heck is going on?"

At first she didn't respond to me calling her name, but then she did look up at me. It only lasted a second, but it seemed like an eternity.

We laid her down on the sofa and took her temperature, which was only 100.3. At that point, we decided to just let her rest. She slept for an hour.

When she woke up, said she wanted to watch TV and soon began requesting food and drink. I was surprised she wanted to eat so soon after that whole bathroom episode, so just to be safe, I held her off until the 2 hour mark to make sure her stomach had time to calm down.

That was thankfully the end of the drama. She slowly perked up throughout the day -- although she only got off the couch to go to the bathroom. It seems as though other cold symptoms are coming on now, so we'll see how this recovery goes! Hopefully quickly!

At this point the whole day feels like a blur. It certainly started off with a bang -- terror for her with the sound of an alarm clock and terror for me as she passed out (or whatever that was). Sheesh. Can we have a do-over on this day???

But even as I say that, I know I shouldn't, because there were many blessings in this day:
  1. It is only a minor illness.
  2. It gave me some valuable, restful time alone with Alyssa.
  3. Tyler could take the bus to school, so I didn't have to leave the house with a sick child.
  4. A friend offered to bring Tyler home from school for me (he doesn't ride the bus in the afternoons).
  5. I didn't have anywhere I "had" to be today, so I could easily stay home to take care of her and not worry about anything else.
  6. It's not the stomach bug!!!
  7. I had time to do several loads of laundry!
  8. I had several hours to sit on the sofa and get some work done on my new laptop!
  9. My calves were killing me from yesterday's workout, so I had a convenient excuse to skip today's workout!
  10. The gray, cloudy skies were very uninviting -- a great reason to stay inside and light some candles!
I could go on and on, but you get the point! Anyway, feel better Alyssa!!! Mommy loves you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

52 Things Kids Need From a Mom

I heard a great interview with author Angela Thomas this week about her book 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom. The purpose of the interview was to teach moms about being intentional in the lives of their kids.

The thing that struck me was how she illustrated the point that it is a mom's job to set the tone for the family on a daily basis.

For example, if one of our kids wakes up grumpy, we do not allow that to suck us in, get us frazzled and set a negative tone for the day. We must remain calm, cool and collected and point them in the direction of happiness. Yes, of course, we know this, but it is easier said than done.

In listening to this I realized that I often get sucked into the moods of my children, and I let it negatively affect me.

Angela reminds us that, as moms, we should be more spiritually and emotionally mature than our children.

She said the way she remembers this truth is by picturing herself standing on a step ladder above her children -- above their grumpiness.

This was a real revelation for me and gives me hope for some of the frustrations I feel in my parenting. I've already ordered this book and can't wait to learn more!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The 5 Love Languages Can Save Marriages!

So, there is this couple having trouble in their marriage. The wife says, "I cook for him. I clean for him. I bring his shirts to the cleaners. I take care of the kids all by myself morning, noon and night. He doesn't ever help me. I just don't think he loves me."

The husband says, "All she ever does is criticize me. She is always complaining. I don't know what I need to do to make her happy."

What's going on here? Is this couple doomed? According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, this couple may simply have a language barrier.

Dr. Chapman explains that after many years of counseling, he noticed that everyone has a “love language,” a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own. (Of course!)

Based on his research, he discovered five primary love languages. They are:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
So, for the couple listed above. The wife's language is acts of service, and the husband's is words of affirmation. Instead of using words of affirmation to build her husband up, the wife is tearing him down by complaining about all of the help he is not giving her. Because to her, when you love someone, you help them.

Her complaining is her cry for help, but her spouse does not see it that way. He sees it as criticism, because words of affirmation are important to him. So, instead of answering her pleas for help, he is running the other way -- away from the criticism.

But, once this couple learned what their love languages were and how to speak the other's love language, their marriage started to heal and improve. Today they report their marriage is better than ever! How awesome is that?

Here's a link to the book if you're interested! You can also take an online quiz to help you discover your love language.

I would also like to mention that these languages apply to children, friends and family too! Can you imagine how much better our relationships could be if we knew the love languages of everyone around us?