Helpful Parenting Article: Talking to Toddlers

I recently read an article by Janet Lansbury, titled Talking to Toddlers- 4 Secrets That Bring You Closer  that was helpful and informative. The article discusses 4 ways to communicate with your toddler to alleviate frustration and build trust. The first secret she points out is to talk normal. Don't talk baby talk to your toddler. Speak slowly and in shorter sentences. The second secret she discusses is to turn 'no' into 'yes'. An example, "I want you to sit on my lap" rather than, "Don't bounce on me." She explains that this may not always work but it is better than responding with no and don't all the time. Children appreciate positive instruction. It makes them more likely to respond with compliance and makes them feel more respected. The third secret is to give the toddler real choices. Rather than asking your toddler what they want to wear, ask them if they would like to wear the pink dress or the white dress. Give them two choices and let them decide between the two. Asking them a broad question like what do you want to wear is too overwhelming. Her final secret is to first, acknowledge. She explains that acknowledging your toddler's point of view can be calming. Toddlers get frustrated when they can't communicate what they want or need, and when you acknowledge their point of view it helps them feel that they are being understood. Landsbury points out,"That when a toddler feels understood, she senses the empathy behind our limits and corrections. She … [Read more...]

July 4th 2013

Dinner at Friends With the girls and babies Sophia and Timmy Sophia loved this little girl Sarah she met at the party. Just a few pics of our little angel Watching the parade earlier in the day. She wasn't happy- too hot and it was nap time. We had a great fourth of July. Hope you all made some great memories and enjoyed your day as much as we did.   … [Read more...]

Rustic Bench Made From Wood Pallets

My husband and I have been having fun working on projects together and creating things from wood pallets we got from a friend. A couple weeks ago we made shelves that came out pretty good. You can look at the project here. Then we made a sign with our family name on it that I really like. You can look at that project here. This last weekend we made a bench. He actually made it and I took pictures! We needed a bench with a place for shoes for our entryway. We have white carpet, so I try to enforce the "take your shoes off rule" and it's easier to have people do this when there is a place to sit to take their shoes off and a place to sit to put them back on. The bench serves this purpose and I really like the way it came out. I do want to make a cushion for it that I'll get around to making and posting soon. Here is how it looks right now. Here are the steps my husband took to make the bench. Because we have made the shelves and the sign using wood pallets, they are all broken up. He cut the section above to begin with the seating portion of the bench. He hammered the ends to another piece of wood to create a somewhat ladder. He filled in the wide open spaces with pieces of wood the same size leaving small openings between each slat. He measured 18 inches for the legs and cut. Using wood screws, he attached the legs to the inside portion of the ladder seat part of the bench. He used wood screws to attach supports for the legs. He hammered two slats of wood to the … [Read more...]

Allen’s Update

This is part two of an inspirational story Allen's Gift, written by Sophia's Dad Brett, a Physician's Assistant. Intractable vomiting.  In the medical world the word “intractable” is used when nothing given as treatment or therapy relieves the given symptom.  In this case vomiting.  I mean think about it,  remember  the last time you had “the stomach flu”? Or how about the last time you went out and drank way too much only to spend the next 2 hours in front of the toilet?  For me, vomiting represents one of those bodily functions that causes the afflicted to be so miserable, so “please God I’ll do anything if you make it stop” type of agony.  But in the back of our minds we KNOW the vomiting will end soon and life will once again return to normal for us. I spoke with Allen today on my cell. “Hey buddy, you hanging in there?,”  I asked. “Doing the best (long pause) I can with (long pause) what God has given ( long pause) me to handle today,” whispers Allen with obvious great effort. “I wanna (long pause) go home so bad, so (another long pause) tired of this”. This time the long pause came from me. “Hello? Brett? (long pause) Hello?” “I’m here Allen,” I say as I again clear my throat.  I feel a humungous lump in my throat followed by what seems to be a flood of emotion like a once peaceful lake escaping it’s boundaries due to a broken dam. “I’m here man,” barely escapes my lips. The lump now a painful cacophony of past emotional pains that I thought … [Read more...]

A Great Parenting Article: Please Don’t Help My Kids

A great article from Kate Bassford Baker's Blog Please Don't Help My Kids I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up and help them climb the ladder. I brought them here so they could learn to climb it themselves. Dear Other Parents At The Park: Please do not lift my daughters to the top of the ladder, especially after you've just heard me tell them I wasn't going to do it for them and encourage them to try it themselves. I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn't bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves. They're not here to be at the top of the ladder; they are here to learn to climb. If they can't do it on their own, they will survive the disappointment. What's more, they will have a goal and the incentive to work to achieve it. In the meantime, they can use the stairs. I want them to tire of their own limitations and decide to push past them and put in the effort to make that happen without any help from me. It is not my job — and it is certainly not yours — to prevent my children from feeling frustration, fear, or discomfort. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that those things are not the end of the world, and can be overcome or used to their advantage. If they get stuck, it is not my … [Read more...]

Trip To Incline Village, Lake Tahoe

Summer has officially arrived and we kicked it off with a family getaway to Incline Village in Lake Tahoe. It was fun and tiring at the same time. We had a few days of June gloom that could have put a damper on the mood of the trip however we made the best of it and had fun anyway. When the sun came out, we were very happy. Nothing beats the crystal blue waters of the lake and the crisp clean air in Lake Tahoe. It's a beautiful place to be. The best part of the trip for me was that it was an O'Connell family reunion (my Dad's family). My Dad and his four siblings were all there with a number of my cousins and their kids. I grew up spending Summers in Lake Tahoe with my cousins and aunts and uncles and it had been a number of years since we had a get together in Tahoe. So it was great to be back with everyone. I'm bummed I hardly got any pictures of the group but here are a few. Sophia with my brother Billy and his girlfriend Chelsea Sophia and Dada Loving the sand and frigid lake water Sophia, Bailey (Brandon's girlfriend), and Lauren Brett and I My cousin's wife Brynn and their daughter Cici Brynn with my cousin Matt's kids My aunt Karen and cousins Mike and Sean My cousin Maureen and I Sophia with my cousin's girls Ryan and Mckenna I hardly got any decent pictures! Bailey, Brandon, Devon, and Matt (my cousin Maureen's husband) My Uncle Bill, Aunt Kathleen, Mike, and Aunt Mary Beth The only picture I have with the lake in the background! Devon, Brett, and … [Read more...]

Fabric Flowers

You have probably come across these rolled fabric flowers on Pinterest or maybe you have seen them in a store. They aren't the easiest flowers to show you how to make. I tried to learn how to make these through a tutorial I found on Pinterest and couldn't quite follow it. So, I'm going to try to show you the most basic way I found to make them. I apologize the pictures are terrible. I'm on vacation. I took these the night before I left and rather than wait until I get home to re do the pictures, I thought I would go ahead and post them now. Step 1 I would practice with some fabric you don't care about. I cut a two and a half inch strip of fabric about a foot and a half inches long. You can play around with the length of the strip of fabric. The longer the fabric, the larger your flower will be. Step 2 Fold the strip in half. Step 3 Fold the end of the fabric to create a ball shape. This will be the starting point and center of the flower. Use hot glue to secure it. Step 4 Twist the fabric around the ball. As you twist, use hot glue to hold the twist in place. Continue around and around until you are satisfied with the size of the flower. Glue the end of the fabric to the back side of the flower. Step 5 I created a leaf using green felt and glued it to the back. You can glue the flower to a hair clip or piece of elastic to make a headband. These are really simple to make once you get the hang of it. … [Read more...]

Healthy and Simple to Make Summer Treat

It doesn't get much easier than this. These raspberry and vanilla yogurt swirl popsicles take seconds to make. Not only are they simple to make, but they are healthy as well. All you need is vanilla yogurt and some raspberries. Mash up the fruit in the yogurt and spoon it into the popsicle containers. That is all there is to it! Freeze the popsicles overnight and they are good to go the next day. These are ridiculously easy and something I'm sure you already no how to do but maybe this will give you a little inspiration.  Try various fruits and different flavors of yogurt. Have fun and enjoy making this healthy Summer treat!   … [Read more...]

Wedding Favor Idea

I was browsing around on Pinterest last night and came across a couple great unique wedding favor ideas. It made me think of my own wedding and the favors we gave to our guests. They came out really great and I thought I would share them on here for any of you who are planning a wedding or know of someone who is. We used the gifts as name cards that we put on the menu of each place setting. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of how they looked at the place settings. There is something extra memorable about an occasion that sends you home with a special treat. These little boxes of flower seeds did the job.  Enclosed in the gift box were packets of flower seeds and this message: Love is the seed of all hope. It is the enticement to trust, to risk, to try, to go on. If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow. Plant these seeds in a sunny spot, water ofter and wait for the flowers to grow. Enjoy the beauty.   … [Read more...]

An Eventful Weekend

It was an eventful weekend for our family. There is nothing more rewarding and valuable than spending time with people you care about. That was what this past weekend was all about. First we celebrated Brandon, my stepson's high school graduation and Sunday we enjoyed Father's Day together. The graduation was great. All of Brandon's family came to honor his big day. There was a lot of excitement, joy, and celebration. It was an important milestone for Brandon and I'm glad we could all be there for him. Father's Day was another great day of time spent together. I wish I would have taken more pictures. The boys played golf. Sophia and I played at the park and later we had a great dinner and opened presents. … [Read more...]