Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coach or Biggest Fan?

When it comes to your children...are you their coach, or their biggest fan


Are you constantly barking commands?  Do you find yourself comparing your children to other children?  Are you always trying to "teach" them something, or correct them?  Do you always point out what you like about other children, or praise another child's behavior?

Biggest fan...

Do you try to encourage your children with their goals and ambitions?  How often do you tell your children how proud you are of them?  Do you tell them how beautiful/handsome they are?  How often do you compliment them? Do you praise their good behavior?

Communication is so important!  The kind of communication you use is even more important! 

We can bark at them when they disobey, or we can encourage them to obey.  We can remind them of the good behavior of another child, or we can praise them for their good behavior every chance we get.  We can comment on how beautiful another child is, or we can tell our children how beautiful they are...on the inside and the outside.

What can you say to your children to make them feel special today?
 Leave the coach on the sideline and become the biggest fan!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flexibility...going with the flow...a perfect example

So, the other day I wrote a post about our daily schedule, but wanted to be very clear that "flexibility" and "going with the flow" were very important, too.  Hmmmm....and then this morning happened...
I'll set the stage...
Breakfast was over.
I had just sent the kids upstairs to start on their jobs.
I changed Bethany and Ian's diapers.
I went to the kitchen to clean up from breakfast.
And then...flexibility and going with the flow joined my morning!
As I was putting the oatmeal away I knocked a brand new jar of blueberry syrup out of the cabinet.
SHATTER!!! A.very.serious.shatter.
A piece of glass popped up and cut my ankle.
Shards of glass went everywhere.
And then, of course, there was a whole bottle of sticky, syrup that had splattered on the cabinets, walls, refrigerator and for several feet over the floor, and on me, too.  Glass had scattered several feet across the floor, too.
So, here I am...38 + 2 days pregnant...walking like a duck through my kitchen (that should open my pelvis, right?!), picking up glass, and then trying to get all of the syrup wiped up.  And then, I vacuumed like crazy.  I just got a Dyson this weekend, so that part was kind of fun!  The vacuum worked really well!  And then, I mopped like crazy.

These were the thoughts going through my mind as I was cleaning up the mess:
I am so glad it was me, and not one of the kids!
I wonder if this floor will ever not be sticky again!  It is syrup, after all!
Is this considered a work out?  Maybe I don't need to do Zumba today.
Maybe all of this squatting and cleaning will give me some contractions...and then again, maybe not! 
Maybe it just isn't possible for me to go into labor on my own.
I sure hope I got all of that glass vacuumed up.  It really concerns me for the kids to walk through here and for Bethany to crawl in the kitchen over the next few days.

And in the middle of cleaning up glass and syrup I had to stop once to change a messy diaper, and another time to take care of a squabble.  I guess that's double, or maybe even triple flexibility today!

Now, on with our day...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Part 2--The semi-well-oiled machine...our daily schedule

I am a firm believer in schedules.  I think kids/infants thrive on schedules because they always know what to expect.  I think it helps with behavior, as well.  Watch out for "over-loaded" schedules, though!  I'll talk more about that later in this post.

This is a fairly typical day in the Shealy household:
I wake Roger up at 6:20, so he can shower and get ready. (he doesn't hear the alarm!)
I wake the kids up at 6:45 and everyone comes down for breakfast. (This is the only meal we get with daddy)
We eat and have family devotions.
Roger leaves for work and our day "officially" begins.
Everyone is excused from the table and "jobs" begin.  (Look back a few posts to see what jobs everyone has.)
I change diapers and get the little ones ready for the day. (Bethany isn't always up at 6:45, so she may be eating at this time)
While the big kids do their jobs I check email and facebook.
I continue checking in with everyone during this time to make sure they are getting everything done.
By 9:00, I bring everyone downstairs.
The youngest 3 watch a Leap Frog video (This is an excellent learning tool!)  Sometimes Bethany watches from her exersaucer, or I use the baby gate to gate her into the school room with me and she plays with toys.
While the younger kids watch the video I start school with the older 2.  We begin with History.  I read whatever I need to read to them that day and they get started on their assignment.
When the video is over and Lauren and Franklin are done with History we do "Circle Time."  This is a great time for our family.  Everyone gathers in a circle on the floor in the living room.  We go over our schedule for the day, ABC's, count, months, date, weeks, sing, etc.  It.is.fun! 
Then it is snack time!  We grab a healthy snack and then we are ready to move on with energy!
After snacks Lauren and Franklin take turns doing math on the computer and I begin kindergarten with Ari and Miles.  Ian likes to sit at the table with us and color/"do school." I often take Ari and Miles one at a time...depending on what we are doing that day.
When kindergarten is done, and Lauren and Franklin have completed their math ,I bring Lauren and Franklin back to the school room to finish up with Science. (We don't do science every day.)  Ari and Miles are sent to finish whatever jobs they have not completed, or they get to play if they are already done.

Bethany is back and forth between one and two naps a day, so she either takes a nap at 10 and 2:30, or she takes a nap at 12:30. 
Between kids doing school I do loads of laundry, or clean a toilet, or vacuum, or dust, etc.
Typically, we finish all assignments by noon.
We eat around 12:00.
If Bethany didn't get a morning nap then she and Ian go down for a nap around 12:30-1:00.  (Ian doesn't take a nap every day, but he often still needs some rest).
While the little ones are resting I work out (Ian works out with me if he isn't sleeping!  I love it!  I often make all of the kids do Zumba with me!), check email and facebook, and get my shower.
The four older kids have a "down time" in the afternoon.  Lauren and Franklin have to read at least one chapter of whatever book they are reading, Lauren practices piano, and Franklin practices guitar.  Everyone gets the chance to play outside if it is nice, go for a hike with snacks, play Wii if the weather isn't nice, or possibly even watch a movie.  This is their chance to play games on the computer, too.
I start on dinner by 5:00, we eat, clean up, and play until daddy gets home.  The three youngest go to bed at 7:30, and the three oldest are typically in bed at 8:30, and then Roger and I get time together.

This schedule is working really well for us!  I am able to keep the house clean, play with the kids, and get school done each day.  Although I am a firm believer in schedules...I have become a much more firm believer in FLEXIBILITY!  Flexibility is necessary!  We may have doctors appointments, or someone may not feel well, or I may have an irritable teething baby that prevents us from keeping an exact schedule.  I also have to be flexible when determining if Bethany needs one or two naps per day, which changes our schedule, or stopping in the middle of something to change a diaper, or clean up a spill, or kiss a booboo, or hug hurt feelings, or break up a squabble.  It is so important to keep a schedule, but to learn to go with the flow!  Your day will be much more stress-free if you can grasp this concept!

As I mentioned in the first paragraph...WATCH OUT FOR OVER-LOADED SCHEDULES!    Pick and choose very carefully what extracurricular activities you will engage.  I have been told over and over and over, "I don't get it!  How do you do it?!  You never seem stressed out!"  I certainly have my "stressed-out" moments, but I think I am not stressed most of the time because I do not overschedule.  At this time, we really don't have any extracurricular activities.  No baseball.  No ballet. No art. No music. No clubs.  None of those things are bad!If it has no eternal perspective...it may be time to eliminate it from life!  Pick and choose wisely!

And that is our semi-well-oiled machine of a schedule...at least at the moment...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet?

Here is a friendly reminder...
Clean out your medicine cabinet!!!  When was the last time you did that?

Here is a story to motivate you to keep it cleaned out:
Several years ago a friend had a cold.  He used nose spray to help open up his nose.  He didn't even think to check the expiration date on the bottle.

He almost died. 
From using nose spray that had expired.

The spray had grown bacteria inside.  Once he sprayed it in his nose the bacteria went to his brain causing a severe infection.  He was in intensive care for several days.  He nearly died...from expired medication! 

And that is why I am adamant about keeping my medicine cabinet cleaned out and always checking the expiration date before I take, or give medications!  So, what are you waiting for???!!!!  Get to work!!!  It could save your life!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Preparing for Ligon

My due date is February 27th.  I have never gone into labor on my own.  I have always been induced late.  I won't go over a week overdue anymore because I have had meconium anytime I have gone more than a week overdue.  My doctor has said he would like to induce me between Feb 20th and March 5th.  I was planning on waiting until March 5th until...we found out that Roger has weekend meetings shortly after that.  I will have Roger's mom here to help me, and my parents are planning to come help for the weekend, too, but that was certainly not the original plan.  Me...seven kids...one being a newborn...and no daddy for an entire weekend...let's just say I'm a little kerflumped!  Yeah, I just made up that word because I couldn't think of another word that was appropriate!
So, I have gone from thinking I had 4 weeks to having the baby to now only having a little over two!  HYPERSPEED!!!  I hadn't even started on Ligon's burp cloths, or blankets.  I didn't even have fabric yet!  I have a lot of organizing left to do, but I got a lot done yesterday, I made a shopping trip last weekend for fabric, and I went into hyperspeed sewing Sunday afternoon and yesterday afternoon.  Here is the final result...

*click on the pictures to view better*

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And then...there are days like this...

I will get to Part 2 in the next few days, but just so you realize just how much I don't "have it all together"...

For the past few days I really haven't felt well.  I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and my energy level has been very minimal today and yesterday.  I feel exhausted.  I have indigestion that makes me feel nauseous.  If I could lay in bed all day...I think I would!

I have a two year old who is just so stinkin' cute, but his energy level is through the roof and his curiosity is through...well... I don't know...the atmospshere!  He has emptied out nearly every piece of clothing from his dresser a few times yesterday, first thing this morning, and I have been too scared to veer into his room the rest of the day, so I have no idea what it looks like now.  He also had fun playing in the toilet this afternoon when I was doing something else, which means he needs cleaned, the toilet needs cleaned, and the floor needs cleaned, too.  Maybe I should have made him take a nap today?!

I have another child who seems to take pride in getting on everyone's last nerve lately....including mine!  Yes, I love him dearly, but it is still possible for someone you love to get on your nerves!

I have another child who gets overwhelmed very easily and falls apart several times a day.  When I don't have energy it's hard to muster up energy to pull him back up again.

I have another child who I think truly believes that multiplication is straight from the devil!  Is it???

I have another child who...well...he's been pretty good!

And then, I have a baby girl who just needs mommy to have energy!

Like I said the other day...not every day is lollipops, giggles and glitter (and let me remind you...I still despise glitter!), but in a few hours these little people will be sleeping blissfully in their beds, I will put my feet up, and tomorrow I will hopefully wake up with more energy!!!  Please, Lord!

And for today, I am grateful for Campbell's chicken and noodle soup! 

Even in the the energy-less, difficult days...I will choose to count my blessings...one, two, three, four, five, six...and in five weeks...seven!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Part 1--The Semi-Well-Oiled Machine...Helping them help you

I am often asked, "How do you do it all?"  I think it is time to answer that question!  I'm always looking for a better way of doing things, so our schedule gets tweaked here and there.  Maybe by posting about what works best for our family will help another family become a better semi-well-oiled machine!  Oh, and by the way...don't ever expect us to be a completely well-oiled machine!  The "semi" part is the best it can be!  If you leave that part off then you will set yourself up for failure.

We are a team!  Just as Jesus served others while He lived on earth...we are to serve one another.  This is probably one of the most important concepts to get a grasp of in a family.  We are not out for ourselves, we are here to serve the whole!  This is a great concept because it teaches love, humility, and selflessness.

Our children have "jobs" to do almost every day of the week.  I help them help me.  And trust me...they are  A LOT of help!  I teach them to do different "jobs" around the house, which helps them feel as though they are really contributing to the family, it gives them a sense of accomplishment, it helps them know how they can serve our family, it teaches them discipline...and it frees up some of my time, so I have more time to have fun with them!!!!  Please understand this...children are children...they should be expected to do their very best when completing a job, but it may not completely live up to your expectations.  You must teach them to do the jobs how you would like them to be done!  Do not expect them to understand your expectations if you haven't taught them how to do the job correctly!  Sometimes I have to go back and do their jobs with them to remind them about the little things (ie take things off the counter before you wipe it down, etc).  Let me reiterate this...they should be expected to do their bestLaziness is not a good character quality!

You want specifics, right?  Here you go!
Everyone is expected to clean their own room, make their beds, brush teeth, bring me their laundry on laundry days, and the older 3 put away their own laundry
Lauren: Dishes, wipe down kitchen counters, dust when needed, sometimes helps vacuum carpets, take care of dog and cat
Franklin: vacuum under table after every meal, mop kitchen when needed, sometimes helps vacuum carpets, clean master bath (wipe down toilet, counter, sinks) daily
Ari: clean out the van each Monday, clear off and wipe off table after each meal, clean the kids bathroom upstairs (wipe down toilet, counter and sink) daily
Miles: Wipe down chairs after meals (this is more busy work than anything, and he is a little guy that needs to be kept busy), clean downstairs bathroom (toilet, counter, sink---he does a really great job!!!) daily, empty bathroom trash cans daily
Ian: he loves to clean!  He'll get wipes and wipe off the floor, cabinets, table, and just about anything he can get his hands on.  In the next year he will probably get the job of emptying trash cans and making sure each bathroom has at least one extra roll of toilet paper.
These are all little things, but they are so helpful to me!

As for me...I'm always busy!  I don't sit around and watch tv while my children work!  There is always a lot to do!  I, typically, do clothing laundry Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, sheets on Thursday, and sometimes I have to add in another day of laundry on the weekend.  I give baths to little ones, cut lots of finger nails and toenails, teach school to the older four, and a little bit to Ian, too, vacuum when needed, which is a lot since I have a baby who puts everything in her mouth, deep clean bathrooms, keep the inside of toilets clean, cook all of the meals, clean up messes, change lots of diapers, pick up after little ones.  Because my children help me I am able to do all of the other things, but still have time to play with them, and then we don't have to spend the weekend cleaning.  Doing jobs each day helps us keep up, and keeps the house almost continually clean.

I choose to do my big jobs (bathrooms, vacuuming) when I can work it in.  I used to have a schedule and try to clean one bathroom per day and choose another day to vacuum, but that didn't work for me because I need more flexibility.  And right now, I have a big pregnant belly, so deep cleaning a bathtub is next to impossible.  That is when I enlist my husbands help on the weekends or evenings!

One more thing that is really helpful is what I call "Quick cleans."  A few times during the day I can yell, "Quick Clean...10 minutes!!!"  This is great for us because during those 10 minutes everyone is expected to run around and clean up as much as possible in 10 minutes.  If we didn't do this a few times during the day then the house would be a mess by evening with little toys everywhere and big messes are much more overwhelming to clean up then a few little messes throughout the day.

So, that is pretty much how our semi-well-oiled machine works!  In the upcoming "Part 2" I will list what a typical day looks like in our house...our schedule. We have a schedule that is working very well for us right now.  At least until our next baby gets here, and then we'll have to find a new normal again!

Any questions?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm not SuperWoman

I am referred to as "SuperWoman" frequently.  I know people mean well, and I really appreciate the compliment, but I am a fallible wife, mom, daughter, friend, etc.  Sometimes I feel like I am being set up for failure because I am held to "superhero status."  Yes, I have six kids and I am getting ready to have our seventh.  Yes, I deliver our children without medication (not really by choice).  Yes, I homeschool our children.  Yes, I sometimes go grocery shopping, or to stores, or to doctor's appointments with all of my children with me.
And here is some reality for you...
-Our new baby was a surprise, and it has taken me all these months to adjust to adding another child.  I am truly grateful for him, though!
-I hate labor and delivery!  It's NOT fun.  It hurts.  I don't enjoy it.  BUT, I get to hold a sweet baby in my arms when it is over.
-I am glad I homeschool our children.  I feel that it is best for them.  BUT, some days are really tough.  It's not all giggles, lollipops, and glitter (I despise glitter, by the way!).  Sometimes it is impatience on my part, and nasty attitudes exuded from my children.
-Going places with my kids is not always enjoyable.  Sometimes, things get placed in a cart that weren't supposed to be there.  One time...not too long ago...something got broken....oh, that was really bad!  Sometimes, little ones say things...not to be mean...but because they noticed...such as, "Mom, she has a wart on her face.  She must be a witch!"  Sometimes a hole to crawl into would be nice!

I don't post a lot of mishaps/misbehaviors on my blog, or on facebook because I want to remain positive about my children.  I don't believe the world needs to know about every little catastrophe thing they do wrong.  Let's face it, though... I have a two year old!  Enough said!  I truly try to be mostly transparent.  I don't try to give the impression that every day is giddy, giddy gumdrops!  At the same time, I want to encourage other moms!  I want moms to know that some days are tough, but you can always start fresh the next morning.

For the most part, I think our family functions really well.  I am training up my tribe to serve the Lord. I enjoy being with my children...for the most part.

They love.  They argue. They laugh. They hit, occasionally. They hug. They get angry. They giggle. They get on each other's nerves. They can't stand to be away from each other.  They.are.human.  They are learning.  We all are.

I do my best to stay on a schedule, stay organized, remain consistent with disobedience, praise obedience, keep everyone busy, find enjoyable moments, give as many hugs and kisses as possible, and find laughter throughout the day.  We are a semi, well-oiled machine.

I love being a mom...most of the time.  I don't love disobedience, or nasty attitudes, or messes, or spills, or poopy diapers, or cleaning up puke... BUT... I love their hugs and kisses and "I love you's" and watching them learn to read and cuddles and accomplishments and the way they serve each other and the way they want to please me and the way their faces light up when I walk through the door even if I've only been gone for a few hours...and...and...and...
God has called me to be a wife and a mom.  I am so thankful.  I choose to focus on the positive.  If that makes me a SuperWoman then so be it!  But remember...even superheroes make mistakes!  I'm just going to do my best to get back up and dust myself off.