Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jon & Kate: How do they do it?

Is there anyone who hasn't seen the TV show, Jon & Kate Plus 8? New episodes appear on TLC each Monday night. Discovery Health has also started airing the show. Can you even imagine starting off with a set of twins and then bringing home six more babies a few years later? That's an awful lot of diapers and bottles we are talking about here. Forget about breastfeeding! I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it all, but I have to admit that the Gosselin family seems to have parenting under control. Last night, I watched the episode where they actually took all eight children to Disney World for a family vacation. A few of Jon and Kate's adult friends came along to help out. I guess that's definitely needed for such an outing. Still, I often have wondered how do they do it? The children are not only beautiful, but also clean, neatly dressed and happy. Their mom, Kate Gosselin, offers some excellent advice that we all could benefit from, regardless of how big or small our family is with her tips for a "Smooth Household," as found on this Discovery Channel website. They include:

#1 - Organize
#2 - Shop on a budget
#3 - Prepare for outings
#4 - Count your blessings
#5 - Promote safety
#6 - Provide order
#7 - Reward your children
#8 - Make housework a family affair

Watching Jon & Kate with their family is inspiring. This couple was given literally the suprise of their lives by unexpectedly expecting six babies at once. They have handled the situation with love, patience and grace - at least from one viewer's perspective. Here's my list on why the Gosselin family appear to be so successful:

#1 - Jon and Kate are a team, committed to marriage and raising their children together.

#2 - They share a mutual faith in our lord, living as Christians.

#3 - Kate is extremely organized, hence the list above.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Quick Update

Dear Faithful Readers (all five of you),

Sorry that I haven't had much time to post lately. I have been busy applying for teaching jobs here in IL. My certificates finally arrived last week so I am good to go. All I need now is a job! I am certified to teach Elementary Education in grades K-9 and Special Teaching (K-12) as a Reading Specialist. I have been a SAHM for three years, a time I will forever treasure, but alas the time has come for me to return to work. My hope is to begin teaching again this fall when Big Sister starts kindergarten.

In other news, Little Sister (LS) has started using her potty! She is now 22 1/2 months old. Her cousin, Cutie Pie, who is also 22 months old, started using her potty a few months ago and has been doing an amazing job with it! After seeing both her cousin's potty chair and knowing that her big sister doesn't wear diapers, LS seems determined to give it a go (no pun intended!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prayers Needed for these families

Did you hear about the terrible bus tragedy in Minnesota earlier this week? It's been all over the news about a traffic accident involving a school bus and two other vehicles, killing four precious children, including one nine-year-old girl, Emilee, adopted from China.

From the Houston Chronicle: "Two of those killed on the Lakeview School bus Tuesday afternoon were brothers. Another was the daughter of a teacher; the fourth, the son of a former teacher," and "At least 14 people were hurt, including some of the other 24 students aboard the bus and the drivers of the van and a pickup truck the bus rolled onto."

Sometimes life can seem overwhelming for us all, but when we hear news like this, we realize that things in our lives aren't so bad, they could be much worse. Three families lost their precious children this week. I can only imagine how completely devestated they are. My heart and prayers goes out to each one of them and to the friends who are now grieving their loss.

For more information on this story, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/5557436.html

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I was tagged by Sherri to list 7 random things that many of you out in Blog Land may not know about me. The rules are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I am obsessed with Hello Kitty. We have many Hello Kitty items throughout our home. I haven't bought the toaster yet, but I look at it every time we visit Target.

2. My parents owned and operated several restaurants over the span of 30 years.

3. I'm a neat freak, at least I try to be one. Can't stand a mess!

4. As a little girl, my Barbies always had adopted children.

5. Traveling around the world is my secret desire.

6. I love reading. It's my favorite thing to do. Wish I had more time for it!

7. Spaghetti is my great comfort food.

I now tag:

Karen Beth

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Little Valentines

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This week we celebrated our fourth annual Forever Family Day with Big Sister who was adopted at 15 months in 2004. February 11th will aways be one of the best days of my entire life. After waiting so many years to hold the child of my dreams, I finally became a mother. Big Sister continues to be everything I could have ever asked for in a daughter. She is smart, sweet, loving and funny. Now, I am blessed to have two wonderful daughters. God has truly blessed me!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Sister's Vision Board

Last week, Oprah continued her discussion about "The Secret" and one of her guests mentioned having a family vision board. I thought the idea was great! I made a vision board for myself and then had Big Sister create one. The premise is that you are asking the universe to bring these things into your life. Here are a few of the things Big Sister would like to happen:

She wants to go to the beach, warm up in the sun, play in the sand and swim in the water.

She wants to go to Disney World.

She wants to go back to China, climb the steps of the Great Wall and see her birthplace.

She wants to learn how to snap her fingers.

She wants to see the new Hannah Montana movie.

My vision board looks a little different than my daughters. Some of the places I yearn to see are Italy, France and Japan and by now, I certainly know how to snap my fingers. Other visions or wants for me include finding a good job, making a certain salary, health, happiness and security. When you have children, you still have your own wants and needs, but deep inside you know that helping them achieve their desires becomes the biggest priority. As Big Sister wrote her list, I kept thinking, Yes, you will have this. I can make this happen for you.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

To All My Single Blog Sisters . . .

I found this on someone's MySpace today:

"10 reasons to date a single Mom"

1. You already know they're strong because they have to handle the responsibilities of single parenthood.

2. There is nothing like a mother. She is a woman that is responsible and focused on life. She knows what she wants out of life and will not sacrifice the happiness of her child for just any man. So, if she decides to date you, feel lucky.

3. Single moms know what they are looking for and are independent. Any man or woman can appreciate dating someone who has confidence in themselves. Face it, great moms are sexy!

4. A single mom isn't just filling time dating - she's had to make a choice to do something for herself while fulfilling the full-time responsibility of being a mom. For a man seeking a real and lasting relationship, this is ideal.

5. They appreciate quality not quantity of time. It isn't always an option to see someone everyday, so making sure the time together is of value is important.

6. Single moms are more open to long-term relationships. For single dads that are also looking for a romantic relationship, it is ideal to date someone with the same end goals.

7. They're done being a "party girl" and tend to be more selective and thoughtful in their approach to dating. With single moms, we know our romantic relationship is valued and not just part of a series of meaningless dates or something that stems from the fear of being alone.

8. You get to see how they relate to their children and how they relate to people they love. And for single dads looking for their own "play date," this also provides insight on how she might interact with our kids and her attitude about important life issues.

9. Single moms enjoy their time out more and can appreciate a simpler evening of just spending time together. People with a fun, positive attitude and outlook are always more fun to date.

10. They realize what it costs to raise a family - and don't require flashy dates. They are impressed more by substance than a big price tag both in dating and in life.

Extra bonus reason: They make great Mac-n-Cheese!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Easing the Teasing

My aunt recently sent me this excellent book, Easing the Teasing, written by Judy S. Freedman. As both a teacher and parent, I was curious about the title and dove right into the text, reading chapter after chapter and highlighting important points along the way. Here are some things that grabbed my attention:

*There are two kinds of teasing:

- having fun with someone you like
- making fun of someone in a hurtful way

*What's the difference between teasing and bullying:

- Bullying is characterized by repeated, consistent attacks whereas teasing may
be an occasional thing.

*What's the big deal about teasing?

- It can make your child feel "diminished, demeaned, devalued and somehow

*The top 10 reasons why children are teased:

1) Appearance
2) Abilities - physical and intellectual
3) Identity - gender, race, religion, culture
4) Behavior
5) Family circumstances
6) Possessions
7) Opinions
8) Names
9) Feelings
10) Friends

*Can your child turn to teachers for help?

- That's a good place to start, but Freedman states, "Many adults, including
teachers and school administrators, believe teasing falls into the catagory of
kids being kids and that it's just a part of growing up."

*How to talk to your child about what can be done:

- Express confidence in your child's ability to handle the situation.
- Ask what your child wants to do.
- Be realistic.
- Teach your child strategies that work.

As a former middle school teacher and kid myself, I know that teasing whatever the form may be, hurts! Kids will tell you that you are too short, too tall, too fat or too thin. The list goes on and on. My oldest daughter, (Big Sister) was teased for the first time this year on the playground at preschool. Three girls whom she still considers friends, approached her on the first cold day of the year and belittled her for not having a pink coat like they had. At first, my happy-go-lucky girl shrugged it off and said, "It's okay, I like my coat," but they kept on with unkind remarks such as, "We aren't going to be your friend anymore because you are different." Big Sister started crying. At five, friendship means everything to her. She desperately wants to be liked and accepted by her peers. Her teacher went over and made the girls apologize. After that, everything went back to 'normal.' The situation still bothers me though because she was attacked for not having a pink coat. What happens when the same mean girls notice that her skin tone is different or that her eyes don't look like theirs. Will they further persecute her? Maybe yes, maybe no! I'm happy to have read this well-informed book which lets me know that teasing is universal and the very best thing a parent can do for their child is to talk openly about the topic to them and teach them strategies for handling such scenarios. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend taking a peek! It's worth the read and could potentially help your child in the future.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ni Hao Kai-lan Airs This Week

Move over Dora and make room for a new star, Kai-lan. Nick Jr. will introduce this spunky five-year-old this week in her very own show, "Ni Hao Kai-lan" where kids can learn about Chinese culture and Mandarin Chinese words and phrases. The show focuses on helping preschoolers identify emotions and learn positive coping mechanisms. The first episode of Ni Hao Kai-lan, "Dragon Boat Festival," will debut on Nick Jr. this Thursday, Feb. 7 at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT). In this colorfully animated story, Kai-lan's tiger friend, Rintoo, learns that "When you feel too mad, the first thing you do is calm, calm down!" We are very excited to see the premiere of this promising new show. Tune in and let us know what you think!