Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: Siblings without Rivalry

September Book

Siblings without Rivalry
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
240 pages

I am super excited about reading this book. I feel like parenting is what I do--I think about it a lot, wonder if there are better ways to do things, more effective ways to relate to the kids, "easier" ways to guide them and teach them. I really enjoy parenting books.

It  was a good read. There were some good ideas, but it got boring toward the end. It's a lot of stories from people who have done their parenting groups.

Chapter 1: Brothers and Sisters--Past and Present
The beginning of this chapter discusses that all families experience sibling rivalry and "why weren't my experiences with my siblings more helpful to me when I was raising my own children."

I think these three statements summarize what this book is going to be about:
  1. Our relationship with our siblings can have a powerful impact upon our lives
  2. These same feelings can persist into our adult relationships with our brothers and sisters
  3. These feelings can even be passed on to the next generation
Chapter 2: Not Till the Bad Feelings Come Out
If we're to have any hope of ending sibling rivalry, the very emotions we want to close the door on and lock out, need to be invited in, made welcome, and treated with respect. It can be upsetting to hear one child rage against another, but if we forbid the expression of that rage, the danger is that it will go underground and reappear in other forms, either as physical symptoms or emotional problems (Pg 19).

Children need to be able to air their feelings and wishes about their siblings-even the unsavory ones-because it's comforting to have someone listen to them. But it's important to make a distinction between allowing feelings and allowing actions. We permit children to express all their feelings. We don't permit them to hurt each other. Our job is to show them how to express their anger without doing damage (Pg 24).
  • Instead of dismissing negative feelings about a sibling, acknowledge the feelings.
  • Give children in fantasy what they don't have in reality.
  • Help children channel their hostile feelings into symbolic or creative outlets.
  • Stop hurtful behavior. Show how angry feelings can be discharged safely. Refrain from attacking the attacker.
Insisting on good feelings between the children led to bad feelings. Allowing for bad feelings between the children led to good feelings (Pg 49). 

Chapter 3: The Perils of Comparison
Gosh, here is something we do not do. I don't even remember ever being compared to my siblings. Never.

A "tip" they give to avoid comparisons is to use "describing words" rather than comparing siblings.
  • Describe what you see
  • Describe what you feel
  • Describe what needs to be done

Chapter 4: Equal is Less
This chapter is about trying to be equal with your kids (buying a shirt for one even if he doesn't need it because you bought a shirt for a different kid, giving gifts to a non-birthday child on a sibling's birthday, spending 10 minutes with one because you did with the other, etc.) Thank goodness, we haven't been sucked into this craziness. Yuck!

Chapter 5: Siblings in Roles
This, too, doesn't seem like something we've gotten into. Maybe because the kids are so little.

Chapter 6: When the Kids Fight
Our kids fight. It seems like the fighting has picked up 1000% in the last month or so. Although now that Ivy's in school, there is less. We try to help them find solutions; we separate them if they're hitting or kicking, etc. I bet this is going to be a bigger problem as they get older, but for now even distraction/diversion still works.

Chapter 7: Making Peace with the Past

Chapter 8: Afterward for the New Edition

  • Coping with Young Rivals
  • Home Alone
  • More Ways to Encourage Good Feelings between Bothers and Sisters

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

at the Y

I went swimming at the Y tonight while Jeremy stayed home with all three kiddos and did bedtime by himself. That's a big deal--getting three to bed alone is a big job.

1. There was a woman sitting on a bench next to the pool. She had on some strong perfume or something. I could smell her every time I went by. And then I walked past her in the locker room--whew.

2. There was a woman swimming in the lane with me. She didn't have on a cap or goggles, so she kept her head above water the whole time. It looked like hard work. I later saw her in the locker room, too. She was showering and getting dressed with her toddler son. And he was nursing the whole time. I wanted to say something encouraging and nice to her, but I couldn't think of what without sounding condescending or creepy. On my way out, a Y employee said something like "Hey, nice work in the pool," and I really wish I had encouraged that mom. But I've been sitting at home for awhile, and I still can't think of what I could've said to her.  So, "Mom at the Y" I hope you're doing well.

Down one kid

It feels weird to do fun kid activities without Ivy. In fact, now that we're three weeks into kindergarten, today is the first day we've done something without her.

And we're just at the Eden Prairie mall getting Jamey's haircut and playing at the play area.

Sure, we go to the YMCA a few times a
week, but that doesn't seem like it counts.

I'm trying to figure out when we can get to the zoo--with Ivy.

Kindergarten is throwing off my scheduling prowess.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Changing a setting in Google Reader

While I like Google products (reader, calendar, maps, docs), I think Google caters to developers. It's nearly impossible for "regular people" to change settings. If you can't immediately find it, it's hidden somewhere. And you have to be a developer to understand the lingo and know where to find whatever. And if you make the mistake of asking for help, you have to hire a translator to sort through the 9000 words of programese.

Thankfully, I live with a developer who is usually able to solve all of my computer problems.

So, my latest problem is that when I'm reading through my blog subscriptions using Google Reader on the iPhone, the links were opening in Reader and were formatted all crazy (instead of opening on the actual website).

  1. On the Google Reader page, I clicked the Settings Sprocket icon on the right side of the page.
  2. Click Reader Settings.
  3. Click the Goodies folder tab at the top of the page.
  4. Scroll down to USE READER ON YOUR PHONE and click the link.
    • A new page opens.
  5. Click Settings.
  6. Deselect "Reformat linked web pages for mobile browsers."
  7. Click Save. 
And now links in blogs open up on their own web page instead of in Reader. This is very similar or the exact same thing to when articles open in Facebook instead of just opening the website. 

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Apple Picking

    We went up to Minnetonka Orchards to pick some apples and "experience" fall.
    Here's a nugget from Jeremy: Like the old saying goes "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed."
    For several years, we've been going to Emma Krumbee's down in Belle Plaine. Minnetonka Orchards is a thousand times better. Seriously. We'll make the trek up there a million times before we go back to Emma Krumbee's.

    It was $6 a person to get in (under 3 is free). At first, I was thinking that it's dumb to pay to get into the orchard. But then the kids had a million little activities to do: the petting zoo, train ride, face paint, corn crib slide, play set, sand box, hay mountain, and a hay ride. $6 seems like a great deal for all that.

    We got to pick Sweet 16's today. $24 for a peck. Jeremy weighed it, and it was 11 lbs.

    At the end of our visit, we got apple donuts 6 for $3. They were delicious--yummy cake donuts dipped in sugar.

    There was also live music, maybe polka? The kids danced around a bit. We were going to buy a present for a friend's wedding next weekend, but we totally forgot until about five minutes ago. The shop is super cute!

    Next to the Hay Wagon

    Next to the Hay Wagon

    Walking to the "U-Pick" orchard

    Leading the way

    Which trees should we pick from? The kids were looking for the biggest apples on low branches. 

    Walking up this big hill is hard work on such little legs.

    We got to pick our own apple off the tree!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Mac & Cheese

    For the eight years we've been married, I've been making the same awesome mac & cheese from a "Cooking for Two" cookbook we got as a wedding gift.

    It calls for chicken, dry mustard, and crushed red pepper. It's amazing! However, the kids won't eat it. It just doesn't taste the same without the spices, so I've been on a mission to find a new recipe.

    Leave it to the Pioneer Woman to have a delicious non-spicy Mac & Cheese recipe. It might be our new favorite dinner! I used smoked cheddar and monterrey jack. It's divine.

    I do have two questions:

    1. Why do people put an egg in mac & cheese?
    2. Why bake it?

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    At Home with Jamey

    A while ago, Jamey told me that he wanted to do school like Ivy. So I ordered him the same Sing Spell Read & Write preschool pages I did with Ivy. We did a couple pages this morning while Ivy colored. He did a great job recognizing and coloring red & yellow.

    After we got home from dropping Ivy off, we made peanut butter cookies. I rolled them into balls, and Jamey dipped them in sugar. When we got done, he said, "I'm bored of this. Let's go get Ivy."

    Instead, he taught me a new game: "Kink, Kink, Kink, Touch the ..." He explained that it's like "Run and Touch" except you have to say, "Kink Kink Kink, Touch the fish tank" or whatever. He played that for quite a while.

    Then he wanted to check out his new back pack. I had picked up a few different boxes of flash cards. We went through some shapes, colors, numbers, and the planets.

    The three hours of kindergarten went pretty fast, although I think Jamey's going to get used to Ivy being gone. It was fun to watch him play with Livy. And it was surprising that there was no fighting all afternoon.

    Coloring the red page

    He's so happy to do school.

    Livy wanted me to take her picture, too. 

    Lunch of champions

    Ivy's First Day

    Today was Ivy's first day of kindergarten. After crying yesterday, I was pretty sure I'd be okay today. And I figured Ivy would be excited.

    It sounds like she had a great day. She says she had fun with her new friends and mentioned three by name. They read a story about a mouse that "was a girl but looked like a boy." They had "s'more crackers" for snack. And she said her favorite part of school was gym class.

    As soon as she saw us waiting for her at the end of the day, she started crying. She was so sad she's not riding the bus. Her teacher told her that she gets to be line leader every day when the class walks out of school because she's riding "the mom bus."

    Eating a big lunch so she has energy to play and learn

    Jeremy came home early to walk to school with us.

    Waiting to go to her class. Jamey really wanted to see her room.

    The first day picture

    Line leader on the way out of school

    We made peanut butter cookies to bring to her after school.

    Playing at the park on the way home.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Meet the Teacher

    We walked over to Edgewood today to meet Ivy's kindergarten teacher, deliver our school supplies, and drop off the rest of the forms we had.

    Jeremy came home early to go with us, and Bethany was home to watch Jamey & Livy. Ivy had fun unpacking the school supplies from her backpack, finding her locker and name tag, and then coloring with the assistant teacher while her teacher walked through all the "necessary info" with parents.

    Her teacher, Mrs. Dovre, read The Kissing Hand. It's all about how Chester the Raccoon is going to kindergarten, and he's a little nervous. His mom gives him a kiss on his left hand so he won't get lonely. I had to leave the room because I was crying.

    I think I'm going to have a hard time tomorrow. I also think Jamey is going to be lost without Ivy here every afternoon. But Ivy is very excited to play with her new friends.

    On the way out, we met the gym teacher. She seems very nice. In fact, every one seems super nice.

    Showing off her new sparkly Barbie backpack that she picked out herself

    Let's get going!

    Ivy's classroom

    Standing by her locker

    Ivy & Mrs. Dovre

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Labor Day Picnic

    We went to Memorial Park in New Prague for a Labor Day picnic with the Great Scott Cycling Club, aka "Jeremy's biking group."

    The bike group met at Michael's Cycles like they always do and rode down to the park for lunch. I drove with the kids down to the park. We had a great lunch--standard picnic stuff--hot dogs, burgers, salads, and drinks. Every one there was really nice, and it was fun for me to meet some of the people Jeremy rides with.

    After the group headed back to Prior Lake, the kids played on the playground for about an hour. Then we drove home. We saw the bike group at the bike shop as we drove by. :)

    Auntie Bethy and Livy

    Can you see the baby beetles Jamey found?

    Jeremy is ready to leave.

    A quick game of "run & touch" while the hot dogs are grilling

    Daddy & Baby

    Hit & Run

    Our favorite date night activity is going to the movies. Before kids, we went all the time--sometimes more than once a week and sometimes for the Solt Special (a double feature). Now that we've instituted Date Night, we're going to the movies again.

    Last night, we saw Hit & Run. Dax Shepard and Kristin Bell were on Conan earlier this week. Listening to them talk about the movie made it more fun to watch it. She told funny stories about Dax and his cars (they are a real-life couple), and he was just hilarious.

    I thought the movie was going to be this action Guy-Movie, but it was a comedy, a little lovey, with some action tossed in.

    We thought it was so good. Funny, mostly. Light hearted. Fun to watch. Great date movie.

    100 times better than Avengers and way better than Bourne Legacy. I liked it better than Dark Knight Rises, but it's totally a different type of movie. (These are the 3 movies we've seen recently.)

    Next up: The Words, Looper, and Trouble with the Curve.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Forward Facing

    I just read the sticker on the side of Livy's car seat that it's only recommended for rear-facing until 20 pounds. She hit that at 9 months, but I didn't turn her around until right now.

    The AAP recommends keeping kids rear facing until they're two or until they reach the height/weight limit of their seat.

    I planned to keep her rear facing until she was two. However, I had forgotten about the weight limit thing. She's been so entertained by watching the kids in the way back seat. I hope she likes looking forward.

    She feels more like a big girl now.