Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Punishing" under the guise of "Natural Consequences" - Instead, try kindness and compassion!

I usually LOVE what is on the Mother List.  It's one of my new favorite places to watch clips about tender moments in life, acts of kindness, etc.  Well, this clip pissed me off.  It was supposed to be about teaching natural consequences.  However, it was punishment.  I wrote a comment back just now.  It's still awaiting moderation. I can post my thoughts here now though.  So I will!

(I'd like to call the video: "Natural Consequences: A Horrible Teaching Device!"



What was described IS punishment, not natural consequences.  And it is a mean and unsafe thing to do to your child.  Or anyone!  Imagine if that child falls down and gets hurt because the parent tried to teach their child a lesson by taking out the lightbulb.  Ugh....  How about if a husband or wife thought their spouse left too many lights on?  Would taking out the bulb be even something a person would think of?  Of course not!  People (of all ages) sometimes forget.  So remind them.  Talk to them about why it is important to you to do xyz.  If they forget again, flip the switch off yourself.  How big of a deal is that to do?  They'll grow up....fast.  Help them out for now and trust that they are doing their best.  And in the meantime, model how you want them to be and do the things you would like them to do (you remember to turn off the lights for example).

Natural consequences are more like a child being cold because she forgot her jacket.  If a person isn't able to borrow something to get warm, yes, that would be a natural consequence.

However, natural consequences don't have to be set up in order to happen and shouldn't be used to "teach a lesson."  There will be plenty of lessons learned without trying.

If mom/dad was going along with a child who didn't bring a jacket, one of the parents could put one in the back of the car just in case.  Why?  Because mom/dad thinks ahead and feels it would be a nice thing to do in case their child gets cold.  It is not a kind lesson to purposely let your kid suffer because you told them to bring a jacket and they forgot or truly believed they didn't need one.  Some kids run warmer than others and really feel comfortable in cooler weather.  Others are still figuring out when they need one and when they don't.  Plus temperatures can change fast or the place you go to visit may be warmer or cooler than expected.

Forget trying to "teach your kid a lesson" (under the guise of natural consequences or any other trendy words).  Be kind.  Because kindness begets kindness.  Now that is a lesson they can give back to others and it will be appreciated!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kanoa says the funniest things...

This afternoon we drove downtown to do some errands.  We waited in the car while Li went into the library to return old books and videos and pick up what was waiting for us.  Kanoa was waiting to go to French and Brawn, a mom and pop type grocery store, to get a big cookie.  He brought along the change he found on a wooden toy ship that he had dumped there weeks ago.  On our way, we went into The Village Shop so I could buy some licorice jelly beans for our family friend Jene (who is like a Grandmother to us all).  I knew Kanoa would remember that place and had probably forgotten about it since we had not been there for a long time.  He picked out a lollipop, Twix bar, and two packs of bubblegum.  He was SO happy!  He chatted enthusiastically the whole time.  

Makana was deciding what to buy with the money she had and was talking with the store owner.  As the store owner came around from the counter by the kids, Kanoa looked up at her and said, "Can I please tell you something?"  The lady said, "Sure."  Kanoa said, "I like this store even better than French and Brawn."  I think she liked what he said.  

Then when we got to French and Brawn, we saw one of the familiar cashiers and the first thing Kanoa did was to go up to her and tell her that he found a place he likes "even better than this place."  Li and Makana were embarrassed that he said that.  I told them that he didn't know any better yet.  He's only 5.  He was being honest and I didn't think she would mind as she wasn't the owner and knows how much he loves sweeties.  I did briefly mention to him that it is better to not tell people who work there that you like another place better.  I bought chicken and we walked back to the car.  As Kanoa was getting in he said to me, "I'm a lucky man."

I posted this picture with a review for our washing machine that we purchased several months ago.  I love it!  It's quiet, does large loads, spins things so nice and dry and gets the clothes clean just fine.  The biggest plus is that it is much quieter than our old one and that is important because Jim is sensitive to noise and the washer is located near the kitchen where we often congregate.

Kanoa and I played Sorry this morning.  He likes winning and getting the Sorry cards and cards that let him move a higher number of spaces.  The game went for a long time and he asked me to go for him for a while, so I did.  I noticed that he played for a longer time than he used to and took only one card (most of the time).
I made sure the winner was Kanoa because I knew how much it meant to him.  

Kanoa has started to sit near Makana when she plays on the computer.  Sometimes they watch a show or he might watch her as she skypes and plays.

Once or twice over the past month, I set up Kanoa on the computer that Makana normally uses because I needed to use the one he usually uses.  He must have liked that A LOT because he now likes to go on hers.  I can tell he feels like this is a "big" thing to do by the way he sits at her desk.  This photo did not capture it, but I have that special look he gets in my mind.   

Well....I did capture it in one blurry photo I snapped before he realized I was taking pictures and began to make funny faces.  Sitting so tall and proud...he's doing important things here....and sitting where big sister sits.  Big stuff.  

Oh....one other big thing....he's starting to use the potty!  He started occasionally using the potty to pee.  Just sometimes.  Then recently he started to sit on it before bed.  He's still only done this like 5 times or so.  This afternoon he said he needed privacy and started to move things to make a private space in the room I was sitting in.  Hmmm.  I asked, "Do you need to poop?"  Yes, he did.  I asked him if he wanted to sit on the potty.  He said yes, but we'd have to run - he had to go right now!  So we ran upstairs and he pooped.  He asked me to shut the bathroom door and I pushed it with my hand from the spot on the floor where I was sitting.  Suddenly Kanoa got off of the potty.  Why?  To shut the door all the way.  Oh...I hadn't realized that he wanted it shut All the way.  When he was about to get back on the toilet seat he noticed his poop.  "Wow!"  he shouted!  "It looks like a beehive!"  I laughed.  Omg..a beehive.  I had to get up to look.  Well, yes...it did look like a beehive.  We've been talking a lot about bees lately.  Big topic of conversation as Makana is nervous about bees.  The beehive sunk lower in the toilet.  He saw it sink.  He got on and finished up.  But not before giving me Makana's ipod in case we wanted to take pictures (he loves silly selfie's). Now why would I want to take pictures there?  Well, I did.  Selfie's, silly selfies, and one picture of Kanoa using the potty so we can remember this time.  My last kid using the potty.  Well....even this "last" thing can make me feel bittersweet.  But rather than dwell on the many "lasts" he'll be doing, there are many firsts and new things he'll get to try and that will be exciting.  

Just as I was typing this, Kanoa came over and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, tell me when I get to be an adult."  I said okay and then I explained how he is getting a little older and older each day.  I still don't know why he was contemplating that, but that is what he was thinking about at that moment.  He can shift from one topic to another so fast.  Right now it is all about bubblegum.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Appreciating a nice moment today...

This afternoon I lay horizontal on the couch while Kanoa sat on the end closest to the tv watching The Jungle Book on videotape.  I thought about how good that very moment was.  Makana had a friend over and they were happily playing.  Katie and Zach had just come in and were hanging out.  Jim was at work and had been in a great mood this morning because he didn't have to go into work on the weekend anymore (his 6 days a week just ended for this year).  Li was excited because we had just ordered a new pair of headphones.  His are broken and he looked up information and customer reviews all day yesterday and this morning and I found thirty dollars he didn't know he had to add to what he saved and made it possible to get a pair he liked.  And I was glad because Jim said he thinks it will work out for me to teach barre at 5pm on Tuesday evenings.  That is Great!

Li enjoyed several bike rides today.  Kanoa dug up rocks.  I cut down a couple of saplings.  We played with boppers, swords and scooters.  Makana and Azure looked for frogs, went scootering, played with Star Wars swords and more.  I got to chat with Lynn and Tony.  And to top it off....Kanoa, Li and I had such a FUN time playing with the water guns!  I love it when I laugh that hard!

Something new...Kanoa didn't mind getting squirted with water - it was okay for him to squirt us and us to squirt him.

And another new thing for Kanoa....he tried a couple pieces of chicken nuggets today.  The first nugget he ate some and then spit out some.  Then he asked for another piece and took his time eating it.  Later he went back and got more pieces and ate some and spit some out.  Then took his time with another nugget or two.  Wow! This is Kanoa's first time ever eating meat (he's 5).  I think he took a teeny tiny taste of a nugget one other time when Azure was here, but he didn't eat it.  So I was surprised!  Li is a bit disappointed as he hoped that Kanoa would be vegetarian like him.

Our day gets even better.....Jim is home from work (10:30pmish) and he is off this whole weekend!  Yay!

This is one of the rocks Kanoa dug up.  You can't tell in this photo, but he was proud of himself and wanted to show me.  I asked if I could photo him holding it.

Okay...now his personality begins to show ("Take one like this!")  Like Li, he loves to make silly faces!

Oh!  I forgot one other sweet thing...while we were outside, Makana told me that Li suggested they pool any birthday money they get together to purchase and share an Oculus Rift.  And though she liked that idea, she said she really wants to get Daddy a grill because she knows how much that means to him.  Wow....that was such a nice sentiment!

Monday, March 3, 2014

What makes a good children's writer? A quote by Ronald Dahl and scary book ideas for younger kids

Saw this on a post and copied it since I'm interested in writing.  Found it online here as well: http://taralazar.com/2012/07/10/roald-dahl-what-makes-a-good-childrens-writer/

"What makes a good children’s writer? The writer must have a genuine and powerful wish not only to entertain children, but to teach them the habit of reading…[He or she] must be a jokey sort of fellow…[and] must like simple tricks and jokes and riddles and other childish things. He must be unconventional and inventive. He must have a really first-class plot. He must know what enthralls children and what bores them. They love being spooked. They love ghosts. They love the finding of treasure. The love chocolates and toys and money. They love magic. They love being made to giggle. They love seeing the villain meet a grisly death. They love a hero and they love the hero to be a winner. But they hate descriptive passages and flowery prose. They hate long descriptions of any sort. Many of them are sensitive to good writing and can spot a clumsy sentence. They like stories that contain a threat. 'D’you know what I feel like?' said the big crocodile to the smaller one. 'I feel like having a nice plump juicy child for my lunch.' They love that sort of thing. What else do they love? New inventions. Unorthodox methods. Eccentricity. Secret information. The list is long. But above all, when you write a story for them, bear in mind that they do not possess the same power of concentration as an adult, and they become very easily bored or diverted. Your story, therefore, must tantalize and titillate them on every page and all the time that you are writing you must be saying to yourself, 'Is this too slow? Is it too dull? Will they stop reading?' To those questions, you must answer yes more often than you answer no. [If not] you must cross it out and start again." - Ronald Dahl

It made me think of my kid's interests and what kinds of stories attracted them.  Dahl writes about kids enjoying ghosts and being spooked.  That reminded me of one of Kanoa's first favorite board books - Kevin Sherry's book "I'm the Scariest Thing in the Castle."  It ends up NOT being scary (of course as it is written for toddlers!).  The scariest vampire bat turns out to be the cutest thing in the castle!

My kids have also liked other scary books such as-
  • "The Ghost of Sifty Sifty Sam" by Angela Shelf Medearis - All of my kids Loved this book -It is not scary after all....the ghost turns out to love Chef Dan's crispy delicious batter-dipped fish and in exchange for more, he works at Dan's restaurant cleaning dishes. 
  • "The Gunniwolf" retold by Wilhelmina Harper 
  • "May We Sleep Here Tonight?" by Tan Koide - This is my son Kanoa's favorite book and has been since he was 3.  Gophers, rabbits and racoons are lost in the fog and find an empty cabin to stay in.  When Mr. Bear returns home, readers will wonder if he is a scary fellow....but alas he is not and he makes them all food to warm their tummies and even shares his bed. 
  • "The Spook Book" by Burton and Rita Marks - This book explains how to set up your own haunted house.  It has craft and recipe ideas.  Both of my boys especially like this book.    

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random January 2014 pics

A pipe burst in Katie's room.  Thank goodness she was right there when it popped and told Wolfgang who told us right away.  We got the water shut off to that room that evening and it was fixed the next day.
But dang!  Wish that hadn't happened.  

I am taking a class to do with Brene Brown's book "The Gifts of Imperfection." Much of the work is done in an art journal.  Makana wanted to join me in making her own art journal.  These were the first pictures we put inside ours.  The writing on our hands says, "I'm perfect and I am enough."  Like!

I'm so serious!  Love how Makana is so free to be silly!  Wish I was more like that.  Oh....wait....but I am me.  Need to embrace that, huh.  So, well....I am perfect and I am enough.  I will keep working on that!  ;)

Makana began to make an inspirational drawing with words.  I wonder if she got the idea from the inspirational magnet that I purchased at Sunset Celebration in Key West?  (see the green and red picture below)

Love these words of inspiration!  And....they remind me of our trip!

Halfway through January, Wolfgang moved to his own apartment.  I hope we helped him to make the transition to living on his own easier.  We'll miss him, but he is only a five minute drive or a fifteen minute walk away.  And closer to town/work which is helpful.  He ended up being roomates with one of the nicest and most helpful people who work at the local grocery store.  Awesome!  :)

My new favorite brownies!  OMG!  I can't tell you how good they are!


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
Beat together the butter and sugars until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. 
Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the mixture and mix well.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, checking them towards the end to keep from overbaking.
If you like them gooey, pull them out at 25 minutes.

Adapted from this recipe: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2013/05/sundae-cookie-bars/ 

Katie first made these.  Now I make them on occasion too!  LOVE!!!

If you love homemade chocolate chip cookies, you will likely love these too! :)

And ....well, I know it is risky, but if you ever do eat raw cookie dough (knowing you are taking chances with raw egg), this dough is unbelievable!  So full of vanilla flavor!  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Wig Joke

So while we were in Key West, Katie and I went out browsing the shops and I tried on this wig:

(Me being goofy trying on wigs in the costume shop in Key West- photo snapped with Katie's cell phone.)

I have always wanted to have a hairstyle sort of like this...kinda punky...maybe some dye.  But as of yet I haven't done so.  But yolo...so maybe I will one day! ;)

When we got home, I kept thinking how cool it would be to actually get my hair cut in that kind of style.  If only I could try on that wig again and see if I really liked it or not.  Plus, I could play a joke on Jim and the kids...I could go to my upcoming hair appointment and come home wearing the wig!  That would be so fun!!!  I don't play tricks often, but this seemed like a good one!  :)

First I had to get the wig.  I didn't remember the name of the store, but did remember where it was sort of located.  So I used google and maps to search and I found it!  The store had the wig in stock ("The Anna") and I ordered it!  29 bucks!

The wig arrived on Friday, the day before my hair appointment!  Phew!  I tucked it into my dance bag so I wouldn't forget to take it with me.

On Saturday morning I taught dance, went to the library book sale, and then to my hair appointment.  I told Chris (the awesome hairdresser that I've gone to for years) about the trick and I put on the wig.  She said it was a little small and adjusted it to fit as best as it could.  Some gray bits of hair could be seen by the hairline by my ears, but I was hoping no one would notice.

When I got home, Jim was surprised...it was a little ...shall I say different... than the usual cut.  He hadn't yet put in his contacts, and so I hoped he might not get a good look at the gray or anything that might give it away.  He said it looked like a squirrel was on my head!  Did he know it was a wig?  Or did he just think it looked a bit bad...like a dead animal on my head?!  After further conversation, I confirmed that he did think it was a real hair cut!  ha!

Katie was out, Kanoa didn't seem to care, but Li and Makana thought it was Awesome!  They begged me to call Chris to set up appointments for them.  They wanted the Same haircut!  I wasn't expecting that!!  I wanted to let them in on the joke before I made any calls (thinking that they may not want me to call her after all because she didn't cut it like that).  I stalled for time and said I'd call her on Monday.

I acted as typical as possible and occasionally the kids would look at my hair and ask about getting theirs done and they'd ask questions about the dye and cost and more.  (and I'd giggle to myself)  Jim put on glasses, but still didn't seem to notice it was a wig!  Yessss!  Still fooled!!

I was thinking of how to tell them, but I wanted to see if Katie would be tricked first.  Or maybe she would remember this was the same wig from that shop in Key West. When she got home, we talked about her day, she showed me some things she bought at the mall, and she saw the haircut.  She seemed to genuinely like it!  I couldn't believe that she didn't realize it was that same wig!

Later that night, Jim and I were alone and he scratched his head.  I said, "I know!  My head's been itching all day!  Could be because of THIS WIG!" and I pulled it off!  He was SO surprised and we had a good laugh!  He said I totally had him!  :D  It was so fun to play that joke on him!!

I put it back on so I could do something similar with the kids.  Katie was in bed already though.

Just before the rest of us went to bed, I said to Li (who has been learning to use Photoshop), "You know, if you really want to see what this hairstyle would look like on you, you might want to Photoshop it onto your head."  He said he didn't think he could do that with this hair because it wasn't all even - it would be tricky to do...etc. So I said, "Or you could just try on this WIG!!!" and pulled it off!  Li and Makana were speechless!  Makana then laughed!  She was so surprised!

Li ended up being a little mad at me for tricking him, especially for so long. I apologized as I never meant to do anything but make them laugh!  He really does want to get this kind of cut and some kind of dye too.  He tried on the wig and liked how it looked.

Makana also wants to dye her hair, though she keeps changing how she might want it to be styled. I said I'd save up for a haircut and dye so they can do it.  Li is disappointed that I won't be calling this Monday though - he wishes to do it right away. (And so I do wish I had not said I'd call on Monday...mistake on my part!)

On Sunday, Katie and Zach were making eggs in the kitchen.  I came downstairs with laundry (wearing the wig) and went right past them to put it in.  I wondered if they'd notice.  No one said anything.  I walked over to them to chit chat and Zach was still looking at the eggs.  Katie said, "Oh yeah.  Look at Mom's new hair cut."  So he looks up and smiles.  I forget what I even said, but whatever it was it was Perfect and I pulled the wig off!  Katie at first looked absolutely surprised and shocked, then broke into laughter and squeally high pitched words of astonishment.  She hugged me and laughed so hard she was almost in tears!  I had to go to the next room to help Kanoa, but I heard her still laughing and talking in that high pitched I-can't-believe-it-voice-to-Zach!  Ha!  Glad she thought it was so funny!!  Zach seemed amused too!  Awesome!

My dad used to like to play jokes.  I bet I get that from him.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shel Silverstein and Key West Musings

Since we went to Key West last month, Jim and I still can't stop thinking about it.  It calls to us.....

To keep enjoying that feeling, we have been listening to Rich McKay's songs and working on our photo album.  Jim plays the songs online and I have been listening to the cd's Schoonin'Learnin' to Love and Come Little N Big Children while driving.  They are both by "The Sundogs" of which Rich is a member of.  I forgot that some of Shel Silverstein's poems were set to music on the Come Little N Big Children album.

Captain Tony Tarraceno and Shel Silverstein were friends.  Shel used to go to Captain Tony's Saloon and one of his homes was in Key West.

After I found out about Shel's connection to Captain Tony and then heard his poems sung by Rich McKay, I decided to borrow some biographies about Shel from the library.  The first one was interesting and I am hoping to read the second one soon.

Me holding Katie, Captain Tony, Jim - after Hurricane Irene Oct 1999
This was the first and only time we met him in person!  It meant a lot to us to meet him.
Here are two poems that I loved that were printed in one of the biographies.

A poem called "The Voice" from Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

There is a voice inside you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you - just listen to
That voice that speaks inside.

A poem called "Listen to the Musn'ts" from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Listen to the MUSTN'TS child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me -
Anything can happen, child.
ANYTHING can be.

Shel's words in these two poems make me think of possibilities and I like how they encourage each person to be themselves and listen to themselves.  Good stuff!

More About Rich -
Whenever we hear Rich sing, we feel uplifted. And it reminds us of all the fun times we've had in the past in Key West and of hanging out with Rich either on the Schooner Wolf or elsewhere.  Awesome times in an awesome place!

If you want to buy any of Rich's music or listen to some of his songs, you can do so from this link: http://www.reverbnation.com/richinspirit/songs or http://www.keywestperformers.com/Pages/Performers/InSpiritpages/RiScds.htm

"Sparkle" is one of my favorites as well as "Berries By The Road." "Montserrat" is another good one as well.  "Mermaid" is another of my favorites and part of it can be heard in a video clip below.

Here's a clip of Rich singing "The Ballad of the Atocha.":

Rich In Spirit McKay's music is extra special to us because we met him about 20 years ago when we were taking a sunset cruise on the schooner Wolf and he was playing music on it.  We liked him and his music right away!  The joy he feels while playing is contagious!  We became Rich McKay fans!

Rich In Spirit McKay - April 1996 - Key West, Florida on the Schooner Wolf

Here is a video clip from August 2013.  Rich is singing "The Mermaid" on the Schooner Wolf.:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXU2S5UCwgQ&list=UUgO_nOy3NM0kQ7IJwhyNKZQ&index=12

We've corresponded with Rich a bit over the years and visited him when we used to frequent Key West (before kids) and then when we went down with Katie when she was 2 1/2.

Jim and I started the "Rich McKay Fan Club, Jersey Shore Chapter" in the early 1990's and had T-shirts made up for all three of us and surprised him with them when we went on our next trip!  

Rich liked them so much that he traded us Schooner Wolf shirts for our own fan club T-shirts!
Rich and I dancing at El Meson de Pepe's in Oct 1999.  A little different than BO's!  But still fun!

Sayin' aloha to Rich before we headed home - Oct 1999

Sunset Key West Oct 1999 - Katie was 2 1/2

On one trip to Key West, we went to BO's and Rich and I danced and we all had a great time!

When Rich came out with Come Little N Big Children, he surprised us by sending it in the mail!  That was so cool!

Now we keep in touch through facebook.  It is amazing all the good things that he does!  He is such a good person doing good things in the world (he goes to Russia with a Patch Adams group! and does other good deeds as well).  Not only that, but he lives his life by doing what he loves to do first and fitting in other things after that.  Good for him!!!  This past trip seemed so fast and super busy with all six of us and sadly we didn't get to connect with Rich.  Next trip we will plan better!

Sweet Update as of 1-14-2014!!!  I opened up a package addressed to me this evening.  I didn't know what it was, but as soon as I opened it I was overcome with happiness and gratefulness!  It was Rich McKay's autobiography - a hardcover!!  I had sent Jim the link to it a couple of weeks ago because I found it online and was so excited reading whatever I could that was available to read from the book site.  I love reading biographies, and to read one about Rich whom I find so inspirational and have met many times makes it double...triple good!  It was so sweet of Wolfie to surprise me!  I was so happy I said it out loud!  I thanked him the minute he walked in the door!  He said it was a late birthday present!  The best!!  I am so excited to read it, hopefully together!  :)