Monday, December 17, 2012

Parent like someone is watching.

Last night in Target there was a little girl dancing around in the aisle. She banged into some medication that went everywhere. She stopped and looked at it. Her Mother than came to see what she did (She'd been on the other side of the aisle). She looks at her, and asks to clean it up. Granted she was speaking a language I couldn't understand. But there was no raised tone to her voice. Nothing that sounded like yelling. And the daughter sang as she put the items back. So it didn't seem as if anything mean had transpired.

At a grocery store one day there was a Mom who spoke so gently and respectfully to her toddlers (who were clearly not happy to be there). I had to comment to her what a wonderful job she was doing, how refreshing it was to hear a Mom speak so lovingly. She was also pregnant. She thanked me for noticing and the encouragement. And said how sometimes it's was hard with being hormonal and tired but how much she tries.

Last week I was at a different Target (hum... It would seem I spend a lot of time in Target.) And there was a Mom and her maybe 4 year old son at check out. As Mom was checking out the little boy begins to yell as loud as possible about wanting to do something, the something I could not make out. You know the yell where everyone in the store stares at you? What impressed me was how this Mom didn't lose her patience. She bent down, handed him a quarter and explained something special about said quarter. He stopped yelling and held his treasure quietly. When he began to yell again. Mom bent down and told him more things about how they could use this quarter. Which made him quite happy.
I encountered this Mom at the cart return after her son was in the car. I commented how awesome she was with her son and how nice it was that she spoke to him so kindly and didn't yell. She said I was so sweet and smiled from ear to ear. She explained she was not always so gracious in her responses to him.

Anyway what is the point of this post?
Well the point being, someone is always watching, seeing and hearing how you parent. And when you can't physically see another person, God is always watching you.
Something to ask:
1. Would I speak this way to my child in front of a stranger at Target? More so would I speak this way if Jesus was physically next to me?
2. And If I did, what would that stranger think of me? What would Jesus?
3. Would they be so moved at how gently and respectfully I interacted with my child that they would comment on how I kept my cool? Would Jesus give me a high five and say "way to go Mom?"
4. Or would they think, ugh this Mom was so mean, how sad for her children?

And yes I know we are not supposed to judge other people. But like it or not it happens. People base an opinion on you based on those few minutes they see of you. That's all they have.

So with that in mind. Why not show your gentle parenting in its full glory as you are out and about with your kids this holiday season?

Parent like someone is always watching because someone is always watching, one of your other children, your spouse, a stranger, God.

Some reading:
http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/changing%20parenting/mindfulreplacements.html

http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/parenting/

http://aradicalpath.com/

http://www.parentingwildthings.com/

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keeping Christmas meaningful and budget friendly

There was a really great post a few weeks back in a Christian Unschooling group I'm a part of. It was by a Mom named Bree. I really appreciated her approach to Christmas and birthdays. I shared it with friends and family. And I thought posting it here would be a good idea just in case I happen to lose it before next year. For those who are just starting their holiday shopping I hope this comes at a great time and maybe offers an idea of how to simplify, especially for those of us with large families who do live on a budget.


Each of our kids get 3 gifts for Christmas. One that represents Gold, one for frankincense and one for myrrh. 
The Gold gift is their big gift - something they want. 
The frankincense gift is something to bring them closer to God (a Bible, DVD, Pendant). 
The Myrrh is something to "anoint" their body with. (We used to do lotions/bath stuff, but in recent years we've done switched to actual clothes as it's more practical).

For birthdays our kids each get:
Something you want.
Something you need.
Something to play (a game).
Something to read (books, magazines, etc.)
~Bree~ 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

This is a post I made on facebook on Halloween night. I wanted to re-post it here. I have fixed typos, and removed last names of friends and family and added things I had forgotten:

On this Halloween night, I don't really care about candy and costumes. I don't care about elections, or politics. I care about this hurricane and what it has done. I care about a Mom in Jersey who lost her 2 and 4 year old babies.
About my Aunt in Long Island who I have not yet heard from. About my friends and family and their safety. About the people in Queens who lost their homes to fire. About 

the people I don't know who have lost everything.

I think about fun times in A.C. with Uncle Manny and my childhood friend Melanie. I remember the walk we used to make from Uncle Manny's house in Brigantine to the beach with my parents and my brother. The fun treks on the boardwalk with my friend Nicole, in Seaside, even getting to see Bon Jovi there. Spending special days with my high school boyfriend Jimmy at Point Pleasant beach. Spending my 21st birthday out partying with Uncle Manny and my Grandmother in Atlantic City (yes Grandmom could party too). 

My Grandparents had their honeymoon in Atlantic City. My husband and I had our honeymoon at the Jersey shore too. My husband had his first taste of clams on the half shell in seaside. 
I remember the one and only time we were able to bring our older children to the Jersey Shore on a visit back to see my parents. 



My family spent a lot of weekends at the beach when I was a kid, great seafood with my Dad on the boardwalk at Seaside, riding the merry go round, playing in the arcade, eating Kohr's ice cream, so many great memories. Seeing on the TV all of those places torn to shreds is very hard.

My heart goes out to all those who are suffering, those (like my parents who are still without power), those who have lost homes or businesses, those who have lost loved ones. My prayers are with you all.

Please help, give what you can. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monster high - A doll is really just a doll.

I haven't blogged in a few months. But what a better way to post again, than with my two wonderful guests, my daughters Skylar and Summer, sharing in this post with me.

There was a time I was completely anti plastic toys, anti any toys made in China. Over time I realized that to prevent plastic or made in China toys would mean that my kids would be missing out on some really great toys that are out there.
Which brings us to the topic of this post.... Monster High Dolls.
For anyone who isn't familiar with these dolls you can read about them here.

My daughters are soon to be 11 and 9. I can't recall the first doll they got of Monster High. (They are telling me as I write, Dead Tired Frankie and Dawn of the Dance Clawdeen). I can tell you at this point in time they have about 30 or so of these dolls. And more coming for birthday and Christmas gifts.

It's been very interesting to read in my online research the reasons that some Mom's list as negatives of the dolls:

1. I don't like the way they dress.

2. I respect my children far to much to let them play with garbage like this.

3. Real life girls in public school can't dress like this in school.

4. They are ugly.

5. They are scary.

6. They look like a doll the devil would play with.

7.  That they look like girls who would smoke, drink and do drugs.

8. They suck the innocence away from our children.

9. They effect the girls body image views.


The common theme I see among those comments are that they are personal opinions of the Mom's reaction to the dolls. Mom doesn't like how they dress or what they look like. And because of the way they dress, they surely would be the type to drink, smoke and do drugs. Do these Moms not realize that there are tons of well dressed white collar drug addicts here in America? Far more people are doing drugs that look like they never would.
Some of these comments seem to really impress upon a child to judge a book by it's cover. That is exactly what I don't want my children to do.  I can't imagine how a simple doll would suck the innocence from a child. As I read comments like those I can't help but envision a Mom completely disconnected from her child. There must be a disconnection if a doll could come in and completely overtake a child in such a powerful manner. It's much easier to blame a doll for problems than to blame a lacking Mother/daughter relationship.

I thought it'd be fun to sit with my girls an interview them about the dolls:

Me: So what do you like about the Monster high dolls?
Skylar: They are not supposed to be perfect. They are supposed to be imperfect. They aren't all the same, like Barbies. 
Summer: They're pretty. They're different. Pretty because of being different. 

Me: What do you say to Mom's who don't like the way they look or dress? 
Skylar: To them it's supposed to be fashionable because it's "creepy cool". 


Me: When you say creepy cool, what does that mean?
Skylar: Their monsters, they use words like: Clawsome, Fangtastic, Voltageous, and creeparafic. And they take human things and add "monster" stuff in front of them. Like "mad" science, or "dead" languages, or home "ick". And they say fear book instead of year book. And fearleading instead of cheerleading. 


Me: Well what about their short clothing? 
Skylar: Their outfits aren't entirely short. The dolls have long hair which covers them and leggings under their outfits. They are small and skinny because they are teenage girl monsters. 

Me: Why do you prefer playing with them over something like Barbie?
Skylar: I think Barbie is plain and has to be perfect. All the same, same facial expressions, same hair, even if they have different colored skin, still all the same. 
Monster high are all unique, and have abnormal colors of skin and hair. 

Me: What are some of the positive character qualities of the dolls?
Skylar: From the webisodes, Most of them are always nice. They help each other. They stand up to bullies. They care if their hair and make up is messed up, but that's how most people feel, they don't want their hair or make up messed up when they go out somewhere. 

Me: Do the dolls make you think more about the outside appearance being more important than what's on the inside of you? 
Skylar: They absolutely don't. 

Me: Do you think the way they look is realistic, as far as how humans look?
Skylar: Even a two year old knows that's not how people look. 

Me: Do they ever drink, do drugs, or smoke in the webisodes?
Skylar: There is absolutely nothing like that. The only thing they drink is things they get in the cafeteria, water and "monster drinks."

Me: Do you believe monsters are real?
Skylar: No, and they don't act like "monsters". 

Me: When you say act like Monsters, what do you mean?
Skylar: Like in the movies, where Monsters kill and stuff, they don't do any of that. I mean Draculaura is a vegan vampire. 

Me: What do you say to people who say "they look like a doll the devil would play with?"
Skylar: It's just an excuse to not let your children have these dolls. 

Me: When I read you the reasons that Moms don't like these dolls, what do you think?
Skylar: I think you can ask your children if they like them. It should be up to them. It shouldn't be if you like them or not.

Me: Do you find them scary?
Skylar: No, it's supposed to make children not be scared of Monsters.

Me: How would you feel if I said you couldn't have them because they were against the bible?
Skylar: We'd be sad. We brought them to church and Vince (our Pastor) didn't say anything bad about them. He even said he likes Draculaura's hair. 

Me: Have you ever read anything in the bible that makes you think God would frown on you playing with them?
Skylar: No, not at all.  They are just dolls, toys of plastic. 

Me: Do you think grown ups who say the dolls are against the bible use that as an excuse?
Skylar: Yes. 

Me: What about the way they dress, not being in line with the bible?
Skylar: They are dolls. It's not like they are dressing like strippers. They do cover themselves. Even on the beach they have cover ups. 

Me: Why do you think Mattel chooses to dress them the way they do?
Skylar: Because it makes them look different from Barbie. 

Me: Is it fun to play with a doll who dresses a way you wouldn't?
Skylar: Exactly
Summer: Exactly

Me: Do the dolls make you want to wear make up?
Skylar: Um I think every little girls wants to wear make up anyway. 
Summer: I liked make up before these dolls. I'd like to be a make up artist. 

Me: Do you, Skylar, want to wear make up?
Skylar: I don't, I just don't like the way it feels on my skin, it feels weird. But honestly wanting to wear make up is just the nature of a girl. 

Me: Did you know that historically Moms have had a problem with Barbie as well?
Skylar: If you have a problem with Barbie. You have problems yourself. Why say no? Is it because they are jealous that they can't look like a Barbie, "so perfect"? 

Me: That's what they say, that Barbie looks "perfect" and women can't or don't look that way.
Skylar: Why can't your daughter pretend for once in her life, by using a perfect doll. 

Me: Do you think kids play with either Monster High or Barbie and think. I hope I look like that when I grow up?
Skylar:  Even if they do, they will get to a place where they realize that they can't look like that. They are just dolls. The whole purpose of the doll is that your imagination can run wild. You can be someone else. And anything can happen in their world that can't really happen in yours. 

Me: So it's fictional play?
Skylar: Yes

Me: So some Moms have a problem with the fact that they have boyfriends. What can you share about that?
Summer: It's not really their "boyfriend" it's a boy who is a friend. They kiss on the cheek, and they hug sometimes. It's just a best friend that's a boy. 

Me: Do you think it shows that boys and girls can be good friends?
Skylar: Yes
Summer: Yes

Me: So when these dolls date, what is that exactly on the show?
Skylar: They hang out, go to dances, go to parties, and are friends. 

Me: What happens at these parties?
Skylar: They dance and talk. 

Me: What about the Mom who says she respects her children to much to let her kids play with garbage like this?
Skylar: You should let your children decide....that would be true respect. 

Me: Remember when I told you how there was a Mom who said that she didn't like that Ghoulia, the "smart" girl, couldn't walk or talk and had glasses? What do you feel about that? 
Skylar: Actually in her profile, she likes her glasses. She walks slow and holds herself different because she's a zombie. It's harder for her to make facial expressions because she is a zombie. And she talks a zombie language not English. Her mind works faster than her body. Her mind isn't like a zombie mind. 

Me: Ah...so with Ghoulia, she's like not what she appears then? Because inside she's super smart and her brain works super fast, despite being a zombie who most people would think of as slow and maybe even "stupid"?
Skylar: Yes

Me: What about Moms who say the girls are mean to one another on the show?
Skylar: None of them are mean. Cleo is a little bossy, because she's used to getting her way as a princess. Nerfera kinda likes to compete with her sister. And Toralei just likes to play pranks. She's a cat, that's one of her traits. 
Summer: When Toralei was a kitten, she was abandoned and no one taught her right from wrong, no one took care of her. She had to steal what she needed to live. 

Me: I guess you could say that with Toralei they show you the value of having a loving family huh?
Skylar: Uh-huh. 

Me: Has Toraliei changed since coming to the school?
Skylar: Yes, she doesn't steal anymore. 

Me: What other things have sparked your interest based off the dolls?
Skylar and Summer: Classic horror movies, music, dancing, choreography, reading, writing, drawing, making paper dolls, pretend play. 

Me: Thank you girls for taking the time to answer these questions. 
Skylar and Summer: No problem, anytime. :-)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our apps

So I had written out our list of Fire apps for an unschooling Mom on a forum and wanted to share it with another Mom again tonight. And I couldn't find my post. So I figured since I have to retype my list, why not do it here and then I'll always have it when the need might arise that someone else would like to see what apps we have.
Some are obviously geared more towards girls than boys but at this moment I'm lumping them all together in one list. And age range I have is 3 - 10.
Remember to look on Amazon for the free app of the day. That's how we have collected so many.
All the apps with Story in their name are great math (not that I care or focus on that) but some reading this might. And so are the ones with Cafe in the names as well.

Newly added as of 2/14/13: 

  • Golden Eggs
  • Angry Birds Star Wars
  • Candyswipe
  • Ten Monsters Come to Call (this is a book that my 3 year old likes)
  • Sling Bots
  • Zig Zag Zombie
  • Triple Town
  • Trains, Plains and Sea vehicles (toddler puzzles)
  • Moder War
  • Minecraft Pocket Edition
  • My Little Pony
  • Littlest Pet Shop
  • Pin Man (free edition)
  • Cooking Dash
  • Where's My Valentine
  • Happy Poo Jump
  • Jewels Mania
  • Candy Island - The sweet shop
  • My horse
  • Angry Gran Run (super fun game!!)
  • Bubble Birds 3
  • Pinterest (online pin board)
  • Brisksaber 
  • Temple Run 2
  • Extreme Road Trip 2
  • Star Girl


  • Monster Park
  • Monster Shooter
  • Awesome Monster Trucks
  • Monsters vs Humans
  • Style Me Girl
  • Word Search
  • Bubbles Burst
  • Shoot Bubble Deluxe
  • Ultra Dario
  • Jewels Star
  • Skylanders Cloud Patrol (awesome game!!)
  • Slice ice
  • Bridge Constructor
  • Angry Birds Seasons
  • Quell reflect 
  • Poke Fish
  • Fish Farm 
  • Air Penguin
  • Flow Free
  • Bubble Shoot
  • Highway Rider 
  • 100 Floors
  • Fluff Friends Rescue
  • Rotate and Roll free
  • Cows vs Aliens
  • Calculator plus (my girls love calculators)
  • Pix'N Love Rush 
  • Lep's world - My 10 year old loves this game. It's like a Mario game. 
  • Fashion Icon 
  • Ebay (my older two like to price compare here)
  • Email
  • Netflix
  • Amazon (my older two are always reading reviews and researching possible purchases)
  • Memo Calendar (super cool calendar that let's you write or doodle with your finger. The girls wanted a calendar to keep track of when they got their spending money - not earned for any purpose). 
  • Temple Run 
  • Little Girl Magic
  • Monster Pet
  • Pet Cafe
  • Hungry Shark
  • The Secret of Grisley Manor
  • Princess Puzzles
  • Cut the Rope
  • Mini Pets
  • Pix N Love
  • Drawing Pad
  • Pet Shop Story
  • Fish Adventure
  • Bird Land
  • Adventure Chronicles 
  • Holy Bible app
  • Monster Shooter - The Lost Levels
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • GoFun
  • Chocolate Kids Game
  • Three Little Pigs  - for younger kids
  • Tap Dragon
  • Kids Puzzles
  • Zoola  - for younger kids
  • Bunny Shooter
  • Dr. Panda's Hospital - for younger kids
  • Robinson
  • Battle Ships
  • Clown Ball
  • Pac-man
  • BT Handwriting Free (younger kids - is sort of a phonics and letter tracing app)
  • Cross Fingers
  • Zombie Cafe
  • Seven Stars 3D II
  • Front Runner
  • Tiny Village
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Restaurant Story
  • The Oregon Trail - American Settlers
  • Tap Zoo
  • Animal Find  - younger kids
  • Wild Animals - younger kids
  • Angry Birds Space
  • Cinderella Cafe
  • Tappily Ever After
  • Let's Bowl 2
  • Bakery Story
  • Alphabet Car - for younger kids
  • Step by Story Happy Family in the Kitchen - younger kids
  • Bing Animal - younger kids
  • FlipPix Art (there are others too)
  • Gravity Guy
  • Forest Defense
  • Doodlr free Ecards
  • The Treasure of Mystery Island
  • Hangman for kids
  • Sketch n draw
  • Fantasy Town
  • Pretty Pet Salon
  • Fashion Story
  • Real Jigsaw puzzles
  • City Story
  • Zoo Story
  • Cute Animals - younger kids
  • Birds the Word
  • Zoo Story 2
  • Cupcakes!
  • Fling
  • Farm Story
  • Shape Build
  • Toddler games - younger children (obviously : )
  • Find it 
  • Giraffe's Matching zoo - younger children
  • Wash the dishes  - younger children
  • Bubble Saga
  • Six Guns
  • Alphabet Find
  • Tank Hero - my son loves this one.
  • Papbatting
  • Monkey Preschool - younger children 
  • Stupid Zombies - my son loves this one too.
  • Furry Creatures
  • Veggietales - younger children
  • Draw Something
  • Jewels
  • Wolf Toss
  • Pandora
  • Monster Stack 2
  • Animal Hide and Seek 
  • Tap Safari
  • Bugs War
  • Stick Fighter
  • Samuri vs zombies defense
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Fruit Devil
  • Frontline Commando 
  • Agent shooter
  • Bubble Crusher
  • Ice Age Village
  • Down on the Farm
  • Marvel's The Avengers Iron Man - more for younger kids but my son loves this.
  • Bubble Buster
  • Animal Memory
  • Wordsearh
  • Square wars
  • Paper Toss
  • Doodle Jump
  • Blossom
  • Fashion math
  • Greedy Spiders
  • Hamster Cage
  • Where's my water
  • The Mystery of the Crystal Portal
  • Success Story
  • Guess the Code
  • Glow Hockey
  • Speed Anatomy
  • Supermarket Story
  • Flags
  • Angry Birds
  • Notes
  • Fishing fever
  • Math bubbles
  • Harvest Moon
  • math lines
  • Memory
  • Magic Jigsaw
  • Kids Math Tetris
  • Easy Cupcakes

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My husband is Awesome!!

On Saturday, August 4, 2012 a contemplation from my daily devotion was:
Think about a close friend or family member. In what way does this person reflect God? Does some quality or personality trait speak of what God must be like?

The first person that popped into my head was of course my husband Bryon. And reflections of God in my husband began flowing from my hand all over my journal page.
Some of those I will share in this blog post.

I've been married to Bryon 16 years. We met at a bar back in my hometown. Yes a bar I said.
Who says you can't find true love at a bar? Not me, because I did : ). It was one of those moments where time slows down, everyone and everything else fades away and all you see is tunnel vision on that one person.
I went home that night and told my Mom that I met the man I was going to marry. And a year later we did just that in a candlelight ceremony on New Year's Eve.

Reasons my husband is Awesome: 

He is one of the coolest unschooling examples: 
He can totally shred on that guitar. All self taught at age 12. I'm not saying he's great because I'm his wife and I have to. He used what he taught himself as a career for awhile. He worked as a guitar teacher while being in a band full time as well.



He is accepting:
I love animals, him not so much. Before we had children we had 14 ferrets and 4 cats and a dog. Just to give you a peak into how into animals I am : ). He never said no about any of those animals. He helped care for them, played with them and of course helped support them. Many many years have passed and it's changed a bit. We have children. So he's settled into the I want to devote my time and money to my kids, not pets mindset. I respect that. But even so, he's still okay with us having some pets. We have two cats and a dog. He let me pick out Alice (my dog) as a gift one year. She was pretty costly but he said it was worth it if I really wanted her. He is so accepting of the animal lover in me and the kids.

He is a real life super hero:
He's a police officer for 13 years now. Prior to that he was an EMT.
He opted for a brave move testing for a police department 2800 miles away from the place where we called home. He got accepted. And the rest as they say is history.
This is a hard job. Anyone who doesn't think so is plum crazy. He sees all kinds of horrible things: Child abuse, murder, domestic violence, animal cruelty, sexual abuse, severe drug use, and the list goes on.  People hate him just because of his uniform. He's had to defend his life, taking a life in the process. He wears many hats, counselor, protector, sometimes jailer.  He is honorable, brave, dependable, and has integrity. 
A man changes being a cop for sure, how can you see what he sees not be changed? Yet he is still able to leave it behind and come home.
We talk all the time. About his shift, what he sees, what he does. He's not afraid to share that with me. I feel blessed that he confides in me. I am honored to be a police officer's wife.

He is a fun Dad: 
He is the kind of Dad who is always playing with the kids. He is a fun loving Dad. We went to a park gathering yesterday and aside from a quick hello to the other parents, he was off playing with our kids and the other kids almost the entire time.
When our 3 year old got upset at some point, and wanted to leave. He was the one right there stepping in to play with her, resulting in big smiles and giggles as they played together.

He is generous:
He loves to give to our kids, to me as well. He told me that as a kid, if he asked for something, his parents would reply "What are you going to do for me?"
He loves to be able to give freely, not just material things. But of his time. Time with us and not away from us is a priority for him. You know you have a great man when he's texting you from his golf outing how much he misses you and the kids. I love that he does that.

He is passionate:
He still loves me just as much as he did when I was in my 20's. He still makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. Even during every pregnancy when I felt like I would explode. His interest in me never waned.
And he has such passion about life and living. He is passionate about golf. About being a good husband, officer, father, provider and friend.

He loves having me home:
Not in a "I like my women in the kitchen" kind of way. In a, I love how my wife is home with our children, and I love that she is home whenever I don't have to work, kind of way. And an I love that she loves being there kind of way.

He likes me:
So many wives and husbands don't like each other. They are not friends. He really likes me as a person. He trusts to share his burdens with me and his joys. His stress related to his job. He likes to spend time with me. He enjoys my company. He thinks I'm a pretty awesome wife. (his words, I swear : )

He is hot:
This might be cheesy but, when I look at him after all these years. I still get butterflies in my stomach as if I was that 20 year old girl again. He winks at me across the room and my stomach flip flops. He works hard on his body to be fit and strong for work, for himself. I always tell him he is like a fine wine. He gets better with age. : )

He is an amazing provider:
We are a family of six, plus 3 pets. And he works a hard job so that we can live this life. So that I can be home with our children. He loves that we homeschool. He puts that high on the priority list of important things. There are so many officers that have the big houses, the fancy vacations, cars, and toys, and are on the second or third wives. Yet we live a simple life. We realize that the truly important things that matter, we have in abundance.

He is a loving Father:
He didn't have the greatest model of parenting to follow from his childhood. So what he knows and pulls from are things that he would have wanted as a child himself. And he is always open to ways to improve to be a better Dad. And not only does he uses those skills here at home, but he uses them at work with kids he encounters that have some pretty messed up family situations.

He is Patient:
When I was younger, before we had kids, I was a pain in the ass. He never gave up on me and loved me anyway no matter what.
Present day.... the kids play and leave things about. My kitchen always has the "cooked in" look (is that a real term?). Even though he is gone for 10 hours 4 days a week and it would be so super cool of me if I always had the house in tip top shape for him to come home to. He doesn't judge me or harp on me if I don't. He is just chill and relaxed and accepting of me and my flaws as not the greatest housekeeper. But he gives me an "A" for all my
efforts in trying. : )

He keeps in touch with me:
During his shift or when he's out somewhere. We are always in communication with one another. Whether it's just a kiss via a text message or a hey this is what kind of call I just went on. We remain in touch through the evenings. It keeps us connected.

He Prays for me: 
Everyday he prays for me, for our kids, for our marriage. I love that he does that : ).
He prays with us everyday before he leaves for shift too.

He is just....amazing:
Our daughter Skylar was in the hospital 70 days straight subsequent to her liver transplant at the age of 2. During that time Bryon was also recovering from knee surgery and yet slept next to her in a chair bed for 70 days straight.
He made phone calls to the high ups in the police department because the hospital had put Skylar on "internal financial hold". They wouldn't list her until they had a promise of payment. It was Bryon's words that moved the department to act on her behalf. (They have a private insurance plan which is how the department was able to take part in this.)

He never left her and stayed with her the entire time. He advocated for her, fed her, washed her, changed her, played with her, got movies for her, was her constant companion, prayed for her, cried for her, cried with her, was scared for her, was six hours away from donating a portion of his liver to her. And he said goodbye to her the day of her transplant not knowing if he'd ever see her again.

He took 8 months from work to take care of us. I say us, because not only did Skylar need care. But I was a nightmare. I cried all the time. I was depressed and shocked by what we had been through. I couldn't be alone. He sat in the bathroom with me when I showered. He stood in the doorway when I did laundry.
He maintained Skylar's central line with such care that she didn't contract any kind of an infection as a result. He took care of all the medicines. He took care of all of us.

___________________________

Of course marriage is never all moonlight and roses. But if God had designed the perfect husband just for me, it would be Bryon. He is strong where I am weak. He understands my anxieties and doesn't judge me for them. He is the man I look forward to seeing each morning. And the man I hate seeing go off to work each day. He is the man I thank God for.

I just love him.... and I am lucky to have him and call him mine. And that he loves me and calls me his.





Thanks to Jessica at Bohemian Bowmans for such a great topic to link up to.
Please visit her site to see the other great awesome husband link ups.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Gentle Role model

Today my Grandmother would have been 91. I miss her so much. She lived through the great depression. Raised four children, two of them a set of twins, ran a home, did the books for my Grandfather's businesses, helped him as he held positions in the Shriners and Lions club, raised money for charities and volunteered her time, babysat my brother and myself after school and all through the summer months while our parents worked. Her only sister passed away before I can remember her. She took care of her ailing father and mother, then lost her parents far to early. She was so brave. So kind, so generous and giving. Things she did, she did with a cheerful heart.

I have so many amazing memories of times spent with her.
She made this sandwich on rye bread with miracle whip, melted swiss cheese and boars head ham. I had that sandwich everyday at her house with a side of sour cream and onion chips and a can of soda (back then made with real sugar not this HFCS stuff). She would happily come out to the pool in the backyard asking me if she could make me lunch. She didn't mind serving me lunch on a fancy dish with a fancy napkin and a warm smile.
We had free access to her candy jar on the counter, no matter if a meal was coming. And she was happy to always offer dessert, no matter if we ate our dinner.

She and I would watch The Muppet Show, Love Connection and Family Feud as we nibbled on pretzels and ice cream.

She let me play with anything in her house, nothing was off limits. I got to wear all her jewelry, high heals, dresses, and make up. She let me pull everything out of her pantry to set up a grocery store. She let me use all the coin wrappers to set up my own bank. She even let me play in the fancy living room that most Italian Grandmothers would never allow kids into, where I ate chocolates and played the piano. She would take me on errands with her buying me treats as we went about our day.
She would make me a special plate of pasta every Sunday dinner, no pasta sauce for me.

She was such an amazing person. When I think about a gentle mother, she was surely it.
Every time I say yes to my kids, or do an act of service for them, and put them before myself, I hope my Grandmother is looking down on me and proud of me.

I miss you Grandmom. May the angels be singing your name in heaven today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Activities?

Quite often homeschool parents are really focused on offering a host of classes or activities for their kids to partake in. Even in the local unschooling community I've found this to be more common than not. Sometimes I wonder if some homeschoolers feel that since their kids are not in school they have to be doing x amount of things with other kids outside of siblings and outside the home. That's fantastic if that's something your child wants to do. But how do you really know if it's something your child really does want to do?

  • Is it something they asked about? or is something you strongly suggested?
  • Are you the parent telling your child, they have to partake in something or they won't make friends?
  • Are you the parent trying to live out your childhood through your child? I've seen this happen many times : (. 
  • Does your child prefer to stay home when it's time for said class or activity?
  • Is it you, the Mom or Dad who feels the child needs to have that interaction to be "normal"? Or that you need that interaction yourself? Or time to yourself while they are in the class or activity?
  • Does your child cry or get upset when you bring up the activity or take them to it?
  • Would you make them stick it out even if they tried it and didn't like it?
Last summer my older girls who are now 8 and 10, expressed and interest in a clay class offered by the parks department. It sounded lovely at first. It was pretty much mayhem. Kids running everywhere, touching projects of other children, rude behavior directed at other kids, at their own parents, parents afraid to say a word of correction to them. Summer especially had a really hard time with it. She got pretty emotional and tears began to stream down her face. I'm not sure if it was just an overload of stimulation with all the craziness happening around her, or if she just felt scared that I might leave her there, or nerves about being with strangers. 

In reflection I didn't handle it well.  I should have been more understanding of what she was feeling. I should have walked outside with her and hugged her and just sat with her and let her cry if she wanted to and needed to cry. I should have used some active listening skills to help her (which I didn't know about at the time). That class session ended up having a good outcome though. My Dad who was visiting, came in the class toward the end and helped myself and the girls make some stuff. Then we left and went out to dinner with the rest of my family. 

Another night the girls and I were talking and I asked them what they wanted to do about the class. They were on the fence. They wanted to use clay but not in the class. And they wanted their projects. We discovered some air dry clay to use at home. And my brother picked up their projects for us on his way to work one day. So they got to paint them at home. These were solutions we came up with together. And everyone was happy. 
The reason I share this story is because I was reading a post from a Mom on Always learning tonight. She was talking about her kids and them joining activities. 
Here is Sandra Dodd's response which I felt was one of her many gems and wanted to share here. The part with the lines in front is the original post content Sandra is responding to. Sandra's responses are in italics. 

---=-, but every time I suggest something, no matter what it is, they refuse to
give it a chance.-=-

That sounds antagonistic. "They refuse" sounds more like you were pushing
something than "suggesting."


----=-Last week we took him to a 2-day workshop at the Apple Store (dh had signed
him up, without consulting him). Ds was very reluctant to participate, and right
before things were to begin, he actually had tears in his eyes. (when he went to
school and when he joined activities when he was younger, he never cried - it's
something new since we started homeschooling.) Anyway, things turned out ok
because they let my other son participate so he had his little brother right
there, and the activity turned out to be fun for him - making music and movies
on the iPad. But……-=-

BUT… why didn't your husband go with him?

How would YOU have felt if someone signed you up for a two day workshop (or a
one HOUR workshop) without asking you?

How would your husband feel if you signed him up for a two day workshop without
asking him?

As trusting relationships go, I think both of you are getting colder, not
warmer.

-=- ds's behavior has become more extreme since taking him out of school and I'm
not sure how to help him. It used to seem that he was simply uninterested in
trying new activities. Now it seems to be a fear of social situations.
-=-

#1, you're making it worse
#2, he was bullied when he was in school
#3, he's 9 years old. Let him be home, at peace, until he himself wants more
interaction.


-=-Dh was upset when he saw the way ds was acting.-=-

Your husband created that situation. I think any objective observer would have
been on your son's side.


-=- I feel pressure to have them interact more formally with others, to show dh
(and the countless others who ask "what about socializing?") that they ARE
socializing. -=-

People NEVER ask "what about socializing?"
They ask, "What about socialization?"

You and your husband are trying to enforce some "socialization." It is NOT
socializing.

You should, as a family, find friends and do things with other people. Don't
send your kids out, school-style, to sink or swim in social situation. Be in
social situation as a group, as a family.

-=-and I'm wary of committing to things "behind their backs".-=-

Good.
You should have a firm policy and a moral certitude about not committing anyone
to anything, ever.


-=-From what I understand about unschooling, I should let the kids take the lead
and choose what and if they want to join group activities. But I think they're
not giving things a chance and missing out on social interactions and learning
new skills/sports that they would likely end up really enjoying. -=-

The misunderstanding comes from "take the lead."

You should be doing cool things WITH them, and your husband should be, too.

I think you and your husband aren't giving unschooling a chance. You want it to
look like school, where you stay home while the boys are off with kids their
age. That's not what unschooling looks like.

http://learninghappens.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/unschooling-is-not-child-led-lea\
rning/

http://sandradodd.com/nest

Let your children be at peace, and grow into their own desire to venture out. 
The more you pressure, the more they will want to stay home. The more confident
they are at home, the more confident they will be when they want to explore.

There have been families throughout history where the kids only saw siblings
(maybe occasionally cousins) for years, who grew up with no neighbors within
walking distance, and they grew up fine.

Sandra

My kids are friends with each other. They have some really touching amazing moments between them that really make a Mom's heart melt. As far back as I can remember we've always told them that a sibling is a friend God has given to you. My kids have waves of ups and downs just like any other humans. There are times they want to be alone and not play with each other. There are times they play for hours and the house is filled with happy giggles. There are times I find two of them snuggled in one of their beds late at night watching Netflix together. Or times I walk into someones bedroom to see everyone laying and chit chatting about their day so sweetly. 
On the subject of siblings....Siblings Without Rivalry is a great book for anyone who might be having issues with the sibling relationships of their children or to prevent you from causing issues between your children. And even to address ones you had growing up with your own siblings. 

I read a book in the beginning of our homeschool journey called The Socialization Trap by Rick Boyer. Sandra's post reminded me a bit of that book in some aspects. So might be worth a read for anyone interested. 

Recently my girls have each expressed an interest in trying another type of activity, in the form of swimming for one and gymnastics for another. Both sports that have come from their watching some of the Olympics. We talked about it a bit, told them what it would be like based on what each sport is and things they might expect, how to dress, the ages of kids,  and things that might be expected of them during the sessions. My kids like knowing information up front. They have decided they would like to pray on it for a bit and get back with me. Skylar (10) said to me the other day that if she brings something up like taking this class, or getting a new toy, book, etc., if she forgets about it and never talks about it again, then it's not important to her, it's a passing interest. And that if it's important to her, she'll remember and bring it up again to follow through. 

I took a few rabbit trails here, but in closing I'd say. Let your kids be however they wish to be. If they want to stay home and play with siblings, or even if they want to just be alone and enjoy the quiet. Don't try to change them. Even only children (of which I was one until my brother came along) enjoy time alone playing by themselves. 
Don't force something that feels wrong to them. If they want to pursue something, help them do so, but don't force it or direct and demand that they do it. Let them be free to be who they are, not how you wish they would be or how society says a "normal" child is supposed to be. They are perfect right where they are. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Since a new school year is approaching for many

Since a new school year is coming up for many, I thought I'd like this great blog post by a fellow unschooling Mom. It's not just for unschoolers but those new to homeschooling who might not know where to start.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Learn Nothing Day 2012





Happy Learn Nothing Day! 

Well we learned a lot on this learn nothing day, darn it. And we really wanted to observe this wonderful holiday in all it's glory (smile).

So let's see... what did we do today:

The day started with us deciding to go to the library. Skylar picked out a horde of Nancy Drew books, The Diary of Anne Frank and a book about a princess, of what the name escapes me. Summer, who is not a fan of books, decided she wanted to get a Magic Treehouse book she hasn't read before.
We talked a bit about Amelia Earhart as we thumbed through some biographies and the kids learned today was her birthday. We also talked about Joan of Arc as we saw her face on a few books. While at the library we looked at the art gallery they have there.

Afterward I wanted to go to Gamestop. I was looking for something specific that they didn't have and ended up picking up Big game hunter and a Lego Harry Potter game for really cheap.

Since we were in the same shopping center, we decided to hit Petco and see if the sweet little bunny that we love was still there up for adoption. And yes sadly he was. So we talked to him for a while. We noticed they had some ferrets up for adoption too and we watched them a bit to see if they'd wake up so we could get a better look at them. They did not. Then we went over and watched the baby ferrets play, oh I was so tempted....but we are waiting until we buy a house so we can make a ferret friendly bedroom for Skylar so they can have free run verses living in a cage. While we were there we talked to the assistant manager about the ferrets that were up for adoption and why they had been given up. Then one of the sales associates was so sweet and came over to us and was talking to us and telling the kids about all the animals she has at home. She told us the set up for her ferrets she uses, giving them free run of her downstairs that has all tile flooring.
Then the kids grabbed some animal info sheets and while we were standing there looking at hamsters Skylar was reading about some of the small animals they were selling.

In our travels in the car we talked about all sorts of things today. Seashells, oil, birds, batman (we watched one of the batman movies last night).

After the pet store we went and got Smoothies and headed on home.

Once home, Decklin and I wanted to try out our new "used" games. The Harry Potter game started out so fun. But it froze and wouldn't work any longer, so that would have to go back. Then we played Big Game Hunter. I can't stand hunting at all, but Decklin loves to pretend shoot so this was a game right up his alley. I told him while we were playing that I felt bad hitting the animals. He said "Oh Mom, they are just computer animals, no one is being hurt, we are playing a pretend game." He is so smart. : )
We both kinda stunk in the competition but it was still a fun game.

I exercised using my Wii Walk it Out game, while the kids played for a bit in the loft above me. Then we decided to go for sushi for dinner and to take the broken game back afterward.
Dinner was fun. They got to try Miso soup, some liked it, some didn't. Most everyone except Summer enjoyed their sushi. She said she liked the Trader Joes sushi better.
Afterward we took the game back and then stopped to see Bry as he was finishing up a call on duty. We always like to see him when we are out and about if we can.

So now that we are at home, everyone just wants to relax. The older girls are reading. Ember is sleeping on the couch. And Decklin is watching Netflix on his kindle fire.
I'm off to find a text message app for the kindle fire and to order us a replacement Harry Potter game.

Hope everyone had a great Learn Nothing Day!

Friday, July 20, 2012

What we've been up to lately

It's been pretty hot here so the kids and I have enjoyed relaxing at home, with a few days at the splash pad at the nearest park thrown in, when we want to brave the heat.

Things that have come up in the past few weeks:

  • Talked about what it's like having a baby. (from my 3 year old)
  • Decklin (5) and Ember (3) had a great dialogue about Condors while they played Condor and prey with some beanie babies and small wood toys. 
  • Yesterday all the kids enjoyed while I read from The Jesus Storybook bible. 
  • I read a book about parenting and the older girls, Bry and I talked about it, gave our thoughts to each other about the content. 
  • The girls got some new Monster High dolls and played with those. 
  • Summer (8) and Ember got some Lalaloopsy dolls and Skylar (8) got another one. The kids played almost the whole day with their new dolls. 
  • We watched Lalaloopsy on Netflix. 
  • Decklin and I went to the store so he could pick out a few new toys. 
  • Decklin went and saw the new Spiderman movie with Bry. 
  • We took two weeks off of church as our Pastor was away, and went back again last week. 
  • We talked about Grace. 
  • Skylar and I have been really into watching True Crime shows on TV lately. 
  • We watched some of the Around the World in 80 Plates episodes and So You Think You Can Dance. 
  • Skylar, Summer and I went to the eye doctor because her eyes were giving her a spot of trouble. Afterward we went hunting for more Monster High dolls, of which we could not find any they didn't have already. 
  • We made a trip to the eye doctor for Skylar to have a check up the following week. After which we went to look at pets at a local pet store. We saved a little hamster that was being attacked by another hamster. They moved the poor thing to another cage and were going to make sure she was okay. After that was taken care of we watched all the birds fast asleep. Skylar picked up some pamphlets on animals she wanted to read more about. 
  • Another day, when we went to pick up Summer's glasses from the eye doctor. We passed a bush with odd looking fruit on it. Decklin suggested it might be the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden. We had some discussions as we stood there looking at the bush. We decided to pick some so we could bring it home and open them up to have a look. We cracked one open in the garage with a hammer and we were greeted with just seeds. Nothing which seemed edible. We decided to put the open "fruit" out to see if birds had any interest. None did so the girls pondered it possibly being poison to birds. 
  • We observed a couple Condors flying and had some nice conversations. 
  • We talked about drugs and what they do to people and how they act when on them. 
  • The kids gave us constructive input on our parenting. We ask for feedback. 
  • We went to watch the Conures at the pet store. One has birds that dance and are so friendly. This day we also watched some rats and my favorite the ferrets. 
  • Another day we fell in love with a beautiful black bunny who was up for adoption at the pet store. We talked to him a while. Then we went home and googled about owning a rabbit and talked with Bry about it. He felt it best that we not get a rabbit. He's not much of an animal fan, though we have 2 cats and a dog. He loves one of the cats and doesn't mind the other. The dog, well he's not a fan of hers. 
  • Summer went grocery shopping with me and picked out some new things for us to try. Mahi Mahi burgers being one of those new things. 
  • All the kids and I went to the grocery store because they asked if we could have root beer floats. We picked up some Hansen's root beer and some organic vanilla ice cream. And decided to try a jar of organic curry in a flavor we'd seen on Masterchef that week.
  • We watched Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef. 
  • At church on Monday our Pastor read us some of The Lion, The witch and the wardrobe. Skylar decided she wanted to read the whole Narnia series over again. And we plan to watch the movies. 
  • Skylar has been playing Lep's world a lot on her Fire. 
  • My brother came over a few times to play with the kids. He played Hide and Seek and also played Decklin's new Xbox 360 Spiderman game. 
  • Decklin, Summer and I played Lego Batman 2, with Ember and Skylar watching and helping. 
  • Ember and I played Wii Just Dance and she and Decklin watched me as I played Walk it out. 
  • Decklin built a puffer fish out of clay and corn holders. 
  • The younger kids and I have been building a lot with Duplo and Megabloks. 
  • Summer was having trouble building a house with the blocks so Skylar helped her out. They ended up making a village. They all prefer the larger blocks at this point even though we have the smaller Lego's as well. 
  • Decklin built a ton of space ships and transformers with his bristle blocks. 
  • Decklin played a lot with his Transformers in the family room. 
  • The older girls helped me build cardboard blocks. It was like origami : ). We had fun. Then they built a retaining wall across the family room floor. They did this several times over the past few weeks. 
  • We met my brother's new girlfriend.
  • Summer wrote to a new penpal. And Skylar wrote to a long time penpal. 
  • Everyone's been pitching in on Friday's to help tidy the house. 
  • Ember had us listen to Katy Perry about 50 times in the car the other day. Holy smokes that was such a fun trip : (. 
  • I watched as Decklin did Spiderman flips on my bed. 
  • Decklin had Summer draw web shooters on his arms so he can be Spiderman.
I know there is a horde more but I am falling asleep as I type this evening. Hopefully when more comes to mind I can add them. : ) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book review - Loving Our Kids On Purpose


Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk

I think it was on a Christian unschooling forum where I saw this book mentioned by another Mom. I checked out a sample and it looked like a good read in line with my gentle, respectful parenting beliefs. I would soon find out that only extended a few chapters until Pastor Silk and I were worlds apart in our parenting.

This book started out wonderfully giving great detail and scripture to back up why the bible does not teach us to demean and control or children. So many great points were covered about how Jesus loves us, how we are to be examples and show that wonderful love to our children.
So bravo to Pastor Silk for saying such wonderful things in support of respectful parenting! But...... if only he had used parenting examples to back up this kind of loving, gentle, respectful parenting.

Where this book fell flat for me was in the parenting examples supplied. It seemed to me as though the how to portion of this book was in direct opposition from the earlier chapters of the book. Almost as if it was written by two different authors from very different view points. He quotes a lot from Love and Logic, which maybe is why it seemed as if the advice was coming from a different source that earlier chapters?

He gives a Fun or Room option to his toddler. This seemed to me to be forcing a child who is in need of parental understanding and loving guidance to essentially go away because they are not being fun. He used the similar Fun or room with a toddler who was having trouble with a cup stuck in the top rack of the dishwasher and began to have a meltdown do to the struggle. It seemed as if a child was not being guided with understanding their feelings but being essentially taught to deny them if they wanted to stick around with the rest of the family. Not at all a great lesson to be teaching a child. There are so many great ways to deal with a toddler meltdown, but you won't find any of those suggested in this book unfortunately. : (

It really seemed to me that the parenting he actually uses is all about controlling the child through various types of manipulations.

  • Controlling them through giving choices (choices that only the parent thinks are great options). 
  • Forcing bedtime by having them do chores until they are tired. 
  • Forcing a child to have a clean room by either doing it themselves or the parent coming in and doing it requiring a payment for this service. Even going so far as to tell the child his or her things will be sold to cover the cost. 
  • He goes on to talk about how things like making lunch or dinner or doing laundry can be paid for services. That anything a loving parent would do freely because they are a loving parent can then be turned into a way to control a child by making this a paid service. : ( 
  • He relates being a parent to being an IRS agent who enforces consequences. Yet these consequences were parent contrived not natural consequences which is what we experience in real life. 
  • There was an example of his daughter in fourth grade who the Mom announces she's no longer making lunch for, and the stuff is in there to make your own lunch. And when the daughter forgets her lunch the Mom refuses to bring it up to her at school, saying things like, how are you going to solve this problem.  
  • A similar scene as above plays out with a child who forgets a back pack with a hamster in it on the bus and the attitude of the parent is, it's your problem, how are you going to solve it. I believe this child in this situation was 8. 
  • There is another example about two brothers fighting and the parents sit on the couch and just let it play out with no involvement of protecting either child from harm, and no action to find out what made this evolve to a fight, what happened earlier what caused the fight? 
  • He also talks about spanking "the spirit that is rebellion" out of a child. And saying in this circumstance the child had complete control of this situation. The child had no control of this at all. This portion on spanking after having read about not using anger or violence seemed so at odds with the beginning chapters in this book. 

I am torn on if I would recommend this book to another parent. I couldn't see using any of his methods with my children. We use a no lose conflict resolution which is where we all come up with ideas and solutions when there is a problem, similar to how things are in a healthy marriage, where the couple comes up with solutions which are agreeable to both parties and there are no losers. If after time the solution doesn't work, we meet again and come up with more options. We also use active listening with our kids. We don't send them away because their behavior is not fun. I can only imagine my husband sending me away if he felt my behavior or attitude was not fun. Could you imagine saying that to another adult? ***To read more about the methods we use, please refer to Dr. Thomas Gordon's book.

So on the one hand if you are coming from a traditional Christian parenting mindset, then yes I think this book would be specifically helpful because of the really wonderful beginning chapters. But if you want to put the parenting into practice that he talks about in the earlier chapters I think you'd be best served to find that, how to, in another book. My recommendations would be books like Dr. Thomas Gordon's - Parent Effectiveness Training, or Alfie Kohn's - Unconditional Parenting, and lastly, from a Christian perspective is Parenting Wild things by Jessica Bowman.

If you are farther and well established in your gentle parenting then this book will really not hold much appeal beyond the beginning chapters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spanking, hitting, swatting, .... it's still violence

The majority of Americans still ask, "What harm does ‘a good slap’ or ‘a well-deserved paddling' do? It didn’t hurt me, did it?" One answer to that is, It has made our country the most violent in the "civilized" world, and it has made you the kind of person who would physically assault a child. Think about that for a while.                         ~Parenting without Punishment~

Spanking......   This post has been sitting in draft mode for quite a while.
This topic has come up a lot lately in homeschool circles I frequent or used to frequent,  from traditional homeschool forums to Christian unschool forums and even facebook walls. Really makes you want to hit that unfollow button on Facebook when you see so many pro spanking posts. I don't know about you, but that's not something I enjoy reading. Parents who seem to get such joy out of hurting someone smaller and dependent on them, joking about how they deserve it. I'm sorry, it just bothers me. Do I sound a bit judgmental? Yes, I might just a tad bit. It's not that I'm judging. It's just that I've reached a bit of a limit with how much of this pro spanking stuff I can handle. I have been asked for my feelings on the topic and I always try to remain pretty benign and graceful in my responses. So with that said, since this is my blog, just for the sake of getting it out of my system and sharing my real feelings on spanking ..... so let's see what comes of it here. 

I know a lot of parents who say, well I'll raise my kids my way, and you raise your kids your way. That's all well and good, of course. But when you make remarks implying I'm less than a Christian, or less than a Mother and my kids will run wild if I don't spank. Then that's not really us agreeing to raise our children our own ways. That's more like, you saying, you are doing it wrong Melissa, and you should see the error of your ways. I don't dislike parents who spank. I don't dislike other parents period. If we have something we connect over, in the huge realm of other interests in our lives, that's great. I don't see someone who spanks as a person I cannot be friends with or as a lesser parent or lesser person in any regard. But 
it is my belief that with all the choices a parent has before us,  hitting a child, makes the least sense to me. Yes, I have used hitting or spanking, or whatever way you wish to frame, it so it's not as if I have no idea what mindset a parent who spanks has. And it wasn't because I was in control of myself.  It is by the sheer Grace of God that I realized the flaws of my thought process and changed the type of parent I wanted to be. I am ashamed that I behaved in such a fashion with someone who I love so much.  I apologized to my son and humbly asked his forgiveness and that was the end of that chapter of spanking as well as time outs for our family. 

It's very hard to parent differently when you are surrounded by those who parent the exact way you don't want to be. You definitely start to feel like the odd woman out, fighting against a huge tidal wave of opposing viewpoints. In some cases folks find it offensive and even unbiblical that you are not drinking the same cool aid they are anymore. It sort of reminds me of being unplugged from the Matrix and seeing things in a completely new way. 
Discovering the gentle respectful parenting method practiced by families in the radical unschooling world, was like finding a life raft in rocky seas. Finding inspiration and gaining strength from them. Feeling encouragement from their stories of their teens who rarely have the teen/parent struggles that you so often see parents so forlorn about. When typically the general belief is teens go wild. And there is a huge gap between parents and teens, as if they are worlds apart. But when you read about unschooling families, you see that wonderful connection. As I said in another post, I realized they were in on a huge secret, a way to treat your kids with respect and kindness. And to have a great relationship and friendship with them, all the way through life, done without punishment. Now if that's not something amazing to strive for and aspire to,  I don't know what is. 

The most common response of Christian parents who spank their kids is: 
  • It's biblical. (My bible is clearly missing the pages where Jesus opened up a can of whoop ass to get folks to follow him.) 
  • We do it in a calm and loving manner. We don't spank in anger. (If you are in control, and still hitting, why would you still spank? Why not find an alternative?) 
  • Spanking is an important tool in the Christian Parents toolbox. (Is that in a rule book I missed? Cause I know it's not in the bible.)
I'm not diving into a verse by verse bible analysis here. But the wonderful folks at Parenting Freedom have taken the time to do that very thing for your reading pleasure. They have done a smashing job, admittedly much more thorough than I would be. So I hope you will click on over and spend some time reflecting on their wonderful article. 

You can't hit your neighbor (even if you want to). You can't hit your spouse (even if you might envision it in your head because they drive you nuts). Domestic violence is the most prevalent call Bry goes on here in our city. He is constantly taking folks to jail for hitting each other. Teens hitting parents, husbands and wives hitting each other, other family hitting one another, but not for a parent hitting kids, that's not against the law. Unless the officer feels it's abusive or excessive and calls in CPS of course. But that's extreme cases. 

Very rarely do you see parents hitting their kids in public. Is that because most people actually find it distasteful? Probably.  Do parents think hitting in public is going to result in a call to the police? Probably. But if spanking is so great, why not do it in public and let the world see all your biblical spanking glory? Chances are because it is going to open up a whole can of worms for the family with the police and CPS and people don't want to take the risk I guess? If spanking is something done in secret because it's so offensive to others, then isn't that some kind of indicator of it not being the greatest parenting tool, whether it's legal or not? If it's not something you'd do while a police officer is standing there watching, then maybe it's not such a great way to "train up" a child after all. What about if Jesus was sitting next to you. Do you think he'd be all for you spanking? 

Some parents act as if their children are their property, to be treated any old way they choose, respect be damned. I remember a good Christian Mom making a comment that kids don't deserve respect or privacy. She went on to tell another Mom to install video cameras to prevent her son from using the computer. Yes this is a true story. 
I have had many parents email me and say that's so great for you Melissa that this kind of parenting works for you, but it could never work with my kids. Why wouldn't it? I'm not doing something foreign and magical here. 
I am treating my kids the way I would like to be treated. I do not punish them, yell at them, force or control them. I respect them. I stay ahead of behavior melt downs by being present and staying attuned to their needs. 
Your kids wouldn't like to be treated with respect? And they wouldn't like to have the safety and security of knowing that they would never be so demeaned again? Yes, I find smacking to be demeaning.  If my husband smacked me I would feel mortified. Doesn't a child feel the same sense of shame? I can't help but wonder if the folks who are pro spanking have purposely avoided reading all the studies that prove what harm it does.  And were talking some biggies. Spanking does some big time damage down the line. Why would a parent keep on doing it? If you love a child, why not do anything in your power to avoid spanking them instead? Anyone can spank. A toddler spanks and hits. Don't we tell our toddlers that hitting is wrong? 
Great book and great studies linked here if you like reading studies (It's a free Ebook): http://www.nopunish.net/

And then you have this:
Here is a well written article by Dr. Michael J. Marshall, P.h.D
The 13 Ways Spanking Harms Children

1. Creates aggression. Children who are spanked engage in more hitting and fighting than those who are not physically punished by their parents.

2. Lowers self-esteem. Spanking sends a message to kids that says, "You are a bad person who deserves pain and you are not valuable enough to protect from being hurt," which is incorporated into their self-concept.

3. Creates negative affect (bad feelings). Physical punishment results in feelings of fear, anxiety, humiliation, and depression. In extreme cases it can lead to such personality disorders as sociopathy and multiple personalities. Children become very confused emotionally when the person they expect to love and care for them periodically flip-flops and deliberately hurts them.

4. Alienates the child from the parents. People naturally try to avoid a source of physical punishment, resent the perpetrator, and generally do not like or feel good about the person who is responsible for it. Likewise children may come to associate the punisher with the punishment and end up being fearful of and try to avoid the parent.

5. Creates suppression effects. Kids who receive a lot of physical punishment are less spontaneous, more reserved, and afraid to try new things out of fear that it will result in more punishment.

6. Contributes to antisocial behavior. Spanking teaches children that the motive for desired behaviors is concern for the consequences to one’s self, that is, to avoid pain, rather than be concerned for the effects of one’s behavior on others.

7. Creates masochistic tendencies. Through the conditioning process, children who are hurt by those who love them will come to associate pain with love.

8. Hinders learning and achievement. Children who have had a lot of physical punishment do poorly in school, perform more poorly on tests of development, graduate from college at a lower rate, and earn less money.

9. Models undesirable behaviors. Children of parents who use hitting as their primary means of controlling behavior learn that "might makes right" and are less likely to acquire and use nonviolent conflict resolution skills.

10. The undesirable behavior is not eliminated. The unwanted behavior is only temporarily suppressed in the presence of the punisher. Through discrimination learning a child quickly learns that she can get away with engaging in the wrong behavior whenever the punisher is not present to act as an enforcer.

11. Makes children more likely to engage in the forbidden behaviors. Children brought up with physical punishment have higher levels of reactance, which is the desire to engage in those behaviors which are prohibited, than those who are disciplined nonphysically.

12. Raises the punishment threshold. Children can eventually adapt to a given level of punishment and it will lose its intended effect. This forces the punisher to constantly increase the intensity of punishment in order for it to have any effect. The increased level of physical punishment then makes them become jaded to being struck by others and more likely to accept abusive relationships as normal.

13. Causes physical injuries. Pediatricians are alarmed at the number of injuries they see like radial arm fractures and shaken child syndrome, which result from parent's who physically strike or shake their children.
The above article is copied from Stopspanking.com, the direct link is: http://www.stopspanking.com/articles.html

So why keep on spanking?  

Oh and just in case, here is something else for your reading pleasure. This one is pretty short and sweet: http://www.neverhitachild.org/neverht.html

Here are some great places to do some reading: 
http://sandradodd.com/spanking
http://www.wethechildren.com/spankingenglish.htm.
http://demandeuphoria.blogspot.com/2011/05/three-bad-reasons-to-hit-children.html
http://dulcefamily.blogspot.com/2008/08/to-least-of-these-alternative-christian.html
http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/?s=spanking
http://bohemianbowmans.com/category/parenting-paradigms/ 
Parenting in Jesus Footsteps
http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/weblog/archives/2011/02/index.html#a000075
Here is a great book by Jessica of Bohemian Bowmans. 
And some other books I recommend are:
Parental Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon. 
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn 
Connection Parenting by Pam Leo. 

Message boards and forums:
GentleChristianmothers.com (They also have a public facebook page and a private facebook group)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NoMoreSpanking/ 
The point of view of this list is that punishment may control a specific behavior but that it interferes with the long-term goal of promoting self-control and that alternative nonpunitive ways of relating to children are preferred. Punishment includes hitting, spanking, swatting, shaming, ridiculing, threatening, using harsh or cruel words, penalizing, holding back rewards, or other methods that assert adult power or vent adult frustration. We are seeking alternative approaches that provide guidance to our children that will encourage self-control, thinking before acting, learning to take responsibility for their own behavior, and especially that will promote a lifelong warm, close, and open relationship between parent and child. 

As for me, I'm shooting for the goal of long term loving respectful relationship. For loving my kids as much as is humanly possible. Following Jesus as my example of unconditional love, showing value and love to the children as Jesus did himself when here on earth. I'm shooting for a friendship with them through out their lives, where they enjoy me and want me around, not because I have the title of Mom and they feel obligated, but because we are truly friends and they really just like me as a person.  When our kids are grown, they don't have to have us in their lives. They could choose to exclude us. It happens all the time. Adults who were treated badly as children opt to discontinue relationships with the parents who hurt them, when they have the power and freedom to do so.