Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fancy Meal

Family Time Friday

I highly recommend families do their best to eat at least 4 meals together in a weeks time but they don't all have to be dinners.  Because of my family's schedule we make our 4 meals together breakfast.  

To make this meal time extra special now and then, make it "fancy."   Pull out the nice dishes, silverware, and napkins, you know the ones you only take out when the "important" people come for dinner.  Pulling all the nice stuff out for your kids will really make them feel special and it will be a great memory to have.  Get dressed up and make a big deal about it.

This will also help to teach them proper table manners for nice restaurants which means that sometime, maybe you can graduate to actually going to a nice restaurant with the kids.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grow UP!

HumpDay Dilemma

I was recently asked to reflect on why I think it is important to grow up for some personal improvement.  I thought today I might share my answer with you.  

The truth is that your body will grow up on its own with no help so that part is not a choice, it is nature.   However, the importance of growing up emotionally is huge. 

It is always important to first define the phrase “grow up”.  Children are only able to see life from their perspective and so they can see only how things affect them.  To “grow up” means that you have the ability to put someone else’s needs before your own at least some of the time.  It means that you work to make someone else happy even if it does not make you happy.  It means that you learn to sacrifice what you want for some kind of greater good. 

Imagine a world where people could not see and empathize with the other side of the argument or disagreement.  Where they wouldn’t sacrifice the things that are important to them for someone else or for some kind of greater good.  A world where people refuse to work to make others happy because it there is not benefit for them.  Does it seem a bit like today’s world?

Lately my heart has ached as I have heard of mass shooting, violence and other awful deeds.  I read or listen to the news and all I hear are people bickering and hating the “other side.”  Often times I think to myself, those people need to grow up.  They need to begin to do what we try to teach our children to do.  Look at the situation from the other person’s perspective, work to make someone happy even when there is nothing in it for them and sacrifice what they have for someone that does not have as much. 

Don’t get me wrong, I see a lot of wonderful things too, I just wish I saw it in more adults.  I think this world would be a better place if we all grew up.  I hope every day to instill those values in my children and in order to do that I need to better live it out.

I hope you will join me in this endeavor; to treat others as I wish to be treated  and to teach my children to do the same so that someday our world will be full of grownups. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The New Bear at School

Teaser Tuesday

Written by Carrie Weston
Illustrated by Tim Warnes

The students in Miss Cluck’s classroom are excited about the new student coming, hoping for a fluffy, pink bear or a teddy bear.  When the door opens and a grizzly bear named Boris walks in, everyone screams.  Things don’t seem to be working well to begin.

"Boris had nobody to play with and nobody to talk to.  Tears filled his big, brown eyes, rolled down his long nose, and splashed to the floor.
“I’m a scary bear,"he sniffed. 
"I'm a hairy bear," he sobbed.
"I'm just a big grizzly bear."

The pastel-toned illustrations beautifully support the story which has a happy ending as the students in Miss Cluck's class get to know Boris. 

Review by Alice Brown

Check out the book on Amazon below.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Parenting Learned

Monday Motivation
My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own fatherhood, but it didn't because parenting can only be learned by people who have no children.

Bill Cosby
When it comes to raising your child, everyone has an opinion and thinks they know what is best for your child.  You often have brilliant ideas for other peoples children.  So why can't you figure out how to handle your own children.  

When you are too close to any situation it is difficult to see it in reality.  So when your children push your buttons, your emotions take over and it is hard to see the big picture.  This quote reminds me of that if you can just calm down, take a step back from the situation, you really do know what is best for your own children.  So trust your judgment!

The Road Ahead

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you.  

February 2, 2012

Well after 5 months of working toward becoming licensed foster parents, our part is done.  We have finished the paperwork, interviews and got the house ready.  Now we wait AGAIN.  

Fortunately this time around we have our hands plenty full of an almost 3 year old to keep our minds occupied.  Now have only to worry. 

Worry about the fact that somehow in the craziness of life, when my husband was offered a new job with more room for growth I did not stop to think about how all his paid sick leave would also be gone.  In the back of my head I knew that if Nadia and another child got to be too much for me to take alone while working full time and trying to run a small business on the side (like anyone could handle that) his paid time off would be my safety net.  

Now, though I am happy for my husband’s new job and the fact that he gets to be home every weekend, I have to say I am worried about my own sanity.  I have always been the kind of person to put too much on my plate, and this seems to be no different.  

My prayer in this is for patience (for the possible foster care as well as to deal with my 3 year old.)  I could pray for God's timing but something tells me He has that under control - He seemed to have that down when it came to Nadia.  I did not fully see the beauty of that timing until she was with us.  And I am sure that someday I will look back at this time and laugh at how worried and scared I am right now.  However, it is hard to see it like that in the middle of the situation.  

Let me back up for a minute and tell you a little bit about how we got here.  At the end of the summer of 2011 Scott and I (after having another unsuccessful go at conceiving) decided to try for our foster care license again.  We sent in the initial application and was stunned when we received a phone call less than a week later.  We met with the licensing worker and shared our previous experience.  

We found out that not only have several things changed in the past 3 years but that many more things were changing in the next 2 months.  As it turned out families are no longer allowed to become licensed for adoption only if they are only willing to except a child under the age of 4.  It was suggested to us that we could have a greater chance at a smooth adoption with little risk of reunification with birth parents if we were willing to accept a child over 4 right now or we could apply for something called a dual licensed for a child under 4.  Dual license meant that we would need to be willing to consider placement for a child that could likely return to their birth parents.  

Scott and I considered these options and others.  We re-investigated private adoption and went to a introductory meeting for a local agency.  We agreed that it just did not feel right to us. 

We considered the impact this next child would have on my work situation and which option would cause the least amount of confusion and turmoil for all the children involved.  By considering placement for a child that might leave our home we would be putting at risk not only our own hearts but also the heart of Nadia and the children I care for.  But, by considering placement of an older child we would likely be bringing a child in with very “needy” behaviors.  This then could put the children in risk for physical harm.  

So anyway we looked at it, risk was inevitable.  Either we risk our emotions or we risk physical harm.  It was not an easy choice.  In the end after weighing all the possibilities, Scott and have chosen to consider placement of a child under 2 that could very likely return to his or her birth parents home.  We have discussed ways to make that possibility more bearable including building a strong connection with the child's birth family.  

We understand that Nadia could be heartbroken along with my charges and our selves.  However, we really feel this is the best option for our family now.  As we have begun discussing this upcoming transition with Nadia, we have talked about a potential sibling.  We talk of how there are many children who need a home for a little while and some that need a home forever.  We will discuss it further when we have a placement.  

We are well aware that the road ahead of us will not be easy.  A life well lived rarely is.  Scott and I hope and pray that through it our family will grow - in faith, in love, in connection, and in numbers. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Closing Doors

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you.  

April 6, 2011

Doors seem to be closing for Scott and me all around us, when it comes to having a second child. We are confident the doors are not locked, but for now they are closed.

We started down the road to adoption again and were told that there were too many older children in the Children’s Service Society of Milwaukee’s system and too few families wanting to adopt children younger than 5. Basically they do not have the resources to license us, just to have us sit on a waiting list for 6 months to a year. We could have been put on the list for straight foster care, but with Nadia’s age and my work situation, that just won’t work for our family right now.
So, door closed. 
Scott and I decided that we would try once more to get pregnant and after another 4 months on hormones and medication, I seem to be farther away from being able to get pregnant. We considered talking to a Reproductive Specialist, but there is a waiting list of up to 5 months everywhere we checked. Door Closed. 
As I have been praying and considering where and what to do next, I have been feeling that these doors are closing for a reason. Time will tell why God has closed these doors, but for now they are closed. I am confident someday in the future we will have a second child, one way or another.
The disappointment we feel about this is lessened by the amazing and energetic two year old we spend our days running after. Nadia is a delight and surprises us every day. She talks all the time and has never ending imagination. We have our hands full and when the time is right one of these doors will open. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Clean up your neighborhood

Family Time Friday

Looking for something different to do with your children that will both teach them and create connection with you.  Take a walk around your neighborhood and pick up any garbage you see.  This act provides a great example for you children of how to care for your neighborhood and world.  It teaches them to be careful with their garbage because it shows your children what happens when they do not properly dispose of their trash.  Your children will begin to see how much more beautiful of a place their neighborhood could be if everyone took care of it.  As an added bonus you might meet some of your neighbors, something that in this day and age happens rarely. 

I want you to be safe so there are a few precautions you will want to take.   Be sure everyone wares thick gloves like gardening or work gloves.  Some of the garbage can get pretty gross.  Be sure to stay together.  Your children might get so excited about finding the trash that they want to wander.  Make sure they know to stay close.  Talk about why you are doing what you are doing and when you are done point out the difference.  

This will be a memory your kids have for a lifetime. You may even notice them going out on their own and trying to beautify the park when they see it needs to be cleaned up.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Word After Word After Word

Teaser Tuesday

Word After Word After Word
written by Patricia MacLachlan

This book would appeal to 3rd through 6th grades.  It's an easy book to read, even for 3rd graders 

A visiting author comes to visit Miss Cash's class and has them all mesmerized about writing.  Ms. Mirabel tells them "I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to."  But she encourages them to find their own words and their own reasons to write.

The book focuses on five friends.  One is facing problems with the relationship between her parents, another is dealing with a serious family illness.  All of them share their stories underneath the lilac bush at Henry's house after school.  That's where the magical words fill their notebooks with poems and stories that reflect their own lives.  This would make a very good helping tool to teach creative writing.

Review by Alice Brown

Take a look at the book below on amazon.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Greater Responsiblility

Monday Motivation

Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.
-C. Everet Koop, M.D.

I have said it before and I will say it again.  There is no greater joy than watching a child develop into a happy and well balanced young person and know that you had a part in that.   


Another Go?

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you.  

September 25, 2010

Nadia is now 20 months old. She has been a "toddler" since the day she turned one. She love to climb, dance, play outside, yell at the dog and cats (I guess she gets that from one of us). Nadia is a delight. Scott and I often sit and watch her play. She is constantly doing things that make us laugh and love her more. I HATE cliche's but I really need to say God had her picked out for us. She is the most amazing part of our family.

Now that Scott and I are settled in as first time parents, our thoughts are moving to the idea of a second child. Though we have certainly been hoping that we might get pregnant in the last 6 months, that has not happened. So back we go to Adoption, which is truly an amazing blessing to us. It is NOT a second choice. For us, allowing there to be a natural birth order for our first two children, is important. So we are thinking that we would like to adopt a child younger than Nadia. Which should not be too difficult because by the time Scott and I go through the process to become licensed foster parents again, Nadia will be 2.

Our plan is to work through the application process, take the mandatory classes and be licensed in the spring time. So let hope, pray and see what is next for our little but hopefully growing family. And here's a few of my favorite pictures from the last few months.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

She is growing so fast

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you.  

January 11, 2009

Okay so motherhood has meant that I have not been able to post anything to the blog lately. So I will do my best to run through an update of the last 3 months.

We had a fantastic trip to Dallas. Nadia did great on the plane and was the life of the conference. Grammy B (my mom) came with us and we all had a great time. She was so interested in everything that she would just not sleep much. So she would play and laugh at everyone then crash.

Nadia had her TPR (Termination of Parental Rights) at the beginning of May. It went well, although there was one short scare. We thought we would have to come back to court because of some paperwork complications due to the fact that the adoption is a Safe Haven. The law is so new, that some of the people in the court and social services don't know exactly how it works. But Scott and I truly believe the judge decided to go forward with it because he saw Scott and me with Nadia. We are not sure but most foster and adoptive parents don't come to the TPR. We are so glad we went.

We love the summer with Nadia and have put her in a baby pool a few times. She loves the water if it's not too cold. She loves walks and has a great time anytime she is outside. She is now rolling over and scoots all over the place. She is close to sitting up. We have a Bumbo and she loves being "up" to look at everything. She is sleeping through the night from about 8-6 or 7. She grabs everything she can and loves to pull hair, especially daddy’s beard.

We have waited to introduce solids under the suggestion of our DR. But this past week we made the decision to start her on rice cereal. She is less and less interested in her bottle and is showing other signs that she is ready. She watches us eat and will open her mouth when food is brought near her mouth. American Diabetes Association is now recommending waiting until a baby is 4-6 months old before starting solid, because there are studies showing a link between starting solids early and Diabetes. So this morning she had her first experience. She was not too crazy about it and did not actually swallow much the first time. But she ate a little more the second feeding. I am sure it will take a week or so for her to really start eating.

We are still having our social worker visit us 2 times a month and are set to complete all the paper work at the end of this month. We have been given more hand-me-down clothes than I know what to do with. She is going to be the best dressed little girl. We will not need to buy clothes or shoes until she is 3 years old.

The adoption date has been set for August 28th at 8:30AM. Parents, brothers and our pastor will be present at the hearing. It’s going to be a big weekend. We are having a Party the next day Aug 29th and are having her dedicated at our church on Sunday. 

It is amazing to be a mother, but it has meant that I need to let go of some things. Being organized is one of them. I sometimes feel like I just can’t keep on top of the laundry, cleaning and organizing. Our house has been a mess lately. Scott has been such a help but it’s hard for him to keep up too. We have both been really tired too. Parenting is full of sacrifice and change, but every time she looks up and gives us a smile (which is all the time) my heart melts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Discover your town

Family Time Friday

Every time I have friends come to town to visit me, I find out something new about my city.  There is so much to do here and because I live her, I often overlook it.  If you are looking for something new and different to do with your family, look no further than around your neighborhood.  

You could go to one of the websites designed for visitors to your town or city and find what you have been missing.  Maybe it is a restaurant your kids would love for a little treat or a urban ecology center that you have driven by every day.  Find something you have never done before and be a tourist in your own city.   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sahara Special

Teaser Tuesday

Sahara Special
by Esme Raji Codell 

Sahara Special is a wonderful story about Sahara Jones, an underachieving but very bright student who must repeat 5th grade.  

Sahara loves to write, but much of what she has written ends up in the counselor's file and the educators think Sahara needs special education.  Except her new 5th grade teacher, "Miss Pointy," who is like no other teacher Sahara has known.  Kids will love it,--even reluctant readers, especially those who don't want to start back to school in a few weeks.  

I found myself laughing out loud at many parts.  Great for 4th to 8th graders, as well as their parents and teachers.

Review by Alice Brown 

Check out the book on Amazon below.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

First Date

Monday Motivation

9 year old Mike was asked "What do people do on a first date?"  
He replied "On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." 

Hope it makes you laugh to think about on this Monday but also make you realize just how much of what we do and say effects our children.  

Our first to months as parents

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you.  

April 11, 2009

When last I wrote, I had been a mom for a total of 15 hours. I have now survived 2 months. I was talking with someone recently that has a similar experience we began discussing the frustrations and joys of being a parent. She found that though the frustration of being a parent are certainly still there, every time she encounters one, she is able to better handle it because she remembers back to when she was in agony over waiting. 

I think it is similar with me. When 2 AM roles around and Nadia is up or it’s her cranky time, I can close my eyes and remember back a few months to the heartache and feeling of abandonment. I then am better able to “hear” past the loud shrieking sound and care for this wonderful creature God has entrusted us with. However, that’s just how I’m feeling today. If you’re a parent, you know, that could change at any moment. 

Nadia is wonderful. She is more and more alert every day. She is smiling at Scott and me, and at anything that she likes. She also smiles at the monkeys that hang on her wall and at the cat. She has about 2-3 hours of very awake and happy time in the morning then naps on and off most of the day. At night, she again has about 2-3 hours of alert time and it depends on the day and her mood if she is happy or cranky. She gets a bath every night and this is by far her favorite part of the day. It’s probably mine and Scott’s too. She is just so happy and looks so cute during her “tubby” time and she knows when it’s coming too. She can be the crabbiest baby and you put her down on her changing table, take her clothes off and she smiles, knowing the “tubby” is coming. She is kicking so much in the tub that in 5 minutes half the water has splashed out. 

Nighttime is right on track. She goes down between 8 and 9 then sleeps until around 2 and sometimes 3, she eats and goes right back down until about 6:30 – 7. At this point she is up for the morning and happy, sometimes not even hungry.
She has her 2 month check up next week which comes with her first immunization. I’m sure she will do just fine. Let’s hope I do just fine too. 

She is getting so big; I think she will be at least 11lbs. The Birth to 3 program tells us she is a little ahead of the curve in gross motor skills. Nadia thinks she has complete control of her head. I call her my little “bobble head” because that’s what it looks like. Her head just bobbles all around. Sometimes she even gets mad if you try to hold her head, she wants control. We could have a very stubborn little girl on our hands. She is such a little snuggle bug too. When you kiss her on the cheek, she moves her head so you get her lips. It’s so sweet. 

She has now met all her Great-grandparents and they are all just doting over her. Great Grandma Eva has threatened to put Nadia under her coat and bring her home with her. Great Grandpa is sad because he does not get to see her enough and Great-Grandma Sanborn got the biggest smile out of Nadia. My parents and Scott’s parents are of course in love. “Crazy Grandma” has baby sat a few times and my mom “Grammy B” is traveling with us to Dallas at the end of April. Both Grandpas put up a good front pretending they aren’t too interested but you can just see their hearts melt as soon as they see Nadia. Everyone who meets little Nadia falls in love with her, and how could you not? She is sent from heaven.

So, how are the Hall’s doing? Well we are not quite on cloud 9 anymore. Reality and sleepless nights have set in, but we are incredibly happy and blessed, and would like to take a quick moment to say thank you to every single one of our family and friends. Scott, I and now Nadia are so very lucky to have people in our lives like them. There has been such an outpouring of support that I get a little choked up every time I think about it. So to all of them:

THANK YOU and May God reward your love and generosity to us from the bottom of our hearts

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Long story short - Nadia Anne!

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you.  

February 12, 2009
Last Monday we received some bad news. We did not get the little girl that we had hoped and expected to get. It was a sever disappointment. We spent the first 2 hours crying, yelling and simply being angry with the whole system. We then considered going to Costa Rica for the remainder of the week. We decided against this and began to get our life back together again. I got a new job and though we were far from happy about it we were doing okay. I truly believed it was not God's first choice for us to loose this little girl but that it would work out in the end. We had released it to Him and were ready for what ever. If that meant waiting for another year, we knew it would be worth it.

So it was a complete shock and surprise when I got a call yesterday afternoon on my day off. There was a baby just one day old at a hospital near us that had been surrendered the night before. I could not believe it and said "I will have to talk to my husband". I was thinking, there is no way he will say no, but I gotta talk to him.

So, I write this this morning at 5:30AM from a hospital room after my first night as a MOMMY. I could not be happier and Scott just can't stop smiling. We are proud parents of a 7lb 4oz - 19 inch little girl we have named Nadia Anne. Nadia means HOPE and Anne means GRACE. Both of which we have received in full from God, even when it was tough. I am here to tell you it is a crazy roller coster ride and there have been times I wanted to get off the ride, but what a ride it has been. It's not over yet, but we continue to be hopeful that this is our forever little girl. 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dollar Store Crafts

Family Time Friday

So it is the end of the summer and your children are tired of playing outside, going to the pool or whatever they have been doing for the last few months.  School is going to start soon and you CAN'T WAIT but they need something to do NOW and you want to spend some extra time with them before school starts and busy life takes over again.   

Go to your local dollar store (can't call them dime stores anymore) and get a whole bunch of art supplies.  You can find lots of packaged ideas for crafts but if you are even a little crafty you just get a bunch of craft stuff.  Puff balls, google eyes, glitter (they love glitter), stickers, craft sticks.  You name it you will find it there.   

Declare one night CRAFT NIGHT, where you get out all the crafts and make whatever you and your children feel like making.  I know not everyone is crafty but even the most "un-crafty" adult or child can have fun.  Maybe your child is less crafty and likes to build things.  Encourage your child to "build" something out of all the supplies.  If you stretch your skills you might find that your child will too. 

I have found that a lot of children that don't like to do crafts don't like it because they are really focused on what the outcome looks like mainly because we adults tend to focus on that as well. So instead of worrying about what the finished product is, enjoy and encourage the process.  If it all falls apart, who cares as long as you had fun doing it.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Forgive Yourself

HumpDay Dilemma

There are times when I feel like an awful parent. There, I admitted it. But I don’t think I am alone.  In fact I think every parent has times when we regret the way we reacted to a situation, question or behavior.  No one wants to admit it, but if we are really honest with ourselves and others I think that is what we would say.  

There are many reasons we get to the point where we are disappointed in our own parenting behaviors.  Parenting is a lifelong learning experience and I am far from figuring it all out.  However, I have a few thoughts I would like to share with you in hopes that it helps you (and me) to be the best parent you can every day. 

    I am NOT PERFECT.  Contrary to the way most moms (and dads) feel they have to be, I am not and will never be perfect.  And that is ok. No one but me is expecting me to be.  It may be easy to say, but it is much harder actually let go of my unrealistic expectations for me, my family and my life. 

    I need to focus on what is important.  It is so easy in the craziness of life to lose sight of what is important to me.  I often think that my life revolves around my kids, but if I look at where I spend my time I will see that I often let other “things” creep in and take over.  Changing that is hard but it is well worth it.  

    I have to do what I love.  If I do not enjoy what I do for a living, I will slowly begin to take it out on my family, especially my kids. Switching jobs may not be a possibility (or maybe it is), but it is possible to add things into my day, week and month that I love.  I often avoid doing things that take more time away from my kids that might help keep me happy because I think that my children will be the ones to suffer.  The reality is that my children suffer when I do not make time to put myself first.  My children’s needs may be more immediate than mine, but they are not more important. 
    I forget to ask for help.  I generally have no problem asking my husband for help, but when it comes to asking others for help I hesitate because I fear people will think less of me as a parent.  I need to get over that and realize that absolutely no one can be a great parent without help.  One thing I have found out in my 15 years in the childcare industry is that the most amazing parents have the most amazing support systems.    

    I should stop comparing.  It is so easy to drive myself nuts by comparing my children’s abilities and behaviors to other children’s.  I have to stop and remember that children are all different.  It is my personal belief that every child has at least one talent that they are meant to excel in.  When I go around judging my kids’ abilities compared to their friends’ talents, I often fail to see what my kids are really good at.  The best thing I can do for my children is to focus on the things they are really good at then validate and encourage them to do that more.  I need to stop looking at what my children lack and embrace what they have!! 

    I find it hard to forgive myself.  Often times when I coach parents I help them work through the mistakes that they feel they have made as parents.  Sometimes they realized that after years of parenting they regret the way they have treated their children.  Others have had a momentary slip-up and they yelled at their children when they did not mean to or something similar.  I teach this concept of self-forgiveness every day, yet I find it to be one of the most difficult things to master as a parent myself.  I am working at it.  The truth is that children are the most resilient creatures on the planet.  Their brains are designed to forgive and forget.  It is only as we grow older that we start to hang on to mistakes.  
    Above all else I need to CONNECT with my children!!!!  The single greatest gift I can give myself and my children is the chance to connect with them.  Through this connection all mistakes can be healed and all wrongs put right.  This does not mean that I have to go out and spend money to do things or buy a bunch of stuff.  It does not even mean I have to take a significant amount of time each day.  If I can remember to just work to involve myself more in what my children are  already doing I am on the right track.  When my children are clamoring for my attention, I need to learn to stop what I am doing for 5 or 10 min and play with them or invite them into what I am doing.  If I can make sure they get some time every week where they have my undivided attention, life will be better for everyone because ultimately that is what my children really need. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mouse Was Mad

Teaser Tuesday

Mouse Was Mad
Written by Linda Urban, Illustrated by Henry Cole

This picture book has a simple story with sharp, eye-catching illustrations that young children will love.  Mouse is really, really mad.  He tries to express his anger in many ways:  stamping like the bear, screaming like the bobcat, hopping like the hare, etc.  But none of these ways work for him.  In fact, in each scenario he ends up falling into the “mucky mud puddle.”  (a phrase your children will love to repeat for you as you read it)  Then Mouse finally finds the way to express his anger that works for him, and he’s not angry any more.  What a delightful way to introduce a discussion about how to deal with anger!  

Review by Alice Brown 

Check out the book at Amazon 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Child Rearing

Motivation Monday
I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was as fully interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.

-Rose Kennedy

I find this quote incredibly inspiring as a parent and a childcare professional for the last 15 years.  The world (and lets face it sometimes we) think of raising children as a great responsibility but not a "real" job.  

I challenge that attitude and believe there is no greater or more exciting job than to love, encourage and mold the next generation.  They may be your biological, adopted or foster children or they could be your charges, students, grandchildren or nieces and nephews.  You may have them every day for the rest of your lives or for a short time.  It does not matter, your job is important. 

It is not a cliche, it is the TRUTH.  Anyone that has ever helped a child go from a small helpless being to an independent person in what seems like the blink of an eye can not deny this truth.  

I hope to bring the absolute best I have to my children everyday and I know you will all do the same.  

Found at

I choose Joy

 A few years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey; a journey in adoption.  I wanted to share that journey with you. 

January 4, 2009

So it has been a few weeks since I last blogged about our impending adoption of a now nine month old girl. With out giving more information than I should about this sensitive subject on a public blog, I will just say that the “red” tape is taking a long time.
We had hoped that on the 29th of December it would be over and we would get to start seeing baby G, but it looks like we will need to wait a bit longer. This information came to us this past Friday, while I was working. I was told it would likely be at LEAST another 3 weeks until we are able to see baby G. I had, after getting good news on Tuesday gotten my hopes up, way up. Whether or not that was a mistake to jump to some conclusions does not matter at this point. But it has made me a little sad again. And it has made me reflect on my thoughts a little more closely.
Through this entire event my wonderful friends and family have tried very hard to find the right words to help me. I absolutely love that I have such faithful friends. It means so much to me to have them ask questions, listen and seek to say something to make me feel better. The best thing anyone can say to me is that it is okay to feel exactly how I feel. So often in this process I have felt guilt from within that I should be stronger or more patient. In my head I believe that I should not be so angry or upset or sad. The most helpful thing any family member or friend can do is to listen and tell me it’s okay to feel the way I feel. Somehow when someone says that, I genuinely feel better. The pain, anger or sadness seems to soften a little.
So this past weekend, I have been thinking. I do have moments of sadness of anger and of frustration? But there are other moments too. When I can, I am going to opt for joy. Joy is not happiness. It can not always be felt, sometimes it must be selected. Joy is a hopeful response to the evil things in life. So when we experience set backs in this adoption, in this life we can have joy even when we are sad, distraught and depressed. It’s okay for me to have a day where all I want to do is cry. But I can opt for joy as well.