lately my few blog posts stem from a need to answer many people at once, combined with my desire to organize and record my thoughts. when i posted (on facebook) about not yelling at the midgets for a whole week, you wanted to know how. here’s the story:
the first “no yelling” article i read was about 6 months ago. i have no idea where the original article is, so i can’t direct you to it, but i can tell you what it did: it introduced a possibility that i had never considered. not yelling was a completely foreign and unexplored idea for me.
as is often the case, i read the article, hmmmd about it, and then dismissed it as crazy talk. when my kids aren’t listening, i clearly need to be louder.
through the next few months, there were several things said by people in my life who were in no way referencing the no-yelling thing, yet their remarks would recall the idea to my mind. the idea of not yelling at my kids was starting to assert itself.
at the same time, i noticed a pattern. here’s how it went down:
i would tell the kids to do something, and then raise the volume of my voice depending on their speed of obedience. they would respond out of fear, there would be crying, and the stress levels of everyone climbed exponentially. what’s more, yelling produced more yelling. it never solved the big picture.
also at the same time, i noticed another pattern:
yell at the kids, feel out of control, experience regret, and then (here’s the kicker) rationalize it.
this is the way decisions always work for me. i have to be pummelled from every side with conviction and proof before i’m willing to change, because i never want to be the person who makes a “life change” for 10 days. the final conviction came about 2 weeks ago, at the royal winter fair.
i took the kids, and we were having a great time. my expectations for a perfect day with my wonderful midgets were well on their way to being met. and then real life struck: we stayed too late, elliot lost his water bottle, we were all exhausted, and an epic argument exploded between myself and my boy. it was a perfect storm, and it ended with people eyeing us askance and i yelled at my son who totally deserved it.
we marched toward the train, me constantly scolding elliot for his character flaws the entire way. elliot crying, trying to keep up with my strides while maintaining a safe distance from my words, yelling back his retorts. i hated myself, but i couldn’t stop; he had been so bad!
but you know what? even after we talked it out on the train and hugged and said sorry and forgave each other, i still felt like dirt. no matter how i rationalized and excused it, i couldn’t get rid of my regret.
i could go into more detail about the wretchedness of that memory, and the feelings and words that i wish i could take back, but i won’t. i don’t even think i have to, because i’m not alone. if i was, there wouldn’t be blog posts popping up all over the place about how to not yell at your kids.
last week, i came across the orange rhino blog, as the idea of not yelling had already changed from a tiny bud of a dream into a full flower of hope. reading yet another blog where a mom had succeeded to not yell for a whole year, caused me to pluck that flower of hope and claim it as my own.
the conviction that has been growing for the last 6 months finally led to action, and i decided then to not trade one more moment of love with my children, for a moment of recklessness with my words.
that’s the why. the how, requires less words: God.
the orange rhino blog has some tips for how to stop. i don’t agree with all of them. some are great, but some are just not how i would approach the life change. #1- she continued to yell, just not at her kids (for the first bit, anyway). #2- she also told her kids her plan.
#1- one of the things i hate most about yelling, is the feeling of losing control. the bible tells us to be self-controlled many times, and in proverbs (25:28) it describes a person without self-control as being “like a city broken into and left without walls.”
broken. vulnerable. just waiting for more. that is what i felt, and what i don’t plan to ever go back to.
if you go looking for them, there are tons of bible verses that support not only self-control, but the power of your words (taming the tongue), and being slow to anger. there’s no end of biblical support to help you through this.
yelling into a toilet might have helped the orange rhino lady to get past her habit, but for me, i’m cutting my ties with yelling, and not going back.
#2- i don’t have biblical backup for not telling my kids. i have a mischievous little boy who would totally press my buttons if he knew i was trying not to show anger! i DID tell my derek though, because i want him to keep me accountable. i’m also not yelling at him, because if i don’t want to waste one more moment of this short life with regret, that involves all of the people i love.
i’m also telling you guys! please ask me how it’s going. my father-in-law taught me to be careful with what words i write down, because they can never be taken back. i spent a long time deciding what to share, what not to share, and i realize that i’ve been very personal with this post. i know that i’ve opened myself up to scorn from people who may not have the same struggles as i do. i invite you to consider your own imperfections and solutions, rather than to attack me, as i clearly already see my own flaws.
i hope this not only answers the questions that many of you had, but also helps you. each victory this week was a treasure, and the reward richer than anything i had imagined. it’s not only my relationship with my family that is being strengthened by this decision, but my relationship with my ever-forgiving Father, as well.
October 13, 2013
i know i haven’t posted anything in an eternity. the only reason i’m even posting now, is so that i can write down this recipe before i forget it! i posted a picture of it in my instagram, and have had a couple requests for the recipe, so this is for you too :) we’ll save the where-i’ve-been, and the why-i-don’t-write-anymore for later!
12-15 cups chopped apple
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp milled chia & flax seed.
2/3 cup ground oats
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 cup oats
1/2 cup melted earth balance (or other butter substitute, coconut oil might be good too!)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
about 4 tbsp maple syrup
mix the filling.
cut all topping ingredients into crumble texture with pastry knife
spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, spill in the apples, top with the crumble.
bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes.
i buy my chia & flax pre-ground, but a coffee grinder would do the trick if you already have seeds. also, to make the almond and oat “flours”, i put them in a blender and pulsed until they resembled glutiny flour.
let me know if you make this, i’d love to hear feedback! enjoy!
June 5, 2013
life: she’s busy. the kids have full schedules between school and their extracurriculars, and since they can’t drive or take the bus yet, that means i’m super-busy. everything is reaching (or has reached) the end of it’s schedule until the fall, and i’m treasuring each and every blank spot on my calendar!
school: we switched curricula around christmas time, and have been working to fit an entire year’s worth of school into a little more than half of a school year. there have been days where i felt like a slave driver, but my kids have been troopers and we’re almost there! tomorrow will be their last “day” of school, with friday being set aside for final tests. then it’s SUMMER VACATION, baby!
summer: usually the midgets and i go camping at least every other week. this summer is so booked with college reunions, family reunions, the kids going to camp, aaannnnd…. OUR EPIC TRIP TO NEWFOUNDLAND!!
health: i’m feeling so much better than i did during the winter when i was still going through my diagnoses process! there are times when i’m so discouraged and frustrated with being in pain every single day of my life, but i feel like i’ve mastered my dietary restrictions, and i’ve lost 15lbs that i didn’t need to be carrying around, so i’ll definitely take that silver lining.
photography: for the last few months i’ve been the photographer for some children’s books that are nearing the publishing phase, so i’m excited to finally share that with you, Internet.
this blog: i’ve pondered just shutting it down quite a bit over the last few months, but each time i conclude that any demands that my blog makes of me, are just the demands i’m imposing on myself. so i stopped demanding. i blog when i blog, and i make no promise to do it regularly! it IS a very good journal of sorts for me though, so i still plan to plug away here, and i appreciate anyone who wants to share it with me.
ps: our trip to newfoundland is the biggest journey our little family has ever made. anyone out there with tips for how to travel for several days without loosing your mind??
April 7, 2013
there are other pants-to-bag tutorials online, but as far as i know, this technique is an original. i’m not up for preamble tonight, so let’s just get to the good stuff!
a word about pant choice: look for straight legs! also pants made out of thinner fabrics. we eventually sew through several layers at a time with this technique, so avoid the denim! pockets aren’t essential, but they’re free “oopf” for your finished project, and are referenced many times in this tutorial.
step one: cut above the pocket. make sure that you leave plenty of room above the pocket, because as you’ll see in the next step, we need to have room to sew up there.
time to flip the leg! turn the pant leg inside out, but not all the way (top left). then you’re going to take the hem of the pants, and fold it over, enclosing the cut raw edge inside. did that make sense? try it– it’s not as confusing as it sounds! then sew the top fold down (so you’re sewing around the very bottom of the hem of the pants, just above the top of the pocket).
at this point you have a tube, with the right sides of the fabric (camo, in this case) on the inside and outside of the tube.
turn the tube inside out! the pocket is now on the inside of the tube. go ahead and sew up the bottom so i can stop calling this bag a tube!
boxing the bottom! so fun to say, so fun to do. use these pictures for reference:
top left: cut out a square on both bottom corners. mine is about 1.5 x 1.5. to save measuring on the second corner, use the waste square and trace it.
top right: open up that square!
bottom left: and pinch it against the bottom.
bottom right: sew up that corner!
at this point i like to give everything a nice crisp ironing. the new seams relax, and the box-bottom is more defined. ps: YOU’RE DONE THE HARD STUFF!
if you use this tutorial or have any questions, please let me know! i’d love to see the finished product. also, i don’t need two of these bags. i made the first one for elliot, and the second one to show you how it was done. the second bag is for sale for $10- just msg me if you want it!
update: the bag sold possibly less than a minute after i posted this. sorry!
March 19, 2013
the time has come for me to go public: i have ibs.
what now? haha… exactly.
ibs stands for irritable bowel syndrome, and is really doctor speak for “i dunno”. ibs is what you get diagnosed with when every other possibility has been eliminated. i don’t have cancer, crohn’s, colitis, celiac… any of those ugly C-words. they don’t know what i have, so it’s ibs.
i started getting unexplained abdominal pain in august. i’m the annoying type of patient who waits until life can’t go on before visiting a doctor. the pain was spreading and intensifying, and there were days where i would just lay in bed like a lump in the fetal position, clutching my torso and wishing that the pain would stop long enough so i could go to sleep and be free from hurting.
i’m not trying to dramatize what i’ve been going through, just trying to be honest with you and possibly help out someone else who may be spending hours googling a diagnoses for themselves. so… ibs. you probably know one or two people who also have it, but their symptoms are nothing like yours. you can google it, and find a slew of symptoms that you have, and just as many that you don’t have.
i wasn’t joking when i said that it’s how doctor’s label unknown abdominal pain. it can be frustrating when you’ve had a horribly painful week and you confide in someone: “yeah…i have ibs” and the healthy, happy other half of the conversation cheerfully exclaims “me too!”.
my symptoms are pretty limited: PAIN!!! and i fall into random narcoleptic comas without warning. true story: i fell asleep at your wedding reception, natasha.
to treat my ibs, i’ve been on an elimination diet for about 2 months. i had to eliminate alcohol (not a big deal)/caffeine/fatty food/and dairy. the idea with an elimination diet is that you can eventually reintroduce foods to see what your body reacts to. so far none of the above has been able to come back into my life, and the list has grown to include soy, carbonated drinks, and excess amounts of sugar.
you care, right? haha…. i know this is really personal and uninteresting stuff and if it’s completely irrelevant to you, feel free to skim to the end, and i’ll post something more reader-friendly by the end of the week!
if you’re still here…. i’ve got some recipes & tips for you! i’ll be adding an ibs section to the category cloud of this blog, so you can find all of the stomach-friendly foods that i’ve been testing and enjoying. here’s some stuff to get you started:
almond milk! essential. i’m not at the point where i can drink it straight yet, but on my cereal and as a milk-replacement in baking, it’s been a life-saver!
earth balance butter-substitute. so here’s the thing about substituting dairy: i’ve been a “clean eater” my whole life. i don’t like products with ingredients that i can’t pronounce. i really couldn’t reconcile the fact that eating fake chemical ingredients was better for my innards than real butter and milk. thankfully my vegan sister introduced me to earth balance! it uses natural ingredients, tastes like butter, and it’s good on popcorn, potatoes, and bread. mmmm… bread!
this recipe has been so good to me! i substitute in the almond milk (as suggested in the recipe), and use olive oil for the butter. it’s so tasty! if you’ve never made bread before, make this anyway! you have to start somewhere, and when you’re so limited with your food intake, eating comfort food like this is like finding hidden treasure.
i’m certain that i could never ever ever give up eating bread! i don’t know how people do the gluten-free thing, and i would be so devastated if i ever had to cut that out of my diet as well!
there are a few other recipes that i’d like to show you guys, but they require posts of their own. i don’t normally fish for the comment love, but i’d really like to hear from you if you’re on a limited diet and have any tips/recipes/or stories to share! even if YOUR ibs isn’t MY ibs, it’s nice to know that there are others among us!
March 9, 2013
this week was wonderfully full! lots of time with friends, and lots of time with my family.
there’s no denying that when i started instagramming, my blog posts became less frequent. instagram IS blogging! so if you follow me on there, and you follow this blog, then i apologize for the repeats, but i really only have one life so there’s bound to be duplicates.
let’s get to it!
and sometimes you just need a date night! actually i could pretty much ALWAYS use a date night with my awesometastic husband. shawarma from pita deli guarantees a great time. and fyi: i ate all of my shawarma, and i ate it before derek finished his. i’m a machine!
dates with anne always make my heart melt into goo. so much love for this girl! check out her fashion sense and her little thumbs-up. she actually picked this shot out of the many we took as her favourite. while elliot was at a friend’s house, the chickorita and i went skating. she took a big a fall on her hip, but after some time on the bench with a first aid kit, she was back on the ice battle-crying “because i have determination!!!!” the declaration may or may not have been influenced by the He-man and She-ra marathons going down in this house lately –”i have the power!”
how do you guys give your kids opportunities to earn money? we did myjobchart.com for a while, but got out of the habit of using it somehow. about 6 months ago we decided that the kids needed to take things up a notch responsibility wise (like turning off lights, or flushing the toilet…simple but necessary life skills), so we came up with the coin system. every time they do something they’re supposed to do (hey, you hung up your coat!) without being asked to do it first, they get a penny in their jar. they have a chance to earn more than 1¢ if i ask them to do a special job (change the laundry loads for me, empty the dishwasher….) but i pay them in pennies. at the end of the week they count out “one for God, 9 for me” and take their tithe to church or clubs, and the remaining total gets written down on my phone/”bank account”. then we start all over again the next week. it’s been working well for us, as it’s a small reward for doing what’s right, a way to earn money for going above expectations, and ways to learn to tithe and save.
this week i decided that their boring old mason jars had proven their effectiveness, and could handle a more permanent look. so i banged some slots into the tops, and modpog’d some colour onto them.
it can’t all be playing with friends and dates with family! i woke up this morning (i use the word “morning” quite loosely here) and decided that i wanted to be productive! i had made pretzles for a fondu party that we went to last night, and elliot was crazy about them! unfortunately for him, i took them out of the house and he had to be content with cereal for supper. so i made some more today, and while i was at it i decided to make tortillas, ice cream, and fudge. some people were asking for recipes for these things, so here’s a list:
dairy-free, sugar-free strawberry banana ice cream (which tasted amazing!)
tortillas (i use my mom’s recipe, but here’s a similar one)
terry’s chocolate orange fudge (i used my mom’s toblerone fudge recipe, but used a different chocolate treat).
there’s my week! it was busy, but not too. full, but not over. and the time was quality, which is really the only way to spend it.
March 3, 2013
i have this COMPLETELY ERRONEOUS reputation that i’m good at everything. it’s so embarrassing. i’m really awful at a lot of stuff! a friend once remarked “is there anything you can’t do?!” after i’d used a credit card to unlock a door. i replied “there’s tons i can’t do, but there’s very little that i won’t try.” i had read “picked the lock with a credit card” in several books, and decided to give it a shot.
everything skill that i have was once something that i wished i had. they say that “necessity is the mother of invention”, but it’s also the mother of “skill acquisition”. and “curiosity” can be the dad in this family analogy.
i was talking to a friend on the phone yesterday, and she mentioned that i was “so good at everything”, and yeah… flattering. but really, truly, false.
i’m not really going anywhere with this, other than to clear my name, and to maybe step it up a notch in my writing discipline.
i haven’t written on here in so long, because it’s been so long. that’s just how i function. so here’s the first step in getting back into my writing habits, and maybe less great at procrastinating.