Category Archives for Parenting

Quick and Effective Potty Training Method

I do not like potty training. At. All.  But it has to be done. I have often heard that you have to go when the child is ready but I think it is equally as important that the trainer is also ready.  Potty training a toddler is not for the faint of heart.  My almost two year old has been showing signs that she was ready, but I was not…until yesterday.  I was talking on the phone to a good friend and she encouraged me to not ignore the signs and miss this “great” opportunity to get number 6 out of diapers.  I had to get my head in the game.  So off to Walmart I went with all six kiddos in tow.  I was tickled by how excited the siblings were at the idea of getting Faith potty trained.  We picked out a potty and she was beyond thrilled.  She screamed if anyone touched her potty. It had to be in the front of the cart with her.  So one would think that she would immediately sit on it when we got home…not so.  She screamed and refused to sit on the potty last night. I backed off and decided to give it a try again today.  I was pleasantly surprised at how she “Embraced” this new adventure.  I think it may have had something to do with the fact that she did not have 7 people standing there cheering her on to go potty…yeah I suppose that was not a good introduction.  Today most of the crowd was at school so I think she was a little more relaxed.  I have used different methods of potty training but the one that I am choosing to go with has proven to be the quickest and most effective.  It is tiring and flat out gross but totally worth it. So what am I doing?

  1. Clear out my schedule and stay at home MOST of the time for the next three days.  Consider this potty training BOOTCAMP.
  2. Get rid of the diaper in the day and put on big girl underpants.  No pull ups?  Yes, no pull ups, it really makes a difference in the long run.
  3. For most of the day she is in her underwear and a T-shirt (diaper only at naptime and when she goes to sleep for the night).
  4.  Set the timer and every 30 minutes we take a field trip to the potty.
  5. We have toys and books to entertain when we are on the potty.  Believe me when I say the distractions help.  I like to have Legos on hand because the putting together and pulling apart takes a lot of time and is a great distraction.
  6. It can be difficult for a child to get used to the idea of sitting and waiting.  I do not have her stay on the potty for too long, the point is not to torture her.  When she begins to fuss, I let her get up.

This method was not my original idea.  You can read here and  here for more details.  Most promise that if you use this method you can have your child potty trained in 3 days… consistency being key.  I used this method with child number 5 and he was potty trained in a week and a half…not a bad deal.  This is not to say that we did not have accidents after the initial training.

The first day is the MOST DIFFICULT.   Be prepared to clean up messes and your patience to be tested in new ways.  But hang in there, it will click for your child if you remain consistent.  What is your favorite potty training method?

How I prepare for church with a large family

At the beginning of the year my husband told me that one of our family goals was to get to church before it starts. Yeah we were pretty much that family that showed up in the middle of praise and worship and sometimes later. He is not late for his job and the children are not late for school he reasoned.  The Lord wanted us to have a renewed perspective on going to worship as it is more important than a job or school.  Point well taken Pastor Tyrone. I will say it is a lot of work but with more deliberate planning on my part it can be done. Hear me when I say that I write this post not as an expert or as someone who has mastered all of this.  I am in the thick of things here folks but I have found that consistently implementing the following steps has helped us to be punctual.

1. Washing and combing the girls hair can be very time consuming.  With that in mind I now try to wash and comb the two older girls hair on Saturday.  This way I just have to focus on Faith’s hair on Sunday morning. No more playing beauty shop on Sunday mornings.

2. Select and iron clothing for children and adults midweek.  This is a huge time saver.  When I say select clothing I mean everything, including accessories (tights, socks, belts, etc.).  Make sure the tights you thought would work don’t have holes in them, not fun to find this out on Sunday morning.   Even with a designated spot to put them, shoes can quickly go missing from our shoe closet downstairs.  Tyrone has made it a point to get the younger two boys church shoes and put it in their rooms as opposed to the regular shoe closet. This way we don’t run the risk of searching for missing shoes as we are heading out the door.

3.  Fill your vehicle with gas during the week, don’t wait until Sunday morning.

4.  We also try to make sure everyone completes their homework either on Friday or Saturday.  This way we don’t have to stress about signing papers or completing homework before or after church. I realize that this may change as the kids get older and their homework becomes more difficult.  However at this point in the game we are trying to teach them to prioritize and prayerfully these lessons will stick.

5.  Restock the diaper bag with pampers, change of clothes and wipes the night before. In the morning, I have a designated child pack snacks for the younger ones and fill the sippy cup.  He is also instructed to take the bag immediately to the van once the task is completed, ensuring that we do not leave the diaper bag behind.

6.  Get to bed at a reasonable hour.  We try not to entertain the mindset of  ” oh it’s the weekend so we can stay up as late as we want.”  We don’t allow the children to stay up late on school nights so the same holds true for the night before we go to worship.   Our service starts a little later but we try to have breakfast together on Sunday mornings and we also have to travel a distance for church.  We are not mommy and daddy kill joy so the kids may stay up one or two extra hours later but we encourage them to get a good night sleep.

7.   I aim to get up at least a hour before the entire family on Sunday morning.   This means I have to be wise about what time I go to bed on Saturday night.   During this hour I cook dinner.  Don’t be too impressed, I try to make my Sunday dinner as simple as possible and make the oven do most of the cooking.  I do not try new recipes on Sundays.  I stick to what I know and what I do well.  Sunday is the day for whole roasted chicken, ribs, roast, etc.  I like to slow cook my meats so I put it in  first thing in the morning and by the time we are ready to leave for church 4 hours later, I can take dinner out the oven and put it in the fridge.  I also aim to prepare sides that require minimum work like oven roasted sweet potatoes or steamed vegetables.  It takes me approximately 30 minutes most mornings to prepare a nutritious Sunday dinner.  We sometimes choose to eat out on Sundays as a special treat but this is an exception not the rule.

8.  We have a departure time in mind.  This sounds simple but it really is needed.  If you have the mindset that we will leave when we can, it doesn’t give you a goal to work toward.  Announcing to the older children what time we want to leave  helps to keep them on track and keep us all on the same page.

With six children 11 and under things  won’t always go as planned but the above steps have helped to minimize a lot of frustrations on Sunday mornings.

What are some things your family does to prepare for Sunday Worship?

 

4 simple and Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time With your child every week

We live in a society that often complicate simple matters. Money is great and I could always use more.  However, the lack thereof should not be used as an excuse for not spending quality time with your children.  No, we have never taken our children to Disney, and we don’t go on too many vacations but this doesn’t mean that we don’t spend quality time with them.  Below are some things we do on a weekly basis to spend time with our children, providing a sense of security. IMG_2261

 

1.  Pray with your children.  Yes that counts as spending time with them.  Prayer breaks down walls you didn’t know existed between you and your child.  We have been making more of an effort to have corporate prayer times as a family.  Tyrone and I are not the only ones that pray, we give each of the children a chance to participate.  You hear what’s on their heart during this time.  Some of that prayer time is spent disciplining and training the younger ones to be still, this can sometimes be frustrating but necessary so we keep at it.  My goal this year is to also have individual prayer time with each child.  It may only last a few minutes and that’s ok.  I often ask them what they need prayer for, there is a short dialog, we pray and carry on.  Each week the prayer time looks different. I am learning to not always wait for the perfect moment but to incorporate prayer with the flow of life. IMG_2371

2.  Attend church together each week as a family.    I have a husband, six children and we are all very different.  Attending church together to worship God is our common ground.  The sermon that was shared, the songs that were sung, the people we spoke to at church, the prayers that were prayed, the convictions that were felt, the aha moments that came as the preacher preached…these all give us some point of connection to dialogue on throughout the week. I know of parents who go to church without their children because they view them as a distraction from service.  They may also feel that church is too long for the children especially if there is no nursery or children’s church.  Believe me when I say I get this.  I have had my fair share of  being in the hallway with a misbehaving or loud child during service.  But this is  a part of the training.  They eventually get it, some sooner than others. More seeds are sown than you may realize even if they don’t understand all that is being said.  God knows how to reveal His truths to the youngest of soul. Whatever you do, choose a church based on God’s leading and not your child.   It’s not always about the abundance of flashy and exciting programs for your child. God knows exactly where you and your family need to be for your spiritual growth.  Trust his leading, it has eternal implications. IMG_2313 20141228_113726

3.  My husband has a weekly library date with the children.   Each week the children are allowed to check out three fiction and three non fiction books along with some videos.  While picking out the non fiction books, Tyrone gets insight into their world and interest.  Conversations naturally flow and it is an outing that they look forward to every week.  The kids absolutely enjoy this time with their father.   Library cards are free and there are always new resources at the library, not a bad deal.

20141210_191603

4.  Eat dinner together as a family.  I get it, we are all busy and I know that this is not always possible to do every night.  Perhaps you can start off with picking just one day of the week and build from there.  When we eat together, we each go around sharing the high (good) and low (bad) parts of our day.  This gives us a lot of insight into each other’s day and provides a lot of teachable opportunities  for Tyrone and I.   IMG_2224 IMG_2422

What do you do to spend quality time with your child?  Leave a comment below.

Dear God Please Undo What I Have Done

She was not sleepy, I just got her her up 30 minutes prior.  She was not hungry she just gobbled down breakfast AND NO she was not wet. I changed her diaper right before she ate.  But there was princess tugging at my leg demanding that I pick her up.  Why?  She is spoiled, very spoiled.  All I could do was whisper in desperation, “Dear Lord please undo what we have done. ” You see Faith has a story and when God answered our prayers, we were overjoyed.  We brought our miracle home and spoiled her… real good.  Tyrone and I were not the only culprits.  Her siblings stayed in her face.  If she cried, there were six other pair of hands ready to rescue her, it was a team effort.  And today we are dealing with the results.

 

IMG_20140308_102343_0

preciouscute

sleeping

20140802_185012

20141225_164717

How many other times have I prayed that same prayer when I felt the consequences of MY poor choices.

When I yell at my children in anger and unleash misdirected frustration at them. I see them deflate right before my eyes.  I feel ashamed.

When I speak negatively of others and I later hear my children with the same critical tone.  I am forced to look in the mirror.

When I have had one too many “deserved” treats and I am left  feeling sluggish, cranky and quite round.

All of the above situations leave me asking the Lord to undo what I have done. I have learned that God won’t go back in time and undo my mess.  However, all is not lost. When you have a surrendered heart, He provides the tools to move forward and the wisdom to make choices aligned with His will.  My life testifies to the fact that repentance invites the Lord to masterfully redeem self inflicted pain.

So here we are at the close of 2014 and it is so easy to focus on all the mistakes, all your shortcomings, all the ” I knew better why did I?”  Perhaps you are currently dealing with the painful consequences of choices that you made in 2014 that were out of God’s will. There is no sense of hope for the new year only regret for what’s behind.

If you have not done so already, Jesus is lovingly inviting you to come to Him.  Repentance is liberating and His forgiveness is the sweetest medicine I have tasted.  While others may condemn and remind you of your mistakes, it’s not so with my  Jesus…this is my testimony.  So with all the New Years resolution, won’t you put a yes to Jesus at the top of the list and watch Him redeem in 2015!

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 NLT

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

 

 

I Train All Day

For the  last 10 years I have been a stay at home mom.  On more than one occasion I  have been asked what I do all day.   Um-mm let me see how to phrase this… I train all day.   Not the kind of training you may be thinking about, allow me to explain.  Scripture tells us to train our children in the way they should go, the God way, the truth way, the blood bought way.  Training is not an option.  Because of our inherited sin nature EVERY child, no matter how cute is born with a desire to do wrong.  Everyday I am training and quite frankly it is hard work.    My job is not to tame my children’s sin, instead I have been entrusted with the job of encouraging them to nail it to the cross through submission to Christ.  Training begins with teaching them the word of God, this is the manual. The end goal is beyond nice behaved children. I want them to live knowing that death and judgment is certain for everyone.  So through my training I am encouraging them  to have a right relationship with God so that eternity can be spent with Him.

I train them not only through speaking the word but by living the word through my actions.

  • I train them  to understand that true love disciplines wrong behavior in an effort to prevent worst things from happening.  I choose not to wink at undesired behavior because of love.
  • I train them to be humble and to have a repentant heart when I say sorry (even to them) when I am wrong.
  • I train them to forgive and extend mercy when I forgive their offenses; not constantly reminding them of what they have done wrong. Dish out the consequence for wrongdoing and move on.  Do not look for opportunities to bring up how they missed the mark.

I train not just concerning the spiritual but the natural, but wait… the two are very much connected.

  • I train them to  not be idle and prioritize that which is important when I choose to cook and clean my house instead of spending too much time on social media.  I also give them the opportunity to work with their hands and allow the mess that comes with learning.

IMG_1641

IMG_20140320_153635_0

 

  • I train them to understand what  honor  “looks” like when their father comes home to a cooked meal and washed clothes.  When my words are tempered with grace and my eyes aren’t rolling when he says something I don’t want to hear.  They are watching more than I realize, and I have had to apologize more than once.IMG_1883

IMG_1614

  • I train them to have responsibilities when I sit in the kitchen  and talk to them for a hour and a half while they clean, a job that I could have done in 30 minutes. Or when I wait for what seems like forever for them to pick up every Lego off the floor and resist the temptation to do it all for them because I can do it faster and betterIMG_1930

 

  • I train them when I allow them to experience the consequences of their poor choices and not always come to the rescue.  “No I will  not allow you to be late to school because you can’t find your recorder for music class.  I told you the night before to put everything in your bag.  Are you kidding me? There is six of you, I cannot keep up with your stuff. Stop crying and get in the van RIGHT NOW!”  True story, I am not making this up.. oh it’s happened to you too?
  • I train them to love who God created them to be when I  allow them to cry because they just don’t fit in with everyone else.  I say a prayer, wipe the tears and tell them how beautiful and special they are because God said so and I believe Him.

20141112_151458

  • I train them to  feel secure through the meals we share as a family at the table.  Letting them know that even with the absence of fine china and a perfectly set table conversations about the highs and lows of our day can flow freely.

IMG_1660

 

  • I train them to know they are loved by putting my to do list on hold and reading a book with them or just being silly and laughing about nothing really important.

20141104_153115

  • I train them to know dedication when I take my tired body to bed, wake up the next morning, ready to do it all over again and again and again!

Yes, this training thing is hard work.  The struggle is real but so is God’s love, His grace and His wisdom.  I don’t always do it perfectly.   I continue to learn that God gave us our children to train but certainly is not expecting us to do it on our own. We can do this…because of Christ!

 

 

Learning Alphabet & Scripture

Reading is fundamental; not an original thought I know, but it is true.  I want my children to cultivate a love for reading at an early age and it all begins with knowing the alphabet.  Today I am sharing a simple activity that accomplishes two objectives, learning the alphabet and the word of God.   This activity kept my four year old occupied for at least 30 minutes while I washed the dishes.  I loved that I didn’t have to stop and sit with him but we still had “together” time as I gave him different directives.  It was a win for the both of us.  The steps are below.

  1. Get a printout for your child to trace letters A-Z
  2. After she traces the letters, have her say each letter and the sound.
  3. After she says the letter sound have her say things that begin with that letter.  If your child is a little more advanced you can have her make sentences with the chosen word.
  4. Have her repeat the scripture that goes with the specific letter. Please visit this post, scroll down to the bottom and you will see my ABC scripture list.

Below is an example of applying the above steps for the Letter “A”

  1. Ask her to point to the letter “A” on her sheet.
  2. Ask her what sound the “A” makes.
  3. Ask her to tell you some words that make the “A” sound.  You can go on and on with this step depending on how much time you need to buy and how attentive your child is.
  4. Ask her to make sentences with the “A” words she mentioned.   You can extend this activity and make a story about the “A” words.  Again this is all about how much time you need and how attentive your child is.
  5. Finally, have your child repeat the “A” scripture,  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.”
  6. You can extend this activity by having her draw pictures of the “A” words she listed.

If you decide to try this, please leave a comment and let me know how it works out.  Happy Friday to you!

 

20141017_195919