Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

We headed over as a family to Base housing tonight. Normally, I am not a big fan of trick-or-treating. But on a military base, it is a community activity. Everyone is out, talking to each other and enjoying the holiday with each other. Other than a couple of very scary houses, it is good-natured fun.
This year the boys were really old enough to understand that we were going trick-or-treating. Sidge kept saying, all day, "I willy can't wait to go trick-or-treating." They were both so excited to put on their costumes and go get candy.
A few funnies though.
Sidge wanted to be a chef but did not want to wear his chef's hat. I also realized how "different" a chef was when we were out with all the other kids. There were a lot of characters from TV shows I had never heard of. And there's my little sou chef.
And Isaac wanted to wear a Clifford costume, but he did not want to be Clifford. He kept saying, "I'm not Clifford. I'm Isaac. I'm just wearing a Clifford costume."
And Abigail? No costume for this chick. She knows what she wants, and we knew she was fully capable of screaming and protesting the entire night if dressed in attire of which she did not approve. We therefore opted for an orange "Fall" outfit with a black cat on it. She approved. (She also really approved of the lollipop she got to eat in the stroller the whole time.)
After we did our "thing" in the neighborhood, we headed to the gate we thought we were supposed to leave through, and Aunt Connie snapped this picture below:

We were stuck waiting to get out of the gate because this is what was waiting on the other side:

Those are the Portuguese, waiting for their turn to trick-or-treat. From 6:00-7:00, Americans have the streets. But at 7pm, the Portuguese are allowed into Base housing. It is craziness! We then left through the gate only to find it closed on the other side which meant walking clear around to the other side to get out.

Live and learn. Next year, we'll have the system down better. (Just in time to move again.)

ABC Memory Verses

About a year ago, I asked my friend Amanda, a homeschool mom, what type of "stuff" she'd be doing with her three-year-old if she were me. She told me, "Do a letter a week. That's it."

So I did. Each week since we have moved to the Azores, we have focused on a different letter. We watch youtube videos like this one which help teach the boys the sound of the letter and how to write it. We might play a game or do something very "random" and "spur-of-the-moment" featuring that letter as well.

The other BIG thing we do with each letter, is learn a memory verse! We are now on the letter "S" and the boys have learned each and every memory verse from A thru S. In addition, I have learned them too. Okay, truth, I already knew them after growing up in the church, but to have them in ABC format is just brilliant! Anytime I am feeling a little stressed out, I can say the memory verses because they are in a "easy-to-remember" format. We may know memory verses. But recalling them when you need them isn't always easy. In ABC format ... it is!

Each evening, the boys pick magnets off the refrigerator and then they say the memory verses for that letter. In the beginning, we did every letter every night. But as that got longer and longer, we started having them pick 5 or 6 letters each evening.

So here are the verses we chose for each letter .... including T-Z which we have not gotten to yet.

All things work together for the good of those who love Him.
Be ye kind, one to another.
Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
Every good and perfect gift is from above.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty who was, and is, and is to come.
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Keeping God's commandments is the most important thing.
Let the little children come unto me.
My son, give me your heart.
No one can serve two masters.
Our God is able to do all things.
Pray without ceasing.
in Quietness and trust is your strength.
Rejoice in the Lord.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield.”
Visit orphans and widows.
Well done good and faithful servant.
eXcept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

You are the light of the world.
Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Wee-wind Wednesday

I am hoping to dedicate a post on Wednesdays to "rewind" to a past event in our infertility, adoption, and parenthood journey. What a better place to start than to rewind to May 7, 2008 ... the day that we first held our adopted son Isaac in our arms. To read about the day that our lives changed forever, click here to "we-wind" with us.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Sorry Tony Baroney -- not talking about you. Talking about a tropical storm Tony. Did you know there was one?

Either did we!

So apparently, it is not Sandy that is giving us a run for our money today. It's Tony. Click here to see for yourself. What is just so amazing to me is that we get NO notice that there is a storm coming. We had no idea there was a hurricane swinging by us. Instead we wake up to huge waves and wind and rain. It's been quite the blustery day and definitely the roughest weather since we moved here. 

From Casey

Casey is a friend of mine from Turkey. She and I are polar opposites with truly very few things in common. But two things we do share is our love for the Lord and our journey through infertility. It was actually those two things that brought us together during our time at Incirlik. I know that while we will never agree on whether or not it is acceptable to wear tennis shoes on a tourist trip or whether forcing your daughter into bows bigger than your head is ethical, we will always both have a great appreciation for the miracle of children -- in boy or girl or adopted or biological forms! Here is a guest post from Casey on motherhood ... enjoy!

Hi, I’m Casey, the one Wendi refers to when she posts about Abigail’s fashion. She asked me to write a guest post for her blog, but for some reason she didn’t ask me about my rules for kid’s clothing. I wonder why? Anyway, as a new mom I wanted to share with you a little of what I’ve learned so far. I may not know it all, but I know these things for sure...

Infertility and motherhood
Infertility shapes the kind of mom you will be.
Infertility, for me, was a period of time consumed by fear. It seemed like there was a cloud of stress hanging over me for those few years as we struggled. When Deacon finally arrived, I just assumed that fear would still be a large part of my life. However, I think infertility reminded me (continuously) that God is in control. My fear and my worry can’t change a single thing, and surprisingly, I have been able to remember this as I raise our little guy. I’m much more laid back then I thought I would be. I know that God has a plan for our little miracle baby, and it’s not my job to stress about what it is. My job is to enjoy every day (even the tough ones) we have with Deacon. After shedding so many tears over not having a baby, I have made a concerted effort to make my time with him joyful. Does that mean I don’t have bad days or periods of worry? Not at all. What I do know it that God has it under control, even when I don’t.

You will find what works (and doesn’t work) for you.
Breast feeding or bottle feeding, co-sleeping or crib sleeping, cry it out or cuddle it out...for every kid it seems there is a different opinion on what is best. At first I thought and thought about whether I was doing it “right” according to such and such book, but what I’ve come to realize is that what’s best for your baby is what will feel right. Do your research, be informed, but also, give yourself freedom to make the choice you need to make. You don’t need to apologize or explain, just do it!

You can’t do it all.
Well, maybe YOU can, but me? I can’t. I can’t keep a perfect house, workout daily, cook a gourmet meal, and take care of the little guy while simultaneously teaching him to read and speak Mandarin Chinese. I’ve had to let some things go. For now, most days, that’s making dinner. The little guy eats around that time and I can’t do both. Later? It might doing less laundry. And you know what? That’s okay! I do my very best to be the best mom and wife I can be, and sometimes that means I sit down and take a break. I don’t need my life to look like a Pinterest board.

Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Certainly God made us to nurture, that is apparent as soon as your first lay eyes on your child. He made us to love them and to feed them. However, that doesn’t mean it comes easy! A friend of mine said it best, it’s the most awesomely hard thing you will ever do. Admitting that it is hard is not complaining, nor is it being ungrateful for the amazing gift of motherhood. It’s just telling the truth...being a mom is hard! Breast feeding is hard! Could it be more difficult? Sure. I could have 19 kids, or no kids, or no arms, or live in a shack, but for me, right now, I’m on the steepest learning curve of my life. I will not feel bad for admitting that. I will not feel bad for admitting that and having “only” one child. It’s natural, and it’s hard, and it’s awesome!

Hang in there!
Are you a new mom? Please know that it gets easier. You will feel more at ease. New things will come up and the current things will seem so simple. Hang in there. Every 2 weeks you will feel more and more settled. Take some naps. Don’t be afraid to tell people no, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can do it. God gave you a great responsibility and prepared you with spot-on instincts. Pray and trust your gut. It’s going to be an awesome ride!

Fifteen months old

I'm a few days late, but thought I would put a bit of an update to remind myself of our little girl at 15 months old. Abigail currently:
  • Wears shoes nearly all-day everyday. It's one of the first things she does when she wakes up. She goes to her shoe drawer and picks out which shoes she wants to wear.
  • Is a complete mamma's girl. She loves her Daddy, but she wants to be with me most of the time. Other people she likes now include: Aunt Connie, Joni, Hita, Carla & Kristy. Also in her inner circle are Isaac, Sidge, and Scrubs.
  • Is so full of spunk and spirit and attitude and opinions. I just don't even now how to explain who she is in words. Maybe the pictures below will more accurately present her:

  • has a very limited vocabulary. Mama is loud and clear for me. She will also say some for of ball and bubba for her brothers. She definitely says night-night when going to sleep.
  • has one "word" that is definitely her favorite and it is an "ooh, ooh, ooh" noise that can drive you batty if you hear it all day. She uses it to get your attention, and we all feel it is just one step away from causing us to jump off a bridge!
  • Does not want to watch any TV or videos. The only thing she likes, for a few minutes, is to watch videos of her or her brothers on
  • Eats nearly anything and everything. If she doesn't like it, she will not humor you. It will be obvious immediately usually by an immediate spit out and then purposely feeding it to the dog.
  • Has very few toys that hold her interest -- at least not for more than a minute or two at a time. Exceptions include: her baby doll; and balls of all sorts and colors and sizes.
  • Loves her brothers terribly. Will let them help her, hold her, lead her, share with her.
  • Loves her dog more than the boys did at her age. Constantly giving him hugs.
  • Loves, loves, loves to be outside. It's all she wants to do really. She will stand by the door and beg and plead.
  • Is an absolute BEAR between 4-6pm. Her "bewitching hours" are fierce and full of much lamenting.
  • sleeps with a pacifier but is not allowed to have it out of her bed (or out of "resting" with us.)
  • sleeps through the night 7pm-6am (sometimes 7am).
  • naps two times a day (right now for a total of about 3 hours a day).
  • has a ton of signs. These include: all done, please, more, night-night, pacifier, eat, milk, up, hat and maybe a few others I am not thinking of.
  • seems quite tall for her age.
  • weighs around 25 pounds.
  • will ear almost any clothes I pick out. Will tell you if she is not comfortable wearing something.
  • gets very excited when Daddy gets home from work.
  • loves to be held and included in anything and everything you are doing. (It's her favorite pastime.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

The backseat

I made a statement last week about how I wondered what parents with short arms did when driving their children around. I meant more from the side of feeding, picking up toys, finding pacifiers, etc. However, someone posted a link to a Christian comedian discussing his ability to deal with kids misbehaving in the back seat. Really funny! Check it out!

Living Near Coast May Benefit Health

Isaac on the rocks which are literally a one minute walk from our house.
Living near the beach may come with an extra perk: better health.
A new study analyzed information from more than 48 million people in England and found that the nearer they lived to the coast, the more likely people were to report good health within the past year.

Living near the coast may be associated with better health because the seaside environment reduces stress the researchers said. They pointed to another British study that found that people who took trips to the coast experienced more feelings of calmness and relaxation than those who visited urban parks or the countryside.*

*Click here to read the full article.

My life here is ... vacation-like. Truly, every time I look out the window, take a walk, drive to the Base, I cannot help but think to myself, sometimes out loud ... "I live here! This is not a vacation."

Joni looked out the window of the third floor of our house and said, "People pay 400 bucks a night for a view like this."

I agree. I truly feel a sense of peace that I have never experienced anywhere else I have ever lived. I have truly fallen in love with this island and really feel that I could leave here for the rest of my life. To wake up and hear the ocean. To look out and see the waves. To be steps from the beach ... priceless.

Here are some other truths of our life in Portugal:
  • Nearly every place you go will have people who can speak English. Learning the language really seems not that important.
  • Portuguese is a very difficult language to learn because it varies from location to location. Azorean Portuguese is totally different from Brazilian Portuguese.
  • The Portuguese are very outgoing and nice but they do not seem to understand how to help us learn the language. In Turkey, I found my best teachers were the Turks. Here, the Portuguese seem to be the worst teachers. When I ask anyone how to say anything, they give me different answers with different pronunciations and also look at me like, "Why would you want to know?"
  • The people are very friendly. They do not stare at me or seem to give Americans any differential treatment.
  • The Base is about a 10-15 minute drive from our house.
  • While I miss the convenience and camaraderie of living on Base, living off-Base has definitely been great for our family. Our home is glorious and JB really needed to separate himself from work. (Hard to do as only one of two doctors on the Base.)
  • The Base is different from Turkey and Eglin in that the "Base Housing" is actually off-Base. It's a bit strange.
  • The Base is full of hills. Walking it with a stroller would be very difficult for me.
  • The Base is very similar to Turkey with the things they have. The major difference is that there is no food court. Although we do have a Subway (if that counts.) Otherwise, it is nearly the same as Turkey.
  • There are zero fast food restaurants on the entire island.
  • The island is very small. We drove around it the other day. You can do it in about two hours.
  • JB is very happy with the Clinic here. It is not perfect, but it is a very healthy work environment.
  • Portuguese men remind me a lot of Turkish men in how close they stand and how affectionate they are with each other and with children (and how often they appear to be sitting around doing nothing.)
  • The Portuguese culture is different from the Turkish culture health-wise. There is a lot more obesity here than there was in Turkey.
  • Driving on the island is really very similar to the USA. The biggest difference is that there are relatively no stop lights on the island. Instead, there are round-abouts everywhere (like in the middle of the highway.)
Any other questions that I am not thinking of?

To the "only one"

In a group of wives, you are single. And you want more than anything to find your forever partner.

In a group of moms, you are childless. And you would do anything for even one of the babies being talked about in conversation.

Or, you are hoping for a sibling for your child, and this time, it isn't happening. You'd like to not be drinking wine and celebrating the good news. Why is it taking so long?

Everyone has a good job. And you've just been laid off.

It's Mother's Day. You recently said good bye forever to your own Mom.

Among those happily married, your relationship is falling apart.

There's health and happiness and you are dealing with an illness or disappointment.

You feel like the only one. In a room full of friends, you feel like a stranger. Can people read your mind? You laugh and smile and carry on. But inside, your heart is pained.

I think of you. I don't think of you as the "only one." I think of you as part of us. You are a woman.

A friend. A sister. A daughter.

You are loyal, dedicated, encouraging, fun to hang out with.

I wish I could fix this one big hole in your life. But because I can't, I want to tell you that I am standing along side you. I feel what's missing. And I'm sorry it is.

While you wait, I will stand by your side and be your friend.


Here is an excerpt from Sarah Young's Jesus Calling that I felt parallelled this blog post.

Come to Me when you  are hurting, and I will soothe your pain. Come to Me when you are joyful, and I will share your joy, multiplying it many times over. I am all you need, just when you need it. Your deepest desires find fulfillment in Me alone.

This is the age of self-help. Bookstores abound with books about "taking care of number one," making oneself the center of all things. The main goal of these methodologies is to become self-sufficient and confident. You, however, have been called to take a "road less traveled": continual dependence on Me. True confidence comes from knowing you are complete in My Presence. Everything you need has its counterpart in Me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Parenting with Love & Logic: Review

I just finished the book Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay. 

I ... loved ... it.

Here is what I loved. They presented what JB and I have attempted to do with our children from the moment they were born. But we didn't know exactly why we were doing it or how  to do it ... exactly. It solidified the approach to parenthood that I have been striving for and sort of tied my parenting skills up with a neat little bow.

(Not implying that my parenting is that perfect, of course.)

So, I wanted to summarize, more for me then for anyone else, what I learned from Foster and Cline. I can't re-read the book weekly (although I honestly might be tempted to at least try for monthly.) But I can flash back to this review on my blog and remind myself what I learned during this very easy and enlightening read. (Please note that many of my summary sentences are word-for-word. I am avoiding quotation marks to make it an easier read.)

By the way, I actually finished this book about a month ago and have been working on implementing the techniques. While my husband has not read it, he's listened to me read excerpts galore, and he has easily slid into the techniques as well. We are in love with this book!



Parenting with Love & Logic is more of an attitude that will allow our children to grow in maturity as they grow in years. It will teach them to think, to decide, and to live with their decisions. In short, it will teach them responsibility, and that’s what parenting it all about. If we can teach our kids responsibility, we’ve accomplished a great portion of our parental task.

Parenting with Love and Logic is all about raising responsible kids. It’s a win-win philosophy. Parents win because they love in a healthy way and establish control over their kids without resorting to the anger and threats that encourage rebellious teenage behavior. Kids win because they learn responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems. Thus, they acquire the tools for coping with the real world.


All loving parents essentially face the same challenge: raising children who have their heads on straight and will have a good chance ofmaking it in the big world. Contrary to popular opinion, many of the worst kids -- the most disrespectful and rebellious -- often come from homes where they are shown love, but it's just the wrong kind of love. These parents include:

A. Helicopter Parents: Some parents think that love means revolving their lives around their chidlren. They are helicopter parents. They hover over and then rescue their children whenever trouble arises. The worst of these are the: Jet-powered Turbo-attack mode of Helicopter Parents. They go beyond bailing children out and trying to prevent pain and move into swooping down like jet-powered AH-64 Apache attack helicopters on any person or agency they see as a threat to their child's impeccable credentials. The company who hires a helicopter kid won't be intimidated by parental pressure in the face of substandard performance. A perfect image and spotless school transcript are poort subsitutes for character and the attitude that achievement comes through struggle and perserverance. Such aggressive protection of their children will simply accomplish the exact opposite of what helicopter parents are trying to achieve.

B. Drill Sergeant Parents: These parents, too, love their children. They feel that the more they bark and the more they control, the better their kids will bein the long run. The kids are constantly told what to do. These parents are into power. When given the chance to think for themselves, kids of Drill Sergeant Parents often make horrendous decisions. When they become teens they are more susceptible to peer pressure than other teens becasue when the costs of mistakes were low, as children, they were never allowed to make their own decisions. They were instead trained to listen to a voice outside of their head -- that of their parents.

C. Laissez-Faire Parent: These parents allow kids to raise themsleves. Some hvae bought into the theory that children are innately born witht he ability to govern themselves. Other's believe they should be the child's best friend. Others feel guilty for working and lavish gifts ont he child.

So what parenting style IS best?

D. The Consultant Parent: They ask their children questions and offer choices. Instead of telling their children what to do, they put the burden of decision making on their kids’ shoulders.


A Consultant Parent must:
  • allow for failures and help our kids make the most of them during their elementary school days, when the price tags are still reasonable.
  • remember that the price a child pays today to learn about friendships, school, learning, commitment, decision making, and responsibility is the cheapest it will ever be. Little children can make many mistakes at affordable prices. Usually all they’re out is some temporary pain and a few tears.
  • remind yourself that the older a child gets, the bigger the decisions become and the graver the consequences of those decisions.
  • not think that the cost of teaching our little tykes to make decisions it too high. “I love him. I don’t want little Johnny to learn the hard way," will mean little Johnny will do just that.
  • help teach our kids through natural consequences (significant learning opportunities or SLOs).
  • remember that pain is part of the price we must pay to raise responsible kids.
  • allow their children to fail -- to stand back, however painful it may be, and let SLOs build our children.
  • offer our children opportunities to be responsible. That’s the key. Parents who raise responsible kids spend very little time and energy worrying about their kids’ responsibilities; they worry more about how to let the children encounter SLOs for the irresponsibility
  • be involved with their kids, certainly, lovingly using good judgment as to when their children are ready to learn the next level of life’s lessons.
  • Children's mistakes are their opportunities! Oftentimes we impede our kids’ growth. We put ourselves exactly where we shouldn’t be: in the middle of their problems. Parents who take on their kids’ problems do them a great disservice. They rob their children of the chance to grow in responsibility, and they actually foster further irresponsible behavior.

Children with a poor self-concept often forget to do homework, bully other kids, argue with teachers and parents, steal, and withdraw into themselves whenever things get rocky—irresponsible in all they do. Children with a good self-concept tend to have a lot of friends, do their chores regularly, and don’t get into trouble in school—they take responsibility as a matter of course in their daily lives.

When parenting with Love and Logic, we strive to offer our children a chance to develop that needed positive self-concept.

The building of a person’s self-concept can be compared to building a three-legged table. Such a table will stand only when all three supports are strong. If any one of the legs is weak, the table will wobble and rock.

Our children’s three-legged table of self-concept is built through the implied messages we give. These messages either build them up and allow them to succeed by themselves or add to childhood discouragement and reduced self-esteem.
  • Leg One: I am loved by the “magic people” in my life. Strong, effective parents say in both their covert and overt messages, “There’s a lot of love here for you regardless of the way you act or do your work at school or anyplace else.” When this love is combined with pats on the back, hugs, a smile, and eye contact, a tight bond is created between parent and child.
  • Leg Two: I have the skills I need to make it. Each child must feel he or she can compete with other kids in the classroom, on the ball field, at home—anywhere kids interact. Children must know that within themselves are the necessary ingredients to handle life and that they have the abilities to succeed.
  • Leg Three: I am capable of taking control of my life. Many parents tell their children they expect them to be responsible for themselves, yet these same parents are forever informing their kids when they are hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or tired, or even when they need to go to the bathroom. We’ve all heard these messages:
    • “Put on your coat. It’s too cold for you to be going out without it.”
    • “You can’t be hungry. We just ate an hour ago.”
    • “Sit down and be quiet. You don’t need another drink.”
    • “Be sure to use the bathroom before we leave.”
Each of these message tells children they are not capable of thinking for themselves, that they cannot take control of their life and make decisions.

Kids get the most out of what they accomplish for themselves. Children will get more out of making their own decision -- even if it is wrong -- than they will out of parents making that decision for them. Sometimes that means standing by as our kids struggle to complete a task we could easily help them with or do for them.

They must know we love them whether they succeed or not, and we can support and encourage them along the way as long as we don’t take their efforts away from them. By letting our kids work their way through age-appropriate tough times when they are younger, we are preparing them to effectively face truly tough times down the road.

Kids who develop an attitude that says, I can probably find my own solutions, become survivors. They have an edge in learning, relating to others, and making their way in the world. That’s because the best solution to any problem lies within the skin of the person who owns the problem.


Over the years, we have used two principles to guide what we wanted Love and Logic to be: the first was that it had to be as effective as possible, and the second was that we wanted to keep it as simple as possible so that parents could remember it even in the midst of highly emotional times. Because of this, we have summarized the Love and Logic method in two simple rules that will help you do all that we have discussed so far:

1. Adults must set firm, loving limits using enforceable statements without showing anger, lecturing, or using threats. This is often best done by giving choices that are within your firm, loving limits. Here are a few examples:
  • “Please feel free to join us for dinner when your room is clean.”
  • “Would you prefer to wear something nice to church or go in your pajamas?”
  • “Feel free to join us in the living room to watch some television once your chores are finished.”
Make sure that you are willing to enforce whatever choices you give. It won’t take too many times of following through on the less desirable choice before your child will understand that either option is truly acceptable to you and that you will carry it out. (This is something, I, personally, am constantly asking myself before I offer a consequence. Is this a consequence I am willing to follow through on? If it isn't, I don't offer it.)

2. When a child causes a problem, the adult shows empathy through sadness and sorrow and then lovingly hands the problem and its consequences back to the child. This reinforces that the parent will not take ownership of the problems or consequences caused by their children’s bad choices but will gladly love them through solving those problems for themselves and dealing with those consequences.

To repeat: The best solution to any problem lies within the skin of the person who rightfully owns the problem.

Setting Limits Through Thinking Words

Just because we recommend that parents shy away from issuing orders and imposing their solutions on their kids’ problems does not mean we give license to all sorts of misbehavior. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither of us is in any way soft on misbehavior.

True, we allow our kids to mess up, and we don’t drive home the lesson of their misdeeds with our words. We are slow to lecture; we never actually tell our kids what they have just learned. We believe telling our kids what to think is counterproductive.

So if we don’t order our kids around, how do we talk to them? How do we set limits on their behavior without telling them what to do?

Love and Logic parents insist on respect and obedience, just as command-oriented parents do. But when Love and Logic parents talk to their children, they take a different approach. Instead of the fighting words of command-oriented parents, they use thinking words.

Thinking words -- used in question form and expressed in enforceable statements—are one of the keys to parenting with Love and Logic. They place the responsibility for thinking and decision making on the children.

That’s why, from early childhood on, parents must always be asking thinking questions:
  • “Would you rather carry your coat or wear it?”
  • “Would you rather play nicely in front of the television or be noisy in your room?”
We don’t use fighting words:
  • You put that coat on now!”
  • “I’m trying to watch this football game, so be quiet!”
Fighting words invite disobedience. When we use them, we draw a line in the sand and dare our kids to cross it. They will fight the limits we impose when we use fighting words.

By using thinking words we are able to set limits on our children’s behavior without telling them what to do. For instance, if we want the lawn mowed before they eat their next meal, we set that limit by offering them a choice: of mowing the lawn and eating, or of not doing the lawn and not eating.
Using enforceable thinking words, giving choices, displaying no anger—these are the ingredients for establishing firm limits with our kids.

Gaining Control Through Choices

Giving even the smallest children a certain amount of freedom and control over their lives instills in them the sense of responsibility and maturity we want them to have. Independence helps children learn about the real world as their wisdom grows from the results of their decisions.

However, there is a downside: We can give our kids too much control, and kids with too much control are not pleasant to be around. They’re brats.

What, then, is the right amount of control to give children?

The secret to establishing control is to concentrate on fighting battles that we know we can win. That means we must select the issues very carefully. We must pick areas where we do have control over our kids. Then we must offer choices in those areas.

We may not be able to make Emma eat when she’s at the table -- that’s an unwinnable battle -- but we can control whether she’s at the table or not. We may not be able to control when Justin does his chores, but we can make sure he does them before he eats his next meal. We may not be able to control the disrespectful words that pop out of Alyssa’s mouth, but we can make sure she doesn’t use them in our presence -- we send her away until she can speak reasonably with us.

We cannot afford to demand blind obedience to our every wish. When faced with such demands, kids dig in their heels and hold out for their own values -- and that’s a control battle we’ll lose every time.

One reason choices work is that:
  • they create situations in which children are forced to think. Kids are given options to ponder, courses of action to choose. They must decide.
  • choices provide opportunities for children to make mistakes and learn from the consequences. With every wrong choice the children make, the punishment comes not from us but from the world around them.
  • they hep us avoid getting into control battles with our children. Finally choices provide our children with opportunities to hear that we trust their thinking abilities, thus building their self-confidence and the relationship between us and them.
In summary, as we offer choices to our kids, we should remember five basic points:
  1. Always be sure to select choices that you as a parent like and can live with. Don’t provide one you like and one you don’t, because the child will usually select the one you don’t like.
  2. Never give a choice unless you are willing to allow the child to experience the consequences of that choice.
  3. Never give choices when the child is in danger.
  4. Always give only two verbal choices, but make sure the child knows there is an implied third choice: If he doesn’t decide then you’ll decide for him.
  5. Your delivery is important. Try to start your sentence with one of the following:
  • “You’re welcome to _____ or _____.”
  • “Feel free to _____ or _____.”
  • “Would you rather _____ or _____?”
  • “What would be best for you— _____ or _____?”
The Recipe for Success: Empathy with Consequences

As children misuse their power and control, unwise parents show frustration, anger, and often plead. Wise parents allow natural and imposed consequences to do the teaching. And they are empathetic.
When we send kids to bed early because they sassed us, we are doling out punishment. When children tote home all Ds and Fs on a report card and we rescind television privileges for two months, we are not allowing the consequences of mistakes to do the teaching.

The best consequences are those that fall naturally. If Aubrey is a nuisance at the dinner table and chooses to play on the floor rather than eat nicely at the table, then it only makes sense that she’ll be hungry at bedtime. If Seth continually neglects his schoolwork and brings home failing grades, then staying back a grade makes sense. Naturally falling consequences allow the cause and effect of our children’s actions to register in their brains. When they ask themselves, Who is making me hurt like this? their only answer is, Me.

But these consequences put a painful, sinking feeling into our stomachs as parents. They’re exactly the things we don’t want to happen to our children. Dylan gets cold when he doesn’t wear his jacket. Samantha gets hungry when she goes to bed without eating. We are tempted to remind them of the pain of cold and the misery of hunger. But if we want the consequences to do their work effectively, we cannot afford to take that luxury.

While naturally occurring consequences are best, occasionally our children’s actions don’t lend themselves to such consequences. In those cases, we must impose consequences ourselves.
When no consequences occur naturally, the imposed consequences must:
  • be enforceable,
  • fit the “crime,” and
  • be laid down firmly in love.
Sometimes these imposed consequences look conspicuously like punishments. But when imposed without anger and threats, and when presented to our children in a way that the connection between their misbehavior and the consequences is made plain, they are quite effective.

We don’t get angry, we don’t say, “I told you so,” and we don’t sit our kids down and lecture them about their errors. If we did those things, we would be impeding the logic of the consequences from doing their thing. The child’s anger would be directed toward us and not toward the lesson the consequences teach.

The thing that drives the lesson into our children’s hearts after they make a mistake is our empathy and sadness. Our love for them reigns supreme. And a foul-up, regardless of how serious on their part, doesn’t change anything. They must be told that message continually.

They may be having a hard time with their lives, they may have made a mistake and will have to live with the consequences, but we’re in their corner and love them just the same. Empathy about the consequences shows our kids that kind of love. It allows the logic of the consequences to do the teaching.


Ineffective Technique (IT): "Please sit down. We are going to eat."
Love and Logic Technique (LLT): "We will eat as soon as you are seated."

IT: "Don't shout at me."
LLT: "I listen to people who do not yell at me."

IT: "Pay attention."
LLT: "I'll start again as soon as I know you are with me."

IT: "I'm not loaning you anymore money."
LLT: "I lend money to those who have collateral."

IT: "You're not going out without your coat."
LLT: "You may go out as soon as you have your coat."

IT: "Get this room cleaned up right now."
LLT: "You may join us for ice cream as soon as your rooom is clean."


Love and Logic ideas may seem overwhelming. There’s much to remember: thinking words, separation of problems, choices, empathy with the consequences. It’s enough to exasperate anyone unschooled in the Love and Logic style -- that is, were they to try to apply it all at once.

So if Love and Logic is brand-new to you, implement it a little at a time. Pick one thing that bothers you about your child’s behavior -- one thing that you think you would have good success of correcting with Love and Logic principles -- and then work on it with one principle you have learned from this book.

Even if our kids are in their teens and have never been exposed to Love and Logic discipline, they -- and we -- can benefit from our putting it to use. The important thing is to build a relationship with our kids that will last a lifetime -- long past the end of their adolescent years. And it is never too late to work on that.

Our children are our most precious resource. They come to us with one request: “During our short eighteen years with you, please teach us the truth about life and prepare us to be responsible adults when we leave home and enter the real world.”

Let’s grant our kids’ request. Let’s love them enough to allow them to learn the necessary and crucial skills of responsible thinking and living.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Food Fun

There is a group of stay-at-home moms here in Porto Martins. Most of us have children who are pre-school age, but we are all considering homeschooling. We have decided to randomly get together to do some fun activities.
A few weeks ago, my friend Kristy had a few other kids over to make fun things with food. She had tons of different foods there for the kids to pick and create. It was SOOOO fun (and tasted yummy too.)
 Here is one of the samples Kristy made.
 Helping Sidge pick his "supplies."
 Here is our group. There's Carla and then to her left, jackson, Sidge, me, Max, Isaac, Jonah, and Noah.
Isaac helping (or eating) Jonah's creation. 

Isaac actually really got into creating. He called his a "crazy house."

Sidge wanted to make a scooter. 

 Abigail watching ...
 Another one of Kristy's beautiful creations.

Isaac eating his "crazy house".

Kristy had many things available for "glue" like frosting, peanut butter, and nutella. Abigail and the nutella became fast friends.
After snacks, we decided to make "project pasta" for lunch. The kids take spaghetti and stick it through hotdogs. Way fun!

Friday, October 26, 2012

John, Becky, Joshua, and Jonah

I was waiting for this announcement to "go public" before I posted about it on my blog.

My friend Becky is very special to me. A fellow infertility and adoptive mom that I met when our husbands were stationed together at Eglin AFB, she is currently mom to one adopted son Joshua and anxiously awaiting news to travel to pick up son number two ... Jonah.

She is also preparing for her husband to deploy. (You can read her announcement for herself by clicking here.)

I have learned so much from Becky about adopting older children internationally. Adopting an older child from a different culture is very unlike adopting a newborn from the USA (as we did.) It is a complicated process in many ways and requires very special proceudres to assure proper bonding between parents and child.

To find out that her husband John might miss this homecoming, that she might have to handle the intense adjustment issues that Jonah will face, and to mother their other son at the same time, all while away from family at their new base in Arizona, is quite a big pill to swallow. To think about her husband not meeting Jonah until he is two ... I can't even think about that.

Could you join me in praying for John and Becky. Let's surround her with prayer to the point that she feels stronger than she ever thought possible. We all know she can totally do this. She knows she can do this. But who would want to do this or feel strong enough to do this? Becky is an amazing woman, and I have no doublt she will tackle this incredibly well. But I want her to tackle it feeling the weight lifted off her shoulders by all of us as we come before the Lord on her behalf.

When the deployment actually takes place, I will post again to share additional ways that you can help me, as Becky's friend, stand alongside her during this difficult and amazingly awesome time in her life.

Kookie Katerpillar

Isaac saw this picture in a book we got from the library:

So Joni decided to try her hand. Joni is quite handy in the kitchen so to see her not get quite the same result as the picture, made me feel much better about my own skills! Here, is the final result. Laugh away but they tasted good! (And the kids really enjoyed putting the food coloring in the frosting and mixing it.)

I know buddy. Me either.

I imagine that my hormones are not in as stable a situation as they can be. I have started medications in preparation for my upcoming IVF transfer in December.

However, hormones are not, I'm feeling sad today. Joni went home. Last night, the night before she left, I surprised myself by having a good ol' cry with her still present. I never do this. I always hold in -- at least until after she leaves.

And I realized, when I cried, that it was the first time I had allowed myself a really good cry since before we had left Turkey. In all the months of moving, I had not ever cried. Teared up. Been sad. But not really just cried about all I was saying good bye to and losing.

Last night, and into this morning, I grieved having to move so much. I grieved saying good bye to people over and over and over again. I love our life. But a big part of me just wants to settle down. Good byes are obviously a part of life. But they don't feel quite so "big" when you are in the same country. They definitely feel smaller here in Portugal than they did in Turkey. But the people I love still feel so ... far away.

We'll see Joan and everyone at Christmas. But saying good bye just STINKS. I hate it. The boys, while not crying about departures yet, are starting to talk about them afterward. Sidge said, "I just really didn't want Joni to go home."

I know buddy. Me either. What a great visit. What a wonderful time.

Good bye sweet Joni. Thank you for being one cool chick and loving my kids so much. I can't wait to see you all and the grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in just a few weeks.

Friday Funnies

While driving home one night after AWANAs, JB had to get and open the gate using the button the garden wall.
John: "The battery on my electric opener is dead."
Sidge: "It died?"
Me: "Well, it isn't really dead. I mean, it will come back to life. It's like it is sleeping."
Sidge: "So was it really tired?"
Isaac was playing with an old cell phone that we had turned into a toy. Joni said to him, "I don't think it works anymore, Isaac." Isaac looked up at her and nearly rolled his eyes as he said, "Joni, I'm just pretending."
Sidge can talk very fast and look in a thousand other directions when he is trying to talk to you. Since he is already hard to understand, this can cause problems when he is desperately trying to communicate something "important." Aunt Connie has been trying to slow him down. She'll say, "Okay look at me. Keep talking while you are looking at me. Slow down." Tonight she added, "Hold my eyes," to her request. Sidge actually put his hands on her face and tried to hold her eyes.
As I imagine is often the case in a home with two boys about the same age, the use of the word penis has seemed to become very popular. We've had to tell the boys all of the things they can and cannot do and say in regards to their male body part ... In the bathtub tonight, Sidge was putting a car under his penis -- making a sort of bridge. Isaac stopped him by saying, "Sidge, we are not supposed to talk about our penises!"
Sidge: "Mommy, how old are you?"
Me: "I'm thirty-five."
Sidge: "Oh. Joni is twenty-one."
As a little sister of two big brothers, Abigail has started to observe her brothers, repeatedly, lifting up their shirts to go potty -- either in the bathroom or in the backyard. The other day, after watching her brothers both go potty in the backyard, she started yanking at her shirt, trying to pull it up. Joni thought she wanted it off so she obliged and took it off for her. Abigail then immediately went up to the flowers where her brothers were just standing and leaned her belly forward, obviously attempting to copy their performance.
Joni has attempted to set her hair while here, despite the rainy weather. Whenever Joni is ready to take her rollers out, she has always said (for as long as I can remember), "I need to go take my hair out." Of course, what she means is, "I need to take my rollers out." You should have seen my take-everything-literally-little-boys react when they heard Joni say that. They both spun around and then quickly followed her to the bathroom, obviously thinking We've got to see this!
"Awwwwn, nuts!" has become a very popular phrase in our household recently. We are allowing it, but remind the kids that there are often better ways to reply. For example, Sidge was told to share something with his sister.
Sidge: "Awwwwn, nuts!"
Me: "Oh, that's too bad. If you would have said 'yes ma'am' instead of 'awwww nuts!' I would have given you a penny for your piggy bank. But now you don't get one."
Sidge: "Could I have one more chance?"
Me: "Not this time. I'm sorry."
Sidge: "Awwww, nuts!"
We've realized that Abigail is going to make more and more of a debut on the blog. She's starting to get her own humor and personality. When we sent Sidge to timeout the other day, she went with him. When he was done, she stepped in, faced the wall, and then looked back to see if anyone was watching.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jesus Calling Excerpt

Joni, long ago, got me hooked on the Jesus Calling book. I read an excerpt the other day that especially ministered to me. I've been feeling quite old lately. So far removed from my volleyball and basketball days. And then I read this:

"I am your living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down. Even the most superb athlete cannot mantain his fitness over many decades. Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone. Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body. Instead, view it as the prelud to My energy's infusion into your being.

As you identify more and more fully with Me, My Life becomes increasingly intertwined with yours. Though the process of aging continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years. Those who live close to Me develop an inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years. Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the light with Me."

Pre-Halloween Dress-Up

On Saturday, our friends Nick & Kristy had a birthday party for their two-year-old son Jonah. They decided to go off the Curious George costume party story, and they therefore asked all the kids to dress up. We decided this would be a perfect practice attempt for Halloween festivities.
So first, we needed to get our little bumblee ready. Joni gave her this outfit. She is, however, not a fan of the itchy material, and started making the sign for "all done" nearly immediately (despite a little undershirt to help cut down the scratchiness.)

She looks content here with my homemade bee antennaes but that is only because we brought out bribery to try and get a photo.
Here she is acting quite miserable:
Brother Sidge in his costume ... he wanted to be a Chef:

And here they are, the three of them: Clifford, a Bumbleebee, and a Chef (being bribed with gummy worms.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

EpiPen Jr.

Anaphylaxis (a-na-fi-LAX-is) is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur quickly (as fast as within a couple of minutes). Symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) vary, but can include hives, itching, flushing, and swelling of the lips, tongue, and roof of mouth. The airway is often affected, resulting in tightness of the throat, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. EpiPen® is an Auto-Injector for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions
Our son Isaac is allergic to eggs. We avoid quiches and any form of eggs, but he has been fine with baked goods. He does, however, seem to have trouble with cremes and puddings and whipped creme type stuff. We have carried EpiPens with us since we first found out about his allergy when he was very young. He had woken up one day completely swollen, and we didn't know why. The second time his face swelled up, it was at the exact moment I put scrambled eggs to his lips. That confirmed what he was allergic to. However, in all that time, we have only had to administer the shot three times: two times JB did it. One time, our friend Linda (a pediatrician) was there, and she did it. The last time was well over a year ago.
But today, there was no John and there was no Linda. There was Joni and me at an ice cream shop/restaurant, and Isaac trying a new kind of ice cream: Cookies & Creme. Normally, Isaac always wants strawberry or vanilla or some combination of these two. But this time, he decided to try something different. And nearly immediately, he started telling me that his throat was hurting badly.
His cheeks got very flushed, and he started pulling at his neck -- pinching bunches of skin and kind of yanking on it. He asked to try my ice cream instead to help his throat feel better, but he wasn't finding relief. He saw marshmallows in my bag and asked if he could have some of those to help his throat. I let him, but of course, those didn't help. As he has aged, we have noticed that the facial swelling has not seemed to take place. Instead he has thrown up or complained of a numb tongue. He has never told me his throat was hurting. Hearing that really spooked me.
I always carry the pens, but I had left them in my purse in the van. So I told Joni I was going to run out and get them. On the way back in, I realized I had an old cell phone that they gave JB for emergencies in my purse. I looked through the numbers and saw that Nick & Kristy's number was in the saved contacts. I called Kristy. She gave me the number for Nick's office. Nick answered. He told me to give Isaac the shot immediately, but he also put JB on the phone just so I could hear his reassuring voice.
"He's acting a little bit better," I pleaded, even though I knew what he was going to tell me to do.
"It doesn't matter. With an airway, you should always be safe and just give the shot. You have to do it," he said. "Just remember to hold it in for 10 seconds."
Isaac, meanwhile, was acting fairly normal but was still pulling at his throat. He was telling me he was "okay" but that he wanted to go home and go to bed. I remembered JB's past words to me about children. That they will look good and then collapse, all of a sudden. I remembered him telling me that most people who die of  anaphylaxis, know that they have an allergy. They either forgot the medicine or they didn't administer it. I remembered him telling me that if I was ever in doubt, I should just give the shot. An extra dose of epinephrine (aka "epi") will never hurt him. But if an airway closes up, it may be too late.
So while Joni entertained Sidge and Abigail, I dropped Isaac' jeans and explained to him what I was going to do. I felt absolutely horrible. He was crying and yelling over and over again, "I don't want a shot! I don't want the EpiPen!" I knew I was doing something that needed to be done. But I didn't want to hurt my son. I didn't want him to cry. But yet I knew that I knew best.
Stabbing him was the first hard part. The second was holding it there for ten seconds while he begged for me to take it out.
As I removed it, it bled a lot, and JB was calling again. He told me that, as with any need to use an EpiPen, you should immediately seek medical attention. (I also always carry two pens just in case a second dose was needed.)
We headed up to the Clinic where the staff was expecting us. Isaac was very upset. He was mad at me and wanted Joni to hold him. He wouldn't immediately go to JB when he saw him as he was afraid of another shot. He just kept saying, "I want to go straight home and get my blue bear and small doggie." But as JB held him and assured him that a second shot was "highly unlikely," Isaac relaxed a bit, and by the time we were given the all-clear, he was nearly back to his normal self. When you give the shot, the lips immediately lose color and the face goes very pale. I was excited to see his color returning and we pulled into the house.
So, what did I learn today:
  • I must make sure I always have my pens with me. I cannot imagine how fearful I would have been if I had not had those with me.
  • I should not even stop to call JB. if he complains of his throat hurting, do not lose time. Give the shot right away.
  • I need to stay "fresh" when it comes to thinking about what he is eating. I need to especially pay attention when he is trying a new food.
But the biggest thing I learned was actually probably something I knew but was being reminded of. I was reminded of HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US. I realized that in the times in my life when I have been in pain, God may have even been administering the shot, but that He was doing it with my BEST INTEREST IN MIND. He was standing there saying, "Wendi, I know this hurts. But I am doing this because I love you. Something bad has happened, and I am going to help make it better. If you trust me, this will all come out okay." I love my son sooooo much. I was doing this because I love him. I would have done anything in that moment to make sure he was okay.

I never knew that my children would help illustrate for me, so perfectly, the amazing love of our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Request for Island

Dear Terceira Island,

I would prefer if the frequent power outtages that you as an island are known for would not take place during 6-8am.

Did you remember that it is at least 8am this time a year before the sun even BEGINS to peek out? Did you even think about how hard that would be for me?

Pitch black outside + wide awake very hungry kids = less than idea.

Or, maybe I should just write this note to God and ask him to let my kids sleep in until 8am?

Nevermind island. I have a better idea ...

Dear God,

Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

I had never heard of a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker.  (Not sure if this makes me incredibly clueless or incredibly normal. No idea.) So for those of you who are as clueless as me, here is a photo of this little George-Foreman-look-a-like:
I was recently given the opportunity to blog review a series of books. One of the first books I received was  The Big Book of Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Recipes: Homemade Bite-Sized Fun! This book actually made me want to get one of these machines. Not that I will. I don't bake. And I try to keep baked goods out of my house since I have absolutely no will power. However, for any of you that have one of these little machines (and even if you don't and actually cook these cake pops the old fashioned way), this little cookbook will definitely interest you.  

Cake pops are so much fun to make, decorate and serve! By popular demand, they're back in this comprehensive cookbook that will appeal to novice and experienced cake pops enthusiasts alike.
These all-new recipes feature brand new flavors and completely unique applications for the amazingly versatile Babycakes® cake pop maker. Other new features include innovative gifts, displays and decorating ideas that showcase the cake pops in a wide range of holidays and occasions -- whether it's a graduation party or a wedding shower.
The topics have been expanded and new ones unveiled -- everything from meatballs, tapas, breakfast bites, donuts and donut holes, to brownies, biscuits and so much more. And the all-important Cakes and Sweets section has also been expanded to include every imaginable flavor, color and decorating technique.

Since I will not be using this cookbook myself, I'd love to give it away to someone who would. Leave a comment with at least your first name and your email address, and I'll randomly pick a winner!

Good luck!