Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blessings ahead

A while back I wrote about my struggle with my husband's vasectomy and my deep desire to have more children. About a month ago, I just was feeling this overwhelming desire to have a baby. I sat down with my husband and we had a long talk about it. At the end of our discussion he agreed to consider a vasectomy reversal. We did a lot of talking, praying, & research. One day, he decided to call a friend of ours, actually it's our old pastor. He told him what we were considering and asked for prayer/advice. His friend told him to "man up", which totally caught dh off guard (and made me giggle.) He said if it's weighing that heavy on my heart and was something that we both were feeling strongly about then he just needed to do it. It wasn't at all what dh thought he would hear, but it was exactly what he needed. They also talked about the fact that children are blessings from God. The next day we talked a bit, and as dh was leaving the bedroom he said, "book the appointment" and walked out. I was shocked! There were just so many "signs" that led him to believe that God was really telling him that this was what we needed to do.

We're in the planning stages now. We're saving up for the procedure and trying to figure out the perfect timing. I've also started tracking my cycles so that we will have a good idea when/if I'm ovulating. (we will probably plan the VR where it will work out well with my cycle) We're looking at late February, early March 2012. We're not telling many people, just my best friend, his friend (and his wife), & dh's boss, plus my group of online friends :). We decided there was no reason to tell everyone until there was something to tell. We didn't want to hear people's negative comments on our decision nor did we want people asking how it was going. We're getting really excited about the whole thing and praying hard that everything works out well and we're able to get pregnant.

I want to thank all the wonderful people who were so encouraging to me when I expressed my feelings. You're all such blessings to me! <3

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Thank you to my amazing husband who is allowing me to share his beautiful testimony! I love you with all my heart darling and thank God for you every day! -GM

I didn't grow up in a Christian home and can only remember going to church a handful of times. I'm the oldest of 4. My siblings are 7 yrs (brother), 10 yrs (brother), & 13 yrs (sister) younger. I had a strange relationship with my father, I always felt he treated me just a bit diferrently than my siblings. (I didn't find out until I was an adult that he was not my biological father but had adopted me when he married my mother.) My mom was overly strict on some things, cleaning especially, and very leniant on other things, when, where, & who I hung out with. My parents split when I was a teen (not a great time for a boy) due to my father's infidelity, and I didn't handle it well. I began to start down a dangerous path. I started smoking, drinking, & eventually moved to smoking pot.

At age 17, my first son was born. I was more interested in partying with friends than being a parent, and was not a big part of his life at that time. His mother and I did not stay together long. I was partying more and more, and getting into trouble on a regular basis. At age 19, my second son was born. At this time my mother intervened. She didn't want me to be "that guy" and insisted I marry the mother of son #2. I was so messed up at this point that I just did what I was told and we were married after he was born. Not long after we married, my grandfather passed away. He was one of my biggest heroes and my biggest male role model. I did not take it well. On the day of his funeral, I was absent. That was also the day I moved onto stronger drugs. My wife at the time introduced me to meth to "take the edge off". This began a downward spiral. Our marriage was short lived. She was unwilling to be faithful, and I was unwilling to overlook that fact so we divorced. Thankfully, I was able to get full custody of son #2. And thankfully, my mother was around to help me with him and keep him away from the bad. I was moving a lot but tried to be the best father I could be under the circumstances.

In 2000, something happened that changed the path in which my life was going. I was arrested for drugs and sent to prison. Of course, at that time I could see nothing good coming out of those circumstances, but God had great plans ahead. After a while I was moved to a work release program 3 hours away from my home town. I didn't know anyone (this turned out to be a good thing!) I had a case worker who I didn't particularly care for because I felt like he wasn't working hard for me. (remember this, it's important!) Just before Thanksgiving in 2001, I was hired to work at a Quick Lube, but they were unable to start me until after the holidays. I found another Quick Lube that was able to start me immediately, so I decided to work there instead. (FYI, when you're in prison, you will do anything to leave the facility, even if it's just going to work.) (Oh, and another funny thing, the first job I had lined up is where I'm now working almost 10 years later.) My first day of work, I walked in and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. And she was my boss. (also important)

I was released from prison in February of 2002. Of course I learned my lesson and stayed as far as possible from all illegal activities, right? Wrong. The first thing I did when I was released was go get high. S L O W    L E A R N E R!! A few months after I was out, I began talking to the girl from work. She was happy to be my friend, but it was made perfectly clear that she would never date anyone who did drugs of any kind. She had been through all that with her ex. Eventually, I quit the hard stuff, but was still smoking pot. I even made plans with the girl to go on a float trip that summer. The morning we were supposed to go, I was so messed up from the night before and I never showed up or called.

In August 2002, my son went for a scheduled visitation with his mother over the weekend. (He was living with my mother during this time.) She did not show up on the day she was scheduled to bring him home. Without anyone's knowledge, she had moved out of town and enrolled him in the local school. This was my wakeup call. I went "home" to my mother's to get my son back. Thinking there was a possiblity of a routine drug test, I quit smoking pot as well. We showed up at the school, with police in tow, and took him back home (to my mother's.) I stayed a few days then returned to the town of my job. It was nearly a month before I ever heard anything from my ex. She simply called and asked, "where is C?" like she just suddenly realized he never came home from school A MONTH AGO! Needless to say, she lost all visitation rights after that.

A few weeks after that, I called the girl to see if she wanted to get together. The day came for our date (though neither of us was really sure if it was really a date or not) and I had no money to take her out. It looked as if I was going to have to stand her up, AGAIN. My boss, and some fellow employees,  said no way. They were not going to allow me to ruin this, so they gathered money together to make the date happen. On September 6, 2002 we went on our first date. Yes, it was definitely a date! We have been inseparable since that time, rarely spending time apart. (On the way to the movies she let out a little secret. Remember that case worker I couldn't stand? Yeah. He was her uncle!! I almost jumped out of the truck. Boy am I glad I didn't.) We were engaged by the end of October and had plans to marry the next summer. We didn't make it that long. On March 24, 2003 we went to the Chapel by the Courthouse and said our vows. Two months after we were married my 2nd son came to live with us.

After we were married, she occasionally dragged me to Church. It was ok, but not something I was used to. I can remember one night we were talking about God and she was crying. She didn't want to be married to someone who she would not be spending eternity with. But I still wasn't ready to make that commitment. In 2004, we were expecting our 1st biological child. Our 2 boys (she had a son as well) talked me into going to a presentation at Church. It scared the hell out of me, and got the wheels turning. She was dragging me to Church more and more often and we were always spending time with her family (who were praying behind my back ;) ) We began working on fixing up an old family house to move into before the baby was born. We were spending a lot of time working with her family and church friends. On August 31, 2004, we were at home getting ready to head over to work on the other house when there was a knock on the door. It was 2 men and a lady. I recognized one of the guys, he and his brother had been helping us work on the house. Turns out the others were the church pastor and one of the sweetest ladies from the church. They were doing church visitation and the man I knew had suggested they stop by our house. They talked a little. Then the pastor asked me a simple question. "If you were to die today, do you know where you would go?" I was a 28 year old man. Statistically it was very unlikely that I would accept salvation at that point in my life. No one expected me to. My response? "Let's do this." While tears streamed down my wife's face, I accepted Christ as my Savior. 7 years ago today I made the most important decision of my life.

It's easy to look back at circumstances and be angry about some of the outcomes, but had any one of those things gone differently, my life may have gone a drastically different direction. I'm thankful for those obstacles. I would not be where I am today or have the life I have without them. God is amazing! Even though we may not always understand why things happen He does.

BTW, that Pastor is now one of my best friends.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First day of school

Oh me oh my. I'm pretty beat from today so this probably won't be a long post, but I did want to share how our first day went.

First of all, I could. not. sleep. last night. Sometime after 3:00am I finally fell asleep so of course the dog had to wake me at 5:00am to go out. (She rarely ever gets up that early.) I got a little more sleep after that and when my hubby left for work I laid down for "just a few more minute" (I even set my alarm) and work up much later than I had planned. So I was "tardy" for my first day, lol. Thankfully, I had planned a shorter day just in case we had some obstacles. I'd have to say that one of the things I've been worrying about the most is the ability to give each child adequate attention while keeping the 3 year old out of the boys way. It wasn't too bad. For the most part she listened while T & I did our readings. When he did his handwriting, she asked for some letters to copy (she likes me to write them in dots for her to trace) and I went ahead and made her some numbers to copy while we did math. We did our picture study all together as a group and when we were done S wanted to draw. She drew a castle, the part of the painting that stood out the most to her. Overall, I was pretty impressed with her. I had K (14 yr old) work on the things he could do independently while I was working with T since he needs my help more and once T's work was complete, he & S played quietly while I helped K with the more intense parts of his work and he shared with me what he had learned so far. Everybody raved about how much they loved it, which was a huge relief to me. I know that not everyday is going to go this well, but I'm so glad that we've started off well. Tomorrow will be a bit more intense, but I feel more prepared. I'm so happy I stuck with it rather than listening to those negative thoughts (and sometimes negative people) and giving up.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New school year & life as I know it

Only 2 days to go. I may or may not have chewed my nails down to the nubs. Yes, in just 2 days we will begin our homeschooling adventure. I'm not sure if I'm brave or crazy. I will be homeschooling my 14 yr old & 6 yr old as well as entertaining my 3 yr old. My 16 yr old has decided to stay in public school since he's just got 2 years left. I am glad that I've found a great homeschool curriculum at and I really think the kids are going to enjoy it. I love that it's a Christian based curric. and that we will be doing a lot of enrichment type work (art, music, & some form of foreign language, possibly adding in sign language at some point) and a lot of outdoor activities. I'm taking the first week slowly and even thinking about spreading it over a 2 week period since this is so new to us and quite a bit more intense than what they're used to in public school.

There have been a few frustrations and obstacles in my planning. First, I've been having computer & printer problems. DD,  3 yr old, got ahold of the laptop when I wasn't looking and did some interesting things to it. I'm lucky that my best friend's husband is a computer genius and was able to fix the problems with the laptop. Sadly, it looks like the printer has printed it's last item. He seems to think it may have been dropped, did I mention I have 4 kids? Of course I didn't find this out until after I bought brand new ink. I'm hoping to get the other printer up & running tonight, which means I'll be printing everything off tomorrow or later tonight. Second issue, all my books haven't arrived yet. They were supposed to be here today, but didn't make it. Hopefully they'll arrive Monday. If not, we'll just improvise and work them in as they arrive. Either way it will be an interesting, and exciting, adventure.

It's been an exciting an somewhat strange summer. We had about 45 days of 100*+ temps which landed us inside more often than not. I'm actually looking forward to some cooler weather, which is odd for me because I generally prefer the warmer temps. My aunt has been home since the end of July, she's a Missionary in China. (not sure if that's actually safe to post here, hmmm) We've had a lot of fun with her and are not looking forward to sending her off next weekend. This year she's going back as a student rather than a teacher. She'll be attending the University where she lives to study Chinese and attempt to become fluent. After she's done she gets to come home (to the states) for 6 months! Woohoo!!! This is huge because she's been in China going on 3 years and was in Taiwan 9 years prior.

My weight loss is going pretty well. I'm down 22lbs since June 30th, and 17ish inches since July 17th (silly me forgot to measure from the beginning.) I'm excited to be down where I am now. I'm finally around the weight I was while pregnant with T (he's 6 now) and looking forward to losing more. I'm finished with my 1st round of hCG and will be starting another one mid-October. Praying I maintain what I've lost until then.

Well there are lovely children climbing on me as I try to type so it's probably best I wrap this up. I'll try to update more often and keep up to date on how our homeschooling adventure is going.

FYI: for those who have been posting comments, blogger is giving me issues in responding for some reason. I'm not ignoring and really do appreciate those of you who take the time to read my little blog. <3<3<3

Friday, July 29, 2011

I haven't posted in It's been a busy life around here. I've had a lot of things going around in my head but can't seem to get them down onto the computer, which is frustrating. I'm just going to jabber a bit about what's been going on and what's coming up.

Summer has been H.O.T.!!!! Seriously, just walking outside makes me feel like I'm going to melt. We usually do tons of swimming, the kids grandparents house has a boat dock, but it's just been too hot. We did finally go to our favorite swimming hole lst week and that was a blast! The water there is freezing and it felt soooo good. We've visited a couple splash pads which the kids seem to enjoy. But overall we've spent a lot of time inside. With 4 kids that can get, um, messy, lol. We've been watching too much TV and I've spent too much time on the internet (hmm, you'd think I'd be writing more.)

I'm preparing for our first year of Homeschooling. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I'm excited to be able to spend more time with my kiddos and to be such an integral part of their education but I'm so scared I'm going to screw them up. I told a friend the other day, "I'm homeschooling. They'll know what I know. Therefore, they'll never leave home because they won't be smart enough." I know, bad joke. I'm using amblesideonline and am very excited over the layout, but still not sure how I'll implement everything. It will be a learning experience for us all. My oldest has chosen to stay in Public School since he only has 2 years left (wow, 2 years!? that can't be right) so I'll have the youngest 3 at home, K almost 15, T-6yo, & S-3 yo.

I've also been losing weight and have given up Pepsi, which is huge for me. (Now if I can just get dh to give up his Mt. Dew.) I'm doing the hCG diet and have lost almost 16 lbs since June 30th (I did a week long interruption or it would have been more.) I'm loving the way I feel and I'm so excited to get back to the body I, and my dh, deserve. I'll try to update on that more often.

Well, there's more I'm sure but that's all that's coming to mind now. I'm trying to ease back into writing so I'm hoping to be here more often. I've been working on getting my husband's testimony written up, it was lost when our previous laptop was stolen. I'm very excited about this because my husband is just such an amazing man and I love seeing what God's doing in his, and our, life. <3

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day & the motherless child

I read a beautiful post by The Peaceful Housewife a couple days ago about how difficult Mother's Day is when you're longing to be a mother, but haven't quite gotten there yet. My heart goes out to all the beautiful mothers who are still awaiting their little bundles of joy, but I also grieve for those who are on the other side. The children who celebrate this holiday longing for a mother of their own. I was one of those children.

Growing up, Mother's Day was always so difficult. While I was blessed to be raised by my grandmother in a very loving home, I still didn't have a mother. I was able to put on a hardened exterior when asked, "What's your mom like?" or "Where's your mom?" I would answer simply, "I don't have a mom." While some people would take that as an adequate response, there were still the one's who pushed on for an answer, "Oh, what happened?" or, the more oblivious, "Everyone has a mom!" to which I would respond nonchalantly, "She died when I was three." Then, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" I hated the apologies. I never really knew what to say so I would generally shrug and say, "It's ok." And then there were those still who wanted to know every. single. detail. Explaining to someone that your mother chose to take her own life isn't easy at any age. I'm not sure at what point I had mastered the responses, but I'm fairly sure it was an early age. I find it funny now that after revealing that last bit of info, I always felt obligated to reassure the person asking. As if it were my job to comfort them for prying into my life and getting such a sad, sad response. Most people probably never realized that it bothered me. I had the outward persona that everything was ok and since I was so young it didn't really affect me. I hate to see others upset so it was something I never even brought up to my family. But on the inside, I was so lonely. Especially on Mother's Day.

I always dreaded the arts & crafts at school & church. Make a beautiful picture frame or card for your mother. Oh, well you can just make it for your grandmother, or perhaps one of your aunts? On one hand, I do feel lucky to have had 4 beautiful women who, at different times, took on a motherly roll, but it wasn't the same. On Friday, I went to a Mother's Day brunch in Tyler's kindergarten class. Only a handful of the kids had someone there, and looking around I silently prayed that none of them knew the loss I'd known. Hopefully, their mother's were at work or otherwise engaged and they'll be spending a beautiful day with them tomorrow. My heart breaks for all the motherless children out there. It is a difficult road to bear.

Now, as a mother myself, I'm able to enjoy Mother's Day. I look at each of my children and know how truly blessed I am. I wish they could have known their grandmother. I wish I could have known her. I'm now finally at a point where I have truly forgiven her for what she did and wish to introduce my children, and myself, to the wonderful things about her. Time is healing. I pray that no other child has to go through such pain, but for those who do, I pray for peace & healing.

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mother's.
Children, love your mothers and cherish every moment you have with them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Morning!

The Peaceful Housewife

So I know I'm always beginning my posts with "I'm new to GBD..." so I'll try to avoid that start ;) Today I woke up just feeling *different*. I can't really explain it, I have just felt really in touch with my children today. I know I have quite a few lovely GBD mamas out there saying prayers for me, and they were truly felt today.

For the first time, I felt like I was truly "Conscience Parenting" (I know that terms been coined by others, but it really fits what we're trying to do.) I was catching most meltdowns before they happened and gently breaking up fights. The first half of my weekday it's just me & Sydney then my boys trickle in one at a time. During the time it was just the two of us I made a conscience effort to really watch her and anticipate when something needed to change. I responded quickly to and sometimes even before her cues (whoo hoo!!) I didn't complain when she asked me fifty bazillion times to "help her" use the rest room. I don't know why this is one of my buttons. Perhaps it's because she always asks the second I start doing something or maybe it's because it often seems like it's every. five. minutes. Seriously! But today, she barely got out "Can you help..." before I was up and heading to the bathroom to hand her toilet paper. I made sure she had food before she asked and hit meltdown "I'm huuuuungryyyyy!!!" level. I intervened when she decided the dog was a chair. All in all we had a great day. And this set me up for success when the boys got home.

The sky opened up the second I pulled into line to pick up Tyler from Kindergarten. We made a quick giggly dash from the van to the front door trying not to get soaked. Today, when Tyler asked if he could play on the computer, the second he walked in the door, I responded, "Give me a chance to think about it and I'll let you know soon" rather than "we just walked in the door!" He was so patient with me that I allowed him. They had a few little, ahem, disagreements and instead of getting frustrated I did a variation of "you hit, you sit". I took the most upset of the two to one couch and sat the other on the second couch, reassuring that I would be right back to hear his side of the story. They both shared their story and looked at each other's boo-boos, in the end they made up. It was amazing!

When the big boys came in, the littles were in a great mood. I'm really working on Kurt & Tyler learning ways to let the other know what their boundaries are and when they need to be left alone. (They are so much alike that they really seem to butt heads sometimes.) They had one negative moment that was quickly "fixed" and got along great the rest of the day. Anytime I would hear someone raise their voice or say something negative towards a sibling I would simply say, "watch you words" or "think before you speak".

What a difference it makes when you've decided ahead of time that you are going to handle each situation gently and try to consider what's going on inside your children before taking action. Today was a beautiful day! I would have missed out on a lot of positives, had I ignored those early morning feelings.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When does it get easier?

I am having a seriously emotional day. The tears have been free flowing. There hasn't been a day that's gone by since discovering gentle discipline that I haven't wished I'd discovered it sooner. It's just so hard starting fresh when half of your children are already teens. I want so badly to NOT be punitive that I find myself struggling to not be passive. I feel as though I spend so much time researching what gentle discipline is *supposed* to be yet I have no idea how to put it into action. I know it's going to take time, it's been less than 6 months since giving up punitive measures. I'm so not a patient person. When I want something, I want it NOW!!

I'm feeling like such a failure as a parent. What if it's too late to make a difference? I want all of my children to have the same opportunities and to feel equally loved. I'm grateful to be starting early (still not early enough) with my 2 youngest, but feel so bad for my big boys. I have so much love in my heart for my family and all I want is the best for them. I've tried explaining the changes and that punishments are no longer on the table. My boys are very intelligent and have such amazing hearts but I don't think they *trust* this change. How horrible am I that my children don't believe that I am willing and truly desire to change because of my love for them? How do I assure them that this change is real and help them achieve the desired goals of gentle discipline? To me, those goals are to love themselves and others as Christ has loved us. I want to help them to make the right decisions because deep down they know they are right, not because they don't want to be caught. I want them to take the feelings of others into consideration in the decision making process. I want them to be honest with their own feelings, especially to themselves. They should know that it's ok to be mad, frustrated, disappointed, or to merely have a different opinion than others.

I sound so whiny. Me, me, me, I, I, I...*sigh* The enemy knows when to attack, doesn't he? This time will pass and I know I will eventually find my stride, but I sure wish it were sooner rather than later.

Lord, protect my heart. Guide me to make the right decisions for myself & my children. Help me to correct past mistakes and help me to forgive myself as You have forgiven me. Amen. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Natural Parenting Blog Party


I am new to the world of "natural parenting", so I was honored to be invited to be a part of this blog party by the lovely Dulce de Leche. I'm learning, and in some cases re-learning, how to follow my instincts so I'm really looking forward to reading these blogs.

I'm glad that to have been given a list of questions to get me started.

How many children do you have, and how old are they?
I have 4 beautiful children: Chris - 16 (next week), Kurt - 14, Tyler - 6, & Sydney - 3.
Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent?
I have an amazing husband who I've been married to for 8 years. I was, however, a single parent to Kurt for 6 years prior to being married so I have a perspective from both sides.

What are your “hot button” parenting issues?
I hate to hear people cuss *at* their children. It drives me crazy! I also hate when parents speak badly about the other parent in front of the children (especially in situations where the parents aren't together.) I feel this puts unnecessary guilt onto children and makes them feel the need to pick a side.

Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting?
When I was pregnant with Kurt I thought breastfeeding was *icky* (I was 16) but am so glad to have been able to experience that with each of my biological children <3. I never thought about homeschooling either but I'm super excited to be starting this fall with Tyler. I've also been making a lot of dietary changes that my kids are none to happy about but I know it's in their best interest.

Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices?
Dulce de Leche - I was blessed to have met her a few years back and had never heard of "gentle parenting" before. I just kept reading her posts on facebook and discovered that *this* was the parenting of my heart and the way God wanted me to raise my children. Thanks to her, I also found GCM which has helped to fill in the blanks.

If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use?
Tyler-loving & wild (sorry, he really needs 2 words)

Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change?
I regret not finding GBD soon enough and parenting punitively in the past. My 2 biggest regrets (I know it said one, I'm not good at directions) are 1)not breastfeeding longer & 2)circumcising my boys because I didn't know there was another option.

Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at?
I wish I didn't get frustrated so easily. Yelling, or loud talking, is something I struggle with and wish I *didn't* struggle with.

Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day?
Asian, yummy! I hated it as a kid, but now I cook it at least once a week. My family likes anything spicy. I also love chocolate and would eat it all day everyday if it were free & wouldn't make me fat, *sigh*.

Vanilla ice cream or chocolate?
Vanilla. Not sure why, since I love chocolate so much, but I don't really care for chocolate ice cream. I don't mind it mixed with other stuff, but don't like it by itself. My fave is Ben & Jerry's Phish Food it's a mix of all kinds of goodies.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pepsi. I know how bad pop is and HFCS, but I love my Pepsi. And brownies from QT (a local convenient store.) May have to send my hubby to get one of each. :giggle.

If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be?
ALIAS. I know it's not on anymore, but it's an all time fave (guess where my daughter got her name.) I also love BONES. I could never be in front of a camera though, waaaay too shy.

Well that's me, in a nutshell. Looking forward to reading and learning more from all the other fabulous blogs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

No more (unsolicited) advice, please

I may be having an emotional breakdown. I may be just a normal hormonal woman. Either way my thoughts have centered on one thing lately: babies. I see them everywhere. My favorite online forum, facebook, even my young (18) emotionally unstable stepson. Maybe it's from all the AP  stuff I've been learning about lately, maybe it's my biological clock (even though I have already given birth 3 times.) I don't know what it is, but every tiny bit of my being aches for a baby. I long to gently birth a new life, to have him/her feed at my breasts, to cuddle a tiny little life on my chest, you get the point. I feel like I'm so much more knowledgeable now than I was when I was birthing my babies. "When you know better, you do better." The phrase echoes in my mind and I long to use that knew knowledge to welcome a new, precious life. I'm (relatively) young still, so what's the problem? Unfortunately, 3 years ago my husband and I made a decision that we regret deeply. He had a vasectomy. We didn't do it necessarily because we wanted to, but instead we allowed ourselves to be guilted by well meaning family & friends. We already had 4 kids (5 really, but the oldest didn't live with us) so it seemed, to everyone else at least, to be the logical step. It seemed immediately after our baby girl was born, everyone had an opinion as to what needed to happen next. It was the same thing from everyone, "So when you going to get clipped?" MIL was especially vocal as she felt we should be done! Most of our friends who were on us about it had gone through the procedure themselves and I suppose they figured since it was right for them it should be right for us. Now 3 years later I just have one thing to say to them. How dare you! It's OUR family. When did it become ok to tell people how many children they should have? I know everyone gets the urge to give, unsolicited, advice but sometimes people should just mind their own dang business! I'll admit that I've always been one to try to please others. I'm not good with confrontation, never have been. I'm shy & awkward and don't want to cause a stir. From now on, however, when someone gives me advice, or flat out tells me what I should do, I may (or may not) consider what they have to say and tell them thanks but no thanks. I will forever live with the regret over my decision to forfeit any future children I may have carried in my womb. I may never forgive myself for letting others guilt me into doing something THEY thought was right, for me. Now I just secretly (well not so secretly now) hope that *maybe* it will reverse itself or *maybe* God will decide to bless us miraculously with a new baby. Every time AF is a few days late I find myself thinking, "maybe?" I was even 5 weeks late this past fall and really got my hopes up that this was it, but AF finally reared her ugly head and crushed all my hopes. My husband has never gone back for his final test. For some reason, even though I was there and watched the entire procedure, I have this little part in the back of my brain that tells me as long as I don't know there's still a chance. Ignorance is bliss, right? I just can't stand the thought of him going in to find out. I know it's silly, because the doctor we used has a really good "success" rate and has only had a few "not take" or reverse themselves. *Sigh* I now pray for healing. This pain, this emotion is so strong that it sometimes consumes me. I know that's not how I'm supposed to live my life, and I'm working on moving past it.

Lord, please heal this pain and help me to forgive myself for making such a drastic, regretful decision. I know you alone can deliver me from this pain. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Frustrated!! *Beware of my crazy rantings*

Beware: This post has nothing to do with gently parenting in any way. It's simply the rantings of an extremely annoyed & exhausted woman.

Yesterday was a complete bust! A waist of a beautiful, sunny day as well as a day off for my darling husband. We traveled 3 hours, to his hometown (L) to take care of some legal business that we were *required* to attend. It wasn't discovered until we made that miserable drive, arrived at the courthouse, and waited for his name to be called (our last name starts with S) that he was told he didn't need to be there. Did I mention that I took my boys out of school & my daughter HATES car rides? Yeah it was a horrible day. End of story. No wait, I want to take this time to complain about a certain
Government run institute: Child Support Division.

We've all heard of the dead beat dad's and the poor mother's who are always fighting to get child support, but how often do we hear about the dead beat mom's? That's right, my husband was there to COLLECT Child Support for C (age 15). His ex-wife gladly gave up custody after their divorce (in 1997) and has never had a real interest in being a mother unless it is beneficial to her. She never paid a dime, and the Child Support division never went after her (even though they made sure my DH was paying monthly for his oldest son). In 2002, she took him for a scheduled visit and didn't return him. He was only brought home after my DH & MIL showed up at the school she had enrolled him in (in another city) with the police. She was not arrested & she didn't even call to check on him, or find out where he was, for 6 months. Let me rephrase, he did not show up after school and she did not check on his where abouts FOR 6 MONTHS! This was the last time she was allowed to see him outside of my MIL's house (she does not/will not have our address.) She even served us with child support papers once, even though he lives with us and DH has FULL custody. We were perfectly content to not deal with her at all, and weren't even concerned about child support. But when I lost my job in 2006 (and insurance for our children) we had to put them all on the state insurance. This brought about all sorts of headaches for us. We were now required to work with DHS in whatever way necessary to get child support owed. (Though I'm still confused as to why they've never gone after my ex for anything, but I'm NOT bringing that up to them because that's something I do NOT want to deal with!) I don't know what lit the fire under them, since the previous court order had not, but the Child Support division was suddenly on the case. I know most people will think that we're crazy not to be going after child support for our children, but here's the thing; our children have two very loving parents. Just because we're not blood related doesn't mean that I love my son any less, 'and the same goes for my husband and "my" son. Also, anyone who has sought child support from a person not willing to pay understands the frustration that it is not the obligator who is constantly harassed, because they make themselves difficult, if not impossible, to find. But the custodial parent is constantly getting paperwork to fill out, steps that have to be taken in order to keep the case up to date, and mandatory court date's (that the obligator never attends.)
The last issue is what brought us our frustration yesterday. Every few months, DH gets a letter stating that they are going to once again, serve her with papers and if she doesn't comply they will be suspending her license and possible imprisonment and a bunch of other stuff that never happens because she doesn't show up and they give her "just one more chance" :eyeroll. Usually these mandatory meetings are simply in the DHS office with whatever case worker happens to draw the case that week, and DH can simply "attend" by providing his phone # and waiting for them to call. Generally there is never a phone call and DH ends up calling them and is told she didn't show up *shocked gasp*. However, the last letter was completely different and scheduled to be at the courthouse. He called to see if they could do the phone meeting and was told no because of the location and he made plans to be there. After looking at the letter again, we realized it was only addressed to her (they send us copies of what they send to her) and that she was the only one required to attend. DH called the office again to see if he did indeed need to be there since the letter was no"t addressed to him and was told "if you get something in the mail, you have to show up", contradicting to past experiences, but whatever. He asked her to double check his particular case just to make sure as he would have to travel from out of town. He was pretty sure by her answers that she never looked up the case, but without being there could not prove it, so we made plans to go. Which leads back to yesterday's particularly frustrating event. We show up (DH, MIL, & myself) and go to the appropriate courtroom. They write down DH'S name on their list, then kick everyone out of the courthouse who is not named in the case, so out in the hall MIL & I go. We keep looking, but she never shows up *surprise*. Finally, DH comes out looking rather, er, frustrated. Apparently, she was never served the paperwork because they could not find her, again (even though they've been given her phone#, address, & work info on more than one occasion.) So we made a trip down there for nothing. Had the lady on phone actually looked up the case she would have seen this and told DH. At the very least, they should have sent a 2nd letter stating a delay. This is not the first "mix up" like this we've experienced, but certainly the most frustrating. Once, a few years ago, we showed up and waited & waited & waited and finally had to hunt down a case worker, when nearly everyone else had left. They had no idea why we had shown up or who DH was!? They had MIL listed on paperwork since C had lived with her for a short time, and me listed as caregiver & custodial parent since I was the one who filled out the original request for insurance through DHS. We just all kinda looked at the lady like she was crazy. This was the last time we showed up in person, after that we found out about the phone thing.
If this was our only interaction with DHS, we would be irritated, but figure that's just how it is. However, since DH also pays child support, we understand just how frustrating DHS really is. If DH is just a week late paying, they come looking for him. He was without a job for 7 weeks and there was a week's delay waiting for Unemployment to kick in and they threatened to throw him in jail! E even lived with us for a while and they still took child support from DH. They sent her paperwork to pay us for E, she never paid, continued to receive child support (with him in our custody), and when he left our house we receive a letter saying they were dropping the case against her. E did not live with his mother most of the time she was receiving child support for him, but DH decided not to fight it. They're now even trying to say that DH owes an additional $500 (which he doesn't). It is a complete double standard! If you're a woman, they'll fight for you; if you're a man, good luck! (It's the child who is supposed to benefit, so gender of the parent SHOULD NOT MATTER!) My DH gets screwed both ways by DHS and it affects our children as it usually means less money to be able to afford things like vacations. Ugh! It just makes me so mad!!

**These have been the rantings of a thoroughly frustrated woman. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog. *beep, beep, beeeeeeep*

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

No Poo Update

I wrote here about how I went shampoo free and just wanted to add a quick update as to how that's going.

I did the method listed in my previous post for a little over a month. I loved the results (once I got all the kinks worked out) and definitely would never want to go back to commercial hair products. However, it is a bit time consuming having to mix up special batches and sit with it on my hair for half an hour. I decided to start looking around my favorite sites, forums, & blogs for some other homemade or all-natural alternatives to what I was doing. I found a review for Prairieland Herbs on Woman Uncensored's blog and decided to check out their website. They had some pretty cool stuff, and it was still chemical free, so I decided to give it a try.

Here's what we ordered:

Peppermint & Tea Tree oil Shampoo Bar - This one's just for me & I LOVE it!! It smells AMAZING!
Wild Man Shampoo Bar - 1 for my "Wild Man" and 1 for my 2 teen boys. My DH has always had issues with dandruff, even when using dandruff shampoos, but with this his scalp is never itchy or dry. He's hooked. My boys just think I'm weird for getting into all this natural stuff, lol, but I think they like how soft it makes their hair.
Baby Bubbles Soap - I use this for my 6 yo son & 3 yo daughter. It's not a "shampoo bar", but I still use it for their hair. It makes their hair and skin super soft! My daughter has SUPER wild, curly hair and it makes the curls really bounce. I also love that it cuts down on the washing part of bath time so they have more play time in the bath.
Rosemary & Lavender Vinegar Rinse - Ok, so nobody else will use this because of the smell. My DH used it once & that was enough for him. The smell IS pretty intense, after all, it's vinegar. I still use it every time and feel like it gives me that conditioner feeling of super sleek & easy to comb through. Oh well, more for me.
Bay Rum Shaving Bar -  I'm the only one who has tried this so far. DH is finishing up his regular shaving cream before he starts using it. Don't think my boys have even noticed it (though they are at the shaving stage.) I really like it. It is much smoother while shaving so I'm less likely to nick myself, I'm clumsy. And it leaves my legs & underarms feeling smooth & soft so I don't have to worry about lotion (not that I ever bothered with it before, lol.) Thinking I'll get one just for the boys so they won't be touching mine :-).

I was also sent a sample size bar of the Sage Cedar & Sweetgrass Shampoo Bar. We haven't tried this one yet but it smells AMAZING!! In fact, other than the Vinegar Rinse, it all smells pretty good. The tea tree & peppermint smell is my favorite, but I like those scents. The great thing about these is that all the shampoo bars can double as a bath bar as well, which I love. And I've noticed it cuts down every one's shower/bath times. Who knew we were spending so much time opening bottles & squeezing junk out of them? I'm washing my hair every 2-3 days, so a little more than when I was completely no-poo, but if I miss a couple days I don't feel or look overly greasy. In fact my hair looks better than it ever has and is pretty easy to manage (which is a miracle in and of itself.)

One more positive I've found in these, now don't judge, is that they seem to help with color. I know I'm not THAT old, but I have...gray hair. Ok, so the secrets out. But depending on your hair color, they have products that can help with the grays...without having to mess with dyes. As you can see above, I use the Peppermint & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar and the Rosemary & Lavender Vinegar Rinse. I noticed that the grays are coming in less & less. I didn't realize that Rosemary & Lavender were natural colorants for brown hair. They have some actual color rinses that can be purchased & I will probably try one sometime soon. When I started no-poo I decided I would be looking for natural alternatives to chemical hair dye so I'm excited to try this and happy for how my hair's looking already.

I understand that GBD is a type of gateway to a more, er, crunchy lifestyle and am finding that to be true. I've been changed nearly all my personal hygiene products to natural rather than chemical and am loving the changes. But I'll go more into detail on that at another time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Superman

I recently posted the on The Leaky Boob's facebook page, but I wanted to expand a bit more about just how amazing my husband is.

We're new to GBD and while it's been admittedly easier for me, my sweetheart is really trying. He's become more intentional in the way he handles disciplining the children and is having fewer punitive lapses (spanking has completely been eliminated.) While GBD is a slower transition than I would like (I want what I want NOW!), there are many other attachment areas that have come more natural to us. When we had our first (biological) child together I told him I planned to breastfeed. Though it wasn't something he was used to, he could not have been any more supportive. He would bring me pillows, water, and anything else I needed while nursing and even got up with me at nighttime feedings to help with diaper changes and anything else I/we needed. He was a huge support and has told many people how amazing breastfeeding is and has encouraged other husbands to be supportive of their wives.

On Thursday, he came home from work a bit frustrated about a conversation he'd had with a fellow co-worker. Just to set the background, he's an Assistant Manager at a local quick lube shop. He was outside working when his co-worker came out and of the office complaining that there was a woman breastfeeding inside the waiting room. My husband is not even the least bit shy and when he feels strongly about something he has no problem speaking up. This is how the conversation went.

Co-Worker (CW): Ugh, there's a woman in there breastfeeding.
DH: So. There's nothing wrong with that. My wife breastfed our children and I think it's awesome not to mention it's the best thing you can do for your baby.
CW: Well, um...
DH: What's she supposed to do if the baby's hungry? Would you rather listen to them cry? And having to feed in a bathroom is disgusting. You want me to make you eat your lunch in the bathroom? No, I didn't think so.
CW: Dude, nevermind...
DH: This is personal to me since my kids were breastfed. I would be ticked if someone told my wife to stop breastfeeding. How would you feel if it were your wife.

At this point, the co-worker definitely regretted saying anything. He didn't yell or get nasty but he was ready to stand up for what he felt was right. He's so incredibly passionate about things he feels strongly about. I'm hoping some day soon he will be just as passionate about GBD and getting the word out to other parents. He's getting there slowly, only time will tell.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bedtime doesn't have to be a power struggle?

My littlest angel didn't want to go to sleep tonight. After an hour and a half of telling her to go to bed, placing her gently in her bed, and yelling at my poor, sweet hubby to help me put her into bed, I was beginning to think she was going to pull an all nighter. Finally, after putting her into bed for the LAST time, and hearing her sweet little cries, I lifted her into my arms, carried her to the couch, and sang/rocked her to sleep. 5 minutes! and she was out. Then something clicked. I can't stand to hear my children cry and hate to see them upset about anything. The thing is, MOST of the time all they need is me. Yes I was tired, and I wanted to relax, and I wanted to watch TV, and I wanted to play on the computer...see a theme here? I was putting what I wanted before what she needed. I was the one making this into a power struggle, not her. She knew what she needed, but I wasn't listening. I would say that most, if not all, power struggles can be avoided if we (the adults) will put our children first and try to figure out what it is that they're in need of. 5 minutes! Seriously?! 5 minutes was all she needed of me at that time. We, as adults, feel the need to unwind after a long day so why would we think that our children would be any different? 5 minutes! Oh, I felt so selfish and guilty. I know my littles sleep better after some quality cuddle time, so why on earth didn't it occur to me sooner? So, yes, grace extends to bedtime. And this gentle mom-in-training is still learning. Thank you, God for using my sweet babies to teach me something new. Now, I can relax and unwind.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Big Emotions

Today was not a particularly graceful day in our house. My sweet little 6 year old started out his morning fighting with his 14 year old brother. Then, the second he stepped in the door after school his emotions were bubbling over. "No you can't play the Wii right now." Big tears. "Watching TV from the time you walk in the door until you go to bed is not an option." Bigger tears. "Please pick up LEGO Zurg before the dog eats him." This ended with "I hate Zurg!" and more big tears. At first I was overly frustrated and wanted to scream. Then, I tried to look at it from his point of view. So instead of locking myself in my room and crying into my pillow, I brought him into my room,locked the 2 of us away from everyone else and let him have his emotions. Turns out he had a rough day at school. No recess and he got in trouble for talking during a movie. Well, duh! It has to be hard for a very active 6 year old to be stuck in the classroom all day without being able to run out some of that energy outside. And then to expect him to sit still during a movie? Yeah, that's not gonna happen. My kids are rarely quiet during movies unless it holds their full attention. This is another reason I'm so excited to begin homeschooling next year. In public school, you can't take each individual's daily emotions into account. It would be mass chaos and you could never keep to a schedule. But once he's home, I'll be able to adjust our day to meet his, and his little sister's, needs.

But for now they're tucked into their beds fast asleep and mommy gets a few minutes to herself. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't STEP on me!

A biological child grows in a mother's womb;
an adopted child grows in a mother's heart.

I've started writing this a few times and am having trouble getting all my thoughts out. I originally wanted to say, "I HATE 'step'-parents" but decided that may come across a bit rough? However, that statement still holds mostly true for me. I hate that the word "step" is too often accurate for the way the new parent/child treat one another. We see it all the time in books, movies, and on TV. You have the new step-mother and step-child both vying for the husband/dad’s attention, stepping all over one another to make themselves #1 in his eyes. Now this is somewhat understandable for a child. After all, their whole world has been turned upside down and this new person has taken a permanent spot in their lives. But the new step-parent is an ADULT. An adult should never wage war with a child, rather they should try to consider the child’s feelings and understand the difficult change in said child’s life. If you’re going to make the decision to marry someone who has a child, you need to prepare yourself to be a parent. Instead, I see many who think that they just have to “put up” with this child when they’re at their house and until they turn 18. Open your eyes people! This child, this PERSON, is going to be in your life for the rest of your life (assuming you hold your wedding vows to be true.) You should be equipping yourself with all the information you can find regarding raising a child, particularly a step-child. You should be reaching out to others who have made this change successfully and even joining support groups, if you can find a trustworthy one. You need to be discussing the way your potential spouse raises and disciplines his child/ren, and make sure that you are on board with their efforts. Assuming the ex-spouse is still in the picture, you need to be able to at least respect them in the fact that they gave birth/fathered this new child you’re about to be co-raising and make a conscious effort in never using derogatory statements about them in front of the child/ren. If you’re not willing and able to accept this change, and I will admit it is a big change, and make the appropriate adjustments, then perhaps this is not the person you should be marrying.  

I’m going to take it one step further and say that becoming a step-parent should be no different than becoming an adoptive parent. Think about it, really think about it. When a person adopts a child, they bring them into their lives, and their hearts, and love them just as much as if they were their own biological child. They don’t resent this child for the love and attention they receive from the other parent. They don’t, or at least they shouldn’t, see them or love them any different than they would a biological child. Instead, they love and cherish every moment they spend with that child. They revel in every milestone they reach, and they’re present for every important event in that child’s life. Not because they’re required to be, but because they truly want to be a part of every moment, be they good or bad. Step-parents should be no different.

Make the change before your marriage and you will have a much better chance of making a smoother transition. You need to take the time to know the child whose life you’re going to be a part of. Spend time with them; get to know who they are and what makes them happy, mad, sad, etc. Spend time with them not only with your potential spouse, but alone as well. Introduce them to your family. After all they are going to be a part of this child’s life as well. Make sure your family knows that this child is to be welcomed with as much love as a child you were to give birth to and make sure they know you expect them to treat them no differently than they would any biological children. After all, most families have no problem accepting a new daughter/son-in-law, aunts/uncles, mother/father-in-laws, etc. If they have no problem accepting a new adult into their lives, they should have no problem accepting a new child.

Most importantly, love this new child. After all, they are a part of your future spouse and therefore worthy of love.

Blessings to all who have successfully made this transition and prayers for those embarking on a new journey.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My 'no poo' adventure

A couple months ago a friend posted on facebook that she had been shampoo free for a month. My thought? "Ewww! That's so disgusting. What a freak!" Then, I saw another post about it that explained a little more about what it was and actually started thinking, "This might not be so bad." So after a couple weeks and further research on the topic, I decided to give it a try. Here's my journey.

Thursday: Last day of commercial shampoo.

Saturday: I gather everything I need to mix up what seems to be the go to "shampoo" to use. I mixed 2 tbsp. baking soda w/ 2 cups hot water, let it dissolve, and hopped in the shower. I wasn't really sure where to start, so I dumped a little on and started working it in. It was kind of odd, mainly because it basically just feels like warm water being dumped on your head. I scrubbed, let it soak, and left it on until I was done with my shower, and rinsed it all out. I toweled dried a little and then tried to get a brush, a comb, anything through it. It felt WEIRD. It was kinda like a greasy horse's tail. Very coarse while at the same time very oily.

Monday: Let's try this again. This time I rinsed it out right away and used 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar with 1 cup hot water and used it like a conditioner, just putting it on the ends, and left it on until the end of the shower. This time I was able to brush through the ends, but the top was still pretty greasy.

Wednesday: Same thing, but this time I doubled the ACV solution and dumped it all over. By this point, I was ready to give up. My hair was AWFUL! It had only been a week and everything I read said there was a 2-week to 2-month transition period. At some point I would actually have to be seen in public and I wasn't sure how many I would scare away with my greasy, straw hair.

Saturday: I decide to wait 3 days, because the goal is to go longer in between washes, and perhaps me not waiting long enough isn't giving me the goal results. After searching the internet for ANY alternative to the baking soda, I combine a couple "recipes" and Voila! Out comes the Magic Bullet, a perfect contraption for making homemade shampoos. I mix together 2 egg whites, a tiny bit of olive oil, & about 1/2 a cap full of vanilla extract for my new shampoo. For the conditioner, I mix 2 egg yolks & a peeled lemon. My kids thought I was pretty crazy! So I hop in the shower, rub the "shampoo" into my scalp, & rub the "conditioner through the rest of my hair. I could immediately feel a difference! For the first time in a week I could actually run my fingers through my hair. I leave it on for the duration of my shower and then rinse it out. Now, this part is very important! You must be careful to rinse everything out. Otherwise, when the leftover lemon parts dry, it will look like you have the worst possible dandruff. I towel dried a bit, then went ahead and used my hair dryer (it was my birthday, so I was pretty sure my darling Husband was taking me to dinner, which he did.) The ends of my hair were PERFECT! Very soft, very lush. The top was still a bit oily, so once it was dry I combed in some corn starch to the extra oily areas. It looked pretty good. Good enough to be seen in public. :)

Tuesday: 3 days again, and not too bad. Instead of mixing the shampoo & conditioner separately I made one big batch. I mixed 2 eggs, 2 peeled lemons, 1/2 a large cucumber, & vanilla extract. This recipe makes a lot! I filled 2-3oz. travel shampoo bottles and still had some left in the bottom of my Magic Bullet, so about 3 washes worth. I lean over the tub and start pouring and rubbing in my new "shampoo". Then, I pile all my hair on top of my head, and put on a shower cap. 30 minutes on the timer. I rinse well, dry, and my hair looks AMAZING! All of it, even the top. No grease. I'm so excited! The next day it's still perfect. Just a quick comb through (brushing will make it frizz), and I'm ready to go.

Thursday: My husband lets me do his hair! It comes out perfect from the first wash. (Wish I had discovered this from the beginning.) He's sold.

Now it's Friday (ok, early Saturday morning. I really should go to bed) and it still looks really good. I'll do another wash tomorrow (4 days!!) I'm so very excited to be getting the chemicals out of my hair. My next step will be to try it on the 2 little ones & to get my big boys to give it a try. I've only told a couple people, who of course think I'm weird, but that's ok. I know how weird this sounds. After all, I thought the same thing the first time I heard about it. I think all this GD stuff might be turning me a little crunchy :)

*In between "shampoos" I rinse with warm water and the ACV solution during my shower.

**If you make a big batch and won't be using it all at once, you'll have to store it in the fridge. But beware, it will be COLD when you dump it on your head. Voice of experience speaking.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


So this morning I woke up to a naked 3 yr old cuddled up next to me, 1 boy in shorts only, and 2 boys in their dun-da-duns in the front room. (That's what we call undies around here. Think of the sound a super hero makes and you should be able to sound it out.) I thought to myself, for at least the millionth time, "When did I move into a nudist colony?" At any given time in the day there is at least one child in underwear only. It started with our second oldest son. We would always joke that you could tell where Kurt had been upon returning home, simply by following the trail of discarded clothes. Shoes & socks by the front door (not too abnormal), shirt on the couch (boys often run around without their shirts, right?), pants on a dining room chair (yeah, I have no comment for that one.) And for some unknown reason, a trip to the bathroom warrants a complete strip-down (perhaps it's more comfortable?) Now my oldest is the only, er, normal one and because he's the only one who doesn't share my genes, my darling husband somehow thinks they get this from me. Now where on earth would he get such an idea?
Oops, someone's coming, guess I should find where I tossed my top & pants. Night all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where do I begin?

So I've set down to write several times...and my mind goes blank. Yet, in the wee hours of the night when I'm struggling to sleep, I have wonderful thoughts of elegant, poetic, intelligent words. But alas, I awake in the morning and all these have drifted away in the night with my dreams. *sigh*

I am new to Gentle Parenting. Well, mostly new. I breastfed all 3 of my biological children, I even co-slept (mostly for convenience and comfort), and I'm a very lovey-dovey mommy (to the point of people saying I was babying them *rolls eyes*). Even with all that, I've also been modern in a lot of my "discipline" (actually punishment). I've done time-out, rewards with good behavior & punishment with bad behavior, yelling (and saying things I regret) when I get frustrated, and yes even spanking on occasion (again out of frustration, not love. I don't know how spanking can ever be done out of love.) So I'm now at a point where I'm trying to figure out how to take the good things I'm already doing, get rid of the bad, and move fully to Gentle/Graceful/Peaceful Parenting (or whatever you want to call it.) I think this would be a much easier transition if my children were all small, however, I have 2 different age groups: two teen boys, ages 15 & 14, and two younger children, a 6 year old boy & 3 year old girl. (I will talk more about them individually in a day or 2) I guess what I'm getting at is, HELP!! What do I do, and where do I begin implementing these parenting techniques? Do I need to let them know that we're doing things differently? We've already began implementing a lot of it and I find myself apologizing to them often when I do something the "old way" and I'm afraid I'm confusing them. Mostly, how do I help my husband in this transition? I am a SAHM, so I find the time to read up on this subject and also on all the research out there, but he's exhausted when he gets home and only gets the replay version from me. He is doing much better and I was very proud with him the other day for sitting down with one of the little ones and talking it out rather than scolding. He still uses time-outs and occasionally gives them a little pat on the bottom. I'm finding it a lot easier to stop time-outs and have completely stopped spanking. Also, I'm doing pretty well at setting them down and talking to them about whatever the issue-at-hand is and working it out. The thing I'm having the most difficulty with is my frustration. The yelling comes out of me, often before I know it's going to, and I find myself apologizing for my mouth A LOT!! (Not cussing, but things like, "what were you thinking!")

I've been feeling a bit lost. Mainly because the websites, blogs, FB pages, etc. all seem to be relative to babies and young children. Where are the resources for parents of older children and teens? How do I transition parenting my teens to gentle discipline? Do people give up when their children hit the teen years? Or perhaps their children are so perfect they decide not to post anything? (I joke) Am I the only parent who has found this information a bit late in the parenting game? Surely not, so where are all the other parents? I've thought about posting on some of the afore mentioned websites, blogs, etc., but I'm afraid of the feedback from some of the parents. I've been following a few specific groups and though the information from the group itself has been very helpful, I find some of the responses from the parents to be absolutely horrible! They treat other adults in the same ways their fighting to NOT treat their children (but I digress.) 

I realize I only have one follower at this time, so I'm not expecting a plethora of feedback. I would, however like to give a big "thanks" to my dear friend in the virtual world, Dulce de Leche, who has helped me in finding this information. I know you may not realize it, but through our friendship on facebook and my following your blog, you have been an extraordinary help to me and my family!

Blessings and Grace to all!