Sunday, January 29, 2012

Balanced Discipline

One of the things I love most about the relationship that Dave and I have is our ability to create balanced discipline in our family. Dave tends to go to the far right with his discipline style, while I am usually to the left. The good thing about that is that we balance each other out. Dave lets me know when I'm being a pushover and I let him know when he's being harsh. Either way- in the heat of the moment, we always back each other and very, very rarely disagree with each others decisions openly in front of the kids. Eventually we find a way to meet in the middle- but that almost always happens behind closed doors. We learned that if we get much better results when we unite as a team in matters of discipline.

Discipline has become a trial-by-error process with our boys. It didn't take long for us to realize that what works with one of them won't necessarily work with the others. Physical punishment, such as spankings, was pretty much out the window from the start of our relationship. We have used the occasional slap on the hand, smack to the back of the head, flick to the elbow and tug of the ear to get their attention.  However, traditional "brush beatings" or "belt beatings" would likely not work on our kids- and would probably land us in jail nowadays.  So, while we have yet to find a significant punishment mechanism for all the kids, we have found a few things at work.  First, find what they love to do; then for the punishment, take it away.  For Kaleb it's his ipod touch, video games, time with friends and his cell phone.  For Brian, it's video games and computer time.  For Gabe it's Karate, bionicles, television, and dessert.  For Xander it's staying up until 8:30pm, dessert, and being able to roam about the house playing make believe.    Depending on the "offense," they may also have to earn back whatever was taken away.  There was a point about a year and half ago when we had a really, really difficult time with one of the boys.  We had to, not only, empty his room out, but take his door off of his bedroom.  He gradually earned back all of the items, to include his door.

If there is one area I think we struggle most with, its this area.  We want to teach our kids that it's okay to make mistakes, but also teach them that there are consequences for your actions and choices.  At least once a day we are telling one of them to stop making excuses and to take responsibility for their actions.  If there is one thing that I hope they learn before they move out, then that's it - Take responsibility.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Chaos

So on the rare occasion that Dave has to work - it's usually on Mondays.  He is a trained surgical technician and works at a surgery center 1-2 days a week (if they need him).  When he does work, he normally has to be there around 7am.  This poses an interesting transportation challenge for us.  Kaleb and Gabe attend District 20 schools about 25 minutes away, Brian attends a District 49 school about 10 min away, and Xander and Elijah don't go to school at all yet.  We are very blessed to live in the same city as Dave's Mom, Dad and Sister.  They have been an enormous help to us through the years.  Particularly, on days that Dave has to work - they are a blessing from God.  Mondays normally go like this:

5am - Everyone wakes up
5:30 - Mom leave for PT
5:45 - Dad takes Elijah, Gabe, Xander and Kaleb to Grammy and Grampy's house
6:00 - Dad heads to work, mom does PT for an hour
7:15 - Mom gets home and wakes Brian up
7:15 - Grammy drives Kaleb to school
7:50 - Mom drives Brian to school
8:15- Grammy drives Gabe to school
8:45 - Mom heads to work
2:15 - Grammy picks up Kaleb; Kaleb does homework
3:15 - Grammy picks up Gabe
4:00 - Brian gets home from school and does homework
4:00 - Dad picks up Kaleb, Gabe, Elijah, and Xander from Grammy's
5:10 - Mom gets home
5:15 - Family Dinner time
5:45 - Mom or Dad take Brian and Gabe to Kempo Karate
6:15-7:15 - Kempo Karate
7:30 - Elijah's bedtime feeding
7:45 - Gabe and Brian home; all the boys make their lunches
8:00 - Older boys showers
8:15 - Gabe and Xander Bedtime Routine
8:30 - Brian bedtime
9:00 - Kaleb bedtime
And then Mom and Dad finally relax

A lot of people ask me "How do you do it with 5 boys?  I can't imagine!"   I like to think it's pretty easy- but probably because I don't remember it being any less chaotic.  I likely would not know what to do with myself  if our lives weren't busy.  But, I will say this, our family would not function if it weren't for a schedule and routine.  Any families that have discipline issues with their kids, or find themselves not having enough time in the day to accomplish things, should take a look at their family schedule.  Ours isn't written down, because we've memorized it- but it does help to have a large, desktop size calendar to plan out events.  We've utilized that in the past.  We hang it on the wall, write down the kids' various activities and then highlight those events.  Each kiddo had their own color.  We would also write our daily dinner meals on it so the kids would know in advance what was for dinner. Our kids know when homework gets done, when meals are eaten, when bedtime is, and when TV/Games are allowed.  We rarely deviate much from our schedule.   Kids thrive for consistency and rules.  I never really believed this until I saw how much better behaved our kids were when they knew what to expect.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

All about my Xander

Xander is 4. He was born on August 15th, in the middle of the day. I had planned on having him naturally (rather then by csection like Gabriel) but he had other ideas. I went in because I was having some mild contractions and less then 3 hours later, out he came.

Since then, he has so far been the easiest of the 5 boys. He also happens to be the most unique so far. Xander was the easiest to potty train. He loves to be read to and is content just sitting and talking to anyone who will listen. Xander is the only one who's ever had imaginary friends (kaleb, Abby, and teacher are some of their names); he also attends imaginary school. Daily he tells us all kinds of tales and stories about what happened at imaginary school.

Xander is the only one who ever sucked his thumb and carried around a blanket. This past Christmas, Santa sent him a video message telling him he needed to try really hard not to suck his thumb. Xander would only suck his thumb when he had puppy blankie (I'll explain the blankie in another post). So, about a week before Christmas, my brave little boy opened the trash can and threw his blankie away without us ever having to prompt him (Dave later took it out of the trash to have as a keepsake). Xander hasn't sucked his thumb since then.

Xander is also the only left-handed one. He's the slowest eater, the first to notice interior decorating changes, love to snuggle any day of the week, and would always rather play with Legos or Hot Wheels then watch TV. Xander loves to color and be read to. He still takes a 2 hour nap and loves going anywhere Gabe goes. He loves iced tea and hot chocolate, pancakes without syrup, Club Crackers and homemade goodies.

Xander absolutely loves to laugh. He laughs at his brothers, his grammy and grampy, all of the dogs, and most often he laughs at himself. He absolutely loves being a big brother. He's loving, caring, and always concerned for his baby brother. Xander talks the loudest of all the boys. We are pretty certain he does that to make sure he will be heard over all of his brothers.

I can not wait to see what the future holds for this loving, smart, funny, sensitive little boy.

Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Chicken |

Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Chicken

Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Chicken |

Make this delicious Tex-Mex chicken to serve with hard taco shells or tortillas and your favorite toppings like cheese, sour cream, salsa and olives.

Prep time: 10 min Servings: 12


  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 packets taco seasoning
  • 1 can (8 oz) green chilies
  • 1 can (15 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) mexicorn or canned corn, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) red beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Layer ingredients in a crock pot in the order given. Empty one packet of taco seasoning directly onto the chicken and add the second packet after all the remaining ingredients have been added.
  2. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  3. Stir, shredding chicken as you mix ingredients.

2012 - I Resolve to Document... and stick to my resolutions

Well, it's 2012.  Almost a year and a half since my last blog post. If you asked me to tell you everything that's happened since I last blogged, I might be able to list about 10 things-
  • Elijah was born October 14, 2011
  • Mom and Aunt Ginny came to visit
  • We visited Williamsburg, Virginia (2010)
  • Kaleb went on a class trip to Washington D.C.
  • I traveled over 75,000 miles on a plane in less then a year
  • Kaleb's anger issues have resolved- thanks to Intuniv
  • I finished a few college classes
  • My sister moved to New Jersey
  • We became inspired by Tim Tebow
  • Gabriel started Kindergarten
  • Brian earned his Junior Brown Belt in karate
  • Kaleb played football for the Timberview Timberwolves
  • Brian switched schools....again
  • Xander stopped sucking his thumb AND threw his infamous puppy blankie away
Okay so maybe a few more then 10.  But regardless, I would have a lot easier time remembering, had I kept up with my blogging.  So, for 2012, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to start blogging again.  Blogging makes it so much easier to reminisce on lifes events, keep friends and family up to date on happenings, and can even be slightly therapeutic at times.