Monday, December 28, 2015

When you give a baby a book...

When you give a baby a book...

... you just might hear words transform from a simple muffin to something silly like, "moose-a-muffin". Story: Bean loves the book If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff so muffins are no longer called a basic, boring muffin in our house.

... you just might see a handful of favorites pulled from the shelf multiple times throughout the day. It might be "read aloud" alone or you might hear the question, "Mommy, read it?" 

... you might just capture adorable moments such as this...
Reading with daddy.
Reading with a friend.
Reading on a blow-up-pool device.
Reading in a ball play pit with friends.
Reading wherever and leaving a trail.
Wearing whatever while reading.
Making memories.
Reading with a friend at their birthday party.

Reading at the library.
Reading at a friends house.
Reading in a coffee shop.

... you might just find that with little or no effort your child begins to recognize shapes, colors, letters and words...

... you might also find that children's books are FUN reads and enjoy that time with your child so much that it's one of the best parts of your day...

... you have the perfect Christmas and birthday presents year after year after year...

... you might just become BFF's with the librarian who discards a book that's falling apart to give to Bean because she knows she loves it...

... you might just share a few favorites with your little reader like The Monkey Goes Bananas by C.P. Bloom or Wiggle by Doreen Cronin (Author) and Scott Menchin (Illustrator)...

Books have always been a major part of my life and it was my intention from the beginning of motherhood to make it a big part of my daughters' life as well. Perhaps that's why I chose to be a reading teacher early on in life? (wink, wink) If you're interested in seeing all that we do on a daily basis, read the post, How I Got My 18 Month Old Interested in Books and be sure to check out my Reading and Writing page as well. Also check out my teaching blog, RafiKey's to Success that's full of more tips for secondary English/language arts teachers.

I have no doubt that by simply reading, reading, reading and reading I'll see the same success with all my children, not just my Briella Bean. I think that by giving your baby a book, you might just see and hear and enjoy all books have to offer as well...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Spilling the Beans [October - November 2015 Edition]

She wanted the "Bally Cereal" when we went grocery shopping. We had no idea what on earth she was talking about so we had her show us. She lead us to the Trix. Haha, ball, I get it now!

She got Jasmine and Aladdin Barbie doll's for her birthday. Their magic carpet is a blue bucket.

She was obsessed with the bride of a wedding we recently attended, admiring her dress, stating, "She's a marry!" 
When the bride and her hubby danced their first dance as a married couple she explained,  "He's her prince!" Upon hearing that one of our friends asked her, "Who's your prince?" and she replied matter-of-factly, "My daddy." (Yeah, I cried.)

After burping or farting Bean always asks, "What is that noise?" She answered her own question one day at lunch with, "My mouth is growly!"

Bean: "Tomorrow I'm going to be Anna. And wear a cape!"
Daddy: "Oh yeah?" 
Bean: "Yeah. We are going to get my Anna shoes tomorrow."
Daddy: "Where are we going to get them?"
Bean: "Daddy take me to the store."
Daddy: "You want me to spend money on Anna shoes?"
Bean: "Um, yes, cause I'm going to be Anna tomorrow."
Daddy: "Bean, you're more expensive than mommy."

Bean: "Mommy I'm a girl."
Me: "Yes you are, just like mommy and ele."
Bean: "You're not a girl."
Me: "I'm not, huh? What am I?"
Bean: "You're mommy."

She was a robot for Halloween and she was absolutely adorable in it!

She began playing Belle and Quigley was the beast.

When we shopped for a newlywed couple Bean really, really wanted to give the bride a Rapunzel tooth brush. 

After my asking her to stop screaming she explained, "BUT Mommy. I'm getting silly!"

Mommy: "you have a booger hanging from your nose. Do you want to get it or should I?"
Bean: "how about we just leave it there."
Mommy: "that's gross!"
Bean: "okay, let's just get it tomorrow."

This girl LOVES shopping (especially for shoes). When my wonderful hubby took me shopping on my birthday, Bean joined in on the fun. When she tried on boots (with sparkles, of course) she was so adorable she had an audience.

The last day of her first ballerina dance class session ended this month. Her teacher complimented her by telling me that she takes dancing very seriously. I'm not in the least bit surprised.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Why We've Chosen to Tell Our Children Santa Is Pretend.

My three year old is Elsa obsessed. Elsa could easily become the most important figure in her life. Although we have zero issues with our daughter's liking for this character, we constantly remind her that she's pretend. Otherwise, for example, the snow outside is credited to "Elsa's icy powers!"

That is the very last thing we want for our household.

If we allowed her to think that the snow outside really was Elsa's icy powers, we'd take away from the true source of that snow: God Himself. 
"By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick clouds with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning.They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world.Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen." (Job 37:10-13) 
This is one example of God's sovereignty over weather, including ice and snow. We tell Brielle, all the time, that Elsa is pretend, but God - He's real - and so are His icy powers!

The same goes for Santa. During Christmas our central focus is Christ and the reason He came to earth as a babe. We have zero issues for our daughter's liking for Santa (in fact, she's told me on many occasions this Christmas season that she wants to be Santa for Halloween next year), but we are always reminding her that he's pretend. Otherwise the presents under the Christmas tree are credited to Santa, when in reality the earth and everything in it belongs to God. I often tell Brielle that Christmas is the time we celebrate Jesus' birthday and He is so kind and generous to give us presents on His day! (She likes that explanation, go figure.) But let me back that up with one example from Scripture. David understood this truth so well in his prayer after Israel made their freewill offerings so the temple could be built by Solomon, David's son,
"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. ... But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you." (1 Chronicles 29:1-12 & 14, bolded mine)
In other words, David recognized that what Israel was giving was God's to begin with; they were simply giving back what's His. We try to recognize this truth in our own lives, with all our possessions. They are His, even those presents under the tree HE has blessed us with and we need to give thanks and glory and honor to Him for all that He gives (including the means to buy those gifts under the tree). We do not want to take the glory away from God by giving credit to Santa. We will not trade what's incredibly real for a fantasy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten [What Mommy's Really Need]

You might be wondering what to give those mom's in your life this Christmas season. This list might help you with that, but I think you might be surprised by what a mommy really needs...

1. Friends. A walk-in-your-door-at-any-time, call-at-any-time, kind of friend. Those friends are the ones that will help you get through the tough days, months, years... by offering a shoulder to cry on, a meal, take your kids for a few hours so you can rest and expect nothing in return. Consider yourself blessed if you have a friend, or friendS, like that. 

2. Discipleship. Find an older woman you admire and want to emulate, ask her to disciple you and teach you how she does it. We do not become good at it the instant we become it (wife, mother, Christian); it is a process and one we must patiently learn over time. This is called discipleship: "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." (Titus 2:3) 

3. Selfless Husbands. Who understand that this mommy job isn't an easy one. If your wife looks frazzled, instead of plopping in front of the TV the moment you get home, ask what you can do to help. A parentS job is a 24-7 job - do it together. A simple, "What can I do to help you?" means so so so so so much.

4. A Moment. This mom-job is a 24-7 job. It doesn't matter if you "take a vacation" because you still do the same job, just in a different location. Every mom needs a moment here and there to relax. Need a perfect gift? Give a busy mommy a massage/pedicure/manicure and then offer to babysit while she enjoys this hour of pampering.

5. A Long, Hot UNINTERRUPTED Shower. They're rare and when they happen, it's wonderful. 

6. Prayer Warriors. And I mean people who say, "I'm praying for you!" and actually do it.  Prayer is Powerful. We need prayer for patience, kindness, self-control, our ability to serve willingly, motivation and energy to get through the to-do list, &etc.

7. Encouragement. There will always be people (with or without children) who want to give advice about parenting. The last thing mommy's need is un-asked-for parental advice (they have friends, sisters, mothers, and teachers for that -- see 1 and 2), and when they need advice they have certain people they go to for it. If they didn't ask, don't give it. Instead understand that what mommy's really need are these things listed in this list. 

8. Books. For years, people have been writing about what has worked for them. There's no need to re-write the book, so research what you're doing (breastfeeding, discipline, newborn scheduling, etc. etc.) and find someone who's proven methods also work for you. I will forever be thankful for my breast-feeding book that allowed me to go into it confidently, for Babywise that helped me understand my colicky baby's needs, and Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart where I began to understand biblical discipline.

Also, the most powerful book in any mother's life is the Bible. Spend time in it every day. You'll begin to notice the Holy Spirit using His Word to guide you through your day.

9. Loving Husbands. And yes, I purposely put husbands twice. They do need to help the mother of their child, however, (and I'd argue more than anything) a mother needs to know she is loved. If her husband does not take the time to do this every day it begins to reflect the atmosphere in the home, and believe me the kids will notice. The authors of Babywise, Ezzo and Bucknam have a perfect quote for this piece: "Children need to see an ongoing love relationship that includes mom and dad enjoying each other as friends and not just parents. They also need to see their parents talking, laughing, working together and resolving conflicts with a mutual respect for each other. We cannot over emphasize this point: the more parents demonstrate love for each other, the more they saturate their child's senses with confidence of a loving, safe and secure world."

10. Jesus. "We need to acknowledge that our many failures only solidify our desperate need for Jesus. His power is made perfect in our weaknesses, and he will give us strength each day." ( We must also acknowledge the fact that Jesus told us a "Helper" was being sent and we cannot believe that the "Holy Spirit" is a myth or a ghost. He is real because Jesus said He was real. "... the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26, Jesus was speaking to his disciples in this text, and John specifically wrote this to prove that Jesus is God - and that everything He said and did proved that fact (including what He said in this text, that His disciples would remember everything He said, hence why John wrote the book of John) - but as believers we cannot ignore the fact that we are offered the same help.) He came here to help us, guide us, and once you become a Christian you must believe that He is there with you at all times. If you believe in Him, believe everything that He taught. Once you begin to rely on Jesus and His Word, the Holy Spirit will help you remember it and when we're weak - HE IS STRONG; and when we are strong, it's because HE IS WITH US.

What every mother needs isn't necessarily a list of the season's must have items, but rather her Bible, trust in an all-powerful, mighty, sovereign God, a husband and a group of women who offer encouragement, love, and a moment here and there to relax or accomplish a task without interruption.  

P.S. I sincerely hope there are some items on this list that will jolt a Christmas gift idea for those mom's in your life!