Motherhood Challenge

I am an orange rhino.  I am taking the Orange Rhino Challenge.  Not the 30 day but the 365 day challenge.

Yesterday’s focus on Valentine’s love really got me thinking about what could I do to say I love you to my kids?  Not yelling at them was my answer.

I’m here to admit that I’m a yeller, no screamer, at my kiddos.  It’s not what I want to do.  It’s not what I ever expected to do as a mom.  But there it is.  Judge me, identify with me or pray with me.  Whatever you decide, I’ve decided that anger towards my children will not rule this household.  I happened upon a great website about three weeks ago, it’s the theorangerhino.com site.  This is a mom who challenged herself to no yelling at her kids for 365 days.  She posts daily about her tactics and what she’s learning.  Sometimes she does a group 30 day challenge and I’ve been waiting to join one if she does another one.  Yesterday, after waiting every day for 3 weeks to see if she announces a new challenge group, I decided to just do it.  I’m not going to change my whole way of dealing with the kids in just 30 days.  It would be a start but not enough.  I’m not expecting to be perfect.  I’ve got to remember that when I do mess up, to keep going because any amount of less yelling is better than none.  Orange Rhino has posted alternatives to yelling.  I have printed that list and it’s now on my fridge so I can run to it when the urge to yell is overwhelming.  During this next year, friends might laugh when I’m out and they see me beat my chest like a gorilla or another goofy anger diffuser.  So if you live in the Dallas area, watch out, a crazy acting momma is about to be let loose.  Why is this called orange rhino?  Orange is a warm color.  A rhinosaurus is a usually calm and tranquil animal but is highly agitated when something bothers her young.  That describes me.  I didn’t yell before I had kids.  I’m basically a calm person but my children bring out the triggers that get me going.  I am realizing slowly that my children are not out to get me.  Most of the time when they are acting out they are struggling with how to get control of their emotions.  Sounds just like me in this yelling area!  I have a wonderful relationship with God.  He is very patient with me.  When I act out and are struggling with controlling my anger, envy, excitement and whatnot, He doesn’t yell, He doesn’t punish.  He uses the Holy Spirit to guide me back and He says “You’re forgiven,” time after time after time.  More times than I should need.  So this journey of showing my kids the love of God’s forgiveness starts today.  I hope to look at my life in one year and see how I’ve grown, see my kiddos reactions and see how my marriage improves all by changing one thing about me.  A very hard thing to change, but still it’s only one thing to work on.

So my new  identity, like many other women who have embarked on this road of change, is to be an orange rhino.  Let the year of change and hard work begin.  I’m looking forward to a great celebration next year!

The Orange Rhino

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Tot/Life School 28.5mo Twins – Beautiful Heart

Today is Valentines Day!  We now have a beautiful heart hanging in our kitchen window.  Here’s what we did.  I taped down a white doily heart inside a rimmed  cookie sheet.  I put blobs of Crayola Washable Paint, red/pink/purple, all around the tray.DSC_03020

Now came the really messy and fun part.  I put a small rubber bouncy ball on the tray and let the boys take turns tilting the tray.  As the ball rolls, it goes through the paint and leaves a colorful pattern on the heart.  It got messy when James was too enthusiastic and rolled the ball off the sheet.  Remember this is a bouncy ball and it bounced all over the kitchen leaving color prints until I caught it.  The boys just laughed and thought it was funny watching an almost 40yr old chase after a ball leaving bright color everywhere.  I declared the painting done when the boys had paint all over their hands and most of the white couldn’t be seen.

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We set it aside to dry and the end result is a beautiful marbled heart.

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While making crafts is oh so fun for all three of us, crafts are not the focus of our lives.  We made a beautiful paper heart.  What about catching the hearts of my boys?  How do I take that feeling of love and adoration that we see on Valentines Day and move it to adoration of God?  Today especially, it has been on my mind to talk about the love of God, that Jesus died for us and that Mommy & Daddy love God.  While driving in the car I’ve talked about God’s love.  So that covers today.  What about the rest of the year?  I heard from one of my patients, back when I worked, that the actual offense that your children do isn’t the main thing to focus on.  I need to be looking into the heart issue.  Did they do something out of pride, peer pressure, or anger?  That is what I need to be focusing on.  There is a million things that my boys can do that are wrong and tackling every little thing would drive a mom crazy, as it does some days literally.  But there are only a handful of heart issues and a handful of issues is much easier to get your mind around.  The heart issues are not easier to deal with, they are just more important.  The actual offence and the heart are linked together.  If I want my boys to have a beautiful heart, I must remember to work on both.  For a heart caught by the Lord and all His ways is a very beautiful thing indeed.  My those little hearts become beautiful by adoring the true God.

Tot School 28.5mo Twins – N is for Night Sky

This week is N week and we started off with a great project.  We made a melted crayon artpiece of the Night Sky that I originally saw on Happy Hooligans.  I took a large sheet of aluminum foil and covered two cookie sheets with the foil.  Then I used Crayola Washable paint and dribbled it around the foil.DSC_0288  I used two shades of blue, a purple, yellow and a dab of white.  Very important detail, don’t use anything that doesn’t say it’s completely washable.  This can get very messy.  The crayola paints wash off clothes and skin without a hint of dye left.  So I placed the two cookie sheets on the table and gave each boy a sponge. 

 

 

 

I love seeing how each twin does things differently.  Lance smeared his paints around and immediately announced that he saw rainbows, in his most enthusiastic voice.  James liked to dab and squish his sponge so that he created bubbles all over his page.  Each boy had a ball playing with the sponge and creating a painting.  When mom had enough of the mess, we washed up and set the sheets out of reach to dry for a bit.

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The paint was still wet when we went back to our project.  I handed the boys the crayon tub and I got them to fish out all the broken pieces of the white, blue, purple, yellow and black crayons.  I used my kitchen grater and grated up the crayon stubs into a bowl then mixed it all up.  I put the bowl in between the boys and set their sheet in front of them.  I told them that they could sprinkle the crayon shavings on their artwork.  Each boy took a few sprinkles at first.  Then before I knew it Lance took the whole bowl and dumped it on his painting.  It was a messy job spreading it around.  DSC_02911DSC_0299

 

 

 

 

 

Again we washed up and I put the sheets in a 250 degree oven for 8min.  When I saw that the crayon wax had melted, I took them out to cool and harden.  Be careful taking them out of the oven because the wax will run.  When it dried, it gave a unique, starry night sky appearance.  If I do this again, I would grate up much more crayon.  I only had 1/2 a bowl full of shavings.  But they still came out pretty.  I trimmed the foil that wrapped the edges of the sheets and now they are hanging on my fridge.  We talked about the sky, how dark it looks at night and how the stars look.  We ended our tot school with singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

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Instead of ending here and leaving you with the impression that our day was as beautiful as our art, let me explain how the rest of our day went.  The art was done and hung.  Earlier that day neither of the boys took a nap.  They stayed in their cribs and talked the whole time.  So when I got them up I immediately did the art project.  After that, it went downhill.  You know the days when the word no just doesn’t mean anything to them.  That’s what happened and I felt like all I did was walk behind them saying no and slapping hands, spanking and holding for timeouts.  So while you see my lovely artwork and all the fun of this activity, please remember that I too have moments that are less than ideal.  I can look at my fridge in the middle of the chaos and remind myself of the great moments.  For rarely are the days that are a complete wash.  I can choose to find and remember the mercies in each day from God.

Life School 28mo Twins – Valentines Bath

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I have twin boys that are almost 2.5yr old.  They don’t get all the lovie dovie heart stuff.  One day if I have a little girl, I can go overboard with all the pink and hearts.  But for now Valentines is a bit more subdued.  Today I did get to have some of the pink hearts, good smelling sparkling stuff.  I made a Valentines Bath for them to play in.  I put in some bubble bath, red and pink glitter foam hearts, red tinsel, red and pink plastic heart boxes and red and pink pompoms.  To top it all off I pulled out the cherry scented red roll on soap for the boys too.  So the boys went in the bathroom and just about had a fit trying to get their clothes off so they could climb in the tub and they have a ball.  The first thing they did was push all the hearts on the edge of the tub into the water.  No sense in letting the tub stay pretty.  They each wound tinsel around their arms, each other’s head, around their ears and in between their toes.  Now they know how to say tinsel.

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The pompoms were the best part.  At first the boys didn’t even know that they were hidden in and underneath all the bubbles.  I found one and showed them how to put it in a heart box.  I also showed them among all the red and pink pompoms, I had put in one very special yellow pompom.  That did it, the splashing started and you would have thought they were looking for a million dollars.  I had to shut the curtain and just peek around the top edge because it was all out, no holds barred, I’m going to find it before you, kinda search.  Now that my friends is boys.  Valentines, a time for sharing and caring, but my boys showed it’s about enjoying competition.  Now don’t get me wrong, they can be very affectionate and loving at times.  James, my curious little thing, managed to see just how many pompoms he could stick up inside the water-spout before mom finished playing with Lance.  I can attest to six pompoms fitting in the downspout and another one getting jammed up in there.  So while I should be resting or cleaning or cooking during their nap, I will be getting needlenose pliers out to retrieve a stuck pompom before dad comes home.  Dad fixes so many things for us that I just don’t think it’s fair to leave this one to him.

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So it’s not my frilly pink, tulle and glitter hearts kind of Valentines experience, but not bad for two little boys.  The hearts did have glitter on them, although Lance tried to eat it all off and the roll on soap smelled sweet and lovely.  A great perk is that even after the bath, the boys smell like fresh picked cherries.  I’m sure I’ll pull out a few heart crafts next week, but I think this will be the best Valentines thing that the boys get to do this year.

Tot School 28mo Twins – M is for Magnets & Mazes

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Our M learning actually started back on Sunday when dad went with us to a local park in Allen, Tx that has a maze for kids.  Mazes are just fun.  You can walk, run, hide, jump and go a new way each time.  Mazes also give a little one a chance to use those problem solving skills.  As the picture shows, sometimes they just can’t decide and get frustrated, but when they stick with it, they eventually figure a way out.  Sometimes that learning is by trial and error or dead-end paths.100_2619100_2623  Using their brain to make decisions on which way to go builds those little neuron pathways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s such fun watching them giggle as they call for their brother.  Their whole body gets a workout in this maze.  As James shows, even the facial muscles get in a good workout.

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Every day since Sunday has been magnet day.  Oh what fun magnets are around our house.  When I was imagining what we would do with our magnets I had a few ideas.  Now dad, he took the magnets to a whole other level that I hadn’t thought about.  Did you know that magnets can hop on their own?  If you put the negative sides towards each other you can make them hop or chase them around the floor.  We even had a magnet race this morning!  How about this one, the mysterious moving magnet?  If you take a magnet under the table, it will move the ones on the top of the table.  Now that’s some cool magic for a toddler to see.DSC_02600

The boys, on their own, slide the magnets down the slide and watch them pull together on their own down at the bottom.  They stack them.  They try to eat them.  They try to pull them apart.  Those two boys have even learned that they can have magnet wars, they each hold their stack close to their brother’s stack and see who can get magnets from their brother.  Now I would not have thought of that I can assure you.

 

Today we took our magnets and went around the house seeing what they would stick to.  We tried the cabinets, the fridge, the walls, the door stoppers, stuffed animals, plates, silverware, couch, crib, wooden climber, the windows, the doors and more than I can name.  All I had to do was show them a few places to try and then they took off laughing and trying to find things that would hold their magnets.  It was quite the morning.

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Only one more day of M activities.  I’ve really enjoyed exploring these fun things during the last two weeks.  The kids have had fun and learned a few new things too.

Life School 28mo Twins

Valentines, a time for love,  a time to make hearts, a time for red and pink painting and a time for spending money on junk usually.  I want to teach my boys that valentines is also about showing that you care.  You may not love someone in the traditional way, but showing others that you appreciate them means a lot too.  So yesterday afternoon the boys made muffins.  In my world, food means love and appreciation.  I’m a sucker for a nice meal and or desserts.   If you’ve read my past posts, you know my boys can cook so I didn’t take any new pictures of them in the kitchen.  The only thing I did was pull out everything, open the bags of mixes, help pour the milk and put the tins in the oven.  We made blueberry muffins and strawberry muffins this time.  The “mmmms” in our kitchen from the boys licking the spatulas while the muffins cooked made me laugh.  I definately think they have the sound of the letter M down.  This morning we packaged the muffins up and went over to the local fire department to say thank you for serving us.  Those firefighters were so nice.  They put the boys up in the engine then let them turn on all the lights of the ambulance.  They even got to see the giant boots and pants that the guys keep ready and waiting.  We went to say thanks and these great people gave my boys something special in return.  This was a great experience in how to show appreciate to someone.  I hope they can look at my life and see me doing things to show my thanks to others and not just see mom taking.  For I know that I’m setting an example of how to live.  I’m also physically showing them the characteristics of Jesus Christ.  We will do more acts of kindness in the months to come and sometimes we’ll be rewarded like today and other times we’ll learn that kindness is done just to be kind and thankful.  Thank you Richardson Fire Department Station 5.

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Tot School 28mo Twins – M is for Museum

We love art around here.  Well we love crafts and the art it produces.  As far as real art, what is real art anyways?  To help answer that question we took a trip down to the Dallas Art Museum today for their 1st Tuesday for Kids.  When we got there, there is a big grassy area with a giant red metal x in the middle.  Lance broke free from my grasp and tried to climb it before I got to him.  After we got inside we went down to the kid’s area and started with a project exploring what you can make with different materials.  James wanted to munch on the Qtips and Lance wanted to pull all of the blue tape off the roll.  With a little prompting, the boys both made an art piece.  We put them in our bag, but by the time we got home, only one was in there.  Maybe someone will see James’ artwork and decide to put it on display.  Ha!

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Then on we went to explore tearing & taping paper, colored tape, textured tile rubbings, soap carving and stuffing puppets.  After that fun-filled experience, we took off on our own to look at the real art in the museum.  We met up with my best friend and her kids for a brief bit while we looked at a small gallery of contemporary art.  A room full of pink cellophane art, a compressed toothpick square, paint poured on the floor and other strange pieces didn’t make much of an impression on me or the boys.  The boys are getting exposed to the real world of art I remind myself.  We will come back on another day with hand leashes or dad and look at the traditional art and talk about shapes and colors.  For today though, it was all contemporary.

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Our friends took off to other areas of the museum while we headed outside to the sculptures.  Now the boys seemed to like these better.  Metal, water, birds and being able to make noise made this a great place to explore art.

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Lastly, we headed home and made some art ourselves before our nap.  Does the picture below of our art piece remind you of another piece?  The boys apparently have a talent for replication art!  Ha!

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So back to our original question: What is art?

Art is metal, climbable, colorful, abstract, hands on, don’t touch, quiet, inside, outside, wet, dry, slick, wooden, papery and on some occasions even munchable.  Art is many things, but art is the best when it’s two little twin boys having fun making memories together and learning.