Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First Online Endorsement

I don't usually endorse products on this family blog, but we found a book we like so well we thought we had to share it with our friends and family. It's called The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child by Alan Kazdin ( Now before you jump to any conclusions, I'll beat you to it -- of course my kids are "defiant". They are children, after all, and that certainly goes with the territory. And perhaps that's why we like this book so much -- Kazdin understands that to be a child is to be defiant and therefore to be a parent is to understand how to deal with it effectively. Kazdin is no novice or crackpot; he's the director of the Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic at Yale and has been researching for 30+ years. So the book is based on legitimate research and is brief, well written, and even funny.
I'm sure all of you have perfect children, but you may just want to check this out anyway.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

Usually I leave politics out of our blog, but with how amazingly historical lastnight's election results were, I do have to comment. No matter who you are, no matter what your political persuasions might be, I think we can all agree that the election of Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is truly remarkable. If you're like our family and have been reading about and rooting for Obama for years, you're doubly excited at the results. But I think all of us can see the path of this brilliant man's life, see his humble beginnings, and feel a sense of hope that our children truly can become anything they want to be.
In other news, we've had a busy month. Emerson turned FIVE!! Each time I say it, it still sounds crazy. We had his third dinosaur-themed party which was also his first drop-off party. At first, I thought I must be crazy to invite over seven of Emerson's friends and tell their parents to just leave, but it turned out great. They did a dinosaur stomp (stomping candy-filled balloons), a dinosaur freeze-dance contest, and made their own pizzas. Somehow the kids all behaved perfectly and didn't even cover our floor in pizza toppings. Much thanks to both grandmas for cool gifts and lots of help, and to all friends who gave such cool gifts! Now the only question is how many more dinosaur parties lie ahead.
I think we had our most pumpkin-centric October ever. First we carved pumpkins (way too early, but the kids were excited), the kids loving the goopy feeling of scooping out the seeds with their bare hands. Then we got to visit a pumpkin patch with Emerson's preschool class. It was so entertaining to see the kids run through the hay maze and try to lift their weight in pumpkins. We're so lucky that Emerson's preschool teacher is so adventurous. Both kids also decorated pumpkins at our ward Halloween party as well, so our porch is home to a little pumpkin colony whose precise arrangement changes each time we go through our front door. Surprisingly the sturdy squashes also survived Stella's impromptu game of projectile pumpkins.
Both kids definitely had ample opportunities to wear their Halloween costumes this year as well. Stella (Cinderella) and Emerson (Spinosaurus) attended our ward's Halloween party with all of its fun games and activities and perhaps the cheesiest magician of all time. We also went with Grandma and Grandpa Baker to their ward Halloween Party, a fun tradition that the kids look forward to each year. Their stockpile of candy was therefore quite large before the actual holiday even arrived. Sadly, Stella had had a nagging cough/sinus infection for more than two weeks by the time Halloween arrived and Emerson came down with a horrible cold the day before. So we had to miss out on Emerson's preschool party and spend the day resting so we could do some trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. As an extra treat, Aunt Caroline came over for our stew dinner (which we served in pumpkin-esque bread bowls the kids helped me make) before heading out with us for trick-or-treating. Lots of kids were out in our neighborhood and the warm temperatures made it so even our sick little guy could completely fill his treat bag.
Now we're hunkered down in our house as it snows like crazy outside and we pray for this ridiculous cold to finally leave our family. Believe me, I've given a whole new meaning to the term "stay-at-home mom" over the past couple of weeks. But it's getting increasingly pleasant to stay in our house all the time because Tad has made such progress on our projects. All of the bookshelves/closets are framed in and we've begun dry-walling. So give us a few more months and it should actually be functional.
On a sadder note, Tad's grandpa, Juan Lynn, passed away in October at just shy of 99 years old. He was truly an inspirational person, an example of faithful dilligence and kindness who personified the name his great-grandchildren gave to him, "Grandpa the Great." After such a long and healthy life, his death leaves us sad but grateful to have known him and confident in where he is now.