Saturday, November 1

"He Reigns"...Reinterpreted

Before I get into my post for today, I just wanted to say that we made it to NY safe and sound. We've been here almost a month (time flies!), and each day that passes we're a little more settled. The kids are adjusting so well, and Josh and I are both really happy that we made the big move. We're both working from home full-time and reconnecting with each other, the family, and Josh's old friends from high school. Oh...and unpacking! We're looking forward to the holidays with special expectation this year. Speaking of special expectations, I want to give a shout out to my baby brother and his wife, who are expecting baby #2 in July. We're so excited for you guys! Happy, healthy pregnancy blessings on you!

I wanted to share something hilarious that happened today. Josh & Rachel had the kids out this morning running errands, and after a particularly trying morning with things not going as planned, Kaden started singing out his version of "He Reigns" (a worship song by the Newsboys -- full lyrics here). He has heard this song on the radio, but I think he really "learned it" from his friend Hannah's kids' worship CD. (Hi, Yaxes -- we miss you!)

So here are the real words to the chorus:

It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah He reigns,
He reigns
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah He reigns,
He reigns

And here, in all its glory, is Kaden's interpretation:

When you're not even tryin'
Holy Moly, Holy Moly - a Mess!
When you're not even tryin'
Holy Moly, Holy Moly - a Mess!

In case you're having trouble figuring out which line goes where, I tried to put them together here, the original first, and then Kaden's version:

It’s all God’s children singing / When you're not even tryin'
Glory, glory / Holy Moly
Hallelujah, He reigns / Holy Moly - a Mess!
He reigns / Ebay!

I'm sure it lacks something without the audio, but it's absolutely HILARIOUS to hear him sing this because he has the tune down pat, but none of the words make sense. Well, maybe they make sense, but they're not exactly a worship tune anymore. How funny is it that "eBay" is a regular part of his vocabulary? I think that's a sign to lay off eBay! :-) Anyway, when they got home, Kaden sang his song for me, and Josh and I just laughed and laughed. Kaden enjoyed cracking us up, so he just kept singing it over and over again. Laney gets into the act, too, singing "Holy Moly" over and over again. The two of them together are just too much.

Kids are so much fun [98% of the time]. I highly recommend them. :-)

Tuesday, September 30

Moving Part 2

I wanted to follow up on my first "Moving Story" post with the second part of the story. In short, God sold our house in two weeks . . . and we're moving at the end of this week!

Now for the longer explanation . . . This whole process has been a whirlwind, to say the least. At the end of July, Josh and I started considering a move back up north, but honestly, I was way more committed to the idea than he was. He wasn't so sure about leaving Nashville or his job, but after our visit to Plattsburgh in mid-July, I felt increasingly restless here, sort of like this wasn't "home" anymore. I mentioned to my friend Stephanie that we were discussing the possibility of moving, but I told her that even if we DID move, it wouldn't be until next year. Here we are just two short months later, and we're getting ready to pack our moving truck this week!

Things at Josh's job continued to decline through the summer, both in the amount of hours and the quality of the work environment, and he made the decision to take a leap of faith on August 21st: he quit his job! Up until that point, moving to NY was still a vague possibility in my mind because I knew we both had to be onboard 100 percent and both have peace about this gigantic change in our lives. Josh called me that night after quitting and told me he had good news and bad news. And then he corrected himself: "Actually it's all good news. I quit my job and we're moving to NY!" I was kind of like..."Really?" I was shocked.

Well, we quickly moved into action and got the house "spiffed up" in one week and officially put it on the market For Sale by Owner. We didn't know at that point what God's plan was or if we were even going in the right direction. We decided that if the house sold quickly, that would definitely be a sign that God's hand was in this and that He really did want us to move. So we listed the house on Thursday, August 28th, and we had several people contact us initially. Josh took this on as his full-time job and really did a great job creating a cool website and marketing the house on Craigslist and via flyers around Nashville.

With the way the housing market is right now, we really didn't know how long our house would sit on the market. I was prepared for 3-4 months, at least, but we both believed from the beginning that God had already sold the house and had a special family in mind. We just had no way of knowing how quickly He would bring that family along, and we didn't want to try to put God on our timeline. As much as we didn't want to be stuck in between jobs or face the prospect of moving to NY and trying to sell the house from there, we knew that it was a possibility. With timing uncertain, but sensing that this really was what God wanted us to do, we prayed every day for wisdom and patience in working out the details and waiting for Him to bring the right family along. This process certainly increased our faith greatly, and it was neat because Kaden got to participate in the process -- praying in his own words and seeing God answer our prayers in a big way.

On Saturday, September 13th, the future buyers came to see the house while my sister and I were at the Music City Triathlon course scoping out the situation for the triathlon the next day. We had two showings that day, and several other people called who were really interested in the house. Josh called me to tell me that it looked like both families were going to make an offer, so that was VERY good news! The next day after the triathlon, we talked about the options we had and decided on a really sweet couple that loves our house. They're young and want to have a family soon, which is exciting for us because this home has been such a blessing to us and we've made so many good memories here with our kids. Josh called them on Sunday afternoon, and they were so excited that they wanted to come over THAT NIGHT and sign the paperwork. So we did!

We're doing a 2-year lease-purchase agreement with them, and they were ready to assume the mortgage starting in October. The timing was perfect for us because we never had to make a mortgage payment while Josh was out of work. Again, we had no idea how long we would have to carry the mortgage, but we couldn't be happier with the way God blessed us so abundantly through this whole process.

If it had taken six months or a year to sell our house, God would still be good, but to see Him work out this arrangement in two weeks and for Him to move so swiftly on our behalf has been truly amazing. We're so grateful for the way He is making a path for us. Isaiah 30:21 says, "Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." We have certainly experienced this during this whole process leading up to our move.

So that's the story. I'm sure there will be more to tell in the future as God continues unfolding what our new life will look like in NY. Our plan is to move in with Josh's parents and finish their basement to make our own little spot for the next year or so while we get their house ready to sell. I'll continue freelancing, and Josh has some money-making ideas up his sleeve, as he almost always does. :-) Josh will be the chief manual laborer in completing the repairs that need to be done to the house, so that will keep him busy, too. Our long-term plan is to move to the family lake in northern PA, but we don't have a certain date set for that second move.

It's interesting to look back and see how God has been developing this idea of "multigenerational living" in our hearts for over a year now. We thought that Josh's parents would be the ones moving here after retirement and that we would buy a piece of property together and build separate homes or possibly one big joint home. God apparently had other ideas in mind, now that WE are clearly the ones relocating, but still, the concept is the same. I'm sure there will be lots of pros and cons to us all living under one roof, but I truly believe we're going to work it out and create an arrangement that works for all of us. This whole interdependence between generations is relatively foreign to us now that lots of families are spread out over the whole country and we've moved away from the model of families living in the same town for their whole lives, but at least for us, reclaiming that interdependence is a very exciting prospect. I have some ideas cooking in my head, like maybe a new blog or even an e-book on traversing some of the pitfalls of multigen living, so stay tuned.

God is at work in a big way in our family, and we feel very fortunate to have experienced this last year -- and particularly the last two months. I've collected some Bible verses that meant a lot to me during this time (and will continue to), and I think I'll post those separately in case they might help someone out there.

Thanks for reading this epic blog post. I know I don't blog much anymore, but I'm on Facebook a lot -- so set up an account and request me as a friend if you want to keep up with us more regularly. The next time I write, we'll be northerners again! :-)

New York or bust! To God be the glory!

Moving Part 1

**Originally published on Facebook - August 29, 2008**

Several of you have asked about what's up with my status messages ... "What?! You're moving?!" Yes, it's true! Josh quit his job last week, and we just officially put our house on the market last night. It's a long story, but Josh and I came to the conclusion that climbing the corporate ladder, especially living away from all of our family, is not creating the family life or quality of life that we envision and desire. We've considered finding a new job for Josh here in the Nashville area, but the more we thought about it and prayed about it, the more and more sense it made to head back up north. Minus Jess and Stefan, both sides of our family live in PA and NY, and honestly, we're just tired of living so far away!

Josh's dad retires in Sept. 09, and we were making plans for them to retire here in TN, but without Josh's job to hold us here, we decided it makes more sense for us to be the ones who move. Josh's parents have always dreamed of retiring at the family lake in PA (north of Scranton, PA and south of Binghamton, NY), but they were going to forego that dream to be close to us in TN (they say the grandkids are like little magnets). But before they can move anywhere, their house needs a lot of work done to it. Because of Rachel's health over the last 10 years, their house has been at the bottom of the priority list (understandably). Combine their needs with our growing sense that God was drawing this season of life to a close, and voila! -- you have our plan for the next phase.

We are moving to Plattsburgh, NY as soon as we sell our house and/or Josh finds another job in NY. The plan right now is to build an "apartment" in the basement of Josh's parents' house, and we'll live there until we all move to the lake after retirement. We'll be helping them get their house ready, Josh won't be gone for 13-14 hours days (yay!), and we can finally get out from a bunch of business debt. Josh's parents are ECSTATIC, and we're excited to see what life will look like in the next year.

It's a time of healing for us, a time for family, and a time to simplify life and focus on what really matters. God's leading us on another adventure, not unlike our big adventure of moving to Nashville, but it looks different from anything we imagined even a few short months ago. God's giving us peace about this big move, and we're taking each day at a time to see what He has in store.

Well, that's the short story. We'd love to have your prayers with us as we jump out in faith into this multi-generational living thing. Maybe I'll start a new blog. :-)

So...anyone want to buy a house in Fairview, TN?! We'd love to show you around!

Monday, June 23

Non-Toxic Kitchen Cleaners

I read a really helpful post tonight, and I wanted to share it. I'm always interested in any household product that's non-toxic, simple, and cheap. Can't beat that combo! Check out this post from The Nourishing Gourmet on her simple, non-toxic kitchen cleaners. She has some great info and "recipes" that I intend to try this week!

I already have some Borox on hand from Soaps Gone Buy (love their laundry kit!), so I'm going to mix up some of the dishwashing detergent that Kimberly Harris recommends. The vinegar/peroxide combo is so cool! I had never heard of that before.

Let me know if you try any of these ideas. Also, I'd love to hear of any simple non-toxic cleaning ideas you have! I've been using several of the "Greenworks" products from Clorox, and I do like those. However, something I can mix up myself is even more appealing!

Wednesday, June 11

When A 1-Piece Suit Just Won't Do

I'm all for modesty, but ... really? A 4-piece bathing suit? I think I'd rather stay inside than wear this get-up in the hot summer sun.

Supposedly, this appeals to "today's religious woman," but this religious woman will stick with my tankini thank-you-very-much.

It's hard to believe they have much of a market for these suits, but I guess I might be wrong! At least you know where to find this little gem if you're ever in the market for head-to-toe swimwear. Nothing says summer fun like heat exhaustion!

Saturday, June 7

Jew-P-S to the Rescue!

I've been wanting to post this little story for a few weeks, and believe it or not, it's been so long since I blogged that I forgot how to sign into my blog! That's a sure sign that your blog is in a serious state of neglect. But I figured it out, and here I am!

Josh's parents gave us a GPS for Christmas, and we've already used it on several trips. I also use it when I'm going somewhere in Nashville that I'm not familiar with. Kaden thinks it's very cool, and to be honest, what's not to like? A talking computer that knows where you're going and tells you where to turn?! Amazing! We call our GPS "Genie," which is something we picked up from Papa, I think.

Several weeks ago, we were driving along and apparently Kaden thought we were lost or something. He piped up from the backseat, "Mom, you shoulda brought the Jew-P-S!"

When I realized he was talking about the GPS, my first thought was, Man, I bet Moses could have used one of those in the Wilderness. Good 'ole Genie would have gotten the Israelites right to the Promised Land! Get it? Jew-P-S? Hahahaha!

You may not be impressed, but I got a good laugh out of my own sense of humor. :-) The kids didn't get the joke, but hey, at least I think it's funny.

Sunday, May 11

Mad Lib for Mother

I know, I know...where have I been, right? Well, I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say I've been spending every spare moment (and a few that didn't feel so spare) in the basement, huddled away at my desk and feverishly proofreading a big project for Thomas Nelson. I've been at it since January, and although it was supposed to be done March 27, we're still going strong on May 11. I'm always happy for the work, but there's also something to be said for wrapping things up and moving on to the next thing. Like maybe a week-long nap?! :-)

Anyway, when I'm really busy, blogging sort of gradually slides off the priority list. Sleep? Eat? Blog? I usually go for the first two when push comes to shove! And any time you get out of the habit of doing something, it always takes a lot of effort to get back on the wagon. I've thought about many things I'd like to post about over the months, but nothing felt exactly right for my first post after such a long absence. That is, until I received Kaden's Mother's Day gifts from preschool on Thursday. I knew I just had to share this little "Mother's Day Mad Lib" because it's just too cute and funny to keep to myself! So here goes...

My Special Mom
My mom is the most wonderful mom in the world. She is as pretty as a mouse. She weighs 85 pounds, and she is 8 feet tall. Her hair is white, and her eyes are yellow. Her favorite food is cereal.

My mother can do anything! I think she's best at taking me to the doctor. My mother has a pretty smile! She smiles when she sees me do special things. My mother is smart! She even knows how to cook. I wish my mom would paint with me everyday.

I wouldn't trade my mother for chips! Happy Mother's Day!

A few observations...
1.) I've never considered a mouse to be pretty, but I guess with white hair and yellow eyes, I could compete with any mouse out there!

2.) Talk about body dysmorphia! I guess in Kaden's eyes, I seem very tall, but 8 feet?! And 85 pounds? Oh my. To put this into perspective, those stats would give me a BMI of 6.5. Underweight starts at 18.5. So yeah...I think I'll be having Kaden's eyes checked again this week. :-)

3.) I thought his answer about painting everyday was sweet because it made me realize how much he loves doing art projects. I knew he loved painting and stuff, but for him to pick that out as a favorite activity (as opposed to something more active or outdoors), it sort of surprised me. I guess we'll be doing more painting!

4.) As far as the chips go, at least I know I rank above the nearest bag of Baked Lays. :-) And that's saying something, folks.

To all the moms out there, and especially to my mom, mother-in-law, and the five grandmas on both sides of the family ... Happy Mother's Day! We love you, we're blessed to have you in our lives, and you are all examples to me of sacrificial love and service. Thank you for loving God and your families with all your heart, mind, and strength. I pray you have a blessed day and know how special you are to me, to Josh, and to the kids. We wouldn't trade you for all the chips in the world! :-) For all the silent prayers you prayed, tireless hours you spent doing the ordinary and unglamorous, and for being our biggest supporters, we say, "Thank You!"

I also want to say thank you to three people who over the years have treated me like a daughter and blessed me with their love and wisdom -- Neila, Jane, and Pam, I love you! I'm forever grateful for you and the time you took to invest in me.

I'm sending my love to all the moms I love and cherish -- Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, February 10

Thanking Him for Protection

As you've probably heard, Super Tuesday turned into a night of super tornadoes here in Tennessee. A tornado touched down in Fairview during the first cell of storms that went through, and by God's grace, we survived with no damage whatsoever. Although we weren't that scared on Tuesday night (it really didn't seem THAT bad here), it's been alarming to discover just how close the Fairview tornado was to our house. We had the news on and were watching the radar on, but we never heard the tornado or saw anything other than lots of lightning and some hail. If we had known that the tornado was just 1-3 miles south of us, we would have been hiding out in the closet downstairs instead of watching from upstairs! Over thirty homes were destroyed in Fairview, and we drove by this church today on our way to church. (Here are some more pictures.) We drive this way to church every Sunday, and to see the destruction and the path of fallen trees and debris just a few miles away was definitely a sobering sight. It looked like a steamroller drove down over the hill and flattened every tree in its path.

On the positive side, it's been wonderful to see how our church has rallied to help tornado victims, and the little town of Fairview has really pulled together. Tragedy does have a way of bringing out the best in people. The kids and I had the chance to volunteer yesterday, sorting donations and clothing so that everyone who lost their homes can come "shopping" and start to rebuild their lives again. I know that this earth and our belongings are not all there is to this life, but to lose every earthly possession has to be one of the most devastating things to face. Even more so, I think of the thirty-three families across Tennessee who are without a loved one today because of these storms. So many times natural disasters are far away, and while I feel for the people, it's not the same as when the storm is literally in your town. The feeling of "that could have been us" was always in the back of my mind this week.

So we will keep reaching out to those who have been affected, and we will keep thanking God for his protection of our family. Hug your families a little tighter tonight. I know I will be! (Oh, and if they say there are tornados sighted, just go to your "safe place," okay? I wish we had taken a bit more precaution that night. Lesson learned!)

Friday, February 8

Reward Board Revisited

The emails have been pouring in (okay, there were three), and I decided to take a minute to clarify a few things about the Reward Board.

I base earning coins on two things. Number one, if Kaden obeys one of the house rules, he gets a coin. For example, if he obeys the first time when I ask him to do something, he gets a coin. If he uses kind words with me or Delaney, he gets a coin. I decided early on that I had to be as willing to see the positive and reward it as I was to jump on the negative and penalize him.

Number two, if Kaden does something I deem positive, he earns a coin. Kaden's very loving with Delaney and is generally a great sharer, so I try to emphasize his strong points by rewarding him with coins when I catch him being sweet to her. He's also pretty good at helping around the house, like scrubbing the tub with shampoo (!) when I'm cleaning or running the handvac. He gets coins for stuff like that b/c I want him to feel good about being part of the team effort that is family. Of course not everything fits into the rules we have listed, but a lot of things fall under nice words or nice hands & feet. We also reward him with a coin for good behavior when we're out and about -- church, the grocery store, etc.

Josh and I decided not to have an elaborate system of points and degrees of rewards. Everything is worth one coin, whether good or bad. I suppose the time could come where Kaden would do something so fantastic that it would deserve two coins, but we haven't had that come up yet. :-)

One thing I'm not sure what to do with yet is when losing one coin doesn't cause Kaden to amend his behavior. Losing one coin works 98% of the time, but there are occasionally times where he just gets it in his head that he's going to be naughty regardless of coins or rewards. In that case, I usually send him to his room to cool down so I don't rifle through all of his coins for one infraction.

Oh, and for Holly B. -- we super-glued magnets on the back of nickels. They've worked like a charm!

If any of you implement this in your home, let me know how it goes. I hope our Reward Board has inspired you!

Sunday, February 3

Kaden's Reward Board - Part 2

Now that you've all been on the edge of your seat for a good 24 hours, I'll continue my post.

One day in the beginning of January, we were all in the car together, and Josh told me he had come up with an idea that he thought would help Kaden's current behavior issues. His idea has affectionately become known as the "Reward Board," thus instituting the 2nd generation of the "Reward System" -- good choices earn good consequences and bad choices earn bad consequences. As you may be able to tell from the picture, there is a Bank (Mom & Dad's money), a Savings Account (Kaden's spot to stash coins he earns each day), the Hesse House Rules on the left, and the Reward section at the bottom. Every day, Kaden gets to start with 3 coins, and then he earns and loses coins based on his behavior and the choices he makes.

Our rules are:

  1. Nice Words
  2. Nice Hands & Feet
  3. Obey the First Time
  4. Keep Undies Clean (for the potty trainers among us)
  5. Have a Good Quiet Time
  6. Keep Emotions Under Control (no tantrums)

The best part of this for me is that I don't feel like the Lone Discipline Ranger anymore. Not that Josh wasn't involved before, but since I spend most of my time at home with the kids, I was the one here dealing with bad behavior. But now, even when Josh is at work, he's still involved in Kaden's discipline b/c we came up with this system together, and Kaden knows that Daddy's serious about it. In fact, if Kaden gets down to zero coins at any point in the day, he has to answer to Daddy, not me. Kaden has to go to Josh the next morning and explain why he lost all his coins and receive a Daddy punishment (much scarier to Kaden than regular 'ole Mommy). Josh checks the board each night when he gets home from work, and he always talks to Kaden about how his day went the next morning.

We put the white board in the kitchen, the hub of the house, so that we could all see it and remember the rules. Kaden likes moving coins over from the bank when he makes a good choice, but he's not so fond of losing coins. He's already earned two trips to the YMCA swimming pool and one lunch in his treehouse. He loves using his coins for rewards!

So how's it working? Well, we've had about 3 weeks at it, and I have to say that I've definitely seen an improvement in Kaden's behavior -- and in my stress level. I haven't been losing my temper on a daily basis anymore, so this is a good thing! I'm not a temper person, but the boy was literally driving me to tears! Having more structure with clearly defined rewards has made it less of a guessing game on how to reward Kaden when he exceeds our expectations -- both in a good way and in a bad way!

Kaden's really caught on to the idea, too. He's already suggested that Laney have her own board (he likes the idea of being in charge of someone), and he even told me that I need my own board! One night I reprimanded him in a frustrated tone, and he said, "Mom, I think you need your own board because you just lost a coin." At first I thought he was upset with me because I had reprimanded him, and I told him that mommies are allowed to make rules for the kids and expect them to obey. But he further clarified to me that he didn't like the way I said it to him. He was right! I apologized for my tone, and we hugged. He makes me smile when he does stuff like that. My mother-in-law told me one night that Kaden's sensitivity to my tone of voice shows her that we're doing a good job teaching him how to treat others and talk to people. He calls me on it when my tone is anything other than gentle and calm. The kid keeps me honest, I tell ya. Imagine that -- being held to my own rules!

I'm sure Kaden will outgrow these particular rules and rewards at some point, but the reasoning behind the system will keep working. We'll have to adapt the boundaries and the rewards, but I think we've definitely tapped into something that will work for us for many years to come.

Wednesday, January 23

Kaden's Reward Board - Part 1

Back in November, we hit one of those phases with Kaden when what we were doing for discipline simply wasn't working. The older he gets, the more argumentative he gets and it seems, the more strong-willed. I was frustrated, Kaden was frustrated, and Daddy was tired of getting an earful from me every night on his way home from work. So in Josh's usual fashion, he decided to fix the problem! (More on that tomorrow.)

Kaden has such a sweet personality. He's energetic (I'll give you that), but he's always been a cuddler and very giving. He's very determined, though...some might even say stubborn...and maybe a smidge moody. However, he's never been given to tantrums, kicking, screaming, hitting, or the like. So when he suddenly started throwing tantrums, screaming, and slamming doors, Josh and I were both confused about what was behind this sudden change. I knew our sweet boy was still there, but something we were doing at home wasn't working. Not enough structure? Not enough one-on-one time? Not enough ___________? It seemed that a lot of his frustration was aimed at me, which was definitely not easy for me to take. Truth be told, on the inside, I was downright distraught.

One Sunday afternoon, after a rough morning with Kaden, I sat down on the couch with my Bible, and I was feeling totally worn out. I did one of those random, flip-through-the-Bible, "God-please-speak-to-me" things, and He answered. I landed in Isaiah 11, and wouldn't you know it, the heading say, "The King of Peace is Coming." Peace? Yes, please! I knew I needed encouragement from God, but I didn't know exactly what I was looking for until I found it. The chapter talks ultimately of Christ, the King of Peace, and there were a few things that stuck out to me about how this King rules. Verse 2 says that He will rule with wisdom, understanding, guidance, and power, and verse 3 says that He will not judge by the way things look or deciding by what He hears. I like that part because it's important for me to slow down and get the whole story before I jump in and start judging a situation with the kids. Things aren't always what they seem (i.e., sometimes it's Laney who's causing the problem!).

Verse 4 says He will judge the poor honestly and fairly, and back in Isaiah 10:1-2, it talks about "how terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws, and those who write laws that make life hard for people. They are not fair to the poor, and they rob my people of their rights." Now that really made me laugh, because I felt like God was talking directly to me. Because of the fact that I work from home and have limited outside help (a nanny), I do expect a lot from Kaden. He spends several hours in his room each afternoon while Laney naps, so that I can work, and this "quiet time" thing had become a real point of contention for the two of us. I still think that quiet time is necessary for both of us, but because of our new system, the tension and the battle has been taken out of the equation. I had allowed discipline to become a battle, and that had soaked up a good portion of the sweetness in our relationship. We weren't enjoying each other's company anymore because it seemed that we were always locked in battle. I sensed that Kaden needed more tenderness and more understanding from me, and it really broke my heart! I know the situation wasn't all my fault, but as the adult, it was my job to take control and get things back on track. I wanted peace, not battles.

Then I read Isaiah 11:5, and it renewed my hope. "Goodness and fairness will give him strength, like a belt around his waist." Verses 6-9 describe the picture of peace and tranquility that hinge on the first 5 verses -- there is peace because of the way the King rules! I felt like God was telling me that it didn't matter what the issues were or how things got this way. It was my job as the "king" (when Daddy's not here!) :-) to rule with goodness and fairness, and then peace would flow from that. Not bantering, not begging, not negotiating, but goodness and fairness. It's not weaker or softer or touchy-feely. If anything, trying to be my calm and easygoing self had gotten me to this point. We've always had rules, but as I said, the older Kaden gets, the more he tries the boundaries. And when timeouts failed miserably and spankings were creating more aggression, I started to lose my cool. Not pretty. (I'll admit it.) I'm not a screamer (I hate it in fact), so when I found myself raising my voice at Kaden and sounding like a crazy person, I was just as alarmed at my own behavior as I was with his. I wanted to find a way to be firm without being mean or frustrated, and I wanted to find a way to be fair to Kaden as a person while still teaching him how to be part of a family and how to follow the house rules.

So...what did we do?! Check back tomorrow, and I'll share my husband's brilliant solution. Part 2 to follow...

Sunday, January 13

I'm Back, 2008!

So,'s been a long time. I warned y'all that it might be a while before I got back to blogging, right? I didn't know it would be THIS long, but here I am again. I was so busy in November and December! Juggling the kids, the house, a project, Christmas shopping, getting ready for company, and hosting Christmas at our house pushed blogging way off the to-do list. :-) Starting on Dec. 20th and ending Jan. 4th we hosted 2 sets of parents, 3 grandparents, 2 siblings, and 1 niece -- our place was bursting at the seams! (Their stays didn't all overlap, just FYI.) We had a blast, took about 1100 pictures (literally), everyone got along great, we managed to find places for everyone to rest their weary heads at night, and the kids opened presents for what seemed like three days straight. If you're not on my picture list (and you want to see 200 pictures of the Hesse/Wallace Christmas in Tennessee, email me at hessefamily (at) gmail (dot) com. I'll add you to the list if I know you! :-)

So I have a funny story to break back into blogging. I decided over Christmas to back Kaden off of whole milk and start buying 2%. He has always loved milk and would drink it 24/7 if I let him. He's a thirsty little dude, and sometimes I think all those liquid calories are filling him up and then he's not hungry for real food. Anyway, 2% milk doesn't have that many fewer calories, but I thought it might help a bit. So the other morning, on Sunday before church, Kaden was thirsty and wanted to have a second cup of milk before we left. I told him that he had already had a big cup of milk with breakfast and that he could have juice (80% water, 20% juice) instead. I said something like, "Buddy, milk has calories in it that fill you up, and if you drink a bunch of milk you won't be hungry for real food." He didn't question me any more after that, and I didn't think the whole "calorie" thing even registered.

So off we went to church, and several hours later on the way home, Kaden was drinking some milk in the backseat. All of the sudden he sat forward in his carseat, held his cup up to look through it, and he said, "Mom, I don't see any cavities in there. How'd you get them in there -- I don't see them!"

It took me a few seconds to figure out what he was talking about, but Josh and I had a good laugh when I finally translated and explained what Kaden was talking about -- calories! Josh was like, "I can't believe you told him he couldn't have something because it had too many calories!" It may sound weird (I certainly am not trying to freak him out about gaining weight or something like that)...I was just trying to tell him that the milk will fill him up, whereas my very watered down juice will not.

Calories or not, thankfully there are no cavities in either whole or 2% milk! Kids. Aren't the hilarious?!