Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's working for us: Money Mantra

So parenting does not come easy for me. I feel like I work really hard at trying to be a good one (whatever that means). But Passion --not patience --has always been much easier for me... So right off the block I feel like I've got to work doubly hard to be successful in this area.While motherhood may be my divine calling, it seems my disposition is much more geared to the corporate world. So to compensate for my lack of skill set, I read.... A LOT.

I know plenty of child-rearing adults who are super anti-parenting book. I get that - no judgements. Some may think: "Who are they to tell me how to raise my child?' And I get that. Each child is after all an individual, and I can already see that somethings that worked for Holden (e.g. "OM-ing him to sleep") does not work with Zoe.

However, I read anyway.

I read textbooks, and handbooks, the Internet and pamphlets. I'm constantly researching and keeping my ears peeled for what the experts say "I'm supposed to be doing." I look for different approaches and new ideas. (For example, I read the Dr. Sears Sleep Book AND Babywise. The former works better in our house than the latter.)

I read what science and the research has to say. I take into account the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization's recommendations. And after combing through all this and more, I check with my head, my heart and my husband and try to feel out what's best for us.

Setting up Epic Battles are a Favorite
As you may have heard, we lean way more to the Attachment Parent side of the spectrum. Things that work for us include co-sleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding and some part-time EC-ing and cloth diapering.  (I'm sure I'll touch base on those again sometime). Those are particularly helpful with Zoë -- now almost 16 months old.

Something that has really worked for us with Holden has to do with money - particularly his money and letting him spend it on whatever he wants (assuming it doesn't have a gun, is violent or has high fructose corn syrup). :)

When Holden asks me if he can have a toy 99.7% of the time I say "Yes!"

"Can I have this pirate ship?" - yes!
"Mom can I have Lego transofrmers?" -yes!
"Can I have this doll with the bicycle?" Yes!
"Can I have these superhero villains?" YES!
Holden and Zoë: Busy Bees
"Mom can I have play dough doggie doctor?" YES YES YES!
(Actually, he technically can't have the playdough doggie doctor because it hasn't been made since the 90s).

But the answer is pretty much almost always "yes."

We go to the Disney Store: a kid's orgy for consumption. Yes, yes yes... yes to all of it. Pretty much anything you want.

So you may be thinking: 'You can't be serious Sabrena... what about the plastics, and the batteries, and the Made in China-ready for a landfill mentality... what about the environment Sabrena? And isn't your child becoming a spoiled brat if you say YES to everything?!?!'

Well actually, no. Because after the Yes, there's an implied add on; sometimes I say it, but most of the time I don't have to. The magic phrase is:

"Yes, if that's what you want to spend your money on."

Hey Johnny Cash, love your creation but
This playroom will need to be picked up before
we'll be able to watch any Backyardigans
Thanks to an awesome chapter in "Love & Logic" I realized that there really was freedom in letting Holden have what he wanted. And he absolutely can have pretty much anything he wants, but that doesn't mean I have to buy it for him.

He knows if we're going to Kid to Kid that he'll want to bring his money. And if we go to the Disney Store and he doesn't have his money, we can take a picture of it to remind us what he's saving up for.

I don't actually have to say No.

If he asks for something and wants it on the spot (and if I expect a little pushback), the conversation usually goes like this:
The Tower of Babel... ok, not really. 

"Mom, can I have XY or Z?"
"Sure, did you bring you money?"
"No..." And either he puts it back, or the conversation continues and he says:
"But I want it..."
And then I say, "Awesome, let's take a picture so we can remember you want it and we can get it later/next time."

It may sound crazy but it totally works in our house.

We don't give Holden an allowance yet. Right now, he just saves money he gets for birthdays, Christmas presents or loose change he finds lying around the house. He doesn't get paid for his daily jobs (bed made, teeth brushed, showered, dressed and play room straightened... NOT coincidentally all the things that need to be done before he can have ANY kind of screen-time); but he can earn extra money with a few odd jobs like rolling in the garbage cans, unloading the silverware from the dishwasher (thanks for the suggestion MDSoffe) or, on occasion, keeping his sister entertained (and alive) while I work on a project for 15 minutes or so.

I feel like we're not only avoiding meltdowns in public, but I think we're helping him to learn responsibility and to start gaining some understanding of how much things costs. He's constantly asking me the price of toys and if he has enough money...

Like I said, it's working for us.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Superhero Splendor

I should've posted these last week when they happened... but better late than never.  Masks made by Holden, cut out by Mommy. Styling by Holden... of course. Sleeping and Naptime by Zoe-bug.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's legal to grow this grass

Not sure if you read my Make and Takes article last week but it was all about greening up an Easter Basket.

To practice what I preach, I finally made it to Whole Foods today (I so do NOT love that store); and picked up our wheat berries to grow some wheat grass. And so the journey begins.

We'll keep you posted. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shamrock N' Roll

Hope you all had a nice St. Patty's Day. 

We only have one St. Patrick's Day tradition at the Mangum House. It's "Guinness" cupcakes. Those orphan quotes are because a couple of years ago, one of my sweet friends started giving me part of her St. patty's stash. (She also cooks/bakes with the larger for March Maddness).

I used to use the Giana recipe; but I've found something even better. My grandmother's vegan Chocolate Cake recipe... that oddly enough I think originally called for coffee, but she Mormonized it up and replaced the java with water. I put the sin back in, and replaced the water with Murphy's.
(#not evensureifitbakesout)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Locks of Love: Swan Song

They say "third time's a charm." And for me, this may be the final chapter. 
Here I am with my Locks of Love (this last batch represents my 
third time donating). There's a lot of them. (There's also a lot 
of gray in there)A snapshot the night before I went to see Logan.

And here we are day of: Six pony tails, eleven inches long each. 
And me and Logan showcasing the spoils. 

And the final product. 

Give me a few months (or years). It will be back again. 

Park Time

Last week we visited this sweet little park three different days. Zoë had been to Sugarhouse Park once as a walker, but mostly just wanted to eat the sand.

So I was seriously surprised to watch her navigate things on her own, and just model and shadow her big brother.

I reflect back on Holden at this age. Everything was a first with him -- we were so excited for it all. But since Zoë is (or at at least has a 98.9% chance of being) our last, I'm really not in a rush for her to hit milestones. So it's that much more I tense to see her doing things like a 2 year old (or older) so soon.

May these moments serve as reminders for me to live in the moment. To forget about the 'story' per se (although there are plenty of great ones), and "enjoy the journey."

Oddly enough, this is also why I believe mom's should have cleaning ladies: who wants to spend all that precious time scrubbing toilets and mopping floors?
If I'm making time to cook and bake meals from scratch, something's gotta give.

Just sayin'.

We all have 24 hours in a day...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A week in pictures...

So this past week I've been enjoying a little of this:

Got a new tank top from Lululemon and did this:

Had my teacher over for lunch, ate vegan peanut
noodles with cabbage and she held these:

Found this Mac Daddy cozied up and snoring here:

Let this little one FINALLY experience the snow on her own. 

Got a surprise text from my husband who said
I ought to get a babysitter and join him here:

Realized it was a beautiful Monday... and I better start a running program
if I'm doing a 5k in a month.  So I got to enjoy this view (top)
while the kids got squished into that (bottom). 

Recognizing the oil is in fact ALWAYS the tricky part,
spent time baking with this pastry chef:

And also enjoyed plenty of epic battles. 

Yes, it's been a good seven days. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Haircut for Holden

Usually Holden gets his hair cut/trimmed at Cookie Cutters. They have TV's and a slide, and hand out suckers and balloons for a job completed.

But I wanted Holden to get the royal treatment. I love his curls and wanted them preserved, but to get rid of the hair-helmet mullet down his neck...

Things I loved about this experience:

-Holden choosing between 'water or tea,' and opts for their herbal blend (with sugar). He said he liked it but only had a couple of sips. (Please note the position of his pinkie finger in the adjacent photo.)

-getting the lowdown from the staff on their 'salon wars' trophy. And after his cut was over telling Logan "I think I am the winner of the contest."

- telling Logan that 'sharks eat people' when Logan told us he'd be swimming through shark infested water for the Alcatraz Triathlon he was doing this weekend

Giggling with the blow dryer
Full on Laugh Explosion with the Blowdryer
- Holden giving Logan five (multiple times), and when I asked him if he wanted to say thanks, he did and as we were leaving turned to wave and said: "goodbye Logan. Have a great day today!"

Then walking to the car he says, "Logan is very very very very nice."

But really the best part was me asking Holden if I could take a picture and he had the entire half of the salon in a trance as he started posing like it was fashion week. Blue-steel has nothing on this guy... mind you, these were self directed. No coaching involved.