Friday, March 15, 2013

March meeting recap!

So good seeing all you ladies at our March meeting yesterday morning! And welcome to Laura P, our new mama!... we hope you come back :)

The big announcement of the day: MOPS is moving!! Next month, April 11th, will be our last meeting at New Covenant. We've loved, loved, loved our time at New Covenant & are so appreciative of everything they've done for us. We (& NC) are just running out of space! So as of May 9th, we'll be in our new location -- Boulevard Baptist! Boulevard is excited to be hosting MOPS, & has offered us the use of their Christian Activities Center building. Click here for directions to Boulevard. Please make a note of our location change... we want to leave no mama behind :)

Pamela did our devotion today... & wow, what wonderful thoughts she had to share with us! I'm actually going to devote an entire blog post to Pamela's thoughts, so please stay tuned.

And for today's craft, we made "Resurrection Eggs"... what a great idea to help our kiddos understand the true meaning of Easter! Tutorial coming soon, along with printable instructions that were available at the meeting.

Today's speaker was Stacy Dodds, a mother of 6 boys. She spoke on today's topic "Life Rafts in the Toddler Pool." Stacy shared 3 main "life rafts" with us as we brave the preschooler ups & downs of daily life.

Life Raft #1: Time Management

Every mama has those days when you're counting the minutes until naptime. And sometimes it seems like the preschool years are never going to end. But Stacy reminded us that while the days may feel long, the years are short.... before we know it, our preschoolers will be in school, then teenagers, then adults. She encouraged us to remember that when we feel overwhelmed or invisible, we are building the foundation of a beautiful cathedral. She shared an excerpt from Nicole Johnson's book, "The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees":

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." 
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees." (click here to read entire story.)

Stacy reminded us that the foundation of a beautiful cathedral is just as important as the ornate spire at the top. She encouraged us to get up early, before the kids, & take some quiet time for reflection & devotion before the busyness of yet another day starts.

Life Raft #2: Discipline

While raising six sons, Stacy discovered that there were 3 main discipline priorities in her house:

  1. Sleeping schedule - God designed our bodies to need rest; therefore, we (& our children) only operate at our best when well-rested. Helping your children establish a sleep schedule is one of the best things we can do for them (& ourselves). 
  2. Eating schedule - with today's busy go-go-go households, it's easy to start the habit of "grazing"... making snacks & drinks available for our kids all the time instead of having structured meal times. Putting your family on a eating schedule not only helps with time management & structuring your day, but it also allows for family visiting time.
  3. Following through - do what you say. Here are a few main points from Stacy's thoughts on discipline:
    • Don't make empty threats... if you tell your children what a consequence is going to be, keep it doable & follow through. 
    • We can actively teach our children to behave or passively allow misbehavior. Whining & disobeying come naturally to kids... it's up to us to redirect & guide them in a more positive direction.
    • Explain what your expectations are ahead of time, before you arrive at the store, restaurant or friend's house. 
    • Never discipline in anger; try not to raise your voice. 
    • Always give children an explanation when disciplining. 
    • Try the "sit time" method - teach your toddler to sit quietly by working with them daily, starting at 5 mins & working gradually up to 30 mins.
    • Don't heap guilt & shame on your kids to make them behave.
    • PICK YOUR BATTLES! Don't allow small issues to become power struggles. 

Life Raft #3: LOVE

Give your children unconditional love... all children at all ages (even teenage boys) need affection. Stacy encourages us to never withhold love & affection from a child, especially after discipline. Openly show forgiveness... children learn forgiveness by example. Stacy mentioned the "love bank" of our kids... make daily deposits into their love banks, so when you have to discipline (which will feel like a withdrawal from their love banks), there's still enough love in their banks to make them feel secure.
"Our children are diamonds in the rough...  God created the stone & we, as mothers, are the chosen tool to finish, hone & polish our diamonds into a jewel." - Stacy Dodds

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