Wise Minded Parenting

Parenting teens and tweens is no joke. One of the books I’m reading this year is Wise Minded Parenting by Laura S. Kaster. At first I was like, um you gotta be a zen Buddhist to accomplish this, but so far she has some really good points. I’m making Jason read it too, so we can be on the same page.

In the beginning of the first chapter she talks about the attachment bond which secures in the first few years. Well, the first few years were pretty rough for Noah and Nora and in comparison to Lorelei and Henry, my younger two, we established a pretty weak bond. I was too busy trying to stay married to give much besides basic needs to Noah and Nora. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a better relationship now, just not a fundamental one. It makes it doubly hard when the other parent is a step parent and missed out entirely on those formative years.

The book shares ways to deal with the volatile creature that is your teen, but it goes against the rational parenting style that Jason and I have developed. Parenting is not for sissies, yo. It talks about teens being rude to just you, you lucky dog, because you are the safe home base for their riotous emotions. I’ve talked about confrontation and conflict before and how it’s something I don’t mind from my children, but Noah especially is quite angry and we are so very good at pushing his buttons unintentionally. I know, though, that my kids are awesome and one day will be great human beings not sheep, but man is it hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

With the bigs gone this week, we get a little reprieve to reevaluate the home situation. Lorelei now empties the dishwasher and Henry clears the table. I remember that Nora started doing dishes at 6 and Lorelei is almost 7. Now that we have more time at home with Jason being done with school and my two classes, we can concentrate more heavily on establishing that better bond and learning to be zen Buddhists apparently.

Some key points from that first chapter (which is hella long):
For a teenager, seif-centeredness is as normal as tripping and falling is for a toddler.

When implementing parenting policies; stay calm, be confident and collaborate, but implement anyway.

The goal is to maintain positive rapport and connectedness and limit the power struggles over little things.

Discipline is about learning and learning does not occur when emotions are running high.

We are all doing the best we can even the teenager. I’m hoping to implement some policies on how we treat eachother. Having a ten year difference between the first and last child makes for some fun challenges. Especially when the little one’s favorite past time is to taunt the teenager by calling him poopy-Noah. *insert giant eyeroll*. I would also like to schedule some family time. We’re together constantly, but are we having fun together? Family dates need to be as important as date night, and no, going to walmart does not count as family time. I may also make one of those get along jars. The get along jar has popsicle sticks in it and when you misbehave or violate a parent policy, you do the action on the popsicle stick. For example: 20 jumping jacks, write a poem about how much you love your siblings, a yard chore, etc.

We’ll see what real life looks like next week when the bigs transition home and we’re back to our regularly scheduled routine.

Father/Daughter Dance

In our case, Stepfather/Daughter Dance. I asked Nora if she wanted to go to this dance and she said yes and was very excited and then she asked me what it was. I think all she heard was “dance”. Jason, being the devoted father that he is, agreed to go knowing he would most likely be bored out of his mind.

Nora and Jason

Thursdays are busy days. I pick Nora up from school and we come home. She gets a snack, does her homework and chores and gets ready for Ballet. She gets done with dance class about 515p. The dance, held on a Thursday, started at 6p. I had to make it even harder by being sick this past Thursday. The I’m gonna faint for no apparent reason kind of sick. Thankfully, Jason was able to sub in for ballet daddy duty with Lorelei and I could rest.

They got back from ballet and I had soup and grilled cheese ready for dinner and after Nora had eaten we began to curl her hair.


I had gotten her a cute dress that she could wear again and the ever important headband accessory. I was told by the school that the girls dressed in anything from flannel shirts and jeans to foo-foo dresses and their hair done at the salon. We went for an in between look.

Sassy girl, Nora

She loved having her hair curled and the diva definitely came out as she was getting ready. We have to tame that beast at times.

I got random texts from Jason while they were there. He could not keep up with her as she is a social butterfly and loves to dance. He asked her about dancing with him and slow dances were declared “boring”, although I think she danced with him once. It seemed like the parents stood around while the girls danced and chatted with each other all over the gym. She had a blast.

I’m so thankful for my hubby who willingly steps in and for my daughter who accepts him as her “fake dad”. The years ahead are sure to be very interesting.


For those of you who are friends or family of mine that lovingly check my blog on occasion to see what’s up in the Carpenter-Greb household please be advised that this post is not for you. Please check back at another time for an update on said household.

This is to all the Haters; those of you who stalk my blog hoping to find my unhappiness or to report back to my idiot ex-husband about how I am bashing him.

In case you are remiss as to the purpose of a blog or it’s definition, I have provided it here for you courtesy of dictionary.com:

Main Entry: blog
Part of Speech: n
Definition: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log
Example: Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Etymology: shortened form of Weblog
Usage: blog, blogged, blogging v, blogger n

It is here at my personal blog, that you will find my personal thoughts. (Who would’a thunk it??) I normally do not share these personal thoughts with my children, so feel safe knowing that I do not “bash” my ex-husband to my children. I am, however, honest with them when the situation calls for it, keeping in mind that they are impressionable young children and “bashing” their father would only hurt mine and my children’s relationship and of course they themselves.

SO, please find another way to occupy your time rather than stalking my blog. Really? I didn’t think it was that interesting… Especially since I don’t talk about Patrick much unless he is messing with my life or my children, which would be under the heading of “online diary”. Believe me, the less I have to think about him, the happier I am. :o)

Jason did it…

That’s all I have to say about the unreachableness of my little bloggity.

Moving on.

Jason picked Nora up from school the week before last and was badly made fun of by the teachers for this reason:

Left and ...err...Left?
Left and ...err...Left?

Two different left shoes worn all day at school and out to the playground. When he brings her to school in the morning he doesn’t usually remember to brush her hair either. Sigh. She didn’t care. She still puts her shoes on the wrong feet to begin with. :o)

You CAN, but should you?

Separating from Patrick and getting divorced was difficult financially. I was blessed enough to have a $10 and hour job and help from the state. I had very few choices. I HAD to work, therefore I HAD to put the kids in daycare. I HAD to make more money for the future of my family, so I HAD to go to school. Life was very simple. I HAD to stay home most of the time because I did not have a vehicle, so it made taking care of the house much easier. I did a lot of things because these things needed to be done and I was the only one doing them.

Life changed and got more complicated. We live with Jason now, operating as a family. I still work and I still go to school, but I can now (and sometimes must) take night classes. There is someone else responsible for keeping the house clean besides myself. My job has changed. I have a very flexible schedule at work, but am responsible for more in job duties and feel more responsible in the fact that it is now a family business and both Jason and I’s livelihood. Also, Noah started Kindergarten.

I guess the HAVE to is decreasing. I don’t HAVE to work so much and I don’t HAVE to take as many classes. Jason takes very good care of us. I need to work to pay my bills and I want my degree sooner rather than later (plus I still receive the Pell Grant and won’t forever). I am struggling a little bit with choosing my course load. I wanted to be done earlier than the projected 2013 and have tried to take on more and more classes each semester. I am finding that it takes away from every other aspect of my home life for me to take on so much. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make if I have to, but I don’t necessarily HAVE to. Noah stays after school in Kidcare until I can pick him up after work, which is usually after 5pm. We get home cook dinner, bath, bed. Every night. There isn’t a whole lot of time together. Weekends are spent finishing up homework not because I put it off, but because it takes most every night and all weekend to get it done. That doesn’t leave much time for housework or quality time with the family. Thankfully I can do laundry sporadically and Jason takes care of the dishes every night!

I could take Noah out of Kidcare and pick him up at 3pm every day after school. It would cut my hours back and would mean that I would be the only one able to pick him up after school. Jason would not be able guarantee that he would be done working that early and it is not in his best interest to quit working that early anyway. My reasoning is that Noah is super tired after school and emotionally drained from such a long day. I also want to be more available to him. He is getting older and if I am going to be of any influence it won’t be during the dinner, bath, bed routine. Even as I write that I know it sounds ridiculous. I know that he knows I love him and I am available to him if he needs me. If I worked for another company I would be working 8-5 and there would not even be an option of picking Noah up early. I wonder if it is just the classic case of trying to be a mom and a wife and have a career? Trying to balance it all? It annoys me that all Jason needs to think about and prioritize is his business and himself. He doesn’t see anything wrong with the kids being in daycare all day long. Nora, of course, is fine and will be fine. She’s happy if you just hug her lots and read her a story or ten. Something happens, though, as they get older. A hug isn’t enough. Perhaps things are just adjusting? Something I will continue to roll around in my mind…


We started out this morning at Wal-Mart getting the few items that we forgot; we always forget at least one thing. We then headed to this certain trail we have ventured to before which has a bridge and a waterfall. It is actually pretty short, but Jason kept taking us on these side trails.

I remember the last time we were here with the kids. They didn’t know Jason too well and it was the first time we all met his parents and sister. I had met them once before, but this was the first time they met the kids and the kids met them. It was nice, but this time was better.

This time the kids were older and we’ve been hangin’ out with Jason for almost a year and a half. Noah and Jason threw rocks in the water excitedly and Nora held tight to Jason’s hand to keep from falling as we walked the trail.

At first Nora would barely walk saying she wanted Jason to hold her, but Jason and I just kept encouraging her to keep walking. You can tell she doesn’t get out much. lol By the end of the trail she was walking over huge sticks and saying how well she was doing. We told them about the turkeys we saw at the campground (but not this time) and Nora was telling us to be careful because the chickens were gonna get us! The WHOLE time we were walking she kept going on and on about these chickens and how Jason would cut them and she would throw them in the garbage, so they wouldn’t get us. It’s so funny to hear them talk about things they don’t really know anything about. The stuff that comes out of their mouths!

I just loved finding sprouts of new life in hidden places and mushrooms that look like Mario’s Toadstools! There were flowers that littered the ground like a flower girl had thrown them from her basket, which had my mind buzzing with ideas! You can tell what I’ve got on my mind…

One of the last side trips that Jason had us take was to a couple of wires that stretch across the river. Here are a few pics.


I apologize if you were unable to access my blog recently. Jason borked it.

To make you feel better I have pictures to post! Yay! Maybe even a fun slideshow?? We went to NC last week and went whitewater rafting, but first I will post my thoughts about a particular issue that seems to take precedence.

Patrick left for PA Monday. We now have children 24/7. It is wonderful. :o) Patrick having the kids full-time was a bit unconventional for divorced parents and visitation, but God uses all things to the good. The kids got to live with their father! I got to see what it would be like WITHOUT them! Patrick moved away. Yes I count this as a good thing, because it wasn’t looking like the back and forth was going to work out so well. Holidays and Summers (if, if, if) will be just enough time with them.

Jason and I have read this book by John Rosemond called Parenting by the Book. It is not a how to with “1,2,3 Magic” it is a scripture based and frank-talkin’ thinker book. There are questions at the end of the chapters that Jason and I discussed and it shed a LOT of light on my parenting then and now. Jason and I were also able to get on the same page when it comes to discipline which feels like half the battle!

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Proverbs 29:17 I can’t really say when my children have been a delight. There were moments recently, but the weariness of my soul and the anger in my heart would not allow me to be at peace. I would definitely exasperate my children with trying to control them and make them into perfect little robots. As a result, they are very good. Most of the time they do as they are told, but almost like robots. If robots whine and scream sometimes… This past month I grew. I grew in patience, self-discipline, and healing. I learned to “let go and let God,” if you will.

There were some very dark moments during the first few months of being a single mom. Noah remembers these moments (cause he’s a freakin’ elephant or something!) and I knew they had effected him. Last night I was able to start reconnecting with Noah. One thing I figured out from reading the book, besides Tell and Compel, was that there are different stages of growth with your children and at the moment playtime and tickling and books is great for Nora, but Noah needs communication. He needs one on one conversations that lead wherever he takes them. He still needs discipline, but the kids grow so quickly! I want Noah to trust me and to look up to me. That will come with time-time I am glad to have.

I can sense that I am a different mom. I play more with the kids and can compel them to listen to me without flying off the handle. Also being able to release Patrick to go off and do his own thing helps. I can’t make him be a good father although I tried! Not caring what Patrick’s household looked like or trying to correct anything he did helps us to develop our own family unit. Right now the TV is borked too and it is so nice. Just before bed is story time on the couch. It is a place to sit together instead of a place to zone out to the TV together. It has not been long, but I think the kids can already tell that life at our house is different. The mouse is still alive in case you were wondering.