The Power of Positive Parenting

I love this book. This is my second time through the book. It's by Dr. Glenn I. Latham. His points are so common sense and so logical, but so easy to forget in the heat of parenting. So, I figure I'll read it now so that in the heat of parenting, I will already have some tools in my arsenal and avoid the common escalation that takes place between parents and children.

It's a little unusual in that it reads more like a textbook than your typical parenting book. It encompasses all age groups so every parent out there can benefit from reading it. I believe it is one of those books that will absolutely change your relationship with your child (or anyone who insists on acting like a child).

Here are a few ideas that hit home for me:

- Unlike the past, circumstances aren't going to raise our children. We are! (i.e: not completing the chore of chopping wood will lead to no fire which will lead to no dinner. that type of scenario very rarely exists so we as parents must set the expectations and consequences of behavior choices)

- Parents are typically five to six times more likely to have negative interactions with their children than they are to have positive interactions with them. Parents are so anxious to set their children straight that they feel compelled to "nip it in the bud" by getting after their kids EVERY time they do something wrong. Unfortunately, this ultimately produces just the opposite of what is desired. Since behavior is typically strengthened by parental attention (positive or negative), by attending to inappropriate behavior we are far more likely to increase its frequency. The far better way is to give positive attention to the things our children do appropriately. (The behavior he speaks of is "age appropriate junk behavior" such as whining. Of course, some behaviors must be death with and squelched and his gives great examples on how to do so without engaging in argument or power struggles or by coercion.)

- Unless what you are about to say or do has a high probability for making things better, don't say it and don't do it. 

- Misbehavior in children must be recognized as a need to teach appropriate behavior, not an excuse to punish. Punishment is a terrible teacher; it only teaches children how to misbehave. (How true! Correction must include direction.)

- It is important to understand that treatment might not have the immediate effect we want it to have. In fact, in some instances the behavior might get worse for a short period of time. However, if the treatment is correct and correctly applied, regardless of what behavior is being treated, the probability is very grew that the behavior will eventually improve. (We want things to be perfect and we want it now! I can tell you that my experience with training horses has absolutely made this point clear. Things almost always get worse before they get better and the first time you try to teach anything is always going to be the ugliest. But if you know what you're doing is founded on sound principles, stick to it!)

- Fix the environment, fix the child. (Get your crap together and be consistent.)

- Good parenting requires constant tuning and retuning the environment of home and family. 

- Our job isn't to create perfect, risk-free children. That is impossible. Our job is to create in our home an environments that will teach children and reinforce children for behaving appropriately. 

- As parents we must realize that children are in the process of becoming civilized.

- Clearly communicate your expectations to your children.

- Pay no matter to inconsequential behaviors you don't want repeated.

- Never tell children something they already know. Let them tell you. (When teaching, don't ask and answer out of frustration. Wait for your child to remember what they know and give them space to be heard. For example, what are privileges they enjoy when they behave correctly, what are consequences for making poor choices.)

- Agreeing with parental expectations is less important than understanding them.

- Don't be distracted by age-typical, garden-variety, weed behavior. (Such as eye rolling.)

- Children will engage in junk behavior over which we parents have zero control. (Annoying yet harmless fads and phases that are best ignored. Not worth damaging your relationship over.)

- Virtually all children, in the course of a day, will do or say something that is worth reinforcing. (Even the really rotten ones.)

- People never outgrow their need for positive praise.

And this is just from the first three chapters. I'll continue to share little snippets as I read on further. Some of the meaning is lost without the context so, of course, I encourage every one of you who is a parent, knows a parent, knows a child, or is breathing to run out and read this book.


Choosing Health

About a month ago, I asked my doctors about LapBand surgery. My weight had hit an all-time high. I was having some unfortunate health symptoms as well. Both of my doctors said absolutely not. They would not approve surgery for a young woman who could try some other methods first.

They both told me I had 75 lbs. to lose. Holy shiz! Thats a lot of weight.

And they they both recommended Medi-fast.

Oddly enough, I had been communicating with one of their health coaches for a couple of months. But I hadn't been ready to pull the trigger.

I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I'm stressed. I eat when I relax. I eat when I have company. I eat when I'm alone.

Who exactly will I be without food? Will I really find other activities to fill my time and be able to feel fulfilled?

Plus, what if two years from now I'm a fat ass again? My biggest fear about doing something like this is that I'll fail. I don't fail. I succeed. When something challenges me, I learn all that I can and work as hard as I can until I own it. How am I going to look you guys in the face if I don't win this time?

I've always been able to overcome just about anything I want. Except my food cravings. For that reason, I've never sincerely tried to deal with my dysfunctional relationship with food. I stayed as far away as possible because the mere thought of failure is so discouraging.

But, I hate being fat more than I hate the idea of failure. I hate knowing that people question my athleticism because of my weight. I hate knowing that my clothes look bad. I hate feeling my skin rub and my back jiggle. I hate knowing that my true self is hidden beneath a disguise of extra weight.

That impetus has fueled my efforts.

I've lost 14 lbs. in two weeks.

Don't let that number fool you into thinking it's easy. It's not. It's really hard. I want to eat everything I see most of the time. I feel hungry all of the time. I get cranky sometimes and have to reel my emotions back in and get in touch with reality about 57 times a day. I want to eat pizza and McDonalds when the days are long.

But, I've looked my food addiction in the eye and haven't given in yet. I've squared my shoulders and grilled chicken breast when pepperoni was seductively whispering my name. I've had a full glass of water to quell sugar cravings. I've replaced boredom eating with 15 minute tasks that help me make it through the physical temptation to put food into my face that doesn't need to be there.

It's been hour by hour and even minute by minute some days. When it gets really tough, I journal. I haven't cried yet, but I it might happen here in the near future.

My coach checks in with me several times a week. She also has 3 kids (but they are 4 and under and includes a set of twins!) and has kept off 85 lbs. She lives my life and knows exactly what I'm going through.

When I hit my goal weight, she'll spend 3 months teaching me how to incorporate healthy food back into my diet so I will never be fat again.

Everyday, just as my little shaker bottle declares, I choose health. I choose health a million times a day because I hate being fat more than I hate being hungry. More than I hate feeling sluggish. I want my body back.

I want out from underneath the disguise.



All of those items were free. I stacked manufacturer coupons with store sales and spent zero dollars.

The Pringles were a gift for my Dad since he just loves those chips to death. I've have been giving him a can when I see him. It makes him happy. Plus he shares his coupons with me, so I figure it's the least I can do to share my findings with him.

Those razors retail for $9.99 each. That is almost $50 savings!

When I was in the check out line, the cashier asked me if I just threw my free stuff away. I was appalled! The thought had never crossed my mind. I've decided that once my family's needs are met and we have a little stockpile, I'll donate any excess items to the local interfaith ministry or to the troops. I can also send my expired coupons to enlisted men and women who are allowed to use them anyways. 

Couponing takes some effort, I'll admit. But, I've saved upwards of $500 in the last 6 weeks on toiletries and groceries that we normally pay full price for. My best saving to date is 88% for $119. I paid $16 out of pocket on that trip and even earned another $7 to spend in the store later.

What I absolutely love the most is the mental exercise I get from my efforts. Being a stay at home of very young kids doesn't challenge the brain in the same ways that being in the work force does. I miss that quite a bit. This provides a way for me to help my family save money and keep me a little more sane.

It can seem daunting and too time consuming, but I've found it fits right into my life without being too painful. If you have questions, email me or put it in a comment. I'm no pro, but I can certainly tell you what's worked for me.


Traci Riddle: Raw

I'm feeling a bit raw these days. And no, I'm not talking about my shorts chafing me.

I'm feeling a myriad of emotions. And I'm having a hard time grappling with them all. Usually, I mull over these posts and author them over and over in my head until they perfectly represent my state of mind. However, I'm so disturbed I'm having a hard time organizing my own feelings.

As I've tried to make sense of what got me here, I've spent a lot of time examining my behavior. My purest intentions. I've revisited what defines me and what makes me tick.

I'm glad to say I'm still who I thought I was. I guess what hurts is that what I am isn't enough for some people. The sting is thick. It burrows to my core. I don't doubt myself, but I wonder what it is people in this world really want from others.

It can't be generosity.

It can't be forgiveness.

It can't be empathy.

It sure as hell isn't honesty.

When you open yourself up to people and they make it perfectly clear they not only don't appreciate your efforts, but they openly despise you, it can send you reeling.

I am reeling.

I feel how McCaully Caulkin looked in Home Alone when he burns his face off. Except my surprise at the sting is deep within.

I suppose I had it coming, though. The great Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." My dad has also warned, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

So, why, when it's clearly obvious that investing is the stupid and risky thing to do, am I willing to do so?

Because that is who I am. I'd give my shirt to the first person I met who needed it. I'd bend over backwards to the point of breaking to help a person succeed. I'd give my last dollar to help another make ends meet. I'm willing to sacrifice my own comfort to make someone else feel comforted.

And I hate that I now I question whether it's worth it to stick my neck out when it's so easy for another to step right on it.

I hate it for a couple of reasons.

The first is because it goes against my nature to withhold service from anyone who may be in need. It feels physically wrong to watch someone need assistance and to know I can ease their burden, but to keep my talents buried in order to protect myself.

Not only does it feel intrinsically wrong, but I have made covenants to share all that I have to help others on this planet. To freely give of myself, my talents and my belongings if it would better the life of someone else. I don't take that lightly.

The second is that I hate giving someone else that type of power. Why should someone else's bad behavior change me? I should keep doing what is right even if it isn't appreciated.

But, I'm human. And I really don't like hurt. I don't like losing sleep at night about this stuff. I like a clear conscience. I like knowing I did everything I could to choose the right and it all ends well because I do that.

Funny thing is, I was pretty sure I had chosen the right. And here I am, feeling loathed. How does that even work?

Another good question is: why do I take it personal? Why internalize what one person has to say? Is it a reflection of me or could it really be a reflection of who they are and where they are in life?

But, I hate being made to feel like I have let a person down. Or that my character is questionable.

Sure, I'm not perfect. But I'm genuine. I'm a lot of things; a liar isn't one of them.

And when my authenticity is challenged, not only am I deeply wounded. I get pissed.

Right now, I'm pissed.

Amid this tornado of betrayal, shock, hurt, and frustration, there is one thought that is consistent in my mind as I mull this over and over and over day after day.

The Savior gave his all.

He was even willing to give his own life.

He was despitefully used.

His great act of sacrifice was mocked.

Even now, his work goes unappreciated by millions.

Not so much as a "Thank You" was offered to him by so many who reaped the benefits of his efforts.

I, myself, have been guilty of not truly appreciating how my life has been changed by him.

And while I'm no Savior, he has asked me to emulate his great teachings. He has asked me to mourn with those that mourn. To comfort those in need of comfort. To give everything to help with the building up of his kingdom. He has asked me to pray for them that spitefully use me. He has asked me to forgive not only seven times, but seven times seventy.

Once again, I lean on his perfection and his sacrifice to mend the gap that I can't bridge on my own. He will not only heal my heart, but he will give me the capacity to forgive my offenders.

I've got to be genuine to who I am and what I know to be true. I refuse to let another dictate my moral choices. I'm still gonna offer my shirt to the needy. And feed the hungry. And blindly trust a stranger who needs an opportunity.

And I'm going rely on my Savior to make up the rest.

It's Alive!

They doubted him.

They told him he was wrong.

They kept him mired down in red tape and petty arguments.

They tried to bully him into changing his method.

For the last 18 months, this job has tested the very limits of his sanity.



Here's to our very own mad scientist.

We knew you would make it happen.

Keep givin' them hell!


Prophetic Humor

To live with Saints in Heaven is bliss and glory
To live with Saints on Earth is another story.

- Brigham Young


Yes, We Have a Parade

Lexi still believes that the faster you wave, the more candy you get.

My favorite part of her outfit: the Cinderella slippers.
Emmy flying high.
Cute cousin Claire.
Uncle Brent's store had a Happy Birthday America cake float. It was awesome!
Uncle Brent and Ben.
I'm not sure if this was the Statue of Liberty or if they just wanted to have a toga party. Fun float, though.
The boy clown in the husband and wife clown team of Tracy.
Lexi and Nolan on the kiddie coaster at the park.
Uncle Craig and Papa looking so comfy in the kiddie cars with the girls.
Happy 4th!


Food Allergies Suck

Emily is allergic to:


and while this isn't a food allergy, she is also allergic to


I dare you to pull 5 things out of your pantry and/or fridge or even medicine chest that do not have dairy, soy, wheat, barley, oats (cross-contamination) or eggs in them. Read the labels carefully now.

Natural flavoring is evil just so you know. And soy lecithin. And soy can also be hidden in magnesium stearate. Also, anything listed as "vegetable oil" is soy based. And gluten is hidden in caramel color. Casein, whey, and lactose are just different words for dairy. What you may want to also know is nearly, if not all pharmaceutical companies use anhydrous (basically dehydrated) lactose as a filler.


I do not dare you to pull out 5 things that don't have dog in them. 'Cause if you have dog in your pantry items, you have it way worse than me.

The end.

*Thank you to the extremely allergic, but also extremely educated, Aunt Mart-eye for the exhaustive (if not totally depressing) list of things that we can't eat, breathe, or rub ourselves on.



Berry Picking

It's blueberry season here in California and we went out to the local patch with our good friends to harvest our very own crop. Then, we canned them and made super yummy blueberry pie filling.

I told Addie the kind to pick and to fill her buckets. She was such a great worker. She didn't complain once and worked until we were all done. It was easily 95 degrees and we were there in the hottest part of the day.
Lexi dove in too. I think our migrant worker heritage came through for us.
Emily helped, but she ate most of her haul.
Lauren and Lexi. Look at their poor red faces. The kids were all so great.
We're dying Mom! Trying to recover from the heat.
Emily enjoying the shaded play area while we totaled what we picked.
10 lbs! That may not look like much, but those berries aren't that big. That's a lot of berries!
Happy and grateful to be done.


Girl's Trip

Lexi and I made a big girl's only trip to Idaho. We stayed with Aunt Marti and Uncle Brian. We partied with Nana and Opa. Lexi was spoiled rotten and I got to sleep in and take a nap since everyone else was more than happy to spend some time with her.

Waiting for our shuttle to head to the airport.
Meeting the pilot. At the end of the flight, he was waiting for Lexi by the door. He called her by name and said goodbye. She gave him a thumbs up and told him he had done a good job.
Our little fire for roasting marshmallows.
Nana realized anyone trying to actually roast anything on the fire would suffer 3rd degree burns so she found a solution to our problem.
Nom! Nom!
Late night food run with Uncle Brian. An elderly man pulled up next to them and was giving Brian tips on how to drive fast and which cart was the best.

Nana, Lexi and Me having lunch.
Thanks guys for the awesome trip. It went way too fast!

My Addison


Random Pics

When we take bike rides, we always pull over and run and play on the grass and in the trees.
Miss Mahhsa (Marsha) and Lexi and the preschool end of year party.
We went to a local water park. It was the end of May but it was freezing!
Didn't stop those crazy kids!
Emily, once again, went to the biggest and strongest fountain.
The cold finally caught up with Addie.


Things Lexi Does

She says she got tired of having to open the box to get stuff out so she just rigged it up to stay open.
I asked her to put the "lightsavers" away. Who wouldn't want lasers for legs?

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.