Thursday, May 2, 2013

Postive Pat...My New Best Friend

So Long Negative Nelly...Hello Positive Pat!  I am AMAZED at what a little positive thinking AND reinforcement can do! We have adopted this "new" approach in our house as of late, and even after a few days, the difference is incredible!  This is coming after a particularly tough weekend and beginning to the week.  My nerves and stress level were sky high. Seemed like Little Miss was bound and determined to act a fool! Jackson thinks it's fun to play daredevil on top of couches, picnic tables and window sills. The Duke, always trying to be supportive, found some very helpful articles about how much GOOD positive reinforcement can do. Duh, I know this already, it's just SO easy to fall into the negative trap.  That's not to say we never give praise, we do, often. But it seems lately we have been so focused on what NOT to do, and why you SHOULDN'T do that, or, that is not the right way to do that.  No one wants to hear no no no all the time!  Tuesday morning we started the day with this new approach.  At first it was a little difficult to find the positive.  Little Miss was trying to share her raisins with her brother. He is too little for raisins. Instead of telling her "No! He will choke and die if you feed him those!" I told her how awesome it was that she was sharing her food and I really appreciate that, but Jack is a little too young for raisins so we shouldn't share that particular food."  She said OK and put the raisins up so he couldn't get them!  Say What?!  This actually worked!  Holla! I myself even got some positive reinforcement last night! My dear, sweet, in-laws watched the kiddos while The Duke and I attended an Epilepsy seminar put on by the Mayo Clinic.  The last time they watched the kids Little Miss was a holy terror and I was hoping and praying this time the kids had been good for Grandma and Grandpa.  Upon returning home my Mother in law tells me that Ally was great and that she can really tell a difference in her behavior since we have started our Orange Rhino challenge.  This made me extremely happy!  Proof that all of this is paying off, and even though we still have bad days, tension filled, tearful, days, it is working!  The positives and happy moments are outweighing the stressful moments!  I love my little boogers to the moon and back! (insert happy mama dance here)

Side Note...REALLY trying hard to see the positive to SNOW in May. Not just a little snow either, 3-6 inches. Come on!  Ok, let me think about this one??  Moisture for the ground and growing flowers, A chance to stay inside and use my crock pot for dinner one more time, A reason to wear sweatpants and UGGs, Giving my self tanner more time to work.  That's about all I've got. 

When life gives you snowballs...DRINK WINE!  :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's the Middle of the Night!

I yelled.  4am and I do not get along.  Miss Allyson decided sleep was optional last night and woke up at 2 am wanting to talk to me, then 4am ready to play.  Not sure if she actually even went back to sleep.  At 2 I was somewhat calm asking her to get back in bed and explaining it was the middle of the night and we need to sleep.  Not sure what happened at 4, but I lost my cool. Maybe it was because I was having an awesome dream about Ryan Gosling and was suddenly snapped back to reality.  But I yelled, well, as loud as one can "yell" without waking up the whole house. But even a quiet yell in the silence of early morning is loud.  It's 5am now and she is back to sleep, or in her bed awake and afraid to get up for fear mean mommy will get her!  I couldn't go back to sleep. I feel horrible. I keep picturing little orange rhinos stampeding at me!  So, iced soy vanilla latte in hand, I vow to make it a better day!  May the force be with me...

On a side note, Yesterday while playing Ally gave me a big hug and kiss and told me she loved me so heart swelled!  Then she told me she would never forgive me.  I am assuming she meant FORGET. I hope.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Update

Happy Monday everyone!  As happy as a rainy Monday can be anyway.  We had a jam packed weekend here at the Duke household. Starting Friday night with The Duke's 33rd birthday party. We had family and a few friends over to celebrate. The house was full of excitement and chaos. I hate to say, I do not handle chaos well. I did not do so hot on my Orange Rhino challenge. No need to go into too much detail, but a house full of people, tired kids and a tired mama was not a good scenario for a no yelling challenge. In all honesty I don't think I actually yelled, too many witnesses around :)  But I did snap and let my blood pressure raise way more than it needed to!  BUT once the kiddos settled down I ended up having a great time, as did everyone at the gathering!  The Duke and I have absolutely the best family!  At the end of the night, he thanked me for making his birthday so special.  So the chaos was well worth it for a happy hubby :)

Saturday I woke refreshed and got out of the house with a great friend for a garage sale. Oh how I do love a good sale!  We grabbed some coffee and cash and had a good time chatting and bargain hunting!  It must have left me feeling ambitious because we decided to take all 4 of our kids to the mall to do a little shopping.  MISTAKE.  We tried to use my friend's side by side double stroller for the two little dudes. Turns out my precious little Jackson is a monster and wouldn't leave my friends baby boy alone.  So my friend ended up carrying her little guy the whole time, I tried to let her use the stroller and just carry Jackson, that did not work, little man likes to be on the run! Miss Allyson and my friend's daughter Harper were beyond excited and let the whole store know it. They were everywhere!  Apparently we hadn't had enough punishment for the day and decided to take our heathens to get frozen yogurt.  More chaos ensued. We got to the point where we just laughed. And vowed to never do a trip like this again!

Sunday I was mentally and physically exhausted and needed a mommy break! I broke out for a few hours of me time and retail therapy.  I returned feeling much better and the afternoon went pretty smoothly!  We played and danced in the kitchen. Let me tell you what a beautiful site it is to see a Daddy dancing with his little girl and the pure joy on her face! One of the many reasons why I love The Duke!  The kids even got to bed early, AND the dog got a bath! All in all the weekend wasn't perfect, but it wasn't horrible. I don't feel like I need to start my challenge over completely, Since I vowed to not yell I have totally been more conscience of the way I speak and act towards my kids and situations, but I did feel the urge and definitely did not keep my cool at certain moments!  But today was a new day, a GREAT day in fact! So we gonna keep on truckin peeps!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 3...Teetering on the Edge

Day 3. Today was tough.  I got a decent nights sleep but somehow woke up exhausted. Apparently my body has adjusted to 4 hours of sleep. It's not right!  The kids started testing my patience right away. Jackson picked up Daisy's bowl full of water and started walking across the kitchen spilling water as he went. Ally decided her legs didn't work and demanded I get her breakfast, milk, cheese, cartoons, etc.  I DID NOT give into her demands, and managed to keep my cool. Though I did grumble under my breath, close my eyes and retreat to my happy place for a moment, which was back in my nice warm bed.

The rest if the day went on, patience was tried, yet I never yelled. I am finding conflicts are getting resolved so much quicker without my constant harping and end result of yelling!

 I don't feel like focusing on the negatives of the day so lets talk about the positives!

Today is The Duke's birthday!  For dinner I made him one of his favorite meals...Brats!  Slow cooked in beer and onions and German potato salad.  Most definitely NOT my favorite meal, but it's his day.  The kids and I decided to have a little fun with Daddy when he got home from work so we left him a surprise...

We had it all planned out the we (the kids and I) would hide in the bathroom and get Daddy when he walked by. Daddy walked in the door and the kids go running out and immediately Ally tells him where I am. Fail. But it was still fun!

Ally Decided she didn't want smelly sausages for dinner either and wanted to make a "recipe" of her own.  She gathered the ingredients for her creation.  Here is the recipe should you choose to make it for yourself:

2 slices of whole wheat bread
Peanut Butter
Mini Marshmallows
Pepperoni (I questioned this decision, but she insisted)
Red, Pink, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Orange Sprinkles
1 Saltine cracker

Looks delightful.  But, will she eat it?

She did!  But only about 4 bites.  She said it was good. I did take a bite just to see....I was right to question the pepperoni.

Jackson was super cuddly with Mama while Ally was in school, I love his snuggles. Even though he has discovered head butting. We need to work on that. Ouch!!

The Duke is off work tomorrow which means I will get to grocery shop ALONE! No kids trying to climb out of the cart or running up and down the aisle asking and touching everything in the store. I think tomorrow will be a good day!

Peace out folks!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 2 without the Yell...

Is done. Almost.  The kids are in bed, finally. Though Ally tried her hardest to stay up as long as she could. I knew I should have waited on the glass of wine and bowl of ice cream until I was confident she was out like a light. But low and behold, the pitter patter of little feet come waltzing down the hallway.  Calm Amanda.  She says she wants me to sleep with her all night until morning. So sweet, but not going to happen. I lay down with her, something I usually don't do. She is cutting into "me" time. But tonight I just let it be. She is clearly not ready to sleep and in the mood for talking. So we talk. About the rain. About Daddy's birthday tomorrow. About how much I love her...She asks me if I love her more than the windows and the blinds. OOH, toughie, but yes, I do!  After a while I tell her it's time to sleep and that she should try counting sheep to help her fall asleep. She thinks for a moment staring at the ceiling then says "there are 19 sheep, what next mommy?"  Count some more, and I sneak out of her room.  I jump in the shower just as I hear her calling for Daddy.  Out of the shower and she is asleep...score!

Today wasn't terrible.  I thought for sure that waking up at 4:45 am to Ally coming in our room telling me I need to check to see if her sheets were wet was a signal of rough waters ahead.  We even got a good chuckle so early when she didn't realize the bathroom door was shut and walked smack into it.  Don't worry, she was fine.  I tried my hardest to get her back to bed, but the little snot has a sense that it is somehow "almost" morning and decided to stay awake.  Fifteen minutes after getting her into her bed and crawling back into mine, she comes trotting in with 2 teddy bears, a blankie, and a bag full of play dough toys.  OK, I'm awake.  We started the morning with a rousing game of Memory. Fun for all. Jackson decides he is missing out on the early morning fun and wakes up by 7am.  Let's do this. Let's get this day started!

I wish I had some funny stories to input here, moments of chaos, moments when I had to scream into a paper bag or lock myself in the bathroom for a minute or two, but I don't.  The day actually went pretty smoothly! That's not to say we didn't have any hiccups. There were a few timeouts, 3 diet Pepsi's and a iced latte consumed, temper tantrums from a one year old who has learned too much from his older sister already, dinner that went uneaten, and dinner that got thrown on the floor! But all in all today wasn't bad. I'm sure this is just beginners luck, but I really think my kids are sensing a change in mommy.  I will refer back to this post should the time come when I doubt their good intentions and think they are evil little monsters. But for now, I am going to bed with nothing but happy thoughts!

Kiddos helping mommy cook dinner!

Disclaimer: The Duke says I need to state that I did "raise my voice" once tonight. After Ally was in bed, while getting Jackson's milk warmed up in the microwave as I was taking the milk out he (Jackson) slammed the microwave door, (I was holding him), and milk went flying. It wasn't so much a yell as a warning shout that milk was about to splatter! My "Jackson NO" yell had no bad intentions with it! I'm trudging onto Day 3.

To Yell or Not To Yell...That Is The Question

If you would have asked me this question a few weeks ago, my answer most definitely would have been YELL. I am a yeller. I scream at the top of my lungs to get my kids, or my dogs, attention.  Did it work. Yes, in a way. Not in a good way. It got attention, but most certainly the WRONG kind of attention.  Miss Ally still wouldn't do what I was yelling at her to do, and my blood pressure would get so high I swore there was steam coming from my ears!  I would go to bed every night with a knot in my stomach and the horrible feeling that I was the worst parent ever and tomorrow will be different. No yelling, just remaining calm when the storm hit. But it never happened.  By 8am (we are usually awake between 5:30 and 6am) my patience would be gone and my voice would start to raise.  There goes the day!  But recently I have noticed something.  In those rare moments when I would remain calm, cool and collected, the results were different. I'm not saying the results were perfect, but the task got done quicker and I didn't give myself an ulcer.  Hmm...there must be something to this.  Then the other day while waiting to pick Miss Ally up from school, killing time browsing through the gazillions of pins on Pinterest I came upon one that said..."10 Things I learned when I stopped yelling at my kids."  Hello!  Sign from the All Mighty! Just before school Ally and I had a knock down drag out to get her shoes on, coat zipped and butt into her car seat.  I sent her off to school with the sound of my screaming shrieking voice in her ears.  Not cool!  Instead of repinning it and never reading it, I clicked on it immediately and it brought me to this blog...  I read through her posts and felt as if we were kindred spirits!  I decided  to take the Orange Rhino challenge and NOT yell at my kids (or dog) for a year!  I am going to TRY to be good and post every night about my progress. Yesterday was day 1...

Day 1

I started off the day eager to start my new challenge.  I was pretty well rested as Jack only woke up a few times, and The Duke got up with him once so I could sleep. Ally only woke once as well and slept in until almost 6:15 (this is a good night for us!)  Breakfast went well. Ally decided after 2 bites of egg that she was done.  Normally I would demand she get back at the table and finish her food, but today I told her if she didn't eat that meant no cheese stick for snack (the girl lives for cheese). After thinking about it for a while and me not harping on her about it, she decided to eat a few more bites. I thought it was a minor victory and thought man, she is going to make this easy on me.  20 minuets later she picks up the tub full of her train set and dumps it all over the living room floor, laughs and tells me I can clean it up because I like to clean.  While true, I do like to clean, I did not like this particular move. Hmm...ok kid. Not going to make this easy. I see your bid and I raise you one.  We decided to leave the train set scattered about the floor for the morning and when she decided she didn't have enough room to play her Memory game. She helped me pick it up. Now that wasn't so bad!  Meanwhile Jack has figured out how to climb. Not only climb, but how to move and arrange his toys in the right position so he can reach the couch, tables, and our bay window ledge. Kid is smart. Daisy the Dog decided to test Mama out too by licking herself to death in the middle of the kitchen, and taking away every cracker I gave Jack right out of his hands. yelling.  Time for school, I tell Ally to get her shoes on. She tells me she wants her 1 year old brother to put them on her. Not going to happen. He is smart, but not a genius.  I tell her he can't do that. She turns into a screaming banshee.  I tell her it's time to go and that Jack and I are ready so we are going to the car.  I walk out the door. Blood curdling scream follows, but 10 seconds later she rushes out the door, shoes on.  Awesome!  The rest of the afternoon went pretty smoothly. Even the much dreaded bedtime wasn't such a hassle.  I went to bed last night with the feeling of victory!  Day one conquered. Bring it on day two!

Take away from day one...I slowed down and calmed down enough to witness the small acts of kindness Ally did towards her brother. Also how incredibly funny and stinking cute she can be if I just let her BE!

FYI...Day two started at 4:45am with me only getting about 4 hours of sleep and Ally not having school. Day 2 most likely will not be as easy as day one.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


I know, I know.  It's been a while.  A long while.  I have been busy raising the future leaders of America! When my little Einsteins finally do go to bed I have been caught up in all the new TV. Don't judge. It's my release at the end of a VERY long day.  But since tonight all the shows I watch are reruns I decided to start typing.  I also have an hour to kill while I sit with coconut oil on my hair. Pinterest. Apparently it will make my hair longer and softer. We shall see.

Ok so full disclosure, this will not be an original post.  I am stealing this About Me questionnaire from my good friend and fellow blogger Crissy, find her at  I remember doing a TON of these back in the day, my high school days!  So here is a little bit about me!

A-Z {A Little 'Bout Me!}

A. Age: 29 - I hit the big 30 in June. I am actually looking forward to it!

B. Bed size: Queen. It is not big enough. I am NOT a cuddler. I like my space and I like to spread out.  I love my husband, but I don't want to touch him in the middle of the night :)
C. Chore you hate: Unloading the dishwasher. Not sure why, I just loathe it!

D. Dogs:  Yes, we have a dog. Daisy Duke. A dopey chocolate lab. She is adorable. She is energetic. She sheds, and stinks and has horrible allergies.  She is my third kid.
E. Essential start to your day:  One egg, fried.  I prefer to fry it in butter, but I have started a healthier way of eating so I can't do that!  Plus two slices of turkey bacon.  I would prefer real bacon. Real, fatty, smokey, delicious, bacon.  Ahhh. 
F. Favorite color: I think it's red.  I seem to use a lot of red in my decorating. Tho I don't wear a lot of red.  I LOVE color.  I seem to be drawn lately to turquoise. 
G. Gold or Silver: Silver fo sho
H. Height: 5'11" super model/basketball star. Neither of which I am
I. Instruments you play: None. I tried playing the clarinet in 4th grade. It lasted about a month. I am musically challenged.
J. Job Title:  Mom and Wife :)
K. Kids: 2, one amazing, sweet, completely ornery, beautiful little girl who will be 5 (gasp) in June.  And one crazy, smart, fast, loving, sweet baby boy who will be 1 in March!  They wear me out every single day, but they are my reason for living!
L. Live:  Ankeny, Iowa in a great house that I am always looking to change something about!
M. Married: Yes indeed!  The Duke and I will be married 6 years in April.  Together for 8. He is amazing and getting better every day. I have FINALLY broke him in!
N. Nicknames: DEmanda. Courtesy of my parents and brother in law.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Back in 4th grade, or maybe 5th, or 6th? Not sure on the year exactly, but I had stomach issues and the doctors thought I had appendicitis. I thought I was dying.  The next morning I was fine, no surgery required. I will not go into anymore detail!
P. Pet peeve: I have a lot, none of which I can think of right now but when they happen I think, MAN, I hate when this happens! 

Q. Quote Oh I like a lot of quotes, but one that seems to be true to my life at the moment is "smarter, not harder"  Courtesy of The Duke. Tho I am sure he did not originate it.

R. Righty or Lefty:Righty

S. Siblings: One little brother, Matt Man. Who is bigger than me and has been since he was about 10.  He is one of the smartest, funniest guys I know!
T. Time you wake up: Well, up for the day usually between 6 and 6:30am.  My kids like to wake up a few time at night too. I used to be a morning person, then I had kids.

U. University attended: a few...Des Moines Area Community College, Johnson County Community College, and Simpson College.  I have a PHD. WRONG. A lot of credits, No degree. Don't judge.
V. Vegetables you dislike:I like all vegetables. Really. I don't think I have had one I can't eat.
W. What makes you run late: My husband and kids. it is! My pet peeve...being late!  I LOATHE being late. I am usually 10-15 minutes early. I get this from my dad.
X. X-rays you've had:  My back. I have a bad back. I am crooked and have many issues with my back being out of place. It's not fun.
Y. Yummy food: Cheese, bacon, sausage, bread, pasta. Food in general. I love food.  Food is good.
 Z. Zoo animal favorite:   Monkeys
Thanks for wasting some time with me. Until next time...whenever that may be!