Life is Worth Living

My Sweet Ride: Top 7 Reasons Why My 15-Passenger Van is Awesome

Anyone need a bit of joy on this cold, cold day?  If so, check out My Sweet Ride, which should be enough to cheer any dreary heart.

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Here she is, This Beautiful Thing!

Top 7 Reasons Why My Van is Awesome

1.The Hail Damage.

We purchased our van very cheaply because there was hail damage on one side, which is awesome.  I recommend seeking out vehicles with hail damage.  They still run perfectly well and are easier on your pocketbooks.  Of course this is also educational because it teaches your children about How to Save Money.  When we were looking at this Great, Wondrous Van, I just asked myself, “Kim, would you rather have a respectable, good-looking van and drink no lattes for the rest of your life, or could you be satisfied with This Thing and feel free to cruise the Caribou Drive-Thru every now and then?”  Hmmm…not a difficult decision.

2.  The Seam Rip.

The seat on the driver’s side had a huge, 4-inch rip along it’s edge.  This was also awesome and educational because I had to dust off my sewing box to find a heavy-duty needle and thread, and then I had to actually sew it shut.  This was heroic and virtuous behavior on my part too because I hate sewing.  And it was great for my children to see their mother sacrificially laboring away.

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This is Child #5 pointing to my sewing job.

3.  No Interior Carpet Whatsoever.

Yep, there is no carpet to be found in our van.  This is great because then the children can spill all they want, on the floor anyway.  And what about vomiting?  No problem!  Easy, fast clean-up.

4.  The Extra Cup Holders.

When I cruise around town with my posse in tow, I have three cup holders all to myself up front.  One coffee for me.  One for my husband, to drop off to him at work.  And one for my Coffee-Loving Friend.  (Nothing for the children of course.  They can drink water.)  It’s good to teach your children to sacrifice and to share.

5.  The Cigarette Burn Hole.

No, I do not smoke, but yes, there is a gigantic cigarette burn hole on the passenger-side seat.  Come to think of it, it might be a cigar burn hole because it’s so big.  In any case, this is educational because I can point to it and tell the children about the hazards of smoking.  “Look, children, see this hole?  This is what happens when you try to flick a cigarette out the window, but the window is still up.  Always make sure your window is down before throwing things out of it.  Or you’ll wreck your interior.”

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Cig Burn.  Note also the staining on the seat…let’s hope that’s not urine.

6.  No GPS.

Of course this van does not have GPS.  You had better know where you’re going or how to read an Old-Fashioned Map, which we keep in the cubbyhole.  We are terribly behind the times, but this way the children can more easily relate to and understand what it was like for Charles and Caroline Ingalls, as they drove all over the prairie looking for a place to live because they didn’t have GPS.  Or cell phones.

7.  It’s Like a Public School Bus.

This van is so big that I can haul around all the neighborhood kids in addition to my own.  We are like a Party Bus, even though I’m convinced that most people think that my van is a Public School Bus, as I’m forever answering such questions as, “Are all those children yours?”  Yes, ma’am.  All of ’em.  And, “Don’t you have a TV?”  Uh, no, actually we don’t…why do you ask?

Conclusion

If any of you are out in the cold, cold dark, I hope that cheers you up a bit!  Please feel free to ask any other burning questions that you may have about our van.

Oh yes, and my husband’s favorite thing about The Van?  It’s hitch.  He uses it to drag stuff around, like huge telephone poles to make ice skating rinks in our backyard.

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The Hitch.

 

Motherhood & Parenting

A Day of Not Yelling?

Today is Tuesday, and I have not yelled at my children at all.  So far.  Yes, I know it’s 6am, and they’re not up yet, but hey, I’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Last week I was listening to a great show on the Sin of Wrath, and it got me thinking that I should schedule a Day of Not Yelling.  And that’s today.  So, I came up with some tips for this special day.

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My son drew a picture of me yelling.  Flattering, no?

4 Tips For Not Yelling at Your Children:

  1. Begin the day with prayer.  Beg for the grace to be meek and patient.  For God will certainly provide opportunities to practice these virtues.  (Ugh.)  And we will need Him desperately.
  2. Drink lots of coffee.  After all, when I’m tired, I cannot think clearly, and so I yell more.  Therefore, if I drink an extra cup of coffee, I’ll should be very awake, and the day might go more smoothly.  (Just kidding, of course.)
  3. Make the decision to just not yell.  (Not kidding about this one.)  I’m just not going to do it.  Period.  (If you’re anything like me, this will take a lot of self-control.  And grace.  And prayer.  See Tip #1.)
  4. Let the consequences speak, not my loud rantings.  In the case of discipline, I agree with Dr. Ray Guarendi, actions really do speak louder than words.

 

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My other son drew this.  He says to note the baby in the background in his diaper tearing books off the shelf.  Can anyone relate to that?

 

Let me give an example of when I actually practiced the above-mentioned Tips.

Last week the three girls were happily playing house together in a fort they had made.  But then, Brother #1, obviously bored, rushed in and ransacked the thing.  Of course Sister #1 immediately jumped off the top bunk, ran after him, and tackled him.  She then held him down, while Sister #2 bit him, right on his bottom.

The result?  Complete Mayhem.  Crying.  Screaming.  And laughing.  (Brother #3 thought the whole thing was all very funny, especially the biting part.)

Well, I had a choice.  I could angrily yell and lecture away about any number of things – the inconsiderateness of destroying other people’s things, the irrationality of tackling and hitting siblings, or the inappropriateness of biting.  But they weren’t going to listen.  It would only be a waste of breath and time.  Besides, they already know that these things are wrong anyway.

Therefore, I knew it would be better to calmly hand out consequences, which I miraculously did in that moment.  So all those involved received one hour of Black Out.*  And you know what?  I felt pretty good about it all, even if they didn’t.

Conclusion

I’ve noticed that every time I do handle things calmly, I always feel better.  When I don’t handle things calmly, I feel terribly and struggle with black thoughts of what a terrible mother I am.

I’d like to say that I handle stressful situations at all times with grace and dignity, but that would be a big, fat lie.  Hence today’s Day of Not Yelling.  So I need to work on this.  How about you?

 

*Black Out:  A disciplinary action involving time spent on a bed with nothing.  No toys, books, or talking.  Just nothing.  It’s really boring.  And I find it effective.  I got the idea from Dr. Ray Guarendi.  Click HERE for his website that contains more ideas that your children will not like.