Friday, March 11, 2011

healthy part 2 and a new pattern

introducing my newest pattern "The Abby Bag" due to come out next week.
please pre order you pattern here

first 15 people to order will get the pattern half off. and the rest will get a 15% discount till the pattern is released which i will then be put back to full price.
(discount will be refunded later on in the day after your purchase.)
*edited: first 15 have been had, and due to the excitement of the bag (in purchases!) i'm going to up the discount to 20% till monday when i release the pattern. i've changed the price so you receive the discount at purchase. after spending half the night individually refunding each buyer, and then hating myself in the morning when my kids got up at butt crack of dawn, it had to be done.
thanks to all of you who have already purchased!

i'm really excited about this bag! i'm planning on taking it to spring quilt market which is being held in SLC in may. i'm super excited to go and i'm super excited to see everyone! if you are coming to utah and want to meet up there's a blogger's meet up hosted by amy smart of diary of a quilter. i'll be there!

okay so now moving on to healthy part 2.
healthy to me envelops mind, body and soul. i've already mentioned that i've been working on the body aspect and will continue to. but part of having a healthy soul means working on having healthy relationships. mainly with those who are family, and then it encompasses out into your friendships, and then in your community.

if you are a long time reader you know that while my husband was getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan we started to implement the token system to help my oldest (then 8) son. it helped our family tremendously. things got better with his behavior and the other children loved the token system as well. we as a family, even though we were struggling in so many ways (especially with the oldest son's issues at school and at home, his inability to handle jake's deployment well, and his displaced anger at me for his dad not being around) we actually saw hints of normalcy and peace here and there, and when jake came home from his deployment, it just kept getting a little better with him every day.
we did the token system for a couple of years.
he started to do better in school, started to develop friendships, and home life started to look pretty good. so with his starting to do better, we started to back off the token system.

and we started to go back to defiance, and to the old struggles.

there is nothing more horrible thus far that has been given to me in this life than to watch one of my children suffer.

i'm a fixer.
i tried to help with homework, i tried to help with school work, i tried to help with social situations, i would talk to his teachers,i would talk with his principle, i would try to talk to him about everything...and my relationship with him started to deteriorate. explosions would happen on a daily basis, i would walk away frustrated, sad, angry at myself, defeated, depressed, and very VERY tired. oh so tired. i backed off of blogging, i felt like i lost all my "funny", i backed off of outside relationships, i started to build a wall because i was so tired, and i didn't want to cry in front of people anymore as i watched my son sabotage his friendships, his relationships with teachers, his relationships with his siblings, and with any person he would come in contact with.

he was basically failing in everything in his life and i'm not just talking about grades. as my husband mentioned to me "when you realize that people are just going to be mad at you anyways...might as well do it on purpose so you can control the situation even if it's for a negative effect."
now i do also need to explain, that things aren't and weren't always bad and with tension, we still had times of happiness and we still had time of peace, it was mainly only when we asked him to do homework, or when we asked him to do "work" that we would have harder times. he's a good kid, and he struggles but he's also a very loving kid that feels bad for how he reacts.

we, the husband and i talked about trying to create situations where my son would succeed in things. and we decided that we wanted to implement the token system again. it's what works best with him, and it's what helps him see "small successes" in each action he does.
i then told him about this site:
he looked it over and said "yeah i think this will be good for him."

yes, my husband's profile picture is the angry chirstmas tree. he's funny like that.

now the site is mainly to help kids in teaching them responsibilities, and to award their hard work with points that can be spent on just about anything.
some of the things on there to earn points are:
*cleaning bedroom
*feeding pets
*doing homework
*writing grandma a letter
*going to bed when told.
*brushing teeth
*extra jobs
of course brushing teeth wont award you as many points as homework will, you can adjust how much points each thing will be, or you can use the suggested points as well. we wanted homework to be the biggest point winner, so that way it would be more enticing for him to do.

you can also adjust and add things like we added:
*getting dressed by 7:30 am
*being honest
and others i can't remember right now.
you can spend your points on things like:
*spending time with dad
*going shopping with mom
* half hour of TV time
*half hour of video game time
*ice cream
and you can customize it where you can place rewards that cost money
and customize it to your children and what toys they would like, and the cool thing is that it has all the links through amazon so you can easily get the reward when they cash in.
your child puts in the points and when they want to cash something in it will alert you in an email. this site definitely makes both kids and parents responsible on making sure that points are earned and that rewards are given.

now i'm not here to tell you everything has magically made itself right. no, that would be a lie. i'm also not here to tell you that my oldest had a great attitude about doing this again. he like the first time defiantly said "i'm not doing it." but eventually started to warm up to it. but the other kids were very excited (including the 4 year old that now makes her bed and brushes her teeth without much prodding every morning to earn her points.) but i am here to tell you that i've back off from trying to push him on doing homework (which he is always needing to catch up on, but still getting okay grades on) and that i've backed off of telling him he has to work around the house like the rest of us. (which yesterday he decided he wanted to work on the yard with my husband and got awarded "overtime points"). things are starting to turn for the upswing again just like it did with the token system. he's having small successes at home, and it's effects are starting to trickle into his school work, and outside of our home.

i'm also here to tell you, that it's hard to take council from your therapist husband who says "you need to let the points do the talking. let him see that if he chooses not to do work, no points will be awarded, much like if he doesn't do school he will not advance, or if he doesn't work at a job, he will be let go and no money will be earned. let him see that now with these simple things in life so he wont have to learn that last one later on in life. you also need to quit beating yourself down, and we need to make home a safe base meaning, no need to get after him, just gentle reminders that is all."

and i am trying.
my biggest fears of him failing out of school, have not come true,(he actually came home with a couple of 100% and 85% on tests), my fears of him not getting up in time for school didn't come true (he actually gets up and is ready for school every third day or so before 7:30 and the other days he's rushing, but he makes it on time without my yelling at him) he still struggles with the friendships, and not having any.
and my biggest reward is that my relationship with him has become a smidge less tiring. "i'm sorry" is said often,by both of us, because we're both trying, and i've realized that in the end it is his choice whether or not he will choose right from wrong, and it is my duty and my honor to love him.

no i'm not here to tell you that we are always "normal" or "better than normal". but i'm also not here to say that we are always struggling with him. we just hope to help his life take on a more balanced state as time goes on, and this is one of the many reasons why i chose healthy as my word of the year.

also, i need to warn you, that there are some really cool things you can earn on amazon (you can pick whatever you want) soo cool, that your husband as he's setting up the rewards might come out and say "i want to try to earn points to get thaaaaaaaat!!!" to which you will roll your eyes, and say a little prayer of thanks that you decided to marry that boy long ago that sometimes can still turn into a boy.

have a good weekend. i'm hoping for good weather to pull out a few weeds and to work together as a family in the new to us yard.

we'll talk more next week.
once again thanks for listening.


Jenny at Red House said...

I so identify with your sruggles and have had my own for many years.The feeling of loss for the child they once were and the way your family used to be has been very hard. Only now is my daughter 3/4 understanding that her behaviour affected all of us immensely and that 'It's my life I'll do what I want' is a cowards way to live. I feel your pain!!! jennyx

Charlotte said...

thank you so much for the link to that brilliant rewards site. I have been searching for a way to motivate my kids to do things, and have never managed to make a paper based system work. This might just be the thing I was looking for!
Charlotte xx

Linda said...

Wow great post, i dont know what to say except that i hope by writing it down it helped you a little.
and the bag is gorgeous

Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

Beautiful bag! I especially love the bow in the front, it is so unique!

Petit Design Co. said...

we've been using my job chart since it first came out and love it.

I gotta ask. Where'd you get the shoes?

Safira said...

Oh it's so hard to watch your child hurt and struggle. It's evident how much you love your kiddos. I hope this new system will bring some peace and stability to your daily life. Hang in there!

rachel griffith said...

Maria said...

So I just discovered your site a couple of months ago while looking for ideas on how to make a fabric flower, and I have been inspired by your thoughts. I aspire to be a quilter one day, but keep putting it off with all of the "other" things that fill up my life. I have struggled with my oldest lately for a variety of reasons, and it has not helped that my husband has also spent a lot of time deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the years. Thank you for your inspiration and thoughts. I will be checking out the site because we have had the "token" system in place since my husband's last deployment as well.

TexasWren said...

It's like hearing my grandson's story all over again. But, if it's any help, he's 17 now and growing into a man we can be proud of. Last year, he was struggling with geometry. Instead of giving up, he took himself to a tutor and managed to pass the class. He will never love math, but he took responsibility and did what he needed to do. When he was in 5th grade, he had no friends and didn't want any. The school suggested he go to summer school and take a socialization class. His parents asked me if I thought he should go (I was a teacher) and I said no. He didn't have social issues--he knew how to get along with people, he just didn't want to be around them. He was, and still is, a loner. He'd rather spend a day fishing alone that being with a crowd. They didn't put in in the class, and he was fine. Now, he has some good friends, but is will never be a social animal. He has a lot of the family hermit genes. I am the same way, and it's ok.

It doesn't make it any easier in the present, but maybe it gives you something to cling to in the meantime.

Love---love!---the bag!

Haute Deb Designs said...

I just wanted to thank you for this blog post. I, too, struggle with my oldest son (almost 11). The hardest part for me is the having no friends, everybody makes fun of me moments. I appreciate knowing that you struggle with the same problems as I do, and that I'm not alone. It's hard, really hard. So, again, I thank you for your honesty.

Pamela said...


I am planning on attending the quilt market meet-up. Can't wait to meet you and all the other lovely ladies!!

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing, you have no idea how much I need that right now.

Christie // lemon squeezy home said...

I love your posts like this--not because I love that you have trials like this, but because I have a pretty defiant oldest child myself and I've cried and cried over him at times in my life. He is a great kid--I just wish other people could see that side of him more often. He's doing pretty well right now, but we seem to go in cycles. I saw this job thing on eighteen25 and thought it sounded really great. I might have to just try it! It seems all is well until I ask my son to do something or tell him no. Then life is turned upside down. Thanks for sharing your story, Vanessa! I'm sure you are helping so many people!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am struggling with my 9 year old and every day a volcanic eruption happens followed by aftershoicks that radiate through the family. I don't want this. I feel defeated and like I am not a good mom. I don't want his memories of us to be one of anger.

I am willing to try anything.

girlsmama said...

I was just thinking about you and N the other day. I'm glad you are figuring out something that works! Love you!

Beverly said...

I ordered the pattern as soon as I saw it. I didn't even see about the discount. I just wanted the pattern. Still do - doesn't matter about the discount. That is a beautiful bag and I can't wait to get that pattern.

LeAnn said...

Ugh! You're post makes me worried for my 5 year old son (and gives me hope). Dad left in January for a Navy deployment, our new baby girl joined us two weeks later and all of a sudden my angel 5 year old has changed. I always thought we were laid back enough as a family that the deployment (our first) would be smooth sailing with a few small hiccups here and there. I'm finding now that my kids are needing more structure and definitely more defined rules and consequences (first order of business was to make a rules list for scripture and prayer time and it's working--no one wants to go to bed early AND miss TV the next day!!)

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It helps! Now, I'm off to check out this awesome website. I've always wanted to do charts but I get overwhelmed with figuring out what to include and what not to include and, overall, how to make it work. This might be just what I need!

Luch said...

Just want to say a quick thanks for oldest (of 2) is almost 4 and though she's really good there are moments of defiance etc and it's just great to read this and think about the future and how we might handle things as we all grow. Appreciate your sharing it.

Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane said...

Thinking of you and your family and hoping that things continue to work in a positive direction for you all.

Love the bag- love it! Love the fabric you chose. So great.

Tara said...

Your vulnerability is refreshing and, frankly, important. In the blog-o-sphere, it can appear that moms are twirling their way through cooking and decorating and crafting leaving many to doubt one's self and compare oneself with a fairytale. I applaud you. Truly. And, super cute bag...with super cute red shoes, too. Blessings to you and yours. I'm the same boat at times with my boys' behavior. Love the link, too.

Marci said...

that's so funny that you posted this today. i thought, just last night, that i needed to email you and ask about the token system again. my little middle one is struggling and it is making home life not so blissful. she needs lots of positive and it's so hard to give when they fight you constantly. i think she would really respond if i could just be consistent with it.;D
you are a rockstar...i hope you know that.

Heather at Happy Chippy Junk said...

High Five!!

Sabra at Sew a Straight Line said...

I set up an account at that site a few weeks ago. And completely forgot about it until today. Maybe if/when my kids stop puking I'll present them with the idea and get going on it. If I remember.

Also? Cute bag.

Also, also, I totally want to go to Quilt Market, but isn't the one in SLC just for, like, vendors and not the general public? Do you know? Not that I think you are an information desk.

V and Co. said...

sabra, it's just for vendors. but if you have a business license then you are able to register. hope your kids get better soon.

Lori Thompson said...

just ordered "the bag" super cute! I have had material for a while waiting for a darling pattern...FOUND IT!! Thanks!

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

I just adore your super cuteness bag !!
I cannot wait to make one ~


Deborah in Atlanta said...

I've got a co-worker who is going through some particularly bad times with her sons. I'm afraid she's probably waited too long (they're both in high school). But she's now in the process of going through a divorce, so that may have contributed to this also. But anyway - I forwarded your post to her to see if she might benefit from your experience. Thanks for sharing. dmj53(at)hotmail(dot)com

Wendy said...

Bless you and your family ... thank you ever so much for sharing. I worry about worrying {grin} and it's heartening to know struggles happen to the best of families but there seems to be ways thru... I really like the website you've linked, will have to investigate further :) I want to be a little proactive, or at least ready to be.

Your bag is A-DOOR-ABLE!

I've tossed between SLC for market or the Sewing Summit and feel this early in my endeavors, I'd love to learn from you at the Sewing Summit so truly hope to see you there. I can't wait to see market virtually through you wonderful bloggers!

Thank you, again, for sharing and being who you are ... you are truly appreciated!!

Anna said...

well, love the bag of course vanessa, so very you and very cool! I'm sure a lot of people can sympathize to your situation, what a tough thing to have to go through.

Ali said...

Thanks for sharing, vanessa. I'm tired of hounding my kids already (and the oldest is only 6!) and the rewards site is very useful. it's so hard to let our kids have the consequences for their choices...nice to have a gentle way to help them choose wisely!
LOVE the bag. I might have to try that one out!

Runa said...

Vanessa, thats a gorgeous bag you've come up with despite the personal turmoil you're going through! I don't have any children of my own but have been a Special Educator for years and struggled with my children and their families. You are really brave and am sure you'll get past this. I hope you feel better after pouring your heart out and knowing that all of us out there are with you! BIG HUG to you all the way from Bombay!

V and Co. said...

thank you all for the kind words of love of the handbag and of our struggles. he's doing so much better already. every day we get a little more wedge between us and the defiance. and every day we see a little more success and happiness in his life. so really thank you, and yes i believe in the point system, ESPECIALLY for children who are struggling.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh... that bag is JUST what I will need to feel cute as I spend all. summer. pregnant. Perhaps carrying such a fab bag will keep people's eyes away from my swollen ankles. Yahoo! Purchasing pattern now.

Unknown said...

Beautiful post!
It's so easy to think that you are the only one experiencing these types of struggles, but just reading this makes me know that I'm not. I don't mean to imply my struggle is anything close to yours but, there are times when I just want to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out over my kids and some of their choices. But, I guess that's part of what parenting is about...loving your kids soooo much that you only want what's best.
I have used this job chart in the past and my boys loved it! I may have to rev it up again :)
Love the bag...and the fabric choice is sublime!

Anna said...

Your bag pattern is adorable! I can't wait for the pattern to arrive. It looks just the right size for my camera, sketch pad, some hand sewing, and assorted necessary stuff!

I hope success with your son continues to move forward. You and your husband appear to be taking all the right steps.

Kelli said...

Thank you for your honesty. My very sweet (to everyone else) six year old has an extremely strong willed personality and is dead set in her ways whether it is the "popular" thing to do or not. I often struggle with finding a balance with her in encouraging her to be herself and pushing her to be what I think/hope she should be. It is always comforting to hear that I am not alone. You are not alone either!

The Yoder's Five said...

Love your bag! So beautiful! And thanks for getting the word out there about My Job Chart. My cousin Dave (father of 7) founded it and I'm so proud of him. Glad it's helping!

Shema John said...

hats are really a brave mama to be so honest with no pretentions that all is lovely and perfect. This lovely post and the lovely comments the post brought out is a big blessing.

Anonymous said...

So perhaps this is foolish but I cried over this post last night! My son has been so difficult and has been making terrible decisions and as horrible as it sounds I'm soooo embarrassed! I mean all you ever hear about from other moms is how wonderful their children are doing. I seriously get to the point where I just don't want to talk to anyone because I don't want to lie to them but I don't feel like I can be honest about how things are going. Also I'm afraid that if I was honest about things that they wouldn't be able to see the sweet and smart kid that I see when I look at him! Anyways sorry for rambling but thank you so very much for your honesty. Its nice to know I'm not the only one

Lisa said...

Wow that was so amazing for you to share with us, so amazing and well uou have no idea how helpful it all is thank you!

Erin said...

Just wanted to say thank you for writing this...thank you for being so real to all the strangers on the internet. It was touching to read and a reminder I needed that others struggles as well. Thanks...

Lynette said...

Just so you know...I think you are awesome. You get the "Mom of the Day" award from me if it means anything. Your honesty is refreshing, your struggles are real, and I wish I was your neighbor so I could help out. Really! Just hang in there!

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences! I am currently feeling like I am in a similar boat with my son and it is great to see how you handled it and that things can get better. I will have to look into that website. Best of luck to you!

WendyLou said...

Good job, Mama!!

"When you realize that people are just going to be mad at you anyways ... might as well do it on purpose so you can control the situation even if it's for a negative effect."

Great insight. I need to remember that one.

Anonymous said...

We love my job chart too! I especially love that it is free!

ecuakim said...

Back when you published this post, I read it that very day, and it inspired me to write this post ( about my son. He's 4 years old and probably is on the autism spectrum. We had some testing done last year and will do another round in May. Anyway, I just wanted to say that no one sees what the mom sees. No one gets to see all the good and all the bad like the mom. And that is a big load to carry. Thanks for doing that and for reminding all of us that we are all in this mortal experience together. We can do better than we do to help lift one another's burdens, and share ideas that have brought us relief. Take care.

Unknown said...

Just found your blog and have been reading for 2 hours! Love it!

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