Y is for Yelling #AtoZchallenge

Sometimes it seems the only way to get through to my kids is to raise my voice. It is as if they tune me out when I tell them something and only respond when I yell.

YToday we are up to letter Y in the A to Z Challenge, and I wanted to blog a little about yelling. I am pretty sure every parent out there – even those with awesome amounts of patience – has yelled at their kids once or twice (if not more often).

No, these aren’t moments that any parent is proud of, and I honestly feel crappy when I have yelled at my kids. But like I said, sometimes it seems the only way to get their attention.

I think my problem is that I sometimes have too high of an expectation for my kids. I forget that they are still learning, and that they do not think the same way as I do.

I recall reading a blog where a mother decided to go the opposite way and try whispering instead. She had success with it, so I may have to give that a try because yelling certainly is NOT an effective way to communicate. I know that by yelling, I am not modeling good behavior for my kids. I am teaching them that it is okay to yell. It is teaching them that they don’t have to listen until someone yells. It teaches them that they are not worth speaking to in civil tones. None of these things are my intention.

I wish it was as easy as saying, “I am no longer going to yell.” But it isn’t. I know this habit will be a hard one to break. All I have to do is look at my kids to remember why I want to stop this horrible pattern.

Teaching your child the letter X – #AtoZchallenge

XToday on the A to Z challenge, it is the letter X. This is the one letter that worried me the most on this challenge. Not only are there a limited number of words that start with X that I can write about, this letter falls on a day when I typically talk about a parenting issue.

My husband suggested X-rays but I haven’t ever had one, and neither have the kids so that would be a short topic. I guess I could have talked about the X-box but instead, I decided to talk just about the letter X. Yep. We are talking about the 24th letter in our alphabet.

This letter is easy to teach in the terms of how to write it. Just two quick strokes and you can do either a capital or lowercase X. (And once you learn how to make an X you can work on your pirate map as we all know “X” marks the spot.)

However, when it comes to words that start with X, you end up with X-ray or X-Box. Other words such as xylophone, Xerox or Xavier have a Z sound instead of an X. That certainly makes it hard to explain to your preschooler.

So I guess the best way to teach the letter X is to tell your child that X is unusual. The actual sound of the letter X is a combination of the letters “k” and “s.” It often comes in the middle or end of a word such as in fox, fix, ax, and box.

You know as I reflect upon it, there is not much to say about the letter X other than it is a tricky one to teach in the area of pronunciation. And now that the letter X is done, there are only two more days in this challenge.

W is for Writing Challenges #AtoZChallenge

WWe are almost at the end of the A to Z Challenge. Today’s letter is W. I could write about writer’s block, but I have already covered that in a past post. So I decided to talk about Writing challenges.

I like participating in writing challenges such as the A to Z challenge. (This is technically a blogging challenge, but blogging involves writing so it qualifies in my book.) If I have the time and I see a writing challenge, I will certainly participate. (The key there would be having the time – see my Juggling Jobs post.)

My favorite challenges have been by my local newspaper. Twice they have asked readers to send in a “story” written on Twitter. Yep, that is telling a “story” in only about 125 characters. (It can’t be 140 characters since you have to include their hashtag.)

The first one was in October 2012 when they asked for horror stories for Halloween. Here are two of mine that were published in the newspaper.

His fangs lock on the zombie’s neck. Growling, he thrashes his head as he saves me. Never walk in a graveyard without your dog.

Tap, drag, tap, drag. The harried breathing gets louder as it nears. A zombie? A ghoul? What can it be? Oh, it is just Grandpa.

And the last challenge was this January when they asked us to write romance stories. Here is the one that was published this time. (To see the other, click here.)

Kids arguing, baby crying, dog barking, washing machine overflowing. He comes home with flowers and an “I love you, honey”

Yes, writing challenges can be a great way to stir up some creativity and these Twitter challenges luckily don’t take up a lot of my time. I can only hope our newspaper will come up with a few more.

V is for Vacation #AtoZchallenge

VToday on the A to Z Challenge we are up to V. Since summertime is nearly upon us, I thought vacations would be an excellent topic.

We are planning a trip to Disney World in Florida this June. As anyone who has planned a vacation to Disney World knows, this is not a cheap endeavor, especially if you plan to stay on Disney’s property as we are. Last year, we chose to stay closer to home. We went to Corpus Christi for just a few days and actually ended up tying the trip into a conference my husband was attending.

Actually, that is typically how we vacation. Or I should say I and the kids vacation. We tag along every summer to South Padre Island for a three-day conference that my husband attends. We spend our time at the beach while he is at the meeting. But my husband doesn’t get much of a vacation that way.

Here are the kids and I at Disney World in 2012. My husband didn't join us because he started his own law firm 6 weeks before the trip. My mom joined us instead.

Here are the kids and I at Disney World in 2012. My husband didn’t join us because he started his own law firm 6 weeks before the trip. My mom joined us instead.

So this year’s trip to Disney World will be his first real vacation in quite a while. See when you have your own business as he has, it is harder to take off time from work. He is the sole attorney in his practice so if he isn’t billing clients, no money is coming in.

But even for those who do get paid vacation time (and roughly ¼ of Americans don’t get a paid vacation), taking off time is not always easy to do. According to an Expedia survey, the average American employee has two vacation days left over at the end of the year.

Reasons for not taking their full vacation time included not having the money to take a trip to not wanting to be away from work because they think it will affect raises or promotions or simply there is too much work to be done that they can’t be gone.

This last excuse is why many years my husband didn’t take his vacation days. When he worked for a law firm, there were always cases to be worked on, and he rarely took a day off. Those that he did take were often used for medical reasons.

So now that he is his own boss, I hope to get him to take a day here or there as well as our eight-day trip to Disney World because after all, everyone needs a break from work now and again.