Browsing Category: motherhood

Understanding PreTeens

A couple of weeks ago, Bonnie wrote this post about  21 Things Parents Should Know About Their Teenagers.  I was reminded of a guest post I had written over the summer and decided to actually post it on my own blog as well.
Teaching has taught me many things about my curriculum, about the school system, etc. But, I feel that it has prepared me for the time my own children reach their preteen ages. While Bonnie focuses on older teens about to graduate, I focus on 12-14 year olds in schooling. But, there is a lot more than just teaching them how to read and write. We also have to understand them as well.
1) All misbehavior is a positive attempt at attention.
A prevailing classroom management (as well as now parenting style) theory is called Love and Logic. It tries to focus on the positive side of children, understanding that there is always a reason for their misbehavior, always something on their mind that they are scared, frustrated, nervous, or unsure about. This theory calls for us to “kill them with love.” Be understanding, err on the side of mercy. They want to be heard. Repeat what they said, “You said you feel anxious when I kiss you as I drop you off because it’s embarrassing. Ok, I’m sorry. How about this, you give me a kiss before we even leave the house, so no one sees.”
2) They want to prove themselves.
Preteens aren’t teenagers yet. They are still children, but are stepping into adulthood as they begin pubescence. They want to feel accepted. They want to feel like adults. They want to show you they are smart. Give them that opportunity, whether it be with (school) assignments or responsibilities at home. But, don’t micro-manage.
3) They are smarter than you think.
Again, they just need an opportunity to prove themselves. Find what they are good at and let them know! Help build their self-confidence. They are actually very bright, but when told, “No, do it this way” or “You are bad at math, so you are dumb” or “You don’t do well in standardize testing so you’ll never get anywhere,” they stumble and fall. Always, before telling them something is bad or wrong, tell them something they did right and well. Again, don’t micromanage–give them options to use their talents in and the result will surprise you.
4) They are still children, and thus, still need repetition.
Just because they think they are adults, doesn’t mean they are. They still need repeats of instructions. They still need drills. They still need practice. They are at the stage in life where quality is surpassing quantity, and they need to focus on that.
5) Give them time to be creative.
I played with Barbies until I was in 8th grade. I ran through my backyard with a blanket on my back pretending it was wings. I wrote a short story on one of my state standardized tests rather than a 5-paragraph essay. And now, I feel I am very creative. Creativity is a dying part of human society, especially in the schools. All we do is focus on the test. Focus on grammar, on math, on analyzing books. But, we need to let be creative. I strive to include creative writing into my school work. I also try to have them color at least once a week (either with a paragraph analysis or a poster presentation or a collage). It is very important to exercise the right brain as much as the left brain for growth of preteen mentality and knowledge.
6) Preteens are pack animals.
They truly are. They would rather sit and talk with their friends then sit down quietly and work. This is probably the biggest problems in the schools when it comes to classroom management. So, I always try to incorporate at least one partner/group work a week. This can be done at home, too. Let your kids hang out with their friends, let them do extracurricular activities, be part of sports or clubs, host parties. They thrive on a social life.
7)They are absolutely hilarious.
Because they are still developing physically, emotionally, and mentally, preteens can be some of the funniest people in the world. This can happen both purposefully, and not. So, if they are purposefully trying to get a laugh out of you, indulge them–give a guffah or a chuckle. If it isn’t intentional, just smile and make a mental note…then share it on your blog! Check here for some silly, but sometimes inspiring things my students say in class or in their writings!
What other secrets to understanding preteens have you come up with?
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Rain, Rain Go Away

When I was 17, the older teenagers in my church went on a white-water rafting trip in the Appalachian Mountains. It was a nice, summer day and we had a ton of fun. Then, on the way home (about a two hour drive), it started to rain. And not just any rain–torrential downpour.  
Growing up in Virginia, we were used to torrential downpours–after all, it is hurricane area. Summer thunderstorms are gorgeous…as long as you are inside your home watching your yard flood.
Well, we weren’t at home. We were in the mountains. Our church leaders, who were driving the caravan of minivans, couldn’t see the car in front of them. Our Bishop, who was at the head of the caravan, called all the leaders on their cell phones and told them to pull over.  Now, you know it’s a heavy downpour when your Bishop tells you to stop driving!
We stopped for about 15 minutes before the rain let up, but that was the heaviest I have ever been in a storm in a car…until yesterday.
It had been rainy all day, on and off. When I left work to go home, it was just cloudy. After about 5 miles, it started raining. No big deal. What mattered more was the amount of splash up from the road and the cars ahead of me on Bangerter Highway. Then, the rain go heavier and heavier. Soon, near Redwood Road (for those of you who live in Salt Lake County), I had to have my wipers on the fastest speed and still didn’t have much sight. Then, all the cars in front of me stopped. So I stopped. And the semi-truck behind struggled to stop in the rain. I had a mini-panic thinking he’d rear-end me and squish me into the SUV in front of me. Thankfully, he stopped. But, as he did, a flash of lightening and a clap of thunder happened. Bad timing. Finally, the cars started going again, but at like 5 miles per hour. The reason? There was about half a foot of water on the road! Thankfully, it was only a few yards wide. But, the rain was still terrible with the terrible splash up. I knew the interstate was getting closer and I was scared to death to have to drive on it in this weather. I also had a feeling that I needed to pull over. So, right before the on-ramp, I braved another standing water corner and pulled into a McDonalds. 
I called Justin to let him know of the situation. I was going to wait for a bit to see if the rain would let up. I didn’t know if it’d be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 hours, or longer. But, I was prepared. I felt good about the decision to wait. And, it was a McDonalds. And I had my wallet. So, if worst came to worst–dinner!
I sat in my car listening to the rain pound on my room and slide down my windows. I could barely see outside my car. I thought to myself, if only I wasn’t 30 miles from home, I could enjoy this weather. I do love the rain. I just hate driving in it. And, I’ve never been a fan of I-15 in inclement weather. But, ever since I became pregnant, my caution of I-15 in inclement weather has risen exponentially! I was near to tears because I was afraid for not only my life, but that of my unborn son! I wasn’t going to risk anything that might harm him!
Thankfully, after only about 20 minutes of waiting, the rain let up a bit to where I felt comfortable driving in. I turned back on the car and hopped on the interstate. When I was about 10 miles from home, the rain had stopped completely and I could see blue sky. A smile immediately appeared on my face. I was so thankful to see that patch of clear sky. 
As much as I love rain and storms, I hate driving in them. I’d rather sit, safe and cozy, and watch them. So, I love you rain, but please go away.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

28 Week Bumpdate

Holy Toledo! I’m beginning my 3rd Trimester! I’m 2/3 of the way done! Only 12 more weeks until I meet my son….12 more weeks of teaching, Justin having classes and graduating college, finding a job, finding a home, moving….yikes. 12 more weeks.

Side Effects

– Exhaustion. That one seems to never go away. It isn’t fair.
– My fingernails grow quickly, but then they always break, regardless of the polish I put on them because they don’t have time to grow strong.
– I am officially in maternity pants. I have 2 maternity leisure pants for weekends, 2 maternity slacks, and I only fit into my maxi skirts/dresses now. I can still wear most of my shirts, thankfully.
– Rhys’s kicks have definitely been getting stronger. There are sometimes when he kicks so strong that it gets uncomfortable. The only way he’ll stop is if I get up and walk around with a little bounce–he already wants to be rocked.
– Constant, constant, constant peeing…about every 30-60 minutes I have to use the bathroom. Sometimes less if Rhys kicks my bladder in the right spot. Also, I’m starting to wake up in the middle of the night again having to pee.
– Flatulence. Seriously, this is the most embarrassing one! The trickiest part finding ways to deal with it while teaching! Please tell me others have had to experience this humiliating side effect!
– Still a sore back when I get up in the morning, even if I sleep with a pillow between my legs.
Food Cravings
– Sonic. Their sandwiches, their corndogs, their drinks. Surprisingly, not their chili-cheese tots, like I craved in the 1st trimester.
Other Things
– I am still worried about his size. At 20 weeks, he was measured average during our ultrasound, but I still worry about how big he’ll be (or not be) when it’s time to give birth.
– After I took the glucose test, I was told I had too much sugar in my blood and had to take the 2nd round because I might have Gestational Diabetes. When I looked it up, I was a bit nervous. Now, I consider myself healthy and in shape. I do have a family history of obesity and Type II diabetes (caused by that obesity), but I just barely weigh more than I’ve ever weighed (which is barely average for a girl my height). So seeing that I might have some sort of diabetes that could make it easier for me to become obese after pregnancy and develop Type II made me a little nervous. But, knowing that my son could be extra large during birth and be more susceptible to obesity and both types of Diabetes made me worry even more. I took the second test over the weekend and I still don’t know the results…..
– We are beginning to stock up on onesies and are beginning to look for cribs and furniture, etc.
– We found our middle name for Rhys and are so happy that his name is complete now: Rhys Michael Morrell. During a session at the Temple, I had a little inspiration and when I told Justin, he agreed with it. The meaning is important as Michael is Adam and was the first. Rhys is our first. He was willing to come quickly after we started trying. It fits wonderfully.
Next week, my in-laws will be in town since my SIL is getting married this weekend. We are taking advantage of that timing and I’m having an early family baby shower next week so they can attend. I’m pretty darn excited. I hope I’ll have a baby shower with friends closer to the due date.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

To Work or Not to Work

I have always been a work-aholic. But, I’ve also always wanted to be a Stay At Home Mom.
For as long as I can remember, I had planned out my life:
– Graduate high school with honors (check)
– Go to BYU (check)
– Get married at BYU (check)
– Graduate BYU with honors (check)
– Become a teacher (check)
– Work until I had kids and then be a SAHM until my youngest was able to go to grade school (…..)

I got hired at a really amazing Charter School here in Utah. I love my school–it’s small, it’s quaint, it’s rigorous, it creates an atmosphere of love for learning, the students are respectful and responsible, etc. I have felt such community,such acceptance, such respect at this school, notonly from the students but also from the staff–a vast difference from my intern year.

Early in the school year (October) we found out I was pregnant. It was one of the happiest days of my life! I was going to be a mom! I would have both a year of history and a year of English under my belt. I would be a SAHM, Justin would graduate in June, and we’d be a happy, adult family.

But, the more I worked at my charter school, the more and more I felt like I couldn’t leave teaching, at least not yet. What a change! In all 24 years of my life, never did I consider working as a mom, not in any degree. It through me for a loop. I wanted to stay at home, but I also still wanted to teach. This terrible decision loomed over me and I had no idea what to do.

Then came the stress of Justin finding a job. He walks in two and half weeks and finishes all his courses in June and still doesn’t have an offer. I thought we would by now and know where we would be living come the fall. Nope. So, the past couple of months, a new thought has been entering my mind: what if I have to continue to be the bread winner? I don’t want to do that. I want the option of wanting to work, not needing to work.

I would talk to my teacher friends, my pregnant friends. I read blogs. I discussed plans with my husband, spilled my mind and heart to family and God. Then, a thought came to mind. I don’t know where we will end up come the summer. We still don’t know about jobs for Justin (keep us in your prayers) so that gives us a few options. There are a few part-time teachers at my charter school because they are moms as well. My principal has personally asked for me to stay–which means she wants me here at this school.

So, here are our plans:
If Justin gets a job somewhere in Utah, we will move up closer to my charter school. I will work part-time (only 3 out of 7 periods) for the next 4 years. That way, I can be home with Rhys and not miss any of his milestones. But, I don’t have to leave teaching either. And in the next 4 years, I can get my Level II teaching license, which will make me more wanted as a teacher, more hireable, and raise my pay.

If Justin gets a job somewhere other than Utah, we will move and I won’t bother trying to apply to work anywhere. I will be a SAHM, but will apply to the nearest university and begin slowly working on getting a Masters and a PhD.

This way, one way or another, I am fulfilling my duty (but more importantly, my wish) of being a mother at home and also improving myself. I feel confident about it. I never actually prayed about this decision, but I still feel at peace about it, as if God helped me make the decision. It is definitely different than what I envisioned my adult life would be like. But, I love teaching. I always knew I would, but I never thought I’d have this strong of a pull to continue to do so. I didn’t know it’d be this hard to break away once I fulfilled another life-long dream of having children.This way, I can keep both dreams alive. I don’t have to give anything up.

I am very grateful to my school for allowing me the opportunity to return part-time next year, if we stay in Utah. And I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to begin  my next chapter in life–being a mom.

If you are already a mom, what was your decision: SAHM, part-time working, or full-time working. How did you come to that decision. If you are pregnant or planning to have kids, what is your plan?

I am linking up with Bonnie from The Life of Bon and Brooke from Silver Linings for this linkup. Please join and tell us your thoughts and feelings. Also, feel free to enter the giveaway for a $15 giftcard to Babies R Us!

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Not Maternity Clothes


Shirt: Papaya
Dress: Papaya
Cardigan: Papaya
Shoes: Sole Envy
Necklace: It’s a real leaf dipped in bronze. I got it at a Christmas gift expo.
First of all, can you tell that I love Papaya? It’s my favorite shop ever! They always have the cutest items that are still in style on their $3, $5, $7, and $10 clearance racks!
Well, this week, I went to the mall to try and find maternity clothing. Everything was over-priced, in my opinion, not that cute, and bulky/bulgy in areas it didn’t need to be. So, giving up, my husband and I walked past Papaya, which was having a sale. typically when we go to the mall, I always check into Papaya and buy at least one item of clothing. I walked past it–no reason for me to go in since I was pregnant and they don’t sell maternity clothing. But then, I just couldn’t handle not seeing the clearance items…so we walked in.
I found some really cute maxi dresses (including the one above). The mediums (my normal size) fit perfectly and the neckline was in the perfect place. But…it was an inch or so above my ankles and fit too snuggly to ignore the fact that I was just going to get bigger in the next few months. So, I tried the large. Perfect length, and a very comfy fit with an undershirt, and room for my belly to grow!
So, I bought two–this neutral colored one, and a pink, tan, and navy blue one for $15 each. I also bought a $3 undershirt and two $5 long-sleeved cardigans. I’m so happy!
It’s not maternity clothes, but it’s comfy and it’s cute, and I feel good in it! And isn’t that all that really matters? I have to say I am thankful for maxi dresses/skirts!
When did you start wearing maternity clothes? Did you like them?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.