The Orange Rhino Challenge App!

I know how cruddy it feels to classify oneself as a “parent who yells way too much” and I just don’t want you to feel that anymore because I know how great it feels to call oneself an “Orange Rhino Parent!” This is why I created all sorts of different tools to help you out on your journey to “Yell Less” like The Orange Rhino CommunityThe Orange Rhino store…The Orange Rhino Book, “Yell Less, Love More”…and now (drum roll please) The (new and improved) Orange Rhino Challenge App! I am super psyched about the App as it is a great complement to my book and it helps you do all the things that helped me stop yelling like…

Testing out all sorts of silly and unique ways to stay calm,
Talking positively to myself,
Tracking my progress visually,
Writing down when and why I yelled to determine my triggers,
Creating a plan for said triggers, and
Getting friends to support me in staying to said plan.

Oh, and did I mention it is free?! Yep, it is! It is only for iPhones right now but when we get enough interest and positive feedback, I will look into raising funds to create an Android version. Until then…here are some key screen shots of the App along with directions on how to best use the App.

HOME PAGE
Goal Complete– Daily Inspirational Quote
– Visual Goal Tracker: Set your own goal in the Goals page and select whether or not you want the graph to appear. The graph will always show your most recently achieved goal in the center (1 day included!) so that you constantly remember that you CAN indeed Yell Less because you have already done so! Also, once you successfully achieve your goal, The App will ask you if you want to go onto the next goal!
– Personal Mantra: Type in your own mantra that speaks to you and motivates you! Change it as frequently as you wish.
– Access to Settings: Three horizontal lines under the Rhino will take you to settings page where you can select daily tips, set an alarm, back date last yell.

 

 

 

Daily Tips      New Goal!


JOURNAL

Journal– Traditional Journal:
“Write” out all your frustrations so that you don’t let the frustration out vis-a-vis a yell. Enter as many as you wish each day. Scroll through them to identify any patterns, also known as triggers. Tap on the arrow on right to make an entry.
– Trigger Tracking Journal:
Enter all triggers as you identify them as well as a potential solution. Make sure to tap on save afterwards to save changes!

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry   Trigger


THE LATEST
– Stay in touch with my latest insights, stories, and tips by getting up-to-date posts from my Facebook page, Twitter Feed, and blog


SUPPORT

Support– Get in touch immediately with your support network! Add up to five names from your phone’s contact list to your support list. When you want to yell, text or call them and get instant support!
– Connect with other Orange Rhinos by heading over to The Orange Rhino Community. Ask questions on how to handle a specific trigger. Ask for extra support. Read other posts and find hope that you can yell less and peace from knowing you are not alone! Find Orange Rhinos like you going through similar struggles.

 

 

 

 

 

GOALS
Set Goal – Personalize your journey by picking the best goal for you. Make sure to select “Set Goal” to save your preferred goal.

– Determine how you want to monitor your success. Do you want just the days counter to appear or also a progress chart?
– Decide your rules for The Challenge. If you want to go a set number of days straight without yelling but you yelled, reset the counter…but don’t reset your determination or belief that you can do this!

 

 

 

 

SETTINGS
Daily Tips– Daily Tips: Set a specific time (say, first thing in the morning?) to receive daily tips pushed out as notifications on your phone. Make sure to select “Set Time” to save your tip time.
– Backdate Last Yell: Capture every day you haven’t yelled by updating the date your Challenge successfully started.
– Set Custom Alarm: Set an alarm to go off at tough known moments with an Orange Rhino inspirational sound and a short message of support for yourself. (Note: You will not see a list of all of your saved alarms and at this point you can not upload your own sound…maybe in the future!)

 

 

 

 

photo 4   Backdate Yell
Please note: This screen shot of daily tips is old – you actually get tips, i.e. do pushups and not quotes! 

Daily Alarm   Short Alarm Message   Days of Alarm

To set alarms follow these steps in this specific order! (1) Tap on the “+” (2) Tap on Random Sound, select sound, press done (3) Type in short message (4) select “Repeat Options” to select all Days the alarm should go off (5) Select time (6) Tap “done.”

So there you have it – the basic layout and functionality of The Orange Rhino Challenge App! Just like parenting, my goal here wasn’t perfection, but rather progress and I continue to progress further developing this App and others. I hope you enjoy using The App as much as I enjoy looking at the screen shots and dream of using it (eh hem, I am an Android person!) You can download the app on iTunes

Happy Downloading!

The Thanksgiving I Yelled at my Kids.

Unfortunately, before I started my Orange Rhino Challenge to go 365 days straight without yelling at my four boys, then ages five and under, the “Not-so-Great” Thanksgiving of 2010 happened. Oh how I wish that I decided to teach myself to “Yell Less, Love More” before that turkey day for then this story wouldn’t still be stuck in my memory because it wouldn’t have happened in the first place! Nope, all the lessons I learned on my 520 days straight of not yelling would have come in to place and prevented me from ruining that Thanksgiving with my relentless yelling. Sigh. Oh well. Here’s how it went down, literally.

* * * * *

I don’t like turkey.
Or cranberry sauce.
Or any of the foods that one typically serves on Thanksgiving for that matter.

Except well, for the white stuff: bread, butter, mashed potatoes, and more butter! But I love Thanksgiving Day. I love making a big, roaring fire and then cuddling up with my boys to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love “oohing and ahhing” over all the floats together and sharing stories with my boys about when I was a kid and couldn’t wait to watch the Parade. I love sitting down to eat and first having cranberry juice with rainbow sherbet and telling my boys that this is a tradition passed down from my great-grandmother.

Oh, there is just so much to love on Thanksgiving Day.
And yet, I hated Thanksgiving 2010 because I ruined it.

I ruined it by yelling, big-time. Over a picture. A freakin’ picture. Seriously?! Yes, seriously. As soon as the parade wrapped up, I deemed that it was therefore the perfect time for the annual “Let’s watch Mom jump up and down and act like a clown to make us smile” holiday card photo shoot. Yes, of course, trying to get James, Edward, and Andrew, then ages, four, three, and one, to sit still and cooperate—after they had just been sitting peacefully and quietly for an hour and just wanted to run outside and play—was the perfect time to ask them to sit still, again. And smile. And keep their hands to themselves. And try to be patient with my constant requests for, “Just one more picture, please?” I knew at the time that I was pushing my luck, given the circumstances and their ages, but yet I still pushed.

As expected, given my picture-taking history, my boys whined when I told them it was picture time. As I geared up to corral them into the living room (and to start offering bribes galore), Andrew took off as usual and ran into—of all rooms—the living room. He jumped onto the couch, laughing hysterically as he crashed into the pillows. James and Edward of course followed suit and all three boys started laughing and tickling each other and having a grand old time. So much so that, when I shouted, “Hey, look at me!” they didn’t realize I had just taken a picture. It was, and still is, one of my favorite pictures in the entire world. The happiness. The love. The joy. The smiles. It melted my heart.

So you think I would have stopped right then, right?
No more pictures needed, right?!
Wrong.

Who needs the "perfect" picture when priceless pictures like this exist?!

Who needs the “perfect” picture when priceless pictures like this exist?!

I wanted to make sure that I had the best picture. The perfect picture. I wanted to see if I could do better, even though I felt I had just been delivered a miracle. I got greedy, really, really greedy, and I asked, “One more picture, please?” They acquiesced for a few minutes, but understandably soon grew tired of my never-ending demands to sit still and smile. They had behaved wonderfully and cooperatively for so long; now they were done. They had reached their limit and started squirming, whining, pinching each other, and refusing to cooperate. So I started yelling. And I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop because I so badly wanted the perfect picture and I thought that yelling would force them to behave.

“Sit still!” I barked.
“Just one more! Be good!” I whined.
“WHY CAN’T YOU JUST DO THIS FOR ME?!” I yelled.
And my famous, or rather infamous, Thanksgiving 2010 line:

“It’s Thanksgiving, for cripe’s sake! I would be so grateful for just one good picture. PLEASE! Just smile!” I screamed.

The more I yelled, the more they cried. The more they cried, the worse the pictures were, so the more I yelled. Finally, I gave up and said ever so shamefully and nastily, “That’s it! I have had it. All I wanted was a picture. Thanks for nothing.”

James, Edward, and Andrew then promptly ran out of the room, crying to Daddy and the grandmas. James screamed, “Mommy’s a meany.” Edward sobbed, “I don’t like her.” Andrew just cried and cried, clearly scared by how loud and nasty my voice had gotten. And I went to the bathroom and also cried and cried, feeling all the same thoughts as my kids. I pouted the rest of the day as I felt so mortified and ashamed that I had screamed at my young children for behaving well; ashamed that I had unnecessarily taken my own problem with perfection out on them.

I couldn’t look any of the other adults in the eye for the rest of the day. I felt so sad that my need for the perfect picture pushed me to lose it so horrifically. My guilt and shame then kept me from enjoying the holiday. Thanksgiving is one of the days where I often feel nothing but love, and yet, that year, that year I couldn’t feel it because I had yelled to the point where all I felt was hatred for myself.

The sad thing is, that Thanksgiving wasn’t the only time I felt such anger at myself for yelling at my kids over trying to get a picture. Nope, it had happened many times before. And while I sit here wanting to write that it’s all just because I am a perfectionist and seek perfection in everything I do, that’s a partial cop-out. It goes deeper than that.

Yes, yes, I seek the perfect picture of all my boys looking at the camera, smiling flawlessly and not picking their noses. But it’s not just because I am a perfectionist; it’s also because I am insecure. Oftentimes in life, I seek comfort, confidence, and reassurance that I am living a happy, good life, that I am doing good at this parenting thing, that I have happy children. And well, whenever I feel that way, I find that looking at pictures soothes my insecurities and proves to me that I am doing okay.

If I feel frustrated and down and overwhelmed by the challenges of parenting, I can look at that “perfect” picture and look straight into those gorgeous twinkling eyes and remember that it is all worth it, that my kids are happy and it’s worth the work. If I find myself feeling sad that life is passing by too fast, my kids are growing up too fast, and I feel I have missed out, I can look at that “perfect” picture and remember: no, I didn’t miss it, I was right there and it was wonderful. And if I feel stressed about life in general, then looking at pictures of my family having fun, enjoying a special vacation, enjoying a special holiday, enjoying each other helps soothe my negative mood and move me to a more positive, grateful, happy, and definitely less stressed place.

Pictures bring me comfort by helping me feel secure in this world, and rightfully or wrongfully, I rely on them for this. That is the real reason I push for perfect pictures. I don’t refrain from yelling at my kids during picture time because I want the most beautiful picture ever; it’s because I am afraid that if I don’t get that picture, then I won’t have something to look at when I need it most. I yell at them because of me, because of my insecurities, not because of them and their inability to sit still longer than children their age should.

The Orange Rhino Challenge and all the trigger digging I did helped me to see the real reason I yelled. And by default, it helped me let go and chill out during picture time. Now when I find myself struggling to not yell at my kids when I desperately want a picture, I say to myself,

Thanksgiving Quote“Hey, just relax. You’ll get what you get. Don’t push it or you won’t get a thing expect crying kids, an upset you, and therefore a bad picture and a more upset you. It’s not worth it! (Yelling doesn’t work, it just makes things worse!) Remember, it’s not them you are frustrated with; it’s you. They are doing fine, you are causing the stress. Chill out. Just chill out. Remember, the goal isn’t the perfect picture. It’s enjoying the moment. Don’t ruin it by yelling.”

I can happily say that I now enjoy those special moments in my life even more than before because my plight for perfection and my instinct to yell aren’t dampening them. Do I still struggle and have to push myself to let go of perfection at times? Yes. Do I still struggle and have to push myself to “Yell Less, Love More” during trying times? Yes. I am the Orange Rhino, but I am not perfect! But I struggle a lot less and for that I will jump up and down, act like a clown, and do all sorts of crazy things to make me smile and feel good about my progress. Because of all the things I have learned on my Orange Rhino Challenge to Yell Less + L.O.V.E. More, one most definitely is this: the goal is not about perfection; it’s about progress.

And I am making progress, I am yelling less and loving more, and that is what matters to me more than perfection.

YLLMcrop2This story is from my newly released book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids­–and How You Can Too!” Part parenting guide, part memoir, part journal, her book takes you on a 30-day journey full of honest stories, alternatives to yelling and steps to follow so that you too can Yell Less. Find more about my book here: www.TheOrangeRhino.com/the-book and join The Orange Rhino Revolution at www.Facebook.com/TheOrangeRhino

{Sometimes} My S.P.D. Makes Me YELL at My Kids

Below is an excerpt from my book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” I post it here because it is an important story to share and not just because sharing it gives me more strength to cope, but also and more so because sharing it will hopefully help you gain insight into some of your kid’s (and maybe your) behaviors. My hope is that said insight will help you gain empathy for your child’s sensory-related behavior and therefore help you “Yell Less, Love More.” My other hope is that if you comment, you comment with kindness and not judgement.


I am going to let you in on a very personal struggle, one that I have only shared with a handful of people in my life because it is so embarrassing and frustrating that I have just hid it and ignored it for years. Oh, how I hoped that it would just magically disappear and that I would finally be free of the pain and shame I feel whenever the struggle rears its wicked ugly head, which is at least three or four times a day. But it never disappeared and once I started the Orange Rhino Challenge, I could no longer hide from it, or run from it. When I started tracking my triggers and gaining deeper awareness as to what made me explode, I discovered—or rather, was finally forced to admit—that this little struggle of mine wasn’t just real, but it was also a really big (like gargantuan) trigger. Yes, there was no ignoring the fact that if I wanted to stop yelling, I needed to start managing this struggle of mine STAT no matter how hard it was.

Ya’ ready for my struggle?

I have Sensory Processing Disorder, also know as S.P.D.

Um, what the heck does that mean, you ask?

Block out NoiseIt means that I have “sensory attacks,” brought on by any, or all, of my five senses being overloaded to the point where I can’t keep myself together and I go from calm(ish) to anything-but in a split second. It might come on from too much noise or too much chaos, or maybe I feel too hot or my clothes feel too tight or itchy, or maybe I taste a mushy food or smell a disgusting odor, or maybe it is a combination of all of the above that sends my body “under attack.” Sometimes the attacks come completely out of the blue; sometimes I sense they are coming. Either way, I respond in what feels to be a very irrational, very over-the-top way. It can take thirty minutes to an entire day to feel calm again and in control of my body (and it takes a lot longer to forget the embarrassment and disgrace I feel for losing it).

During a “sensory attack,” I literally feel the physical desire to lose it in a rather aggressive manner. I feel like the inside of my body is on fire, that my body is trying to burn my skin so that it can get out and escape. I feel like I want to run away at full speed and keep running until I cool down, until my heart stops beating so hard my chest hurts, until my skin stops itching so much that I want to tear it off, until the intensity that overwhelmed me stops. My body, my mind, and my soul want to flee the intense physical response and displeasure they feel from the sensory attack, but they can’t.

I feel trapped and that’s because I am trapped, trapped at the mercy of the “sensory attack,” and all I can do once an attack has hit is to wait it out. And since I can’t flee the pain or the frustration, I fight. I fight my body by throwing things. I fight my body by crying. I have even fought my body by pulling my hair, by hitting my head. And I fight by yelling.

a text block-19I would love to write that my children have never witnessed one of my attacks, that they never saw me shove my dinner plate across the table and then refuse to eat because my Italian sausage was just the wrong texture at the wrong time. I would love to write that my boys never saw me tear a brand-new (and very fashionable and cool!) scarf off from around my neck and throw it in the garbage while yelling, “I hate clothes. Hate them, hate them, hate them! Nothing every feels right!” I would love to write that they never watched me go berserk when my husband turned on a sports radio show to catch “the big game” and all the scratchy noise of the poor reception made me start screaming at him uncontrollably to turn it off before I exploded. Yeah, I would love to say they have never witnessed any of the above, but that would be a lie.

And I would love, even more so, to write that my children were never the targets of one of my sensory attacks, but that would also be a lie. The bad news is that they have indeed been on the receiving end of one of my sensory moments, but the good news (okay, better than bad news) is that at least it was yelling and not worse. Oh, oh, how I have screamed bloody murder at them when my body just couldn’t handle another noise, no matter how discreet or unintentional.

I have yelled, “Back up now, or else!” when my kids innocently chewed popcorn near me, not next to me, but just near me, and with their mouths open so that I could hear every crunch.

I have yelled, “Be quiet NOW, it is just too much! I can’t stand it. I am going to leave!” when all my boys are talking at once and getting louder and louder so that they can each be heard over each other.

I have yelled, “Okay, enough of the hugging! I don’t want to be touched anymore! Get off of me!” Yeah, that was an awful thing to say, and worse, I have said it a lot.

And I have yelled at myself after the fact, “Get a grip! All you want is for your kids to be quiet and not overly playful because you can’t handle noise and chaos. Then why did you have kids?! And four of them?! All you do is constantly squash their joy and enthusiasm just because mommy can’t handle it. Seriously?” I have tried so hard my entire life to keep my S.P.D. under control and hidden. And when I became a mom, I did learn to control it better because there is nothing I wanted more than to love my kids and not unleash my wrath on them. And I did keep it under control many moments. But yes, there were moments that I didn’t, and those left me beyond humiliated, beyond discouraged, beyond heartbroken. What kind of example was I setting?!

But the good news, yes, the really good news, is that the Orange Rhino Challenge forced me to finally manage my S.P.D. My S.P.D. no longer causes me to Y.E.L.L.—yell exceptionally long and loud—because tracking my triggers increased my awareness and forced me to figure out how to manage this really big trigger.And luckily for me, at the same time that I became aware of and accepted my S.P.D. as a trigger, one of my sons started some occupational therapy for his own struggles with S.P.D. Everything he learned, everything he told me, and every exercise we did together to “help him” actually helped me learn how to manage my own S.P.D.

Tip #2I learned to do push-ups when I felt an attack coming on.

I learned to put earmuffs on when the noise overwhelmed me.

I learned to pull my fingers gently to calm down.

I learned to eat crunchy foods like apples to organize my mind when it felt fried.

I learned to take deep breaths, even though I hated to, big-time.

I learned to prioritize sleep because it is key to regulating my mood.

In fact, all these little tricks worked so well to help me cool down and prevent and put out sensory attacks that I decided to try them to help me cool down and prevent and put out yelling attacks as well. Well, wouldn’t you know … my S.P.D. tricks work great on Y.E.L.L. attacks too!

Looking back, learning to manage my S.P.D. has been a heck of a lot easier than I expected. Have I been able to make it completely disappear, as I have dreamed of for years? No, I am just the Orange Rhino, not a fairy godmother! But, but, in finally having a more complete awareness of the depth of the problem, I was able to start actually managing it to the point where it is no longer as major an issue, which let me tell you, is nothing short of awesome.Not only am I not yelling at my kids unnecessarily, but also I am much more able to model how to control emotions and calm down. This helps me sleep way better at night.


 YLLMcrop2“Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” is a 30-Day Guide complete with 100 Alternatives to Yelling, Simple Steps to Follow, and Honest Stories to Inspire you on your own journey. It is available for sale now at all favorite on-line retailers and in select stores. Click here to order from your favorite site.

“Yell Less, Love More” A Non-Judgemental, Loving, Motivational and Humorous Parenting Book

Release Day Photo!Thank you to everyone who has read my book and shared such touching and glowing reviews. It means the world to me! If you would like to get your own copy of the book so you can share your review, you can order it anywhere online. Top places are listed here: www.TheOrangeRhino.com/the-book

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Hands Free Mama

Source: Hands Free Mama

“Yell Less, Love More yanks the cover of shame off yelling in a way that I have never experienced before. Through powerfully honest anecdotes from her personal journey, Sheila McCraith empowers, inspires, and heals the person holding this book. With every turn of the page, you are reminded that you are not alone, and there is hope. Yell Less, Love More will help you choose a more peaceful response in times of stress and overwhelm, but it doesn’t end there. This book will enhance every aspect of your life by enriching your relationships, your health, and your happiness. This book is a life-changing gift.”
– Rachel Macy Stafford
New York Times Best-selling Author of Hands Free Mama

 

 

Source: www.ahaparenting.com

Source: AHA! Parenting

“If you want to stop yelling at your kids, this is the book for you. There’s a reason parents flock to read the Orange Rhino online – she helps us feel better about ourselves as parents when we blow it entirely – and who doesn’t, sometimes? She inspires us to dig deep and try again. But as delightful as this book is to read, it isn’t just a feel-good book. It’s a full-blown program to stop yelling, complete with day-by-day action steps, revelations, and original, powerful tips. Yelling is a hard habit to break, and we have to work on ourselves as well as change how we interact with our children. As you follow this program, you’ll be able to feel your brain rewiring. And in a few months, you’ll look back and realize you can’t remember the last time you yelled. Well-organized, motivational, funny, supportive, and EFFECTIVE!”
– Dr. Laura Markham, www.ahaparenting.com

 

She Just Glows Janie“In it, she makes some pretty dark confessions (like that she once dented her wall in a sippy-cup-throwing rage), and by 20 pages in, you trust her completely. She is you. She is a loving yet flawed, passionate yet frustrated, authentic yet human mother who’s trying as hard as she can to show grace to her children, even on the days when she really just wants to scream in their face. By the end of the book, her brave confessions about real-life mommyhood, paired with her accessible, no-yell application points at the end of each chapter, accumulate to make you feel that it’s possible for you to get through the next hour without yelling at your kids. And then, who knows, maybe the whole day, week, month and year.”
– Janie from www.SheJustGlows.com

 

trueparentingredcrop“Sheila from Orange Rhino has a fabulous way of helping readers feel safe and capable of reaching their goal of not yelling. She invites you into her story, gently takes you by the hand and shows you the way to overcome your compulsive outbursts. She doesn’t scold you or demand that you change overnight. Rather, she explains she is right there with you experiencing victories and setbacks. Her stories share the new found joys that come from a life without the yelling. Her determination to get up again and again helps you realize you are not alone in your struggle against yelling.”
– Andy from www.TRUparenting.net

 

“This book is a lifeline to regain hold of your sanity and help you stop yelling at your children. With Sheila’s practical and doable ideas you can uncover the calm and caring parent you always hoped you’d be. She doesn’t make you feel guilty; she empowers you and shows you how anyone can start from today and truly Yell Less and Love More.”
– Alissa Marquess, founder/editor of CreativeWithKids.com

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.01.05 PMYell Less, Love More is a quick-witted and lighthearted read written by a mom who has been there and isn’t afraid to bare all, from her fist-pumping wins to her most embarrassing lows. Sheila doesn’t sugarcoat or finger-wag, she walks with you. I finished the book with an overwhelming feeling that I can do this; I can yell less and show my kids that love is what I have for them. This book is how we’re all going to get there – sanity, humor, and heart all intact.”
– Galit Breen, blogger, writer, mama of three, and converted yeller

 

“I loved every word of this book. Sheila’s advice is honest, humorous, and most important, effective! As a clinical social worker and a mother of two young daughters, I highly recommend Yell Less, Love Moreboth personally and professionally.”
– Carla Naumburg, Ph.D., author of Parenting in the Present Moment

 

Honest Parenthood JessicaUnlike how I feel reading most other parenting books, Yell Less, Love More felt like spending time with a friend who is both compassionate and courageous.”
– Dr. Jessica from www.HonestParenthood.com

 

“You’ll find yourself in these pages. The honesty and self-revelations that Sheila shares are genuine and authentic. She’s very brave to be so honest and she encourages you to find that strength in yourself. For me, The Orange Rhino Challenge…is like that non-judgmental friend who always says the right thing at the right time. It was so helpful for me on this journey.”
– Anna from www.TodaysMama.com

 

More than once, a poignant story she shared brought me to tears.  She mixes a touch of comedy with her endearing realness in describing her journey as the original Orange Rhino. Her story never comes across as pompous or superior, just another mom in the trenches, struggling to make it through the day. Or just breakfast.”
– Suzanne, Orange Rhino

 

JillyHeader“If you struggle like I do and are looking for a book to bring more peace into your home and your life, and to help you tackle the “yelling monster”, you have to get this book! It is one of the best books on parenting I have ever read.”
– Jillian from www.HiItsJilly.com

 

“It is like talking to Sheila in person. Like sharing those down and dirty parenting secrets with your best friend. Those secrets you would never share at book club or bible study because they make you feel that embarrassed! In Sheila’s book, Yell Less Love More, you get to take that journey with her in a safe no guilt place! This isn’t about making ourselves feel bad about what we have done, it’s about discovering ourselves and learning a new way to walk through our days with our kids, our spouses and ourselves! It is brilliant!”
– Joanne, Orange Rhino

 

“There are only positives to this book. It is set up as daily chapters of 3-4 pages each.  This is great for the busy, tired parent who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading each day. The daily tasks don’t take a lot of time, but are so very insightful.”
– Island Mama, Orange Rhino

 

“With wisdom and humor, Sheila quickly becomes an encouraging friend and mentor who gently teaches you how to manage your frustrations while building your self-confidence. You’ll have fun reading this ultimate self-help book and will find yourself turning to it for love, support, and guidance when you fear you may be losing ground.
– Laura Deutsch, co-founder of Mommybites (mommybites.com)

 

“An inspiring and realistic program for the busy parent who wants to ‘Yell Less, Love More.”
– Melissa, Orange Rhino 

 

10342427_10152165808335028_5885805031878323622_n“She shares honest moments from her failures to stop yelling, making me feel like I’m not alone in occasionally having a mommy meltdown.”
– Shell from www.ThingsICan’tSay.com

 

 

Umbrella Tree Amy“Sheila isn’t a parenting ‘expert’ any more than the next mom. Yes, she has 4 boys, which alone makes her highly qualified to write on the topic. But she doesn’t write as an expert and the book never seems ‘judgey.’ It’s real.”
– Amy from www.UmbrellaTreeCafe.com

 

“Yell Less, Love More” is loaded with so many tips and ideas that can be adapted to fit any family.”
– Carrie, a fellow Orange Rhino
“The Orange Rhino’s (a.k.a. Sheila McCraith’s) parenting guide and memoir, Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids – and How You Can Too!, shares more touching personal stories from her journey to stop yelling as well as manageable actions, practical tips, and genuine, loving support so that you too can succeed on your own journey to yell less.”
– Huffington Post
“An absolute MUST read for all parents. Sheila’s friendly, honest voice is like a dear friend helping you through and cheering you on!” 
– Melissa Kaye, co-founder of Mommy Business (mommybusiness.net) 

“What a blessing! Her story of her ‘need to change’ moment is one that was easy to relate to in that ‘I’ve been right there’ kinda way.”
– Kelly of www.AMothersDesign.com

Yelling: The Unspoken Shame Among Parents

 

TORC_logo_blogTour3-2This guest post is part of the “Yell Less, Love More” Blog Book Tour! Thank you Suzanne for so bravely sharing your story and sharing an important message that Yelling Less isn’t just about having a better relationship with your kids, but also about having a better relationship with life in general!

I have always been hot tempered. I was the kid who threw my toys, the teenager with the dramatic outbursts, but by the time I graduated from college, I had control of myself. Or so I thought. When I first became a mother, it seemed like I totally had a handle on this mothering business. Pinterest had nothing on me! I was going to be a great mom! And then reality set in, about the time my first started walking and I became pregnant again. Oh, I learned some humility from toddlerhood!

So I realized I was not the perfect mom, by any stretch of the imagination. I was actually a mean mom. I yelled at my kids, and I hated myself for it, hated what it did to my boys, but I couldn’t seem to stop. Yet I knew I had to stop. For my boys. Because I am modeling behavior for them, and teaching them how to handle anger and frustration. I want to raise good, kind men. I want them to be better than me.

I started searching the internet late one night and happened upon the Orange Rhino Blog. Eureka! I found I was not alone with my burden or newfound goals. I dabbled in the Orange Rhino community and followed her on Facebook, but I had never fully immersed myself in all it means to be an Orange Rhino. I picked up bits and pieces of advice, but I’m one of those girls that need something tangible in hand. [pullquote]So I realized I was not the perfect mom, by any stretch of the imagination. I was actually a mean mom. I yelled at my kids, and I hated myself for it, hated what it did to my boys, but I couldn’t seem to stop.[/pullquote] One morning over (cold) coffee, I saw that she was extending the offer of doing a book review to all moms-not just those with blogs! I immediately reached out to Sheila, and I was randomly selected for the opportunity to read her book, “Yell Less, Love More,” before it was published! I couldn’t believe it! As soon as my book arrived, I literally tore open the package and began to read.

Sheila has a gift for writing that is so easy and open-it feels like talking with someone you know and could trust. She opens up with her own heartbreaking struggles, and it deeply touched me in so many meaningful ways. More than once, a poignant story she shared brought me to tears.   She mixes a touch of comedy with her endearing realness in describing her journey as the original Orange Rhino. Her story never comes across as pompous or superior, just another mom in the trenches, struggling to make it through the day. Or just breakfast.

Sheila’s book, “Yell Less, Love More,” is broken down into 30 easy to read sections, so you can take it day by day with your morning coffee or in huge swaths when you have the time. Each chapter has a relatable story, tips, actions to help you on your way, and inspiring quotes that embody the Orange Rhino goal. She includes a “Yelling Meter” to help you define what exacts constitutes yelling-from the nasty voice to yelling in an emergency.

The chapter on tracking triggers is the one that makes you take a long, ugly look at yourself to determine what it is that makes YOU yell-whether it’s a cluttered house or being hungry-which is painful and strangely cathartic. Because once you are aware of your triggers, you can work on managing or controlling them. [pullquote]Because once you are aware of your triggers, you can work on managing or controlling them. [/pullquote] There are even tracking sheets provided in the back of the book to help you get started. Realizing YOU are the problem (and not your kids being kids!) is a tough to stomach, yet necessary.

Each day has some clever advice in the “Today’s Tips”, like changing your password to reflect your goal-“yelllesslovemore”- and meaningful tips that actually work, like posting inspiring quotes (on orange sticky notes) or posting pictures of your children as babies around the house, which was perfect for me since I’m a very visual person. The book is filled with advice that will appeal to a wide range of personalities-it is definitely not a one size fits all approach, and she encourages you to find solutions that will work for you (I found that jumping in the kiddie pool was a perfect way to cool off and stop a yell!) It’s not the type of book you never want to open again once you have finished, and I’ve actually gone back and reread some of the chapters or flipped through for the tips for desperately needed ideas.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sheila’s book, “Yell Less, Love More,” to anyone struggling to stop the yelling. It seems yelling is the unspoken shame among many parents, and whenever I open up to other moms, my confession is always met with great relief that they are not alone. I definitely needed help to stop yelling at my kids, which is not something I’m proud of, but I am proud to be making a change, and this book has been instrumental in helping me implement that change. And it’s not just about stopping yelling, it’s about changing your whole outlook on life-and loving more.

November 1st BC ImagePre-order “Yell Less, Love More” by clicking here!

Curious in getting daily support from The Orange Rhino and a loving community? Join the “Yell Less, Love More 30-Day Challenge Book Club!” Read all about it here! 

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Thank you Suzanne for such a beautiful piece, truly!  

 

NEW DATE for “Yell Less, Love More” 30-Day Challenge Book Club

Oh the irony. Oh, oh, OH the irony.

Before I took The Orange Rhino Challenge, there were several things that triggered me to yell unnecessarily at my kids. Okay, like a lot more than several but I am going to just focus on a few here. I will leave the rest for a rainy day.

Anywho, early on my journey to go 365 days straight without yelling at my four boys, I realized that 9 out of 10 times (an unscientific statistic by the way but I am sure it is accurate) I yelled at my boys not because of their behavior, but because of my mood. Feelings of exhaustion, P.M.S., stress, hurt, embarrassment, and insecurity would linger in my body for hours on end leaving my mind unable to think as clearly, proactively and peacefully as I wanted. These negative feelings would simply overtake my mind and squash my ability to respond to my boys in a positive manner.

I would be amiss if I didn’t also mention two other big feelings that frequently got in my way of yelling less and loving more: feeling disappointed when things didn’t go as expected and feeling anxious from not knowing about how current challenges would play out.

Ah yes, my dear friends Disappointed and Anxious.

I am fairly certain these two friends of mine were the leaders of the feelings that triggered me to yell unnecessarily at my kids. They seemed to always pop up the most. Disappointed that I hadn’t lost as much weight as planned. Disappointed that I didn’t get as much done as I wanted. Disappointed that it rained during our entire beach vacation. Anxious about my son’s health and which doctor to select. Anxious about how fast my husband and I would make up from that morning’s fight. Anxious about whether or not I would fit in with all the new people I met in my new town. Oh Disappointed and Anxious, you sure held me back and held my relationship with my kids back. I would even gander to say that you two were definitely on the top of my “triggers” list.

Thankfully, enter The Orange Rhino Challenge!

[pullquote]As soon as I learned that these two BIG emotions, as well as others, were putting me in a cranky space that made me quick to snap and yell, I forced myself to learn how to take control of them so that they would no longer take control of me![/pullquote]As soon as I learned that these two BIG emotions, as well as others, were putting me in a cranky space that made me quick to snap and yell, I forced myself to learn how to take control of them so that they would no longer take control of me! Now when one of these emotions rears it’s ugly head and my mind wants to spew out ugly and loud words at my boys, I say to myself, “Self, you aren’t angry at the kids you are disappointed at …..” Re-directing my anger to where it belongs helps me re-focus on my main goal: yelling at my kids less and loving my time with them more!

Which brings me to the main point of this post, the irony of the current situation.
The lack-of-books-being-in-your-house-as-planned-situation.
The lack-of-books-being-in-book-stores-situation.
The “Yell Less, Love More 30-Day Challenge Book Club” is-supposed-to-start-in-two-days-situation.

Well, I do regret to inform you that the books are delayed and will not be released October 15th as planned but rather on November 1st.

This is by no fault of my Publisher or anyone for that matter; it is simply something that happened beyond anyone’s control and fortunately had a non-tragic ending.

Some of you may have seen in the news that there was a horrible fire in Los Angeles at one of the ports not too long ago. Thankfully, no one was majorly injured! And thankfully, the huge order of my books was in a container on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, waiting patiently to get to me, to us, and it was also unharmed. As were many, many, many other products that were destined for Los Angeles. The fire kept the port from functioning for numerous days pushing back the arrival of every single item that was hanging out in the sea, taking in the sun, listening to the waves.

I am not going to lie, when I first heard this story and the kicker that therefore the October 15th date was in jeopardy, I wanted to yell! Oh man was I cranky! I had worked so hard to be ready for that date and I felt wicked disappointed. And I am not going to lie that I felt massively disappointed and massively anxious when I learned that even though the books did get into Los Angeles earlier than planned and even though they got really, REALLY close to making the October 15th publication date, they didn’t. I felt disappointed because I had been waiting for October 15th like a little girl waiting for Christmas and then it came and it wasn’t Christmas. And even though I know my books will arrive and I will have my “Christmas morning” feelings of “oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, it is really happening!!!” I still felt a wee bit let down last Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday. And Sunday. And today when nope, still no books!

Which of course, just left me feeling anxious. Anxious that maybe even the November 1st date won’t be met and that I will (1) further frustrate people, (2) feel more disappointed, and (3) will have to re-schedule the Book Club, again, because, yes, that is what I need – no want – to do. We’ll get to that in a moment.

So here I am waiting for my book about how to Yell Less and two of my main yelling triggers, feeling Disappointed and Anxious, are in full effect! Oh the irony! And oh the gift! Because guess what? I am feeling wicked disappointed and anxious and my ability to remain an Orange Rhino is being massively tested, but, and this is a big BUT, I have not yelled! I have not let those feelings control me; I am in control of them. I might not be in control of when my books arrive but I am control of how I choose to manage my own emotions!

November 1st BC ImageAnd I am in control of when The “Yell Less, Love More 30-Day Challenge Book Club” takes place! Which by the way, will now start on NOVEMBER 1, 2014 and go through NOVEMBER 30th.

This is where the irony of the situation gets even better. At first I was bummed to push it back but then I realized that Thanksgiving and the day after fall on the most, most, MOST perfect of days in my book. On those two days I share a Thanksgiving story (I kid you not!) and I share a story about how I keep from yelling during meal time (um Thanksgiving meal with lots of people squished around a table is a huge challenge for my boys!). The timing is actually PERFECT!

So it is all going to be okay, in fact, I am glad things worked out this way. At least now I have gained back two of the weeks I lost to my shoulder injury this fall. At least now more of you have a chance to join in what I believe is going to be an awesome experience. At least you all now can take advantage of the lower prices the online sites are offering pre publication. At least I have the chance to look forward to another date! My excited feelings of anticipation just got a two week extension. Sweet!

Ah, the power of perspective!

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we wait for my “Yell Less, Love More” books to find their way to you. I have confirmation that as of today, they have indeed made it to most of the large book sellers so all signs are looking positive that you will indeed all have your books by November 1st (assuming you live in The United States) if not sooner!

Let’s all send positive vibes to my book – and to other Authors whose books are still stuck at sea and are even more delayed than I am! Again, the power of perspective!

For more information about The Book Club, read the entire post here or read below for the highlights!

Looking forward to Yelling Less and Loving More with you!

All my best,
The Orange Rhino
a.k.a. Sheila
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Everyday in the “Yell Less, Love More Book Club” I will:

  • Do daily giveaways of items that can support you on your journey, such as Orange Rhino bracelets, keychains, stressballs, notebooks, coffee mugs, nail polish, and more!
  • Share additional inspirational quotes that reflect the book’s theme of the day.
  • Offer additional stories and details that further expand on the book’s theme of the day.
  • Answer as many questions as I possibly can! (I have no idea how big this will be!)
  • Work to help you all connect with each other and meet like-minded Orange Rhinos facing similar challenges or living in a nearby location.
  • Continue to develop other community boards that reflect the needs you all share in the book club!

Every day in the “Yell Less, Love More Book Club” you will:

  • Read posts by others that make you feel less alone and more hopeful
  • Find other Orange Rhinos that share the same yelling challenges as you, giving you more personalized information/stories to help you on your journey.
  • Build the necessary support network to succeed at learning to yell less
  • And much more I am sure!

How can you join? As all book clubs go, I will lead the days’ discussions based on the content in the book. So, understandably, you need the book to participate! My sincere hope is that the combination of the book content and the enhanced support and conversation on the community will truly help make your journey to “Yell Less, Love More” both easier and enjoyable! Ready to start your journey?

  • Email me your proof of purchase (pre-order or regular order) at YellLessLoveMore@gmail.com
  • I will reply before November 1st with a temporary code for you to use to login into the Private Community. You will then create your own password. Every day, at least once, I will add a new post to the Community. Check in throughout the day for my posts as well as comments from others!
  • The club will officially start November 1st and go through November 30th – overlapping with American Thanksgiving. This was planned! I imagine that you will be Thankful that you met new people, Grateful that you pushed yourself to change, and happy that you Discovered that you could indeed “Yell Less, Love More” (NOTE: Many sites say November 1 for the release date but I have strong reason to believe ;) that pre-orders will be arriving by November 1st! If not, we will adjust the date!!)
  • Pre-order the book today to make sure you have it by November 1st! You can find it at any one of your favorite online resources for books! Here is a list of a few: www.theorangerhino.com/the-book

 

 

I Will Never Look at the Color Orange The Same Again!

TORC_logo_blogTour3-2This guest post is part of the “Yell Less, Love More” Book Blog Tour. I am honored to have Carrie write this and impressed with her courage to share her story. Thanks Carrie!

I WILL NEVER LOOK AT THE COLOR ORANGE THE SAME WAY AGAIN!
by Carrie G.

Yelling was just a common occurrence growing up. I guess I never thought that much about it until I had children of my own. When I had my children, I told myself I would raise them differently then I was raised. I would do better in all the areas my parents struggled, like not yelling at my children. Then the stresses of daily life happen and you find yourself falling into some of those same parenting patterns. You do what you know until you know better. I have yelled at my children and afterword felt frustrated and sad. Shortly after an outburst I would apologize, but my guilty feelings would still be there. This was a part of my childhood I didn’t want my two boys to experience.

It was February 2013 when I first stumbled upon “The Orange Rhino 30 Day Challenge to Yell Less and Love More” blog. I was making my usual rounds on Pinterest and saw a bright orange rhino with little pink birds resting on it’s back. It was definitely the color of the pin that first caught my eye. After visiting the blog and reading posts about the upcoming challenge, I thought I am up for this challenge. So later that week I signed up for the 30 day challenge. The first few days of the challenge were enlightening. I was learning about myself, what triggered my yelling, and tips to help me not to yell. I started becoming mindful of these triggers and how my occasional outbursts affected my children.

The challenge was going rather well until day 22. I just lost it and yelled. I know what triggered my yelling, little sleep the night before and a lot of “kids being kids”. I can’t remember what I even yelled about, but I knew how awful I felt looking at my teary-eyed boys. It wasn’t their fault I was tired.[pullquote] I just lost it and yelled. I know what triggered my yelling, little sleep the night before and a lot of “kids being kids”. I can’t remember what I even yelled about, but I knew how awful I felt looking at my teary-eyed boys. It wasn’t their fault I was tired.[/pullquote] Later that evening, I visited The Orange Rhino blog. I wanted to say thank you to “The Orange Rhino” for her encouraging words and great ideas. I wanted to ask her if I should restart the 30 day challenge, because I felt like I failed. So I emailed her and told her about my slip and how horrible I felt. How I so badly wanted to not yell anymore. Never did I expect to see an email from “The Orange Rhino” the next day. Sheila wrote this great email to me encouraging me to keep going.
Here is a snippet of what it said:

“Please know that you are not alone and that you are doing awesome. The mere fact that you are aware and want to change is HUGE. So many people don’t ever get to that point. It takes courage. Good for you, truly. I hope today and tomorrow are going better. Take it one moment at a time, that is all we can do. You will get there because you care and are determined. I can tell.”

Her kind words and knowing that I wasn’t being judged, but instead encouraged to keep trying is why I know Sheila McCraith’s book, ” Yell Less, Love More” can help anyone. It’s a wonderful, relatable parenting book with real stories from a real mother who struggled with her own yelling issues.

What I love about McCraith’s book:

** This is a real person’s experience with honest stories that took courage to disclose to others. McCraith shares her worse moments with you and it helps you know you are not alone.

** “Yell Less, Love More” is loaded with so many tips and ideas that can be adapted to fit any family.

** I love how McCraith intertwines her stories and advice with logic and humor… We all need a little humor.

** McCraith’s book has a lot of great advice packed into a little more than 200 pages… Good for anyone short on time.

No one can predict what each day has in store. Everyday I do my best to not yell. Some days are more challenging than others. “Yell Less, Love More” has helped me tremendously and I know it can help anyone who wants to be an even better parent.

One of my favorite revelations from “Yell Less, Love More”:

“Being an Orange Rhino isn’t about perfection; it’s about yelling less and loving more, one moment at a time, so that there are more loving moments in a child’s life than angry moments, so that the scale is tipped heavily toward love.” [pullquote]Being an Orange Rhino isn’t about perfection; it’s about yelling less and loving more, one moment at a time, so that there are more loving moments in a child’s life than angry moments, so that the scale is tipped heavily toward love. ~ The Orange Rhino, “Yell Less, Love More”[/pullquote]

I think that quote says it all!

Thank you Sheila McCraith a.k.a The Orange Rhino!
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Thank you Carrie! For anyone who wants to pre-order the book so that you can participate in our “Yell Less, Love More” 30-Day Challenge Book Club (details here), you can do so here. Also, anyone who comments about this post on Facebook will be entered for a free copy of my book! 

I Had to Break the Yelling Cycle

TORC_logo_blogTour3-2

 

This guest post is part of my “Yell Less, Love More” blog book tour. In addition to several randomly selected bloggers, I randomly selected several Orange Rhinos without blogs to review my book and share their “yelling” story here. This courageous post by Joanne P., a mother to four young children, is her story about how she came to be an Orange Rhino. 

 

I Knew I Had to Break the Yelling Cycle, but Never Knew it Was Possible. Bring on The Orange Rhino!
by Joanne P.

Used with permission from Joanne P.

(c) Joanne P.

My name is Joanne and my story began many years ago…well 1980 to be exact. I was born into a very passionate family. I think passionate is the kind way to say we dealt with our emotions by yelling, slamming doors, stomping feet and getting angry. Mean things were said, not because we didn’t love each other, but because we just didn’t know any other way. My folks divorced when I was 8 years old and that didn’t help things. As I struggled to figure out what was going on when I was a kid, I continued to grow into a very independent, strong willed “I can do everything on my own”, fiery young woman. Now some of those qualities can be good, but the way I was walking through life was tough. I didn’t know how to ask for help and my first reaction to things not going “right”was to yell, say mean things and fly off the handle. I lost some friends along the way and it’s a miracle I have a good relationship with my sister now!

In 2003, I started dating my husband, Mike. By the grace of God that man stuck around even when I threw things during arguments!! Yup, I did that. Ugh! It was in this relationship that I first began my journey to calm down. I didn’t know then that I was taking the first baby steps to Yelling Less and Loving More…but it had started. Communication with my then boyfriend was key, we talked ALOT (still do)!! He asked me to marry him in 2005 and we were married in 2006! In 2007 we welcomed the first of our four kids into our lives! Little did I know then that becoming a Mom would bring up a lot of my old ways. Why was it so easy to yell at a toddler?? Why was it so easy for me to get all red faced and scare the daylights out of my son?? I didn’t know how to answer those questions in my first year of motherhood or even my second and third years.

A few more years passed and I now had two little boys. For several months I hadn’t been feeling good about the way I was reacting to my kids, I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong or what I could do, it was those closed door moments in my house when a kid wouldn’t go to nap, bedtime horrors, a toddler that wouldn’t eat or put a jacket on when it was 10 below zero outside. It was those moments that I was so quick to react, yell, and say mean things. I knew it all had to change, but didn’t know how. To be honest I can’t even remember now how I managed to stumble onto The Orange Rhino website. I have tried hard to remember, but I now know that I was just supposed to find it! In January 2013 I signed up for The Orange Rhino 30 Day Email Challenge. Who knew then that those first 30 days would change my life so dramatically!!

(c) Joanne P.

(c) Joanne P.

I worked through each day from the daily emails. Writing down all my thoughts, owning my yelling, discovering my triggers and learning what I could do to stop yells before they started! I remember thinking at the time that this challenge would make such a great book!!! How awesome would it be to reach millions of Mom’s and Dad’s and help them discover a path to Yelling Less and Loving More! Well, Sheila was already on that!!

Now we are here on the cusp of her Book launch and I have had the privilege to read and review her book for you all! What an honor!!

Here is what I love about this book first and foremost!! It is like talking to Sheila in person. Like sharing those down and dirty parenting secrets with your best friend. Those secrets you would never share at book club or bible study because they make you feel that embarrassed! In Sheila’s book, Yell Less Love More, you get to take that journey with her in a safe no guilt place! This isn’t about making ourselves feel bad about what we have done, it’s about discovering ourselves and learning a new way to walk through our days with our kids, our spouses and ourselves! It is brilliant!

Here are some of my favorite things about the book:

  • Easy to follow daily chapters! Day 1, Day 2 etc.. They are not too long and can easily be read over morning coffee or an evening glass of wine 😉
  • All the awesome quotes from the email challenge, Facebook page and new ones to help you along the way. I have always loved the inspirational quotes. I like writing them down and putting them up around the house!
  • All the personal stories from Sheila!! She has a knack for sharing her story and helping to make you feel and know that you are NOT alone!
  • Love Love Love the daily places to write things down and tips for going forward. This is a practical book, not just something you will read but a place that you can journal too! What a great way to commit to new ways of doing things and put them into practice.
  • All the things we have loved from the blog…like the Alternatives to Yelling and Triggering Tracking Sheet!! It is all there in one place! You even get your own Orange Rhino to cut out and use for signs!!
(c) Joanne P.

(c) Joanne P.

This book will not only help everyone feel like they are not alone, but it will help each of us own our past, look to the future with tips and alternatives to our struggles and lead us to a path of Yelling Less and Loving our families more! Some of the benefits I have seen in my family are not even things that I do, but how my kids deal with their relationships with each other. They have their own trigger phrases that I hear them say out loud when they are getting mad and it is unbelievable to me how I can see that by teaching myself new ways to deal with stress and yelling triggers, I am at the same time teaching my kids that too!! What a gift! We are breaking the cycle! No longer will my kids yell just because their Mom did!

In my almost two year journey, there have been great successes and major set backs. I have two more kids now than I had when I started the challenge, which means that even today I still have to work hard at being an Orange Rhino. My daughter sure knows how to push buttons and is a master at the grocery store scream!! You guys know the one I am talking about!!!

Thanks to Sheila and The Orange Rhino community I always have a place to share and learn and grow! This book and this community is all about building each other up and growing in love!

Thank you Sheila for sharing your story and helping so many of us become Orange Rhino’s! I think I can say on behalf of the whole Orange Rhino Community…..THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU, from the bottom of our HEARTS!

Now everyone…..GO BUY THIS BOOK!!! It will change your life!! You can pre-order it here!
Love ~ Joanne

 

Questions from 1st Graders

Ah, kids. Sure, they can push our buttons and push us to yell at times. But oh, oh they can also pull at our hearts and push us to a happier place with their innocent questions and answers.

Today, about 80 first graders, or 76 to be precise per the math of my first grader, pulled at my heart big time. The first graders in my son’s school are currently writing stories and when my son’s teacher announced the unit, he got all excited!

“Ms. S, my mommy wrote a story! She can tell you about it!”

So Ms. S asked me to come in and talk to the kids about the process of writing a book. Not gonna lie, the thought of talking to 80 munchkins terrified me! Kids can ask the most amazing questions – amazing in how their innocence rings so true, sometimes in comfortable ways, sometimes in not so comfortable ways. I braced myself with a bunch of big flashy posters, some orange socks and my favorite orange sweater and necklace and headed in.

It was an absolute BLAST!

I started talking and asked some questions along the way. The questions and answers were fairly telling, and probably not surprising to you. Here is the cliff notes version, not entirely accurate and probably not nearly as funny or precious when written by me as compared to spoken by a seven year old, but you’ll get the idea.

Me:   So, I am here because I wrote a book. I got the idea one day because I decided I didn’t like yelling at my kids. Yelling hurts feelings. I can’t imagine you guys yell at anyone, right? (Giggles and laughter erupt. Raising hands goes out the window!)

Them:
Oh, I do all the time.
I yell at my brother just because he always takes me toys.
I yell at my sister. She sings the song from Frozen too much.
I yell at my mom because she annoys me sometimes.

Then of course… “well, my parents yell at me” and “my parents yell at me when I yell at my sister” and “I don’t like being yelled at.”

At this point, I thought, shit, there are going to be some parents unhappy with me tonight for bringing this topic to light and opening a huge can of worms. Oops! Sincerest apologies! Moving right along.

Me:   Let’s look at the cover. A cover helps tell the reader what the book is going to be about. What do you think the book is about?

Them:
Love.
Lots and lots of LOTS of love.
Um, not yelling. Loving instead?
Do something nicer more.
What are those small words? Oh, okay, so you will give ideas.

Okay, those answers were spot on and safe. Enter a follow-up question:

Me:  So yes, I will give some ideas. What are some of your ideas on what can you do instead of yelling?

Them:
Use our nice words.
Speak quietly.
Squeeze our hands.
Ask for help.
Say, “I’m Sorry.”
Just, you know, walk away.

tip 46 squeeze dont screamLove. Way to go munchkins! See, they do listen to us…and someday they will show they listen by doing it!

I continued along and shared about the process and as soon as I wrapped up, the hands shot into the air and the questions started flooding in. Their interest in the book process (probably in any process) floored me. Then again, whenever I stop and really listen to my kids, their questions flood in and floor me as well – kids are cool like that.

Here are their insightful, spot on, and great questions – and some of my answers that I thought you would find relevant.

Why did you want to write a book?
I wanted to write the book because I wanted to share my story and hopefully make some people feel better.

Do you actually like writing?
Yes, I do! (Pause, how do I answer this to inspire this munchkin who clearly isn’t a fan of writing? Eh hem, my son!) Writing is like a puzzle sometimes. You have to find the right words to go together which is fun! And then sometimes, writing makes me feel better, you know, it’s like keeping a journal. Writing is way better than yelling when angry! Sometimes I get what’s called “writer’s block” or I don’t know how to spell a word and I get frustrated, but that’s okay. I know I’ll figure it out!

How can they print the book in another country if we live here and speak another language?
(Loved this. So sweet. Especially in the Internet age where these kids use devices all the time and email comes to mind before writing a real letter!)

Did you write the names of anyone on the inside, you know, like the first page?(Trying to understand until I got it…) Oh, you mean, like a dedication? Yes, I dedicated the book to my four boys because without them, without their love and support, I wouldn’t have become an Orange Rhino.

How will you feel if lots of people buy your book?
Very excited and proud – it feels great to work hard on something and complete it! Right? Like when you get a star on your math sheets!

(and the doozer…)

How will you feel if no one buys your book?
Wow. Great question. I probably would feel sad at first and disappointed. It is hard to work on something a lot and have it not succeed. Right? Like maybe you work hard at a soccer game, and you lose? But here’s the thing. No matter what, I’ll feel proud that I did it – that I worked hard and did my best.

How long did it take, like, how many minutes did it take to write the book?
(I love how they think in minutes, not hours or even days or weeks. Interesting perspective…great reminder to me to focus more on the minute, the moment.)

Are you going to make a lot of money?
(Laughing…) No, probably not. But I didn’t do it for the money. I did it because it made me happy to write and to know my story might make someone feel a little bit better.

Do you have to buy your own book?
(Again, laughing) Nope. I get a few copies!

Why did you choose an Orange Rhino as your, what’s it called, logo?
Well…here is a funny, gross story. But you can’t do this at home or ever, promise? One day my son yelled at me. I said to him, “If mommy can’t yell, what does that mean for you?” He said, “I can’t yell, but I can still pick my nose!” That night I looked up nose and it comes from the word Rhino. Then I looked up Rhinos and they are naturally calm animals that charge when provoked. I don’t want to be a gray, charging Rhino. I want to be an Orange Rhino – orange is a warm, cheerful, loving type color. So I want to be warm and calm.

Why are there four birds? Oh, because you have four kids.
Yes, and because rhinos and birds have a special relationship. The birds eat the bugs off the rhino’s back. This fills the birds bellies and helps the rhinos at the same time to not get angry at the bugs. So they help each other other; they have each other’s back! A family is like that!

Where can my mom buy the book?
(Oh boy…my sincerest apologies to that mom for stoking this fire!) She can buy it online if she wants sweetie. But you know what, I bet she is trying really hard already to yell less because she loves you.

Can I read it to my sister?
Go for it!

Can dads buy the book?
Yes! Anyone can!

Have you started your second book? (Gotta love the ambition!)
Oh my gosh, not yet! I have to wait and see how this does. But if I do, maybe the next one will be a children’s book about a character names Owen The Orange Rhino and how he is trying to figure out how to yell less and love more!

And the winner…

Do you yell?
(Said so innocently and without fear. Love it.) Sometimes I have, yep. I am not perfect. We all make mistakes sometimes and that is okay. If I make a mistake, I make sure to apologize, just try harder the next time, and to forgive myself.

And on that note, if you yelled today, forgive yourself. If there is one thing I came to really embrace more than even while writing my book, it’s that the goal isn’t perfection. Perfection isn’t going to happen. The goal is progress and more loving moments, or as kids say, minutes, along the way. And if there is one thing I came to really embrace more than ever today, it’s that our kids are interested. I asked my kids to help support me on my journey to yell less – to call me out when they thought I was going to yell, to do a silly dance with me when I needed to let steam off, to give me some quiet time to calm down. I mean it when I say I wouldn’t have made it without them. Don’t be afraid to include your kids in your journey. They might just amaze you…somehow kids always do. When we let them. And hey, in the process you might just amaze yourself.

Finally, Free From the Mucky Muck!

I have had a mantra in my head for a while now: 2013, Take a Hike, 2014, Bring It!

I know. It’s March 18th, 2014 and not 11:59 on New Year’s Eve 2013. So what the heck is up with just sharing this mantra? Am I late to the game in sharing New Year’s Resolutions? Nope. I already did that here where I wrote about re-focusing on Yelling Less and Loving More again, because really, it is a journey and not a destination! Am I late to the game in reflecting on 2013 and my feelings for it? Nope. I have done that for most of 2013! So why the sudden reference to it then?

Well, because until today, I haven’t had the positive energy to officially tell 2013 to take a hike and 2014 to bring it (even though everyone in close proximity to me knows I have wanted to!) I just haven’t believed that 2014 would be a better year! You see, while 2013 brought lots of wonderful, wonderful things my way, it also brought a lot of strife my way every time I turned around (or so it felt.) There was this post about my son’s seizures, this post about marriage, and this post about depression. And I am yet to write about the real negative impact my broken foot had on me this fall or about the day my son fell, hit his head and was rushed to the Head Trauma center.

I no longer wanted my cast to push me to snap from frustration. So I wrote myself a BIG reminder to keep it together. After this, my boys colored all around it. My beautiful cast ever!

I no longer wanted my cast to push me to snap from frustration. So I wrote myself a BIG reminder to keep it together. After this, my boys colored all around it. My most beautiful cast ever!

Yes, 2013 was filled with a lot of yuck. I have never been so thrilled to kiss a year goodbye, as I was this past New Year’s Eve! And I have never been so excited to start a new year, to start fresh; to create new, more positive memories that don’t necessarily erase the past ones, but definitely help the yucky ones not be so dominant and present in my mind.

These last few months I have really tried to focus on being positive, on being grateful. And not just because I know those two mentalities help me to not yell per my “New Year’s Resolution,” but because that is the place I want to be! I have tried to pull out of the muck from 2013 that held me down, that held me back from laughing and living as fully as I wanted, but as life goes sometimes, despite my best efforts, 2014 pretty much started off a lot like 2013, making it hard, not impossible, to choose to be in a good place more often than not! Booo!

And then, today happened. Today I felt that positivity and gratefulness at such an immense level that well, quite frankly, I had the best day of 2014 yet!

Today, and last night, you all bestowed such love, enthusiasm and support upon me around the announcement of my book that for the first time in a while, I could feel my feet lifting from the mucky muck. Today I finally felt that  2014 was bringing it – just as I hoped and so very much craved! Today, my heart yelled a lot less and loved a lot more. A lot, lot more. Because of you. And I am crying as I write this because I am just not sure you understand the depths of my appreciation and sincere, utter gratitude to you for taking to time to write such kind words to me about the upcoming release of my book.

I have written before that The Orange Rhino Community is an amazing place and that my folks, is an understatement! It is so rare to find a place free of judgment and full of such love and support for strangers. It is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I love being an Orange Rhino and being part of this amazing movement of parents and I truly hope that the rest of 2014 gives me ample opportunities to meet all of you so that I can say thank you in person for helping to make this Community what it is; for helping to make me who I am; for helping to make me believe that 2014 will bring good things!!

And on that note, I am going to sign off and absorb all the gratitude and love I feel so that if 2014 dares to act like 2013, I have a positive memory to recall quick and easily before any mucky muck tries to pull me down! (Sorry for the “Bob the Builder” television show reference there, when you have watched it for 6 years straight, it is on your mind all the time, even more so than negative memories. Ha! Bob the Builder, can we fix it. Bob the Builder yes we can. You all are totally helping me to fix the path of my 2014 – thank you, again!)

All my best,
The Orange Rhino