Introducing Resetology

standard August 29, 2014 Leave a response

Just over a year ago I met a potential client for a quick lunch in downtown Palo Alto. The cafe, a tiny place well populated by your usual brand of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, was crammed, so we jammed ourselves between a guy working on a laptop and a wall.

In no time at all the potential client and I hit it off (and ultimately became friends, but that’s a whole other story) and our conversation grew animated as we got excited about our conversation topic. The guy next to us seemed totally oblivious to our laughter and chatter. He was really focused on what he was reading, only taking breakst for quick bursts of laughter or mumbled “oh, but of course!” and “that’s so smart!” or “I should have seen that!” punctuated by rapid fire bursts of typing.

Being a nosy Nelly, it didn’t take all that long for me to turn to him and comment on how much he appeared to be enjoying what he was reading.

Turns out he was reading his publisher’s edits on his book. On parenting.

I had just turned in my own book to my publisher. And I’m quite well versed on the whole connecting with parents thing.

Don’t you just love it when things just fall into place?

We spent the rest of our meeting time talking about parenting and book writing and promoting, and bloggers, and moms, and a million other things pertaining to the whole publishing thing. And of course, before we all said our goodbyes we exchanged emails so we could meet again.

That man’s name was Jim House, and his book, Resetology; Calming and Connecting Secrets from the Principal’s Office, finally came out today. There’s even a section in it written by me!

Resetology Image 195x300 Introducing Resetology

Want to know a bit more about Jim and Resetology? Keep reading! I interviewed Jim for you guys.

So, what exactly is Resetology?

Resetology™ makes life easier for busy parents by equipping them with the confidence and ability to quickly calm kids, transform irritating moods, and connect in fun ways you’ve always longed to.

All of the parents I’ve trained are good parents  (it’s only good parents who seek out additional parenting resources) and still they all confess that there are plenty of frustrating interactions that happen on a daily basis.

The short-term goal is to strip the emotion from the scene. While that’s a powerful skill to have, long-term goals are more important. As parents, we teach our kids to clean their room, to do their homework, and to use a knife without cutting themselves – things we think are important for their future success in life. But how often do we teach them skills to manage their own emotions and moods?

Finally, Resetology shows you how to build the connected relationships that become a legacy that you hand down to your kids and grandkids.

OK. That sounds great, but, what’s the background on Resetology™? Where did it come from?

I struggled as a first-year teacher and almost failed. My instruction was solid, but my classroom management skills needed work. I was a new teacher so I definitely need some coaching, but my supervisor went extreme. I was led to have students fill out stacks of worksheets all day long so they wouldn’t have time to misbehave. It was killing the students and frankly it was killing me, too. That was not what I expected teaching was going to be like. I knew there had to be a way to manage students’ behavior and attention in a way that was more engaging for them and less painful for me.

Two years later I was teaching the new techniques that I developed to all of the new teachers in the district. Then later as a principal I adapted these techniques, which became Resetology™, to use with poorly behaved kids–from stubborn honor students to gang kids who were fighting. I used these techniques with thousands of kids–kids of every disposition and in most every situation.

And now you train parents?

As a principal I spoke daily with parents who were frustrated with her children’s behaviors, so it was natural for me to share these techniques with parents. I’ve been training parents in workshops and as individual coaching clients for a few years, and my book, Resetology™: Calming And Connecting Secrets From The Principal’s Office is a natural extension of that.

Can you tell us a little more about what you teach in Resetology?

Using the simple metaphor of a cookie recipe you can first learn how emotions work. Then you’ll learn how easily you can get your child, or yourself, to change their emotion. And finally you learn the powerful ways to build strong connections–especially after those times when you lose it. It’s going to happen, but Resetology™ has a specific four-step process you will use to repair and restore your relationship and reconnect.

Sweet! One of the chapter is “Pssst . . . Your Kid’s a Navy SEAL.” Can you tell us about that?

This is a fun chapter in which I reveal the three things that are always going on in your kid’s head. First, your kids are Navy SEALs of reconnaissance and observation. Like the real SEALs, your kids are watching everything you do, and they’re remembering. Second, in most every situation where they interact with you, your kids have already internalized a predictable range of responses to expect from you. This is what I expect from mom on a good day, and this is what she’ll do on a bad day. Same for dad. And third, they are certain that they can outsmart you.

Once you realize these things are always going on inside your kid’s head, you can use that to your advantage. That’s where The Reset™ and Resetting comes in.

Wait. What’s Resetting?

The majority of frustrating situations that parents deal with involve low intensity emotions—not doing their homework or chores, picking on their brother or sister, or ignoring mom and dad. Resetting will give you the power to manage these situations in brand new ways.

But there can be times when the emotional intensity is very high and you enter the red zone– either your child or both of you.  In the book I teach a technique I call the Dimmer Switch, which is the same technique I used to transform big angry eighth graders who had just been a fist fight and were were escorted to my office. They would sit down trying to rip the armrests off of the chair, and two minutes later I was having a calm rational conversation with the student about their behavior and the consequences.

Sounds like there’s definitely food for thought there! How did you come to be creating Resetology at this time? 

At first I set out to write this book for other principals. But after many conversations about the book in which parents became intensely curious–grilling me with a litany of questions like, “How did you do that?” and “What did you do after he did that?” and “What would you do if . . .?” and finally, “Do you realize that there’s nothing like this out there?”–I began to understand that the greater need was amongst parents and families.
So I scheduled a free workshop to see how parents would accept and apply these techniques that had worked thousands of times for me. I didn’t have to wait very long for my answer because the first parent testimonial showed up the very next day in my inbox.
I’ve now been training parents in seminars and as coaching clients for almost three years. The book itself has been many years in the making. The longer I do this, the more clearly I see just how desperately these techniques are needed in this radically disconnected world we live in.
So much awesome! Last question! Who exactly is Jim House, the man behind the book?
I’m a speaker, the author of Resetology™ – Calming and Connecting Secrets From The Principal’s Office, and creator of The Reset™ Academy. I’ve been principal of several elementary schools, and a middle-school assistant principal in gang-riddled neighborhoods. I was a teacher in an affluent district. I love lots of things–most of all, I love people and helping families build even stronger connections. To me there are no strangers. I love ringing chords in really good barbershop quartets; I love wonderful wines; I love playing with gravity on skis; I love canoeing, kayaking and crunching volleyballs; I love things all sweet, which of course includes milkshakes and pop tarts (and I know the address to Extraordinary Desserts). And many former students and a couple of teachers used to call me “Senor Casa”–I loved that, too.


Resetology Sale Image 300x94 Introducing Resetology



Today Only! Don’t miss out!

standard August 24, 2014 Leave a response

Around here it has already been smelling like new backpacks and freshly sharpened pencils for a few days, signifying, without a shred of doubt, that our summer vacation is sadly over.

Even though we’re heading into yet another heat wave, I’m already lamenting our lazy summer days and all the poolside fun we’ve been having.

If, like me, you’re already mourning the dog days of summer, well, then do I have a treat for you! This weekend, the Kindle version of Aloha Also Means Goodbye is on sale for all of $0.99.

It’s the perfect last minute “vacation” escape. All the fun of a beach adventure without a hint of sunburn! It doesn’t get better than that!

Prefer good ol’ paperbacks? Good news! That’s available too!

Tell your friends, your mom, your dentist, your dog walker, your favorite barista, the lady who does your dry cleaning, heck, even the school crossing guard. I’m willing to bet they all want to extend the summer a bit too.

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A Magical Family Vacation Aboard the Carnival Inspiration

standard August 21, 2014 3 responses

It seems fitting that hours after dropping off the kids at school for their first day that I should sit at my desk (missing them a bit, I have to admit) and write up the second part of our vacation.

The morning after our day with the Mouse and the Magic we lazed about before packing up to head for the cruise ship terminal an hour away.

As I’ve mentioned before, going on a cruise was a very last minute decision on my part. It was that or heading to a rental on a lake. Even as we headed to Long Beach I still wasn’t 100% sure that I’d made the right choice. I did worry a bit that the kids might be sea sick and that we’d bitterly regret being on the open seas.

Lucky for me, my kids have stomachs of steel like their mama!

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We started having fun even before we got on board. Excitement was high!

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We got on board on the early side, giving us plenty of time to explore the ship and grab some lunch poolside. It didn’t take long for the kids to grasp just how much fun was awaiting them.

Like… water slides?

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Or mini-golf?

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We had booked an inside state room, just big enough for the four of us and our stuff, but Carnival graciously upgraded us to a balcony suite which we took no time at all to get used to*. (It wasn’t hard… at all.)

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Not as fun as bunk beds, but quite cozy nonetheless.

As soon as the kids were settled in for the night, I stepped out onto the balcony to put my new camera through its paces. I dearly loved my Nikon D40… but it was no match for the dark. The D3200 allowed me to play, play, and then play some more. Low light? Who cares!

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Bright light? Doesn’t stop the camera either. Also, waking up to this every morning? I could live with that!

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We woke up the next morning at our first port of call – Catalina Island, which I’d never been to, but had heard much about. We took our sweet time having breakfast on board and discussing our day on the island. As we talked, Little L grew more and more agitated. I brushed it off, until I realized that she was anxious about taking the small boats that were ferrying people from the big ship to shore.

My gut reaction was to tell her to suck it up and to force her to come with us. And then I realized I didn’t have to. Instead, I asked her if she wanted to spend the day at Camp Carnival.

She was quick to agree and instantly her grumps vanished. M, on the other hand, was skeptical, worrying about the family component of our family vacation vanishing into thin air. I prevailed. The thought of not having to jolly a cranky 7-year-old along all day sounded perfectly amazing.

See? Smiles all around!
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Catalina Island was utterly adorable. I could have spent a whole vacation right there, walking around the beachy downtown, having coffee in quaint coffee shops, taking in all the sights.

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After a bit of walking around, M and C decided they really wanted to go kayaking. I got them settled in their little boat and, with a bit of a skip in my step, headed out for an hour long walk with my camera.

Who says family vacation means you all have to be together ALL the time?

Before we knew it, it was time to get back on board. I joined all the other people busy snapping shots of our boat.

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Our second night on board was just as fun as the first, with some added treats. Mmm chocolate and strawberries…

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And new friends!
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On our second morning I woke up as we were slowly making our way into Ensenada. I snuck out onto the balcony, making sure not to rouse my slumbering family, and put my camera to work again.

I wanted to love Ensenada. I really did. But it was a little… sad… unfinished… grimy.

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We headed off the boat in the hopes of finding a cute beach town to visit and instead found ourselves in what could have been, in a more prosperous place, an industrial area. Instead of walking around as we’d planned to do, we hopped on a tour buss headed to the big local attraction, La Boufadora, a big ol’ blowhole, where all the tourists gather to watch water shoot up into the sky before heading to the open air market to haggle over keepsakes.

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I’m glad we went. I’m glad the kids got to see a bit of Mexico – though I’ll definitely be taking them back to see more of it as I think it would be a shame to have Ensenada be their only take on the whole country. But I’m also glad we had a whole day at sea after so that we could end our trip on a more positive note.

The kids ran off as early as possible to hang out with their friends at camp, leaving M and I to relax and laze the day away. Lucky us, we were also treated to a really cool behind the scenes tour of the ship. We saw all the kitchens and some of the staff areas.

Whenever I cruise I’m always mesmerized by the thought of the lives of the staff happening under the feet of all the vacationers. Seeing them in action only increased my awe.

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All in all, it was a fantabulous vacation. We all came home, happy, rested, and excitedly planning next summer’s trip.

Want to know why you should consider a Carnival Cruise for your next family trip? Stay tuned. I have a top 10 reasons why coming up soon.


*Please note: This trip was planned for a purchased by us, I was not compensated for this trip. The Carnival team went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and treated us like royalty the whole time we were on board because I had, prior to our departure, informed the PR team that we’d be sailing the Carnival Inspiration. That said, it has to be noted that the customer service team on the ship, as well as all the staff we encountered, are incredibly dedicated to their jobs and truly bend over backwards to make everyone on board have a fantastic time, whether or not they’re social media VIPs. 

Our first trip to Disneyland wasn’t the milestone I expected it to be

standard August 13, 2014 15 responses

Last week, for the first time ever, the four of us went on a vacation that didn’t involve a family event or holiday. Just us, going away, for the sole purpose of relaxing as a family.

Novel, right?

In an effort to make the trip a roaring success I might have gone a little overboard in the planning process, thinking out the week with almost military precision, worrying about every choice I made, hoping against hope that the whole trip would be such a roaring success that a summer family vacation would become an annual tradition rather than that one thing we did the summer the kids were 7 and 9.

Please note, as far as I can recall, my family went on exactly two family vacations and both were when I was a teen. My concern wasn’t born out of nothing.

First I researched the heck out of our options, toying at length with the idea of renting a cabin by a lake for the week. Then I pondered whether the girls were old enough to enjoy a cruise. The first option basically meant I’d be cooking, cleaning, and catering to the family, just in a different locale. The second option meant that someone else would be cooking, cleaning, and catering to the family all while I relaxed in a deck chair.

Guess which option won.

The cruise I picked left from Los Angeles (Long Beach really, but who’s quibbling?) on a Monday afternoon, leaving me a whole weekend to play with.

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And play with it we did!

Because what could be better than taking your kids on a four day cruise to Mexico?

A first trip to Disneyland the day before! That’s what!

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We drove down to LA on Saturday, taking our sweet time and enjoying the road trip.

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The road to L.A. is beautiful in spots.

Then, Sunday we got up at the crack of dawn and, with a little bit of trepidation, made our way to the happiest place on earth.

Why trepidation? Well, it has something to do with the reasons that caused us to wait so long to take the girls to Disneyland for the first time.

Reason one? Neither girl is very fond of characters in costume. C even has a bit of a phobia about it. Had we taken this trip any sooner, I’m pretty sure it would have ended with us having to leave the park, each carrying a hysterical child. At 7 and 9 I figured they could manage somewhat, especially after I learned that, unlike at Euro Disney, here the characters tend to stand in one spot and let the kids come to them. Much better than suddenly finding yourself walking hand in hand with Tweedle Dee instead of your best friend. (Why yes, when it happened that one time, it did startle me, making Tweedle Dum laugh rather uproariously.)

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Big Green Men. More terrifying than Little Green Men.

Reason two? We were heading to Disneyland on one of the busiest days of the year, in the middle of a heat wave. I worried it would be crazy crowded and hot.

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No shortage of people here! Or of heat…

Reason three? Until this summer, I honestly didn’t think M would have enough energy to navigate Disneyland. I mean, the man has been known to fall asleep standing up in the middle of Costco because the noise and people are so overwhelming. In that regard and knowing what he’s gone through the last three years, Disneyland seemed dauntingly overwhelming and I worried he’d have a horrible time.  I also worried that I’d be bouncing around the parks with two kids while he napped in the car or on a bench. None of which sounded appealing. Thus the trepidation.

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You can rest in line while waiting for rides as it turns out!

I needn’t have worried.

About any of it.

We arrived moments after the gates opened and, firm plan in hand about which rides we’d try to score Fast Passes for first, headed off into the park.

I have to admit I might have shed a tear or two at finally seeing my kids in an iconic place I never thought we’d see as a family.

Disneyland arrival Our first trip to Disneyland wasnt the milestone I expected it to be

We did it all. OK, almost all. In the 12 hours that we spent bouncing from Disneyland to California Adventures and back we hit most of the key rides, had two low key meals, saw a couple 3D movies, visited almost every gift shop, and had an all around blast. Yes, it was hot. Yes, there were a lot of people there. No, neither thing dampened our fun in the least.

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Flying high!

At 8pm, one last Fast Pass in hand, we debated whether to stick around another 45 minutes to ride Radiator Springs, the popular new Cars racing attraction, or to call it quits on the fun and head home.

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Look! We hugged Stanley. We can go now!

The kids, exhausted and utterly spent, begged us to leave. The husband, equally exhausted, begged us to stay. He just couldn’t get enough.

Reason prevailed and we gifted our fast passes to a family who was preparing to wait an hour and a half in line and headed out, knowing full well that this was only the first of our Disneyland trips, not the only. Next time we’ll make a real vacation of it, staying in a Disneyland Resort hotel, taking our time to savor each park and all they have to offer.

I know that Disneyland is a magical place, but I’d forgotten what it was like to see the magic in action. Watching my husband act like a kid, enjoying his day out with the actual kids, laughing, bouncing around, loving every minute of his day despite his mounting exhaustion, was more than I had ever dared hope would happen again. A lot of this summer has been about reclaiming the lives I feared we’d lost forever. Disneyland was yet another stop on the road to normalcy. A truly magical one; not half bad for a first time.

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You can see more photos of our fun day at Disneyland here.

As for the cruise we headed out on the following day? That’s a whole other story which I’ll be telling in a day or two. 


Please note: M and I were graciously granted press pass park hopper tickets to the Disneyland Resort. I paid for the children’s passes and everything else. Everything experienced and expressed is based on my thoughts and opinions and in no way dictated by Disney.