Sunday, October 3, 2010

"No" is a complete sentence

Last weekend I had the priveledge of attending the Women of Faith conference. One of the speakers shared this thought:

"No" is a complete sentence.

Yes - and if someone with a microphone says it to 9,000 plus women - then it is gospel truth.

I don't know why I feel like I must justify or explain all my "no's." After all - I really should know that fact from the wealth of parenting books that I have read.

My momma once said that when you say yes to something you don't want to do, then you are taking some one else's joy. If you were called to do that something, then you would know it, and want to say yes. Otherwise - you are not saying yes for any good reason.

Stealing is wrong - so since then, I have become much more comfortable with saying no. Trust me - no one is going to say that I stole their joy.

But, when I say no, I feel like I need to explain. "I can't help in the children's church this week because we are having car issues, and I was helping on Wednesday night, and etc. etc. etc."

Is it really helping me to say no to stuff if I am walking around feeling guilty about it? I mean someone has to hang out with those younguns in children church, and we all know that no one is going to step up and volunteer and that they are always going to be short staffed.

Happiness project commandment #2:

No is a complete sentence.

I can say no and not need to explain to you why I am not going to. Or, if I gave birth to you, then I KNOW you do not need me to explain to you that you can not have cookies at 5:00 because then you will not eat your dinner at 5:30. Go ahead and make that sad puppy dog face. I'm done feeling guilty about that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thinkergirl

I'm trying to decide what it is about sitting in front of my computer that makes me draw a mental blank. I'm sure my ADD tendencies have something to do with it - "oh look there is something in my email inbox," "think I'll just hop over to facebook for a moment and see what's new in the last 23 seconds," ..............there's something about sitting in front of my computer that is oddly relaxing but also a major time sucker for me.

I get lost in reading blogs, checking others updated statuses, or the rabbit chase that is Google. I get lost wondering what happened to my ability to think post giving birth to two children?

I want to be the kinda lady that has great follow through -starts a task and finishes it whether it is a blog entry or work or the ever demanding decluttering.

This conversation happened in my house a few weeks ago:

Xman: "Mommy - it would be really cool if we put all my super heros in a blue box, all my imaginext in a red box, and all my star wars stuff in a black box. Then, I could really keep it all organized."

Me: "Xman, that is a great idea. I've got three boxes for under your bed - why don't you start sorting them and then we can color code the outside of the boxes."

Xman: "Mommy - I'm a thinkerboy remember? I'm not a doerboy."

I'm beginning to accept that he gets his "thinkerboy" not "doerboy" from me.

Yes, I confess. I, too, am a thinker girl.



I have great ideas on how to tackle all the chores that exist around the house. I've spent hours researching organization methods to madness. I've read all the recommended books on the subject. However, I can't seem to actually implement and maintain a system.

At all.

I won't bore you with the numerous approaches to allowances, chores, behavior, goals and missions I have begun and not been able to keep up with. 

Perhaps it is because I am consistently distracted by the thinkerboy and the creatingmasterpiecesgirl.

But, being a thinkergirl has its advantages.

Being a thinkergirl makes me an avid reader. I LOVE to read. If I hear about something new on TV or in a magazine, I am quick to request further reading from my library. I know stuff. Maybe not usual stuff - but stuff.  One of my favorite aspects of being a reader is the social applications. I love to chat with the teens I tutor about what they are reading, share with friends about what books feed my heart, my mind, my soul, and my most favorite is to experience literature with my children.

Being a thinkergirl makes me open minded. While I may not agree with others religious, political, educational, etc. stances - I am fascinated to learn what people believe and why.

Being a thinkergirl keeps the "me before children" ever present. While I've grown and changed through parenthood, keeping the learner alive inside has been ever constant.

As I work on my happiness project, my first assignment is to create Twelve Personal Commandments - essentially the overarching principles that define your life (or that you want to define your life).

So, I begin with:

1 - Embrace my inner thinkergirl.

Only eleven more to go.........................

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Happiness Project

A few months ago I was clearing off the table in our kitchen. Again.

I found a stack of pages torn from magazines (my solution to not having more clutter...........tear out the pages I want, recycle the rest). I took the time (surprise!) to sit down and request all the books I had seen in magazines that I wanted to read.

Fast forward to Monday - when I picked up The Happiness Project from the library. Honestly the full title is why I requested the book:

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

 While many claim that you can't judge a book by it's cover (or title) - I will confess that I can. And do. And that title made me laugh. Because that totally sounds like something I would like to do.

Essentially the author says that "I am happy. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more. and live up to it better."

The little things that you keep you from being happy throughout the day - the tasks unfinished, the clutter not conquered, the good habits you haven't developed - all take away from your happiness. Even if you are a "generally happy" person.

Much like the author, I'm not unhappy.  In fact, I lead a fabulous life. I have the luxury of staying home with my children most of the time. I have the privilege of working a job that I love. 

I know however that there are many moments throughout my day that I don't look happy. The moments where I can't find something because our home is one large cluttered disorganized mess. The moments where I am yelling at one of the children about something be it a messy room, a misbehavior, or the status of her handwriting. The moments where I am not enjoying the moment to its fullest. Any moment where I am standing in my closet trying to decide what to wear. 

 Like the author, I did expect to outgrow these limitations. I expected that slowly as I became this great big grown up person that I would suddenly have it all together. And be happy. As happy as I could be.

 Since it's uuuuhhhh.........not happening on it's own.

Happiness Project here I come! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just Write

So, I read on a blog today that you should write every day whether you think you have something to say or not.

Looking at the last date entry here - I haven't had anything to say since June 22.

Some days it is that I don't have anything to say, other days it is that I am avoiding saying something specific. Can you get writer's block from avoiding a topic? I'm beginning to think so.

Last night I stayed up WAY too late watching Dateline NBC: The Perils of Parenting. Essentially for a full hour Dateline made parents watch how their kids reacted and what choices they made in all the scenarios that make you worry - bullying, texting while driving, letting strangers in the house, riding with a drunk driver. You know - the little things.

Throughout the entire program I was fixated on Dr. Michelle Borba "parenting expert."

Stop - Hold up - How in the hell do you become a parenting expert? Was there a class offered that I missed?

This woman even has her own website. REALLY?

Our preacher has been talking lately about how he thinks the next generation has had enough of the way things are. The status quo. The "do as I say, not as I do" type parenting of today. He feels that they are going to rise up and be the next spiritual leaders.

I hope so.

But, I really do wonder.

Don't get me wrong. I've met some good kids. I've even met some great kids. I've met kids who are going to change the world they live in. Kids are who are more Godly, more passionate, more creative and more energetic than I could ever hope to be.

But, I also have met a lot of kids who are...........not. Not fired up about anything. Not responsible for anything. Not concerned about - anything.

Maybe I'm not hanging out in the right places, but I've met more of the later than the former. 

These are the kids who let another kid bully someone right in front of them. Without ever speaking up. These are the kids who text while they drive - with no concern for me or my children's safety, not to mention their own. These are the kids who ride with a drunk driver simply because.

These are the kids that are on dateline. These are the kids that are on the news. These are the kids that shop at my Walmart, work at my McDonalds (and I use the term work very loosely), and hang out in my malls.

So, the true question is - how do we raise a kid whose Godly, passionate, energetic, fired up?

Is this the question that the ol' parenting expert can answer?

She's written some books - perhaps I should start with this one or maybe this one instead?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

That's What I Was Thinking!

From time to time I read a blog and I think "Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking."

So, here's what I'm reading today:

This blog is a must for me - for she too remembers the show Mama's Family.

So that also means, my time is pretty much saturated in all that is maternal and ridiculous.  There's no clocking out, or taking a toilet  break, or even eating something that's not room temperature, so I am waaaaay overdue for some time off.


Then I read this and remembered why being saturated is oh so necessary.

Magical childhoods don't just happen.  There is a lot of work that goes into making all those memories.  The kids remember highlights and enjoy the safety of their bubble. I maintain the bubble.

In the process of finding those two good finds today, I found that I don't enjoy reading most of the blogs in my google reader anymore.

Time for a google reader clean out. 

So - I'm wondering,

What's your favorite blog to read?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just Say Yes

 I remember growing up thinking how cool it was going to be to be a grown up. I was going to make all my own choices, do what I wanted to do, be my own boss.

 Really?

There are days that I would pay you to make all my decisions for me.

Decide if Bubbe needs more therapy - or are we really making progress? Decide if Pumpkin is happy - is she making friends? Will she ever fit in? Decide how to make the money in our checkbook pay ALL our bills - will we ever pay for gas in anything but change?

Decisions. Choices.

Please - let someone else be the grown up!

I often wonder what parenting looks like from the eyes of a child?

I realized (with in put from two certain special someones) that kids think grown ups get to tell you "no."

So, for this summer I'm going with "Just Say Yes."

Unless it is unsafe or out of budget - we are saying yes to the children's requests.

Really - why don't I say yes to building the marble tower - I can check my facebook status later, or that load of laundry can be fluffed and folded tomorrow.

I'm saying yes to dressing dolls for stroller rides.

Yes to pudding and a cupcake for dessert (pudding counts as a dairy right????).

Saying yes is...............freedom. Freedom from guilt - and let me tell you, I could use a MUCH lighter suitcase in the mommy guilt department.

Saying yes is.............fun. And fun, well............it's just plain fun.

Last night, I said yes to this - to Pumpkin reading Bubbe two books before bed.



I won't bore with you the reasons why I normally say no (let's just say typically this cute Kodak moment lasts until page 3 of the book, then mass chaos erupts and kiss calm bedtime routine goodbye), but man I am grateful I said yes.

What could be more sweet than that?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clutter

This week I am tackling my kitchen.

Our kitchen is the first room you pass through when entering our home.

Translation: Official dumping ground for all things.

Wednesday morning I gathered all things that did not belong in the kitchen and put them on the dining room table.

Voila clean kitchen?




My dining room table is now a great visual aid for my mind.

There are so many things that run through my mind during the course of the day - things to do (did I remember to schedule the kid's annual physicals? is there anything to eat for dinner?), things I want to do (like finish any project I start - such as the great kitchen clean out), things I've read (like the great facebook debate between being judgmental and having an opinion), or .............see............so many things I can't remember them all.

Clutter.

Mind clutter or house clutter - is all the same.

And apparently I'm really bad at managing both.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Birthday Continues

I've got to say that this year's birthday is the one that just keeps on giving!

The amazing thing to me is that ALL that kindness cost me about  $20 (plus gas). My goal (being budget challenged) was to find and use things we had at home - and make things. To be purposeful in our randomness. We stuffed our easter eggs with small toys we had at home (think birthday party grab bag goodies that you don't want or need). Our coloring books were made by tearing out pages in a stack of coloring books we owned (voila decluttered coloring book cabinet - and 8 brand new home made coloring books). Our baked goods were made with staples from our food pantry - bought during great grocery deals over the last few months. 

We did buy flowers, 2 boxes of cookies and silly bandz - and vases and new crayons.

For such a small cost, me (and my children) have learned so much!

For example, I have renewed faith in people. Our mailman has never been the friendliest of folks. Sure, he delivers the mail come rain or shine - but not with with much enthusiasm. Not a waver.

I came home on Tuesday from work to find this sweet note in our mailbox


Our mailman's name is Jerry.

And, we made his day. Even our grumpy mailman can have his day made with a simple box of cookies and a kind note.

How cool is that?

I giggled as my mother reported that my Aunt was calling everyone on Tuesday to try to figure out who had mailed her money (the kids and I didn't remain anonymous for too long on that one) - but I would have LOVED to see her face when she opened that envelope! 

I might have even rubbed off on the Coach as when I returned from work Monday, not only was there this yummy treat



rice krispie cake

but He vacumned the dining room floor so it would be clean under my feet when I ate that yummy treat. 

That is a random act of kindness designed for me.

I LOVE that my soon to be 8 year old is already working on her Random Acts of Kindness list for her birthday this summer. My intention was to spend my birthday utterly happy - blessing other people. Who knew that I would be amazingly blessed in return? AND - that my kids would learn that life (even on your birthday) is about what you can give, not what you can receive. 

I love that others are inspired and interested.

Remember this lady inspired me - and isn't that what life is about?


Monday, May 17, 2010

My Birthday was AWESOME!!!

My birthday was AWESOME - I promise you that this was the BEST birthday I have ever had!

So, as promised - here is a glimpse at our Random(ish) Acts of Kindness!

1 - We left our mailman a yummy box of girl scout cookies and a note thanking him for bringing us our mail!


2- At the top of our neighborhood sits Fire Station #4 - we have been fortunate enough to never need their services, but I assure you that I sleep better at night knowing how close they are. We took them a plate of home made cookies and muffins with a hand written note from Xander that said "Thank you for helping our community."



3 - About a mile from our house sits an assisted living facility that we drive past daily - we have never been in. During the last week, the kids worked hard painting rainbows on the covers of cards and writing "Have a great day" on the inside. Today, we took those cards in the facility to the desk and asked the director to hand them out to residents who might enjoy them (we had 6 cards). She was super kind to us and took us on a tour of the facility - and allowed us to visit 6 residents in their rooms and hand deliver our cards. I shed my first tears here today - the sight of my children bringing such joy to these amazing people. (oh and I did love the one male we met who said "You two are so beautiful - you definitely take after your beautiful momma" - yeah, he's definitely a hot item in the eldery circuit!)


This was one of our favorites - she just LOVED Xander - she hugged and hugged on him.


4 - Many of you are familiar with the great saga that is known as the Coach's truck. Our fourth stop we took home made muffins and cookies to the mechanics that have not charged us AT ALL for looking at his truck repeatedly and not finding anything wrong. I think they were the hungriest:)


5 - We took two vases of flowers (picked out by Xman) to the hospital. The lead volunteer was generous enough to accompany us to the section of the hospital that she thought would most enjoy our flowers. It turns out that our hospital has a "seniors unit." I shed my second tears of the day here - how sad that these lovely people are living in our hospital - many were unattended in wheelchairs, the rooms were small (hospital size) and had all their belongings in them. One of the ladies was particularly friendly and we were all impressed by how she still crochets dresses for dolls - she herself was once a volunteer, and is now a resident.

6 - While at the hospital, we left home made coloring books and crayons in the waiting areas.

7- We left change on the vending machines for others!

8, 9 and 10 - Our next stop was our church - we made a donation to the food pantry, left books for a family in need, and were excited to leave special notes for our children's pastors.

11 - Muffins and cookies to our librarians - who exclaimed "Wow - someone does love us!" and promptly starting eating:)


12 - Xman and I collected carts from parking spaces at the Walmart and took them all the way into the store.

13 - We stopped at our local toddler park and gave out presents - I will say that here we encountered our first disbeliever in our acts of kindness. For the first time, I had to explain our whole purpose for the day. They were still shouting thank you as we headed back to our car!

14 - One more park stop - the kids hid Easter eggs with prizes in them all over our favorite playground. We left an Easter bucket with a note stating "Have a egg hunt - please enjoy this random act of kindness!"

15, 16 - Stop at the Dollar tree - we made two purchases to give to others this week. The kids favorite was hiding dollars in the kid's toy section. Man, I wish we could have seen the kids that found our dollars!



17, 18, and 19 - Popped into the bookstore. We purchased a book to pass on to someone else this week. The Nana and I both read whole stories and lingered - because that's what my kids love.


I spent 15 minutes in this section with a total stranger - I became his personal shopper. At one point he actually said to me "God sent you to me to help me today and I am so grateful." (I think I am up to the 3rd time I cried?).........I got to share with him that I had prayed that just this morning that God would lead me to people who need me!

20, 21 and 22 - We treated the Nana to lunch - and she got eat somewhere she had never been before!


I gave this darling princess my birthday ice cream treat - to eat all by herself!


And, we left a gift for our waitress


23, 24, and 25 - We mailed some treats to surprise friends and family, as well as a hand written note



26 - We left diapers and wipes on a changing table in a public bathroom.


27 - We ran an errand for a family member who was busy at work


28 - We picked up trash everywhere we went (even the trash our waitress stepped over at lunch!)

29 - We smiled at EVERYONE we saw today, we said hello to everyone, and generously passed out compliments

30 - The kids passed out a pack of silly bandz today. They gave them to kids in the hospital, kids in stores, kids at the park. This was one of my favorites - We got our first silly bandz because someone was randomly generous to us - came across a restaraunt to our table and said "I don't know if you guys have these here but these are really popular where I'm from - they are FUN" and gave each of the kids one. We had never seen them before at that time!

31 - I was a friendly driver (at least I think I was - I tried!). I smiled as people took up two lanes and drove toward our car - I let others go ahead of us as we approached red lights.


32, 33 - Technically 32 and 33 didn't get delivered today - the hours of both establishments didn't fit in with our schedule - but we will finish them up this week. We have donations to two local charities that have special meanings to friends of ours. Bags are loaded in the car and WILL get delivered!

34 - I worked. I know - working only barely acts as an act of kindness. But, I NEVER work on my birthday. EVER. Even when I taught full time, I always took the day off. I had two students who both have tests/exams tomorrow - and they are important to me. Their needs are important to me. So, today I tutored two of my teens!

35 - I let a very impatient lady behind me in line at Walmart this evening get in front of me. Even though she used three coupons in the self checkout lane, and couldn't find her credit card. I smiled at her. I offered to hold her watermelon while she looked!

And that my friends  is how I spent my amazing 35th birthday.

Definitely a new tradition!

I can't tell  you how amazing it is to see the best of your children as your gift. To see the joy that my children (and me) can bring other people is a GIFT. A gift that I no longer take for granted. A gift that is a teachable moment for me - because I now will always remember the look on those strangers faces and the looks on my kids faces, and know that CHARACTER EDUCATION is the most important education. My kids can change the world around us.

With one random act of kindness at a time!

It's My Birthday




It's my birthday!

I LOVE my birthday - like more than any other holiday all year. Don't judge me - I think Christmas is great, and Easter is too, there's that crazy April Fools day when I was married  - and those two amazing days in July when I gave birth to children - pretty awesome too.

But, my birthday - is MY day.

Perhaps I'm obsessed with it because since I was 3, I have shared my birthday with my brother. HE was a scheduled c-section who decided to come early so that HE could begin to pester me! My mother did an amazing job separating our birthdays when we were young. One would celebrate the weekend before and one the weekend after. As a woman who has give birth to two children whose birthdays are 2 weeks and 2 days apart, I have a new appreciation for planning two parties in the same month.

Recently, I read this blog post and thought - YES - I'm totally doing that for my birthday!

See, my favorite thing about my birthday isn't gifts (once you're a grown up with two kids on our budget, gifts are not the highlight) - it's that everyone is so super kind to me. The kids have big smiles when I wake in the morning, with sweet cards. The Coach makes me my favorite dessert (rice krispie treats home made in case you were wondering). We eat my favorite foods (cheese dip from the Mexican restaurant).

So, I was thinking - since my favorite thing about my birthday is kindness - it would be so awesome to spend the day spreading kindness to others.

So - today, my kiddos and I are heading out to perform 35 Random(ish) Acts of Kindness - one for every year of my life thus far. My birthday wish is that you will play too - Will you give me a gift and do a random act of kindness for someone else?

It's so EASY! You can return a grocery cart for someone else (if you're a momma you know those who have toddlers/infants really appreciate it!), give that penny/nickel/dime/dollar that the woman in front of you in line is frantically looking for in their purse,  thank someone who is always fabulous to you and you love them............the list is endless!

If you play too, I would love for you to share with me! Post on facebook, comment here, or send me an email!

I have a list of some things - and man have the kiddos and I LOVED preparing for today. However, I have intentionally left some blanks on my list and have been praying that God opens our eyes today to opportunities we haven't planned for!

Come back tomorrow to see how our day went!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Obsessions

I love to read.

For as far back as I can remember, reading has been an amazing escape. I can remember hiding in my closet as a child reading. Or lying in the swing in our backyard all day.......reading.

I can probably blame my terrible sense of direction on my love of reading. Every time we got in the car when I was a kid - I read.

Mstar is just like me. She LOVES to read - and has since she could read her first Bob book (Mat - I can probably still quote every page). We put both kids to bed at 7:30 with the stipulation that they can stay up an extra hour if they want to read in their beds. She reads every night. Some nights we forget to go in and tuck her in (some of those Criminal Minds episodes are really engaging..........). We will find her still reading at 10:00 or 11:00 when we head off to bed.

We fuss at her lightly for not remembering to turn off her light - but not really. For, the Coach and I - we love that she's a reader.

And, we often find her in the strangest places engaged in a book............such as this one




Xman has just shown great interest in reading in the last few weeks. A few weeks ago I checked out the McGuffy Ecletic Primer from the library to preview as a possible reading spine for this fall for him. The books were published in the late 1800's. The pictures are small and black and white. He is enthralled. He has now read through two of them. It tickles me as we have always thought he was an old soul so it seems only fitting that he would learn to read with a book from two centuries ago.



This brings me to our newest issue.

We are overwhelmed by books.

There is a bookcase in my living room. Full.

Bookcase in Xman's room. Full

Bookcase in Mstar's room. Full

Three bookcases in our homeschool classroom. Full.

Should I mention now that there are also four HUGE rubbermaid containers of books in storage in our basement?

I'm trying. Really. I am.

The last few days I have been sorting them, keeping oh like 25 and putting ....1? in our donate pile.

It started out as a small project - my intent was to make a list of the books we own that are useful for homeschooling. Mainly to keep me from buying the same book again. And, so when I plan units I will know what we have. And where it is.

But then, it became a walk down memory lane. The Sweet Pickles books that we have all 26 of that were mine as a young child. 

Verdi.........the Coach's favorite picture book

Maniac Magee...........the first chapter book I taught, my first year of teaching.

The Celestine Prophecy........the book that made my husband know he wanted to marry me.

2001 Disney World Travel Guide...........the book we took on our honeymoon. 

I Love You This Much.............the book I bought when I found out I was pregnant, and I read it to Mstar every day from pregnancy until she was big enough to pick out her own books

Rolie Polie Olie in Outer Space..........the first book my daughter fell in love with at a bookstore, and thus began the next generation of obsessive.

The Left Behind Series...........the books that my husband began reading as he grew into his faith.

Stacks of comic books...........Xman picks one every time we go to the bookstore........he lingers so intently and chooses so carefully.....each one is special to him

Peter Pan..........the book my husband read aloud on our first family camping trip.

I could go on and on - describing our family's life in books.

I'm hoping that the years will continue to bring new books and new adventures. 

At the close of each year (school calendar), we purchase each child a special hard back book. The books typically contain a story that is representative of that year. On the interior cover of the book, I paste a picture of them from that school year, and the Coach and I both write a letter in the book to them. These are some of their favorites to read. I hope by continuing this tradition that we are helping them learn to tell their story in books.

So, this week I will be shopping for new books............just two...............I think.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen

Sunday, May 9, 2010

This is the Life I Always Wanted

I often joke and say "This is the Life I Always Wanted" - like in those moments where you have spent the last hour and a half trying to make bedtime stick with an over tired five year old.........I repeat it like a mantra, like I need reminded

"This is the life I always wanted, This is the life I always wanted"

Or, in those moments where you find your 7 year old covered in make up, make up that you have asked that she go easy on, especially on Sunday church mornings, make up that is now all over the carpet, the poor carpet that is on it's last leg..........I repeat it like a yoga deep breathing relaxing technique

"This is the life I always wanted..........This is the life I always wanted."

Or those moments when two kids are arguing over whether paper beats rock, or lizard beats spock.........while I am driving a mini van (me, driving a mini van?).........and have taken a wrong turn because who can think with all this screaming.................I repeat it like it will act like calgon and take me away

"This is the life I Always Wanted...........This is the life I Always Wanted"

At times I consider writing it on a large piece of paper and put it on my fridge.

There are moments I don't know I how I got this life? Am I old enough to now be the mother of an almost 6 and an almost 8 year old? Am I really old enough to next year celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary? I'm not even going to tell you what high school reunion I might be old enough to attend........

It really does seem like just yesterday I was walking around a college campus, barefoot trying to decide what to major in.

Or, maybe it was just yesterday that Tommy and I were married and spent 7 blissful days in Disney World with no kids. Watching everyone else with kids. Wishing for the life that we have now.

Yep, this crazy life - this is the life I always wanted.

I wanted to wake up on Mother's Day..............and be a MOTHER. To have the pleasure of sitting next to these two fine people in church. To hear about mothers - how to be a good mother, what every mother needs.



I wanted more than anything to carry this sweet angel in my body for 9 months, and spend 42 hours in labor delivering her (well, maybe not that part), to watch her every move - from taking her first breath, to her first step, to reading her first words, to just this year riding her bike without training wheels for the first time........to be her everything. This is the life I always wanted. 



I was thrilled to be blessed AGAIN with this sweet boy..........I wanted to enjoy every kick and turn for the 9 months he lived inside me, to have that thrill of hearing "it's a boy" in the delivery room, to be there for his first breath, his first roll over, his first words, and just recently hearing him read for the first time..........and yes, for now.........to be his everything. Yes, this is the life I always wanted. 

So, on this Mother's Day............I am grateful..............grateful for this life that I always wanted!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Steps Forward, Four Steps Back



I wish this kid always looked this happy in his bed.

The other night as I was tucking him in he says to me

"""Mommy, I'm afraid when you're not with me."

Two steps forward, four steps back.

I forget that while most kiddos love new adventures - trips to new places, new friends, new activities.

Bubbe is not most kiddos.

Bubbe is an old man trapped in the body of an adorable five year old. He wants to wake up every day and things always be the same. He wants to know what to expect around every corner. He wants life to be simple and understandable. The same.

Exactly the same.

A few weeks ago we took the kids on a family camping trip. New place. New adventure.

Voila - return of anxieties. 

It's like we never went to months of therapy (though I can assure you that my checkbook says we did). We went months with no episodes. None. And then...........BOOM.

Camping.

The therapist (did I mention we graduated MONTHS ago?) says that we can't quit doing new things. We have to continue to expose Bubbe to new things to help him learn how to negotiate the world around him.

You think she does home visits for bedtime?????

Friday, April 16, 2010

Closing the Gap


That is me (my shadow).

Really.

I know - I was TOTALLY shocked too!

You probably aren't - because you're not in denial.

Over the last few months I've been pondering this statement I heard recently - essentially the speaker said that we all have an image gap.

There is a gap between who we ARE and who we want people to THINK we are.

I would argue that there is probably a gap between who I AM and who I THINK I am.

What kind of mother do I think I am?

This week I went to Moments for Moms at Bubbe's school. Moments for Mom is an annual art show - dinner, sharing of testimonies, and viewing Bubbe's art creations.

Bubbe wrote:

My mom likes to facebook.

Other people's children wrote "my mom likes to play with me," "my mom likes to tickle me," or "my mom likes to cook."

Poor Bubbe has the mom who likes to facebook.

I can tell you I didn't think I was the kind of mother whose son thought she loved facebook more than anything else.

Is there an image gap in your life??

Do share - I'll be updating my facebook status................

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When is enough - enough?

Over the last few days my children ...........let's just say have been acting like they belong to someone else.

When is enough - enough?

My children don't blatantly misbehave - while looking at you.

My children don't do things they KNOW they are not supposed to do - just because I'm not watching.

My children don't beat the crap out of each other all the time - just because things don't go their way.

My children don't act like total fools at my dinner table - after being sent away twice to get it together.

The Coach and I have been addressing it.

In fact, there are currently so many toys in "time out" in my room that I can't get up to pee without putting my foot in a millennium falcon ship or tripping over a laundry basket full of dolls. My TV hasn't been on for any length of time in three days. My hallway has been occupied by a kid in time out more often than not. Little people have been going to bed early.

We loaded up to head out to church tonight and the behaviors only got worse on the way. We did a u-turn halfway to church - and came back home.

The Coach and I agreed that we did not have their attention. The children were not listening.

Enough is enough.

We drove straight back home and sat down at the dinner table for a family meeting. If you don't have family meetings - I highly recommend it!

Family meetings out our house are very simple - we have them to set new goals for our family or to address issues that have arisen. Ours are very basic:

  • we meet at the dining room table
  • I take notes - keep record of what is decided upon (very official sounding isn't it?)
  • everyone gets to comment on each topic - one at a time
  • at the end of the meeting, the kids can share if they have anything they think that the Coach and I should be doing a better job at - or wishes they have for our family

Tonight we talked about being selfish. We talked about being respectful. We talked about how our family is at our best when we work together.

We talked about how life is going to be very different around here until everyone is not selfish and respectful.

Then (because I have learned that talking is never enough, there must be actions), I removed prized possessions from both rooms with big laundry baskets.

Now, I have their attention.

They too know that enough is enough.

Being a member of our family requires making choices based on make choices and decisions based on: trust, honesty, obedience, service, kindness, and commitment.

With those lofty but attainable goals comes many privileges.

Until children in my home can prove to me that they make good choices, we are going to be short on privileges.


What do you do when your children make poor choices?


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Be Still





I ran across a new blog linky (amazed aren't you???).

This past week we took a three day (two night) camping trip with the main goal of being together - unplugged.

I explained to the children that we would be taking no car TVs, no DSi's, no leapsters, no televisions............and to myself, that we would be taking no laptop. Camping people I told the children enjoy nature - they don't stare at boxes. In case you're wondering, the Coach and I are not big on cell phones so that's one technology we never have to worry about!

As soon as I finished explaining this, Pumpkin exclaimed: "

"How do camping people LIVE? How do they SURVIVE?"....followed by moaning.........

We set out Wednesday morning - and arrived home late Friday afternoon. We did it. I have to say - I didn't miss it at all. I only mentally updated my facebook status..........threeish times. The kids never exclaimed "I'm bored" - there was significantly less whining. I went to bed each night to the sound of the Coach reading Peter Pan............instead of the droning of the television.

We walked. We fished. We roasted marshmallows. We played Uno. We walked. We played Go fish. We hiked. We played Old Maid (see a theme yet?). We saw new sights. We canoed. We laughed. Most of all we laughed.

I got to thinking - I am at home with my children all day. But do I really spend time with them? It is sort of a misconception that as a stay at home homeschooling mom that you would automatically spend a lot of quality time with your children. I do during the school hours of the day - but I am in teacher mode, not hanging out playing mom mode.

While in mom mode, I do laundry, I read blogs, I cook/wash dishes/clean kitchen, I update my facebook status, I make a bed or two or three, I check my email, I find the living room rug, I toodle on the internet, I declutter something (probably for the 2nd or 3rd time), I update my facebook status................in between that I redirect children, send people outside to play, monitor the amount of TV/video game time, referee a good lego argument, fuss at children for fighting or being too rambunctious in the house.

I realized on our camping trip that my days need more hanging out. More time to play.

Then, as I was blog reading (in my defense I did go for a lovely bike/scooter/walk and read two chapters of Peter Pan and my kids are in bed) .............I stumbled across the "Be Still" challenge.

I accept.

Mondays I will take time to "be still" - outside of my school hours, I will take time to do and reflect on one activity with Pumpkin and Bubbe.

Starting today.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not raise a kid who exclaims

" This is where my mom put the stuff we don't want you to break and the stuff she doesn't want you to see. This is my millenium falcon - don't touch it. Man, it's a mess in here. "

as he drags our playdate guests into my closed bedroom..........

I did not see a photo of myself taken on our recent camping trip and not recognize myself. I did not wonder, "Who is that wide woman????"

I did not pretend to be asleep on said camping trip so that my dear husband would have to teach the pumpkin to pee in our 5 gallon bucket potty (complete with Baby Bjorn potty seat on top).

Since I have not blogged in a while, ...................I did not take two days to notice the beautiful poem my husband wrote me for Valentine's Day. I did not use it as a bookmark without even attempting to open it or read it. He did not have to ask me to please open my bookmark to find the amazing words he had written for me. and I did not give him nothing in return.

And then, on our anniversary last week I did not take two days to find a love letter in my coffee cup. And I again did not give him nothing in return.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top 3 Thursday - Television

Every Thursday Confessions from a Working Mom and The (Un)Experienced Mom have a blog carnival called Top 3 Thursday. They pick the topic and we answer the question and link back. This week's question is:


What are your Top 3 favorite TV shows?


3 - House.

Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House.

House is an attractive man - I know - he's not a McDreamy or McSteamy but he's got something.

He's the kind of man who knows what he wants for dinner.

Just sayin- at my house, the dinner conversation goes something like this:

Me: "What do you want for dinner?"

Coach: "I don't know baby, what do you want?" (I know - the baby thing softens the indecisive blow, but still no decision)

I'm envisioning that House never says "I don't know."

Though, years into my infatuation with the show - I've learned its rarely auto immune, and never sarcosis - but they always guess both.



2 - Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy watching is significantly cheaper than therapy for me. I get a whole tissue box every week.

I cry for Meredith because she usually doesn't when she should.

I cry for little Grey - because she's crying........even on TV no one cries alone when I'm around.

I cry for McSteamy now..........just when he found his conscience, he gets to use it.

A girl needs a good cry once a week.

3 - The Big Bang Theory

First, let me share that I am impressed that the show is still on air. I was sure since I LOVE it that it would quickly disappear as my favorites tend to.

There are so many fabulous things about the show -

there are Sheldon's t-shirts

there is the math humor ("What part of an inverse tangent approaching an asymptote don't you understand?" --Sheldon)

we can now all play Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

What are your top three?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not me Monday



I came across this fun, little game hosted by MckMama.....a post about what you absolutely, positively, without a doubt....would NEVER do!

Confession time.


I did not totally forget about Valentine's Day after having a lengthy conversation with a teenager about the importance of thoughtfulness........I did not lecture him about how the holiday was not about what he could buy his girlfriend, but rather about recognizing the simple things that she would enjoy like a handwritten letter, or a sentimental reminder of a first date. After all of that, I did not forget to even jot my husband a note. Not even a post it.

I did not spend most of the week tripping over Christmas decorations in lovely, labeled rubbermaid containers in my basement when I have new fabulous shelves that they should be on.

I did not triple the dose of children's night time triamenic upon realizing last night that I have a cold and no adult medications in the house. Grape flavor. Yummy.

I did not sit on a my couch during a playdate today and completely ignore 99% of the children's lodged complaints. I did not not go running when children cried.

I did not allow my children to fend for themselves for dinner last week. The pumpkin eat sugary cereal by the bowl full for dinner. The bubbe did not eat pickles, olives and pop tarts. I most certainly did not eat dessert chex mix for dinner.

I did not wear the same jeans every time I left the house last week without washing..........so they would still fit after not eating said dessert chex mix for dinner.

Hmm......I might could get into this confession thing.

Better stop now, before I do not get voted best mother of the week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New You?

As I was driving around town today I noticed that there are an amazing number of signs proclaiming:

New Year New You!

And perhaps because I had just dropped one child off and was on my way to pick up another - and thus was ALONE in the car..........I began to think.

Is a new me what I am searching for?

My initial thought was it is not a new me I search for, but rather the old me.

The me that was spontaneous - who did not make decisions based on bedtime and the day of the week.

The me that was confident - who did not question every moment of her day - who did not wonder if she was doing life "right"

The me that was sexier - or at least felt that way - the me that did not spend her day in yoga pants with an elastic waistband, or the one who could really enjoy a good pair of jeans (it helps that "the me that was sexier" was also significantly smaller)

Perhaps if there were more hours in the day, I could find that me?

This Washington Post article investigates the theory that mommy people have more "free time" than we ever have before. The researcher shares that women have more free time now than they did in the 1960's - even considering that more women are working moms outside the home now.

You think?

I wasn't sold.

Then, because God knows I am a terrible listener (he probably laughs every time I tell my own kids to turn their listening ears on - "pot calling the kettle black there missey?") today I read this.

I will forewarn - her message is not for the closed minded.

The main point she makes is that in trying to claim all this free time for ourselves, we are asking for frustration.

Picture how this plays out in my house:

I arrive home today after a long day of tutoring, errand running, teaching the pumpkin, dropping the pumpkin off, quick run in to the Walmart (why are they still out of zhu zhu pets? come on people - quit buying them up to sell on ebay!), picking up the Bubbe, two grocery stores (frugal shopping will have to be a post all alone), pick up the pumpkin, and home.

All I want to do is sit in my comfy chair and check my email.

In peace.

I sit.

Pumpkin: "MOM - he is the second most annoying thing in my life" (I did not ask what the first was in fear it is me.........some things, I don't need to know)

Bubbe: "MOM - she isn't being kind to me - TALK TO HER"

Me: "Please let mommy do computer for a minute - then we will have dinner"

rinse, lather, repeat

I end up frustrated - and late starting dinner because checking my email didn't move as smoothly as originally planned.

The Me Time Myth author insists that if I just embraced my day - lovingly began dinner promptly with the knowledge that is rare that we will all be home to enjoy it, embraced the children's need for my attention by involving them in cooking or setting them up with their own activity, and even played a little praise music while we trucked along that my evening would have been better.

My favorite passage from the blog post is this:

But, it will never be enough. The more you indulge the thought that you are somehow owed Me Time, the more you will seek after it. The more you seek after it, the more every little opportunity afforded you to "take a break" will seemingly end too quickly. The everyday life of being a mother will become drudgery.

I must admit - chick is on to something.

Last week, I participated in a fast from all things frivolous relating to my computer - facebook, blog reading (yes, even my beloved blog reading), and other internet wanderings. I will confess that Thursday was calm, enjoyable, ...........and yes, almost drama free.

So much so that I have determined that Thursdays will be Tangible Thursday! A day of embracing the role of wife, mother, teacher, friend - and living it, rather than stalking other people's lives via their blog post or their status update. A day to enjoy those things tangible to me, the things I can touch, ...........like my clutter????

I don't have a nifty conclusion to these thoughts. I think all people, even mommy people, need to spend time focusing on their own needs. I always think of the analogy where if you are on an airplane and it is in trouble - put your own oxygen mask on first, then start helping those you love.




However, after today's reading I'm wondering if I can reach that place where loving my roles as wife, mother, teacher, friend become my oxygen mask.

What do you think?



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blogging...........about blogging?


Confession.

I am an avid blog reader.

Of people's blogs that I don't even know.

If I like your blog, then I peruse all the blogs on your list of blogs you read. Adding, yes, more blogs to my subscription. Reading my google reader could be a full time job. ....hmmmm?????

I feel like I really know people (mostly of the female persuasion) that I have never met. No one I know has met them. And, often I do not comment or acknowledge that I am stalking their writing life.

There.

I consider blog reading to be in the same category as magazine reading. Except, lucky for me, it is a paper free hobby - goodness knows the last thing my house needs is more clutter!

I have never thought of my own blogging as for anyone else's enjoyment - or part of their procrastination attempts.

This weekend is something called Blissdom. Where the addicted bloggers go to learn more about blogging. I have to say that it sounds like my idea of a great weekend!

I blog because I like to chronicle my family adventures here. I consider it my most successful attempt at scrap booking. I have this lovely scrapbooking bag that my husband bought me as a treat a few years back. It even rolls. I have stacks of papers, oodles of stickers, and some of those fancy markers where you can write on paper and it won't become a faded mess when my kids are old enough to care that I created scrapbooks for them.

What I don't have - is any talent at the whole arts/crafts gig. Or, interest. Shutterfly and its printable digital books are my new best friend.

Sssshhhhh - once a month I go out for an evening to "scrapbooking." About six months ago, I quit taking any scrapbook supplies. Now, I take a yummy snack and go purely for the adult conversation. I found that when I carried supplies and didn't use them - I felt guilty. Like I didn't accomplish my objective. Now, that I take nothing but food and my big mouth - I definitely can meet my goal!


I blog because I like to have a place to share our homeschool adventure here. I consider it the place to record my weekly highlights. It is a much more reliable resource than my lesson plan binder! It has what we actually got done - what we loved, what went right, what went wrong, .............basically all the lessons we are learning on this journey.

I blog because I have thoughts, ideas, complaints that I don't want my kids to read here. When I print the kids blogs into books (on the to do list for 2010), I want them to be truthful accounts of their lives -with the omission of their mother's ramblings.

Here, I hope to find my voice.

Somewhere in maintaining three blogs - they don't all get the same attention, devotion, or enthusiasm. Perhaps if I downsized to one, I would have time to create cool logos, figure out how to add widgets, or really investigate the whole use of ads.

But that's not the big picture for me. For me, I love it. I love choosing the pictures. I love rambling. I love hopping around reading everyone else's rambling.

Perhaps my spot in my comfy chair, complete with ottoman, holding my warm pink laptop is my own personal blissdom.

If your blissdom is at home too, you can join the party here! Hop over and link up!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 on the 10th


I do enjoy rambling - occasionally I have a point I want to share, a memory I want to document, or use the opportunity to chronicle a new experience. But sometimes, I just need a chance to hang out in my own thoughts.

Thoughts
- remember those? I used to be a very educated woman who had many ideas to contribute to society. Now, I often can not be good for much more than suggestions on conquering diaper rash, recommendations for preschools, or advice on what toys a 7 year old might like to receive.

Have you noticed that once you enter mommyville - all conversations abruptly changes to children. Your children. Other people's children. Children.

Don't get me wrong - I am GUILTY. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

I spend my whole day with..........you guessed it, my kiddos.

Therefore, all of my life experiences currently relate to............you guessed it, my kiddos.

I came across this blog today with a writing prompt - 10 on the 10th. Think of it like English class - the writing prompt on the 10th of each month is to create a list of 10 - on anything you want.

So, here's my 10 on the 10th for January 2010:

10 Things I will accomplish in 2010 for me

1 - Write at least one blog post here each week that has nothing to do with my kids. Watch out readers........you might be about to find out more about me.

2 - Conquer my coke addiction - and make having a real coke an occasional treat, instead of a need to survive a day. (for those keeping up, today is day 7......yes, I am still counting)

3 -See real adult people and have real conversations twice a month. This will double my current night out of once a month.

4 - Introduce my children to locks - on bedroom doors, on bathroom doors. We are going to learn give our family members a little privacy and personal space.

5 - Write in my new prayer journal daily. Really pray often for those in need.

6 - Commit to having a date night with my husband - once a month would be grand, but every six weeks is my goal.

7 - Let it go. If it lives in our house, and I don't love it, use it, have to have it - let it go. I'm not going to save it for potential future use. I'm not going to continue to organize or move it. I'm going to let it go.

8 - Unplug. I don't have any problem limiting my children on their TV, video game, or computer time. But, I struggle with limiting myself. 2010 I will unplug too.

9 - Read. I considered taking the 52 into 52 challenge (read 52 books in 52 weeks). But, really......I don't need anything else on my "to do" list. I love to read - reading is not, nor has it ever been a chore for me. This year I will make time to read - when I am not soo tired that my eyes close on every other page.

10 - Be generous. I have generous thoughts...........I'm lacking on the follow through. In 2010, my goal is to actually do the kind deed that comes to mind. Follow through.

So, there it is.