Monday, July 30, 2012

My kids go to "that" school

I just want to start off by saying that homeschooling and charter schools are not an option for me.  Call me crazy, but I'm not organized enough or disciplined enough to home school and I'm tool selfish to drive my kids to another school when there is one in my very own neighborhood and a bus to get my older kids to theirs.  It doesn't mean I'm anti either of them.  I just am happy where I'm at and have no reason to change.  My problem comes from people thinking that I am ignorant about where I send my own kids as if I haven't researched my options.  It is a topic that comes up on occasion and when it does, I feel like I have to defend myself for my choice.  I'm just going to highlight a few things that have been brought to my attention recently:

Safety
Several years ago, I asked the head of security at the "other" high school in our area (he is a friend of mine) if he thought there was more problems at my school than at his.  His answer?  "Are you kidding me?  Every school has its problems, your school is no different."  My interpretation?  The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.  I had someone mention to me that they wanted their kids to go that school because they have a sherriff's deputy on duty during school hours and they felt like their kids were safer.  I asked the security person at our school why we didn't have one and the answer I got was something like this: there had to be a minimum number of calls to the sherriff's office reported during a school day for a requisite amount of time before the city/town was required to pay for a deputy to be at the school full time.  So, it is a catch 22, right?  My school doesn't have a deputy on duty full time because there haven't been enough incidents to report.  But, the school with the deputy now has fewer incidents reported because they have the deputy at school until their incidents go down enough to not need a deputy again.  Does that make sense?  It's a vicious cycle that my school hasn't had to deal with...yet.

Drugs/Sex/Alcohol
It is everywhere.  You can't really avoid it and at some point, your children will be put into a situation where they are going to be tempted.  It happens at private schools, charter schools, public schools and even at BYU.  I can only do my best to teach my children to avoid it the best I can.  They ultimately have agency, but when they are younger, I teach them to choose good friends and how to make good choices.

Early Morning Seminary
Several people have mentioned that they only want their kids to have release time seminary.  For those of you not familiar with my church, for one class period of the day, our children are offered a class where they can learn more about the gospel through scripture study, taught by members of our religion.  For more info on that, click here.  My school isn't able to offer it as a class during the day, so it is available as an early morning class at the church.  Our teachers are all volunteers and they are fabulous.  Besides, what a better way to start the day?  Most LDS kids have to take an early period at some point in their high school career to make up for that missing credit anyway so what is the difference?  We carpool our kids to the seminary building by 6am and they all get on a bus afterwards that takes them directly to school.  My kids say it is a great way to start their day, by getting into the scriptures and having a daily reminder to remember to do what is right.  Wether you get it in the middle of the day or before school, it is a great thing.

Sports
This is a tough subject for me as we are a huge sports family.  But, the reality is that I don't think any of my children will end up being professional athletes.  Having said that, it isn't that I don't think they are awesome enough (because I think they can do whatever they want to do and be great at it).  I just am a realist and none of my kids have showed the kind of determination and drive it would take to play in the NFL/NBA/MLB.    To this argument I admit that our school struggles.  So many of the kids that live in our boundaries are choosing other schools because of their fantastic athletic programs, we may continue to struggle for years to come.  The reality is that my kids love to participate and they are hugely competetive.  When it comes down to it, our kids decided that they would rather be a part of the game and play as many minutes possible while losing than sit on the bench and win.  It is also a proven fact that kids from smaller schools can still get athletic scholarships.  What difference is an English degree from Western New Mexico than an English degree from UofA?  Very little.  If my kid can get into a smaller college that will pay for him to play while going to school, who cares where he goes? (As long as I can come visit and watch).


Teachers
Someone got it in their head that our school has terrible teachers and a less than desireable curriculum.  Where did that come from?  My kids have for the most part had fabulous teachers.  Yes, there have been one or two that I didn't particularly care for or that my kids didn't get along with, but what a great life lesson: to learn to get along with people you don't neccesarily like being around.  If I pulled my kid because they didn't get along with a teacher, what is that teaching my child?  I'm not going to college with them and picking out teachers I think he will like and I certainly am not going to go interview future employers to make sure they are a good match for my kid.  I think this is one of life's greatest lessons actually and some semesters/years my child and/or I struggle continually and sometimes their grades don't reflect what they deserve, but if they come out of the year knowing that they have learned skills that will help them for a lifetime, it is worth the struggle.  The book knowledge will come regardless of who their teachers are.  (side note:  I won't tolerate abuse of any kind and that would warrant action on my part...obviously.)


The fact of the matter stays the same.  No matter where my children go, they are going to succeed because I don't rely on the schools alone to teach my kids.  I have to do my part to make sure they are getting the education they deserve.  If that wasn't happening, I'm sure I would do something differently, but so far we're doing good.  Education isn't just book knowledge, it is learning life skills too.  I truly believe that if we put as much time watering our own grass instead of looking for greener grass elsewhere, everyone would be that much better off.  


Stepping off my soap box now.  Feel free to disagree but do it kindly in your comments please.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feeling the "excess"

Exercise?  Yeah right.  If you read my post about being overwhelmed, you will know what activity got pushed aside this summer.  I'm still struggling from my broken toe too (I know, I should go see the Dr. at this point).

For the first time in my entire life, I have felt the struggle to lose excess weight.  Usually when I start a training program, I have no problem running 2-3 miles the first day because being out of shape is different than being overweight.  Ben and I started taking the kids to the high school to run around the track and on the bleachers and I can't even run one lap without walking.  I only got a mile in the other night and that was walking/walking fast.  I can only jog as fast as I can speed walk at this point.  I didn't realize how difficult this extra weight would be to take off.  So guess what I did?  I came home and ate because I was so frustrated.  Apparently I have an eating problem.

I have had all kinds of troubles with running this week from bladder issues to intestinal struggles (do you know how much I hate to throw up?), to the discomfort of my belly bouncing as I ran.  I give props to people who have had to lose tons of weight and struggled to get started.  This is dang hard.  My ankle is giving me problems too (long story involving surgery, scar tissue and arthritis) so getting back into running is proving more difficult than I had imagined.  Now the mosquitos have come out and I'm not sure we can take the kids out at night anymore.  Man, I am full of excuses, aren't I?

My sister sold me two bikes last weekend so we are going to try more of that this week.  Less pounding on my joints and belly but still the potential for a good workout.  Wish me luck.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Overwhelmed

When I was a younger mother and my children were much smaller, I had several people regularly tell me they thought I had too many activities going on with each of my children.  I felt like I had everything under control, but apparently I looked like I didn't.  I felt like I was able to get everything in; my church calling, my homemaking responsibilities, volunteer activities, "me" time, plus get my kids to their piano lessons, sports practices and other extracurricular events.  I never once felt like I had taken on too much.  But, I felt like I was constantly having to stand up for myself and prove that I was doing it all and I was doing it just fine.  Never once did I feel overworked or stressed out to the point that I couldn't handle my hectic schedule.  (OK, let's be honest, I had my days, but they were relatively few and far between.)

Until this summer happened.

I have never felt so overworked and exhausted as I have the last two months.  It actually made me rethink some of the activities we had going on.  Fortunately, I knew it would only last about 6-8 weeks and then it would be over and life would get back to "normal."  There were days when I wondered when the last time I had gone to the grocery store was and couldn't remember the last time I actually made a home cooked meal.  It was crazy insane.  3 kids on swim team with practice M-Th and meets on Saturday morning.  Drew had football practice 5:30-7:30am then basketball from 10:30-12:30.  Throw in more than several basketball and football tournaments, Marly's work schedule and cheer practices, me working at Sunsplash, our family trip to Utah, Ben's job, his coaching and let's not forget his calling in the bishopric.  Add to that my primary class and my stake calling, two articles for the Beehive newspaper and then getting ready to be the camp cooks at girl's camp just about did me in.  I had more than several days where I was ready to throw in the towel, but then that would have created more laundry, wouldn't it?  I didn't even mention the fact that we made it to free lunch almost every day and my sweet brother and sister took my kids swimming almost every afternoon.  As for cleaning house and doing laundry?  If you come to my house, you will see just how busy we have been, let's leave it at that.

What is my point you ask?  I have no point.  Just more excuses for why the blog was ignored for most of the summer.  I am not good at structure-less time and this summer was a prime example of not having a schedule and it wearing me thin.  Thank heavens school starts soon and we can get back to a schedule or at least some kind of normalcy.  I think we'll start practicing being on a schedule this week and next prior to school starting, just to get used to it...sounds good to me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Review - Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker, MD

I love parenting books.  Mostly, I take what I like from this book and from that book and combine them into my own style.  I think that is what most people should do.  But, I will say that I agree with almost 99% of what I read in this book.

My little sister just had her first baby, a sweet baby girl.  She is the one who recommended this book to me even though my oldest daughter will be 18 years old soon.  I'm so glad I had a chance to read it before she flew the coop and while my other three girls are still young.  Because Marly is so much older, I am going to recommend she read it too because of the data and statistics included are just good to know.

I'm going to admit that my husband is a pretty fantastic dad and he already does so much of what the book suggests as far as being a great dad that maybe that is why it made so much sense to me.  The reality is, that nobody is perfect and there is always something we can be doing better.  That is why he is going to read it next. (Ben, are you listening?)

Dr. Meeker is a pediatrician as well as a mother and I love the subtitle of her website which says "The wisdom of a pediatrician.  The heart of a mother."  She gets it.  She is the author of several books, the next of which I am going to read is called, The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers.  I can already tell I am going to learn some new tricks for my motherhood journey.  But I digress...

Dr. Meeker gives a variety of suggestions on how to develop a relationship with your daughter that will strengthen or rebuild your bond and shape your daughter's life for the better.  Here is a list of chapter titles:

Chapter 1 - You are the Most Important Man in Her Life
Chapter 2 - She Needs a Hero
Chapter 3 - You Are Her First Love
Chapter 4 - Teach Her Humility
Chapter 5 - Portect her, Defend Her (and use a shotgun if necessary)
Chapter 6 - Pragmatism and Grit:  Two of Your Greatest Assetts
Chapter 7 - Be the Man you Want Her to Marry
Chapter 8 - Teach Her Who God Is
Chapter 9 - Teach Her to Fight
Chapter 10 - Keep Her Connected

She offers examples from real life experiences, statistics and data as well as practical ways to help your daughter become a strong and confident woman.   She is down to earth, funny at times, and practical yet old fashioned about today's world.  I wish I had this book 18 years ago.  It is a must read for fathers (and mothers) of daughters.  For more information, check out her website.  She even has a companion book to this one which is a 30 day challenge to jump start dads in the right direction.  I can't wait to get my hands on that.  Hurry up Amazon!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Workout

In April, I was running a lot.  Here I am marking my mileage at the race.
I did it again, I went almost a whole month without posting.  So lame; I guess some of those mountains still have not been conquered.  Here's another mountain I can't seem to conquer...regular workouts.  Since I ran my Ragnar Relay Race back in April, I have gained almost 25 pounds.  I have two pair of pants that fit and I hate one of them.  I feel like a blob too.  I carry most of it in my stomach so I've done a lot of sucking it in lately, but it is driving me crazy.

There are these stupid nagging thoughts when I'm in a situation such as this, and it messes with my brain so much, you can't even believe it.  And here is one: If I can't exercise, who cares what I eat?  I hate it when I think like that.  I've been eating a lot lately; crappy food too.

I broke my toe several weeks ago and my toe/foot have been miserable since so I am unable to run.  I have gone to the gym several times with Jana because I can ride the bike or use the elliptical.  Problem there is that I can't get to the gym consistently enough to see the value in the few times I have gone.  Here is another one of those nagging thoughts:  If I can't go every day, or at least 5-6 times, then the 2-3 times is pointless.  Stupid, right?  So, I stopped going to the gym and kept on eating.

I'm taking control again starting Tuesday.  Don't ask me why Tuesday, it is part of the stupid game my brain plays.  But I'm done making excuses, I can tell you that.

I'm curious, what are your excuses for not exercising?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Conquering As Best I Can

Have you seen this video?  One of my all time favorites.

  The last few weeks have been overwhelming for me and this video kept running through my mind.  I felt like every time I would get something accomplished, another mountain popped up in its place.

I had things like catching up on the books for booster club, getting ready for my ragnar race, my stake calling through LDS Family Services, and my primary class, not to mention housework, meals and running kids everywhere.  Don't even get me started on writing for the newspaper, keeping up with my blog and editing my book.  There were days I didn't know where to begin so I logged into my Facebook and sat there.  I avoided pretty much everything besides the basic needs of my children, like cold cereal and diaper changes.  We did spend some lovely days at the park (avoiding stuff needing done at home), and I did cook on that one night of the week that I trade dinners with my dear friend, but beyond that, it was pretty much a fend for yourself attitude around here.

I wouldn't say I was depressed, although I can see how it could be described as that.  It was more of a sense of relief that since I had graduated from ASU, I had "nothing" on my plate.  Nothing with deadlines, is more like it.  I kept saying, "I'll get on that tomorrow."  Tomorrow never comes, have you ever noticed that?

So I came to the conclusion that I would have to make some changes.  #1 - I stopped blogging, it wasn't necessary.  #2 - I chose not to open my manuscript and work on that, it wasn't important...yet.  #3 - I even slowed down on my Facebook posts.  Did anyone even notice?  Doubt it.  Then, I focused one one thing at a time until I felt like I had crossed off enough of those mountains to feel like I had accomplished enough that I could try and get back to work on the things I wanted to spend more time doing.  Whew, that was a long sentence.

I feel like I'm there...for now.  My house is spotless clean enough and our home cooked dinners most every night home cooked dinners outnumber our fast food purchases.  Now I have more time for my beloved crack cocaine Facebook and my manuscript.  Oh yes, and my family.  And my stake calling.  Oh, and my primary class.  

They're all mountains though, aren't they?

I love Baby Bear's persistence in getting over each mountain even though he struggled with a "cwamp" and he complained about how hard it was and hoped there wasn't another mountain, he pushed on.  Towards the last mountain, he was going pretty slow, but he never gave up.  Then, at the end, he was rewarded with a surprise at seeing the meatball and Snuffy.  I think that is just life, we have obstacles in our way, but we push on and struggle and complain, but in the end, there is going to be something absolutely wonderful.  
I know it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Splitting the Housework - Advice to Newlyweds

I wish I could remember when it happened, that infamous day when we sat down and divided the household duties between the two of us.  I do know this, it was only in the last few years!  I wish we had sat down earlier in our marriage and set the ground rules before I reached the boiling point and exploded.

OK, I didn't really explode, but I was mad and I don't get mad very easily.  I felt like all the time he was spending coaching the kids, working, fulfilling his calling at church, etc. was really putting a damper on his ability to get things done around the house. Nothing specific, just stuff.  And Sunday, my precious day of rest was also turning into his day to nap, but not mine.

I have the responsibility of making sure that the entire house stays clean, including our bedroom.  I felt like he needed to be in charge of the bathroom and once it got dirty enough he would start cleaning it.  I acted like a child and refused to shower if the tub was too dirty so eventually he would clean it.

I am ashamed to admit that out of anger and spite, I let other things go too, like the garage.  There were days when there wasn't a path from the door to the laundry room and it just irked him.  Another bad idea.

The problem was that he didn't know how much it was bothering me until I finally exploded and while crying I told him.   I let him know how tired I was of doing everything around the house and then I expressed my desire to have one day where I could rest from all the things I HAD to do during the week because he was doing what he WANTED to do.  I felt "stuck" caring for the kids, cleaning the house and spending a lot of time alone and it was starting to get to me. (This was before I went back to school or had started writing much.)

So, we sat down one day and decided which thing around the house would be his responsibility. We decided that he would be in charge of cooking on Sunday, especially breakfast, but also dinner.  I cooked the rest of the week and struggled with getting the kids to clean up, so I wanted there to be one day I didn't have to do it.  He likes to cook anyway and I don't eat breakfast so it was going to be his by default whether he liked it or not.

I told him I needed him to be in charge of our bathroom.  I would keep my makeup and the kid's hair stuff put away and collect the laundry, but the deep cleaning was going to be his responsibility.

We usually take care of the yard as a family, but the garage just makes him crazy.  I know he is busy, so I do my best to keep it  picked up and organized.  Most of the stuff in there is holiday related or kid related so it is really just an extension of our house.  I'm happy to straighten it up every once in a while.

So, except for those things, I pretty much take care of everything else around here that pertains to children or house and he coaches and works and takes me on a date once a week. I like our system of knowing what is expected of each other and taking care of those responsibilities.

I'm curious how others swap "chores."  I know a lot of moms who work outside the home and so I assume there is more equal division of labor, but is that really true? I just assume that is how it is because that is how it would be at my house if I had to go back to work.  For you stay at home moms, are there certain things your husband knows he is in charge of?  How do you divide your jobs and are they assumed or assigned?

Post Script:  We have church at 9am now and Ben starts his meetings at 6am on Sunday so we are back to eating cold cereal or yogurt and toast.  Sometimes he doesn't get home in time for dinner so I'm back to cooking.  But, I'm ok with it...as long as my bathroom stays clean.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I love being a mom, but where is the balance I'm searching for?

I feel like I got home from my writer's conference and was so on fire for my writing and then what did I do with all my new energy?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Well, unless you call helping my friends do some editing/critiquing on their work and beta reading for another friend's novel.  I have done tons of laundry, caught up on my house cleaning and then fell into spring break with a thud.  I've gotten almost all the kids to the dentist for checkups and one for a filling.  I shopped for and purchased all the fabric and patterns for Easter dresses and I've spent some quality time at the chiropractor and working on my church callings.   The garden is finally in and the weeds in the front yard are fairly under control. I've done a ton, but I still have some trouble balancing work time and family time.  I don't really ever want to work, but I want to cross this book off my list and get it out there.

I feel like once I get caught up, there is just that much more to do.  I have two articles for the paper due by the end of the month and I'm happily spending time with a new friend and supporting her in some huge life decisions she is making.  I really am struggling with the job of treasurer for the booster club and need to get that up to date.  My office is a never ending pile of things that need to be put away and will I ever decorate my family room or work on my personal progress goals?

I love being busy, but I'm overwhelmed sometimes and feel like if I could just have a day or two at home without my kids and without having to clean up around here, maybe I could get some writing done.  Maybe.  Then again, I'd probably make a run to the QT and then spend the day napping or hanging with my friends on Facebook, right?  I love being a stay home mom, I love being a stay home mom, I love being a stay home mom...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work Out for my Brain

This last weekend, I attended the 20th Annual ANWA Writer's Conference.  It was held in the fabulous Hilton hotel in Mesa, AZ. (The last time I went there was for my junior prom, remember that Trevor?)  I was able to share a room with 3 wonderful new friends which made the cost minimal so I splurged and stayed the night.
Some of the members of the Queen Creek Creators

There were classes on critiquing, editing, publishing, characterization, magazine writing, freelance writing, pitching and query letters and so much more.  I can't even begin to tell you how fabulous it was.  We mingled with agents and publishers, we ate some delicious food and worked on honing our writing talents.

I am ever so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful group of women who are as crazy about writing as I am.  I was in awe of meeting some of my favorite authors in person and getting to know them as friends.  What I came away from the conference was the confidence to move forward with my dream of publishing and even the possibility of doing a little freelance work and make some money while I polish my manuscript.

The ideas are spewing from my brain faster than I can get them down on paper sometimes and I have to take a break from what I'm doing just to regroup.  I have notes everywhere and finally got them organized last night so I can sit down and put them to paper.

I have decided that anyone can write a story, but it is the rare few who can go to the excruciating task of editing and revising, then editing and revising over and over again until it is perfect.  I hope to be one of those people someday.  In the meantime, I will plug away at my story and hope that in the end it will be an inspiration to others who read it.

ANWA Conference 2012 Roommates
Kudos to Mr. Mom who took Friday off work to take kids to the Dr., change poopy diapers, make dinner and help everyone get their chores done so I could come home to a somewhat clean house.  I am truly blessed.

Lastly, I am so grateful for the dear friends I made.  Not only are some of them published authors, they are just downright wonderful women.  I am grateful to be in their company and glean knowledge from their experience.

I'm already looking forward to 2013!  For more information, please visit www.anwa-lds.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Workout Wednesday - Kid Exercise

I took the kids to the park today even though it wasn't ideal weather.  I hate being cold and we had to wear jackets and it was so windy.  I sat on the park bench and huddled up, but the weather did not stop my children from taking off their shoes and socks to play in the sand.  They were desperate to play with their buckets and shovels I gave them for Valentines Day. 

It got me thinking about how serious I am about getting my exercise in every day or at least most every day and how grateful I am that they are seeing my good example of fitness.  But, am I doing enough to show my kids how important it is to take care of their own bodies?

Sometimes my children won't even walk a few blocks to go to their friend's house to play, they are always asking me for a ride.  What is up with that?  They complain about having to walk to and from school and it is merely around the corner from our house too.  I have been so tempted to tell them about how I had to walk to school when I was a kid and it was over a mile to get there and I had to cross a major road in the process, (should I add in the snow, uphill both ways?).  But I haven't...yet.

So, I have made a concerted effort to walk where I need to go if it isn't too far and don't have to carry much. My babies love to walk to the park, we play the cable boxes at our neighbor's house like bongo drums, we watch the birds drink from another neighbor's fountain, we discovered a bush full of bees yesterday and we just stood right next to it and stared at them working away, it was mesmerizing.  Sometimes we race from one corner to the next and sometimes we just walk really slow.  When I have my nephews over and we all walk together, I feel like a mother duck with all her ducklings waddling behind her.

It starts when our kids are babies, I told myself it was baby exercise when they would cry and I couldn't get to them right away.  It took away some of the guilt that I had when I couldn't soothe them immediately.  Don't get me wrong, I tried not to let it happen too often, but when I told myself that a little exercise for a baby each day was good for them, I felt better about my parenting.

 As soon as they were old enough to go to the park and play, I let them.  Yes, it was a dirty gross cleanup some of the time, especially when they are still slobbering and crawling, but it is important to their physical growth that they get the chance to explore and play.

Kid exercise involves running around, playing tag or even a simple game of duck-duck-goose, riding bikes, scooters, and skateboards.  Climbing and hanging requires strength in both the large and small muscle groups of their arms and legs.  They learn balance and coordination as they master the monkey bars or climb over the toys.  Even climbing up the slide the wrong way (when nobody else is coming down) is an exellent strength exercise.  Have you tried it?  It is harder than it looks.  These activities are also why I think recess is important in the elementary school years.  Don't even get me started on the social reasons to take your kids to the park.

Think about it and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to develop a love of exercise in your children.  You are responsible for building that foundation now so that they will be more apt to be active when they are older.   Your kids might fight you on it now, but they will thank you for it later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ANWA

I don't know if you have noticed my widget just to the left of this post, but it is for my ANWA writer's Conference coming next week.  I am so stoked.  I'm even staying at the hotel with my ANWA sisters so I can be there to enjoy every single minute of it.

Do you like to write?  Do you wish you were a better writer?  Do you have something to say and don't know where to start?

I'm not even talking about necessarily having your work published, but that would be a bonus, wouldn't it?  I  joined ANWA when there wasn't even a group in my area.  I got the newsletter every month and wished I lived closer to other women who enjoyed writing.  When I moved to Mesa, I was blessed to be a part of a fabulous group of women who met monthly and encouraged and supported each other in their writing.

I've made fabulous friends and learned tons about writing in general.  All I wanted to ever do was work on family history stories and get them written down.  Now, I write for a newspaper and I get paid!!  I even finished the first draft of a novel back in November.

Conference is a time to really get excited about my work and to learn new skills while spending time with others who love to write as much as I do.  Come join us for the two and a half days, or just one day!  For more information about the conference, click here. www.anwawritersconference.com or for more information about our organization for LDS women, click here.  www.anwa-lds.org.

You know you want to come hang with me and my writer friends.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Manic Monday - My children are not Farm Animals, really they are not

Sometimes I think my children are just really farm animals by the way they graze all day in and out of my kitchen.  The thought of wanting to eat at all times of the day is making me crazy.  I know most of the time it is just pure boredom.  Not because there isn't a million things to do around here, but because sometimes we are just lazy.

I realize that I may have contributed to the problem.  When I was in school, there was a lot of times when I said to them, "feed yourselves, I have a paper due in two hours and I just started."  Yes, we ate a ton of pre-packaged food, cold cereal and ramen the last few years.  Gross.  But it was mostly my fault that we got into some bad habits.

I will also admit that I sit at this computer and do NOTHING, a lot of the time now.  Yes, I'm checking my e-mails for the booster club stuff that needs done, sometimes I am writing that awe-inspiring blog post, working on my book or editing something for a fellow writer, but I waste a lot of time doing nothing.  So do my kids.

They stare into the fridge like something is going to move and they are just going to stand there and wait for it to happen.  Shut the fridge already, nothing has changed from the last time you opened it and looked inside.

I'm ready to do something drastic. I'm laying the groundwork right now as I have started planning out our meals and snacks and posting them on the fridge.  It has been heaven not having to wonder what to make (or merely set out) for their after school snack.  When it comes to thinking about dinner, I can pull stuff out of the freezer the night before or that morning and do a lot of the prep work throughout the day so I'm not in a rush to figure out what to cook.

Here is how we are starting small.  I don't like to call them rules, because they are merely a way of life, it is how it is going to be around here from now on.

Normal #1 - If you don't want what is on the menu, you don't get another choice.  Period.  I'm not a short order cook.  I try to vary it so that there isn't too much complaining, but after just two weeks of the menu being up, the complaints are almost down to zero on the days when they don't like the snack.  This is huge.  I hate whining.

Normal #2 - I am not doing your kitchen chores for you because your life is so busy and you have so much to do.  This is not negotiable.  I do a ton of the work to keep this house running and your part is to pitch in.  It doesn't mean that I'm not going to do something nice for you once in a while, to reward you for your efforts.  Just don't plan on it.

It is just a start, but like I said, I'm building the foundation for some new attitudes around here.  About every other week, I am going to institute a new "normal" to add to our routine.  This is the beginning of something great, I can feel it.  I'm more on top of my life now and I'm gaining back some of the parental control I lost while I was consumed with my education.  We're getting back to our "normal" ASAP.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I have a Gift Giving Problem

I'm like a scrooge when it comes to buying gifts, but I think I've discovered the reason why.

I'm too practical.

There is very little frill or froof about me and it dribbles down into my gift giving in-ability.  You see, I've never had a lot of money, you know, so I can just go buy "things" because I know someone would enjoy it.  I've pretty much always had to be a penny pincher (and let's make it clear right now that I'm not complaining, cause I think even if I had lots of money, I'd still be pretty tight with it) so I've always had to choose my gifts carefully.

I have a problem with buying something cheap just because I need to give something.  I have tons of friends who take their kids to the dollar store and let them pick out whatever they want in order to be able to provide a gift for their sibling or their mom or dad, but I don't want or need anything that costs $1 and/or will break within a few hours of my owning it.  I understand the thinking on that one though, so I don't disagree with the concept, but in that scenario, I would have much rather a homemade card with a love not written in it than a $1 picture frame that I will probably never use, but that is just me.  Write me a sweet note and put a $1 in the card and I'll go refill my QT mug with some diet pepsi:)

I'm embarrassed to say that most of the time I don't even acknowledge someone's birthday, marriage, baby birth, etc. because I can't find just the right gift to give.  I have a serious problem.  And, I know that I would be so much happier if I just had a stash of gift cards on hand for such occasions.  I hate it when I do that.

We don't agree around here about the use of technology.  Ben is a techno geek (and I mean that with all the love in my heart) and while there isn't anything wrong with that, he is more willing to give my kids technology type toys as a gift.  I, on the other hand, can appreciate technology, but not crazy about how it affects a human's ability to relate to people socially, but that is a different blog post altogether.  I think they are expensive and very easily broken when put into the hands of someone who doesn't have the maturity to take good care of them.

I also believe that my children already have everything they need and most of the things they want.  I loathe the assumption that just because it is a traditional gift giving holiday, I must purchase a gift for them.  Having said that, I do enjoy the faces of my children on Christmas morning or their birthday when I am able to break down and get that one thing that I knew they truly wanted with the knowledge that they will be able to take care of that gift.

When it comes to buying gifts for my children, I generally turn to my husband, who seems to know better what they want than I do.  I usually leave it up to him to decide what they get for their birthday because I would come up with things like a metal garbage can for one kid's room because the little one in there doesn't seem to be big enough to hold all the garbage created inside, or hangars for the girls who never seems to have enough because all their clean clothes are always on the floor or in the laundry basket.  My favorite gift I ever gave was a fancy broom because my neighbor's had broken just before her birthday and she kept borrowing ours.  One year, someone gave me a year supply of a really great hair gel.  Best. Gift. Ever.

I have several basic criteria when choosing gifts for children:  I like toys to be educational, but not boring, inexpensive but not cheap, and if I can, something they need but yet something they want.  I also love toys that serve a purpose, memory games (memory), tangrams and magnets (math, spacial order, imagination), board/card games (spend time with family, colors, numbers, math), outdoor toys like bikes and cars to ride on (imagination, exercise, outdoor play), and of course, athletic equipment (exercise, family time, outdoor play).  Books.  I can't say enough about books, but I know that in my family, there are only a few who appreciate receiving a book as a gift and she and I are kindred spirits.

I hate buying clothes for my kids because I can rarely even come close to getting them something they want and they usually have so much, they don't need anymore.  Sizing is always a problem because they grow so quickly too.  I hate doing returns more than I hate shopping.  But the practical side of me was the happiest this Christmas season when I came home with 7 packages of socks and 7 packages of underwear because my kids needed them so desperately.  Yes, I wrapped them up and gave them to them for Christmas too.

Mostly my rant comes just because the Christmas season has just passed and it is hear breaking to watch the lack of celebrating the true reason for Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  My most favorite gift this year came in the form of an envelope with some money inside.  Each one of my siblings received one from our parents. Inside, the letter explained beautifully,

"Emerson said, "Rings and Jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts.  The only true gift is a portion of yourself."  We celebrate Christmas because Heavenly Father, in his perfection "gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  This Christmas we must ponder what portion of God's gifts we are willing to receive, enjoy, and share.
Enclosed you will find a small amount of money.  It is our Christmas wish that each of you will meet with your families and discuss how you can use this money in the service of others.  Have every member help in the project and do it as a family.
We would then, like each of you, especially you grandkids, to write a short paragraph telling us what you did and how you felt about it."

I'm going to have to list this in my top 5 gifts ever received list.  It had thought put into it, it wasn't something I was going to have to return or exchange (or put directly into the donate pile), and I always need to find ways to serve and this has kept me thinking since then about what we can do with our gift to bless someone else.  In return, my parents will get to hear from their children and grandchildren about how they went about serving others.  That will be a gift to them in return.  This gift shows the true spirit of gift giving.

Now, to finally pick that special service project...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Thursday - How I spend my state tax refund

I hate to shop.  Loathe it.  I dislike it almost as much as wearing anything purple.  But, there is one day of the year that is the best day for me to go shopping.  It is the day I get my state tax refund!!  I use mine to shop for non-food items to replenish my supply so I don't have to shop throughout the year.

That is how I choose to spend my refund every year.  I'd like to go on a fancy trip (not that that is a bad choice, just not my choice), I'd like to splurge on something fantastical (I did spend some of it on Marly's senior year sports camp in August), or I'd like to fix up some stuff around the house. For me, I like knowing that almost everything I need is on hand without making a special trip to the Chevron to buy a package of toilet paper. (not that I would ever do that, but you know what I mean)

Some of you are wondering why with a family as large as mine, why don't I do the coupon thing?  I think it is too much work and the stuff I get is normally the store brand name stuff anyway which rarely goes on sale.  I like  to just get it over with and have it on the shelf.  Besides, the comments I get while I'm shopping are priceless.  You can just imagine.

I took Drew and his friend Nate with me.  They absolutely loved helping me until they were told by employees that they could not ride on top, that it was unsafe.  I refrained from saying anything earlier for fear of losing my title of "coolest mom."  I knew it wouldn't be long until someone set them straight anyway, glad it wasn't me.

This is the loot we came home with.  It isn't all there, just most of it, but you get the idea.  I spent a pretty penny stocking up on these items that I hate running out of:
Deodorant
Shampoo
Conditioner
Toothbrushes
Toothpaste
Floss
Mouthwash
Body Soap
Bar Soap
Hand Soap
TOILET PAPER!!!!
TAMPONS!!!
DIAPERS
Vacuum bags
Razors
Batteries
Lotion
Hair ties
Band Aids
Antibiotic Ointment
Cold Medicines
Pain Medicines
and more.

But, even better than that, is being able to put it all away.  I'm a huge fan of all those cute ways to organize things, but for me, just seeing everything where it ought to be, in mostly even and organized rows is good enough.  I'm glad I didn't take a pre-picture because it was so awful and unorganized.  It is also a great time to clean out things too.                                                                                I organized the little girl's hair stuff and cleaned out my jewelry box.  I threw away old ribbons that someone had cut too short or clips that were past the point of repair.  Earrings that had lost their match or were broken were throw out too. I found all the stray rubber bands and put them in a baggie, along with all the bobby pins.                                                        For small things, I have some bins, like on the bottom shelf for the batteries.  The razors and shaving cream are in a bin of their own, along with the toothbrushes and floss that don't stack very neatly.                The very top of the cupboard is for the unopened packages of toilet paper and paper towels.  When they get opened, they go down lower where small people can reach.  I put the lotions and children's detangler up high so that they can't reach them without help.  Same goes with the feminine products.  I can't for the life of me figure out why they like to open them up.
As I was cleaning out my jewelry box (it didn't take long, I don't own that much.)  I came across the small drawer where I keep all my sentimental things.  I don't ever use them, I just like to take them out sometimes and show my kids and stroll down memory lane.  
Some of my friends will find it humorous some of the things I still have.    
My charm from completing all 5 years of girls camp, back when we were Yearling, Mountaineer, Inspirator, Adventurer and YCLs (I'm very proud of that.)  Mother's Day charms from the kids.  The watches I wore back when I didn't own a cell phone.  My Smitty's name tag that I wore when I met Ben.  Ben's missionary name tag that broke so he mailed it to me.  The first time I was ever the team mom for Vance's football team. (Who knew that I would eventually become JohnsonTeamMom?)  Vance's Eagle pin for his mom that Says Eagle Mom.  The silhouette pin that came from my Grandma Whetten when she passed away.  And, the funniest thing I have kept is the little ring that my boyfriend in 9th grade gave to me (anyone know where Marlin is these days?)  Ah, a walk down memory lane.  Good times.

Before I cleaned out the medicine cupboard
Then, I moved to the medicine cupboard.  I purchase new bandaids, ointment, cold medicines, etc. to replenish what we have used throughout the year.  I pull everything out and check expiration dates.  I throw out stuff I know is too old or that is not used anymore and dispose of it properly, then I put everything back.  The top shelf is for the new bottles of stuff or things like the albuterol for the breathing machine and extra boxes of bandaids and miscellaneous first aid stuff.
 
After I cleaned it out

When it is all cleaned out, it is easier to find things and I don't worry about things that are old and expired getting used.

I keep the things that we use most often on this shelf so that they are easily found and accessible.






That is what I do with my state tax refund.  If you get one, what do you do with yours?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Workout Wednesday - Push Yourself

Yesterday, I did my annual tax refund year supply stock up shopping at WalMart and Costco (more about that another day).  I rewarded my helpers with pizza and myself with some take out sushi.  It was 1:45 when I ate and I figured that by 4:45 when I was home and ready to go on my run, that I had given myself plenty of time to digest my food.  I was so wrong.

I burped and threw up a little in my mouth for the first half a mile and then stopped in some rocks to try and throw up.  Nothing.  If you know how much I hate to throw up, you'll know how difficult that was for me.  But I was miserable and wanted to do my run so I was willing to do whatever it took to feel better.  I continued my run and by the time I hit one mile, I decided that I would do a shorter run today because I felt so crappy.

I got to my usual corner and had to make a choice to head home or head out.  I decided to push through it and I headed out on my route to do my entire run as planned. I had decided this run was going to be more mental than physical, even though the physical part was killing me.  I kept thinking how I would react if this was happening to me on my marathon run in June and I decided right there in my head that I was not going to let a little stomach upset keep me from doing what needed to be done.  I trudged on.

Just as I reached the halfway point, I was finally able to get into a natural rhythm and was starting to feel better.  I even picked up my pace a little.  When I reached the last quarter of my run, I was beat.  I decided that since there was no turning back, I would just do some lunges and then run up the small hill, do some squats and then walk home the rest of my route.  At the top of the hill I thought to myself, "you are stronger than this.  You can't let a little upset stomach stop you."  I was glad I was at the top because as I started jogging down the hill and the momentum carried me enough that I decided to push myself and run the rest of the way home.

Guess what?  I did it.  It took me several minutes longer than normal, but I finished.  And guess what?  It didn't kill me!!  I survived. I even made it to a church activity later that night with my husband and daughter:)

Isn't that like life?  Sometimes we come up against an obstacle or a trial that we think we can't overcome.  Then, when we push ourselves to the limit of what we are capable of, we are able to look back and see how far we came.  And, in the end we realize looking back, it wasn't as hard as we originally thought it would be.

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." T. S. Eliot 

Monday, February 6, 2012

My always say yes theory.

I wish I knew where I heard this first, but it was many years ago when my older ones were young.  I'd like to give credit where it is due, but I simply cannot remember.

This is the rule of thumb I rely on when my children ask me if they can do something.

Always say yes unless you have a good reason to say no.

It has worked for me all these years that I thought I would share it with you.  It makes it so much easier when they ask me for permission to do something when both of us know the answer is yes unless I have an excellent reason to deny them.

I want my kids to experience anything and everything they can in this life.  I don't want them to be sheltered or under-privileged.  I want them to do things that freak them out (in a good way) and that challenge them to work hard and get what they want.

I will give you some actual examples so that you know what I am talking about:

Sometimes the littlest ones come to me with those sweet little cherub faces and ask if they can play outside.  If I can drop what I'm doing and sit outside with them and watch them play, the answer is always yes.  If I am in the middle of making dinner then obviously the answer is no.  If I am just sitting on FaceBook on the computer and they ask, the answer should be yes.  Sitting on the computer (watching t.v. reading a book, etc.) are not good enough reasons for them to not be able to go outside (in my opinion).  So we go.  This one is a no-brainer to me.

My point is, that unless I have what "I" (or you) consider to be a good reason, then I let the kids play outside.  As long as I'm going outside, I may even take them to the park or simply go on a walk with them.

When it comes to older kids, this is where I have had to really test my theory out a lot.  We have an extra car that we let our kids drive when they get their license.  Along with that comes certain responsibilities to ensure they are able to drive that car when they want to.  When they ask to go out in the evenings, I generally know who they are with, where they are going and when they will be home.  If any of these are not answered, then I have the right to say no.  Danger for my child's safety or concern over questionable friends and their habits would be a good reason to say no, obviously.  

I can't say that I have ever had a good example of a situation where I told them no and then something really bad happened and they were blessed for not getting into that situation.  I'm sure there have been times when I have been impressed to tell them no but then was also able to back it with a good reason.  Having said that, I know that if I felt impressed to tell them no but had no good reason to back it with, I would follow that prompting.  Some people call it mother's intuition, I call it a whisper of the spirit that comes from the gift of the Holy Ghost.  If you want to understand that more fully, click on the link.

One of the best things I have ever done is tell them yes even when something was too expensive.  When my daughter wanted to take extra tumbling classes, I told her she absolutely could, as long as she paid for it herself.  It took the financial burden off of me and released me of the emotional burden that I sometimes get from telling them no.  It doesn't mean that I don't pitch in when I can or help her find ways to earn money, it just puts the effort on her shoulders and not mine.  I rarely use the "I have no money" excuse.  Even when the candy man comes around playing his annoying music and selling my kids over-priced junk food, and my kids come running to me begging me for money so they can buy a snack.  I open the fridge and say,

 "Of course you can have a snack, I have fresh apples and oranges, there are some bananas on the counter, you can make yourself a piece of toast or have a bowl of cereal and save your money!" 

 "But we want CANDY mom!!"

"But candy will rot your teeth and is full of empty calories and no nutrition"  I say.

I always say yes unless I have a good reason.  When my fridge is empty and there is some change in my purse, sometimes I do splurge:)

One thing I want to make clear is that I never use the reason "because I said so" as a reason to say no.  I think it lessens my authority as their mother and the truth of it is, it isn't a reason at all.  It's like saying I don't really have a good reason, I am just saying no because I feel like it.  

Over the years, I have had to tell my children "no" a lot of the time, but I find that I am willing to let them do things that seem out of MY comfort zone simply because I didn't have a good reason to say no.  I am happy to say that I have yet to find a flaw in my theory and I am continually looking for one.

That is why I always say yes, unless I have a good reason to say no.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Manic Monday - Keep Calm, my "10" rule

I have a problem with becoming frustrated easily.  Some of it is caused by things not getting done in a timely manner by my family, some of it by school administration/teachers, and some of it by just plain old dumb people.  The reality is that I choose how to react to those situations.

I have decided that the most effective way to deal with these problems is to keep calm.  I have a "10" rule.  Depending on the circumstance, I either count to 10, wait 10 hours or even 10 days.  Each case is different.

If my children are the frustration, I count to 10 before I explode (or at least I try to remember to do that).  I'm not perfect, but generally by the time I slowly count to 10, some of the red hot fire of the situation has been diffused and I am able to think in my head the best possible solution to my frustration.  I can't change who my children are, but I can certainly be responsible for myself and how I respond to those triggers especially with those I love the most on this earth.

When it comes to my husband, I am blessed.  I can't think of any situation where I have been mad enough that I even had to count to 10 before I spoke.  This case is the only exception to my rule and it may sound weak and wrong when I say it, but when it comes to Ben, I generally just let it go and keep my mouth shut.  I am so glad this doesn't happen very often, I'd even say rarely.  But, the only reason this works is because he does the same thing for me and boy am I glad for that:) My life on this earth is too short to be angry with the man I love most on this earth.

When it comes to dealing with the school, whether it is a teacher or school official, I also use the 10 rule.  If it is an urgent situation, I try to wait 10 hours before writing the crucial e-mail or calling the school.  This gives me time to cool off and reflect on all the different aspects of the situation, not just my own side of it.  If it is non-urgent, I try to use the 10 day rule before I do or say anything about it.  Generally, after a few days, the whole thing has blown over or naturally resolved itself.

Ben has a similar rule when coaching football:  If a parent is upset about something that happened at practice or a game, he asks the parent to please feel free to call him on his cell phone THE NEXT DAY.  That way, the situation has been diffused and people are more likely to remain calm and discuss the problem and focus on a solution, rather than have a heated argument about what happened, which usually solves very little.

When it comes to dumb people, I just shrug it off most of the time and hope that in the next 10 years, they will figure out how dumb they really are and come to their senses.  Age improves everything, right?  Okay, maybe not everything, but sometimes it just isn't worth getting upset over.

Truly, our life here on this earth is just a pin point mark on our eternal existence.  Who knows how long we will be here?  We don't have time to be mean or ugly with others because today could be our last day on earth.  Sometimes it happens though, and the best thing you can do is make sure you apologize quickly and move on.  Tim McGraw said it best in his song "Live Like You Were Dying,"


...And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
And he said
Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workout Wednesday

Can you tell what is on my mind lately?  Yes.  Exercise.  I'm in a weight loss challenge and doing all right.  I'm 13th this week coming from not even in the top 20 last week.  I need to kick it in gear if I want to get into the top 7 by Monday and that will be the half way point.  But that is neither here nor there.  Today I want to talk about one way I think exercise is more fun...and that is with a partner.

Overnight hike for girl's camp while pregnant with #8 in 2009
I have lots of training partners, but my favorite is this one, my husband.  We have lots of fun together, hiking, running, and walking. He is my most favorite work out partner, but not because we always do it together, but because he supports me.  When I want to go running at 4 in the afternoon, he does mom duty for an hour or so so I can have my time.  I love it.  He supports me by joining races or even just keeping the kids for two days straight so I can do my favorite ragnar relay race.



I don't run or exercise for the social aspect of it, I run/jog for my health and so I can have at least an hour a day to myself, but I still consider my friends as partners in my training. I'm not a very fast runner and so I hate the thought of someone having to run slow so we can stay together and I can't usually schedule my runs very far than 1/2 hour in advance, so planning to train with them is sometimes hard.

I do love going to the gym with Jana so we can walk on the treadmill and visit or do our floor exercises and talk.  It was hard when we were both going to school and working to find time to just sit on the couch, so this was the next best solution.  Recently, I found out that our young women are training for a triathalon in the spring and they invited the women to come join with them as they do a boot camp at the park a few days a week.  My kids can play while I work out with my friends.  I love it.

There is a social aspect to race day and that is what I love.  I love that I am usually part of a group training for a run together, like the time Ben and I trained with Darcey and my brother Donny to do a triathalon a few years back. Ben and I would bike together and I could go to the YMCA and put the kids in the daycare while I swam laps.  The training was separate mostly, but knowing there were others doing it with me kept me motivated to train so that I could hope to not be dead last of our group.  Well, I still was last, but it was nice to have them there to cheer me on at the finish line.

Ragnar Phoenix 2011
I've made tons of friends through the Ragnar Relay race that is held all over the country, but specifically here in Phoenix every February.  It is 12 runners running 200 or so miles relay style.  It is the worst fun I have ever endured.  Each person runs 3 separate legs of 3-8 miles each.  We started on Friday morning and finished on Saturday night.  Last year, my total was 16 miles and I thought I was going to die at the end, and I think I had it easy compared to some of my friends, but it was so much fun.

So, my challenge to you is to find a partner, not necessarily one to train with, but someone to help you be accountable so that you WILL train.  Maybe you just need to get out and walk every day, you can definitely do that with a friend while even pushing the babies in the stroller.  Consider finding a race and sign up with a partner whether you train together or not.  I love the popularity of weight loss challenges too and the moral support I get from those friends.  I know we are all partners in it together and it makes the ride much more enjoyable.  It is also my hope that your spouse will be your favorite partner as they support you in your efforts to get healthy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Workout Wednesday

Exercise is an important part of my life.  My dad has struggled with heart problems for 12 years now.  He had his first heart attack in his 50's.  That is only a few short years from where I am and it has me constantly on guard as to how to better take care of my heart, not only through exercise, but diet as well.

Exercise has always been a fundamental part of my life since I was a kid.  I played church softball, volleyball and basketball since junior high.  I ran track, played basketball and was a cheerleader in high school.  I have always remained very active mostly because I am just not a sedentary person, there is just too much to do to spend it sitting on a couch watching t.v.

I played team sports, water skiied, repelled, did a lot of walking with friends as I got older and kept myself busy playing with the kids enough that I never felt the need to really "exercise."  That is, until that one day when I broke my ankle back in the summer of 2004 on a repelling run getting ready for girl's camp.  Yeah.  I couldn't even put weight on it in the cast for 8 weeks, then there were so many pins and screws in it, I didn't walk comfortably for another year when I finally had another surgery to have them removed.  That was with 6 kids, my youngest had just turned one year old.

The Dr. said I would never run again and I didn't care at the time, I was focused on getting off the pain meds and trying to run a household and not limp. Once the ankle healed and I felt comfortable enough to walk for exercise again, I tried running.  I didn't run very far or very often, but every once in a while, just to prove I could...I did.  Then I fell in love.  With running.  My oldest son calls it jogging, but when you are my age, you an call it whatever you want, even if you can't even do a mile in twice the amount of time it takes your oldest child.
This is me after finishing mile #16 in two days.  Ha ha.

I run only about one race each year but I am training for a marathon this year sometime, I just need to find one that isn't on a Sunday and isn't too far away.  What I absolutely love is the Ragnar series of races where you team up with 11 other runners and run a relay of about 200 miles as a team.  It is super fun, it takes two days to do it and I love it.  I'm going to California in April for that race with some friends from here.  So that is what I'm training for now.

My point is, that you don't have to be speed racer to get exercise.  Consider how much you exercise now and figure out how to do it more often.  Do you know what great exercise vacuuming and mopping are?  Not only would your house be cleaner, it burns tons of calories!  Maybe you didn't know that but you already do it, so pat yourself on the back for that one.

Gardening is another great one.  I know after working in the yard for an hour or so, I'm exhausted and my back and arms ache.  What if you did it a little bit every single day?  Imagine how toned your arms would be and how strong your back would become.

Next time you take the kids to the park, walk.  When you get there, push all the kids on the swings and see how long it takes before you get tired, it happens faster than you think.

Park your car furthest from the entrance to the grocery store.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Take the stuff upstairs to put it away instead of piling it on the bottom stair for someone else to do it.  (that was for me).  Do jumping jacks/push ups/sit ups/whatever during the commercials of the show you are watching instead of sitting there.

The point is to just do something more than you are doing now.  Ready. Get set.  Go.  What are you going to do more of?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bad Mommy Award...or do I just train them well?

Sometimes I get caught up in what I'm doing and since I generally lock myself in my office (there is no door to my office, it is a figurative "lock"), sometimes I forget to pay attention to what my little ones are doing.  I mean, there are like 6 other older people in this house, I feel like I have eyes all over the place.  Well, my attention was riveted on a Netflix documentary called Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird (Very, very interesting). I was watching it on my computer while doing some crafting (New Year's Resolution see here) and Skylar came down and asked where Derek was.

Panic set in.  Do you know that feeling?  My heart started to pound and my hands started to get tingly.

I didn't know where he was and I hadn't seen or heard from him in over an hour.  I knew he was upstairs watching t.v. last I remembered so I ran up the stairs.  I thought maybe he fell asleep watching television or  playing with some toys.  I looked in all the rooms upstairs where the lights were on then ran back downstairs and looked some more.  I ran back up the stairs and into his bedroom which was dark.  I turned on the light and there was my sweet baby boy.  He had crawled into his bed and even covered himself up with the sheet (don't ask me why it wasn't on his bed).  Whew.  My heartbeat has slowed considerably and the shakiness in my fingers is subsiding as I write about it.
So, does it make me a bad mommy for my lack of supervision?  Or am I a fabulous mom for training him to do exactly what he ought to do when he gets tired?  Don't tell me, I don't want to know.