Archive for December, 2010

I’m Making a New Year’s Resolution…I Think~

December 31, 2010

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New Year’s Eve. Time to think about all that’s transpired this year and all I’d like to see/do/change in the new year. It’s been a good year. It’s been a challenging year. It’s been a year full of life and all that brings. But I can’t help but feel that I could’ve gotten more out of it. I could’ve been Doing the Dance a little more efficiently.

Last year I told myself I’d do a better job of taking care of my health and make healthier choices. I’m not sure it was an actual “resolution”, but I knew it was something I needed to do and wanted to do and believe it or not, I did it! I spent a few weeks this summer learning how to better exercise and how to better fuel my body with the foods that it actually needs. Good Stuff!

This year, I’m tapping myself on the shoulder and asking that I stop procrastinating. That I look at the things before me, the hurdles they may require, put on my running shoes and face each thing with the determination and grace it takes to get over them. I’ve GOT to stop feeling so challenged by anything “new”! The most frustrating part is that every time I sit and stew and fret over something that challenges me, I waste a ton of time before I eventually tackle it. And every time I wonder why-the-heck I took so long to take care of it. Why I let it scare or challenge me.

So, my resolution is to stop procrastinating and stop letting mole hills look like mountains and just get on with it already!

~big breath~

Alright 2011, let’s do this!

Doing the Dance of the Children into the New Year~

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How I Can Be a Better M.O.M.

December 30, 2010

After the busyness of Thanksgiving, Clay’s retirement & all the prep and celebration for and of Christmas, I decided I needed to take a few days to breathe deeply, sleep in, watch movies, visit with family and friends and work on the computer-all very good ideas. But somehow, within an hour of walking out the door, I get the clarity that doesn’t happen in the house in the middle of Doing the Dance and suddenly I have a zillion ideas of how I want to do things better. I can think of all the ways in which I want to better focus on my kiddos and all the books I want to read to them, all the stories they tell, that I want to better focus on, all the fun things I want to do that we haven’t gotten to. Then I get to where I’m going and all I can think of is getting back so I can start putting into action all my wonderful thoughts.

REALITY-

I walk through the door after a couple days gone and have every intention of beginning all these wonderful, motherly things and I begin to pick up the items that I don’t want to trip over, start a load of laundry, ask someone why they’re upset, tell kids to stop arguing, start thinking about the prep of whatever meal comes next, get asked to drive someone to wherever they need/want to go…

It’s so much easier to be a better M.O.M. when the kids aren’t actually involved!

Doing the Dance of the Children With Great Ideals in My Head~

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A Mommy of Many™ Tip

December 29, 2010

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Smoke and Mirrors!

I had meant to make it over to Costco on Christmas Eve to pick up pies. I knew exactly what I wanted, but just couldn’t find the time for the trip over. So, at the last minute I ran over to Vons, picked up 2 pumpkin pies, 2 apple pies, whipped cream and some vanilla ice cream. It all sounded good, but the apple pies looked a little pathetic…just too…Store-Bought.

Solution!

I sent Kateri to the internet to pull up a crumble topping recipe and make those pies our own! Seriously, it made all the difference!

Running short on time? Wanna perk up a store-bought apple or berry pie? Add your own crumble topping, bake until golden and ENJOY!

Doing the Dance of Children With the Help of Smoke and Mirrors~

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Kids…They Keep it Interesting!

December 24, 2010

Soooo…I’m locked in my room making Christmas magic happen & I hear Max calling me and crying. Then I hear throwing up. So out of my room I go-

Me-”what happened?! Are you throwing up?! Are you ok?!
Max-”That Super Glue in the kitchen got on my tongue!” *puke*
Me-”how did SUPER GLUE get on your tongue?!”
Max-”I didn’t knowwwwww! I just thought it was regular”
Me-”REGULAR?! Why would you put ANY glue in your mouth?!”
Max-*puke*

My best advice to him was to drink some water (of course!), keep throwing up and don’t ever put ANY glue near his mouth again!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Reminding them Not to Eat Glue~

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M.O.M.’s Wish List

December 24, 2010

Why not?

I’ve listened to, helped write, mail and passed along everyone else’s Christmas Wish Lists. I figure that it’s time for me to put mine out there.

After assessing everything around me here’s the list I’ve come up with;

New Pyrex-a couple of my key pieces have fallen prey to slippery kiddo hands and the hard floor, rending them shattered.

A Mani/Pedi-Have you seen my hands?! Workin Mama hands for sure! They need a little love.

Polishing cloths for my Silpada items. I have several pieces that could benefit from some time spent with a polishing cloth!

My car washed and vacuumed out. My car’s been being used by the several drivers in the house and it’s looking a little haggard and worn out. A good washing and vacuuming would help it feel and look better!

M.O.M. time! Actually I’m going to take a little time to myself next week to recoup from Thanksgiving/Retirement/Christmas. I’m hoping to give this little website of mine the attention it’s been lacking and get everything all perked up for the New Year!

An evening out at Costa Brava with my friends. It’s been WAY TOO long since I’ve spent an evening catching up with and laughing with all the great ladies in my life!

New belts-I’ve been limping my black belt along for far too long.

That’s it. I don’t really need/want much. I’ve been very blessed with all that I truly need.

Merry Christmas everyone! Here’s to all the Mamas out there who are locked in their bedrooms/garages/guest rooms, wrapping gifts and making all the magic happen.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Looking Forward to the Priceless Look on Their Lil Faces After The Gifts are Under the Tree~

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Cutting Up My Cards

December 23, 2010

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While I was out shopping, I picked up a new wallet for myself. So this morning I was switching everything over when I decided it was finally time to get rid of those cards in my wallet.

I haven’t used a credit card in several months. I made a decision to use only cash for all my grocery shopping, filling up the cars and personal shopping. Each payday I go to the bank, take out the budgeted amount, divvy it into marked envelopes and off I go, staying on budget and being more conscience of what I’m buying. But…I left the cards in my wallet, like a security blanket. It was silly, really, because they’d been canceled and weren’t even there for “emergency usage”, they just simply made me feel better.

This is the first Christmas that I can EVER remember that I’m going out to the stores, cash-in-hand. I know exactly what I’m spending and I won’t have any remorse come January. It’s been a really great experience! A difficult transition, in the beginning, yes, but SO worth it in the long-run!

So today, I grabbed the scissors and the garbage can and I made confetti of all those useless and enslaving cards! New wallet and no security blanket!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Staying on Budget~

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My Mess

December 22, 2010

Who needs a list? Never mind that one of my BIGGEST pieces of advice to moms is to ALWAYS make a list! I thought I could sit down with my stack of Christmas cards, put the card into each envelope, stamp them, write names and my return address on them and I’d do just fine, thank you very much, without taking the time to write a list.

Wrong!

As I got the names on each envelope, I started addressing them, leaving the hard-to-find addresses for later. As I would finish each night, I’d put them in the mail. 2 key things have gone wrong;

1) I’m unsure who I’ve sent cards to. Yes, I have an idea, but I’m not CERTAIN!

2) I wrote out the names and my return address in a pretty, gold gel pen-that has now run out! It’s not like I can just run over to Michael’s and get another because it was part of a 40pk. So, from here on out, anyone receiving a card will have their name and my address written in gold and their addresses written in green.

Guess I should’ve taken my own advice!

So, excuse me for odd envelopes and if you happen to receive NO card or TWO cards! M.O.M. is Doing the Dance and didn’t pay attention to the steps~

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Slowing Down the Frenzied Holiday Pace

December 21, 2010

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It’s rainy and cold outside and I’ve got the 4 lil kiddos around the dining table with a couple different Christmas crafts while my laptop plays How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s quiet and peaceful and it’s exactly what I want for today.

Yesterday I was out shopping for the ENTIRE day and by about the 4th hour I was becoming frantic and unfocused. I had to take time to sit down with some iced tea and rewrite my list and come up with a plan for exactly where I was going from there. It’s maddening out there! Just when you think you know what you’re shopping for, something shiny and amazing catches your eye and you begin to wonder if your list is long enough or if you’ve included everyone!

So today I’m boycotting the front door. I will not be walking out of it. I think it’s an important strategy, if I want to give my kiddos any sense of Holiday Spirit. Otherwise it’s just all about Mom running a zillion errands and coming home tired and grumpy.

After crafts I plan to hang all the cards we’ve received and start packaging up the peppermint sticks that the kiddos dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with holiday goodness, so that they can be passed out in the neighborhood.

Here’s to taking a break from the frenzied Holiday pace and regrouping with my kiddos~

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Gabi Expressing Herself

December 18, 2010

Gabi's Feelings

After jumping on the couch and love seat, swinging from the arms of the chairs and being told to go to her room for not listening, Gabi expressed her feelings through art.

I asked her to explain the picture and she said that she crossed out the happy face because she isn’t happy to have a time out in her room and she circled the sad face because she’s sad.

I hope she remembers that she doesn’t like time outs and stops jumping on the furniture!

This picture is a keeper!

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You’ve Gotta Love the Confidence of Kiddos!

December 18, 2010

Not so long ago I wrote about being nervous about how groceries were going to be bought, now that Clay is retired and his pay has changed. The next morning, we woke up to groceries left at our front door. Immediately my family asked if I’d blogged that we needed toilet paper and fruit.

Today, a Christmas Tree was left at our doorstep. Again came the question-Did I blog about not yet having a Christmas Tree? NO! It wasn’t that we COULDN’T get a tree, I just haven’t had time. (come to find out, 2 of my kiddos had been down to the housing office, yesterday, and were asked if we had a tree yet. When they answered “no”, housing decided to drop one off. I’m gonna miss Military Housing!). But here’s what the kids said next-

“Mom, you need to blog that in July we need a house! Maybe 1 will show up at our door!”

:-)

I love my kids! There’s nothing like the confidence of kiddos.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Smiling With Each Step~

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Fed Up!

December 14, 2010

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This is how my morning started. I’m noticing a frustrating pattern lately of the dish-doer in the house, simply not doing them. It’s actually been going on for some time, but in the last couple of months that Clay was home, he would just roll up his sleeves and do them. Now that he’s away, I’ve been waking up, heading into the kitchen to start making the lunches and put on the coffee and finding that I need to spend a great amount of my morning time, getting enough dishes done so that I can actually work in the kitchen.

This is NOT OK!

Every one of my kids knows what their chores are. They know exactly what’s expected of them and what the consequence for not doing their chores is supposed to be. But lately I’ve run into some snags. The older kids (getting older all the time) have different schedules and responsibilities than they had in the past. Now there are intense sports schedules, jobs and high school homework to consider. It all makes the “cut and dry” rules and consequences void. But unfortunately that leaves me to pick up the slack. I find myself caught in a spiral of trying to get 3 teenage girls to see that we all have to work together or it’s all going to fall apart. When they don’t do what they are supposed to I’m finding it more and more difficult to enforce consequences.

But I can’t do it ALL! I’m spending an hour each morning just picking up the slack that they left. I wake up, switch the laundry, start a new load, wipe down the kitchen counters and stove, sweep the floor, unload and reload the dishes, before I can then start MY work of making the lunches and the coffee and then hoping to grab a shower before the 3 teens jump in.

I need a new system! Something’s gotta change. With a household of this size, it’s simply not feasible for 1 person, even if I am M.O.M. to get this all done. And frankly, I shouldn’t be expected to! I’m out of the house for most of each day, with work/errands/picking up and dropping kiddos off. If these older girls don’t get back into a good routine of helping out I’ll never be able to get the extra things I’m supposed to do, done.

I still have decorating and shopping, wrapping, card writing and lil kiddo cuddling that needs to happen.

I’m asking for your suggestions on how to get busy teens to understand that home responsibilities need to be a priority for everything to run smoothly (like it always has in the past). I also need a new set of consequences because frankly, mine aren’t working.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Looking For Some New Steps~

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Oh Holiday Tension-Thanks For Rearing Your Ugly Head

December 11, 2010

I woke up this morning with all the stress of trying to figure out how Christmas was so close. I haven’t even decorated the house yet! Last weekend was retirement and the school week was full of Christmas programs, Ladie’s Club Gift Exchanges, meeting up with friends who’ve moved out of the state and are visiting and a Silpada party. So…here it is! Go time! But it’s not just a matter of stopping everything and focusing on getting shopping and decorating done. No! There was a water polo tournament for 2 of my girls, a church to be cleaned, a daughter to get to work and 4 lil kiddos who wanted something to fill their time on this Saturday.

I think I was hitting my breaking point and my 18 year old son could hear the, uh, tension in my voice. He broke the day up for me, took on the church cleaning and told me to go do something “fun” with the lil ones. God bless the kiddos who tune into M.O.M.’s human moments!

So I loaded up the 4 youngest and my daughter who needed a ride to work. We dropped her off, sat down with some hot chocolate at Starbucks for a little bit and then were able to go out and catch the last game of the girls’ tournament. Now that they have hit the showers and can take a little time to relax, I think I’ll take the lil ones out to a Holiday Carnival that’s going on nearby.

Hmmm…none of that actually solves ANY of my Christmas decorating or shopping issues, but it did diffuse the tension I was feeling. We have an event this evening, so maybe after we get home I can sit with a glass (or 2) of wine and start addressing those cards. One of these years I think I might just make 1 card, scan it in, post it and wish everyone a Very Merry Holiday Season. Hmmm…

Here’s to kiddos who help M.O.M. and ease a little stress and here’s to remembering what this season is all about. I need to remind myself sometimes!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Wednesday Catch Up

December 8, 2010

Wow it’s been busy!

First of all, Clay’s retirement ceremony and celebration were beautiful! I will write a post dedicated to all that when I can get a little more time. There are many beautiful pictures to share!

But since the retirement I haven’t had a moment to catch my breath. The day after the ceremony 12 of us went to tea to celebrate Mariah’s birthday. She had both her grandmothers in town, which NEVER happens, so I gathered up all the girls, added my cousin-who was a trooper at a tea with 11 women and we all went to Shakespeare Corner Shoppe for their Holiday Tea. It was GREAT! I would like to go back with Gabi and a couple of her friends for their Children’s Tea. Afterward we ran Mariah to work and headed home to prepare the food I was bringing to the St. Nicholas’ Day potluck at our church the next morning and to get everyone together to head over to USD where Skelpin was opening for Matt Maher. We enjoyed a great evening of music ! But this M.O.M. sure was tired when I got home!

Sunday was Full, Full, Full! Everyone got dressed for church, a pot luck, a performance by the children and a visit from St. Nick! Once the festivities were over it was time to load the van and go straight to the kiddos’ last soccer game and finish it all up with an awards ceremony. From there, we all gathered at our favorite, local sushi bar, Kabuki, and celebrated Mariah’s 17th birthday! Then it was home for the cake and to get Kateri to the airport!

I think I fell into bed Sunday night, not being able to believe that the next day was Monday and our regular routine needed to happen. It was TOUGH to get out of bed when my alarm went off!

Clay left Monday morning for a job interview in Louisiana. He was to be out there from Monday-Wednesday, but I got the call last night that he’d been offered the position and would begin TODAY. He will be out there for the next 2 weeks for training and then back for 2 weeks and then he’ll start his regular schedule, which will be on 1 week, off 1 week. So, until the end of the school year, he’ll be traveling back and forth. From there, we’ll figure it out.

See why I’ve been so quiet?! I’ve hardly had a moment to breathe or think. Did I mention there were chores and errands, school and work mixed into all that I just wrote?

So, off to begin this busy day of writing out Christmas cards, grocery shopping, working, getting kiddos to school and sports and, oh yeah, a Silpada party tonight. Yippee!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Big Day Ahead

December 3, 2010

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The big day is here. Guests have come into town, clothes have been purchased, not nearly enough sleep has been gotten, Luke-Xavier says his cheeks and head hurt and he’s supposed to stand up with all the other preschoolers for his Christmas program today and then be shuttled off to his dad’s retirement ceremony where he’s supposed to sit quietly during all the pomp and circumstance. Hmmm…yep in my time as a mom I’d say that all sounds about right for the day of something special!

Just when you need everything to go smoothly, the kiddos get sick or change their sleep patterns. Even if poor, little Luke-Xavier has a tough day today, I’m positive that Clay’s retirement ceremony will be beautiful. If you’ve never been to a military retirement, I suggest you grab an opportunity to attend one. They are rich with tradition.

Today Clay’s 23 yr, military career will be recognized and he will walk away into the next phase of this life. What a great career he’s had! He enlisted out of high school, became a reservist, went active during the 1st Gulf War and went on to OCS (Officer Candidate School) as a candidate through the Seaman to Admiral program where he and his class were commissioned by the late, Admiral Boorda. He was then sent to flight school and was winged in 1997. He flew helicopters up until about a year ago and the kids and I learned to identify the bird he flew by the sound. There are a million other things in there, schools and accomplishments, but that’s it in a nutshell. A beautiful career!

I hope this day goes off without a hitch (accept, of course, the sick and sleepy 4 yr old) and that Clay gets a beautiful send-off.

But 1st I’ve got to wake the kiddos, get everyone off to school, have a regular day of work and THEN we can prepare for the big ceremony. Pictures and details to follow!

Doing the Dance on a Big Day~

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Thank you!

December 1, 2010

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A sneaky Advent Angel left this at our front door this morning.

One of my teenage girls came into my room and said, “Mom, did you blog that we needed toilet paper and fruit?”.

Don’t think the Nutella went unnoticed!

Thank you!

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