Archive for the attitude Category

Oh Really? NOW You Let Me Know You’re Listening?!

August 6, 2013

I’m always wondering if the kids hear ANYTHING that I say, EVER. It sure doesn’t seem like it, since I’ve repeated the exact same instructions, every day for over 24 years.

The other day I got home from a long day of work, to run errands with the kids and take them to the gym and pool. By the time we reached the gym, I’d had it with their arguing and fighting. As they were complaining about the swimming, rock climbing and Kid’s Place activities they were going to HAVE TO endure, I yelled, “Stop fighting! Stop complaining about everything! I hate coming home from work and being made to YELL! I don’t WANT TO YELL!”

Max piped in with, “Mom, I’m just going to tell you what you always tell us; you’re in charge of your actions. No one can MAKE you get mad or yell.”

Yeah, thanks Buddy. So glad you’re letting me know you listen.

There’s hope. They really DO hear me and they let me know, just when it’s time to eat crow.

Doing the Dance of the Children and choosing not to YELL~

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…and then I drove away~

November 8, 2012

This post has no picture because I’m pretty sure if I had stopped to take a picture before I drove away, someone would have surely called the police.

A few days ago I took my 3 youngest kiddos to the park to kill the 40 minutes we had before picking up my high schooler. I chose the park directly next to the high school for ease of location and because we hardly ever go to that one. AND I chose it because I knew there is a path from the park, through a little green belt area and over a little bridge that leads right up to the tennis courts at the high school. The kids have used this path on a couple of occasions and always come back with stories of what they saw next to the path (a fish, a funny plant, a lost item…). So my plan was to let them play and when the time came for me to pick up their sister, to have them walk the path and meet me over at the tennis courts.

The park was fairly empty except for 3 or 4 moms with preschoolers who were likely finishing up their morning play and lunch and heading back for naps (this was a short day, so the kids were out right after lunch). Everyone played and had fun and then I made the announcement that it was time to go over to the high school. I gathered all three kiddos together and explained that they could use the path and to stay together and that I would meet them at the tennis courts. Lex took off running. Gabi took off after him. Max walked a few steps and then told me it was too hot to walk and that he wasn’t going to. Lex was already far ahead with Gabi behind him. I knew I couldn’t let the 2 of them go on their own, so I told Max he didn’t have a choice and he needed to be the big brother right now and GET GOING!. I started to walk to the car. I see Lex running on across the field and then I see Gabi lying on the grass and Max sitting on a bench. What the heck are you guys doing?! GO! Catch up with Lex! He can’t go on his own (well, he certainly can, but I didn’t feel that it was safe). Gabi and Max start crying. CRYING! They start following me to the car! NO! Go to your brother (who is oblivious that no one is behind him). GET! GO! “It’s too hot”, “I don’t want to”. I knew I had to get over to the school for 2 reasons; 1) to make sure Lex came through the other side with no problems and 2) to be there in time for my high schooler. AND I knew that those two, complaining, stubborn kids needed to catch up with their brother!

So I jumped in the car, kids still complaining at me and drove away. I was prepared for all manner of trouble from the preschool moms, who surely didn’t know what was going on, but saw me drive away from two kids who were begging me not to leave them. Great!

You can see the field and the playground from the short drive I made and when I got to the tennis courts, I immediately got my daughter, parked and ran out to the path to make sure Lex had made it and that Gabi and Max hadn’t been scooped up and taken to the police station as abandoned kids. And can you guess what I saw?

Three happy siblings, coming out of the green belt and across the bridge. Max was SUPER excited because he’d found a lost rocket that someone had surely launched and lost in the brush. Lex never knew he was almost alone on his little journey and Gabi was skipping up the path.

Sometimes things that seem drastic, really aren’t and these stubborn kids of mine, sometimes need me to drive away (figuratively speaking) so that they can be forced into the result I know is coming.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Turning My Attitude Around in One Easy Step

October 12, 2012

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed is more common for me than I’d care to admit. But I am making a conscience effort to keep my attitude in check and do a better job of getting out of my funk so that my family and those around me don’t have to live a life of walking on egg shells. And frankly, when I’m in a bad mood or in an emotional tailspin, it effects me too. I don’t LIKE to be on edge or short-tempered with my kids, my loved ones, those around me. Ick! I want to be pleasant and come at life even-keeled. It’s just better for everyone!

So after I recognized that by 7 am, I was already at the end of my rope and there was a LOT of day left, I got the kids off to school, changed into my workout clothes and went for a bike ride. I had decided where I was going to go ahead of time, but once I got there, I realized I just hadn’t worked hard enough to ride far enough away from my bad attitude, so I kept going. I swear, I left the house as the wicked witch, with Toto in my basket

and returned a sunshiny, energy-filled M.O.M.,

who was not only ready to attack the day, but took it on full force! I made cookies, put chili in the crock pot and tackled all the work for my clients (ok, not ALL the work, but a lot of it!). That one physical act changed everything.

It’s no joke that physical activity reduces stress and helps in a host of other ways too. When I was working out each morning, I had a ton of energy, lost my dependence on caffeine and was able to handle the MOST stressful time in my life without losing my mind. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

All I have to lose is my Mommy Muffin Top and my little grey rain cloud, so I will continue to use activity to combat my ick days. And I encourage you to do the same.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Change the Scenery-A M.O.M. Tip to Relieve Frustration

June 3, 2012

In the time that I’ve been quiet over here, I’ve been learning new ways, and revisiting some old ways (I can foresee a Learning Lessons post brewing) to parent. And one of the things that I’ve practiced (and am learning to revisit) over the 23 years that I’ve been a mom, is to change the scenery.

When things are getting crazy-you have things that MUST get done and your kiddos aren’t cooperating and seem like they’ve been possessed by a demolition team of starved hyenas, scoop them up and GO! You MUST all leave the situation to change it. Take them outside, put them in the car, walk to the park. Whatever it is to remove yourselves from the madness, do it! This doesn’t mean you’re abandoning the tasks you need to get done, it just means that you realize that they won’t get done if the situation doesn’t change.

You’re in change, Mama…so change it.

Taking a little bit of time to help everyone refocus is going to change the situation, improve the behaviors and release the frustration that’s surely mounting in you…and them.

After the amount of time that your need to feel the stress released, explain to them what’s going to happen-You’re going to go back to your task. They are going to read/watch a movie/play in the back yard/have quiet time in their rooms…Whatever it is that you decide. Lay out the plan and then go back to it.

I promise that your frustration will have diminished and that, for at least a little while, you will be able to get your tasks done. But this bit of M.O.M. advice is to be repeated, over and over again as each situation arises.

Good luck Mamas. Through love, support and good tips, we will all make it and have less stress as we go.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Sometimes a Change of Scenery is Best

April 12, 2012

Sometimes where you’re at, the people you’re with and the tone of what’s going on just aren’t good. When this happens, even if it’s in your own home, you need a change of scenery!

Over time and trial, I’ve learned when it’s the right time to get outta Dodge and tonight was one of those nights. I gathered up 5 of the 6 kiddos and decided we’d shake the bad vibes off by taking a quick trip to the mall. We headed for Sees (a complimentary sample is ALWAYS a selling point for kids…and adults!). We actually needed to buy a box of something sweet for an upcoming gift. Afterward, we did something we hadn’t done in a very long time-rode the Merry-Go-Round. The kids had never been on this one before and it was a perfect ending to a day that needed some change.

We said our night prayers on the way home and brushed teeth and put on pj’s when we got home. Then it was straight to bed. Guess what?! Any icky vibes that had been trying to take over our day were replaced with those smiles.

Lesson-You can’t always keep bad things from happening, but you CAN always add Good Stuff to your day. Light ALWAYS overcomes darkness. Be the light~

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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One of Those Days

December 31, 2011

Today I set out to tell you about all the beauty I found in this year. I pondered the challenges this year had brought and the beautiful people who stepped into my life to help me overcome them. I thought about how far I’d come since last December and all I thought was impossible that now IS. I started to write about it all and then…THEN…A ton of life hit me upside the head and I realized that the year wasn’t quite over. That there were still challenges and friction, speed bumps and  monkey wrenches that hadn’t yet shown themselves in this calendar year and that these challenges weren’t happy to not have gotten their chance. I spent the entire day in shock, awe and challenge. Ick! I see that 2011 isn’t done with me yet.

Ok!

I guess I’ll tell you about all the beauty I’ve encountered after I make it through this current torrent of yuck. The beauty is there. The strength, growth and promise…it’s all there. It’s just not ready to be presented. So, I will spend tonight and tomorrow finishing the undoneness of this year. Then, I’m gonna tell you about some seriously Good Stuff!

Finish it up 2011. Let me know what you’ve got and let’s get it over with. I’m moving forward. Ever forward!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Dear Readers-

January 6, 2011

I have finally started the process that I’ve been putting off for so, very long. I’m going through my posts and getting things organized and cleaned up so that MommyofMany.com can get a fresh, new, more user-friendly look. As part of my New Year’s Resolution, I’ve stopped procrastinating and stopped looking at this task as an unclimbable mountain and have begun the process. If you have been a long-time reader, you may see things that seem out of place and see posts that you’re SURE you’ve read before. This just might be so, but it’s all part of what I need to do to get things organized and ready to move. If you’re a new reader, I hope you enjoy!

This has been such a source of anxiety for me! For MONTHS I’ve been meaning to get these things done but the task before me seemed like too much to think about. So, in true, Jen Lang form, I put it off, did some laundry, ran some errands, wrote a list, talked about my strategy, had a glass of wine and decided it was best dealt with tomorrow. Ah, the elusive Tomorrow.

No more!

Patience and encouragement are appreciated as I organize all the thoughts I’ve had over the last 3 years and make them more easily accessible.

Doing the Dance of the Children AND Facing My Mountain~

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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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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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I Love Being a M.O.M. But Today I Hate Being a Girl!

November 23, 2010

I started this morning by saying that it was going to be a week of being thankful and I posted that I was thankful for my children’s’ schools and all the great people that are part of those schools. But as the day wore on, I started to forget about being thankful for much of anything and started hating that I’m a girl-a 39yr old girl whose had 9 kiddos and a hysterectomy but still has to go through the stinking process of cycling every month.

When I had to make the decision to go through my surgery, I also had to decide whether to keep my ovaries or go into menopause. So, while I don’t have to worry about whether or not there’s ever a feminine hygiene product in my purse, I still get to go through the roller coaster of emotions that encompass PMS. And now that I don’t chart (there’s nothing to chart and no NEED for charting), it often sneaks up on me when I’m not looking. Welcome to today!

It hit me full force with emotions, ovulation pain, feeling fat and wanting to eat all manner of junk foods. I hit my low point this evening when I really wanted to break out the chocolate mousse, but was unwilling to take the time to make it, so instead I opted to cover chocolate nonpareils with whipped cream and devoured them while thinking they were, surely, going to chocolate coat any ugly emotions I was having and make them deliciously acceptable. Wrong!

So then I took 2 Pamprin, followed by a glass of water and sipped a glass of wine. I’m feeling much better, thank you.

I’ve spent the last 7 hours of this day feeling like a Picasso painting, but now that I’m feeling more even and put together, I’m remembering all I should’ve done with this afternoon and evening. Let’s see…there are the cheese cubes to prepare for Max’s class feast tomorrow, the pilgrim costume to dig out and make sure is clean, the reading log that needs to be filled out and ready to be turned in…

Forget it! I’m taking my moment of evenness, washing my face and calling it a night! I’ll tackle the other stuff in the morning when there’s less chance I’ll decide that chocolate and whipped cream covered cheese cubes are REALLY what the 2nd graders want!

Back to being thankful in the morning!

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Mommy of Many’s Disconnected and Random Thoughts for Today

November 9, 2010

What a day!

I wanted to share my thoughts even though they don’t seem to have a common thread-

What amazing people I have in my life! People who take time and give of themselves simply because it makes life easier for others and “why not” share what you can. Each day I give thanks for the beautiful example of such people, who help me see the ease of giving of one’s self.
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I don’t the know the plan for this hectic, busy and very full life of mine, but I trust that there IS a plan and that I only need to focus on today and leave the rest up to each day and what God has laid out.
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Sitting at Costa Brava with my sister and my oldest son is a really, really great way to spend an hour or two!
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I LOVED meeting Bonnie of The Shape of a Mother and sharing in an afternoon with her and some other great ladies! May all meetings with new people feel so comfortable!
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I’m pretty sure I made some new friends tonight when I handed over the rest of my pitcher of sangria. I felt done and really didn’t want it to go to waste. The table next to me promised it wouldn’t ;-)
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The kiddos and I are enjoying this video so much! I hope you do too~

Doing the Dance of the Children…With My Hands~

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Fill Up Your Heart Envelope

November 7, 2010

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Yesterday was such a beautiful and relaxed day! I took many little pieces of it and tucked them into my Heart Envelope. That little envelope is becoming full and cushiony and I love to place things into it and revisit what’s in there. I believe everyone should be conscience of their Heart Envelope and fill it up bit by bit. You know, that little place inside your heart where you store the bits of Good Stuff that you draw from in the times of life when nothing seems to be going right. Deciding to grab those good things and save them has been a key tool for me.

Yesterday I put in a relaxed conversation with friendly companions, the smell of the ocean (though this one was already in there. I like to have some duplicates), the feel of the ocean breeze (another duplicate), a bike ride with one of my daughters and a laugh over a silly one-liner. From time to time I go open that envelope and check on the contents-A rock thrown at a window from an admirer when I was a teenager, the zing of holding a crushes’ hand for the first time, a drive near the water in a convertible, a ride on the back of a motorcycle, standing on an overlook with the kids and watching Clay vertrep, riding a bike with no hands, being at a Rod Stewart concert, doing an interview, holding my newborn babies, the pure joy of my lil one when he wakes up to my voice, listening to and watching the pure joy of the St. Greg’s guys after graduation while they sang their hearts out, spending the night alone in a hotel room, etc. etc.

These are the important pieces that keep me from sinking low in the times when life gets hard. I’m always able to peek inside that envelope and remember that the tough times are just mere snippets in this life that’s been cushioned with the contents of that Heart Envelope.

Don’t forget to grab your moments and tuck them away. I promise you’ll find a reason to smile whenever you open your Heart Envelope up!

Here’s to the beauty that life gives us and to holding onto and drawing from it~

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*Big Breath* I’m Back

November 3, 2010

So, the surprise of having my oldest 2 kiddos home for the weekend has come and gone. Kateri went back to school Monday night, but JJ (or Clayton and he now prefers to be called) is sticking around for a little while. Though, he’s quickly becoming disenchanted with being home because everyone’s gone during the daytime and it’s a flurry of homework/chores/noisy kiddos/bathtime/dinner/grocery shopping in the afternoon/evenings. We can not presume to live up to European travels and leisure or the excitement and feeling of brotherhood that St. Gregory’s offers. But hey, I offer hot showers, clean clothes, hot and tasty food and an occasional good laugh. It’s all I’ve got, but he’s welcome to it, as long as he’d like to stay. He’s already talking about where he might find his next roving adventure. This is how it will go until next Fall, when he’ll settle back into being a full-time student.

It was interesting for me to be out with my big kids. I needed to go to Costco and 3 of the girls and JJ-oops, I mean, Clayton decided to come along for various reasons. Clayton wanted to get some driving practice in. There was no need for him to get his permit and license while he was away at school, but now, at 18 yrs old, it’s probably a good idea. So, I did something I NEVER do-NEVER. I let him drive. As nerve-wracking as it was for me to be letting him drive, let’s look at it from his perspective-Let’s see, Mom in the passenger seat next to him and 3 of his opinionated sisters in the back seat. The poor kid couldn’t drive slow or fast enough, couldn’t brake too soon and certainly couldn’t turn on his blinker at the proper time.

It was really a learning experience for me, though, because here I was with these “Big Kids”, 2 of which have been out of my house for the last 4 years and yet, I was still in demand as a vital part of their teaching process. It got me thinking about how we really ALWAYS need our parents. Granted, we don’t always WANT them, but who among us hasn’t picked up the phone, sent a text or an email to ask our mothers for a favorite recipe, tips on laundry or what a baby’s particular cry might mean? Who hasn’t called to ask Dad why the car might smell a certain way, sound a certain way or drive a certain way? I realized with great clarity the truth of being a parent. It’s for always! From the moment you find out that you’re carrying a new life, until the moment you die, your kids are going to need you. What’s this notion I sometimes hear about it all being over when they turn 18?! Sure, they might move out or head off to school, but they’re never really gone. They often find reasons to pick our brains for the knowledge we’ve learned in each phase of our lives. ~sigh~

It was really good to have everyone here and to do this job of mine to the fullest. I love having everyone around me and look to the future, knowing that the number of people and lives that will be brought into my home will be ever growing. A great thought!

Doing the Dance of the Children-Forever~

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My Glass Was 1/2 Full

October 26, 2010

It really is all in how you look at things~

For a little more than a month now, I’ve been on the quest to get my license renewed. I logged in online, created an account and tried to get it done the quick and easy way. But my computer froze up and I ended up locked out of the account. Then I got off work, packed up my 4 year old, got in the line that was out the building and stood in the sun for more than an hour, only to be told that the DMV’s computers had gone down and they weren’t giving out any numbers. A week later I tried again and (imagine THIS), was AGAIN told that the computers were down and that no numbers would be given out.

I was completely exasperated by the whole ordeal. My license was looming over me and was driving me to an anxious panic! So, once again, I got off work (this time I didn’t have to bring along the 4 yr old) and headed over, with fingers crossed, a prayer whispered and all the positive thoughts I could muster up.

It worked!

When I arrived, the line was, indeed, out-the-door, but it was moving! So I stayed put and about 1/2 hour later I was at the front of the line to get my paperwork, a number and a seat. I was # G210 and they were on #G127. But who cared?! I had a book, my phone and a number! At one point a woman complained about waiting 2 hours, to which I said, “this is my 4th try and I don’t care how long it takes, I’m just happy to have a number!”. A man who was sitting nearby, leaned over and said, “so you’re glass is 1/2 full today?!”. I said that it certainly was!

Isn’t it funny that it’s all about our perception? If this had been my 1st attempt to renew my license and I was sitting there for 3 hours, I would have probably been antsy, anxious and perturbed. But because it was my 4th attempt and I actually made it into the building, I was completely happy to sit there for as long as it took.

I’m hoping to let this be a lesson to my impatient self!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Remembering That There’s Always a Reason to See the Glass as 1/2 Full~

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I Am Feelin’ Lucky!

October 12, 2010

Here are 3 reasons I think I should buy a Lottery ticket-

1) Last week my business card was pulled from a large glass container that sits on the counter at Champagne, in the Del Mar Highlands, as the winner of a pastry basket. Today it was delivered to my door by Janel, their Catering Coordinator.

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All 12 of those yummy pastries were promptly gobbled up by my family. I tried a bit of 2 of them and they were GOOD!

Thanks Champagne and Janel! We will be sure to visit you again soon!

2) Last week I ALSO won a gift basket from Popcornopolis! It should be arriving in the next day or two and I can’t wait to share it! (ok, that’s a lie. I’d rather hide it and eat the entire thing myself, but I know I will enjoy watching my family and coworkers enjoy all the delicious popcorn that will be in there and have DECIDED that I will share). Since several people were helpful in my winning of this contest, I am looking forward to letting some of them enjoy the spoils too :-) . If you’re not *Lucky* enough to win a gift basket from them, you can still try their delicious popcorn by visiting their website, being adventurous with the flavors and ordering some!

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I don’t know exactly what my gift basket will include, but I know it’s going to be good!

3) Tomorrow night I get to attend the San Diego opening night of Burn the Floor! I’m taking my 16 yr old, Mariah, with me and looking forward to the evening with her! Not only have I been invited to see the show and write a review, but I was able to share the fun with YOU and now one of my readers and her daughter also get to enjoy the evening! Good Stuff!

If those 3 reasons aren’t enough to be feelin’ lucky, I’m not sure what are!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Thinking of Buying a Quick Pick~

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