11.30.2009

Mom's Mind Monday

Typically, as a mom, I know that the decisions I make for my kids are the right ones(at least for us). However, I am stumped on this one. I have no way of knowing for sure if I am making the right decision...and everyone has a different answer and opinion.

On my mind today is the H1N1 vaccination that my daughters will be getting tomorrow. I'm not sure if reading all of news about the vaccine has helped me make a more informed decision or freaked me out. Most likely, it's a little of both. In the end, my husband and I decided to have the girls get the vaccine. Crossing our fingers that they don't have to endure any type of flu this season, especially this one.

11.27.2009

When Little Girls Grow Up

Over the past month, I have been listing the things I am thankful for on my Facebook page. I am thankful for many things...so today I want to focus on a specific person. On here, I call her Drama. She's 9 and she's amazing!

Fourth grade is a year of many ups and downs and many changes. I hear stories daily about her friends that have boyfriends, friends that are made at other girls for talking to their boyfriends, and friends that just kissed their boyfriends! Yikes! These kids are 9 and 10 years old! And I am thankful every time that my little girl tells me these stories and then follows them with, "Mom, what is wrong with my friends? We are too young for this!" Amen!

Fourth grade has also been a year of amazing growth for Little Miss Drama. Her room is typically very clean and she like her art and crafts items organized as she tends to write and illustrate often and wants to be able to find things. However, today is another great example of the growth that we're seeing. This morning we all get up to clean up the house so that we can pull out the Christmas decorations. Once we had finished the basic cleaning and pick up of the living room and dining room , she decided that she wanted to keep cleaning. She emptied the dishwasher (like she normally does) and the continued to load the dishwasher, wipe down counters, take out garbage and recycling, organized the cupboard that we cannot seem to keep organized and then swept the floor. Then she moved on to the bathroom! The amazing thing to me is that she does such a great job. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

I am really hoping that this cleanliness somehow magically passed to her little sister. The Monkey (aka Tornado) tends to be the complete opposite of her sister at the moment. I'm sure she'll get there as she gets older - and since I'm in no hurry to hear about her Kindergarten friends dating, I guess I'm willing to wait a little longer.

Dear Drama,
I am so proud of the young lady that you are becoming. Every day you amaze me in a new little way. Thank you for the many things that you don't even know you are teaching. I absolutely love having you as a daughter.
Love,
Mom

11.20.2009

Soccer Mom "Me Time"

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a soccer mom in a working mom body. I absolutely love being a mom and I highly admire moms that stay-at-home to raise their kids. It is by far the hardest job in the world. At home, your “team” doesn’t always speak in clear sentences and their desktops are covered in drool and sticky finger prints. However, it is by far the most rewarding work of all. Besides, I’m sure there are some pretty strict rules against all of that hugging and kissing at the office, no?

Working outside the home, for me, is the sort of break that many moms don’t get. However, it’s not the kind of “me time” break that my family sometimes thinks it is. It’s brain work and is not a relaxing break.

All moms, and dads for that matter, need some “me time.” Since I’m not always able to find much of it, I try to adjust little things in my life to trick myself into thinking I’ve gotten a little “me time”.

• Since I have a long commute, I typically keep this as my quiet time. There’s not much quiet when I get home, so this is my chance to think through the million thoughts that are running through my head. Typically, I don’t have time to think about them at work - because I’m working - and I might have actual "think time" at home, but I can’t hear my thoughts over the kids, dogs, tv, phone, sports shuttling and visitors. While I absolutely LOVE music, the only time I turn it on in the car is when I am so tired that I need it to keep me awake. This tends to happen more during the morning commute than the afternoon commute.
• I read. This would be considered “bite size me time”. I can read a little at a time while the kids are running around outside or playing nicely together...What? It happens! I typically read at commercial breaks in the evening when hubby and I watch TV as well. My typical reads – self-help books. I am constantly looking for ways to improve and simplify my life, thoughts and surroundings.
• Friends. Obviously it’s not good to keep your nose in a computer all day, every day, but Facebook has been a life saver in keeping me sane. I’m able to keep in touch with all of my wonderful friends from high school and college that are too far away or that I just haven’t seen in a while. Plus, I adore all the family pictures.
• Meditation. I listen to guided meditations on my iPod while I’m falling asleep. Some are for deep rest, some for stress and some to just relax. There are many on iTunes that are free and have made a world of difference to me.

The rest of my "me time" will be spent watching my girls play soccer or present songs, dances, and skits that they have created...and really, that is one of the best ways to spend my time.

~ Check out what is going on over at In the Real World: Venus vs. Mars ~

11.10.2009

I Am

I am:
• a 31-year-old mom to two girls, ages 9 and 6
• madly in love with my husband
• nowhere near perfect
• a planner and chronic list maker
• a full-time working professional
• an avid reader (especially of self-help books)
• constantly working to learn and grow
• a freelance editor
• trying to be a good role model for my girls
• working toward simplified balance
• PTA and school volunteer
• an Excel nerd
• a quote junkie
• addicted to rearranging the furniture in my house
• learning to meditate
• a horrible singer
• the family photographer
• the family accountant
• not the family cook
• not a beer drinker
• told that I am overly optimistic & perky
• a camper
• too often impatient
• a control freak
• completely OCD about some things and totally laid back about others
• frugal
• addicted to Greys Anatomy and Jen Lancaster books
• accepting that I am no longer 20-10 years old
• unable to completely relax
• still a princess, according to my dad.

~Borrowing format from another blogger on Real World Venus vs. Mars.~

11.09.2009

Date Night Dilemma

Currently, date nights don’t happen as often as we’d like. To get some one-on-one children free time together sounds great and we always talk about how much we need some time together, yet we don’t schedule it enough. However, on those rare occasions that we actually trick – I mean “ask” – a family member into keep our children over night, we still have a hard time deciding what to do.

What is it that tends to distract my husband and I from being able to remember what we used to do on date nights B.K. (Before Kids)? I know there are many things we used to do – I mean, we dated for 5 years before getting married and were married for 2 years before daughter #1 arrived – so we must have done SOMETHING on those dates.

As high school sweethearts, our dates consisted of going to the one pool hall that didn’t serve alcohol since we weren’t old enough to drink…or dinner and a movie….sometimes movie marathon days.

As newlyweds, he worked nights and I was in college during the day, so dates consisted of grocery shopping in the middle of the night and 2:00 am “breakfast” at Denny’s…or hubby picking me up after my bartending shift at the local bar. Romantic, I know.

Now, married 11 years, we try to think of something else to do on date nights. We have a pool table that we never get to play because it tends to be the “clean laundry” pile. Going to a movie pretty much defeats the purpose of going out since we can’t really talk and catch-up, which is the point of taking some “us” time. Dinner works, but I have a hard time spending $50 on something that is eaten in 30 minutes and all I have to show for it is a wider waist.

How about some new ideas?:
Me: Pottery painting?
Him: No. Fishing?
Me: No. Walk in the park?
Him: No. Target shooting?
Me: No. Picnic and watch the sunset?
Him: No. Hmmmm….

This leads us to what our last date night ended up consisting of: Drop kids off at Aunt’s house. Shop for soon to be 6-year old daughter’s birthday presents and party d├ęcor. Rent movies so that we can pause them for snack and bathroom breaks.

I know - you are all jealous of our glamorous date night. However, this works well for us. At least, until next time.

Any ideas of inexpensive yet fun date nights?

11.01.2009

My Blissfully Sweet Life of Organized Chaos

Hubby: “Has anyone seen my shoes?”
Me: “Under the table!”
Hubby: “Which one?”
Me: “The end table where they were kicked under, like always.”
Hubby: “How about my keys?”
Me: “Downstairs on the arm of the couch.”
Hubby: “My phone?”
Me: “Stuck between couch cushions in the living room.”
Hubby: “Wait, what about my wallet?”
Me: “You left it in the console of your Jeep.”
Hubby: “Oh yeah. Has anyone seen my hat?”

Are you KIDDING me? Thank goodness I adore this man.

This is my life of organized chaos. We’re a fun loving family that stays very busy. A family of 4 with two Chihuahuas and a rotating door that invites houseguests at all times of the year. We are currently opening our home to house guest #3, our 18 year-old niece that is going to beauty school. So, that officially makes us a family of 5 with 2 crazy dogs that think they are Dobermans and bark at every knock or doorbell ring on the TV. My daughters are amazing. At 5 and 9, they could keep me laughing from morning ‘til night, if I wasn’t at work all day. They are creative, inventive and love doing projects with Dad. “Dad, Can I use the nail gun?” is a common question we hear. They and their dad absolutely make the chaos fun and the work day worth working.

My ultimate goal is to have everything organized and to simplify our lives. This would mean that everything has a place, closest are perfectly organized and labeled, my books and files are where I left them in my office, and shoes can find their own way to the closets. ~ I’ve since come to my senses and I’m settling for being able to see the kitchen counters and not get anything stuck to my feet when I walk on the wood floors in the living and dining rooms. Yes, it’s not my idea of “clean and organized,” but as long as others are helping out, I’ve decided to not be such a perfectionist.

While things are certainly crazy all year round, I feel that summer is the craziest. With the entire family home, other than me, throughout the day, the house has no chance to sit and enjoy being clean. That is, three people here to dirty the house all day and the one that cleans is at work and does NOT want to spend her entire evening cleaning.

Enter here…the chore list. Sometimes they get done, sometimes they don’t, but mom’s rule is that if it’s not done before I get home from work, you don’t get allowance for that day. It tends to work with my 9 year-old and I’m hoping that rubs off on the 5 year-old soon. However, she tends to be a walking tornado…things literally fall on the floor as she walks by. I’m thinking about having her tested for a sixth sense…what do they call it when you can make things move without touching them?

At least with a system of chores...(written down and posted on the fridge counts as a system, right?)...and some family members that help…(Kudos to my amazing 9 year-old!)...we can typically find the things we need to make our family function without too much freaking out…on good days. This is what I call Organized Chaos. Now, who has my pedometer and why is the dog in the baby doll stroller?