Tag Archives: children

My 2012 Goals

It’s said that if you put your goals into writing, you actually manage to accomplish them. I am taking a page of blog-speration from Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy (and if you aren’t reading her blog, you should be!) and here are my 2012 goals:

Financial

Spend less, bring in more– I am still working my Thirty-One business and I am hoping to expand more. I have a pretty good sized display kit, so I am really going to try to stop the excess shopping. I have kicked my previous retail demons, and since we are living in such a great climate, I can play outside with my kids rather than head to the den of temptation (aka the Mall.)

Get that emergency fund established. Enough Said.

Writing

Determine and Perfect my Blog Niche– Right now I write about a whole gamut of ideas and I have been thinking of trying to streamline it a bit more, to focus.

Begin actually writing my YA novel– instead of just planning and re-planning and re-planning

Write an ebook– I talked to a friend a few years back about writing a book and this might be the right platform for it!

Become Self-Hosted– It might run me about $10/ month for blog hosting, but it might earn me a bit more cred.

Health and Wellness

Kick Sugar– for good this time

Start Jogging again– There is this pin on Pinterest that really reflects my feeling towards running. But a second hand double jogging stroller is less expensive that a gym membership, and the loop around the Rose Bowl Stadium is about 3 miles (just about 5K.) Spend less.

Work on my flexibility– there is a Bikram Yoga place near us, but I might just get a few Yoga DVDs instead. Again, spend less.

Personal Mental Wellness

Get my budding friendships established– Make some “momma-only” dates with the ladies that I have met here

Meet other Spiritually focused At-Home Moms at our Church– there is not a mother’s type ministry at our Parish, so I think the Holy Spirit has been kind of pushing me to start something… Maybe Mass Readings at the Park or something.

Get out once a month for some alone time– Just a date with me and a coffee cup

Re-establish Friday Night Date Night– for a bit, DH and I were having Friday Night Dates at home and they need to come back. Maybe even take some Tango lessons…

Reading

Actually finish reading Anna Karenina and The Lord of the Rings.

Work Crossword puzzles again.

Craft

I have decided to let my Etsy Shop go to the wayside. I started listing my baby hats, longies/soakers and fascinators at the peak of their popularity and I don’t like the extra pressure of having the shop stocked.

I will continue to work of my lace knitting techniques. There are some BEAUTIFUL patterns for lace shawls out there and I’d love to try them out. Plus I have some new blocking wires that I can’t wait to use.

 

Let’s see how far I can get on that list this year! What are your goals for 2012?

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Filed under books, challenge, family, finance, ladies, meatless, monday, New Year Goals

Things that I know

I may never have over 1000 twitter followers

I may never have over 1000 “likes” on my FaceBook page

I may never be invited to a big blogging conference

I may never be a popular “mommy blogger”

But I do know…

that for my husband, I am his Complement

that for two little girls, I am their first example of God’s love for mankind

that for my friends, I am as Christ to them and they are as Christ to me

that there is nothing wrong with having faith, in a world full of pain

that as a broken person, I am more than happy to lean on the crutch of Christ

And to steal from Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt, “…that may be all I need to know.”

(Image from Danyso.blogspot.com)

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Filed under Catholic, children, husband, life, marriage, Thursday

Manners Monday: Reclaiming the fine art of the Thank You note

Ah. The day after Christmas. Boxing Day if you are in a Boxing Day country. Personally I think Boxing Day is a great idea… why don’t we have Boxing Day? Or just celebrate St. Stephen’s Day? I know, it’s just an excuse to go out and shop, but the extra bank holiday might be appreciated by some. Anyway…

Gifts have been unwrapped and put away. Paper and packaging has been cleared away. New play-doh that came out of the can in such vibrant colors are now a sad shade of beige. What’s next to do? Thank You Notes. Time to write the Thank You notes.

What?! You may think that Thank You notes are antiquated and a throwback to the dark ages before we had stuff like email and unlimited minutes and instant gratification but that is what makes Thank You notes (or letter writing and manners in general) is fine art that transcends all social and class lines. It really can be the great equalizer!

Writing a note by hand allows you to put to paper human emotions: joy, sorrow, gratitude, love, nostalgia. And if you think about it, those (and anger) are among the first emotions we learn to articulate verbally.

Before sitting down to write your notes, gather your supplies:

Pen

Paper

Envelopes

Address Book

List of gifts and their givers (if needed)

According to Margaret Shepherd, author of The Art of the Handwritten Note,  your Thank You Note should have five characteristics. It should be: generous, specific, prompt, succinct and personal.

Generous. Send the note even if you’ve already thanked the giver in another way.

Specific. Mention the gift but thank them for the THOUGHT behind it.

Prompt. Send the note right away, but don’t let lateness stop you from writing at all.

Succinct. Keep it short by writing about any unrelated matters in a separate note.

Personal. Write it by hand. No form letters, printouts or greeting cards.

Things to say:

Thank you so much.

It’s just what I’ve wanted

How did you guess I wanted a [the gift]

I am enjoying wearing, playing with, looking at, eating, listening to, reading [the gift]

You were so thoughtful, kind, generous

Things to avoid:

Thank you for the gift [this may imply to the giver that you have forgotten what they gave you or that you lost the gift. EXCEPTION: when the gift is money in some form. In that case, thank them for the “gift” but then be sure to tell them what you are planning to do with the gift.]

You shouldn’t have 

Thank you for dinner. [Was the rest of the evening just awful?]

I’m exchanging it. [Wow.]

IT’S THE BEST GIFT EVER!! [makes you sound a bit insincere.]

Now some of you, like me, are parents. And since you are a parent, that means you have children. If you have taught your kids to say “thank you,” you can teach them to write thank you notes! When it comes to kids, you have a new options. For the first five years, or so, you can write on your child’s behalf. I, personally, write in the child’s voice. For an older preschooler, they could dictate to you what to write or copy a few lines down that you have written for them (if they can write their letters) or they can write their name at the end of the note.

For older children, help them enjoy writing notes by employing some of the following tactics:

Schedule time together to write. We all know how kids fare better when they know what to expect and when, so set aside, in advance, a set an hour or so on a specific day to write notes

Support your child. Give your child their very own stationery and special pen. Make sure your child has all of the needed addresses or address the envelopes for them as they write the note.

Personalize it. If you child likes glitter, stickers, stamps, or the like, let them add the embellishments to their note.

Model. Your child will not want to write thank you notes if they do not see you writing notes. Just as your child sees you saying “Thank You” in person, let them see how that gratitude is translated into a thank you note. Make sure your child sees how enjoyable RECEIVING thank-you notes is by reading the notes you receive aloud and posting them.

Join them. Sit down with your child and write something as well: your own thank-you notes, journal, a letter, etc. If nothing else, it’s helpful for your child for you to be there, to offer support with spelling, advice and phrasing.

Have the gift at the ready. Kids are concrete. They remember the here and now, so it might be helpful for to have the gift in front of your child when they write. Ask your child how they felt when they received the gift. If they were not too keen on the gift, ask them to imagine how happy Auntie was picking out the gift for them.

Reciprocity. Help your child understand the pleasure people get from being thanked by making sure they know what it feels like to give a gift and then receive a thank-you note. If you write a thank-you note to your child, it is a concrete example of how thank-you notes make people feel. And how cool is it, as a child, to receive a thank-you note from a grown-up?!

I hope this takes some of the scare out of writing thank-you notes and encourages you to start a new tradition of your own!

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Filed under christmas, etiquette, family, gifts, holidays, manners, monday, mothering, toddler

Whatever Wednesday! Turkey Hats!

In honor of Thanksgiving, here are our Turkey Hats.

Thanks to Nina for the inspiration!

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Safe Travels and Happy Thanksgiving!


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Filed under Art, crafts, family, holidays, wednesday

Thursday’s Tasty Treats: Homemade Pedialyte

I had grand plans to share with you a great recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple soup (combining three of my absolute favorite things: Squash, Apples and Soup) plus it would stay with my heretofore established squash theme of the last few weeks, but we all know what happens when we make plans and test the sovereignty of God, right? Yeah, He laughs. Hard.

After her bath last night, The Dragonfly started vomiting. Joy of joys. After 2am, she seemed to settle a bit but this morning, she started again after having a few sips of water. So, hit the internet and google “Vomiting Toddler, No fever, Dr. Sears.” (We don’t get much vomit in our house, obviously.) One of the tips that Dr. Sears’ had was to give Pedialyte, which I knew but I didn’t have any here at home, and DH had already left for the office. So, back to google I went and I found a great recipe on Our Little Monkeys.

I made mine with 1 part Orange Juice and 3 parts water, along with the salt, sugar and baking soda. The resulting mixture is very salty and seems to be not half bad, as I am trying to keep the toddler from chugging the entire cup (because we all know what will happen next, right?) Plus, she seems to be in a state of comfort right now and doesn’t understand why I won’t let her eat everything in sight!

It’s only 830a here and I am already at my limit for annoyance, which is terrible to say, but I feel like I am singlehandedly fighting a battle with a nauseous toddler and a bored preschooler (and then couple that with the guilt of letting them watch *too* much TV and the fact that my house needs a bit of cleaning… especially the floors and bathrooms.) I think I’ll head up for a shower and I am sure after that and I great cup of coffee, I will be my awesome self again! And The Bear and I can tackle the cleaning bit, which could bust her boredom. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

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P.S. Please keep Chase and the entire Pottorff family in your prayers today as he is laid to rest this evening.
 

 


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Filed under family, food, frugal, preschooler, recipes, sick, Thursday, toddler

Teaching the Teacher Tuesdays: The Space

I have finally taken one more step toward getting our homeschooling started! Yesterday, I headed out to make photocopies of the worksheets that I want to use and I created this nifty little focus board for our teaching space.

There is a space for our Virtue and Verse of the Week, The Theme of the Month, Calendar information, and the Letter and Number of the Week. The handouts that we are using are basic letter, number, color, shape and pattern handouts from a book purchased from the store.

I am planning on teaching on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 2.5 to 3 hours total and I think I have enough activites to fill our day, but I am still trying to find easy crafts for the girls (Pinterest has great ideas for larger, more complex crafts but not too many easier ones.) I’d like our crafts to be reflective of the letter, number, verse/virtue or season so that does open up lots of options.

The Bear is still working on completing the markers for her chore chart as well. Since one of the virtues that we want to foster is responsibility and I am a bit tired of doing EVERYTHING, we are in the process of giving her a visual for the things that she needs to do daily to help the house run. In addition to getting herself ready (brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc.) she also needs to make sure that her room is picked up and the table is set for meal times.  We are not planning on any type of reward for completing her responsibilities but we ARE thinking about a positive reward system for her exhibiting positive virtues… like playing nicely and not pinching her sister in frustration. I’ll keep you updated.
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What does your Homeschool space look like, if you have one? What would your ideal space look like, if you decided to homeschool? What is needed in a “good” space? What are you thoughts on positive reinforcement for good habits?


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Filed under Catholic, family, Homeschool, school, Tuesday

Whatever Wednesday: Little Miss Austen

I met up with some soon-to-be “mama friends” at a LBS this morning (LBS= Local book shop, not to be confused with LYS= local yarn shop.) The group is a chapter of Mocha Moms, which sounds like it going to be great fun! But that’s not the point of this post…

So, after the story time hour for the kiddos, I had a chance to peruse this new haven of all things literary and I came across this little gem:

How fun!!

It’s a counting book, but while it’s geared to those of the counting set, it’s still great fun… especially if you are an Austen fan. My favorite page has to be this:

Although the page with Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy is cute as well.

Is this a kid version of Pride and Prejudice? Not quite as the plot is not revealed in the numbers 1-10, but I still like it. Hopefully the girls will as well!

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Filed under books, family, wednesday

Manners Monday: Parenting with Grace under Pressure

A Facebook friend recently shared this on her Wall:

What would you do? Could you do anything? I’m curious what others do or think. I felt nothing I could do would help, and I was too overwhelmed caring for my babies. But I saw a scandalizing example of why many people develop a dislike for Christians. A mother w/ a 2ish year old and 4ish year old shared the “cry room” with us for a random church session. And proceeded to hiss, yell, slap, pinch and otherwise verbally attack her kids throughout the whole thing. It was very disturbing and I ended up leaving the room to stand in the back w/ my kids.

At the end, she literally physically dragged them into the main church and told them they had to do stations of the cross for being bad while on their tippy toes. She kept twisting the older child’s arm b/c he wouldn’t stop sobbing. I feel bad b/c my reaction was so strong I could not think clearly or think of any helpful way to intervene/redirect/de-escalate. My kids were freaking out and I didn’t want them to see what was happening, too. Mostly I was shocked that she had no filters whatsoever…she didn’t seem to care at all that others saw her and heard her. Ok so there’s my current stomach-turning issue.

Comments ranged from total compassion for the mother (‘you don’t know what kind of day she was having’) to complete and total derision toward her (‘you should have called CPS right away.’) Parenting is full of Monday Morning Quarterbacking moments and this is for sure one of them.

I think that we have all been in that sort of situation to some degree. We have been the mom at our wits’ end with our children and we have been the passive bystander asking herself “What should I do? Should I ask her if I can help? Oh, those poor children!” None of us are parenting experts, even those with a whole alphabet’s worth of letters after their name. We all have great parenting days and we all have craptastic parenting days, but the mark of a Parent with Grace is how you handle those craptastic moments.

I will say that I take issue with how this mother handled her craptastic moment in general and specifically at Mass. Pinching, Twisting, and Bopping your kid only teaches this that it’s acceptable to pinch, twist and bop those weaker than you if they don’t do as you say. Mass is supposed to be a celebration and Church should a happy place to be… not a punishment for anyone. If nothing else, this mother has planted the seeds for extreme religious hatred for her children. Instead of seeing the Stations of the Cross as a monument of Christ’s love for us, they will see it as a punishment, something that they had to to when they pissed mom off at church.

Discipline is proactive. Punishment is reactive. There are days that I would love to get to daily Mass, but it doesn’t happen if I know that my children are not prepared for the Mass. That means: well-rested, fed, dressed and briefed as far as my expectations go for them. If I am choosing to take them to Mass and I know they are hungry and tired, I have no one to blame but myself for setting THEM up for failure. We, as parents, need to also drop this facade of perfection that we carry around. We all have bad days and accepting help from a stranger, or asking for help is not a sign of weakness. If someone offers you a hand, do not take it as a personal affront to your parenting skills, as it is only when we accept help from others that we allow them to become Christ to us.

So what would I have done if faced with this dilemma? Honestly, I have no clue. I’d like to think that I would have said something to her but I really don’t know…

What would you do? Should you do anything?
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Teaching the Teacher Tuesday: Nothing more precious

Today was our first full day here in Pasadena and it will remain in my mind as the most memorable first days ever in a new city. On the way to Costco, with the girls, I was involved in an auto accident.

First of all: We are all OK. The airbags did not deploy and the girls were giggling afterward with the Bear saying how “fun” it was. I wish the same thing could have been said for me. With adrenaline rushing through my veins, I did what most people would have done… I cried and then called my husband. A pair of witnesses called the Police and they arrived within 10 minutes to file the report. I was able to drive the van back home and now we wait.

I’ve had a couple hours to process what happened… after all, I have been driving for 15 years and this is my FIRST accident (I’ve never even received a speeding ticket!) and let me tell you, this was the scariest thing that I have been though… especially when I imagine it could have been that much worse. Sure, my Swagger Wagon is damaged and looking very sad and not drivable for any sort of distance. Until we get a rental car, I have no way of getting around Pasadena on my terms (short of walking.) Our auto insurance will go up and I no longer have the luxury of bragging about my spotless driving record (but I still have the no tickets thing going for me.) But: WE ARE ALL OK.

Both girls were in 5-pt harnesses and The Dragonfly was still rear-facing, even though she is over 20 lbs and over the age of 2. I have been a stickler about keeping her RF-ing as long as possible, despite my husband’s (and others’) protestations/ questioning. Keeping your child rear-facing adds a level of protection that is unsurpassed and it all has to do with anatomy and physics. I wish The Bear was still RFing but her beast of a CRS is FF-only (Britax Regent. It’s 50 lbs without a child in it.)

Before the age of 3-4, it has been found that the vertebral column in humans is more on the flexible side (if it helps, we are born with more with over 300 bones which fuse over time to make the 206 in the average human.) This makes sense when you consider that during birth, the neck has to flex to make it through the birth canal. But because of that, the necks of infants and toddlers remain very flexible:

If the infant is facing forward in a frontal crash–which is the most common and most severe type–the body is held back by the car seat’s straps, but the head is not, explains Kathleen Weber, director of the Child Passenger Protection Research Program at the University of Michigan Medical School. While older children and adults wearing safety belts may end up with temporary neck injuries, a baby’s immature neck bones and pliable ligaments can allow the spine to separate and the spinal cord to rip, says Weber.

Basically, she’s saying that a child can internally be decapitated because the vertebrae and ligaments will stretch but the spinal cord will not. Some of you out there may be thinking to yourselves: Well, we (have car seats/ weren’t rear facing/ didn’t wear seat belts/ sat in the front seat, etc, etc) when we were growing up and we turned out just fine.” To that I have to ask: Were you involved in an accident in which those safety measures would have been employed? Most people will answer “no” which affectively renders their argument moot. If you haven’t been in an accident, what you grew up doing has no matter.

Another concern I often hear is one that I used with our first. She was rear-facing only until about 18 months, because I felt that her legs were getting too cramped in that position. (We were driving a car that didn’t allow the seat back to recline.) The way I look at it now, I’d rather risk broken legs than a dead child.

When all is said in done, the Swagger Wagon will be repaired, we will have two new 5-pt. harness car seats (after an auto accident, seats must be replaced and the old ones rendered inoperable,) and I will struggle with the guilt of what I could have done differently. My mind has been filled with “what-ifs” all day: What if I’d just stayed home? What if I’d waited until after rush hour to venture out? What if I had just gone to the market by our house rather than trying for Costco in Burbank? But at least the one “what-if” I don’t have to deal with is “What if I had left her Rear-Facing?”

For more information here is some light reading.
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To my friends and family: I am sorry that you are reading about this on the blog rather than my calling you, but I feel that this is a message that needs to get out ASAP. We’ll talk soon.


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Filed under family, infant mortality, mothering, travel, Tuesday

Teachin’ the Teacher Tuesday: Education via Childrens’ Programming

There are two things that I do not do well:

1. Handle Change (and I am not talking money)
2. Ask for Help.

The Children’s Programming Channel that we favor in our house really likes to change things up. Shows will change time slots or disappear all together. It doesn’t seem to bother my kids, but let me tell you… it drives me up the wall when things just move. And I’ll admit… it’s not just programming changes that bug me, it can be anything that upsets my status quo. It would drive me nuts when different actors come in to play established characters, I can’t stand it when I have a plan in my mind and then we have to deviate from said plan. I think that’s why traffic really gets to me, because you can’t plan for traffic. Ugh. My husband loves to joke around that his personal version of Hell would be me and his father in one room, planning something and dealing with the inevitable change.

Another thing I don’t do well with? Asking for help. I know that I am not alone in this and I really can’t explain why it’s so hard to ask for help and the converse, why it is so hard to accept help when it is offered? My friends know me very well and they have actually started asking if I need help with specific tasks or even giving me a specific solution for my quandary.

So, our children’s televisions programming station debuted a new (random to me) program and irony of ironies, the lesson being taught today was about asking for help when you need it.

Thanks, birdies.
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Filed under family, funnies, travel, Tuesday