Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Winter,

You have made it clear that you are trying to kill me.
I hear you loud and clear.

You see Winter, we enjoyed you for a day.  We played in the snow you sent and drank hot chocolate.

But here's the thing.  This place we live in, doesn't know how to do winter.  We don't have shovels or plows and if the word 'snow' is uttered, every store shuts down.
 You think I'm joking, but I am not.

We didn't leave the house last week because the stinkin' ice you sent left our car stuck halfway down the driveway...and half of it was in the yard!  I FINALLY made it to the grocery store yesterday, but you've convinced my children that it's hibernation time and they won't stop eating!  The tub of yogurt I bought 24 hours ago is already gone!

Speaking of 24 hours, this driveway was FINALLY clear this morning and now you had to go and ruin that too!

And sending another tummy bug to our house was just plain mean.

You and I, Winter, we.are.done.
You may not kill me. That's all there is.  Someone has to be here to clip the kids nails.  
So, it's time for you to go.  Take your germs and cold and snow and don't ever come back.

this momma who is about to lose it completely

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The power of a picture

Here's a look at our week in pictures:

Scavenger hunt for 'S' things on the trail:

Morning at the Children's Museum:

Lunch + extended play time with friends at Chick-fil-A:

Closest grocery store refuses to carry good options for healthy food...had to buy small containers of Greek yogurt and the kids thought it was a special treat to have their own cup.

Target practice with nerf guns:

Baked bread and listened to lots of Go Fish:

Valentine's Day party!  Crafts, games and experiments!:

Homeschool Tae Kwan Do class:

Girl Scout trip to the Air and Space Museum:

Learned how to knit:

I could have easily posted these pictures on facebook or Instagram, with just those captions and everyone would have thought, "Geez, she's such a great mom!  Look at all those activities they did in just one week!"  It would have been so easy for me to deceive the world that our week was picture perfect.  But the hard core truth is, this week in pretty pictures, completely sucked. 
Attitudes were sassy and there was talking back and countless tantrums.  The reason we did so much this week, is because I was escaping!  I had to get out or something very ugly was going to happen!  This was the first week in my mothering career that I completely dreaded the day beginning.  I felt unequipped for the battles I was facing with my kids and I just wanted to hide until it was over.

However, I learned a few very valuable things during this completely horrible week.

A.) Don't ever, under any circumstance, cut something out cold turkey when you have PMS.  Before realizing what was coming for me personally, I told the kids that we were turning off all electronics for the week.  Day 1 hit, and my crazy emotions could not handle the no-break days.  And crazy as it is, I can tell that my 7 year old is already sensitive to these times of the month.

B.) There is greater power in scripture than in a picture.  The only thing that helped this week was God's word.  I wrote out 2 verses and posted them on our refrigerator.  When they started fighting, we said together:
Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave yo

When they talked back or argued with me, we said:
Colossians 3:20
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

It honestly was the only thing that calmed our house down.  By the end of the week, I saw some sweet fruit from memorizing these verses together.  One day I was upstairs and heard Princess P saying Ephsesians 4:32 to Bubby as a very gentle reminder.  It's these small moments that I have to savor to help me through the tough weeks.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

First week down!

I made it through the week!

The challenges kept on rollin', but I was up every day at 5:30.  Monday morning I did a kickboxing and ab workout in the living room.  I was feeling awesome at 7:00, when I realized that I had coffee, time with God, a workout, breakfast cooking and a shower, all before the kids woke up.  30 seconds after I served breakfast, Charlie started throwing up.  Sheesh, this kid likes to keep me on my toes.  I honestly chuckled at how quickly my awesome morning turned sour, literally.  I had just prayed over my day and clearly God's plans for me that day were to be a nurse on top of being a teacher.  Let me tell you, teaching 2nd grade while cleaning up vomit and doing endless laundry is not for the faint of heart.  I think I said 5,000 times "Please be gracious to mommy today.  Can't you see what I'm doing right now?!" 

Tuesday, I did a different kickboxing workout.  Wednesday, I ran outside and workout was running up and down the stairs tending to different kids.  Friday, I did a "beginner" Pilates workout with Princess P and it kicked my booty (this one was not at 5:30am).  I've largely underestimated Pilates and will definitely be adding it my routine!  I ran again this morning and did some suspension training.

Pilates with the P

I had sick boys or recovering boys most of the week.  I had kids up at 3:30 in the morning and a Hubs who was traveling or had long meetings all week.  There were terrible attitudes and school work to catch up was a hard week.  BUT, I still got up, maybe just to prove to myself that it was possible.

My view during kickboxing

Even with all the hard things this week, I really did like getting up.  Instead of thinking of the early time, I thought about how much time I had to myself.  5:30 meant 1.5 hours to myself!  I loved being ready for the day when the kids got up and I loved watching the sun rise on my runs.  I was even pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn't more tired at the end of the day.  I found a huge difference in my attitude, when I started the day with my tank full, rather than spending the day looking for time to give to myself...does that make sense?

Some cons of working out early: I definitely wasn't able to "push it" as hard as I normally do.  My pace running was about 45 seconds slower than normal and trying to jump quietly in kickboxing equals not really jumping at all.  My tummy also wasn't super excited about jumping around so early and so soon after waking up.  I still have some tweaking to do in that department.  Really, I probably should get up at 5:00 and drink coffee and wake up some before working out.

I did some research this week on at-home workouts, looking for a little motivation and push.  Man, workouts are expensive!  It's ridiculous the money they want you to spend on a person telling you what to do and not doing it themselves.  I would like to alternate my days of running and living room workouts, but I think I'll bite the bullet and make up my own HIIT workouts and spend my money on cute clothes instead :)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Help! My family is always sick!

I literally typed this into google search today.  My week has been full of cleaning up bodily fluids and I'm fighting feeling discouraged; we have constantly had someone in our family sick all winter long.  As I read my google search results, I only became more discouraged...I feel like we already do the things that "guarantee you to never get sick".

But 3 things lifted my spirits this afternoon:

This article

This video

The text from Princess P's Girl Scouts leader saying they had to cancel tonight's meeting because EVERYONE was sick.  Just thankful we're not the only ones.

Hope they lift your spirits too, even if you are not sick.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Traveling with kids 101

Because all of our family has always lived states away, we have traveled perhaps a little more than the average family.  We fly once or twice a year and have taken several road trips as well.  I am not a huge fan of traveling, but thankfully my kids have not yet inherited my motion-sickness gene.  Let's home that sticks.

My best advice for traveling with kids = novel snacks and toys.

This last trip we went on, we splurged and bought the older kids each a DS with headphones and a couple of games.  Except for the headphones, everything was used, so it was half the price and completely worth it.  I struggled with feeling like we were spoiling them, especially right after Christmas, but a little spoiling was worth the ease of traveling.  I liked that they were used, so if we accidentally left them somewhere or spilled something on them, I wouldn't have to completely freak out.  We also purchased a few apps on the iPad that would hold a very active 2 year old's attention.  The cherry on top was Annie's organic fruit snacks.  Fruit snacks are something that they crave and ask for, but we never give them.  I felt slightly better about organic sugar (although I'm not deceived enough to think it's any better for you) and poured 3 boxes in my back pack to dish out as needed.  Worked like a charm.

Second best advice = ALWAYS have a burp cloth and plastic bag with you.

I'm a simple person.  I never have large diaper bags or giant purses.  I keep with me only the necessities and that doesn't include boogie wipes or diaper rash cream.  But no matter how old your kids are, it never fails that something spills or snot suddenly starts pouring out or worse...

Here's a story for you:

When packing up to come home our trip last week, I had this feeling we would need extra clothes.  I've learned that flying through Atlanta is never safe and we've been stuck there several times.  So I packed a carry on with a change of clothes for everyone, some toiletries and ALL of Charlie's pull ups and wipes.  When we got to the airport, Charlie said he had to go potty.  When we got to the potty, I found his pull up full of diarrhea.  Unexpected surprise?  Yes.  But, no worries, I had my cleverly packed carry on.  I cleaned up Charlie and took him commando back out to the carry on...only to find that Hubs had checked it on while I was in the bathroom, trying to be helpful and lighten our load.  Already through security and our plane was about to board, we were in trouble!  I dug through my backpack and whipped out my handy dandy burp cloth and stuck in Charlie's pants.  We strapped him in his carseat on the plane and were good until about halfway through the flight, when he said he had to go potty again.  We squeezed into the airplane bathroom and he had yet again, had some diarrhea on the burp cloth.  What was a momma to do?  I noticed a stash of feminine products behind the toilet, so I flipped the cloth inside out, slapped on a pad and shoved it back in his pants.  I strapped him back in his seat, whispered to Hubs our situation and prayed that he would never remember wearing a pad!  Three seconds later, Princess P spilled her drink all over her pants.  Hubs held out his hand for the diaper cloth and it only a look to remind him that it was currently occupied.  Okay, so maybe the rule should be, always have 2 burp clothes with you.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Homemade Cough Drops

Our family had a fun time passing around colds last month.  That's the problem with large families; it takes forever to get a bug out of the house.  The cold ended with a dry, persistent cough that lingered for about a week.  Princess P was the last to get it and requested kid friendly cough drops.  I picked up some Luden's cherry drops, just like the ones my mom would give me as a kid.  She was popping those suckers left and right and the cough still lingered.  Then one morning, she woke up with a red, swollen face and clearly had reacted to something.  The only thing new I could think of were the cough drops.  When I flipped over the container to look at the ingredients, I was disgusted.  Sugar, refined sugar, processed sugar and lots of artificial food coloring.  Cough drops officially go with vitamins in my "why are we putting sugar in ourselves to make it better?" category.  So I went searching for a better answer.  I found a recipe for homemade cough drops and I can testify that they work.


1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat the coconut oil on a medium high speed until it is whipped.
Add honey and cinnamon and beat until blended.
Scoop teaspoons out and place on parchment paper.
Put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.