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21st Century Parent

My children are growing up completely different from how I grew up. From smartphones to ordering groceries online…this is parenting in the 21st century!

Here I am, starting a new blog on my smartphone while waiting in a pick up line to pick up my child from school.  I am currently listening to a book called, Breaking Busy.  I just started an online parenting course.  I recently picked up my first order of groceries from Walmart that I had ordered online.  My husband and I often burn the candle at both ends, as at night we often sit next to each other on the couch, watching reruns of Friends on Netflix, folding laundry, paying bills, emailing teachers and preparing for scouts (we are both leaders).  All the while, hoping that if we watch just a half hour show that we will actually go to bed in a half hour.  It rarely happens!  We usually watch two or three episodes before we wearily drag ourselves to bed at 11:30 or midnight, only to wake up and start over again at 6am.  That’s if we are lucky and one of the kids doesn’t wake us up in the middle of the night!  Just last night I woke up at 4:30 and realized that I was no longer in my bed.  I was sleeping next to my youngest.

Yes, this is my life.  It’s a constant blur of running from one activity to the next, keeping up with family and friends over Facebook and trying to hold onto traditions and family time so that they are not swept away in this crazy world.  My children are growing up completely different from how I grew up.  Is it better?  Is it worse?  It is complicated, different and, like so many generations before us, the answers are not clear cut.   This is parenting in the 21st century!

So why am I writing this?  Maybe, I am hoping to find some comradery; to find that other parents out there are just as crazy busy.  Maybe, we can find solutions to our 21st century problems or share a few laughs about parenting in the 2000’s.  I hope you enjoy the blog!  It is my first and will likely be an adventure for me.  So, here goes nothing!  Here’s to parenting in the 21st century!

Tips for Keeping Your Sanity While Social Distancing

How do you keep your sanity when you’re stuck at home, for weeks or months, without really being able to visit with friends or relatives? What can you do during social distancing?

As the Coronavirus (COVID 19) continues to spread, and places continue to lock down, we are faced with the possibility of long term social distancing.  What is social distancing?  How long will it last?  What can you do during this time?  These are all questions that everyone is asking!

Social distancing has been put in place around the globe to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus.  Simply put, it means minimizing your contact with other people.  This also means keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from someone else.  Many places have shut down and stay-at-home orders have been put into place.  At this point, it is unclear how long the social distancing recommendation will last.

So, while many of us are stuck at home, what can we do to pass the time?  Here are some tips to help you keep your sanity during this time of social distance!

  • Establish a Routine – This is probably one of the best places to start!  Adults and children need routine.  Our lives revolve around our daily habits.  So, establish a healthy routine that engages your mind, body and your emotional well being.

    personal organizer and pink flowers on desk
    Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com
  • Exercise – Make exercise part of your daily routine!  Getting some form of exercise on a daily basis will help your body stay healthier, your mind stay sharper and will relieve stress.
  • Eat a healthy diet – Maintaining a healthy diet will be a challenge during this time, as our pantries may not be stocked with our usual foods and we may be eating more canned or frozen foods.  However, staying as healthy as possible will give you a better chance of fighting off COVID 19 if you catch it.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • Meditate – Practicing meditation or mindfulness exercises can help you reduce your stress levels, which will help your overall health in the long run!

    photo of child watching through imac
    Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com
  • Socialize – Ok, so maybe we can’t meet at a restaurant, bar, church or school function, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still socialize!  Call your parents, your friends, write letters or make cards, get on Zoom, Facetime or Facebook chat and see your class, fellow scouts, book club members, etc.  Some neighborhoods have even set aside a time for people to come out of their homes and wave to their neighbors from their porch or driveways!  Others have had virtual happy hours and playdates!  Technology is truly helping us to stay connected during this time of isolation!
  • Get fresh air – Take some time each day to go out and get fresh air and stretch your legs!  Additionally, getting vitamin D can help you absorb other vitamins that your body needs to stay healthy!
  • Work or Homeschool – Many of us are staying busy by working from home or homeschooling our children.  This can be difficult being confined to the same space.  Try to establish rules for not interrupting each other, set times for each person to have access to the computers (our kids rotate in the mornings for 30 minute sessions to get school work done), a set place/time to have phone conferences, etc.  Routine is a must in this situation!
  • Cross off items on your To Do List – Now is the perfect opportunity to work on some home projects… provided the project doesn’t require trips to the hardware store!  Organizing your garage, basement or closets are all good options!

    repairman doing screw drilling
    Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
  • Place positive messages in your windows, on your door or on your driveway – Some neighborhoods are having home owners place certain pictures in their windows so that as people go for walks they can look for shamrocks, Easter eggs, April Fools Day jokes, etc.  Kids are also using chalk to write positive messages or create pictures to cheer people up as they walk by.
  • Help the cause – Finding ways to help others in need will give you a sense of purpose and a sense of control.  Right now, many things are out of control, but there are things that we can do to help.  Many people are sewing facial masks for healthcare workers, sending cards to residents in nursing homes and calling on members of their community to see how they are doing.
  • Write letters or send cards – I’ve mentioned this a couple of times now.  Spending time to write a letter or create a card will not only give you something to do, but it will also brighten someone else’s day and you may receive some letters back!

    letter envelopes
    Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com
  • Learn a new skill – Now is a great time to try out a new recipe, learn how to build a birdhouse, try out some sewing, write a book or start your own blog!
  • Bake – So, I previously stated to eat as healthy as possible, but I also believe that having some treats on hand will help the time in isolation seem a little less daunting!  Plus, it creates a wonderful bonding time with your spouse or your kids!48905032_334854183775155_8479327248413884416_n
  • Keep a journal – Keeping a journal is beneficial on a few fronts.  One, it can help you recall past events (you may want to recall how crazy life got during COVID 19 when you’re telling stories to your future grandkids).  Two, it allows you to freely express yourself without judgement.  Three, years down the road, it may tell your story!
  • Read – Now is the perfect opportunity to relax, escape reality and enjoy a good old fashioned book!

    hotrod die cast model on board
    Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com
  • Play board games – Have a family game night that doesn’t involve video games!  Board games can help teach kids patience, turn taking, strategy, quick thinking and how to lose gracefully.
  • Work on your photos – Since the advent of the digital camera, the majority of us have been behind on placing photos into our photo albums!  Add social media, selfies and about 20 to 50 pics per day into the mix and our phones are full of pictures!  Take the time to get caught up!
  • Start a garden – Seriously…. start a garden!  It will help cut down your food costs, your trips to the store, it will help supply your kitchen with healthy foods, it will give you exercise and it will give you and your family something to do.

    close up delicious environment farming
    Photo by Dominique Knobben on Pexels.com
  • Build or sew something –  If you have some spare materials lying around the house, build something with the family, such as a bird house or sew some face masks.  It will provide multiple learning opportunities for your kids as they learn about geometry, measurement and the use of certain tools!
  • Spread the workload around your house – Don’t try to take on all of the work by yourself!  Enlist the kids or spouse to help out with chores that is maybe not on their original “to do” list.  It will give them a sense of ownership and you won’t feel overwhelmed. IMG_20180504_102837170
  • Ration – Ration your supplies so that you are not constantly having to make trips out of the house or so that you can make some of your treats or necessary items last longer! IMG_20200314_092220
  • Get help – If you feel like the stress of being isolated is getting to be too much, seek help!  Therapists can still meet with clients virtually to help them handle problems.

Good luck!  We’re all in this together and together, we will come out of this!  I’m not sure how long this will last, but take it day by day and talk to people!  Find out how they are handling the isolation!  It will help!  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”  That’s what my mom always says!  It’s true!  People get creative when things are suddenly difficult or different.  Just take a breath and do your best!  Stay safe and healthy!  Additionally, thank you to all of those working on the front lines!  We owe you!

 

 

 

 

 

How to Occupy Your Kids During Social Distancing

We are all faced with the same question, “How do we occupy our kids during social distancing?”.

As we all face this reality of weeks, maybe even months of social distancing, we are faced with the same question, “How do I keep my kids busy, without too much electronics, and get my work done too?”.  These are difficult times.  Your patience will be tested, you will get on each other’s nerves and you may resort to a lot of electronic time!  It’s ok!  No one will judge you!  However, there are options!  If you have ever volunteered in a preschool, you may have noticed that the kids move easily from one activity to the next through a wonderful little method known as…. STATIONS!

So, exactly why do stations work?  With stations, you are providing your child with five or so activities to choose from, not their whole closet or shelf full of toys!  In my experience, when children (and grown ups too) have too many choices, they can’t decide!  Having a few options to choose from also gives children the power to make the decision on their own as to what they want to do.  NO POWER STRUGGLE!  If you have more than one child, children can play at separate stations or work together to complete an activity.  At the end day, everyone is happy!  You can give yourself a pat on the back for being a great parent and your children are happy because they had fun!

Stations That Have Worked In My House

  • Table Activities – I usually put one or two activities on my kitchen table.
    • Crayons, coloring books or blank paper
    • Scissors, glue and old magazines
    • Play dough
    • Lacing or sewing
    • Puzzles
    • Sensory play (cotton balls, or popcorn with scoops, funnels and tractors)

      person drawing on a notebook
      Photo by Sarah Dietz on Pexels.com
  • Building – I always like to put at least one building activity out.  Building is a great activity that can keep children busy for a while.  First they build it, then they play with their creation!  Plus, you can brag that you have your own Makerspace at home!
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    Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com
    • Blocks
    • Legos
    • Kinex
    • Lincoln Logs
    • Marble Run
    • Duplo
  • Exercise – This is an important one when everyone is cooped up inside and can’t release pent up energy!
    • Twister
    • Laser tag
    • Nerf gun war – (Have them wear safety glasses)
    • Ride bikes, scooters or roller skates in the garage
    • Just Dance or Wii
    • Dance party in the living room
    • Balloons – Put a balloon over a vent!  Toddlers love this!  Older kids also like just bouncing a bunch of balloons around!
  • Reading Station – Pick a cozy little nook and place some must-read books in a basket, along with some kid or family magazines.  Then, let your little or big ones settle down with some good old-fashioned literature!
  • Car races – Kids love to race cars!
    • Ramp – I use a sled and tilt it up on our hearth.  Then, we get Hot Wheels and send them down!
    • Remote control
    • Pull back and go
  • Musical Instruments – Being a former music teacher, I have instruments on hand, but you can always make your own and then play them along with some music on the radio!
  • Pretend play – My kids love it when I set up some pretend play.
    • Kitchen
    • Restaurant
    • Store
    • Zoo
  • Science experiments – Science is so fun!  We love to put on our goggles and make things bubble on our kitchen table!  There are several ideas on Pinterest or see if you have a science book or science kit that has been collecting dust that you can pull out of your closet!
  • Board Games – This social isolation will be a perfect time to pull out those family board games!

    hotrod die cast model on board
    Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Themes

Themes are always fun!  They take a little more preparation, but the payout is usually worth it.

  • Ice Storm – I did this one in the winter of 2017, and it’s probably one of my favorite!  The ice storm didn’t end up being as bad as the meteorologist predicted, at least in our area, but we had fun being stuck inside for a couple of days!
    • Game – Don’t Break the Ice
    • Building – Build an igloo (Discovery Kids – Build and Play Construction Fort)
    • Pretend – Dog sled (Get a sled and some stuffed animals.)
    • Art – Ice painting (put colored sugar crystals on paper and use an ice cube to create color as it melts), painting snow (Place some snow in a bin, then color it with colored water and medicine droppers.)
    • Snack – Snowman Soup (A.K.A. hot chocolate), build a snowman (marshmallows, pretzel sticks, chocolate chips)
  • Around the world – I borrowed this one from my Mom, who borrowed it from my sister!  Pick a country and pretend to travel there!  Pretend to take a plane, boat, train or spaceship!  Read about it in a book.  Draw some of the landmarks and then eat some food from that country!  I also like to play some music on Pandora from that country!
  • Zoo – Place stuffed animals around your house.  Make a train out of chairs and then grab your baby dolls and toy cameras to make a family day of visiting the animals!  My kids also like to eat at the “café”!  I make a menu that they can choose from and fix it for lunch (It’s usually chicken nuggets or hot dogs!)!
  • Science Center – Think of science experiments or activities that you can mimic at home.  One activity that we did was we made parachutes out of popsicle sticks and tissue paper.  We then tested our creations by blowing them up in the air with the cool setting of our hair dryer.  (Make sure you supervise this activity, so that your child doesn’t get burned!)

Keep in mind, during this period of social isolation, make sure you take time to interact with your child, provide them with avenues to socialize with their friends (virtual playdates), and that they get exercise!  This is a stressful time for everyone, including your child!  Providing them with as much normalcy as possible is important to alleviate any fears that they may be having! 

 

 

My “Mom-sense” Guide to Preparing for the Coronavirus

The whole world is talking about the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic! Here are my tips to help you prepare!

There is no denying it, the Coronavirus (COVID 19) is on everyone’s mind!  As the virus continues to spread and things continue to shut down (sporting events, holiday parades, places of business, schools…the list goes on), everyone is asking how can I keep myself and my family safe and what do I need to stock up my pantry?

First of all, let me preface, I am not a health professional and I have nothing to do with the CDC, media or government.  These are just my “Mom” common sense tips that I am implementing with my family.

  • Educate yourself! – Don’t rely on social media or even the media to get all of your information.  Go to CDC.gov to find out all of the facts about the virus.
  • Wash your hands! – Ok, this may as well be the mantra for the year because we are hearing it everywhere!  We are getting into the habit of washing our hands as soon as we come home.  I’m even starting to have guests wash their hands as they enter our home.  If you can’t wash your hands right away, have wipes or hand sanitizer on hand until you can get to a sink
  • Have hand sanitizer on hand – I have hand sanitizer in the car.  After you go to the grocery store, or doctors office, gas station, etc., use some sanitizer!  If you have to use public transportation, carry some in your purse, bag, etc.
  • Don’t touch your T zone – Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible.
  • Keep a handkerchief in your pocket – You can use these to open door handles or cover your face if someone around you is coughing (I probably wouldn’t use the same handkerchief to do both, as you don’t want to put germs on your face).  At the end of the day, throw it in the wash.IMG_20200314_143133
  • Sanitize! – Ok, we all know to wipe down counters and bathrooms in our home, but here some things that maybe you didn’t think about.
    • Purse – Ladies, we don’t always think about it, but we carry our purses everywhere and set them down in some pretty dirty places!  It’s time to wipe those babies down!
    • Wallet – If you’re at a store or restaurant, I can guarantee that you probably don’t wash your hands before touching your wallet to pay!  Sanitize!
    • Phone – Almost everyone carries a phone these days!  We carry our lives around on these little devices and hand them to our kids, but I bet we don’t clean as often as we do our bathrooms!
    • Keys – After you leave the public place that you were just, the next thing you grab is your keys!  Wipe it down!
    • The interior of your car – The next thing on your cleaning list should be your steering wheel, seatbelts, dashboard, mirror and door handles.  We touch all of these things as soon as we get in the car.
    • Door handles and light switches – Get some disinfectant spray and let the kids help you fight germs!  Spray all the door knobs and wipe down the light switches.  We touch them repeatedly throughout the day.
    • Toys – If you have kids, now might be a good opportunity to do a good clean down of their toys!  Spray stuffed animals, wash toy dishes, etc.
    • Electronics – I’m not sure how other families handle sicknesses, but we tend to watch more tv and play on electronics a bit more when we are sick.  Wipe down touch screens, remotes, tablets, keyboards, etc.
    • Kitchen – Most of you know to wipe down your kitchen, but don’t forget the handle to the refrigerator, dish washer, microwave and oven!
    • Bathroom – Just clean everything!  Don’t forget the flusher and maybe use separate towels for each family member to dry their hands.

I think you may be starting to catch onto the trend.  After being in a public place, before we have a chance to wash our hands, we have touched a lot of things that we carry with us everywhere!IMG_20200314_092701

  • Stock up – I’m not sure of the exact amount of time that we are supposed to have supplies, but I have heard between 14 and 30 days for a quarantine.  Here are some items to make sure you have on hand.
    • Toilet Paper/Kleenex– Considering stores are running out faster than they can stock their shelves, I don’t think anyone is forgetting toilet paper!  Just make sure you’re leaving some for other people!
    • Soap/hand sanitizer – Put it on your grocery list!  You’re going to be doing a lot of hand washing!
    • Cleaning supplies – After reading my lengthy list above, you’ll need to get more cleaning products!
    • Laundry soap/dish soap – Don’t overlook these when you are buying all of your cleaning supplies!  If someone gets sick, you’ll want to wash their bedding, towels and, of course, you will still need to clean your dishes.
    • Medicine – Make sure you have pain relievers, cold medicines and prescription medications for a longer stay.
    • Toiletries – Buy extra toothpaste, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene products.
    • Baby items – Parents, don’t forget to stock up on formula, diapers, wipes, etc.
    • Pets – Pets will need a food supply too.  If you have cats, get some extra litter.
    • Dry and canned goods – Have enough soups, canned meat, canned fruit and vegetables on hand to last a while.  Peanut butter, pancake mix, pastas and beans are good options.  You may also consider powdered milk or packets of Kool aid to mix with water.  If you’re not feeling well, you might want crackers on hand and Sprite or Gatorade.
    • Freezer items – Stock your freezer with meat, bread, veggies and fruit.
  • Order online/Pick up – Consider ordering your purchases online and then having them delivered or picking them up at the store.  This will expose you and the workers to less germs.
  • Isolate – A best practice for the current situation is to just limit your exposure to as many people as possible, particularly those who are at higher risk for complications.  If you are having any symptoms, err on the side of precaution.
  • If you are traveling – If you’re traveling, pack some disinfectant wipes in a sandwich bag.  Most hotels are probably stepping up their cleaning procedures, but this way you can wipe down anything that you feel is necessary.
  • Plan ahead – Shop ahead for any birthdays, holidays or special occasions that might be happening in the next month.  With everything shutting down, you would hate for your child to not have a birthday present or for Easter to happen.
  • Wills/Life Insurance – I’m not saying that you are going to die, but people are dying, particularly those that are more susceptible to complications.  Having a will in place, or your life insurance up-to-date, may give you a little peace-of-mind if you do get sick.
  • Use your phone to call and have physical conversations – During this time of isolation for most of us, call or Face Time your loved ones!  It will help keep spirits up and help people to feel less isolated!

Many of you are probably already making necessary preparations.  However, having a checklist is never a bad thing!  If you have anything to add to my list, please feel free to post it so that others can benefit.  Good luck everyone and be healthy!  Remember to be as neighborly as possible during this difficult time!

 

5 Ways to Get Your Child into the Spirit of Giving During the Holiday Season

It is hard to get children to think of others when living in a “Me” society. Here are 5 ways to help your child get into the spirit of giving during the holiday season!

“What do you want for Christmas?”  It is a question that many children are asked repeatedly throughout the Christmas season.  Catalogs come in the mail.  Toys and extra merchandise fill store aisles.  Pictures are taken with Santa Claus and holiday parties abound.  So, how do we teach children about giving when much of the season focuses children’s attention on receiving?

Here are a few ideas to help children get into the spirit of giving.

  1. IMG_20181225_125035433Make them part of the gift giving process – In previous years, my family always picked names of the children of the family and bought gifts for them.  This is probably pretty typical of many extended families.  However, last year we started a new tradition.  Each child picked the name of an adult and had to MAKE a gift for that adult.  Not only did this teach the child about giving, it also made them more aware of the interests of the adults in their lives and taught them that not every gift has to come from a store.  Overall, the first year was a success with painted rocks, ornaments, a joke book, paintings and shadow boxes made from cereal containers!
  2. Let them earn money to buy their own gifts – Children love to go to the store and pay with their own money!  If children are young or even older, but not old enough to work a real job, let them earn money through chores to buy their own presents.  In previous years, after the kids earned their money, we took them to the dollar store to pick out the gifts for their siblings and their parents.  They loved picking out their own gifts and wrapping them too!
  3. Decorate cookies to give away49204627_204231583863896_2237794032707174400_nWe all love sweets during the holidays and most of us probably eat too many sweets as well!  Let your kids decorate cookies and choose who they want to receive their cookies!
  4. Give to charity or volunteer – There are so many ways to give to charity during the holidays!  Participating in a charity brings awareness to the world around us and teaches children that there are others that have needs that are maybe not being met.  Giving trees, food pantries, soup kitchens, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army kettles and Adopt a Family programs are just a few ways that your family can give during the holiday season.
  5. Spread the Joy – Not every gift has to come in a package.  Consider caroling with your family, taking cookies to an elderly neighbor or having your child make Christmas cards for family and friends.  Just visiting with friends or calling a family member during the holiday season can bring a smile to someone’s face.

    two women near christmas decorations
    Photo by Anton Belitskiy on Pexels.com

So make this season a season of giving!  It will make your children happier and bring your family closer together!  Merry Christmas and happy holidays… for whatever holiday you celebrate!

Keeping Thanksgiving a Family Tradition

Do you remember when Thanksgiving was a TRUE holiday? People were given time off to spend with their families and did not have to go off to work or people did not leave to go hit the best holiday deal. What happened to those days?

Let me paint a picture… It’s 5PM on Thanksgiving, the turkey comes out of the oven, the family gathers around the table and your teenage daughter puts on her coat, kisses your cheek and tells you to save her a plate.  She’s off to go work at the department store, checking out shopper after shopper who is waiting in a long line just to get the early bird special and plow over the next customer to get it.

Here is another picture… It’s 5PM on Thanksgiving, the turkey comes out of the oven, the family gathers around the table, gives thanks, talks, laughs, plays games, eats apple pie, while the kids run around and play with their cousins.

I don’t know about you, but the I prefer the second scenario.  What ever happened to Bing Crosby’s, “O There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays”?  They should change the words to “O there’s no place like a line on Thanksgiving”.  Until this century, Thanksgiving was reserved for the family.  Families gathered around the table to give thanks for the many blessings that had been bestowed upon them throughout the year.  People caught up on old times, shared stories and had real face-to-face conversations (no texting).  However, times have changed.  People started shopping online, social media and cell phones crippled face-to-face interactions and, since customers could hit the sales before Black Friday, stores were forced to open their doors on, what used to be considered, a family holiday.

I have not experienced this YET, but for many families, someone has to leave Thanksgiving early to go off to work.  Let’s keep Thanksgiving for the family.  Do yourself and your family a favor.  Stay home on Thanksgiving.  Save the shopping for Black Friday.  Show your family that their time with you is worth more than getting the best deal!  Let’s force the hand of the stores to stay closed on Thanksgiving.  After all, they cannot stay open if we do not shop!

Here are a few tips for making your Thanksgiving a memorable family tradition!

  1. Be thankful.  Before the meal, give thanks to God for all of your blessings.  Share what each person is thankful for.
  2. Make a toast
  3. Turn off your cellphone
  4. Break out the board games – Need a little ice breaker with family members you haven’t seen in a while?  A board game is an excellent choice.
  5. Sing some Christmas carols
  6. Sit down, chat and enjoy the company of family or friends!

 

What Kind Of “Crap” Are We Giving Our Children?

If you have ever wondered why potty humor is such a problem in the 21st century, look no further than the toy aisle at your local department store!

Since the beginning of time, bathroom humor has been funny.  I’m sure somewhere in time, there was a cave-mom rolling her eyes because her cave-children and/or spouse was laughing because someone had passed gas!  Our bowels are a part of our body and everything that comes with it is natural.  The topic is somewhat unavoidable.  If you’re a parent, OMG…. it’s a multiple times a day, you live and breathe potty talk/humor!

If you have children somewhere between the ages of 4 and let’s say 14 (I’m not exactly sure when they grow out of this phase because we haven’t hit it yet), you know how hard it can be to stop the bodily functions humor.  From burping the alphabet, crude jokes, inserting the word “fart” into every sentence,  to a fascination with flushing (if they’re little), it is hard to get them to stop!

So, why do we buy them toys to encourage this type of behavior?  If you haven’t been in the toy section of your department store in a while, you should check it out!  There is unicorn poop that you can eat, zits you can pop in a game and oh… don’t step in the dog poop game!  Really?!!  We’re working against ourselves!  It’s totally counterproductive if you are striving to raise ladies and gentlemen that have good manners!

Seriously… it is hard to raise a child in this century that is not subject to potty humor!  My advise to you, if you don’t want these kinds of toys marketed to your child, is to use your pocket book as your voice or politely send some suggestions or feedback to the toy companies about their products.  Other than that, the best that we can do it is to laugh it off and be assured that eventually, they will grow out of this phase….right?!

15 Tips to Thrive as a Parent of a Child with Disabilities

Parenting a child with any disability is difficult! How does one thrive in a world that often seems chaotic?

It’s a common challenge in the 21st century, parenting a child that has some sort of disability, whether it is ADHD, ADD, autism, anxiety or another.  Even gifted children, while blessed with many talents, can come with their unique set of challenges or have a disability in addition to being gifted.  We are continually learning more about the brain and how people learn, but there is much to be learned, even by professionals.  There are gray areas everywhere with few clear cut answers.  Parenting children with disabilities can be very taxing and exhaustive.  Between meetings with teachers, doctor appointments, daily struggles with your kids to do every day tasks, constant research and sifting through advice (both welcomed and not), the end of the day can leave you feeling drained!

 

So, as a parent, how do you survive all of this?  First of all, let me state that I am not a doctor, counselor, teacher or therapist.  I am a parent, just like you, figuring this out as my family and I go along.  Being a parent of a twice gifted child (gifted and ADD) and another child who is not yet diagnosed, but probably will be soon, these are my own tips for how to thrive in a world that often seems chaotic.

 

 

  • Change your frame of mind – A disability is a challenge, it is not the end of the world!  My mom had a motto that she would say to us growing up, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”  Challenges can be overcome…meaning there are solutions to many of the obstacles that a disability may bring.  If you maintain this attitude, it will help your whole family in the long run!

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  • Surround yourself with families in similar situations – Talking to another person going through a similar situation is like group therapy that you don’t have to pay for!  It helps you to relate, find comradery and learn how others handle challenges similar to your own.  Your doctor’s office or school should be able to point you in the direction of appropriate support groups.
  • Get help – Talk with doctors, teachers and other professionals that can help your child and family find solutions to problems.  Building the right team is so important if you’re going to help your child be successful.  Not every doctor, therapist or teacher is going to be the right fit for your child.  If it doesn’t feel right, switch!

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    Educate yourself – Read books, listen to podcasts and sit through webinars.  The best way to help your child, whether finding a new strategy or advocating for their needs and rights at school, is to educate yourself!

  • Educate your child – Find books and talk to your child about their struggles.  Doing research together can help them feel in charge of their life, find coping mechanisms and figure out how to turn a challenge into something positive.  It will also help them feel like you’re in their corner, helping to figure things out.
  • Advocate for your child/teach them to advocate for themselves – No one is going to fight for your child like you!  Your child is depending on you to get the materials/services they need to succeed!
  • Find a support group for your child – We often think about support groups for the parents, but having a group in which the child can relate to peers and talk about his feelings is equally important for their own well being.

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  • Adopt a discipline method that is right for your family – You are going to come across a copious amount of information on various discipline procedures, both good and bad!  These will come from books, doctors, therapists, family and friends.  Trust me, we have received some bad advice about how to change behaviors in our children.  Trust your gut!  If discipline is causing you and your family more stress than actually fixing the problem, adopt a different method!
  • Set aside time for just your family – I cannot stress this enough!  Having quality time with just your family, where you’re just having fun, not worrying about rules or how others think you should parent and just enjoying your family as they are is probably the most important thing you can do for your family.  These times will help you to build a bond that will help carry you through the hard times.

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  • Get into nature – I know schedules can get crazy, but make time to get into nature!  Studies have shown that green space can calm anxiety and ADHD symptoms.  It also allows kids to just be kids!  Let them play in the dirt, catch bugs, pick flowers and explore!

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  • Play with your child – Play time is so important!  It allows you to bond with your child and to also see the world through your child’s eyes!  If your child is young, play pretend and reverse the roles so that you’re the child and they are the parent.  It is interesting to see what parenting techniques our children learn from us!

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  • Have an outlet for yourself – Parenting a child with any disability is stressful!  Make sure that you are making time for yourself.  If you’ve had a stressful day, take time to regroup, gather your thoughts and calm your body and mind.  When we do this, we are able to see things more clearly and maybe come up with a better solution to the problem that made our day so stressful.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – This is one that we are still trying to work on.  If your child has ADHD/ADD, autism, anxiety or is even gifted regulating their emotions can be difficult.  Practicing meditation and mindfulness helps children learn how to calm their bodies and realize when they are losing control.  If sitting still and meditating is not going to happen because your child can’t sit still, try coloring, listening to music, or playing with play dough instead.

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  • Have a bin of “stress toys” – As I stated earlier, children with certain disabilities sometimes have difficulty regulating their emotions.  Having a bin of fidgets, play dough, putty, bubbles or coloring materials can help calm them when they are having an emotional breakdown.
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    Use timers and alarms – If your child has ADHD/ADD, you know how difficult it can be to get them to complete something or switch tasks.  Using timers, alarms and even some apps can help remove you from the equation.  It fosters independence and helps prevent you from becoming a nagging parent.

 

 

No one method is fool-proof or perfect.  It takes time, effort and a lot of trial-and-error to find the right solutions for your family.  By educating yourself and your family and talking with various professionals and other families, you will begin to build up your repertoire of tools to tackle your challenges!  As I stated earlier, I’m not a professional in this area, I’m just a parent who’s gone through some of this herself and is continually searching for answers.  I wish you luck!  You’re not alone!  There are so many others out there!  Take a deep breath!  God chose you to be this child’s parent!  You can do this!

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52 Week Resolution – June Edition

In 2019, I am embarking on a 52 Week Resolution Challenge. This month’s theme is Memories…either making them or putting them into albums…because we all know we’re about 5 – 10 years behind on that!

Wow… June, the halfway mark of this resolution!  I guess it’s time for a little reflection.  I’ve done well with my resolutions up until May.  May was a difficult month!  It was very full and we had a lot of unexpected life events occur.  To add to my challenge, my kids are now out of school, which means that my focus is on them all day versus sending them to school.  It creates a challenge when trying to type a blog!  If you are just joining me, I have been taking on a new challenge every week for 52 weeks!  Each month is a different theme.  January helped me to be healthier, February…happier, March focused on giving up to gain more, April I spent improving my home and during May, I worked to make the world a better place.  This month, I’m going to focus on memories, whether it’s making them or putting them into an album.

Have you ever made a new year’s resolution, only to abandon it a short while later.  Resolutions can be challenging when they are not clearly defined or when they are set for an infinite amount of time.  I recently listened to a book by Shelley Wilson, called How I Changed My Life in a Year.  In this book, she took on a new resolution each week for one year, thereby changing her outlook in life and creating healthier lifestyles.  I have decided to recreate this process in my own 52 Week Resolution Challenge.  Please feel free to follow my progress or join me in your own quest to create better habits and change your own outlook on life.

June – Memories

Since I’m reflecting and summer is a time for making a lot of memories, I will take the opportunity to work on pictures!  Since the digital age of pictures, it seems like everyone is about 5 – 10 years behind on printing pictures!  When I grew up, you turned in a roll of 24 or 36 pictures, got them developed and then put them into an album.  In the 21st century, we take 24 to 36 pictures just trying to capture the right pose!

Week 1 – Making Summer Memorable

Summer is definitely a time for making memories… some good, some not so good and some that will last a lifetime!  This week, since my daughter’s arm was in a cast and my oldest was at a camp, I spent my week making a space camp for my younger two kids!  I started off our week going to the library for some space crafts.  Space is the theme for the summer reading club this year.  On Tuesday, I got them outside for some sidewalk chalk fun!  We drew a big solar system on our a driveway and my daughter wanted to make a galaxy hopscotch!  I then helped them trace their hands and they turned them into aliens!  On Wednesday, we made some cool little UFO’s out of paper plates, jello cups and pom poms!  The next day, I just let the kids play a bit while I did a bit of cleaning.  We were going to have my parents and a few of their cousins over on Friday to go to another library event and to have a little space party.  We did cut out some paper starts and decorate them and I let them pick out a dessert at the grocery store for our party!  They picked Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies!  Friday came and we made our way to the library for some space science!  Afterwards, we all came back home for some lunch, cosmic brownies and to play with some galaxy playdough that I found the recipe for on Pinterest!  Everyone had a lot of fun!

Our upcoming themes for the month will be Harry Potter, Bugs and American Girl Doll!

Week 2 – Photo Albums

How many of you are years behind on your photo albums?  Me!  I looked last night and the last year I have in an album is 2012!  I don’t have my youngest in an album yet, except for his birth pictures and our vacations.  At least, I have those!  This week, my goal is to work on albums a bit!

  • My Plan – The first step in my plan is obviously to get pictures off of the cameras and onto the computer.  Next, I need to figure out where I left off on pictures and what pictures I have.  I also need to make a photo book for our last vacation before we go on this year’s vacation.  I also want to get some more of our pictures hung up throughout the house and update the kids’ baby books.
  • Day 1 – I’m having trouble finding the motivation to get started on this project!  I have laundry to fold and I still need to figure out swimming lessons!  Ugh!  This is a daunting task!
  • Day 2 – Today, I transferred pictures from our “big” camera (standard camera, not a cell phone) to the computer.  This task, in itself, takes time!  Our computer, we have surprisingly had for quite some time and uploading them and sorting them, just takes time.
  • Day 3 – I uploaded last year’s vacation pictures to Shutterfly.  This was painfully slow!  I don’t know if it was the computer that was slow or the website.  It took forever!

 

52 Week Resolution – May Edition

Have you ever wanted to make a difference in your world, but just didn’t know when or where to start? This month, during my 52 Week Resolution Challenge, I am trying to make a difference in the world around me!

Yay… May!!!  There are so many things to celebrate in May!  Graduations, Mother’s Day, high school proms, weddings, new baby animals, new flowers…. everything is beginning to bloom once again!  It’s been a busy year thus far!  I’m working on a 52 week resolution challenge in which each month has a different theme and each week has a different goal.  So far, I’ve worked to get healthier, happier, give up things that take away focus from my family and done home improvement!  This month, I’m going to work on making the world a better place!

Have you ever made a new year’s resolution, only to abandon it a short while later.  Resolutions can be challenging when they are not clearly defined or when they are set for an infinite amount of time.  I recently listened to a book by Shelley Wilson, called How I Changed My Life in a Year.  In this book, she took on a new resolution each week for one year, thereby changing her outlook in life and creating healthier lifestyles.  I have decided to recreate this process in my own 52 Week Resolution Challenge.  Please feel free to follow my progress or join me in your own quest to create better habits and change your own outlook on life.

May – Make the World a Better Place

Perhaps it is due to all of the plants coming back to life, or from spending April sprucing up my house, or maybe my mind is on my girl scout troop bridging over into Brownies, but it is calling me into action to make the world a better place!

Week 1 – Start a Support Group for ADHD/ADD

If you have a child with ADHD/ADD or you have it yourself, you understand that everyday life presents a lot of challenges.  From getting ready in the morning, to getting out of the door, contacting teachers, taking medicines, handling homework, avoiding distractions and dealing with extreme emotions, this disability is exhausting!  According to WebMD, about 11% of school aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD.  Yet, to a mom who has a child with ADD, it doesn’t feel like help is readily available to this group.

  • My Plan – I am going to contact my school and school district to see what kind of support group is available and to see if we can start one.
  • Day 1 – Today, I contacted our school counselor, as well as the head of the counseling department in our district, to see if a support group existed for ADHD/ADD parents and students and if one did not exist, could one be started!
  • Day 2 – I heard back from the counselor!  She informed me of some groups at school that might help my children and also told me about CHADD.  I will have to look this one up.  Additionally, she mentioned the Zones of Regulation by Michelle Garcia.
  • Day 3 – I heard back from the district!  She is going to pass my email along to the head of the gifted department and the strategic planning committee for our district!
  • Day 4 – I responded to a couple of e-mails from the counselor and the district.  Other than that, I focused my efforts on researching options for making t-shirts.  I would like to use t-shirts as a way to promote kindness and bring awareness to ADHD.
  • Day 5 – I spent the day with my younger two children since my son and husband were camping with scouts.
  • Day 6 – My husband left for out of town today.  We spent the morning flying kites up at school with the kids and then he left at lunch time.  The kids and I spent the rest of the day at home doing various activities around the house.
  • Day 7 – I focused on getting laundry done and cleaning the house.  We might possibly have a girl scout bridge ceremony here over the weekend.

While it doesn’t appear that there is a support group for ADHD in our district, at least I am working with the counselor to get some information about the disorder.  I have also “put the bug in their ears” about possibly needing and starting such a group.

Week 2 – Make a Difference in the School Community

Sometimes, in order to make changes in the world, you don’t have to look any further than your own home.  Little things can often have a rippling effect that can lead to larger impacts.  This last week was extremely busy, particularly with my husband being out of town and the school year coming to a close.  Since I didn’t have much time, I decided to make my goal fairly simple.  My goal for the week was to start collecting box tops and soda tabs for school again.  While it is nothing huge, collecting box tops helps bring money to the school for various equipment, which can make a huge difference in my children’s education.  The soda tabs, while a small gesture, helps to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House.  It is a charity that helps families while someone is receiving treatment for diseases, such as cancer (https://www.rmhc.org/about-us).

Besides my small collections, I also used my girl scout meeting to teach the girls about manners.  We had a tea party in which the girls earned accessories (or lost accessories) depending on the behavior at the table!  It was a lot of fun and all of the girls did very well!

Week 3 – Turn My Yard Into a Natural Wildlife Habitat

Part of making the world a better place is to taking care of the creatures and plants that live on this planet!  I thought that the best place to start this would be in my own backyard.  When looking at the list to certify my yard as a National Wildlife Habitat, I realized that I have many of the requirements already met.  If you are interested in certifying your own yard as a Natural Wildlife Habitat, you can visit https://www.nwf.org/Garden-For-Wildlife/Create.aspx .

Over the next week(s), I am going to check with my husband to see if we can install our rain barrel, then hang up some bird houses, weed and place more mulch in the beds, prune some trees and clean the birdfeeders.  After that, I should be able to certify my yard!

Week 4 – Focus on My Family and My Home

It may seem silly to focus on my family and home when I’m trying to make the world a better place.  However, if my family is unhappy and my home is unorganized and we are stressed because of it, our attitudes may be negative and may have an impact on the world around us.

This past week, my children got off school for the summer.  I took this opportunity to sign them up for the reading club at the library, give them summer challenges and continue to work with the younger two on their bikes as they figured out two wheelers (They got it!  Unfortunately, my daughter broke her arm last night…. 3rd time in 4 summers… same arm!  She was even wearing elbow pads.  We are bummed!)  We also took the opportunity to go to one of the local history sites to learn more about the Native Americans that once lived in our region!  Educating your children, working with them and helping them face and conquer their fears is one of the best and most important things that you can do for them!  It strengthens your bond, builds their confidence and wisdom, encourages them to explore and helps them to be braver people!

This week, my husband also took off of work so that we could work on our house.  So, far, we haven’t done a whole lot.  Life is getting in the way.  We organized our downstairs room, which became a priority after a tornado warning in the middle of the night caused us to cram in there and sleep on the floor for a couple of very uncomfortable hours!  We also spent some time at our new subdivision pool party to hopefully find some new friends in the neighborhood and went on a family outing to a local historic site.  We had a family member pass away, our daughter broke her arm and another elderly family member is undergoing heart surgery in a few more days.  Family is our first priority, so every day we are literally rearranging what we had originally planned out.  Life is not perfect!  Things come up and you have to learn to be flexible!

Week 5 – Focus on Family

This week’s focus was on family again.  We had my aunt’s funeral, my daughter got her hard cast on and we traveled out of town to visit my husband’s grandmother before she had her heart surgery.  While none of it was planned, and the circumstances aren’t what we had hoped for, it is always nice to spend time with family… particularly with family members that haven’t been seen in a while!  Many of my cousins agreed that we should not wait for another funeral to get together.  So often, life gets busy and we don’t take time for those that we love until it is too late!  Don’t keep putting off getting together with loved ones!  Make it one of you goals to visit or call someone today!

This month was not my most productive month as far as this challenge is concerned!  It was just such a full month!  I did accomplish some things and for that I have to be proud of myself.  There is also another important take away here.  Changing the world does not have to be some monumental task!  Even small things like collecting soda tabs or spending time with your child can have larger impacts than you realize!  Even a small pebble make ripples that far reach beyond where it landed!

 

52 Week Resolution – April Edition

Have you ever had a to-do list that just never seemed to get done? I am in the midst of a 52 week resolution and this month’s goal is to tackle some of those home improvement projects and knock them off of the list!

Spring has sprung!  Yep…it’s time for some spring sprucing up!  In case you’ve missed my previous blogs for this year, I am working on a 52 week resolution.  Each month has a different theme and each week has a different goal!  During January, I did more to get healthier.  In February, I worked on being happier!  Last month was tough!  In light of Lent, I gave up things to make room for the more important things in life.  This month, I am focusing on home improvement!

Have you ever made a new year’s resolution, only to abandon it a short while later.  Resolutions can be challenging when they are not clearly defined or when they are set for an infinite amount of time.  I recently listened to a book by Shelley Wilson, called How I Changed My Life in a Year.  In this book, she took on a new resolution each week for one year, thereby changing her outlook in life and creating healthier lifestyles.  I have decided to recreate this process in my own 52 Week Resolution Challenge.  Please feel free to follow my progress or join me in your own quest to create better habits and change your own outlook on life.

April – Home Improvement

Have you ever had a home improvement project list that just sits there…. and does nothing!  Seriously… we all have!  We want to wave our magic fairy wands (boy, I wish those existed!) and make all of things on that list happen!  Have you ever walked by that same room, closet or shelf and say to yourself “One of these days, I am going to get to that.”  Today is that day!  Carpe Diem!  I am taking this challenge as an opportunity to knock a few of those items off of my to do list!

Week 1 – Small Projects

Ok, I know you have your list!  We all do!  It is amazing how many of the items are our lists are small projects that can be done rather quickly if we just set aside some to get them done.  The problem is we set them aside… and then we forget about them!  Other things take priority and before we know it, a couple years have gone by and those projects still aren’t done!

  • My Plan – To get this month started, I broke my list down into three sections:  small tasks, medium tasks and large tasks.  This month, I am focusing a quick little tasks that I can get done in a few minutes, a couple of hours or during a shopping trip!  We are not planning on having any parties or guests this month, so I can slack a little on the cleaning and just focus on the projects.
  • Day 1 – I finally bought a couple of frames for  two paintings that my husband and I bought while we were in Europe in 2008.  Yes…2008!  We didn’t have any kids yet and my oldest will turn 10 this year!  The problem with these paintings is that they have an odd size matting, so that’s why I never bought frames for them.  So, this was the first thing I tackled on my list.  Of course, that was a few days ago and I have yet to see if the frames will work (sigh!).  There has been a lot happening… birthday parties and doctors appointments (ugh… too many of them) and a bunch of scouting events… but hey, I got frames!
  • Day 2 – Today, I sewed a matching curtain for my daughter’s room.  Since we moved, she’s only had a curtain for one of the windows in her room.  I had enough material for a second curtain (thankfully!) and I made it to the store to get more lace about a week ago.  So, I measure everything out, got out my sewing machine and voila!  My daughter now has two curtains!
  • Day 3 – Today is my day with my son.  It’s Thursday and we’ve made a standing arrangement with a friend to have a playdate each Thursday!  So, we met at Chick Fil-A for lunch and some play time!  Then, my son and I met up with my husband to get our taxes done… woohoo!  Thankfully, that didn’t take too long!
  • Day 4 – When my daughter helped me pick out material for her curtain, my son also picked out material for a pillow.  It’s been waiting to be sewn for probably over a year now!  Today, I finally sewed that pillow!  Let me just point out… I am not a seamstress, but I am so grateful that my mom taught me the basics of how to sew!  Learn to sew!  Learn to cook!  Learn to change your own oil!  You will be glad that you know these things because you don’t have to be at the mercy of someone else and are less likely to be taken advantage of if you learn how to do things for yourself!
  • Day 5 – Today was spent at a Girl Scout Camporee, therefore I achieved no work on the house.  Despite not working on my goal, I had a great time with my daughter and the other girls and moms in the troop!
  • Day 6 – Being Sunday, the original plan had been to go to the Botanical Gardens.  It was a gorgeous day!  However, after church, my husband and two sons worked on the community garden at church (a service project that my son took on for scouts) and my daughter and I went to deliver April Showers bags for scouts.  After we did our work, we decided that we didn’t have enough time to go to the Botanical Gardens, so we were going to work on our own garden.  However, my daughter had had enough bugs for one day after a wasp landed in her hair!  She threw a fit and we ended up just staying at home and doing some much needed work in our garage with my mother-in-law.
  • Day 7 – Today, my daughter had a lower GI study done, plus two doctors appointments afterwards.  This obviously took up much of the day and the rest of the day was spent taking care of her and just catching up on necessary cleaning.

All in all, my week was a success!  I finally got my daughter’s curtain made and hung, my son’s pillow, the taxes and the garage is almost to the point that a car can be parked inside!

Week 2 – Painting Project #1

Since we moved into our house last fall, my oldest son’s room has been pink!  Surprisingly enough, he has not complained.  Although, I do know that it bother’s him because once when we had guests over, he did not want to show them his room because of the color.  This week’s goal is to paint his room!

  • My Plan – This goal is pretty straight forward… I will block out some time and paint the room.
  • Day 1 – I had to take my youngest son to the doctor for his routine check-up.  Afterwards, we went to the park and fed the fish and ducks while I waited to connect with my husband about some documentation that we needed to get to the mortgage company.  After lunch, my son and I enjoyed the weather while he played on the swing set in our yard and I trimmed the grasses in our beds.  I didn’t paint, but I did get some yardwork accomplished!
  • Day 2 – My daughter stayed home from school today due to some residual effects of her procedure on Monday.  So, I took her shopping for some clothes (I realized she outgrew all of her shorts).  After shopping for a little while, we made it home in time for our windshield to be replaced and have some lunch!  While our windshield was being repaired, I changed the placement of some of the pots in the garden and brought out our fountain.  While I worked on the dishes, my daughter pulled out the Easter decorations to be placed on the table.
  • Day 3 – Today was just a day spent at home.  My youngest and I made some Easter artwork and put stickers up on the windows.  We went for a bike ride and I cleaned up the house.
  • Day 4 – I finally had a chance to work on my son’s room!  I started off by cleaning some of the mess that was on his floor.  Then I took things off of his walls, moved the furniture, spackled holes, pulled out nails and finally taped the baseboards.  Prep work takes a while!  This will be all that I accomplish for the day.  In just a few minutes, I will have to pick up my son from preschool and my other two from the bus stop.  Then, after a very long week, we will finally relax and watch a movie together as a family!
  • Day 5 – This morning was spent performing scouting activities.  My daughter, youngest son and I went to collect April Shower bags with Girl Scouts while my oldest son and my husband shot off rockets with the cub scouts.  After lunch, we returned home and I worked on my son’s room some more while my husband did a little more work in the garage.  It didn’t feel like I had made much progress (and according to my son, I hadn’t!), but edging takes a lot of time!  I had originally planned on working in the evening too, but my husband suggested having a date night and my in-laws were willing to babysit!  How could I turn down the offer?!
  • Day 6 – I finished edging today!  I decided not to go any further today because it was Sunday and I wanted to spend some time with the family.  Plus, I needed to go to the store for a few items.
  • Day 7 – After I dropped the kids off this morning, I ran to Target to buy items for Easter morning!  This took a little longer than I was hoping, but I made it home to have some lunch and then got straight to work.  I worked as fast as I could!  When my kids are at school, I know I only have a limited number of hours to get my work done and then I have to be back out of the door again to pick them up!  Thankfully, rolling goes much quicker than trim work!  I made it almost all of the way around the room!  There was just a small section left when I finished!

Well, my house is a mess, but my son’s room is painted!  Time to put everything back, clean up and get ready for the Easter holiday!

Week 3 – Finish Putting My Son’s Room Back Together and Refinance Our Mortgage

Ok, you caught me!  I’m writing this after the fact!  The week was so busy with phone calls and the kids being off school for the holiday that there wasn’t much time to work on the house.  We did refinance our mortgage, which will save us money in interest!  We were also tending to issues with our home owner’s insurance.  Since the new year began our insurance has not been in sync with our mortgage company or escrow.  It’s highly annoying and frustrating!  We also found out that the broker who quoted us our insurance, when we closed on the house, apparently didn’t quote us the correct amount and the underwriter corrected it by adding on what we owed.  Ugh!!  So that was my week last week!

Week 4 – Painting Project #2?

Wow, this month is flying by!  It’s been a crazy busy month!  Every weekend has had some event happening and May is promising to do the same!  Over the weekend, I actually looked at our calendar for a free weekend (our next one won’t happen until Memorial weekend!) and I X’d it out as our weekend!  I don’t care who asks us to do what, we are busy!  I don’t know what we are busy with, but it will be with whatever we choose, not what other people are filling up our time with!

Anyway….. I am hoping to paint our bathroom this week.  That’s going to be a challenge!  Again, our weekend is completely full, so it will be left for me to do while the kids are at school.  The other problem is we haven’t picked out our paint yet.  We are trying to find a gray or a blue that will tone down the big, black tile that is in our bathroom and go with our shower curtain.  I’m just not certain, I can pull this one off.  Hmmm….   We’ll give it a shot!  “Where there is a will, there is a way!”

  • My plan – Start taping the room as soon as possible and pick out a color with my husband tonight or tomorrow!
  • Day 1 – Today, I informed my husband of my goal.  I wasn’t extremely confident that I could pull it off as we hadn’t nailed down a color yet.  However, when I told my hubby, he told me that we would pick out a color!  I then cleaned out the bathroom and started taking things off of the walls.  I also took screws and nails out of the walls that weren’t being used and patched the holes.  Finally, I started taping around the room!
  • Day 2 – Today was my day with my youngest.  So, we dropped off the car because it needed some repairs and then just did some playing around home.
  • Day 3 – Today, my husband and I decided on a color.  Our bathroom was basically inspired by a Kleenex box!  We matched up the color swatch with the color on the box and voila!  I went to the hardware store, bought the paint, came home and starting painting the edges!
  • Day 4 – I didn’t do any work on the bathroom today because my preschooler was off of school and we met a friend for a playdate.  After our playdate, we had several errands to run, including a run to the hardware store for a toilet seat.  Ours broke!  So, once we returned home, I installed the new toilet seat… blech!
  • Day 5 – Friday…. I finished paint the trim and rolled paint on the rest of the walls!  It looks soooo much nicer!
  • Day 6 – Today was my nephew’s First Communion.  We started off at the church and then headed to the park for a very chilly picnic!  Thankfully, the sun eventually came out and warmed us all up a bit!  Afterwards, I took my son to his friend’s birthday party.
  • Day 7 – Since we went to church on Saturday, we decided to skip church today and instead went to the hardware store for some stepping stones.  It was a chilly morning, so we all dressed in layers!  We finally found some stones that we liked, grabbed some lunch and then headed home.  After my hubby and I put the stones in our backyard, we packed up the kids and headed to the nursery to pick out some plants!  It didn’t take us long to fill our cart with plants that we liked…. or for our 5 year old son to stick his hand in something that stuck him with a ton of hair like needles!  The lady at the checkout lane was kind enough to lend us some tape that we were able to get all of the needles out of his poor hand!
  • Day 8 – Today, I went of over the edges with a second coat and then cleaned up the bathroom!  My project is finished!

Mission accomplished!  I didn’t think that this project was going to come to fruition this week, but I stuck with it and got it done!

It is amazing how much can be accomplished in a day, a week, a month or a year!  Having a goal and a plan of how to achieve that goal definitely helped me to stay focused this month.  This month was not devoid of extra events and appointments, to say the least!  Almost every weekend was filled with extra activities, not to mention we had extra doctor appointments to fill up our time!  Blogging about this experience and being held accountable additionally helped me to achieve my goal quickly!