Friday, October 11, 2013

The Yell Jar and Consequence Jar

I will be the first to admit, I am not perfect. I know you're shocked, but it's true. In fact I often regret some of my parenting choices. The main one is yelling. I yell....a lot. That's just what I do, when the kids are not listening...I yell. When the kids push my last button...I yell. When Leo doesn't take out the trash...I yell. I know, I know. I'm not proud of it, but I do it.

It's one of those things that I want to change but always fall back into the habit. And of course since I yell, the kids yell. Madison has become pretty bad with it and I have decided we needed a redo. So I have decided to start a yell jar, it's sort of like a swear jar but for yelling. If we scream or yell we have to put a quarter in it. That goes for Leo and I as well as the kids. I chose a quarter because the kids don't really get an allowance yet. Realizing that they don't always have a quarter, they can choose a slip of paper from the Consequence Jar instead. They have to fulfill whatever they choose like clean your room, clean your siblings room, wipe down the counters and table, sweep the floor, ect. I color coded them for each child because obviously there are things that Madison can do that Alanna cannot, so I made each of them age appropriate. So far we have $.75 in the yell jar, this will also be a good way to save up some money too! *Fingers crossed* this will help out with a decimal level around here. I guess we will find out soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Madison!

I became a mommy for the very first time 9 years ago today. We celebrated her party with a sleepover, which I swore the last time I would never do again, but it wasn't so bad. We had a "Royal Sleepover." Everything was pink and girly and the girls had a blast, even if they didn't go to bed until 4am. Needless to say, I wasn't very pleasant the next day from my lack of sleep. But she had a great night so I guess it was worth it.

Decorations, fondue and ice cream bar fit for a princess

A little pampering

Presents and cup cake decorating 

Glow Sticks!
And the beautiful birthday girl!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Embarking On A New Journey

When Alanna started school this year I decided it was time for me to go back to work. After considering my options I decided to go with a passion instead of a job. This weekend I attended a Doula Training workshop. It was crazy long days but it was simply amazing!

On our first day I went in completely clueless as to what I was about to learn. I saw a bunch of "hippie" chicks who were all about natural home births. Coming from where I am, I was immediately defensive. Having 3 cesarean births, I felt judged. How dare she, ya know? Boy was I wrong. Of course it was all in my head and I let my junk (that I didn't even know I had) get in the way. However I learned a lot. It was all about the basics of childbirth and an intro into the Doula world. It was such a long day I came home with a complete brain overload, completely self conscious that people didn't like me, and crashed. I was exhausted.

Saturday I had to get up at 5:30 to be there by 7:30, but I was so excited about digging into the Doula stuff that I didn't care. After about half the day learning techniques and positions and exploring situations, we got into the reality of it. We talked about the emotional side of childbirth and really that's what it's all about. Loving on the mothers and helping them to bring this miracle into the world. It didn't matter how and there was no judgement. It was amazing and so therapeutic. I left late and cried all the way home and I had no idea why.

Today was super emotional and I think today is really what tied us all up together. We were in a safe place. We could share our grief and experiences and we connected on a deeper level. We embraced each others differences and experiences, we learned about about each other. It was amazing. I feel like I've grown as a person, as a woman, and as mother. I learned so much about myself and about caring for others. It's more then just assisting a birth, it's about loving people. I really feel like not only did I learn about a really terrific program that I am looking forward to turning into a career, but I gained an entire support group of really amazing women!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alanna Goes To School

The time has come for my sweet little baby to start school. That's right my youngest, my little one, the baby of the family, has started Elementary school. I know, I'm in disbelief too. We have what's called a gradual entrance program. The Pre-K goes for an hour with a parent, the next day they go and hour alone, and then they start their normal schedule. So today was her first day with a parent. While I was getting her ready, Alanna told me she was so excited to go to "big kid school" all by herself. I had to burst her bubble and tell her that I was staying with her today, and she immediately  followed with a noooooooooooooooooooooo. I couldn't believe that she didn't want me to stay with her. When did my 4 year old become so independent?

Now granted, she has always been pretty independent but not so much that she didn't want me around at all. When we were walking into the school she said "Are you sure this is a good idea?" I tried to stifle my laugh and asked her what she meant, she replied "You know...holding my hand while we walk into the school." I couldn't hold it back  anymore, and I couldn't help but laugh. My sweet, little sassy 4 year old didn't want me to hold her hand in front of her new friends. I thought I had at least 5 or 6 more years before we hit that faze. Needless to say I think Miss Alanna is going to give her teacher a run for her money. She's pretty witty and asked her teacher at least 20 questions in the first 10 mins of class. I have a feeling that I might be at school quite a bit this year.

It's pretty cool to see just how different my kids are.  I know they are different, but when are in school, you can see how they react and behave. It's more noticeable. Maddie is the talker, but she is really smart. She reads well above her grade level, as where Caden is more shy and quiet. I mean, if you know him, you know that is not really the case. But when it comes to school he is more laid back and go with the flow (which has always been his personality. ) And well, Alanna, she's the boss. She's sassy and she is not shy by any means! She was the first person to raise her hand and introduce herself, she asked a million questions, and she instantly made friends. I think she will be my social butterfly. I'm interested to see how things will go this year but I know that Alanna is ready to go without hesitation. I on the other hand, am not ready for her to be such a big girl just yet.
A little after the first day of school lunch at Chick Fil A

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back To School

It has arrived! The kids went back to school on Monday. ::sigh:: Madison started the 3rd grade and Caden the 1st. I'm really not sure how they are old enough to be in 1st and 3rd grade but it is here. Alanna starts Pre- K on Thursday. BABY! I don't know if I am ready for this, but I know she definitely is! When we went to meet her teacher on Monday she cried because she didn't want to leave the class. She's really excited to start "big kid school." I have mixed emotions about it.

On the other hand I have some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. With Alanna starting school now, I had to figure out what I am going to do with myself. I've spent the last 7 years as a Stay At Home Mom, just taking care of kids, cooking and cleaning. On top of mine I had my 3 nieces most days while my sister in law worked. Now all of my kids in school and my brother in law is baby sitting my nieces so I needed to make some decisions. I work part time for a Caterer but it's just a few hours a week. Before I decided to stay home with my kids I worked in banking. I mainly did member services and loans. So I figured I could always go back into that, but honestly, I just didn't like it. I'm not good with numbers and I hated getting up in the morning to go to work. So after researching and reading, I have decided to get my Doula certification! I am so excited. If you don't know what Doula is, basically it's like a birthing coach. They are there to support the mother before, during, and after labor. It's perfect for me! It's something I love and fascinates me. I am also going to take a lactation class so I can help those moms who are having a hard time breast feeding. When I had all of mine especially Madison, I had a very hard time with it and gave u pretty early. It was hard because I didn't have the proper resources to help me, so it's important to me to help other moms that are going through what I did. And I just can't wait to get started. I registered to start classes on September 20!! So lots of exciting things are to come within the next few months. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slacking For Summer

It's that time of the year again! The summer is over and school is getting ready to start tomorrow. I just can't believe how fast this summer went, and I have been a slacker when it comes to keeping up on my blog. So here is a quick recap of our relatively uneventful summer.

We did hit the beach for a weekend with my best friend and our families in June for the kids to play sand soccer but it rained the entire weekend so we only had a few short hours to enjoy the beach.

and how we spent most of the trip...

 For the last 10 years I have been working at a performing arts camp at our community center every summer. We teach dance...or I teach dance rather , music, and theatre and at the end of camp the kids put on a performance. It's something I love and have been passionate about since I was a child, and now my kids are doing it. This is Madison's 3rd year and Caden's first, they start at age 6. This year we did The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (it's like the knock of children's version of The Wizard of Oz.) Madison was a lead monkey and Caden was a rapping munchkin. It was adorable. We also went on some pretty awesome field trips this year to Port Discovery and the Lyric Opera House. 

Caden the rapping munchkin
And an angry tree lol

And Maddie the flying monkey..........

and a poppy

And now the Summer is coming to an end and school is getting ready to start. I'm usually that parent who is counting down the days but honestly I'm just not ready for school to start just yet. I've enjoyed having the kids home with me, even if it means having a messy house. The price we pay to sleep in for just an hour. Now it's back to the hustle and bustle of the school year.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Birthday & A Graduation

Four years ago today I gave birth to my sweet blonde hair, blue eyed baby girl. I have watched her grow into a super sassy, crazy haired four year old. Alanna has always played up the "baby" role of the family. She decided she didn't want to walk until she was 16 mths old....I mean would you if you had a big brother and sister to do everything for you? She also has daddy wrapped around her finger (Don't try to deny it, Leo.) But she is a beautiful energetic little lady ....and I use that term loosely since she always has her dress pulled up over her head. She loves all things pink, frilly, and princess, but equally will get down in the dirt and be covered in mud in an instant. God has surely blessed me with my little monster and I feel so lucky that He chose me to be her mommy.

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea! Mommy and daddy loves you so much and we are so thankful to have such an amazing little girl.

My silly Birthday Girl

As well as celebrating Miss Alanna's birthday, we celebrated Caden graduating Kindergarten! Can you believe my little man is going to be a first grader?! 

Hey time, can you please slow down?

They had a little program today, which was ridiculously adorable. So of course I will share one whenever youtube lets me but until then here are some pics.

Caden with his teacher Ms. Hoffman

Caden with his good friend Alyssa

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Turning Old To New

When we bought our home 2 years ago, I had big plans. I was so tired of renting because I hated plain white walls. So when we moved in I just couldn't wait to start painting, then life happened. Soccer practices, dance classes, working, and everything else just got in the way. The only room that ended up getting painted was Alanna's room because we switched her into a big girls bed. I still plan to paint but who knows when I will get around to it.

So this spring I have decided to start on the outside. We have a big yard and nothing to keep the kids busy. My plan was to get all different play things for the kids but it hasn't happened yet. So I've been scoping out some "online yard sales" on Facebook and I found this old Little Tikes playhouse that someone was selling for $15. Now I am a Pinterest junkie like everyone else and I saw that someone had repurposed a little picnic table. So I decided to clean and paint it for the kids. All I can say that I am more than pleased with how it turned out. The kids are super excited to finally have something to play with and so am, I because they keep using beach shovels to dig holes all over my yard. My next adventure will be a swing set and then my flower gardens. I am hoping by Summer the outside will be how I want it, then we will tackle the inside.

It was relatively easy to do, but a lot of work. First I took it apart and scrubbed it with a scrub brush and hose. Then I used Rust-Oleum Indoor/outdoor spray paint and let it dry. It took about 2 days because I let it sit and dry but it didn't take that long to dry.

Friday, March 29, 2013

How To Make Resurrection Rolls & Teaching The Kids about Jesus' Story

Last year I found the idea for Resurrection rolls online. I thought it would be a cool way to show my kids the story of Jesus, and start a new tradition. What better day to make them then on Good Friday, right? Most people have heard of The Easter Story, or some variation of it. It's something that is important to us and something that we want to instill in our children. Easter isn't all about the candy and a giant bunny but about Jesus and what he did for us. He was beaten and hung on a cross so that we can be forgiven. So today we sat down with the kids and my nieces and told the story and let them each make their own roll.

What you will need: 
1 pack of crescent rolls (the linen they wrapped Jesus in)
 big marshmallows (Jesus' body)
1 tbls of melted butter 
  2 tbls of cinnamon and sugar (the spices they used when they wrapped Jesus)

First preheat the oven to 350 or 375 according to what the package says. While you are waiting for the oven to be ready read John 19 (we use a children's Bible)

Once the oven is ready let each kid take a marshmallow. We explained that Jesus never sinned but He died on the cross for us because we are sinners. The white marshmallow represents His body without sin.

Then they dipped each marshmallow in the butter and cinnamon sugar to represent the spices they brought to wrap Jesus' body, and wrapped them in the crescent rolls.

Once the rolls are done we put them in the tomb (the oven) for 11-13 mins and while they baked we read John 20:1-18 

When the rolls are finished cut open the roll to see that the marshmallow is gone! Jesus has RISEN! 

The kids loved making them and they were really yummy too! 

We finished up with reading 1 Thessalonian 4:16-18
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him shall not parish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. - John 3:16-17

Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Organized, One Day At A Time

My life is pretty chaotic between dance classes, soccer practices, church events, and birthday parties I'm lucky if I can remember what day it is. So for the last few weeks I have been trying to organize my life and I started with this......

It's our family command center. I'm obsessed with it and I can't begin to tell you how much of a life saver it has been. I need remind me of everything. I'm so forgetful and since I've had the kids I swear I have lost even more of my short term memory. So this was exactly what my chaos needed. The whole thing cost me about $25 including supplies to decorate the kids chore charts and I bought everything at Walmart and the dollar store. The first thing I got was the split cork/whiteboard  ($9.97) and the whiteboard calender  (also $9.97) Now, we have had chore charts for quite some time but like everything it was put on the back burner and forgot about. So I decided to revamp them and make it fun. I used 3 baking sheets from the Dollar store and I bought some foam letters and squares to cut the stars out. I already had a sheet of magnet that I cut and put on the back of the stars. And I bought the Family decal at the Dollar store also. 

I decided to try a point system in our house, if you get up and get dressed and ready for school without being told to get your shoes on 100 times ( let's face it, we all deal with that) then you get a point. At the end of the day if all of your chores are completed, you get another point. And if you do something without having to be told , ie: clean off the table, wipe off the counter , ect , then you get another point. You can also lose points, for not following directions or misbehaving. All we have to do is say we are taking away a point and they usually stop whatever they are doing at the time. So far I can say it has worked great! The kids are excited to do their chores and move their stars, they are eager to help around the house and they are even getting up and getting out the door in the morning without a fight. Not to mention the kids are starting to take on some responsibility, which is awesome.

Overall I can say this has been the best $25 spent, and my sanity is slowly coming back (yea right!)

I also made this magnetic behavior chart for my nephew. He's been having some trouble and I thought it would be helpful if he had some positive reinforcement. Everything I used for this came from the Dollar store as well. Like with the chore chart, I used the metal baking sheet and put stickers on the pieces of foam and added a magnet so they could be moved. Because let's face it, those printable sheets are time consuming. Oh and I used command strips to hang everything, those things are amazing!

Happy organizing!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Perfect Parenting

Yesterday I was insulted and called a bad mother and a few other ridiculous comments, not by anyone of importance, and it was by a person that I have less then zero respect for. So I wasn't really hurt by his ignorance, and anyone who knows me can attest that this isn't true but it has made me think.

Before you have children you think you know it all. You say my kids wont do that, they will never behave like this. Man, you get a wake up call when that time actually comes. Truth is you have no idea what is in store for you and how your life will change. When I had Madison, I was barely 20, and clueless. Of course I thought I knew what I was doing. I baby sat most of my teens and I knew it would be different but not that much different. Boy, was I in for a wake up call! What I wasn't prepared for was a newborn waking up every 2 hours to eat, be changed, and tended to. I wasn't prepared for living like a zombie for the first 6 months of her life, not remembering if I had eaten or showered half of the time. I was not prepared for the terrible twos to start at 13 months, and I surely had no idea what was in store for me when I added another newborn into the mix. To say that Maddie was a handful was an understatement. I have some stories...but that's for another time.

 I remember sitting up at night and crying because I was so overwhelmed. I wanted to be a mom so badly and yet I cried every night. I just didn't know what to do. But we took it one day at a time and made it through and things got easier. I got older, I learned patience, and understanding. I learned to deal with things differently. Now don't get me wrong, there are still days where I sit and cry because I am overwhelmed. There are days that I look forward to bed time because the kids are diving me crazy, and there are days that I think I have no idea what I am doing. But at the end of the day, when I am tucking my kids in and saying bedtime prayers, I am thankful. I love being a mom, and while I may not do it right all of the time, I am still learning.

By no means am I perfect. I am not a perfect person, wife, and definitely not a perfect mother. I make mistakes. I yell too much, I overreact too often, my house is often messy (you try keeping a spotless house with 6 kids everyday.) But I am learning. I have come so far in these last 8 1/2 years of motherhood, and I still have a long way to go. Truth is, no one knows what they are doing. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and judge others. To see a messy house and make a comment about how dirty it is. To see a child throwing a tantrum in the store and quickly say, "if that was my child they wouldn't act like that." It's so easy to cast judgement on others (I am also guilty of this) but you don't see the big picture. My pastor was speaking on Sunday about Life Application. He was talking about parenting and living your life with love. He said if you do one thing different today and yesterday then you are making progress. And I try to apply that to my life. I may yell, and overreact, and be in a bad mood but I am learning. I am growing. I apologize when I am wrong. I admit when I make mistakes. And I am learning to live my life with love. So think twice before you quickly cast judgement on others, because we are all learning and growing, and striving to be the best parent we can be.