Monday, March 26, 2012

Caught my eye...

Been interesting around here lately. Greg came down with the flu. It was bad, he took his first sick day in EVER. He was sick all weekend, did manage to make it to work today even though I don't think he's fully recovered.

Yesterday my main goal was to take a nap when ALL the boys did. Climbing into bed I saw out our windows that Jake had put their tricycle out in the grass. It looked kind of neat with the contrast in colors and textures. So I grabbed the camera and went out to take a few shots! Neat!

Also caught this over in my wall baskets on the fence. Another great color combo! Pretty!

These plants survived our very mild winter. I just cut it back drastically and was happy to have them grow so we don't have to buy new plants this spring :)

Then I went and crashed for an hour. Got up and took the big boys with me to spin class (Greg was feeling ok enough to stay home with the baby), they played in childcare... then I took them to family swim time (fun!), got them showered there (it was quite the novelty for them, lol!), and we had dinner at the gym cafe. Made it home in time to hang for a bit then off to bed for them.

Myself? I'm still tired. But we're off to feed some ducks now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fun Discipline Ideas

What? Fun discipline? Ok, maybe not really... but I found these two projects to lean more towards possible fun ;)

First: Countdown to a Reward (ghetto green/recycled version on a shoebox lid)

Jake has been begging to see/learn about Star Wars. Evan LOVES any of the Lego City stuff.

 Their behavior towards each other hasn't been very brotherly lately.

I'm not a fan of just buying stuff because they want it (however, Daddy caved and I had to think on the spot when they got home).

So for this... they had 25 times to show or "be caught" being nice to each other... such as... sharing, helping, talking nice to, apologizing (which is what the cut outs pasted on there are suppose to represent - a visual for them). Then we just used random stickers (we accumulate a lot of random stickers around here) to put on the numbers for the countdown! I used double sided tape to stick the movie to wait in the corner.

Jake added that tiny X by the movie ;)
It went pretty well. While it certainly did NOT necessarily change the "bad" behavior... after the fact I did see them being nicer to each other and "telling" on each other when they were nice. So perhaps, something was learned??

Up Next: Behavior Clips for the Car!

Many times we're in the car, they're fighting. I'm totally screwed, I can't reach them/move them/etc... so all I can do is ask (which turns into yelling) for them to please stop. Car rides have become a contained mobile torture zone for me. Something needed to be done.

Most schools use a stoplight metaphor for discipline. So I decided to use that, plus it makes for a nice visual... since I'm pretty sure they aren't actually listening to me anyway.

Such a simple project...

You need clothes pins and regular old markers. I'm sure you could get all fancy and cute with paint and or scrapbook paper.

I simply colored 2 greens, 2 yellows and 2 reds. Then wrote their names on each of them.

Evan's went on one visor in the car and Jake's went on another (Evan's are on my visor in easy reach - rather telling I must say). Rules are... if I ask you once to stop and you don't, you lose your green clip, if I ask you again and you don't stop you then lose your yellow. So when only the red one is left you'll have a timeout (or similar consequence) when we get home.

It's been two weeks since these have been in use. I haven't had to ask more than once and no one has lost even a green clip yet and my blood pressure is down in the car. Evan (the trouble maker) just stares at them while in the car and when he get home he proudly announces "I still have my green clip!".

Some days I feel like I scramble to even get through some days... others I think "wow,I'm not to shabby". I realize this is NOT rocket science... BUT... a peaceful car is awesome.

I turned my back for a moment after making these and explaining them to Jake. I turned back around to see he had made his own set... complete with his little friend "Annabelle"'s name on them. He did tell me "Mama, it's pretty hard to get her name on here". I gotta say... while I do wish he would of asked before just helping himself... it tugged at my heart strings and made me proud to see him "project-ing" like me :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In a funk...

I don't know what it is... just not feeling up to par at all lately.

Ever feel like you need to go on a life "detox"? Ever feel like all facebook is a bunch of opinions, brags, and snark? Ever feel like sometimes you're "too much" for some people yet "not enough" for others? Ever feel like you're not a good enough parent, spouse, friend or neighbor?

I really don't know how I've come to find myself in the situation I am right now. I feel like I need to DO something, I just don't know what that something is.

I'm the queen of distractions... I like it. Especially with the surprise adoption, losing Grant at 8 weeks, being away from home for those 8 weeks, the financial whammy that all lead to, and then home to put the pieces together. Only, I never got to put those pieces together, with 3 little boys we're just too busy. I was able to slide by the last 8 months, distractions helping me along the way. But I'm wondering if my "distractions" are taking over a part of myself. I need to focus, but I feel like for the last year I've been so out of focus, I'm not sure how to do it anymore. I need to focus on my family and myself... why is that proving to be so hard? Hence how easily it was for distractions to creep in and take over.

Plus, we know we're moving to D.C. this YEAR... just don't know when this year. I thought I was okay with it... but here it is only March of 2012 and the stress of not knowing WHEN and not being able to plan is just eating at me.

I can't really express how hard I'm finding things right now with 3 busy boys ages 5, 3, and 9 mths. I feel overwhelmed to say the least. I feel like no matter WHAT I do, no one is every happy.

Anyway, I did remove the FB app off my phone this morning. It was too accessible. I'm hoping if I limit it to only when I'm on the computer then perhaps that'll help take the edge off.

I just don't know. Ever feel any of these ways? What helps(ed) you?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March Book Club! "The Book Thief"

On Monday night it was my turn to host book club! I love to read and I love any reason to do something even a little creative. Since we discuss the book over dinner, thought I'd do a little tablescaping.
The book I selected for us to read was "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

I wanted it to be a simple yet nice tablescape to sort of reflect the book. Nothing too fancy or over the top at all, and just used what I had around the house. Yes, I had to use paper napkins. I realized I only have cloth napkins in sets of 4, and nothing that really coordinated.

 The Lowe's Lanterns make their appearence yet again! Best couple dollars I've ever spent!
Probably the simplest tablescape for anyone to share... but it was great for book discussing accompanied by delicious food and glasses of wine!
I tried out a new recipe for a side dish. Quinoa Almond Berry Salad by Oh She Glows....

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As with anything I make... I changed it a bit :) Nothing major... followed everything else I just used blackberries instead of cherries and fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of lime!
It was a nice evening! I recommend The Book Thief!
Some other book club books we've read in recent months...
The Kitchen Daughter
I've recommeded this one a ton!
Some definite laugh out loud moments (especially in the beginning)

The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel
This one was hard to get into, and it wasn't until the end that I realized I liked it

Joining up with Between Naps on the Porch's Tablescape Thursday linky party!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I did it! I tried the Tri!

Sunday was the Indoor Tri... my first ever type of athletic event in about 17 years!!
My swim cap & number

I was a BALL of nerves weeks before. At one point I contemplated NOT going at all, just wasting my money and all the time I'd spent training. It was that fear of the unknown... I'd never done it before and hadn't known anyone else to have tried this particular one before.

Decided the end of January that I was going to do this. The Indoor Tri seemed just right for something for me to try! It's 10 min swimming, 30 min biking on a spin bike, then ends with a 20 min treadmill run.

I swam in highschool, so while I'm nowhere near as fit or fast as I used to be... those skills and effiency are still there. In the last year I started to go to spin class and become rather addicted. So all I had to do was run. Problem is... I've NEVER ran in my entire life.

So I came up with a couple plans and made some slow painful progress (was even really sick for over a week!). I blogged about my "progress" here and here. But come yesterday... I ran the entire 20 mins without stopping!

I'll find out Tuesday at the gym what my "score" ends up being and how I ranked for the event. I know the score doesn't really matter... but I am interested to know. I think I did pretty well for the swimming and biking portion and I think I did okay for the run.

I swam 24 lengths of the pool (600m) in 10 mins, biked 16.3 miles on the spin bike (so it's not the same as a real bike, I know) in 30 mins and then I ran 1.83 miles for the 20 min treadmill run.

The swimming portion was interesting. I got an email earlier in the week that'd we'd be sharing lanes... I was not happy about this. It's really hard to truly share a lane if you're not close to the same pace. It would be one person swimming on the left side and one person swimming on the right. Ok, was not happy about that, but I'll make it work. Get in our lanes and on my way back the gal sharing my lane is on my side in my way!?!?! She was just swimming normally (in the counterclockwise motion like people do when they're somewhat the same pace/speed). CRAP. So this majorly slowed me down quite a few times when I had to pass her or when we'd be at the wall turning at the same time. So I'm kinda peeved about that, but it went okay. When the whistle blew the man in the lane next to me with his wife shook my hand and said "Thanks for the good swim". Most people are just naturally so-so at swimming... so it's always nice to meet another swimmer and have them notice. That was the highlight of the event I think :)

I did it! Now no more 6 times a week of working out... that was just WAY too much for me. Things were starting to get crazy and the house and meals were starting to slip. Think I'll aim for 4-5 days a week now. Taking out a bit of cardio and add back in some weights & a core class. I'm going to try to keep up running every now and then. It's still not my favorite thing, but I'm glad I got better at it... so I don't want to lose that.

Thanks for the support! Maybe I'll do it again sometime?

RESULTS ARE IN: I came in Sixth out of 30 people! Swam the most laps, was in the top 7 for miles biked... but yah, as suspected the running portion hurt me. If I could of made it to at least 2 miles in those 20 mins I probably could of come in 2nd or 3rd. But overall, have to say I'm happy with the results! Made me feel a little like I'm not "just a mom". Being mom is okay a majority of the time, but sometimes it's nice to break away from that for a bit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Cat-in-the-Hat Snacks!

Lucky me & Evan were able join Jake at school today! As tomorrow is Dr. Seuss' Birthday, they celebrated it today at school. We received an invite to come in and help :)
Theodor Seuss Geisel
Found a sitter for baby Luke (thanks Kim!) and off I went with the big boys this morning! Evan was THRILLED to be going to school too!

It was a great time! I don't know how the teachers do it... it's like herding cats! LOL! We got to be there when they arrived, had circle time, snack time, and stations (each with very neat themed ideas)!
Here are a couple of the activities she got ideas from if you're looking for something next year (click on pic for link back)!

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I was able to do a snack with them! The teacher suggested cat-in-the-hat hats made out of banana & strawberry slices.  Check out this Dr. Seuss food from Muffin Tin Mom

Dr Seuss March 022

Sounded good to me! I just wanted to not provide pointed weapons to a preschool class and I thought have the cat would be a good visual for them. One of my friend suggested a muffin... I can totally see that... use a mini muffin as the cats head (maybe stick a face on the side) and put the "hat" on the muffin. But I needed it to be a bit simpler and was trying to just have it be the fruit. Hmmmmmm.....

So I dug around in all my "stuff" aka known around here as all my "crap" (see Greg, there's a reason I save all this!) and found leftover lollipop sticks from when I made Jake's marshmallows on a stick treat for his birthday.

Then thought, I need a picture of the Cat without his hat! THAT was hard to find. After lots of googling I found one that his tipping it, so I could just cut it out. Copy & pasted into a document and printed it out. Then cut them all out.

Hot glued them to the lollipop stick and we're good to go! All this crazy Cat needs now is his hat!

Come snack time... we built it together as a class and then gobbled it up!

Jake with his

Evan mid-chew of his

The Cat with his topsy-turvy hat!

FYI: I recommend going off the pattern a bit and doing the banana on the bottom, because most strawberries will have that little hole in the middle and will therefor probably just slide right down. You still get a pattern but not exactly like his hat.
Spent the rest of the time in stations. I helped in the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish station... painting, cutting, and gluing tissue paper on some fish! I felt like a one man band or a juggler. My brain is fried and I was sweating up a storm (all teachers can collectively roll their eyes at me now), lol!

I thought Evan would enjoy all of this, buuuutttt, not so much... he played in their toy section the entire time. He did come over and do some painting and of course did the snack but other than that he just played. Which is completely on spot with his age, just thought he MIGHT like some of the activities ;) So glad the teacher tried to include him in everything!

Evan cried big ole fat tears when we left! "But Jake's my brother, I want my brother, let's go back, I don't want to leave, please I need my brother". Oh boy. I had one tired 3 yr old on my hands!

Fun day for a very fun author with at least two of my favorite little people! Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!