Category Archives: family

Another Habit Update

So how many of you are wondering how I’m doing with my new habits? I realized today that most of them really have become habits! Not to say I don’t struggle with them still, but it’s not the same as before.

Mornings

I have been waking up at 6 AM every morning (except 2) for over a month now. It really does make the mornings so much easier. I still have to send kids (mainly Lucas) back to bed until 7, but I’m not as grumpy about it, so I handle it better if/when he throws a fit. I’ve started to use that time to read my Bible Study and catch up on the computer (this is one I really should stop. I need to use it for laundry or something more productive.) Today I hit the snooze bar, Lucas woke up needing to go potty so I turned off the alarm and got up, only to crash back in bed and not wake up until 7:30 (because N got up with the kids). I felt awful and I do not want that to happen again. It’s one thing when N plans to get up with the kids and let me sleep. It’s another if I just don’t get up.

Yelling

Today is 30 days since I took on the Orange Rhino Challenge. I can’t say I’ve gone the entire 30 days without yelling, but I can say that the amount of yelling I’ve done has gone significantly down. Of course, I’m writing this only 2 hours after a huge blow up on my part. But I’m not beating myself up over it. Because rather than send everyone to bed feeling miserable, I chose to hit the “reset” button. I stopped, explained to the kids that this was not working for any of us and that we were going to start over. I had Lucas go back to the bathroom and pretend he’d just finished brushing his teeth. I went to my room to take some deep breaths and put a (fake) smile on my face (I believe I said to myself Fake it ’till you make it!). Then I came out and we tried again. This time with no tears, no yelling, and a lot of hugs and kisses. So even though I messed up and yelled, I fixed it to the best of my ability. And that’s a huge improvement.

Now comes the hard part. I took some time this evening trying to figure out why I blew up when I haven’t in so long. And it dawned on me that yesterday was the first day in a week and a half that N has been home with us all day. And while I’ve taken on the challenge of yelling less, he has not. And there has been a lot more whining and poor behavior as a result (I think). I had been so amazed that the whole time we were at my mom’s we only had a handful of tantrums. Normally I feel like all I’m doing is damage control. But not this time. It was much more enjoyable and I am now thinking it is because I’ve been working so hard to stop yelling, which has made the kids more agreeable. Now that they are back to being yelled at, they are acting out again and Lucas is going straight to whining (N’s biggest pet peeve). It gets him a reaction and the attention he is seeking (his dad’s). I know N feels bad when he reacts with yelling, but I don’t know how to help him change. All I know how to do is work on me. So I’ll continue to do that and maybe, just maybe, some of it will rub off on N. *fingers crossed*

Running

I seem to have hit a wall. I’m stuck at week 4 and can’t get past it. I did it successfully 3 times (not in a row) and tried week 5, but I just couldn’t do it. So I went back to week 4 and have had trouble with it as well. It makes it difficult to want to keep trying. I know in my head that even if I don’t get past week 4 I’ve still done SO much more than anyone (including me) ever expected me to, so I should be proud. And I am. But I’m also disappointed because I want to do more. I grumbled the other day to my “CHD Athletes” FB group and several people were saying “Walking is better than running” and trying to be encouraging, but I pointed out that running isn’t about exercise for me. It’s about pushing past the limits I always had before. Proving to myself how much my heart and health have improved over the last few years. Showing the world and the doctors that I didn’t have to feel worse before I could have a transplant and finally feel better. Setting an example for my kids that you can do more than you ever imagined if you just try.

N has been very supportive and has tried to give me encouragement. In some ways it helps, but it’s still so very frustrating. He says that he hit a wall about the same week I have and that he backed up a few weeks and started again. The next time he hit that week it was no problem. Perhaps that is what I will try. While reminding myself that anything is better than nothing and I’m still beating all the odds.

Hands on

This is one I’m still struggling with. What I know I need to do, but haven’t yet, is to stay off the computer between 7 AM and 8 PM. But for some insane reason I feel like I might miss something if I don’t check it every 10 minutes. 😦 I truly think it is an addiction and I need to stop. I get sucked in and then don’t play with my kids the way I should. I validate myself by saying “But they’re playing so well together.” That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to have me playing too. As a matter of fact, they ask me to. And I say “Just a minute.” Those minutes go on until they stop asking. 😦 Not the way I want to parent at all. So now that I’ve gotten better at forming my other habits, I need to work on breaking the computer habit. Perhaps I need to start a challenge for that? Yes. That’s exactly what I need to do. And I’m stating it here publicly. I will also announce it on FB so if someone needs an immediate response from me they will know to call or text. Because my kids are way more important than the next quote someone shares on their wall (even if they do make a good point, like the one below).

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Filed under Facebook, family, husband, Parenting, preschoolers

Color Run and Mom Guilt

I’m going to try to start out with the positive:

I did it! I completed the Color Run 5K!! I had wanted to complete it in 45 minutes or less, but did not quite make that. However, I did finish in under an hour (I think it was about 55 minutes), which is still pretty good. I did not stop (except when there were slow downs around a color station) and I actually ran some of it. N walked next to me and cheered me on the whole way. We had a great time and we think we’re going to sign up for the next one, which is in November. This time we’re going to bring the kids along. They’re already excited about it!

Color me done!

Color me done!

I sent a picture of myself after the run to my electrophysiologist and he said “THAT pic belongs on the Medtronic Calendar!!” LOL

In other running news, last night I attempted week 4 of my C25K program. And I DID IT!!!!!!!! 😀 Week 4 consists of a 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run, 2.5 minute walk, then repeat. This is the first week where the walk time is shorter than the run time. I can say I’m shocked I was able to do it, but at the same time I had faith that my God would see me through it. My prayers as I walked/ran this time were less pleading than last week. Instead I simply said “I know You can help me through this, Lord,” and indeed he did! Even more exciting (for me) is that I did just over 2 miles in 30 minutes. That’s my fastest time ever!

Okay, now time for the guilt. 😦

Last Monday Kyla got sick. She had a bout of diarrhea, ran a temp, and was coughing. I took her to the doctor and we eliminated the possibility of strep or the flu. It was declared a virus and we were sent home to let it run its course. The next day she was all better. The cough remained, but that did not concern me. The fever being gone meant that even though she couldn’t go to speech that day (Tuesday), she could go the next day. My MIL stayed with her while I took Lucas to speech on Tuesday.

Wednesday came and we had plans to go see DH’s grandmother. Well, Lucas started coughing a little, but nothing too bad. I debated on canceling, but felt guilt over the fact that Granny was alone this week and we kept canceling (we’d had to cancel Monday). I called and asked her opinion and she said to come on over. So we did. And that night as I put Lucas to bed, I suspected he might be running a fever. I didn’t take it until the next morning. When it was 103.6. 😦

I assumed he had the same thing as Kyla. Other than the diarrhea, he had the same symptoms. So I didn’t bother with the doctor. Friday came and he still had the fever. Okay, so it was lasting longer for him, but that’s not unusual. We stayed home from Bible Study and I debated over and over again what to do about the Color Run. I wanted SO much to do the run, but at the same time did not want to leave my sick son with my MIL (both because of him and her). She told me she was fine with it and so I took them over to spend the night before going to pick up our race packet then meet up with N for a late dinner.

MIL said Lucas slept very restlessly and the morning was spent snuggling and watching TV because he was miserable. 😦 He was still running a fever and would go back and forth between acting normal and like he felt awful. We took the kids home to take a nap and he slept for 3 hours and woke up saying his ear hurt. We had plans to go back to MIL’s for dinner because BIL was in town. Again, I debated on going. We went. I also called Granny and found out that she was sick as well.

Sunday dawned and it seemed like Lucas’ fever might be gone. He stayed home with N while Kyla and I went to church and before we got home his fever was back. And MIL was sick. So we made the decision that he definitely needed to see the doctor the next morning.

When he woke up he was acting like he felt fine and I wondered if taking him to the doctor was going to just be a waste of money. I took him anyway, and I guess that’s the first thing I’ve done right. The doctor said she heard crackling in his lungs and his temp, while not officially a “fever” was still higher than “normal.” She prescribed an antibiotic and said she was treating it as pneumonia. If he’s not better in 48 hours, we’d do a full work up.

When I texted MIL the news she must have decided to get herself looked at and went to the Minute Clinic at CVS. She was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. I called Granny and she was not doing better, so she went back to the doctor. She’s now been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. 😦 So now not only do I feel awful for putting my desire to do the Color Run above being there for my sick child (and not taking him to the doctor sooner), but I also feel guilty for getting MIL and Granny sick. 😦

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Filed under doctor's appts., emotions, Exercise, Faith, family, Parenting, preschoolers, stress

Day 4 of my new habit

It’s 6:30 in the morning. I have woken up to my 6:00 alarm every day for 4 days now. So far, not any easier. But when the alarm goes off I tell myself “Two weeks. Do this for two weeks and it will be easier.” I sure hope I’m not lying to myself! I have noticed that once I’m actually out of bed and moving around it’s not so bad. It’s just the initial getting out of bed. And it’s kind of nice being able to get on the computer while everyone else is still sleeping. I suppose I could do something more productive with my time, but this is about all I have the mental capacity for at this hour.

I’m reminded of my daily routine when I was working. Up at 5:00, shower, computer & breakfast, leave for work at 6:00. Yes, I took an hour of “warm up” time before I even left for work. That didn’t even include the fact that I got to work at 6:30 and school didn’t start until 7:30. Yes, I definitely need this warm up time. I know I’m doing the right thing.

And I’ve been trying to keep up with my other new habits as well. I’ve succeeded in being more hands on, I think. Yesterday N was home and all four of us played Kyla’s new game of “Hide and Seek Pictures.” The pictures are quite interesting to see. LOL

Anybody in here?

Anybody in here?

Found Lucas!

Found Lucas!

And there's Mommy.

And there’s Mommy.

Lucas found Kyla!

Lucas found Kyla!

Mommy next.

Mommy next.

Then Daddy.

Then Daddy.

Hiding from Daddy.  He's good!

Hiding from Daddy. He’s good!

She's a little more obvious.

She’s a little more obvious.

I also took them to the park and even though I wanted to cringe when they wanted to play in the sand. I let them. And I tried to just laugh when Lucas took off his overalls at bath time to reveal a layer of sand still clinging to his shirt.

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Unfortunately, I’m not doing so well with the reading lessons. Not because I’m not doing them, but because only one of my children is interested. I’m not sure how to handle this. I don’t want to “force” either of them to do the work because I don’t want to make them dislike reading. I want them to WANT to learn. It’s supposed to be fun!

But Kyla just looks at me and says “No thank you” when I pull out an activity. Anyone have a suggestion for how to combat this? I’m afraid that she does this because she sees reading coming more easily to Lucas and therefore doesn’t want to try.

When I asked her if she wanted to color the coloring page she said “Lucas can do mine.”

Oh, no, honey! Your brother will NOT be doing your work for you. Ever. Is she seriously going to start this at age 3? I guess this pretty much shows me they will need to be in separate classes for sure. I can see this being an ongoing battle. *sigh*

Overall I’m happy with my efforts to form these new habits. I’m confident I can keep it up.

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New Habit

They say if you do something for two weeks straight it will form a new habit and become second nature. After a moving sermon at church on Sunday, I decided I needed to make a change.

For the last several months I’ve become increasingly grumpy with my kids. I’ve done little to cultivate learning in them, and I’ve snapped at them for things I’ve regretted.

The sermon was essentially to approach our daily lives with a “Mission state of mind.” Where even the most grueling of tasks are done with enthusiasm and pleasure because they are being done for the Lord.

While I may not be out on a mission, it is my mission to be a good example to my children and to teach them to be good Christians and good people. I have not been doing that job very well of late.

So what’s my new habit? First of all, I am setting my alarm for 6 AM every day. When I was working as a teacher and librarian I knew that I was not a morning person and needed some “warm up” time before facing my students. I was never able to “hit the ground running” and I don’t know why I’ve acted like I can as a parent. I’ve found that I tend to be much more grumpy when the kids (usually Lucas) wake me up before I want to be awake. Seeing as Lucas is a morning person, he and I were clashing like crazy. So even though I want to throw the alarm away when it goes off, I am reminding myself that if I do this every day for two weeks it will become easier. And I’m doing it for my kids and for myself.

I am also making it a point to work with the kids on the Reading the Easy Way curriculum I started with them back in October and fizzled out within weeks. I printed out everything for the entire 12 week program so that I no longer have the excuse of not having things printed. I’ve organized them in a binder so that all I have to do is pull things out as they are needed.

And I’m trying to be more hands on again. I’ve been bad about letting the kids entertain themselves the whole day instead of getting involved in their play. We’ve gone outside, played princesses, Candyland, and other games, and yesterday I sprayed shaving cream all over the bathtub and let them play. They had tons of fun and my bathtub got a little cleaner! 😉

Look at me!

Look at me!

Shaving Cream Fun

Shaving Cream Fun

This is only Day 2 of my New Habit journey. By April 1st, I hope to report that we’re on the right path and that the clashing of our personalities has diminished. I love my children and the challenges they present, but I need to remember that I can only hope to face those challenges by first changing myself.

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Filed under bath, Faith, family, lessons learned, Parenting, preschoolers, sleep

Budding Photographers {Letters to our Children}

Sorry I’m a couple of days late. We’ve been busy, busy around here!

Kyla and Lucas,

Boy am I glad we live in the age of digital photography! You two have taken a shine to taking photos, probably because I take so many of you, and you certainly capture a unique perspective. Right now all I have for you to use is my point-and-shoot and you have to share. I’m considering seeing if I can find another so you can each have one to use.

With the pretty weather the last couple of weeks we’ve made two trips to the zoo and one to Gramps and Jan’s house. You both took tons of pictures while we were in the great outdoors. Some were great! Others were a bit difficult to decipher. It’s interesting to me to see what you view as important. It reminds me that even the things I take for granted are new and exciting for you.

Here’s a small sampling of your photography skills:

Kyla
Kyla, you’re a bit more “into” photography than Lucas at this point. I think he mostly does it because you do. You even came up with the game “Hide and Seek Pictures” where one person hides and the person with the camera takes a picture when they find them.

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Lucas
Lucas, you take photos like you do everything else in your life. With enthusiasm! You might not get it “just right” but you give it a go and have fun no matter what the outcome.

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I love my little photographers in the making!

Love,
Mom

Some of my friends in my moms group and I have decided to create a blog circle where we will share monthly letters to our children. In a world where we all get so busy with life, for me it is an opportunity to slow down and hopefully record some of our moments together for them. Please check out my friend Carrie’s beautiful letter to her children here and then follow our circle around until you get back to me.

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Filed under family, friends, growth and development, Letters to our Children, Parenting, photography, preschoolers

Letters to our Children- February 2013

A group of friends and I have decided to start a monthly blog circle of letters to our children. Here is my contribution.

Dear Kyla and Lucas,

You are 4 months shy of being 4 years old. How is that possible? You are growing so fast and I want to relish every moment. The thought of the days when I won’t get to be with you all day every day terrify me. Yes, I occasionally need a break, but when I’m away from you for very long I am left with a hole in my being that can only be filled by the two of you.

Kyla, you and I butt heads a LOT lately. It makes me dread the teenage years, but at the same time I look forward to seeing the woman you will become. You know exactly who you are and aren’t afraid to express your opinion. You let everyone around you know exactly how you are feeling. You had been rather shy for quite some time, but in the last few weeks I’ve seen you come out of your shell. You’re branching out and playing with others, rather than watching from the sidelines. It both thrills me to see this, and makes me sad that you’re not sticking to me like glue as you used to. I love the extreme joy you express when your happy, even when it is often flipped on its head by your extreme anger and/or frustration if things don’t go the way you want them to. In so many ways, you are just like me (sorry about that). It thrills me that I have the opportunity to see your personality develop and grow. Please know that no matter how frustrated I may get from time to time, I love you always, always.

Gettin' her groove on!

Gettin’ her groove on!

Lucas, my heart belongs to you. You can melt me with a simple snuggle, a “Mom, I love you,” or a giggle. My heart breaks when you are scared, which seems to be a lot lately. I wish I knew how to calm your fears. I pray that you know how loved you are. You are so incredibly amazing. You’re smart, and funny, and so much like your dad. Daddy says he doesn’t see it, but I’m not talking about looks. I’m talking about your sense of humor, your compassion for others, your ability to see patterns and remember things you’ve only seen or heard once. You stun me. I love seeing you learn. You don’t want to spend a lot of time on something, but only because it doesn’t take long for you to figure it out and move on. I know it won’t be long before you are reading on your own because you want it so badly. I only hope I am the right teacher to get you there. I want only the best for you. You are my best buddy.

Dancing to his own beat.

Dancing to his own beat.

The two of you are at a point where you both love each other and drive each other crazy. There are times that I watch you and see the twinkle in your eyes when you’re doing something you know will bug your sibling. But you can also be incredibly sweet together. I know you will always love and protect each other.

Love Each Other

Kids, you are my joy. I love you with all my heart and cannot imagine a life without you in it. Your hugs renew me. Your smiles and laughter light my life. You are my Sunshine and Texas Rose forever.

Love,
Mommy

Happy Valentine’s everyone!! And please go check out the beautiful Valentine’s letter my friend Carrie wrote to her children as well.

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Filed under blogs, emotions, family, Letters to our Children, Parenting, preschoolers

Disney (Part 1)

Oh my goodness, I am SO loving experiencing Disney through the eyes of my kids! N and I came to Disney World for our honeymoon and have been back a few times since, but this is the very first time I’ve been with small children, so it’s a whole new experience. My kids are both 3.5, so there’s a lot more time waiting to meet characters and lots that they aren’t tall enough to ride (not that we’re lacking for things to do!).

Today (Day One) we went to Epcot. We had excellent luck and as we walked in we got to meet both Goofy and Daisy Duck. We then saw Nemo and Crush before heading to “Mexico” for lunch. Then we met Donald and rode the “Mexico” ride before heading off to meet some princesses.

Goofy

Daisy

Fish are friends, not food. Fish are friends, not food.

We started with Mulan, which the kids saw for the first time last week, so it was a thrill. But the real highlight was seeing Snow White! Kyla was dressed in the Snow White inspired dress I’d made her, which made interacting with this princess absolutely priceless. Then there was Lucas, who for some reason decided to strike a Ninja Turtle Pose as we took their picture and cracked Snow White up. Which of course meant that he had to pose that way in EVERY picture thereafter!

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Lucas was losing interest in seeing princesses, but enjoyed dancing to the Taiko Drummers in Japan and watching the Candy Lady make a duck for him.

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From there we made a beeline for the Character Spot with Mickey, Pluto, and Minnie where we had NO wait (a rare occurrence). The kids wanted to “ride a ride,” so we headed to the Figment ride (can’t think of the actual name of it at the moment). Both kids did really well, even though most of the ride was in the dark!

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We still had some time before our dining reservations, so we tried out the Piggy Bank interactive game. Kyla was less interested in the game aspect and more interested in finding where her Piggy Bank would end up. N helped Lucas, so I’m not sure what his reactions were.

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As we made our way back to the Norway Pavilion for our dining reservations we happened to see the water show starting up, so we stopped to watch. All three kids had a blast dancing to the music like the water! So cute!

We arrived for our reservations and had a short wait before we got to meet Belle and have our picture taken (no picture at this time, as it was not taken with my camera). Then on to dinner where we got to meet Aurora, Cinderella (forgot to turn on my flash 😦 ), Snow White (again), and Ariel. Kyla was in heaven! I was afraid she would be too distracted to eat, but she did an amazing job. I’m sure the active day had her starving!

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Up to this point, both of the kids were doing a great job, waiting in lines and whining very little. As we headed for the bus to take us back to the resort we started to see some Grumpy in Kyla. Lucas passed out on the bus and was not fond of being awakened when we couldn’t remember our room number coming back.

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But all were smiles again as we said our prayers and tucked them into bed.

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I cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Magic Kingdom, here we come!

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Filed under Disney, family, fun, Parenting, preschoolers, travel