Category: Family & Friends

From spouses to spit-up

How Do I Determine Reading Placement for My Daughter? (also, kid anxiety is sad)

books-with-appleIt’s an old far side joke, I know, it’s cheesy and silly and right now feels accurate.

This morning, just to keep the kids entertained I gave them color-in worksheets from Super Mom Moments and they really had fun coloring them in. They had to color the verbs, nouns, and adjectives different colors. Is that homeschooling, or is that fun?

I guess it’s both but I’m still so unsure.

My biggest problem has been going overboard when I do things. In my mind, I just want everything to be “right” … you know, the way it should be. In reality, I fear that I might push my kids too hard and try to teach them too much.

I mean, I have no training in this.

For example, I am trying to find a starting point for my 2nd grader (S) and don’t know how to measure that. The closest reading placement I found was at the National Right to Read Foundation. Is that a legitimate site? I’m not sure. I gave her the reading competency test and it basically told me she was reading at a high school level. Is that true? I don’t know what a high school reading level is, not really. I know the things my great-grandmother used to say about the newspaper being written at a fifth-grade level so it was more accessable, but then the website said that 100 years ago the 6th grade level was equivilent to high school level today. All that to say: I have no idea where to start her reading education based on that placement test.

It’s all very, very confusing.

Also, it seems my 1st grader (A) – who has been doing just fine and is really enjoying her experience at public school – is getting jealous that her sister is going to have me for her teacher and learn (as she puts it) “more stuff” than she is.

So homeschooling of both children will begin in earnest this summer. I’m going to try and let A finish the year because she loves her teacher and hasn’t had any of the problems S was having at school. I’d like her to finish.

This is not what I pictured for my kids.

I was always the it will be a cold day in hell before I homeschool my kids mom. I’m not super-excited about it. I have almost every book from the library and can’t stop researching everything online because I don’t want to break my kids or make them into mutants that can’t have a conversation or, worse, can only talk about Ray Bradbury and dice games. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with those being part of the conversation toolkit, I like those things, but I want them to be able to talk about other things too. I’d like them to have a range of things to talk about so they can communicate effectively with a range of people.

Of course, school was never going to give them that in the first place, so I’m not sure if it even fits with this whole train of thought. Well, I guess it fits in the sense of finding out new things from other kids. They won’t have that except through me and while I am into current pop culture more than anyone I know, I’m still not up on trends like a 2nd grader. Or a 6th grader. So how do I help my kids talk with other kids? I’ll probably just end up spending time on the Disney Channel website or something. Not that they’re into those shows now, they’re not. So maybe that was never meant to be in the first place.

Maybe I’m borrowing trouble and S will want to go back next year. Maybe she will be done with mom-as-teacher and want to try again to go the public school route. Or, maybe by September we will have an option C and she can go to a private school I was looking into a few months ago. It’s possible. I just don’t know where we will be then financially. Private school is expensive and I’m still not sure I can’t do it better myself.

In the meantime, I’m going to take it one day at a time, one worksheet at a time, one story at a time.

Oh, one thing I wanted to tell you. This morning when I had them do the coloring worksheets, S brought hers to me when she was done and immediately apologized because once she had finished the perfectly colored pieces of the heart she also drew around the heart and on the back of the paper. She sounded really stressed when she apologized and told me she “forgot she shouldn’t do that.” I looked at her – shocked – and said, “Babe, this is just for fun. You got all the answers right. I don’t mind if you color the rest of the paper however you want.”

She was visibly relieved. Like, her little shoulders fell two inches. They must have been crazy-tense. Poor thing.

What are they doing to her at that school that she’s got anxiety on spring break doing a silly worksheet for fun?

Moments like that are why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m not a great mother, I’m not a martyr, I’m not doing something great and noble, I’m just trying to keep my kid from being so stressed she can’t chill out and color in a heart.

What do you think is the best way to determine the reading level of a child? (I’m just looking for brainstorming ideas, no need to cite a source or be a homeschooler for this. Y’all are smart. I want to hear what you think!)

 

Acid Trips for those who have Never Done Drugs

I’m walking around my living room. Wait, no, I’m not. I’m vacuuming and pushing the stupid vacuum around the living room.

lemon-vinegar-kitchen-bathroom-cleanerEarlier, I had sprayed like eleventhousandmillion ants to death with my (super okay to use around pets and kids) vinegar and lemon degreaser and cleaner.

Quick sidenote: I have not written a post on my homemade vinegar and lemon cleaner. I don’t know why. Here’s a quick rundown.

  1. Put lemon peels in jar.
  2. Pour vinegar on it.
  3. Leave it alone for a couple weeks. Or shake it once in a while if you remember. Whatever. It’s not your new bff, it doesn’t need to hear from you on the regular.
  4. Cut it in half with water in a rinsed out spray bottle or some other kind of non-Ball-jar dispenser and use it everywhere.

This is what my stove looked like after using it. I’m lazy and I hate cleaning and for some reason I hate my stove (probably because it’s scratched in back and I think it’s doing that just to make me angry because we never use that burner so WTF, stove?) so I used almost zero elbow grease. It doesn’t deserve my effort. Or love.

clean-stove-homemade-stove-cleaner

But even with our dysfunctional relationship, my stove looked like this. I would have never guessed. It also kills ants.

So I was vacuuming up dead ants after I’d sprayed them all and their little dead carcases were lying on the floor waiting for me to do something with them and I guess in the process of vacuuming one semi-live ant went rogue because ten minutes later I’m sitting down pondering the universe and not wanting to wrap the cord up behind the vacuum because I hate it and it dawns on me that I have a hair tickling my chest.

Not the sexy times part of my chest, the “where my collarbone would be but it’s covered by a layer of fat” part. I go to wipe away the hair and TADUM! there’s an ant, so I kill it by spreading it all the hell over my body (could have been sexy, almost, under non-insect circumstances) and then I jump up and down because that will totally help and I sit back down and grumble and complain at the back of the vacuum as I wrap the cord back up.

That’s when I’m sure I feel another ant on my chest. I go to wipe it away and there wasn’t one.

Then I was pretty much completely overtaken by the feeling of freaking bugs all over my body and I was totally skeeved out and it was gross and traumatic and I knew it wasn’t real but that didn’t help and then I realized this is what my one friend described to me as her acid flashback and then I was REALLY mad because I’ve never done acid and now I’m getting the bad after effects without any of the “don’t look in the mirror or your face will melt and you will be forever traumatized” fun stuff.

So f acid and f flashbacks and f ants.

I’m collecting our used coffee grounds and my husband is going to sprinkle them around the house. He says it’s scientific or whatever but I’m ready to throw every organic bone in my body out the window and buy some damn bug spray. So my grandkids will look like three-eyed fish from the Simpsons..we’ll call it an evolutionary jump and all be super thrilled at making the new super-species. Right?

three-eyed-fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hate ants.

 

Sacrifices Sometimes Make Me Feel Like A Horrible Mother

piggy bank with coinsThere’s this plan.

It’s one my husband and I have had for a while. It’s a good plan. It’s a plan that allows for a lot of good things to happen for everyone in the family. Most of the time, I feel good about the choices we have made. I feel fulfilled and right. Other times, like now – with my preschooler crying because I wouldn’t let her play in the bathroom because she is bored half to death and doesn’t even want to look at me much less play with me –  I question the decisions my husband and I have made.

One Car Family

One of the easiest decisions came a couple months ago when our second car (a great little put put car from a family member that came at a great price) died for good. We just looked at each other and realized there wasn’t a choice. The Husband would just have to take my Mazda5 (I love you Mazda5!!!) to work and I would remain here with the preschooler doing what I needed to do from the comfort of my laptop. This meant pulling the youngest out of preschool except for when he’s not in training on Fridays. The last two weeks he had additional Friday training, so my 3yo hasn’t seen another 3yo in about 3 weeks.

She’s very resourcesful. She’s played with every toy in the house, gone through every book, watched movies, played PBSKids.org and NickJR.com as well as Kinectimals and some Dora game for the Wii. I try to rotate her activities so she doesn’t start getting glassy-eyed and drooly. Unfortunately, it’s clear that she needs a heaping helping of other kid interaction that she’s not getting from 7:30am – 3:15pm and I feel awful about it.

Saving Money on Food

We are frugal. Very, very frugal. When we have excess income we save it. That makes times like this – the slightly painful but relitavely short given the length of a lifetime times – more survivable. But we are still careful. Food pantries are not out of the question and there’s one where we get oodles of produce and starbucks pastries and meat. (If you live in Illinois somewhere remotely within driving distance of Bolingbrook you should really check out Power Connection Ministries – we do the paid option.) Once The Husband is done with his training and goes into a job, I can assure you we will still go here once a month. It’s not a need-based pantry. You can show up with your Illinois ID and pay your $10 or $20 depending on which pantry you go to and that’s it. You get boxes of food, more bread than you can shake a stick at, meat, produce, and sometimes you get things like blood orange infused vinegar – which is amazing.

For my awesome paleo/primal/health friends a warning – the meat is not grass-fed farm-raised and who knows where the produce comes from. Even if you eschew these things (Although, why would you? Don’t you know someone you could give those things to?) there are still things there from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s that you might find more palatable.

Being aware of food choices and the health concerns surrounding meat and produce, I sometimes feel bad for my kids. We can’t just swing through a McDonald’s. Sure, this places an extra burden on me as I thaw out freezer burnt pork chops and figure out what to mix them with in the crock pot to make amazing blood orange pulled pork (or whatever dinner over rice was last night, LOL) but it is the voice in the back of my mind wondering what conditions these pigs were raised under that really bothers me. Will my children grow up and eat nothing but fast food to rebel? Time will tell.

Oh Soda Pop, Oh Soda Pop

Finally, I get to feel a little bad for my husband. He came to me – over ten years ago, now – with not much training. He has very valid reasons for that, but over the course of ten years he has been such a trooper with me talking about Dave Ramsey and him being cool enough to jump on board with me, with letting me work, with letting me not work. He is flexible and loving and really a great guy.

Then I tried to take away his soda pop. Pepsi was his drink of choice.

It took years, going primal, and then the magic happened. His skin cleared up. He’s always had acne-prone skin and it’s always kind of driven him nuts. Now his skin is smooth and perfect and absolutely beautiful. So the soda pop debate is over and he has it about twice a year and is basically on the same page as the rest of us – water, lemonade (lemons, no sugar), iced tea (homemade, unsweetened), and hot tea. That’s it.

I don’t feel bad that his skin looks great or that he’s finally not drinking soda pop. I feel bad because he fought me so hard and when he realized I was right, well, no matter how graceful I was about it or how I blew it off, it would be a sad moment for anyone to realize they fought so hard and were wrong.

The Future

The reason for all these sacrifices, of course, is the future. My 3yo is not in preschool (because we don’t have a car) so that later I can put her in private elementary school (if that’s what we decide – we’re seriously thinking about it). My 7 and 8 year olds are not in activities (other than Girl Scouts) because again with the car and not wanting a payment in addition to what’s happening now.

I want to be debt free so we can cash flow things like activities, school trips, and college. (If they go to college, goodness knows there are other things they may end up doing.)

In the meantime, I feel like I could do more. More activities, more interaction, more teaching, more parenting.

The only thing I’m sure I’m giving enough of is affection. Smiles, hugs, and loving words? Yeah, I’ve got that part down.

Okay, time to go make some shampoo. That’s part of the plan, too. Making stuff that’s natural and cheap … all part of the plan …

Why People Who Correct Spelling and Grammar on Facebook are Rude

Happy-DogOkay, I know there is a big division between those who believe in correcting grammar and spelling and those who don’t.

Most of the people I know, like, and respect tend to be those that correct grammar and spelling, because they want the ‘net to be a better place. A place where logic and adult communication is filled with integrity and well-thought-out discussions.

The problem I have with people correcting others’ spelling and grammar online is simple. I don’t have friends where we hang out in public and they will interrupt a conversation in the mall to correct someone’s grammar. They won’t turn to me if I use the wrong word and stop the whole conversation to let me know how wrong I was.

But if I make the rare mistake in grammar or spellinng on Facebook, people think it’s okay to publicly correct me. People think it’s okay to publicly correct others.

There is a message button at the top of the screen. If a person really cared to make sure the poster of the mistake knew there was an issue, that could be addressed privately. So, why choose to correct publicly?

Because they want everyone to know they knew the right answer.

So congratulations, you may know the right answer, but you’re coming across on social media as a know-it-all who doesn’t care about other people’s feelings. I’ve called, texted, and messaged people to let them know they made an error if they are the type of person that wants to know or I think they might want to know. It’s private. It’s non-embarassing.

It’s just a little more classy.

That being said, if it’s on a picture or one of those e-cards it’s game on because they aren’t individual statuses and it’s not the poster that’s being corrected. I’ve been known to mock a mistake in grammar for fun, but not in a public way – except one time when someone made a grammatical error while complaining about people making grammatical errors – that was too juicy to pass up.

I got reported as spam and I unfriended them to make sure that never happened again. No harm done and I have no hard feelings about it. But when grammar and spelling become that cray cray on a website like Facebook (I mean, come on, it’s like the dirty, drunk, dropout fraternity of the Internet) it’s a case of someone putting more importance on something than it really needs.

Going to a dive bar and screaming at someone (so all their friends can hear) for not matching their bag with their shoes is just silly. Tell them privately if you think they’ll care that much. They may just thank you for your kindness!

Updates: Cleaning, organizing, and keeping my toes warm.

Randy is still plugging along doing his thing that I should finally be able to talk about come April.

Which is weird, because it’s not like he’s in training to be an astronaut, but whatever.

Over here I have been cleaning and challenging myself to do more, more, more in the area of the homestead (you can stll call it a homestead even if it’s in the suburbs, right?) and I realized – as someone texted they were coming by – that my house was completely fine for company. No mad dashes around the living room. No crazy hiding of stuff off the counters in the kitchen. No making sure the toilet wasn’t a hot mess in case said visitor had to actually use the facilities.

It was just fine. I didn’t know what to do with that feeling. I think I will probably think about it later and then hug it to myself like a Snuggie (I would not shun the gift of leopard print). The warmth of not being freaked out because someone is coming by is just amazing. It’s what Flylady has been promising me for years, and I finally just learned to listen!

18-20 shirt
Crappy self-portriats? My specialty!

In other news, a friend of mine dropped off an outfit I lent her a while back. Normally when I lend out clothing it’s more of a give, but since I’ve been paring down my wardrobe I only keep things I really love or wear so this was one of those. I got it back and was really scared and excited to try it on. It was an 18/20 shirt with no stretch.It’s been a long time since I’ve worn an 18/20. Years.

So I did and here it is.  —->

I know I look all freaky-face in that picture but I’m trying to balance and not suck in my stomach and just let the shirt hang. Also, the shirt is totally see through so I’m trying to stand at just the right angle so you can’t see my bra or anything else. Plus posture equals me looking all freaked out at taking a mirror pic. I am not a master of the camera.

GrrrArrrg
Popped collar. *snickersnort*

Even better, I was able to wear a coat I bought two years ago to a baby shower on Sunday. I loved it so much I took a picture for my Facebook profile. Also, the huge bun trying to reach up to Heaven and kiss Jesus is my new look. I’m really liking it. I would like to thank Elvis and Goody Spin Pins for giving me the hairstyle of my dreams. I love them both.

The collar of that coat does go down, but I love the “If you have dalmation puppies I’m going to make them into a stew” look the popped collar gives me. Plus, popped collar. I get to say that at least seven hundred times when I wear the coat.

 

I know this update has been kind of all over the place. I still can’t talk budgeting, but I can say I finally was able to file my taxes. Having that burden off will probably cause me to lose ten pounds in the next week just from stress retention. (Don’t try to tell me stress doesn’t weigh anything. I will disagree with you. Then I will cut you with this bagel I’ve carved into a weapon.)

My kids are doing something in the other room taht sounds like they’ve figured out how to play quarters. The toddler/preschooler is telling one of the older ones to come in here and tell me to do something for them. I don’t know what. My husband is at training for a job I’m not comfortable talking about yet but I can assure you is not law enforcement of any kind.

That’s all I’ve got for right now.

Oh, oh, oh! Also, I’m doing The Orange Rhino challenge. No yelling for the month of March. I’m also going to a food swap at the end of March. Lots of good things happening and all the while I’m just over here shrinking.

Things are going relatively well, so I’ll be sure to keep my guard up!

Peace, Love, and Paleo!

P.S. There are a bunch of links in this post. None are sponsored and none aer affiliate links, this is just where I’ve been hanging out on the Internet lately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are not huge victories. I do not have a story where the end result is losing a million pounds. This is happening slowly and without a whole lot of effort on my part. Instead of using willpower, I don’t bring things into my house I cannot eat.

Sometimes this can be difficult, because we do get a bulk of our food from a local food pantry. It’s actually not super-local and you don’t have to be a certain level of poor to go there. You pay for the food, but if you can’t pay you get one bag. Tonight my husband is going and for $20 he is going to bring home boxes and bags and … just an amazing amount of food. Everything is close to expiration, but not expired. I get things like Greek Gods yogurt and Trader Joe’s brand stuff. Once, my friend got a fresh pie from Costco. (I’m trying to tell you this food is really good stuff.)

Losing weight when you don’t actually have control over half of your list is tough. Really tough. But that’s where the Gabriel Method comes in. I spend ten minutes a night visualising, and meditate a couple times during the day. It might be woo-woo fairy dust stuff, but I look at those pictures above and I like them. I don’t think I look like a huge ogre. I mean, I see that I’m not slim, there’s no fairy dust that would make a picture of me look small at this point, we’re not leaving reality junction entirely here, people.

But…for the first time in my life, I think I actually see myself in pictures the way other people see me. That’s kind of a big deal for me.

 

Sometimes Everything Comes Together (Or, thank goodness for 40 bags in 40 days)

Bags in HallwayOh my gosh.

So I’m totally doing this whole 40 bags in 40 days thing being hosted by White House Black Shutters (That link will take you to the week one update that has links to the original post and everything else, including the Facebook group.) While there is a ton of support both on her blog and in the Facebook group, for me all that just doesn’t even matter.

Don’t get me wrong, it matters so much it’s pretty much everything to me in a way.

But it won’t be everything for everyone. When I read that post and learned about 40 bags in 40 days and I thought about kitchen trash bags and how they really weren’t all that big and how it wouldn’t take much to fill one at all…well…it just made the whole cleaning thing so much easier.

If you’re more of a Flylady follower, she’s doing 40 boxes in 40 days. It’s like everyone wants to declutter for lent this year. If you want to learn moer, maybe check out the website or sign up for the email list (it’s pretty overwhelming some days, just warning you) but I’m not doing it because as much as I dig a good testimonial – which I get multiples of every day – the system itself just didn’t speak to me the way the challenge from White House Black Shutters did.

Which is what I’m trying to tell you. Clearly. I’m so not good at clearly sometimes. LOL

Whatever works for you, whenever it works for you. I’m no longer doing a bag a day for lent. I’m trying to do a bag a day until there isn’t a bag a day to throw out or donate.

I want to be done with clutter forever and doing it one bag at a time is the way that is going to get me there. I already have a living room and a kitchen and a bathroom I’d be proud to show anyone at the drop of a hat. My bedroom and the girls’ bedroom would need less than five minutes of tidying to be company-ready.

The best part is that all the small successes make me feel like I’m constantly winning.

I find that a lot of smart people get caught in the “I’m not falling for that woowoo psychological mumbo jumbo baby step little wins crap” and if that’s you, that’s fine. I’m not judging how you do, I’m just letting you know what works for me.

Because if you ate like me and cleaned like me you’d probably go crazy. I know that after trying so many ways of eating and cleaning that worked for other people I felt like I was going batty. Now that I have what works for me, I feel comforted.

Maybe it’s not the small wins in general that make one feel better, but having the right kind of wins under your belt.

Plus, I’m running around the house dancing to my house-cleaning music all day, so there’s movement and joy while I get my bag all filled.

Today? The bathroom and hall closet. It’s time to dispose of some old hair dye, medication, and donate things I’ll never use like shampoo with sulfates and that kind of hippie nonsense.

What have you found that made you have that moment where you realized you were going to be able to make a change that might just last a lifetime?

Give ’em Love and Get ’em Gone

school-bus-rearVacation is this amazing blessing and curse all wrapped into one.

The first week of vacation is awesome, we’re decorating the tree, the kids are being good because of their massive fear of Santa deciding to skip them for the “good kids,” and they’re wanting to help bake cookies (fraction practice!) and clean up after (Santa fear!) and being little angels.

Then they get their gifts and it’s game on. They fight over toys, they fight over books, they fight over who is breathing who’s air. I try to get them to do some homework sheets that came home with them before vacation and they fight over who has which pencil. I’ve done my parenting duty and put them in different rooms, that doesn’t stop anything. They creep to one another so they can argue.

I finally gave up yesterday and sat them in front of Season 1 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. 26 episodes, in case you were wondering. Almost 13 hours of pony magic. After about hour 3 I asked them if we could do something interesting and fun and they looked at me with glazed eyes and started telling me about the episode they were currently listening to. Not wanting to be sucked into hours of ponies, I conceded and just let them watch.

Of course a 3 year old isn’t going to watch that much TV, ever, so I was able to enjoy her a little away from the magic glaze-inducing ponies. Don’t get me wrong, if there was a DVD my kids own that I might actually watch when they’re not around it’s My Little Pony. The songs are good, the plots are interesting and the animation is great. But have you watched cartoons with a six year old or a three year old? They will spend the entire second half of the show telling you what happened in the first half. This, even after you tell them, “I’ve seen this episode, I remember that!” in an attempt to both bond with them and give them a gentle nudge to stop telling you things you already know.

Of course it doesn’t work.

But this morning, in order to celebrate I made a full-on bacon and eggs breakfast so they’d go to school refreshed and recharged. They’re squeaky clean and have brand new backpacks (Christmas present) so they’re ready to rock the second half of the year.

I always wonder why Spring Break isn’t nearly as long, but then it dawns on me that everyone is exhausted from Christmas and that’s why that second week feels like seven months. It honestly feels longer than summer vacation. This day? This first day back to school? It might just be my favorite school day of the whole year.

Now I get to go back to the schedule and the routine. That’s what I love most. Those things are the things I’m good at and that make my kids happy. Clothes, hair, breakfast, teeth, coat, backpack, bus. It all goes like clockwork almost every morning and we all feel so accomplished by 7:30 in the morning. Ready to take on whatever the day is going to bring.

Funny, though, I really do find myself looking forward to Spring Break.

Struggling with Social Media and Christmas Spirit

I am the biggest fan of this time of year. I love the spirit of the season and it seems the odds increase about 50% that when some random person bumps into you for no reason they might actually say, “Excuse me.” This makes the outside world pretty much perfect for me.

My kids are loving the cold and wearing gloves and hats (and they have an adorable selection of hats) and are waiting anxiously to play out in the snow.

So why, pray tell, is it going to be warm today?

Nothing like warmth to kind of mess with my internal Christmas Spirit barometer. It’s difficult to sing about Frosty the Snowman when you can’t even see your breath and your hoodie is kind of a little too warm because you’re inside a store. It’s a crazy thing and I remember it happening last year (I know, global warming, we’re all going to die, Myans, whatever) but I was able to still enjoy the whole season and was kind of glad it was unseasonably warm for the tree lighting last year.

I have a lot of hope that I’m going to be able to hit my euphoria within the next few days. It’s not generally until my tree is up that I’m really, really into Christmas.

In other news, I think I’m going to have to stay off Facebook for most of December. I thought that after the election I wouldn’t have so many problems online but it seems they’re going to get even worse. The Facebook thought police are out in droves, reminding everyone THEY are going to keep the Christ in Christmas. (I mean, how could you not, it would be like keeping Pan in Pancake. Duh.) My favorite part is that I just want them to tell me how they’re doing it. I’m pretty sure a plastic baby Jesus from Walmart does NOT count. Nor does anything pagan like a Christmas Tree, a whole bunch of Christmas Carols, and tales of magick and darkness like Frosty the Snowman.

I mean, be religious, it’s all good. But please stop telling me this is about the birth of Jesus. It’s about a season we all celebrate and it’s a beautiful thing. If you choose to think about Jesus Christ this month, so be it, I support you 100%…but I also support everyone else who is celebrating whatever the heck they want to.

Becasue I stand up for inclusiveness. Including Kwanzaa, which I think is a FANTASTIC holiday. I’m going on record right now as saying that. We may celebrate it this year. I have a Christmas Tree and I’m not German, so I can do that. I’m pretty sure Kwanzaa does not have a skin color requirement if you celebrate it in your own home and I’m all about the Out of Africa theory that we all came from Africa in the first place so it’s in all of us, somewhere.

Enjoy your holiday season. Don’t be a Grinch. If someone says Happy Holidays, don’t be a jerk and say whatever you want back, but I’m pretty sure Jesus cringes at you every time you say “It’s Merry CHRISTMAS” all snotty. Because Jesus, my friends, was not snotty and did not need to get all up in people’s faces to make HIS point….so maybe you don’t need to be all NOT Christlike to make your point.

Whatever someone says to me, I say back. Because while the road to Hell might be paved with good intentions…that does not mean intention does not matter! At this time of the year intention is everything and really….just be the person you want to see in the world around you. The one who says, “Excuse me” “Please” “Thank you” and other kind words. The person who smiles for no reason or throws out a real compliment.

Because I’ll be here, doing just that and trying to brighten the day of everyone I come into contact with.

That is how I celebrate the season. Well that and a beautiful tree and snuggling my kids and watching cartoons that tell stories of magical flying reindeer and crazy hairy green dudes that have a change of heart and save Christmas in Whoville.

….and I will be unapologetically bawling like a baby through most of the month. I’m sappy like that.

Happy Holidays 🙂

Why is My Six Year Old Lying to Me?

this is totally not my kid, fyi

I vaguely remember my oldest doing this last year, but man…my middle daughter is on a tear of lies.

The last one she told almost got another child in a lot of troulbe.

Today’s lie was that she found matches and was playing with them. I thought we had them well-hidden in the back of a kitchen drawer – we use matches to start the grill – but I guess they weren’t hidden well enough for my Nancy Drew of a daughter.

Like many parents, I tell my kids that lying is the worst thing they can do and it’s always, always better to tell the truth and get in a little trouble. Lying just makes it twice as bad because I have to punish for the original offence AND the lie. My 7 year old – she turns 8 in January – gets this totally and tells me things she’s done before I even discover them. I consider it a hell of a win in the “I’m not a bad mother” category. But oh that little one.

I searched Google for some insight. Ten minutes later I know a few things:

  1. It’s normal.
  2. The fact that she’s wicked-good at it means she’s smarter than the average bear.
  3. She’s afraid of getting in trouble.
  4. It’s my fault because I expect her to lie to be polite. (Only from about half of the sources I checked out.)

I thought the lying because I taught her to was really interesting. Mostly because I’ve actually had the discussion about how lying is a tool that we need to use in certain situations and they have grasped it well. My example is if a friend asks them if they like a new top/coat/hat and they seem so happy about it and even if you don’t really like it you can still say you do because it will make them happy.

I realize that actively teaching my children about lying might not be a smart move on my part, but it’s something I discussed with my husband and we felt it was good for her to know since we are going to expect her to be polite if she receives a gift she thinks is awful. Most kids are just told to be nice and say thank you, I feel I’m at least trying to give her the social background for why we say these things.

Part of me knows this will pass in six months or so if she follows the path of her sister. Until then, however, I grit my teeth and look to the sky as if an answer to why this is happening right now is on my ceiling waiting for me to read it and impart the right knowledge to my daughter to make her stop the deceit.

It also gave me an important reminder that when it comes to parenting, everyone’s an “expert” and to listen to regular moms can be enlightening, but it’s not going to change my parenting beliefs and I’m not going to believe a regular mom if her beliefs vary from my own because how do I know she’s not a crackpot who really keeps her kid locked in a basement.

Yea, Internet.

When is a Good Time for a Mid-Life Crisis?

….because I kind of feel like I’m in one right now.

On the bright side, I’m finally enjoying social media again thanks to being in the Mamavation Graduate Campaign and Tweeting and Facebooking and interacting with some great ladies and having fun. I mean, it’s been a long time since social media was fun for me. It became something I dreaded. Like a telemarketer coming home after work and unplugging the phone or something.

Social media destroyed my love of social media.

There are tons of people who can work in social media and enjoy social media and just be that person. I salute them, each and every one, but I am not them.

People tell me I should keep doing it because I’m so good at it. I tend to respond, “I’m great at sex, but you’re not suggesting I become a prostitute now, are you?” Most people stop then. Others? Well, they don’t get it and I just smile and nod while they tell me how awesome marketing on the internets with peoples is. Good on them and their obliviousness – I wish them well, truly.

At this point I don’t know what I want to do in terms of making money. For now I’m content blogging about my budget and my fitness goals and the Mamavation campaign and we’ll see what comes out in the wash. I’m still waiting to find out about the refinance on the house and suspect I might be waiting a while. In the meantime I sold my Facebook stock and requested a payout from a very old IRA Rollover fund in order to have the closing costs ready (it’s a few stacks) when the time does come for that to happen.

The kids are doing fine – just being in school and being kids. They’re not really very interesting when it comes down to it.

Overall, the budget is messed up right now. The husband’s new job won’t start giving us full time paychecks until next month so things are super, super tight. That’s okay, we knew this month was going to be a tough one going into the month and I’ve been saving Amazon.com credits since the beginning of the year so that bought halloween costumes and there’s some extra left for just in case last-minute items. There has been no eating out, no entertainment, and no excess money-spending in any area. It makes me a little bit cabin fever-y because I want to go out but I don’t want to spend the gas money to do it when that money could go toward food or paying down debt.

I’m being a good wife and mother but can’t help but think about jobs and business, even when it’s not 3am! There are a lot of things I’m very good at and I’d love to write professionally, but I’m just not sure what my next step should be.

I love helping people with their budgets, I think helping people become debt-free is great, I love fitness, and I absolutely want to shout from the rooftops how much I love The Primal Blueprint and what it’s done for my body and my energy and my life since I started. I can’t wait until we’re in a position where I can budget supplements in so I can get the auto-ship from that website.

There are many things I love and enjoy but I’m just not sure how to make them work for me in my life and making some kind of profit. I don’t mind writing about finances and food for the sheer joy of it, but at the same time I’m always looking toward the future – and the future involves being debt-free – therefore money is good to throw at debt and so I focus on money eventually.

Any ideas for me? I’d love to hear them!