Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Making a difference...

A few months ago, I read about this idea to start a WE CAN CLUB posted on Fishful Thinking's Parenting Positive Kids group page over on Cafe Mom and thought it was so cool! What a great way to instill hope and optimism into our kids and others within our community -

Invite a few of your children's friends to join the club and recruit their moms to help. Together, identify three to five neighborhood projects that the kids would like to work on together to bring about a positive change.
For example, if your local parks are dirty, they can set the goal of picking up trash for one hour on weekends. Or, if there are elderly people that live in your neighborhood, you can bake cookies with your kids and deliver them as a surprise to brighten a neighbor's day. It's important that you help the club members set achievable goals so they can see first hand the positive influence they have.

Now that school is out, I thought the summer would be a perfect time to kick off our very own We Can Club. I've already recruited a couple of moms, and one suggested that the kids help tie a quilt to send to a soldier. Luckily, she has sewing skills. Me? Not so much. We'll also have them make thank you cards - all in the spirit of Memorial Day. I'm pretty excited about doing these service activities with the kids.

I'm also excited that tomorrow morning, I'm taking Abby and Noah to our local children's hospital to deliver the games, books, and puzzles that Abby recently collected at her "birthday picnic" instead of receiving gifts. We've got a whole laundry basket full of stuff! One of the representatives is actually going to give us a brief tour so the kids can see the playroom, an unoccupied patient room, and the playground for the patients. It should be a neat experience. I'm planning to take pictures and then email them (Smilebox style) to the kids who came to her party and donated those items. That way they can see where their donations went to and show them that "WE CAN" make a positive difference no matter how tall or how small we are.

More details & pics to come!

Done any Fishful Thinking lately?
Add a comment and/or your link!
Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My little graduate!

As of 12:15pm tomorrow - SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER! (I'm more excited than the kids!) And Abby will be a rising FIRST GRADER! I can't believe it. I had a hard enough time getting used to the whole Kindergarten thing, but she loved every minute of it and learned SO much this year. She's totally into chapter books right now so I have a feeling we'll be reading a lot of those this summer. Time to pull out all of my Ramona books - can't wait! :)

You should be "super-duper" proud of yourself, Doodle!

Mom & Dad sure are!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My son is wearing shoplifted underwear...

I'm playing along today over at Once Upon a Miracle.

I am a law-abiding citizen. No criminal record. No misdemeanors. Squeaky clean. So imagine my surprise when a couple years ago, after getting my 3 1/2 year old daughter and 19 month old son buckled into their car seats after a somewhat chaotic trip to an outlet mall, I discovered in the basket underneath the double stroller a 4 pack of 4T size boys underwear and a pair of baby-sized pink sunglasses.

The only explanation?

Abby must have grabbed them from the display at the checkout line and put them under there while I was paying for a slew of marked down clothes for the ever-growing kiddos.

I had no idea.

I immediately thought to take the items back and apologize, but I was flying solo on this trip and that store was all the way on the other side of the massive shopping center. It would have been at least a 20 minute walk. It was past nap time. Noah was already fussy, and I knew that it was only a matter of minutes before I had two crying, overly tired kids - so I decided to go back to the hotel (we were on vacation at the time) and later that evening, I'd leave the kids with Daddy and take the underwear & sunglasses back to the store.

Long story short - I never made it back to the store before it was time to make the 12 hour drive back home.

I hung on to the 4T underwear & sunglasses - thinking if I saw one of those stores again, I'd take them back. Sure, the worker would look at me like I was crazy, but at least my conscience would be put at ease.

Two years later, still no store, and we've even moved to a completely different state. I had shoved those items into a box which Noah found a few months ago and ripped into the package of underwear before I could stop him, exclaiming "Are these for ME???"

What could I say? Besides it had been TWO YEARS - clearly, I had to let this go.

He's actually wearing a pair of 'em today...and I still feel a little twinge of guilt.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I missed the L*OST series finale!

Why A*BC?

L*OST is supposed to be on Tuesdays. It's always on Tuesdays!

I'm a mom. My brain is on overload as it is...

I cannot be expected to remember that the L*OST series finale - "the television event of the decade" has been changed to a Sunday!!!

The only reason I even remembered is because I was just talking to my brother on the phone, and he asked me if I DVRed it - I swear, my heart stopped. I didn't even get the kids in bed until a half an hour after it started. I had no clue.

I cannot believe we missed it. Grrrrrr......

It's just not the same watching it on the little computer screen the following day - but at this point, that's better than nothing.

I'm going to miss that show. It's one of the few that the husband and I both like to watch.

Now, as for the show *24 which is also coming to an end -

Good riddance.

*If you watched L*OST tonight - no spoilers please. I probably won't even check this again until after I watch it online - just to be safe. haha :) And excuse the * - I'm sure a lot of people are googling & chatting about this topic tonight & I didn't want to pop up in a search engine.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday - "Good News!"

Have you signed up for Fishful Thinking's monthly newsletter yet? I get so much out of them. Dr. Reivich always shares such great info & ideas!

Here's one that popped into my inbox just this morning:

One way to help your children develop Realistic Optimism (seeing the good without denying the bad...and choosing to focus on the positive aspects of a situation, while still learning from, and accepting, the negative aspects) is to help them notice the good in the world around them. You can make a "Good News" poster or bulletin board, where you and your children post newspaper clippings, photographs, or a written description of good news stories you hear (e.g., acts of kindness, successes, moments of joy, etc.). By teaching your children to notice goodness, you will help them value goodness and they will learn to be on the lookout for it.

I love this idea. We'll have to make a poster or even start a "Good News" journal as a family. Dr. Reivich has mentioned that as well in one of our faculty conference calls. With all the crazy things that happen in this world, it's really helpful to be reminded of all of the awesome things that surround us too!

Have any Fishful thoughts or activities to share?
Please leave a comment and/or your link. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Don't let those puppy dog eyes fool you...(advice needed!)

Oh, he may look sweet and innocent, but you should see the teeth marks on my hands, punctures in my fingers, and scratches on my wrists. He's gotten the kids quite a few times too, but, luckily, I've been able to intervene before the pup draws blood. Me? I haven't been so lucky. His teeth are razor sharp!

I have watched probably a dozen videos on eHow on how to stop puppy biting. Exercise, chew toys, bitter spray, time outs in his crate, spray bottles, leaving the room, yelling "Ouch!" or yelping like another puppy - I've tried all of it. He's relentless.

It's the puppy stage. This stuff is to be expected, but he jumped up and got Noah on his chin this afternoon - so it does make me nervous. Other than the biting, he's a good dog. He's already doing really well with the house training, he sleeps quietly in his crate all night, he's starting to sit on command, and he's getting better at going for walks...

But those TEETH!!!

We probably should have named him "Gator" (instead of Rocket) like my husband suggested.

Definitely would have suited him.

Obedience school starts one week from today - can't wait!

In the meantime, if anyone has any tips on nixing the puppy biting, I would really appreciate it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My new favorite photo...

Out of ALL of the events - potato sack race, water relay, tug-of-war, the obstacle course, face painting/tattoos... - and ALL of the photos and videos I took to document Abby's very 1st Field Day, this one makes me smile most:
(wait for it...)

Abby, Noah, and the other kids were cracking themselves up.
It was hilarious.

We need to eat oranges more often.

PhotoStory FridayGive me your best shot at Better in Bulk

Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fishful Thinking (& yours truly) on Blog Talk Radio!

This is pretty cool, if I do say so myself...

Fishful Thinking is now on Blog Talk Radio - featuring Dr. Karen Reivich and a handful of Fishful Thinking faculty members - including me!

On the Fishful Thinking channel, you will learn simple ways to help children develop the skills that shape a positive attitude, enable them to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. You will be able to listen to discussions among a group of moms who practice Fishful Thinking that center around the five key ingredients of Fishful Thinking: Optimism, Emotional Awareness, Goal Setting/Hope, Resilience, and Empowerment.

A few of the episodes are already up and available on demand (and totally free)! In The Straight Talk on Parenting Survey episode, I get to talk for a few minutes about the biggest pressure I feel as a parent. Any guesses what it might be? Click over and listen to find out! :) Between Dr. Reivich, Cecily, and Lolli, a lot of great information, ideas, and parenting experiences were shared. It's definitely worth the twenty minutes. (If you're like me, you can even multitask & listen while you are checking email or facebook, or better yet, while checking out the Fishful Thinking site!)

To learn more about the survey results of 1000 moms, click the arrow!

Done any Fishful Thinking lately? Leave a comment and include your link! Thanks!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mom & Me Monday - Soakin' Wet!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn
"Pop out from behind that camera and
capture yourself in action with your kids!"

As promised in my Mother's Day post, here's the back story on this picture - the picture that gives my most recent example of those you-never-quite-know-what-to-expect-so-go-with-the flow motherhood moments.
The kids were supposed to be helping me water our (attempt at) a mini-garden, when all of a sudden, Abby turned the hose on us!

My first reaction was to tell her to stop. I was supposed to be leaving in an hour to head out to activity night at church so I didn't want to get all wet. Noah was screeching and crying, "Abby's getting me!" ...and Abby was still giggling.

Seeing the BIG grin on her face, I decided to switch gears and savor this silly moment instead of spoil it. Next thing you know, I'm grabbing the hose from her, handing it to Noah, and telling him to "GET HER!!!" He's giggling now too as I help him soak her pretty good! Abby laughing even harder as she dashes away while Noah's still trying to spray her with the hose. Now we're all chasing each other around the yard, squealing, laughing, and getting soakin' wet.

It was one of those moments that I wanted my kids to remember - their mama being silly with them - so I grabbed my camera and set up the self-timer to grab a couple shots of the three of us together - laughing, playing, and all wet!

And then we finally watered the garden.

Learning to embrace these fleeting, spontaneous moments with my kids has changed me for the better. Motherhood has changed me for the better. I've learned to enjoy the little things amidst the chaos and to savor the short time I have with my kiddos while they are young. Just the thought of them being all grown up one day makes me weepy.

However, next time I have the kids help me water the garden and end up soakin' wet, I'll make sure it's on an afternoon when I don't have anywhere to go. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My very first Mother's Day - May 9, 2004

Mother's Day, May 9, 2004, was the day we brought our new baby girl home from the hospital.

...We pulled up to our house to find the front lawn sporting a "Welcome" sign for our new baby girl - specially made by her new grandpa. As we opened our front door, the crisp smell of Pine Sol and the hum of the dishwasher greeted us. Vacuum lines adorned the carpet. The bathtubs sparkled, and our refrigerator glistened inside and out. It felt like an episode of Extreme Home Makeover, courtesy of my mom.

Never before had out house felt more like a home. This was where our daughter would learn and grow, where we would see her smile and hear her coo for the first time. Down the hallway, she would take her first steps while her daddy and I cheered her on. In the kitchen, she would be covered in frosting after demolishing her first birthday cake. Out in the backyard, the grass would tickle her bare feet as she toddled after a butterfly. Under this roof, my husband and I would learn and grow right along with her as we embraced our new role as parents. This was the home where we would become a family.

My daughter's wrinkled feet peeked out from underneath her Pooh Bear blanket tucked around her fidgety legs. She curled her hands into small fists and started to cry. Glancing at the clock, I realized it had been almost two hours since she had eaten. I scooped up my baby girl and carried her into the nursery. I sat down on the glider and we rocked back and forth, just as I had imagined so many times before. As she nuzzled close to me, a sense of peace seemed to quite my insecurities about being a new mom... I put my daughter's hand in mine, kissed her tiny fingers, and whispered, I love you, "sweetheart. I'm so glad you're home."

(This is an excerpt of my story Welcome Home published in A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers - April 2009. Abby calls it her story - That it is.)

Just as I told Abby at bedtime, the night before her birthday, she is the BEST Mother's Day present I could have ever hoped for.

Exactly six years from that day, I feel so blessed to be a mom to TWO fantastically amazing kids.

I can't even imagine my life without them.
For the back story on this picture, tune in tomorrow!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cinco de Mayo Party - Fishful Thinking style!

*For this week's Fishful Thinking post, I'm linking up with
Homeschool Creations' Preschool Corner -
such a great way to swap ideas!

On Wednesday, a friend and I joined forces and threw a last minute Cinco de Mayo party for our preschoolers. She brought the worksheets...

and a Mexican flag craft including white frosted cupcakes & sprinkles so the kids could add green and red stripes.
Her little boy, Triston, actually came up with the idea to have "a cake for Mexico's birthday." The kids loved decorating those cupcakes!

To give the party that Fishful Thinking twist, I added some bean & cheese burrito bites and diced avocado to the mix for the kids to taste so we could do the Savoring Food activity (found under Optimism on the FT site):

Select various food/snacks, such as Goldfish® crackers, yogurt or fruit. Eat one of the items you selected and notice all the different tastes and textures. Take turns naming out loud something you notice.

We had invited another mom friend to join us, and when her little girl, Marin, took a bite of her burrito, she shouted out, "This tastes like chicken!" - too funny. She made the most hilarious face when she tried a piece of the avocado - she was not a fan, but at least she tried it. :) Noah, on the other hand, gobbled his up. (My kids love those things.) It was cute to hear the kids talking about their food. The cupcakes were definitely their favorite!

The Savoring Party continued as we gathered in the living room so I could teach them the Mexican Hat Dance and the Macarena! I even pulled my sombreros out of my teacher stash so we could dance around them. Another mom had brought some instruments for the kids to play too - including maracas! The kids were really into it. It was a lot of fun. I had some Cinco De Mayo classroom decorations too so we stuck those on the wall and took pics of the kids in front of them -
They got a kick out of those hats. The Cinco de Mayo party was really a lot of fun. We've already talked about doing it again next year!

*Done any Fishful Thinking lately?
Please share by leaving a comment and posting your link!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WW - Bring on the Tooth Fairy!!!

After two years of anticipation and TEN days of wiggling, Abby finally pulled her FIRST baby tooth out at school yesterday ALL BY HERSELF - just three days before her 6th birthday.

Bring on the Tooth Fairy!

Then this morning...

A great big smile and TWO shiny $1 coins speckled with glitter - now she just needs to figure out what to do with all that loot!

Mom, Dad, and Noah are so happy for you, baby girl! And impressed too! That's pretty brave to pull that tooth all by yourself. No wonder the Tooth Fairy gave you TWO shiny coins! :)

*For more Weds. photo sharing, hop over to Seven Clown Circus
5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Simple Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teacher Appreciation week was definitely my FAVORITE week of the year when I was teaching elementary school. Muffins in the teachers' lounge each morning, luncheons, goodies, flowers, sweet cards from the kids & was wonderful.

Since I'm now on the giving end with Abby being in Kindergarten, I am happy to return those gestures of appreciation to her teacher. Abby has had such a great first year of school and has loved every minute of it. Here are a few ideas I have up my sleeve to say "Thank you!" this week :

The monkey and bananas are clipart! And these went along with the poster - gotta love banana pops!

Abby was excited to make her own poster for her teacher and bring her these flowers too -
I had a hard time giving these up. So pretty! I need to go get one for myself for Mother's Day. (You can kind of see Abby's loose tooth still hanging in there. Maybe today will be the day!)

This morning, I'm going to school to get each kid's thumbprint for a "Thumbody Appreciates You" tote bag that we'll give their teacher on Friday as a class gift.

I'm also picking up some goodies to send in with little notes:

Extra brand gum - You are an EXTRA-ordinary teacher! Thanks for all of the EXTRA things you do!

Milky Way and Starburst - I think you are out-of-this-world!!! Love, Abby

Mini cupcakes (or a cake mix & frosting) - When it comes to teachers, you take the cake!

I'm hoping that by the end of the week, Abby's teacher will feel very appreciated!

*If you need an idea, feel free to use any of these. If you have an idea, please share!!! Thanks!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Almost like having a newborn...

Well, we took the pup to the vet on Friday afternoon. The kids were pretty nervous that Rocket had to get a shot. They actually covered their eyes when the doc did it, but Rocket was a little trooper. The coolest part about the visit was that the vet let the kids listen to the puppy's heartbeat with her stethoscope. I wish I'd had a camera for that. It was too cute.

Probably three times during the visit, the doctor and her assistant referred to having a puppy as "almost like having a newborn" - I guess in reference to the sleep training. For the first three nights, we let the pup sleep in our bed to help him adjust to being away from his mom and "littermates" as they call them. I finally picked up a crate today to put in the laundry room to start up the whole housebreaking/crate training process. He wasn't a happy camper at first, but after a few kibbles of food and lots of "Good Boy" and "It's okay, Rocket", he is now ASLEEP in his crate.

Now, if my memory serves me correctly, when my babies were newborns, I surely didn't throw them any kibble and put them in a crate. And I sure as heck won't be up every hour and a half for the next three months feeding this pup. (I tell ya, I was a walking zombie for the first six months after Noah was born.)

I'm hoping that the ticking clock, the night light, a chew bone, and two fans in each of the kids' rooms to block out the whimpering and barking that will occur at some point in the night, will get us through until morning.

Honestly, I think having a puppy is more like having a toddler. First off, there's the potty training. I've already gone through three rolls of paper towels and half a can of carpet cleaner. (I'd totally be on board with some puppy diapers.) Secondly, everything goes into his mouth - chewing, biting, licking. I'm having to baby proof again and make sure the kids have all their little toys and game pieces off of the floor. Thirdly, I have to watch him like a hawk. He's into everything. He even managed to knock his whole bag of dog food onto the floor in the laundry room. (Abby thought it was so funny that she told all the kids at school the next day.)

I don't ever remember my newborns doing anything like that, but when they were toddlers?

Most definitely.