The End

This is my last post of the NaBloPoMo Challenge and I am proud to say I DID IT.  I posted everyday for 30 days.  Sometimes I wrote something valuable and sometimes I just posted a picture or recycled a poem but I posted everyday…and it was fun.  I do like to write and having an outlet has been awesome.  I am on the fence as to whether or not I will continue blogging but am guessing I will…just not daily.

I have at least one more post left as I must summarize my NaBloPoMoW8Lo challenge.  That will have to wait for Monday.  As of Thanksgiving morning I was down 8 pds but I have a very bad feeling that after Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving and today’s 12 hour drive from Chicago back to Atlanta (which included a stop at Sugar’s BBQ in Chattanooga and a giant bag of Chicago Mixed popcorn) that 8pd loss so going to be a Thanksgiving memory.  I am going to cut myself a little slack and do the “official” weigh-in Monday morning.

Thanks for helping me accomplish this challenge!  Now, I’m off to go look at realtor.com and search for my house…the chickens need a home!

 

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I Survived Another Thanksgiving!

I feel like I should get t-shirts made that say “I survived Thanksgiving 2013.”  Our Thanksgivings are more like a family reunion then a turkey dinner and they can get a bit overwhelming.

There are pizza dinners Wednesday night (we never make those because they are far away from where we are), Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, the circus on Friday.  A group goes bowling Friday night and there is another dinner on Saturday.  See, I told you it was like a family reunion.  Because we drive quite a distance we only make the Thanksgiving dinner and the circus which is still a lot of family togetherness.

There were 47 of us gathered around 6 Thanksgiving tables at my Aunt’s house.  21 of the attendees are under 18.  The food was fabulous as always and everyone was dressed up and looking pretty.

 

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I see people I only see once a year.  Cousins who live in different states. I met a new fiancee, I urged her to run away while she still could but she is naive enough to think marrying into this crazed mess will be fun.  It was a lovely night and my buttons didn’t get pushed by my extended family even once….That’s not something I can say every year…Thank goodness for good wine and anti-depressants.

The Circus was a bit disappointing from the performance perspective but it was nice to see my 47 nearest and dearest again.  The kids had a blast and the Thanksgiving Family Reunion 2013 was a roaring success…I’d still like that t-shirt though.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving too.

What I am Thankful For?

In response to the question what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving, many of us respond – family, friends, health, jobs, a roof over my head.  I too am thankful for all of those things.  That being said, I thought it would be interesting to acknowledge the little things I am thankful for…the things that are often ignored around Thanksgiving tables.

…so here is my list of things I am thankful for…

  1. the training collars my big dogs wear that makes them actually listen (wondering if would work on my kids as well).
  2. Stacy’s pita chips although I do have a minor addiction to them which I am not thankful for as they are not helping my W8Lo challenge.
  3. the DVD player in the car which allows us to take cross country road trips with the kids without the use of duct tape.
  4. Delta Community Credit Union because if I bounce a check they don’t charge me.
  5. My giant washing machine because I can do three loads at once.
  6. My double oven because I am getting a little closer to having everything hot at the same time when I serve a meal.
  7. My GPS which has saved me on more then one occasion from turning on the wrong Peachtree street.
  8. Susan Chambers Dance Company which has provided an amazing outlet for CJ as he has discovered his love of dance all for free since boys are on a scholarship their first year.
  9. My kick ass long black boots (which I will be wearing tonight at Thanksgiving dinner, thank you very much).
  10. My little lap dog who is 9lbs of fierce.
  11. Subway because it is reasonably healthy, all the kids like it and it is easy to take to softball games.
  12. Softball because without it I have no social life.
  13.  My Kroger card because I have managed to get gas for under $3/gallon on more than one occasion.
  14. The internet because I would be so bored without it.
  15. The NaBloPoMo Challenge that reminded me how much I love to blog.

What are the little things that you’re thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night.

Do I Have To Be Thankful For Every Mommy Moment?

When Jack first came home I swore I was going to love every second of being a mother.  After losing a baby and then going through the arduous process of adopting, I had worked hard to be a mom.  I saw people yelling at their kids in the grocery store or ignoring them in a restaurant and I promised myself that would never be me.  I was going to cherish every blessed moment of parenting.

Fast forward almost 16 years and you know what? I don’t cherish every moment.  I yell at my kids in the grocery store and I have attempted (usually unsuccessfully) to ignore my children at a restaurant so that my husband and I could try to have an adult conversation. There are even moments when I wonder if it’s all worth it;  If maybe I would have been better off living the yuppie life.

I love my kids, I really do.  Always.  The thing is there are times I could most definitely do without.  I don’t need to be awoken at 2 am by a child covered from head to toe in an itchy rash.  I could use a few minutes of silence both before and after dinner.  I would love a teenager who gladly handed me his phone so I could check his text messages.  And there are days I could do without the hormonal 13 year old crying over being looked at sideways.

As Thanksgiving approaches and everyone is talking about what they are thankful for I am wondering if it’s okay that I feel this way.  Can I still be thankful for my children even if I don’t like being a mom every blessed moment?

I gave this question a lot of thought and I have decided that the answer is yes.  I don’t think you have to love every moment.  Sheesh, parenting is not always fun and there are lots of really hard parts.  I think that there is something warped about anyone that says they love every second of parenting.  It’s just not humanly possible.  The important thing is not to love every second but to acknowledge the seconds that you do love:

When my 7 year old looks up at me and says, “I love you so much, there is no more room in my heart,”  my heart melts and I am so thankful for being a mom.

When my 10 year old does his elf face and makes an entire room of people laugh, I beam with pride at his sense of humor and I am so thankful for being a mom.

When my 13 year old offers to make many loaves of banana bread for a friends fundraiser, I am pleased by her generosity and I am so thankful for being a mom.

When my 15 year old teaches his younger brother how to play basketball for hours with the patience of a saint, I am amazed by his kindness and I am so thankful for being a mom.

When my kids all come together and rally around the one who is being mistreated by another kid, I am heartened at their strength and loyalty and I am so thankful for being a mom.

The moments that I am thankful for being a mom most definitely outweigh the ones when I am ready to hop in my car, with my little 9lb dog in tow, and just flee the jurisdiction.  Some days it is very hard to appreciate my kids with all the snarky comments, battle cries and whining, but when I stop and reflect, I realize that I am very thankful for my family.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

 

 

Do You Ever Lie To Your Kids?

Do you ever lie to your kids?  I do all the time and apparently this freaks quite a few of my friends out.  I may be alone in my belief that as far as parenting goes honesty is not always the best policy but I stand by my position.

Most of my lies are simply ways to make the outside world responsible so that I am not.  For example, if you are like me, the stench of the elephant house at the zoo is enough to make you vomit right there on the spot.  When Jack was young, he loved elephants.  It was so much easier just to tell a 3 year old Jack that the elephant house was closed on Tuesdays, than to fight with him about walking through.  Sure, I could have told him it made Mommy sick to go inside.  I may have tried that once or twice and what I learned was …he really didn’t care.  He was 3, he wanted to go in the elephant house, enough to pitch a fit if I said No.  He didn’t give a pile of elephant poop if I tossed my cookies.  However, if it was closed by the Zoo, I was not to blame and there was nothing anyone could do.  We were free to go to the less offensive smelling reptile house;  Jack happily in his stroller pointing to the Elmer’s that were outside as we passed by.  A win, win if you ask me.

I potty trained Quinn through a series of lies.  She was a few months past 2 when we went away for Thanksgiving.  The entire time we were away she used the big girl potty of her own volition.   She would take her diaper off, use the potty and then ask for help putting the diaper back on.  I mistakenly assumed this meant she was potty trained and excitedly purchased countless packages of Princess and Dora underwear.  Upon our return home, she refused to use the potty and all my purchased were for naught.  By March, I had had enough. I knew girlfriend was more than physically capable of using the potty, she was choosing not to.  So I had to make using the potty her idea…this is where my affinity for lying came in handy.

At the time, we lived near a small amusement park called KiddieLand.  I had never taken my children there even though we passed it on our frequent trips to Target.   So one day on our way to Target, I pulled into the KiddieLand parking lot and said, “Quinn, do you want to go to KiddleLand?  It looks like so much fun.”  Then I pointed to the flashing sign that stood tall in the middle of the parking lot, “Oh  no, look what the sign says…oh sweetie, I’m sorry, it says we can’t go…Big girls only, must be potty trained…oh well, maybe when you’re bigger.” And I pulled out of the parking lot secretly enjoying the disappointed look on Quinn’s face.

We then went to Target where I let her go down the Barbie aisle.  At this point in my parenting career I was staunchly anti-Barbie and had prevented any of the buxom blondes from entering my house.  Quinn, however, was not immune to the Barbie propaganda and had been making pleas for the addition of a Barbie to her toy collection.  We went slowly down the Barbie aisle and I let her pick one up. While she was holding it, I pointed to some lettering on the box.  “Oh no, look what it says, For Big Girls ONLY.  Must be potty trained.”  And I told her to put the box back on the shelf.

It took less than 3 days for Quinn to step back into her Princess and Dora underwear and then we went to KiddieLand and bought her a Barbie to celebrate.  I never would have used such high pressure tactics had she not proven months before that she was physically capable of using the toilet.  Once she had external motivation to use the potty, it happened almost overnight.  My nagging did not do the trick but toss in that blonde bombshell and BAM! Huggies were a thing of the past.

I never lie about the important stuff.  If we are going to the Dr’s office I have never promised there would not be a shot.  My answer was always “I don’t know.”  Although technically this could be considered a lie because many times I did know there would be a shot but said I don’t know anyway.  I don’t see how increasing my child’s anxiety prior to a check-up does anyone any good.

I have been known to tell a child that they no longer make Pull-Ups in their size, the dog is allergic to people food and drinking soda will stunt their growth.  Are my lies detrimental to my children?  I don’t think so.  We all get a good laugh out of the potty training story, even 13 year old Quinn, so I don’t think she was irreparably scarred.

These days though, my lying has lessened considerably because all but one of my kids can read.  I have been forced into honesty simply because my children are receiving a fairly decent education.  All is not lost however.  Now, I avoid the stinky elephant house by making my big kids walk through with the shorties and meeting them on the other side.  Some lies have just become unnecessary.

And before you judge me for lying, ask yourself if the big fat man in red comes to your house in December or the tooth fairy flutters in to exchange some cash for a lost tooth.  If so, you, my friend, are right there with me, whether you lie about it or not.

Homework Sucks!

I mentioned in a past post that I don’t fight about homework.  Honestly I don’t believe in it.   HOMEWORK SUCKS and not just for the kids that are forced to do it after a 7 hour school day.

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It’s no picnic for us parents either.

A hundred years ago, I did fight about homework.  Typically, a then 7 year old Jack would stare blankly into the chandelier while I danced in front of him counting cheerios, begging him to pay attention and sometimes dare I say it…YELLING.  I yelled over addition and subtraction.    I screamed over spelling words and often one of us ended the session in tears…usually me.  At 15, I’m proud to say Jack can both add and subtract (although  his spelling leaves something to be desired) but I can’t believe these homework sessions were good for either one of us.   They certainly didn’t do much to encourage a love of learning.

Jack was tired after a long day of school.  He wanted to play.  That’s right I said it. PLAY.  Little kids are supposed to play.  They should be running around outside like little hooligans, climbing trees, getting dirty, playing pick up games of basketball.  You know what they don’t need to do more of after a long day of school? Sit for another 3 hours on their ever expanding asses.

Don’t believe me…I actually have some science to back me up. (This is a rare occurrence so I am gloating just a little)

“There is also a growing body of literature suggesting that physical activity has beneficial effects on several mental health outcomes, including health-related quality of life and better mood states.

In addition… there is a strong belief that regular participation in physical activity is linked to enhancement of brain function and cognition, thereby positively influencing academic performance.”

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/20/physically-active-children-perform-better-academically.aspx

See?  Moving that little body actually helps those little brains develop into bigger brains.  I have nothing against 45 minutes to an hour or so of homework for middle schoolers but when each class gives 1/2 hour of homework – that adds up…often to over 2 hours ! Crazy.  What about music lessons or art classes or a sports team or heaven forbid…down time to just read a book for pleasure?  Maybe 1-2 hours  at MOST once they’re in high school.  In elementary school, no homework EVER.  If they can’t learn it in the 7 hour school day, screw it, they can try again tomorrow.

Our kids will be kids for only so long and then they will HAVE to work 8 or more hours a day.  I know enough adults that still act like children. Maybe if we let our children act like children when they are children, they would stop acting like children when they grow up.  Just sayin’.

P.S. NaBloPoMow8Lo – YAHOO!!! The potluck pound is gone.  I am still not close to my 10 pd goal and am starting to think I may have to admit defeat but honestly, if at the end of the month I weigh less then I did at the beginning of the month it will be a semblance of a win.  Yes, I will have to admit failure at my initial challenge but I will at least be a few pounds closer to my goal.  Maybe I’ll have to continue blogging after the NaBloPoMo ends.  I can write about weightloss just to keep me honest…I know!  I’ll change my blog name to Heck of Hlava WeightLoss…hee hee.

 

 

A Thanksgiving Tree

We had a few folks over for dinner tonight; a sort of pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving if you will.  It was a potluck and I have to say, my friends can cook.  I made a fabulous turkey – I have decided it is all about the brining.  My NaBloPoMoW8Lo tomorrow is not going to be pretty.

As each family came in the door, I handed them a leaf and a sharpie and asked them to write down what they were thankful for.  Earlier in the day I sent CJ outside to find a branch, which of course he did quite enthusiastically.  I had to send him back out a few times as he, like most men, was stuck on the idea that bigger is better.  Eventually, he found a perfect branch and we put it in a vase.  The leaves, that I found at the Dollar Store FYI,  conveniently had a bendy thing on the end so we could easily attach them to the branch.

Viola!  We  made a Thanksgiving Tree.

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I truly enjoyed reading everyone’s thanksfuls.  There were the typical; family, friends, health.  And the not so typical; a sixteen year old male proclaimed “Girls.” At least I now know what to get him for Christmas – a Costco size box of condoms.   Then there was 7 year old Kylie’s – “I am thankful for life on this Earth.” You know as opposed to life on some other planet.  Perhaps she, like CJ,  has been watching too much Ancient Aliens.

Leaves-  The Dollar Store $1
Branch – Free from my back yard $0
One of a Kind Center Piece/Proof I need to change the channel – Priceless

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P.S. NaBloPoMoW8Lo Challenge – No movement on the scale this morning but I did  end up on a 4+ mile walk in the rain today thanks to a comedy of errors that resulted in me having to double back to see if the dog training zapper thing was left on the table in front of the Publix (don’t ask).  I drank gallons of water but the potluck did not help  my cause.  I am just hopeful the scale does not go in the wrong direction tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.