Sunday, March 25, 2012

SO excited about my new Project

Project with a capital 'P' - gotta love it.

I'm so excited about this new one though. So much so that tonight I spent 45 minutes standing in the middle of my kitchen, dishwasher half-emptied, pouring over Niki Jabbour's The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener. Niki is a local gardener, radio show host, and writer, and her book is not only beautiful, but inspiring, and easy to follow for a newbie like me.

I am going to grow vegetables.

So so so excited about this. We have to find the right spot, and I'm thinking two long beds, 4x8, raised. I've got to get started on some seeds (including those I picked up today at a seed exchange). I have a lot to learn, and a lot to do. But, if I can grow enough to have just one salad of things I grew myself this summer, I will consider it a huge success :)

Now, off to bed, to dream of dirt...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thoughts on Routines (and how changing them can make a world of difference)

I recently made a small but magnanimous change in the way we get out the door in the mornings. I don't know what took me so long.

You see, for so long (nearly a year, in fact) we'd been doing almost exactly the same things every morning... and it wasn't working very well. Day after day we'd be rushing out the door, late of course, most likely missing something important, feeling frazzled and usually yelling at someone about something. For some reason, we kept this up, just kind of going about it as though it was the only way. Which is silly, really, since we'd completely changed how we did things once I started working outside the home again.

I want to add that while having to leave the house to work every day presents all sorts of wild and wonderful challenges, I relish it. But that's just me (and it's not what this post is about).

Our Old Routine

  • 6:45 am - I wake up, go downstairs for coffee and cereal, watch the news
  • 7:15 - finally drag myself upstairs (it's way too easy to sit and sip coffee while watching the morning news, before anyone else is awake!) to get in the shower, kids starting to get up, The Hubs is on kid duty
  • 7:30 - 8:15 - I shower, get dressed, makeup, hair etc etc. Hubs feeds & waters the animals children, gets them dressed etc.
  • 8:20 - I rush downstairs, pull a brush through The Girl's hair (in a rush, so she freaks out), yell about boots/coats, etc
  • 8:35 ish - out the door

Several problems here. Can you spot them?

  1. The Hubs was left to do everything related to the kids on his own in the mornings. Not fun for anyone.
  2. This left no time for The Hubs to shower in the mornings, so he was having to do it at night, meaning less time together just he and I. 
  3. We were late every day.
  4. Most importantly: the only time I saw the kids before 6 pm was to yell at them to get their boots on or kiss their heads as I rushed out.
Funny thing was I didn't even realize how much it wasn't working, until I wrote it down as part of building my Control Journal, thanks to the FlyLady. (I could go on for days about FlyLady but for now I'll let you go check it out for yourself. Go ahead, I'll wait.)

Anyway, the new routine is much better. Sure, we are still running habitually late, in large part to the fact that we've all been getting to bed too late at night (I'm working on that now). But, overall things are running much smoother, and we're all a little happier as a result.

The Shiny New Routine 

  • 6:30 am - my alarm goes off *(in theory this is when I get up, but lately it's when I hit snooze)
  • 6:45 - I'm up and in the shower
  • 7 am - The Hubs gets up with the kids, gets them dressed (clothes laid out the night before, down to socks), and downstairs for breakfast. Straw-sippies of juice (prepped the night before) are waiting in the fridge. Coffee is brewing.
  • 7:30 - I'm downstairs, dressed. The Hubs goes to shower etc. Kids eat while I get coffee, sit and eat with them, then I brush The Girl's hair (and I can actually take my time and be gentle... less protesting!), empty the dishwasher (!!), and reload it. 
  • 8:00 - kids finished, we clean up and get coats on, get in the van.
  • 8:15 - The Hubs arrives, clean and refreshed, and takes the kids to daycare. I head to work.

Ideally we'll be able to tweak this so we're actually rolling by 8 am, but all in all I'd say these were such small changes that have made a huge impact. There's something to be said for starting your day right, and I can't believe it took me so long to recognize that it just wasn't right!

Also there's the bonus effect of having a tidy kitchen in the morning, so it's more manageable after supper (rather than having to empty & reload the dishwasher, and deal with the pile of backlog dishes, we just need to load from supper and run it). There's something kind of magical about opening the dishwasher to find it ready for dishes to be put in, rather than full of clean ones!

My evening routine has also changed... but I'll save that for another post... The Control Journal comes into play there too. I'll just say I'm surprised how positive these changes have been!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ten things my kids love (and I hate)

  1. Running away from me. Grocery store, daycare pickup, trying to get out the door in the morning... doesn't matter, as long as I want them to stay here and they want to be... anywhere else. Run away! Hee hee! Mom is clenching both her fists and her teeth! Wee! Run!
  2. Wiggling and squirming into a pretzel shape during diaper changes. Now, this only applies to one of them, but for a 2.5-year-old she is surprisingly strong and nimble. Haha! She'll NEVER get that diaper on me! Wee!
  3. Dora the freaking screaming Explorer.
  4. Absurd requests as I'm leaving the room at bedtime. I can have bunny? Other bunny? NO OTHER BUNNY. Thomas Snowsuit book? Chocolate milk? A bandaid on my knee? Three more stories? One? A short one? Stand at the end of my bed with your arms in the air and sing opera until I fall asleep?
  5. Making noises with food.
  6. Throwing food.
  7. Coordinating themselves so they are never both looking at the camera at the same time while smiling. Ready? 1... 2... 3... look away! Bwahahahaha. She took the picture. 
  8. Drawing on themselves.
  9. Waiting until other parents are within earshot to lose their schmidt. Bonus points if they can work in the phrase, "Owww you're hurting me!!"
  10. Waiting until their Dad and I start talking to each other to NEED SOMETHING RIGHT NOW, ensuring that we will never finish another conversation for as long as we both shall live. 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Lies We Tell our Kids

There actually IS an app for that...
The Boy has really gotten into the whole 'lying' thing lately. He's gone at this particular milestone with gusto and I hate to admit it, but he reminds me SO much of myself at a young age. I'd like to think it's his keen wit and brilliant imagination that's got him making up these elaborate lies to tell us, but I know it's really just him being a kid and making stuff up. And, it's relentless... these days, almost everything out of the kid's mouth is a lie: a 'version' of the truth, a stretch, or an all-out fabrication. He does get a 'talking to' for lying, and we tell him all the time that it's better to tell the truth, than to lie and get in double the trouble.

But the other day it occurred to me that as parents, we lie to our kids too. All.The.Time. I don't believe the parents who say they are 100% honest with their kids - it's just not possbile to tell your kids the truth all the time! Hello... Santa? Easter Bunny? Sure they are fun 'make believe' stories, but let's face it: they are lies. We make up these things and feed them to our kids and they simply aren't true.

But, beyond the parental-obligation lies like Santa, there are the every day make-my-life-easier ones. Once you start to pay attention to them, you realize just how often you lie to your kids. Around here we're up to every day, if not several times a day of lies. And my kids aren't even home during the day all week!
  • No, there aren't any vegetables in that sauce
  • Coffee isn't good for kids - it will make hair grow on your chest
  • Yes, you have to go to bed by 8:00... your doctor told me
  • That's a bad word because... it says so in the dictionary. No, I don't really know what it means.

Oh but the best are the ones that the kids KNOW are a lie, but you keep telling because you're not sure what else to do.
  • If you get out of bed one more time, I'm taking all the furniture out of your room
  • If you don't stop pestering your sister, I am calling Johnny's mother to cancel your playdate
  • Get your boots on RIGHT NOW or we are not going to the party
  • I am going to call your father and tell him to get on the next plane home sohelpmegod!
(see a theme here??)

Of course, there are the Big Lies. The ones you kind-of hope never come up, and once you say them you really hope your kids don't ask more questions because they're hard to elaborate on, but then they do ask and you're stuck in a Web of Big Lies and at this point you're waiting for one of them to throw up or something to catch on fire to get you out of the Web...
  • No, Daddy and I are never going to die
  • Noooo... it's doesn't hurt to get a needle...
  • Those animals are just... um. Wrestling.
What lies have you told your kids recently? Have you ever been caught in a lie?