Thursday, August 28, 2014

School Year Resolutions

When the calendar flips to a new year in January, lots of people take the opportunity to make resolutions. In fact, I've made some of my own in the past. If you have kids in school, though, the "new year" really starts when the kids go back to school. That's the time when everyone has a new routine and a new start. So, it seems to me that's the best time to make some changes. If you do it in January, it's like changing direction midstream - it's much harder and just doesn't seem to make sense.

My kids went back to school on Monday and I have some School Year Resolutions I hope to achieve.




For me: 
  1. Get moving - No more excuses. I have gained way too much weight this summer.  I'm not happy with my body and my clothes don't fit well.  I know it won't change unless I do something about it. I hate going to the gym, but I have to suck it up. I have to find/make the time and get back in shape.
  2. Re-Prioritize my blog - I need to reevaluate my blog goals. My writing career (which doesn't actually exist yet) is going nowhere. I feel like I kind of need to either go "all in" which would require time that I probably don't have (see #1) OR I need to give up - at least a little. I'm not saying I'll stop blogging or even stop submitting pieces to larger sites. Right now, though, I'm on the fence and it's not a comfortable place to sit.
  3. Be Present - There are just too many distractions - Facebook, blogging, laundry, the list goes on and on. My kids deserve my undivided attention and that is something that, sadly, they rarely get. In January, I implemented a blogging schedule that included shutting down my computer from 3-7pm every day.  It worked great for about six weeks. Then, I unexpectedly took on a part time job, life got crazy, and the schedule quickly faded away. I spent afternoons spinning between helping with homework, making dinner, checking Facebook, and responding to blog comments.  My kids and husband deserve better than that. I deserve better than that. So, this school year, I am going to try again.
For My Kids:
  1. Pack their own lunches - My kids are picky in very different ways and most school days last year I packed three different lunches. (Four on the days I took a lunch to work.) My oldest packed her own for a while, but then, somehow, I ended up doing most of it again. My girls are going in to 2nd, 4th, and 7th grade. They should be able to pack their own lunches with just a little guidance.
  2. Get up with the alarm - I seriously think my kids are deaf to their alarm clocks. Every morning the alarm clocks sound off and every morning my kids sleep right through it. I have to go around to shake them and wake them. They are grumpy. I am grumpy. It's not pretty. This year, they need to get up and get going on their own - at least, most of the time.
  3. My youngest needs to dress herself - With her, #2 usually involved dressing her like a rag doll each morning. She is 7 and fully capable of dressing herself. In fact, she dressed herself all summer! There is no reason I should have to do it on school mornings.
For All of Us:
  1. Eat healthier breakfasts - It's just too easy to grab a pop tart or a bowl of sugary cereal and giving it to them is easier than arguing. We all know, however, that's not the best way to start the day. I need to work on offering better options and they need to actually eat it!
  2. Eat the Frog -   Have you read that book?  The essential philosophy is to take the worst thing you have to do all day and do it first - get it over with and everything else won't seem so bad. In the afternoons, we put off homework. They don't want to do it and I don't want to fight them. Often, I wait to start dinner because I am too busy doing other things. We end up rushed and stressed. We need to stop putting things off and get them done in a more timely, less stressful manner.
I also have some individual goals for my kiddos like my youngest practicing piano every day and my middle one not whining about having to read. Looking back at this list, it seems like a lot and I realize we may not be 100% successful, but I think now is the time to make the changes and give it our best shot!

Do you have goals or resolutions for the school year??  I'd love to hear them!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Pros & Cons of Back to School {#TuesdayTen}

Whether it makes you jump for joy or cry yourself to sleep at night, there is no denying that back to school season is in full swing! My Facebook feed is full of first day of school photos. My Pinterest boards are overflowing with "Easy Lunchbox Ideas" and "Healthy Breakfast Suggestions." Of course, the stores are jam-packed with backpacks, notebooks, crayons, pencils, and "Back To School Sale" signs. In fact, my kiddos went back to school yesterday. 
2nd grader & 4th grader who were, obviously, excited. You will just have to picture the sullen 7th grade with your Jedi mind because she was not in the mood for photos.
It seems that, more than any summer in the past, this one flew by super fast. On some levels, I am ready for the kids to go back to school. However, we had a great summer, and I am, at the same time, not quite ready for it to end. Needless to say, there are definitely some positives AND some negatives about back to school! I actually wrote a Tuesday Ten post about the exact same thing last year and I still feel the same way!



~"Borrowed" from a VERY similar post I wrote in August 2013.~
  1. PRO - I will finally get some quiet time.  With the exception of a date night and my one day a week part time job, I haven't really had a break from my kids since early June. I love them, but, everyone needs a reprieve sometimes, right? Currently, I can't read, write, finish a complete thought, or do much of anything without interruption.  I could really use some quite time!   
  2. CON - Mornings. I am soooo not a morning person. During the summer, the kids sleep late; I sleep late. It's great! Once school starts, those alarms clock will once again be sounding bright and early. We'll all roll out of bed grumpy and delirious.
  3. PRO - We'll get back to a routine. I'm a planner and I like schedules. Although it includes early mornings, I like to have a plan for the day. Hopefully, I can get back into a writing routine, housekeeping routine, and workout routine as well. Right now, we are just being lazy and, many days, by the time we are ready to leave the house, the day is already halfway done.
  4. CON - That routine I'm talking about? Well, it tends to get really busy and I tend to get a little stressed. On top of homework and dinner, we end up rushing from here to there and everywhere. Bedtimes get juggled and baths get skipped. I've tried limiting my girls' after school activities, but it seems the busyness still takes over!
  5. PRO - Friends. The kids miss theirs and I miss mine. Once school starts, we will all be reunited!
  6. CON -  I will once again become one with my minivan. During the school year I spend hours in my minivan. With one in middle school and the other two in elementary school, I'll have the privilege of sitting throughTWO carpool lines every morning and every afternoon.
  7. PRO - I might actually have a clean house for more than thirty seconds.
     Right now, if I am cleaning in one room, they are probably in the kitchen dirtying dishes.  When I go to clean up those dishes, they will get out the play dough.  When I am sweeping up the play dough, they will probably be making a snack or getting out some paint.  Seriously, it's impossible.  Once they are in school, I might be able to get the house clean and keep it that way at least until they get home!
  8.  CON - Homework. As a former teacher, I would say homework is a necessary evil. I know that kids need to practice the skills they are learning in school and that there is just not enough time to get everything done while they are in the classroom. However, the last thing my kids want to do when they come home is more work. It ends up being a struggle to get them to do it. They whine;  get frustrated. It's just not pretty.
  9. PRO - My kids' brains will stop turning to mush. At the beginning of summer, I felt guilty when they watched too much TV. Now, I'm just happy to get through the day with minimal arguing and if that means TV, then so be it! They have read some books, but overall, we're not exactly being intellectual these days. Once they are in school, I won't have to watch endless, ridiculous episodes of "Austin and Ally" or "Dog With a Blog."
  10. CON - Packing Lunches. My oldest is a vegetarian and the youngest is just a super picky kid. The middle one is not really too picky, but she is not fond of sandwiches. Packing lunches for them every day becomes incredibly frustrating and a task that I totally dread.

So, when do your kids go back to school and are you looking forward to it???  


Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers


The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
RULES:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
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Come link up again next Tuesday, September 2, when will honor back to school and Self Improvement Month by sharing 10 things we would like to learn! 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ten Pics On My Phone {#TuesdayTen}

Welcome back to another week of #TuesdayTen!  You may notice that I'm a bit MIA around the blogosphere this week, but that's because my three daughters and I got a chance to tag along on a trip to San Francisco my husband had to make for business!!!  I thought about skipping #TuesdayTen this week and just leaving it in the capable hands of my lovely co-hosts, but this topic was just too fun to pass up!!!  We are sharing 10 photos that are currently on our phones! (Good thing this wasn't the topic for next week or you would be seeing nothing but San Fran below!!!)

So, here are 10+ photos currently on my phone and the story behind them:

~From June - Every year, we spend a week at the beach with David's family.  We all chip in to rent a big house and enjoy a week of family time, beach time, and relaxation.  This year, our niece Lila (born in January 2014) joined us.  She is the first baby that has been born on either side of our family since our youngest, Emily, and my girls absolutely adore her.  Here, they were all gathered around to entertain Miss Lila and get some baby snuggles


~July - This year David, the girls, and I were lucky enough to get two beach trips!!!  I am still close to my high school best friend, Mitch.  He invited us to come spend a few days at Hilton Head with his family - him, his wife, Kathryn, and his two sons.  This is a picture of all the kids at the top of a local lighthouse.  Despite the obvious gender differences and the less than excited faces on some of this crew, they got along extremely well and we all had a great time!  


~July - Every summer, I take the girls and we go spend a few days with my parents who live very close to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  They still live in the house where I grew up and my brother's family lives close by, so we always get the cousins together and have some fun in Blowing Rock!  This is a picture of all the cousins - my three girls and my bother's kids - atop a rock at The Blowing Rock.  These cousins always get along so incredibly well!

~I have to share this one as well -my parents and all their grandchildren!

~These next two are just photos of the mountain scenery I took.  I'm not a very good photographer, but these turned our to be pretty good and just looking at them makes me sigh and relax. 


~Yes, this is another one from the mountains.  I took this close up of my favorite flower, some Mountain Laurel, as we walked along a path around a local lake in Blowing Rock - another family tradition.

~A gift shop in the mountains had a display of several silly signs like this one.  I thought this one was funny and I snapped a picture!


~This summer has been unusually mild around here.  This picture was taken on a particularly cool wet day a couple weeks ago.  The girls were bored and decided to go play out in the rain!!  Notice the sweatshirt and jacket in August!!!!  Weird, but that day I think the high temp was only in the mid 60s.


~August - My oldest and youngest daughters have birthdays in August and my husband and I have this tradition of scheduling a date night around that time in which we go out for a nice dinner and, then, go gift shopping for the girls.  We were in little boutique toy store we have and I saw this guy.  I snapped a picture because he reminded me of my friend Tamara and I wanted to text her the pic.  However, after I snapped the photo, I completely forgot to go back and send it until I saw the photo again for this post! šŸ˜Š (Honestly, I almost bought the big guy to send him to Tamara and Scarlet, but figured I was doing enough wallet damage with the gifts I was already buying!) 

~Those birthdays I mentioned above??  Well, my husband has a birthday, too.  David=August 6, Rachel=August 9, Emily=August 11.  It is a birthday whirlwind to be sure!  We had all of David's family over to celebrate and this is, obviously, a picture of all of them blowing out the candles on their cake! 


~Last but certainly not least, this is a fun picture of my sweet Emily who chose a Mexican restaurant for her birthday dinner!  She got to wear that special sombrero while sipping her non-alcoholi daiquiri as several of the waiters serenaded her with Feliz CumpleaƱos!!!
"I can't believe what my mother will make me do just to get some traffic for her site! "
~Kathy from My Dishwasher's Possessed
Just for fun, I put this picture on my Facebook Page with a "caption that photo" contest to see who could come up with the funniest one.  The winner is  . . . .  .
Kathy is one of the sweetest, dearest souls I have ever met.  On her blog she shares both funny and heartwarming stories about motherhood, being a special needs mom, and, of course, crazy appliances! If you have never visited her blog, you absolutely should!

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:




TheLiebers


The Teacher Wife
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This week, we are also welcoming a lovely co-host, Dana from Kiss My List!  Dana is a one of my best blog friends and was even lucky brave enough to be my roommate at BlogU!  Please visit her blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!


We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
RULES:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
3) Visit your hosts and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing.
5) By linking up you agree to be subscribed to out #TuesdayTen mailing list. Emails are only sent once a week and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here.

Come link up again next Tuesday, August 26, when we will be discussing the ten things you love and hate about back to school!!!!

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