Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Proud Mommy Moment

When you are picking your daughter up from preschool, the last words you want to hear are:

"Mrs. Davis, could I speak to you for a moment?"

So when I heard those words come out of Addie's preschool teacher's mouth a couple of weeks ago, I broke out in a cold sweat. I had to stand there for about 5 minutes, anticipating what she was going to say. Did Addie hit someone? Did she steal a toy from another child? Was she talking about boobies again?

When her teacher pulled me aside, I just blurted out, "What did she do? Just tell me. TELL ME!!!" Okay...I didn't say it like that, but she did see the worry in my eyes and started off gently. She said that Addie is a joy to have in class, she is very mature, knows her manners, is retaining all of the material they are learning, yadda yadda yadda. All great things that I am VERY proud of. But I knew the "But" was coming. And then there it was...

"But, we had a really bad day today. Addie seems to have a lot of trouble focusing. She can't sit still during circle time, has a hard time staying on task, she is very talkative (even during quiet times) and isn't always the best at sharing. She just has LOTS of energy"

I wanted to say, "So like...what you're telling me is that she is acting like a typical 3-year-old?"

But instead I said, "I notice these things at home as well, and my husband and I have been trying really hard to work on them. We even started another sticker chart, since she seemed to be very motivated by that last time".

I mean...what do you really say in that situation? Even though they are talking about your child misbehaving, as a parent you feel like they are talking about you. My cheeks get all red and I immediately start wondering what I am doing wrong. I feel like it's my fault that she had a bad day because I am clearly not teaching her the right way to behave in class.

Addie and I went home from preschool that day and put together a brand new sticker chart. We bought a bunch of new stickers and did some brainstorming about what our rewards would be. Addie's favorite thing in the whole world right now is having sleepovers. I think this has a lot to do with all the spoiling she gets when she it at my mom's or when she's at my MIL's house with Nia.

So that was going to be our weekly reward (thanks to my mom who was willing to keep her once a week). And then, her BIG reward for filling a whole chart is going to be seeing Disney Princesses on Ice. All this has really motivated her the past few weeks. We also do a LOT of talking about listening, sitting still during story time and quiet time (which she still needs work on. She's antsy like me). And of course, learning to share with others. I told her to remember 3 things about sharing.

1. Always ask someone if you can take a turn before grabbing it out of their hands.

2. If the child says "No", make sure you give him/her a little more time and then ask again.

3. If someone is not sharing or if someone takes a toy from you, do not hit, shove, yell or steal the toy back. Let your teacher know and she will take care of it.

I'm not sure if this is all the best advice, but it's what seems right to me.

So today, I had another chance to be the helper in Addie's classroom. I was a little nervous because I find it hard to resist the urge to shout out Addie's name every time I see her doing something wrong. Also, when I am in the room, she sometimes has a harder time focusing on activities because she is more concerned with what I'm doing. But the teachers need parent volunteers and I love being able to do this as a SAHM so I don't want to pass on the opportunity just because of Addie's "focusing issues". So I went in today with low expectations of how her morning might go.

But she TOTALLY surprised me!!! She sat still during circle time, she did all of her projects, she listened when called, and the HIGHLIGHT of my morning was watching her during open playtime.

The teacher told all the kids they would have to be 2-to-a-station for all the activities. I watched Addie take her turn and pass things to other kids. And then there was another station occupied by two little girls. They had been there a while, but Addie went up to them and said very sweetly, "Can I have a turn?" The girls said no because they were still playing so Addie said okay and walked away! I couldn't believe it!!!

10 minutes later, she went back to the girls and asked nicely again for a turn, but sadly the girls still said no.  I was waiting for Addie to get her trademark "mean face" or grab a shovel out of the little girls hand...but she didn't! She walked up to her teacher and told her that she would like a turn at that station. Sadly, the teacher didn't realize the others girls had been on it for a while so she made Addie wait again. But Addie handled it like a big girl.

She has made me such a proud mama today :-)


And because of that, Nana invited her to sleepover tonight too :-)

Great job baby girl!! I knew you could do it. Only a few more stickers until we see the princesses!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mission Organization: De-Cluttering Your Wardrobe

I once knew this girl that could fit all of her clothes in a Rubbermaid bin. We were in college together and when I arrived my freshman year with about 6 bins of clothing (just for that current season) and saw that she had only one...I made a pretty big assumption. 

This poor girl is going to be SO mad she didn't bring more clothes.

But you want to know the funny thing? This girl ALWAYS looked cute. And put together. And never complained about not having something to wear.

How could that be?? I mean...I had enough clothes to dress everyone in my dorm and so did my roommate...so why were we the ones sitting on our beds in t-shirts whining about how we had nothing to wear that night? And how could one-bin-of-clothes girl look like she just stepped out of a J.Crew magazine? 

I still think about this girl from time to time, especially when I'm standing in my closet looking at a ridiculous rack of clothing, whining about how I STILL have nothing to wear. And here is a peak at my closet friends. I am actually a little embarrassed to post this, but I think you all need a visual.


Clearly I'm a clothes whore.

I realize to some, my wardrobe may look small and to others, it may look completely overwhelming. No matter where you are in that spectrum, I think we can all agree that someone with a closet full of that many clothes should NEVER say, "I have nothing to wear".

And I know I'm not alone, right ladies? And gentleman too perhaps? Even Eric is a little guilty of keeping a bunch of clothes and wearing the same 5 shirts over and over again. He is much better than I am, but I think everyone is a little guilty of holding on to an article of clothing in the hopes that they will wear it again. But be honest, how often do we pull out a shirt that hasn't been worn in 10 years and suddenly fall in love with it again? I know it does happen, but not often!!

So if you are a hoarder/clothes-whore like me...and you want to FINALLY seek help...now's your chance. My mom and I own several organizing books and in each one, there is always a chapter on clearing wardrobe clutter. But one book in particular had a really great list of guidelines to help you decide what to keep and what to toss. Here they are:

1. The item should represent your current style and the image you wish to project to others.

2. The item should fit you well and complement your body shape.

3. The item should work in coordination with a minimum  of two other items in your wardrobe.

4. The item should be in good condition.

5. There should be space for the item to be properly stored.

6. You should like how you feel when you wear the item.

7. You should have an occasion in the next year to wear it.

These guidelines are so simple, and yet most of us never take them into consideration when we purge our closet. One of my favorite sweaters from Banana Republic is about 12 years old (seriously) and it is so worn and pilled that I haven't put it on in at least 2 years. But at one point it was my favorite and for some reason, I just haven't let it go!! Total violation of #4.

Actually, I am violating just about every guideline on this list, but the biggest violation for me is #5. I never feel like there is enough room in my closet to hang shirts properly, to store shoes and purses properly, etc. It's because I have too much stuff that I don't wear or use mixed in with the stuff I do. I refuse to let my wardrobe work it's way into other closets or spaces so it's time to get to work!! This is my mission for the month of February. I know it's gonna take some time to weed through things but I promise that when I am done, there will be a sweet blog sale to follow because you never know...some beautiful clothes that violate #2 for me may not for you!!

So, is anyone else in the process of working on their closet? Anyone else feel like their clothes are getting totally out of control? Or better yet...is someone out there really great about keeping their wardrobe under control? I think all of us could use some tips :-) And then...when we ALL get our closets cleaned up...maybe we could have a Blog Sale link up party!! We could all sell our stuff and maybe find some new pieces to take up some of the space we cleared :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Valentine's Day Bingo: Perfect for Preschoolers

I am having WAY too much fun planning Addie's preschool Valentine's Day party. Between my own ideas, the ones I've been stealing from Pinterest and the ones my Mom and friend Kristi keep sending me...I am on crafting overload! I can't wait to share all this fun stuff with you guys this week.

Today, I spent the better part of nap time putting together one of the games for the party. Addie's preschool teacher said that the kids have been loving "Bingo" lately so I went in search of Valentine Bingo cards online. To my surprise...there weren't many to be found, especially not for preschool age kids. I was hoping to find something with colors, shapes, letters, pictures, etc. but I was only finding blank cards or more traditional bingo cards with all numbers.

So...I sat down with my scrapbooking software and came up with my own card! I am really so happy with how it turned out. I used numbers and letters that the kids have learned so far this year, a few colored shapes and a few cliparts. It's bright and colorful and I think the kids are really going to enjoy playing it :-)



  I've created 20 different cards, as well as a matching caller sheet. You can download the whole set here. We are planning to use conversation heart candies as our markers for the party, but I think Hershey Kisses are also cute. 

I'm actually going to print out a set to have here at home because I think it would be a great game to play with Addie and Blake on a boring winter's day, or even on our next playdate :-)

So...is anyone else in charge of a game for their kid's Valentine's Day party? I would love to know what other fun stuff you are planning to do. I also hope this Bingo set comes in handy for someone. I know I'm pretty excited about it :-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recharging Batteries

I have to admit...it is so flattering when I receive emails and/or phone calls from friends checking in on me when I haven't blogged in a day or two. The fact that anyone cares to stop by this silly old blog is beyond me, but I appreciate it so very much :-)

The reason for my 2-day disappearance has a lot to do with needing to recharge my batteries. As you know quite well from my posts the last two weeks, I've had a lot on my mind and all that silly stress blocks my creative juices from flowing. But my glass is totally half full today and I am feeling very grateful to have some things behind me :-)

But I am going to take just one more day to relax and step away from the computer. I teach tonight and then I FINALLY get to spend some time with a group of ladies I haven't seen in a very long while :-) Yay! But I promise to be back tomorrow with something worth reading. Ha!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday

Here are a just a few tidbits of our Tuesday...

* Addie stayed home from preschool today because she woke up with a stuffy nose and fever last night. It's funny...when I'm sick, all I want to do is lay on the couch. When Addie is sick...all she wants to do is make crafts, play dress-up, play Barbies, play school, paint, color, bake cupcakes and ask about 986 questions in a matter of 20 minutes. To say I'm beat is an understatement. Luckily, her fever is gone and her stuffy nose is clearing up :-)

* The Valentine's cupcakes we made with homemade vanilla frosting were a BIG mistake. Look at em....just sitting there looking all freaking delicious.


* I signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K for March 25th because I felt like if I shelled out the money and committed, it would give me some new motivation. I'm expecting it to kick in anytime now...

* I realized today that it's been almost 9 weeks since my last hair appointment. When I was blonde, I would have to go every 5-6 weeks to keep up the color. Going brunette was the best decision ever. I am hoping to make it 10 weeks, but I miss chatting with my stylist and I could definitely use a trim and some fresh color now. Going every 9-10 weeks vs. 5-6 is going to save a ton of money this year. Me likey :-)

* I have a long awaited meeting tomorrow that should hopefully put to rest a very annoying and stressful situation that I have been dealing with for several months. At this point, the outcome doesn't even matter. Just getting it over with will make me feel like a new woman tomorrow. I hope :-) Sorry for the vague bullet point.

* And finally, I made an awesome menu for the next 5 or 6 nights of dinner mixing various recipes I've found in new cookbooks and on Pinterest. I am going to make them all, take some pics, do some trial and error and hopefully share with you guys next week. Word of caution though...if you are dieting and/or trying to eat healthy...you may not care for my menu. It's all about carbs and cheese :-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Surviving Winter

Once upon a time, I really loved winter. 

I loved wearing sweaters, staying cozy inside and working on home projects on my days off. I still love all these things, but they are a bit more challenging to accomplish these days. I mean, you could spend an ENTIRE morning reorganizing and cleaning the kid's playroom so that it looks like this...


And then come back 20 minutes later to admire your hard work and find it like this...


It's defeating. 

And it makes me hate being trapped inside with kids who, even with a MILLION toys, still get bored and end up trashing rooms for fun.

Now, I will say that there have been two things that have been keeping the kids busy indoors the last few weeks. The first is this AWESOME train table my MIL and FIL got Blake for his birthday.


Both kids have been spending lots of time at it and even though they have been good about not trashing it for the most part, we are VERY close to hot gluing the whole damn set to the table. Now that Blake knows he can remove track pieces, he feels the need to carry them all over the house. 


Kids.

Now, the other  new "toy" we have been spending a ton of time with is our new chalkboard!!! Ever since I set up the kid's playroom last winter, I've been wanting to do a chalkboard wall. But time passed and I could never decide where I wanted it or how I wanted to paint it. And now that I can see a year or two down the road and envision Blake's bedroom being in this space, I don't know that I want to paint a chalkboard on the wall anymore.

So when the fabulous people at Wayfair.com offered to send me a chalkboard for review, I jumped at the chance!!

This is the board we chose (in 36" x 48") so that it would fill this open space in the playroom... 


Pretty perfect, right?!! I couldn't get over how well the frame around the chalkboard matched our shelves.


We've had this chalkboard hung for almost a month now and there are 3 things I absolutely love:

1. The size. I almost went with a size smaller but once I hung it up, I realized the 36x48 was perfect.


2. The fun factor. I love that both kids can play at the board together and I am surprised by how much Blake wants to draw on it!


3. Quality. For the price on Wayfair, you honestly can't beat the quality. The chalkboard is sturdy, wipes perfectly clean (after curing of course) and the wood frame is a classy touch. Some day, I may steal this chalkboard for another room in my house and I love that it is kid friendly and stylish :-)

The one and only thing I wish the board had (at this stage anyway) is a ledge for chalk and an eraser. The kids have a plastic container with all their chalkboard supplies but it would be nice to have a ledge too. Although, with a ledge would probably come a bigger mess so maybe it is a good thing that it is missing.

So friends...if you are looking for a fun activity indoors and don't want to mess with chalkboard paint on your own, I highly recommend checking this one out :-)

***

Now, as much as I HATE the cold, there comes a point when you just need to give up on the indoor activities, bundle up and head outdoors.

Luckily, we got a fresh blanket of snow this Friday...


So we got all bundled up and headed out to enjoy.


This little chick would stay out ALL DAY if we'd let her. She loves the outdoors.


This little guy does too...


But only because he likes to help out this big guy.


He will follow him up and down the driveway and all around the neighborhood, carrying his little shovel.


My two little snow bunnies :-)


I know I've mentioned this before, but we are really blessed with the most fabulous neighbors. I don't know what we would do without Sue and Jack. They are just so much fun!




And speaking of fun...it's really not a day in the snow if you don't make snow angels...


I got snow down my pants doing this...


But it was worth it because this little girl thought it was awesome :-)


After playing, shoveling and making snow angels...this mama was cold and ready to go inside. The kids, of course, wouldn't come in. Turns out the swing set is just as much fun in the winter :-)


So friends...what are you doing to survive winter? Are you organizing your brains out, getting creative with indoor activities or braving the weather for outdoor fun? Or are you doing all of the above like us?

I'll tell ya...I'm really hoping the groundhog comes through for us this year :-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

French Onion Soup for a Snowy Day

So...who's a big fan of eating soup all winter long?

ME!!!!!!!!!

I love me some soup when it's cold and snowy outside. But I can't always please the hubs with a bowl of vegetable noodle. He likes richer, heartier soups and one of his favorites is French Onion.

I've never really tried to make my own French Onion soup before but I experimented with a recipe from this blog...



and it was DELICIOUS!!! I didn't bother posting my own pic because even though I loved the soup, it wasn't as pretty as this one :-)

The recipe was super simple to follow. This is all you need:

FRENCH ONION SOUP

4 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
3 15oz can chicken broth
1 15oz can beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8oz swiss cheese, shredded
1 baguette, store bought or make your own

1. In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and salt. Cook the onions, stirring often, for about 30 minutes, or until your onions are caramelized, dark golden brown in color, and syrupy.

2. Pour into the chicken broth and beef broth into the stock pot. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Season with a bit of pepper (unless you used a low sodium broth, you probably don't need to add salt). Add in the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen up any caramelized bits. Cover the pot and simmer on medium for about 20 minutes.

3. Fish bay leaves from pot and stir in balsamic vinegar. Place a piece of baguette in each soup bowl (you can get 6-10 servings from this recipe). Ladle soup over bread and then top with some of the cheese. Heat bowls under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and browns. Wait a minute or two for bowl to cool down some before serving.

All I can say is YUM!!!!! I did make one small change to the recipe. I used 1, 32oz carton of chicken broth and 1, 32oz carton of beef broth. It seemed to make it a little richer. Either way, it's a perfect winter weekend soup and I seriously can't wait for dinner tonight :-)

We have another laid back weekend ahead of us filled with lots of relaxing, some organizing projects and a smoked beef brisket. Eric used his Christmas gift cards and got himself a smoker!!! We had some delicious ribs last weekend and I am sure we are in for a treat this Sunday. He wants me to take lots of pictures and do a blog post. Maybe I'll even make him write it. Ha!

Happy Weekend everyone! Stay warm!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Because I Needed a Laugh Today

Tonight is my first night back to the classroom and I am both excited and totally freaking anxious about meeting my new group of students. I just know this is going to be the best semester ever because it has to be. It just has to be.

So...because I needed a good laugh to lighten my mood, I went to my Sillies board on Pinterest and pulled some of my favorite giggle-worthy pins. Some of these you might not get, or even find that funny, but to me...they are awesome.


Oh Ryan, those are words to my ears. And you're hot.


Target retail therapy. Awesome and so true.


Ladies...who's with me??


This song will be stuck in your head all day now. You're welcome.


You gotta love Harry Potter and Mean Girls to get this.


Sorry about the profanity...but I love this and it makes me crack up every time.


Again...sorry for the lack of class on this post. But if you love Anchorman like I do, I think you need one of these cross-stitched pictures in your house.

You want a few more laughs today? Follow me on Pinterest, especially my Sillies Board, and join in on the fun. So addicting :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Valentines Day Goodies, Ideas & a FREE Printable

Last year, Addie and I had a lot of fun making Valentine's treats for all her little ballerina friends. They were just cookie cutter rice crispy treats covered in frosting or chocolate and sprinkles.


We tied them up in cute little plastic treat bags with some valentines day ribbon and they were ready to go!


This year, I am in charge of Addie's preschool Valentine's Day party and I have been searching around Pinterest for some ideas. I saw this one, and thought it was adorable...


I also thought these Valentines Hot Chocolates were precious...


Addie's preschool tries to keep things pretty healthy for the kids at snack time, but they tend to make a little exception when it comes to the parties. And I mean come on...what's valentine's day without some sweets? I just have to figure out what sweets to share. But when I do, I know I want to use these little printables I made this weekend.


These will work great for a bag of candy, a decorated cookie or rice crispy treat in a plastic bag, or even as a cupcake topper! If you want to download my free printable you can do so here. You can customize it to any size you want, but if you want some instructions on how to print multiple on a page, check out my Mac tutorial (sorry PC users, although I am sure your steps are pretty similar :-)

Addie and I also did a little shopping at Michael's this week because I wanted to find a craft for the kids to put together at the party. While we were there, we found these SUPER cute little clothespin animals and we made a few today. Don't they look precious clipped to a red treat bag?


There are SO many great ideas on the internet right now and I am sure this won't be my only Valentine's post. It's just fun to start searching and playing with ideas. If you have any great suggestions for Valentine's Day treats, especially for preschool aged kids, be sure to leave a comment. I would love to have a reason to make some more Valentine's themed printables to share :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Runners Block

I once read somewhere that running is 90% mental. 

Well...I am not sure my sore thighs and ass would agree with that percentage break down, but I truly believe that running is more mental than anything else.

In the last year and a half that I've been a runner, I've come to realize 3 very important facts about myself:

1. I run better outside. Period.
2. If I go into a run already doubting my ability to reach a pace or distance goal, I will fail every single time.
3. I must run with headphones or a runny buddy. I don't do silence.

The problem with these three things is that they are ALL challenged in the winter. I hate running on the treadmill and because I hate running on the treadmill, I almost always go into a run with a negative attitude. And because I am on the treadmill, I don't have a running buddy. Sure, I still have headphones but that's about it. This has made for some painful runs this past week.

But then...as soon as I am losing my motivation and doubting my huge running goal this year, I find the inspiration I am looking for.

I received this e-mail today from lululemon.com, as I was laying on the couch with the kids inhaling some Teddy Grahams, and it simply said:



It's like they were speaking directly to ME!!!

The goal really is that simple if you think about it. Get your ass off the couch and start moving. 

I just need to keep going and fight through the boredom that is the treadmill. Or better yet, layer up and get outside. I see runners all the time in 40, 30, even 20 degree weather around here. I'm not sure if I'm that hard core, but I do know that if I EVER want to get back into running shape, I can't sit around making excuses. So here's the plan...

1. Run outside whenever I can. It will be in the 40s later this week so I will definitely bundle up and get out there.

2. Get myself some virtual running buddies. The Nike+ app lets you play "Tag" and set up competitions with other friends so my buddy Joe and I are going to start that this week. If anyone else uses Nike+ let me know and we can set up a game!

3. Buy some new running clothes. I mean, I do owe it to lululemon for motivating me today right?

4. Sign up for some races. Get the dates in the calendar so there is no backing out for lack of training.

5. Be positive. Shit that's a hard one :-)

So...is anyone else struggling to get back on track after the holidays? Or better yet, has anyone started running for the first time (or again) as a goal this year? For all of you just coming back to the sport after a break like me, remember something else the lululemon e-mail team said...

Your feet know the way...
You just have to follow them :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

If you couldn't tell by my scattered, random posts last week...my mind was a little preoccupied. The worry center of my mommy brain was working some serious overtime.

In fact, I think my worry center might be hyperactive. I literally can't seem to shut my brain off these days. Here is an example of what I mean:

Each night I start out by worrying about something small...like...did I leave a wet load of laundry in the washer. This worrying then leads to me worrying about the mold that might be in our clothes if I did leave it...and then mold makes me think about allergies...and then I start worrying about Blakey boy, who has still not grown out of his chronic runny nose...and then I think about him having to be on allergy shots the rest of his life...or if he needs his adenoids out...or if it's something even scarier...

And then I find myself Googling on my phone. Not just about allergies, but about Attention Deficit Disorder, because Addie's teacher mentioned that Addie has trouble focusing during story time. And then thinking about Addie makes me remember to Google the dry skin rash she's had for the past few weeks. Before I know it, it's 1:00 a.m. and my eyes are burning from reading articles on BabyCenter and WebMD (which I've been banned from before).

And if it's not worrying about the kids, it's worrying about Eric, or our parents, or work, or the house, or bills, or budgets, or Pinterest, or craft projects I need to do, etc. It's all too much sometimes! So when I get into panic mode, my mom can sense it. She could sense I was in panic mode last week, worrying about everything that entered my brain. So she sent me a helpful little text:

Wow. That's too much to think about at once. Everything will be fine. So Blake might have allergies, Addie is a normal 4-year-old, everyone has dry skin this time of year, and you had a bitch of a class last semester. Try to relax. You are going to make yourself sick.

Wise words from the second biggest worrier I know :-) But she was right...I REALLY needed to relax. And thanks to the snow and cold around here, that's exactly what we did all weekend. 

Relax.

And it was wonderful. But that wasn't even the best part. Apparently my kiddies knew I had a hard week last week too and they were seriously on their best behavior. I have never seen these two play so well together!! First I caught them playing in Blake's crib. Addie was reading him a book and Blake was chowing on some Teddy Grahams (that I still have no idea how he got ahold of). Oh well...this sight was worth the crumbs.


These two played with each other ALL morning. And when it was nap time, Blake went running down the hall to find Addie and this is what I found when I came into her room...


I mean...how could I break up this cute little movie date?!!

These two even convinced me to push back bedtime a bit tonight because they were in the middle of playing in Addie's Barbie house.


Seriously friends...these two have been at each other lately and I feel like I spend a lot of my days just breaking up fights. But this weekend...they were two little angels. I don't know if it's because they both finally feel healthy or if it's because we are finally back on a routine after the holidays...but whatever it is...I appreciated it SO MUCH!!

It's such a domino effect when the kids are healthy and happy. Their happiness makes Eric and I happy and when we are both happy, we have an easier time relaxing and when I can FINALLY relax and take a few deep breaths, I find that my worries start to fade. I don't feel so overwhelmed or out of control and if I could manage to pull myself away from the internet, I might actually be able to sleep! Ha!

This weekend was definitely what Dr. Jan ordered and I just want to thank my awesome kids for giving mommy a much needed break :-)

So...now it's time for some fun posts this week! Free Valentine printables anyone??!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Only in the Midwest...

Can you go from a beautiful, sunny, 52-degree day...


To a snowy, blustery, 19-degree day overnight...


I know a lot of people aren't with me on this one, but I'm kinda liking the snow today. After all, it IS January! This beautiful spring-like weather we've had the last two months has been wonderful, but we knew the cold and snow was coming eventually. We have some sleds and kiddie snow shovels in our garage just waiting to be used...so I'm glad the kids will have an opportunity to play with them. 

Then of course, once we all have our fun in the snow this week, it can go away until next year :-) I can tell that spring fever is going to come on QUICK this season!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Yes" is Just Easier Than "No"

I've never been good at playing the "bad cop". Sure, I'm feisty and opinionated and I speak my mind the minute a thought comes to it...but I almost ALWAYS regret saying or doing anything that causes someone to be upset with me. I can't sleep at night knowing that someone is mad at me or worse yet...just plain doesn't like me.

And because I hate that feeling so much, I tend to overdo it on the "good cop". I have trouble saying no, even when I know I should. This is especially true when it comes to being a mom. I would never say yes to something that would harm my children, but if it comes down to whether or not to give them another cookie, watch one last show before bed, or even wear PJs for 4 days straight...I almost always say yes because "yes" is just easier than "no".

I tend to have this same mentality as a teacher too. I say "yes", bend my own rules, allow crappy i-totally-know-you-are-lying excuses, and make exceptions that often leave me feeling used. Sometimes, I'm glad I am this kind of teacher. When I was student, I always appreciated the instructors that were understanding, compassionate and flexible, so that's what I try to be for my students.

But what I have learned recently is that there is a very fine line between being compassionate and flexible...and being a total push-over. Sadly, that's what I feel I've become lately, especially in the classroom. I just finished a really difficult semester and looking back on it now, I realize that I spent far too much time trying to be the good cop when I should have been spending more time being the bad cop.

But I suck at being the bad cop.

I feel like when I finally decide to be the bad cop, I come in too hot and everyone either thinks it's a joke, or that I'm a total lunatic. Either way, it's not effective. I'm just struggling to find the balance between good cop and bad cop. I want to be flexible but firm with my rules. I want to be able to switch between my happy face and my bitch face seamlessly. I want people (and little people) to know I mean business when I say something, and yet still find me compassionate and approachable.

But is all this even possible? Is everyone just destined to be good at one or the other? I think what it really comes down to is the ability to shut off your feelings when you need to. Let go of emotion and think logically when the time calls for it. Or better yet, turn to Pinterest to explain it for you:


Oh how I wish I could learn to choose!!!!

Is anyone else with me here? Are you a perpetual "good cop"? Do you let your emotions take over too often? Do you stay awake at night worrying about the people who don't like you instead of focusing on all the ones that love you? Do you say "yes" way too often because it is just easier than saying "no"?

Do you ever wonder if you have become a completely BORING blogger that no one wants to read about anymore because all you do is ramble? Ha!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Resolutions and Recovery

When you are in the middle of the craziness that is December you think, "Ahhh...I can't wait for the quiet of January"

When you and your kids are sick for like 3 weeks straight you think, "Ahhh...I can't wait until everyone is healthy"

So now that it IS January and we are all (knock on wood) healthy...I keep waiting for that sigh of relief. But what I forgot to think about is all the catch-up that needs to happen AFTER December and AFTER a month of sickies. Oh, and lets not forget all those resolutions you need to get started!

So that's what's been keeping me busy, friends. Resolutions and Recovery :-)

I have to admit, it's been really nice getting back into a routine again. Addie had preschool last week and ballet starts up tonight. I think my little peanut needs the structure back in her life because she has been sporting The Three S's:

1. Spoiled
2. Sleep Deprived
3. Sassy

I realize this all comes with recovery. We just had a month of non-stop fun and spoiling. She was spoiled by Christmas and spoiled by the sickies (and totally spoiled by Nana) so why wouldn't she be rebelling? Why wouldn't her sleep be off if you haven't had a good schedule for weeks on end? Why would you want to focus in preschool and follow directions at home when you haven't been told "No" very much lately? I suppose in one sense, I can't blame her.

BUT, it's time to get back on track now. It's time to get back to sleeping like a big girl, listening and behaving like a big girl, and talking like a big girl (minus the "Addietude"). We started a new sticker chart this week and the rewards are BIG! I'm talking Disney Princesses on Ice big! So this little chick better get serious because we have a lot of stickers to earn before February. Plus, Mommy already got the tickets. Ha!

The other person working hard on recovery this week is me. I still can't fully kick the sinus infection I have been fighting and even after 6 days on antibiotics, it still isn't fully gone. I stood in my kitchen last night, holding a glass of wine, asking Eric and our friend Joe WHY these drugs aren't working. They both just looked at my glass and then back up at me. 

IDIOT!

Drinking wine while on antibiotics is NOT good. And I knew that, but the stress of my days and the delicious taste of Reisling with my dinner got the best of me. Oh well. At least I have 4 days left on the meds :-)

Even though I am still in recovery mode, that hasn't kept me from working on some of my resolutions this week. For starters, I got my little office nook all set up in my bedroom:


It's nothing special, or fancy. Just an old desk I've had since college and a file cabinet I've been using as a night stand. But hey...until there isn't a need for a playroom anymore, this is my office space. And to be honest, I kind of like my cozy little nook. I have all of my inspiration and reminders on my bulletin board (including my monthly de-clutter calendar which I have made GREAT progress on).

And of course the thing on that desk that has taken the most time this week is that beautiful new desktop that I have waited 2 long years for!! We spent the week organizing and backing up all of our pictures and home movies and that just makes me feel so good!!! It's always been a huge fear of mine to lose all of the memories we have been collecting and now that they are all securely stored, I can sleep better at night.

This little beauty is also going to make all my digital crafting so much more organized and easy to navigate!! I have lots of things to learn on this bad boy though. We haven't had a new computer in 6 years and a LOT has changed. Apple just blows my mind :-)

And speaking of blowing your mind...how's this resolution for you:

I'm going to run a half marathon this year.

AHHHHH!!

Okay, I am going to try to run a half marathon. I want something big to shoot for and now that I have some of my running buddies signed on to do it with me, I've got my motivation team. I have made it out for 2 runs this week (thanks to our fabulous weather) and one thing is for sure.

This girl is out of shape.

I've got some work to do but I am excited about it!

So, is anyone else struggling to catch up a bit after the holidays?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fun Fact Friday

Here are some fun facts for you this Friday night...

1. Miracles do happen. It's a fact, and I have proof. Just visit my cousin Diane's blog and read all about this little guy right here. I couldn't possibly be more happy for her and her husband Bill :-)


2. Waiting two long years to finally justify buying a new iMac was totally worth it. It's a fact, I actually hugged the box when I got it.

3. No matter how much you love your new computer, doing a data transfer is about as much fun as sticking a fork in your eye.


4. It was 55 degrees in Chicagoland today. We took advantage of the gorgeous weather by having a fabulous OUTDOOR playdate with my cousin Krissy. It was awesome.

5. I went for my first run of the year yesterday and didn't die. I actually ran a quick 2 miles without having to walk. I'm hurting today though :-)

6. Everyone in my house woke up healthy. I can't guarantee what tomorrow will bring, but I'm grateful for today.

7. We have ZERO plans for tomorrow and I'm stoked. 

8. This is a lame blog post. But really, it's all I can manage tonight :-)

I hope you are all having a fabulous start to the weekend! I promise next week will be more fun around here :-)