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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Best Compliment I Ever Received

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“You are so patient with your kids.”

Hands down, best thing anyone has ever said to me.  And in my opinion, not at all true.  I regularly feel like I am teetering on the edge of insanity as I listen to my kids start fighting, (within the first five minutes of being awake), about who gets to sit on which side of me on the couch.  However, if I manage to give the impression that I am patient, then I am at least outwardly doing a better job than I think.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am the world’s worst parent.  Most days, I do think I handle discipline, play and education with relative success.  But, other days… I want to cry.

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Parenting is hard.  Anyone who tells you it’s not is either in denial or lying.  I expected it to be hard, but there are certain things that are WAY harder than I anticipated.  And those are generally the things I have to struggle with every day.  The things that make me feel my least patient and effective as a parent.

Meal time for example.  There is no such thing as a simple meal with Nora.  It doesn’t matter what I give her.  It could be her favorite food.  If it is not a sweet of some kind it will inevitably take almost an hour to get her to eat.  Our meals go like this:

Nora: How many bites do I need to take?

Me: You need to eat the whole thing, it’s not that much.

Nora: But, my belly feels sick.

Me: You shouldn’t say your belly is sick when it’s not.  I won’t believe you when it’s true if you lie now.

Nora: But, how many bites?

Me: Just eat.

Nora: What kind of treat can I have?

Me: Take a bite.

Nora: But, my belly is full.

Me: Then we can save this for later, but you aren’t going to get a treat if you don’t eat dinner.

Nora: But, how many bites do I need to eat to get a treat?

Repeat over and over again.  Admit it… you are stressed just reading this aren’t you?

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Nora also struggles with constipation issues.  This existed even before food, so it’s not 100% diet related, but her lack of veggies and fruit definitely doesn’t help matters.  I don’t know how parents of truly chronically ill kids do it because it literally hurts my heart every time I have to resort to giving her an enema.  I hate hearing her cry and beg me not to, knowing that I can’t apologize for it because it needs to be done.

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And then there is Meredith, who is the first of my kid’s to require time out in public.  She isn’t that out of control, so it’s not often, but it has happened.  And it usually solves whatever behavior problem we were having, so while never fun, it is necessary from time to time.

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And the bickering… this is the ultimate in stress producing behavior.  If you are one of the lucky ones who has kids that get along, you should be saying prayers of thanks every day.  When my two play together nicely, it is super sweet and so incredible to watch.  But, 90% of the time, it is constant whining and complaining about who had what toy first, who hit or poked who, and yes, even whose Mommy I am.  It’s exhausting.  There are definitely days when everyone (including myself) gets sent to their rooms for a mandatory 10 minutes of quiet time.  Sometimes, it is the only way everyone survives the day.

So, yes, having someone tell me I am patient with the girls meant a lot to me.  As parents, the stressful moments tend to stand out in our days.  We relive them and wonder what could have been done better or differently.  We gloss over the good moments.  That time we managed to explain away their fears or stop tears with a little bit of Mommy magic is forgotten as we struggle to take a deep breath and calmly tell them once again that we need them to eat, listen, or be nice to each other.  An observation, especially unprompted, by someone on the outside can mean the world to a parent who is sometimes too enmeshed in the situation to see the good.

So, on my really stressful days, I remind myself that I have the ability to be patient with my children.  I may not be successful 100% of the time, but I can do it.  Sometimes, simply remembering that goes a long way in winning the battle.

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I Am In Love

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These trays are my latest Mommy discovery.  And I almost didn’t buy them.  I am still slightly embarrassed at their price ($15) but I use them almost daily, so I guess I can get over it.

I had previously been using my old, beaten up cookie trays as craft trays.  They were great for catching stray beads, keeping glue contained and simplifying clean up.  However, they are my cookie trays, which I do use fairly often.  Constantly covering them with foil and having to clean them daily was getting old.

So, I started doing some research and finally ordered these.

http://www.toystogrowon.com/sku582

There are cheaper ones on amazon, but they didn’t get the same reviews about quality.  I am really happy with these.  They are bright, a great size and the edges are a good height.  We use them for everything remotely craft related, including playdoh.  The girls go get them out themselves and if we are only temporarily taking a break from a project, we just leave things on the trays until we are ready to get back to it.  In my opinion, everyone with craft inclined children should have these.

Apparently, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Salsa Chicken Casserole

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Salsa Chicken Casserole

This is what is for dinner tonight.  It was all stuff I had in my pantry and was super easy to make.  I am a HUGE fan of Mexican casseroles… well, Mexican food in general, but the casseroles are such an easy way to get a balanced meal on the table.

Cold Days = Craft Days

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Winter has settled in pretty comfortably these past few weeks and the girls and I are definitely feeling cabin fever.  And cabin fever with an over tired Mom and two youngsters means lots of crabbiness, whining and tears (for all of us).  So, even though I am not one to jump on the next holiday this early on, I decided to do some winter and Valentine’s crafts with them today.  For their development and my sanity.

Today we made valentine “flower pots”.

Here are the finished products.

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What you need:

Cupcake Liners

Decorative Take Out Containers

Pipe Cleaners

Shredded Paper

And the directions are really easy.

First you take the cupcake liners and turn one inside out so you have designs on both sides of your flowers.  Playing with the cupcake liners was Meredith’s favorite part.  She took it very seriously.

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The you push a pipe cleaner through the liners, bending one end so it will stay put.

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Then you fill the take out container with the shredded paper.

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Then you simply “plant” your flowers and you have a cute little holiday decoration. I did secure the pipe cleaners to wooden skewers to make them easier for the girls to plant.  Nora wanted to tie them with a ribbon so they would look more like a bouquet, so we did that too.

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The girls really enjoyed this project and it was easy enough for me to supervise without having to interfere with their process.  It was also relatively mess free which is always nice when you are trying to fit a simple activity in amongst the rest of your chaotic day.  They were very excited to show off their projects and to find the “most perfect” place in the house to display them.  I was happy to see them engaged and not whining for at least a few minutes today.

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Pay It Forward

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A few weeks ago, a complete stranger approached our family as we ate dinner downtown at a restaurant after an evening of family fun.  He handed us a $100 bill and told us to put it towards Meredith’s education.  It appears that my ever social and flirtatious young one had been making cute faces at this guy all throughout dinner and he became quite taken with her, as many people do.  Who can blame him?  She is pretty adorable.

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(This was the look I got when I asked her to show me her Christmas face.)

Anyway, long story short, we chatted with the guy for a while about his life and that $100 is now in her savings account.

The thing that struck me the most about this experience though was how such a random act of kindness made our already amazing night out celebrating the Christmas season, so much more memorable and amazing.  It is what the Christmas season should really be all about.  Not giving because we have to or giving everything to those who already have so much.  It’s about giving a small sacrifice of yourself (not necessarily monetary) to those who aren’t expecting it.  It is about people and making the world we live in a better one for ourselves, our kids and everyone else in it.

Randomly the other week I was thinking about what I would do if I had 3 wishes.  Beyond the big ticket, egocentric items, such as paying off Dave’s student loans, I realized that my list was fairly easy for me to come up with.  Although it is a little random.

1) I would wish that my gas tank would always be full.  I HATE going to the gas station.  It would be nice if I never had to pay for it as well, but I would settle for it just magically appearing in my tank, even if it did still cost me.  (This one is still selfishly all about me, but I was filling up my tank when I started thinking about this.) 

2) I would take away true sadness.  Not simple tears from life’s disappointments, but that deep down, soul changing grief that no one should ever have to experience.  The kind of sadness that comes from losing a child too soon or that drives a person to suicide.  I can’t imagine living with that kind of pain.

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3) I would want to have the ability to gift people with small unexpected acts of kindness on a daily basis.  If I had all the money in the world, I would make a habit of buying people’s meals for them or paying for a month’s rent.  You never know what something like this would mean to the person you are giving to.  And that is what makes it amazing… you don’t know the impact, but you do it anyway.  Because you can.

The man who gave us the money had no way of knowing that my husband has been laid off from his job for several years.  And even though Dave is thankfully (finally!) working again, the money he gave us, though small in his eyes, was huge in meaning for us.

So since experiencing a financial windfall is not likely in my near future, I am making it a goal for this year to look for ways I can “gift” the people I encounter in my life by actions, intentions or words.

And I will always be grateful to our new friend from Oklahoma who saw beauty and potential in a little girl.