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Summer With Kids

As some of you know, I was planning to homeschool my kids at one point. That didn’t really pan out but I do take the boys educations very seriously and do what I can to supplement the education they get or will be getting from the public school they attend. Part of that is making sure they don’t loose everything they’ve learned over the summer.

Logan’s teachers were great about sending things home for him to do over the summer and I signed him up for free tutoring through a program he’s in to get extra attention with reading and math skills.

To help keep him in the school mindset I also bought one dollar workbooks for him and Lucian to work on after lunch.

After Logan’s first tutoring session I have been told that he will not have any trouble in first grade! Parenting win!

The takeaway here is that even if your kids attend a public school, their education is your responibilty. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with my boys and I know not everyone has this opportunity. Even with busy schedules, there are small things you can do to keep your kids on track. Reading them is a big one. If you work third shift and aren’t home at bedtime, read to them whenever it works for you. I assure you they don’t care if it’s a bedtime or middle of the day story. You can also buy these workbooks and assign them pages to do while you’re at work. You can grade them and go over it in the minutes you have to spend with them.

Hope you and your family are having an excellent summer vacation!

 

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To Be a Stay At Home Mom

So, when I first started this blog I talked about possibly having to get a job and how I both liked and disliked the idea. Well, in about September of last year I got a job at a large red retail store who shall remain nameless.

At first I was so happy to be making money everything else seemed worth it. The kids had a hard time with me being gone and I had a hard time when, a few weeks after I started they no longer came to me with their boo boos and problems. Of course so close to the holidays I was working anywhere for thirty-nine to forty hour weeks, so I thought once things calmed own everything would be fine. I will be working closer to twelve-hour weeks and all will be well in the world, right?

Wrong. Things have calmed down and I do love the people I have met and would not trade my new-found friends for anything but I miss my kids. Now more than ever. It’s like, because I see them more I need to be with them more. Kids will do that to you haha.

I don’t know if it is because I want to stay home so badly or what but I have noticed more articles about staying home vs having a career and people fighting about whose better. Don’t even get me started on the whole mom vs not mom thing. I mean really, how does having kids make you better? How does having a career make you better? Can’t we just be us and be happy with that?

ANYWAY, sorry getting back on topic, haha, but as a member of the work force I cannot wait to be home again. And it’s not because I would get to “Stay home and watch TV all day”. Staying home with your kids is work don’t get me wrong. But it’s a labor of love and it’s what I am dying to do! I will also be going to school because y kids won’t be little forever and I do have plans outside of being a mom. But while they are small and so full of life and wonder, I want to be right here in the thick of it. Boogers, potty training accidents and all.

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Why Being “Just” A Mom Is Not Enough

Please don’t get me wrong. Being a stay at home mom is enough for me, but in being a mom it’s not all about me. It’s about my kids, and to be the best for them as far as I’m concerned, means being everything I ever wanted to be.

Let me explain. I want my kids to see me and my husband living our dreams. That doesn’t mean getting home at 9pm and never actually spending time with them. Before I got pregnant with my first child in 2010 I wanted to be a FBI Agent. No joke. When that double line appeared my dreams changed. I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I still do (As I sit in the Cafe at work trying to get a bit of writing done before I go home to my little darlings). However, when I was young I saw both my parents working jobs they hated and all I ever heard when expressing my dreams was not “You can do it!” It was “How much money does it make?” And “How can you make money doing that?” Both practical questions but to my young ears it meant it was a bad idea and I would never make it in the world. As a result I want to show my kids they CAN.

I will not only support them and find ways to make their dreams come true but I will show them how by being a published author, and a literary agent and by selling paintings and by painting murals in nurseries and whatever else I come across. By being successful with a degree in Fine Arts, yeah that’s right Fine Arts!

I will also be following in my Best Friends shoes and fulfilling a life long dream or playing in the dirt by joining an Archeology program for the summer. Why? Because when I was five I saw Jurassic Park and have wanted to give it a shot ever since. Why not? Maybe it will be for me I don’t know but I intend to find out.

I want to show my kids that though they are my world, you only live once, so do it all. And I can do it all while being home with them. Being their Mom and reading them bedtime stories and teaching them. I don’t just want them to live in this world, I want them to be a part of this world. In whatever way makes them happy. Weather that’s living in NH for the rest of their lives being a Kung Fu Instructor or if it’s by joining the military or going to school to get a degree. I do not want them to think for one second that they cannot be whatever they want to be.

That is why being “Just” a stay at home mom is not enough for me. That’s not to say that you can’t show your kids how to follow their dreams as “Just” a stay at home mom, but for my family, I need them to see it. Too many generations sat idly in jobs they hated thinking that for whatever reason they couldn’t. My kids will see it. Breath it. Know it.

PS I want to give a quick shout out to my Mamma who is an inspiration to me as she pursues a nursing career and to my Daddy who has started his own business. I’m 100% sure he enjoys what he’s doing but I do know he did it and it’s not easy. Love you both.

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Sometimes You Just Need To Sit On The Kitchen Floor

Logan and Lucian have had a bad day. Mike and I are tired and patients have been worn very thin. After running on the elliptical I let Mike head upstairs for a nap and got the kids from their rooms since they clearly were not going to take a nap.

When we got downstairs I noticed it was about five thirty so I started dinner. As the water boiled for mac and cheese, the kids started to torment each other in the kitchen. No amount of yelling, or talking to, or any of that parenting crap worked. So finally, I just sat down on the floor. I gave Logan a long hug. He finally wriggled out of my arms and ran off to play as Lucian climbed up my leg for his turn. After a much shorter hug he escaped and they played nicely until dinner was ready.

I know what you are thinking but I had already played with both kids and given both of them tons of hugs throughout the day. I am fairly certain what actually made the difference was that I took a moment and a deep breath. I calmed myself and they relaxed noticeably. So the next time you are at your wits end have a seat on the floor, at kid level, give out some hugs and really feel the love.

 

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5 Reasons You Should Be Having A Family Game Night

1. Happy Childhood Memories

As a child when we went on vacation in Maine, we would all play phase 10. Every single night. It may sound a little repetitive and boring but those nights were, and remain, some of the best times of my life. We had so much fun. I still remember some of the jokes and the all around sense of happiness whether I won or lost.

2. Everyone can be included

If you have game night every Friday as we do, let a new person pick the game every week. Yes, this does mean that every now and again you will have to play one of those never-ending strategy games but it is worth it to make sure everyone is included. It would seem that every family has at least one Risk lover. I will never forget one game of risk in Maine, my brother did not like card games, my cousin had one lonely soldier in Australia so we let her live. She ended up winning the game.

3. You can form it to fit your Family

When my husband first suggested Family Game Night it was centered around the PS3 and Xbox. Soon after that we started looking into old board games like LIFE, Monopoly, and Clue. Risk also of course. Clue is my personal favorite. We had so much fun with Clue I am constantly trying to get people over to play it.

I am also attempting to start improv at family game night. You know like Whose Line Is It Anyway?  I really hope this takes because improv is a great way to loosen up and just have fun while using your imagination.

4. It’s not just for immediate Family

We started with my sister in-law two weeks ago. The following week we were able to get my other sister in-law and her boyfriend to play and now this week my third and final sister in-law will be here tonight as well as my mother in-law! We almost have a complete set! I have also invited a few friends.

TIP: If you end up with more players that a game allows make teams! The more the merrier!!

It’s good inexpensive fun!

We don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on non essentials. This provides us with a whole lot of fun for a relatively low dollar amount. If you are hosting you can feed a lot of people with spaghetti and sauce! If you are really strapped you can ask people bring something with them and make it a pot luck kind of thing!

Games can be pricey. We really lucked out because my Mother in-law had most of the games from when my husband was young. (Also vintage Clue, way cooler than the new one! The pieces were actual people not just lame little pegs!) We did buy Monopoly and LIFE and over the next few months I will be collecting Phase 10 and Skipbo. There are also lots of games you can play with an ordinary deck of cards! Google it if you get stuck on Go Fish!

Hopefully this has helped you decide Family Game night is something you can do at your house. Slowly collect games and just have fun with it! That is what it’s all about after all.

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Breast Is Best

I have read quite a few articles and blogs and news reports about breastfeeding lately and in the article or blog itself or in the comments there is always mention of women who cannot or will not breastfeed feeling guilty. I just read a summary that said a doctor was afraid to say “Breast is best” because of oversensitive moms.

What? To be fair I did not read the article or it may have been a blog, anyway, that summary was the straw that broke that broke this camels back. People need to toughen up. This is absurd! If you cannot breast feed it is not the end of the world, it does not make you a bad mother. I made it one month with my oldest and then stopped producing milk. My second son literally threw up everything he ate and we had a really hard time getting him to gain weight so I made it a whopping six whole weeks before I had to switch to formula or die of sleep deprivation. (That was a joke, but he was getting up every hour by that sixth week) Yes I would love to have saved my family money by breastfeeding and I wanted to do what was best for my kids but in the end what was best was formula. Sometimes that’s what happens. If you are one of the women who never produced any or enough milk, it’s not your fault. It’s just genetics. There is no reason to feel bad or disappointed. You can still feed your baby thanks to formula. In your case formula is best. Much better than starving, wouldn’t you say?

Change what you can, accept what you cannot. People say this a lot but you need to take it to heart. If you cannot breastfeed whether it’s because you aren’t producing at all, enough, your baby has an allergy or it’s just not for you, DON’T WORRY ABOUT! Don’t get mad at people who can and don’t make your doctor nervous to tell you what is best. Doctors need to be able to speak to all their patients candidly and openly. There are enough issues in healthcare without adding that to it.

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Potty Training Part 1 of How Ever Many Posts It Takes

The first and most important rule of potty training is… are you ready for this? Don’t force them. They will resist and it won’t get you there any faster. Now, here are the ways to encourage potty training without forcing it that I have heard/tried. We have a potty chart on the Fridge, every time Logan goes to the bathroom he gets a cars sticker to put on the chart. There is exactly one sticker on that chart. To think, I was worried about running out of stickers.

I also tried something my aunt, a day care employee for many years, suggested. Put him in underwear for a week. There will be a lot of accidents but by the end of the week he will have it. I ran into two problems with this. First I did not buy enough underwear for him. Second and this is my problem, when we went out I put a diaper on him because I didn’t want him to have an accident in the car or in a store. After two weeks of sort of trying this I thought that once he had a “dirty” accident in his underwear we would be home free cause he would not like it. Well he didn’t like it but he still will not use the potty.

Logan’s potty issue is also a little bit worse because his well-meaning grand father, Boppy as Logan calls him, put Logan on the adult potty without a kid seat or anything and scared the crap out of him only not literally. So now he has a fear of the potty and I don’t even think he remembers why. So if you are looking at potty training your child I say give those two a shot and keep grandpa out of it.

I’m not sure what to try next. The one sticker on our fridge is because he got to have a reeses cup when he was done. I am hopeful for the near future because he started talking about the potty again.

Ok so after the “scary” incident, I bought him a cars themed toilet seat that goes on the regular toilet and a stool and I found the kid potty we had already. None of these really helped. He uses the stool to wash his hands which is nice unless he floods the bathroom. He also uses it to get things on the counter he is not supposed to have.

I think since we are in quarantine anyway I will give the “put underwear on him for a week” thing again. Here’s to hoping it works! Maybe by this time next week Logan will be on his way to being potty trained!