Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Make a Schedule this Summer For Easier Days

    It's almost summer time and if school isn't already out for your kids, it will be soon. My kids will be have their last day of school next week. That means that my days with having only one child home with me will soon become days with three kids. I always worry when school is about to let out for the summer because I don't always know what I should do with my kids. This year, I came up with a schedule.

     It's may seem vague right now, but I can always tweak it once we get a feel to how we want the day to go. I sat down with my kids and we came up with this schedule together so they feel like they were involved in the decision process with hopes that they will be more likely to follow along.

    I have noticed that with my children, they thrive when they have some sort of routine in their lives. They like to know what is going to happen and when. This is the first year that we will implement a schedule and I hope to see good results.

   In my schedule, I varied the hours for meal times. I know that the world isn't always perfect and sometimes it will take me longer to cook a meal than was planned or sometimes different plans arise.
    I also have nap/quiet time listed. My almost 3 year old still takes naps, however, on days when his brother and sister are home, those naps don't occur. By putting this on the schedule, my kids know that during this time, there is no loud talking or stomping around. They can be in their beds and read a book or play quietly, but they must stay in their beds until their baby brother is asleep.
     Free time could be the kids playing inside or out in the yard. We could also be spontaneous and go to a park. It also could be some television time. I'm not perfect and on those rough days, it's sometimes easier to let the kids watch television while I relax.
    
    Again, once we get the feel of this summer and what times work better, the schedule can be changed to fit the flow of our lives. I hope that this will work so we have a smooth and stress-free summer.

  Have  you made schedules for your kids? Do they seem to work and also help the days go by?

    I have posted a link to a blank schedule if you would like to use the format that I did. It's my first time posting my own excel sheet, so I hope that it works for you!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fgl3M-UKbgKIbAWWAkTlrJddH-YeuZtD9rzB1IS387M/edit?usp=sharing

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Favorite Money Making Apps

   


When you are a stay at home parent, you might want to try different things to bring in some extra spending cash. This was definitely the case with me. I wanted to be able to chip in and pull my weight since I'm a terrible house cleaner. I discovered many different apps and websites to help earn some extra money or free things by reading around or asking friends. Here are some of my favorites.


  • Ibotta- This app is amazing. It's like an after thought coupon. Many of the grocery items are items that I was going to buy anyways. All I have to do is scan the qualifying grocery items at the end of your trip and your receipt and then voila- you have cash back. You can redeem your rewards for Paypal or featured gift cards after accumulating $20 or more. You also can get bonus cash back if you redeem a certain # of rebates for that month's challenges or if you invite friends who use your referral code to join. If you would like to try Ibotta, you could sign up with my referral code at https://ibotta.com/r/systysj or sign up on the app on your own. When you download the app, you can also get at $10 bonus just for signing up! 

  • Checkout 51- This app is very similar to Ibotta, but not all bonuses are from the same store. You also have to be on the lookout for cashback offers where you have to buy 2 or more of the same item in order to redeem it. You also can only redeem after you've reached $20 or more 

  • Saving Star- This app used to let you cash out at $5, but has changed it to $20 as well. With this app, it's hit and miss. Many times you have to redeem multiple of the same items, but you don't need to redeem it all at once. If it is a multiple rebate, the app will save the items from a previous receipt and roll it into the next until you reach the limit requirement.

  • Inbox Dollars- This app can make you money in several different ways. The fastest way for me is to do the surveys, but you can make money in other ways. One of my other favorites is to print out their coupons. For every coupon I use, I get $0.10 back. If I don't use the coupon, I'll leave it next to that item and let someone else use it. It's a win because you get the coupon discount and then another $0.10 back. Explore the site and find out what works for you. If you would like, my referral code is https://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref19683421&s=7 

  • GlobalTestMarket- this is an app, but I use it most as a website to do surveys. If you have the time to participate in them, the points add up quickly. I've redeemed my points for restaurant gift cards or as money towards PayPal.

  • GigWalk- Have you ever heard of a secret shopper? A secret shopper is a person who is hired by a company to order something or check out their premises and then report back to them the requirements from the job. Gigwalk is an easy way to secret shop. When different "gigs" are available to you, you can click the offer, and if you decide to accept it, you apply for the job and then within a few hours or days, you could be accepted or denied. The more gigs you do, the more offers you are also given.

  • Influenster- Influenster doesn't earn you money, but it could get you some free things to try. In order to get things from Influenster, you have to agree to the terms of reviewing each product online. I have gotten many things like shampoo, laundry detergent, and even food. 

  • Heartbeat- A new app that I found recently is an influencer/ambassador app. After you've signed up your email and given them your information, you can look every day for new ways to join a campaign. On top of getting things to try or getting discounts for them, you'll also make a certain amount for reviewing that will get sent to your paypal account. 
Which apps or websites have you used to earn money or products. Did I miss any?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trying to Lose Weight When You're Obese

    I'm 5'4'' and I'm obese. I won't mention my weight on here, because it's my shame to carry around. If you look at me, you will know that I'm plus size. Any picture that you see of me is usually a head shot.

    The head shot picture is a very common picture. If you take it just right, no one has to know that you are plus size. I feel pretty when I see these pictures, but any picture that someone else takes of me leaves me feeling gross, unattractive, and fat. You might wonder why I don't do anything to help myself so I can feel better and that would make you naive... Because I have.
    If you were to pick a random plus size person on the street and ask them about dieting, I bet that they would probably know more about dieting and nutrition than you do- or at least, I probably would.
    I wasn't always plus size. I grew up doing almost every diet around with my mom and sisters. I was fit, I was strong, and I was healthy. When I went to college, I began to make my own choices when it came to eating. I didn't have the accountability that I had when I was growing up. I didn't have my mom or my sisters to exercise with. Did you know that all the ice cream that you ate in high school will make you fat if you don't exercise? Well- duh!

    In college, I didn't work out. I didn't have PE two or three days a week. I didn't play basketball before or after church with the youth group that I as always surrounded with. I was inactive. The weight piled on, but when I came home for the summer, I would work it off with my mom. It was when I was married and my husband and I were on our own that the weight piled on and didn't come off.
    When I was pregnant, I took that opportunity to eat healthier and exercise more. I would come out smaller after giving birth than I was before I became pregnant. I lost the most weight with my last child. I walked constantly and I ate healthy. I was working at the time and my favorite coworker and I would walk around the building during all of our breaks. I had an accountability partner and it was awesome.
    When my son was born, we had moved to a different city. I stopped working to stay home with the kids. I would try to diet, to exercise more, but it hasn't helped. I'm now almost the heaviest that I've ever been. (The largest was the end of my pregnancy with my daughter)

    I'm going to start taking action. I'm going to try different diets and I'm going to tell you how they are working for me. I won't tell you everyday, but on a week by week basis. I am going to use you to keep me accountable. Will you do that for me?

    The first diet that I'm doing is actually a 12 week program by Ideal Shape. I found them on Facebook, but they also have a website at http://idealshape.com . When you join the program, which is free, you fill out your height, weight, and goals. Immediately after, you receive an email from Lindsey and Kaytlin. Inside this email is a word of encouragement, your workouts for the week, and a meal plan designed for all weights. I have received a new email everyday since starting. Each email has been encouraging and has had words of advice. If you join the 12 Week IdealShape Up Challenge, you also get a community of friends who are also doing the same thing as you. They tell their experiences and how they are feeling. It's been very welcoming and nice to be a part of this.

    While I haven't been consistent with the workouts each day, I have been doing them and doubling up on the days after I've missed a work out and to tell you, these workout days have been amazing! The workouts are short, but they target specific muscle groups and you feel it the next morning. I'm on day 6 and even though I've only lost a few ounces, I still feel confident that this program will work and it's free to join and work out. They do, however promote their products- which you don't have to buy, but they could help greatly when it comes to losing weight and toning up.

    I will update everyone each week for the next few weeks to tell you about this program and tell you how it's been working for me. Here's to more body shot pictures and not just the head shots!

    Have you struggled with dieting? What has worked for you?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What About the Rights of Others?

    We live in a world where everyone is offended by everything. Right now, someone is saying, "I'm offended that you think that way!". While I  believe that there are admirable reasons to protest, I also believe that many protests are just selfish and could be done in a better way. While we are defending our offenses, many times we are attacking others.
    Let me explain. Today, I saw a video about a graduation at Notre Dame. Vice President Mike Pence was the speaker and during his speech, hundreds of students walked off in protest. I'm extremely naive about current happened, facts and fictions, and news. I know that Mike Pence has things going against him and also things going for him. I'm not going to debate his credibility because this post isn't about him. This post is about the students and parents who didn't protest.

    College is a BIG deal.  A person had dedicated 4+ years to studying and being able to stand before the crowd, your family, your friends to accept that EXPENSIVE diploma is HUGE. For some people, they are the first member of their family to graduate and that experience is precious. Imagine about to see your son or daughter lined up, ready to transition to the next part of their life and all of a sudden, other students mock that graduation by walking out? Why? Because they didn't like the speaker? They didn't believe in what he stood for? Graduation isn't about the speaker, graduation is about the student and their accomplishments.

    Another thing that bothers me is mom-shaming. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I remember going on to a mommy board and was talking about how much I couldn't wait to see my daughter. I was probably 34 weeks pregnant at the time and the moms took something so small and made it explode. I started to read, "How could you want to see your baby at 34 weeks? Don't you know that they need to go the 40 weeks?" and blah blah blah. It just kept going on and on. The more that I tried to defend myself, the more these moms continued on a witch hunt. Have you noticed that people today can take anything that you say and manipulate it to a point so they can argue it and berate you? Didn't I, as a pregnant woman, deserve the chance to talk about my pregnancy and my excitement to see my cute baby without getting shamed online?

    What about the protests that happen when protesters walk the streets and start to riot, block traffic, and loot others' things? The protesters may have an admirable cause, but what did the business that happened to be on the street do to them? What about the people who have to get to work on time or the ambulance trying to get somewhere? Didn't they deserve the right to, I don't, get to where they needed to go without getting delayed or having their cars dented in?

    Well if people don't agree with how we protest things, where are they? Why don't they speak up for themselves?  Maybe we don't believe in conflict. Maybe we believe that it doesn't matter what we do, someone is always going to find a way counter it. Maybe they are doing it the same way that I am, they are writing about it making people aware that there are always two sides to every story and if you are going to get your point across, how about we don't interfere with the innocent bystanders?

    The people who graduated the other day, they aren't going to get that moment back. That day should have gone perfectly. It should have been about their accomplishment and instead that moment was stolen by those who didn't agree with one person. That wasn't a protest, that was theft. That was stealing the moment of someone else.
  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Why I'm OK With Stopping At Three

    I used to be the type of person who never wanted to have kids... Like ever...

    If you think about it; kids take up so much time, are only cute to their parents, are rude, dirty, smelly, and loud. I just didn't want kids and I know that many women feel that way.

    Then my husband- boyfriend at the time proposed to me. Babies were suddenly everywhere I looked. We were engaged at college so what were babies doing on campus? But it was true, babies started to show up everywhere. The possibility of having kids had become more real and it was something that my fiance wanted. With every baby that I saw, the baby blocking wall of my heart began to chip away, one piece at a time. I would see kids and then look at my husband and say in a creepy way, "Soon! Soooooon!!!"
    When we were married a year later, we had decided that if we were to have kids, that we would want three, preferably spaced two years apart. We each came from a family with three kids and thought that it was the perfect number. I don't know if this just happened because we were newly married and in love, but I suddenly couldn't wait to have kids and my husband was the one telling me that we had to wait. It was a complete 180 on my feelings towards kids.
    The first April Fools that we celebrated together, I told the whole Facebook world that I was pregnant as a joke. (This was before there were posts every April 1st saying to not post things like that because it wasn't a joke to other women who weren't expecting.) My family was excited, his family was excited, and the rest of our world was excited.... until they heard, "April Fools!"--- Then they were ticked off.
    The joke, however was on me. I was actually two weeks pregnant that day and hadn't known it. When we told our families for real, I had to show them my pregnancy tests... My sister Natilee had actually ridden with me to the Hope Pregnancy center to make sure that those tests were correct. It was only until she vouched for me that they all believed. (My family tends to not always take me seriously since I am 1. Sarcastic 2. A decent actress and 3. A known bad humored prankster.)
    The day that my son was born, I looked into that ugly, wrinkly face and was in love. How could she say that about her baby? Well that's easy! When babies come out of that long tunnel after being smushed in a small space for months on end, they come out with little squished faces and aren't a super flattering color. After a few hours, they lose that squished look and are perfect! It's when all of those hormones kick in that you realize that you gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the world- which I so did!
    Everyone treats you so well when you're in the hospital. Everyone is super helpful and they all tell you how wonderful you did. They tell you that you look amazing for someone who was in pain for hours and they all want to help you. As a mother, you feel incredibly loved upon. From the time that baby is born, you are a superstar.
    When you take that baby home, you are in constant amazement at this little wonder. Their first smiles (even ones from gas) just make you love your baby more.When they urp up all over you, you don't get mad at the baby, puking becomes cute. Hormones are weird. They make gross things wonderful! Our brains get muddled up and suddenly, we as parents find that our topic of conversations are about the color of our baby's poop or the humongous snot bubble that shot out of their nose and was unpoppable.
    As your baby gets older and begins to move around more and those days of, "Awww, so cute" become, "Guess what naughty thing your child did today", you start to reminisce about how little they were and you can't believe how big they've gotten. You start to foster ideas of having another baby. You and your spouse talk about it and decide, "Yeah! Let's try for another one!". So you try again. Then ideally 40 weeks after conceiving, another baby is born and your first baby becomes an older sibling.
    The pattern begins all over again. You can't believe that you can love two little humans so much. Then the younger one gets bigger and you see that someone you know has just had a little baby. You see the other baby and you might even hold that baby. Your uterus begins to ache and you realize that it might be time to start another round of baby making. 40 weeks after conceiving comes again and if you are lucky, a new baby is born. You are really becoming a pro and it seems to be easier and easier to do this family thing.

    Having babies is almost addicting. You are treated like a princess. People help you with things and you get doted upon and you feel so proud when you hear about your children's accomplishment and that amazing thing they did to help another child out. Your older children are talkative and old enough to have really philosophical conversations with you. You have little homemade friends and when you gaze upon those faces, you just know that they love you almost as much as you love them. It's an amazing feeling.

    Then it happens again. A friend has a baby. In this case, my sister gave birth to my nephew. When I heard of her pregnancy and I watched as she got rounder, those familiar feelings surfaced again. Did I want a fourth child? Three hasn't been too difficult to deal with, right? My husband and I talked about it a few times, but decided to wait. Feelings about having another child would resurface from time to time, but we waited it out.

    So why have I had a change of heart? Why am I fine with having just these three kids?

  1. My arms are finally free-   My nephew turned one in January. We went to his party and have even watched him for a night when my sister came to visit us. (We live two and a half hours away.) Whenever my sister would leave the room, my nephew would cry. The only way to get him to stop was to carry him around the house. My arm muscles weren't used to carrying a small child for that amount of time. My kids were all walking and fiercely independent.
  2. We can stop childproofing- We had finally removed all of our baby gates because our youngest knew how to drag things over to the gate to climb over them so having them up was a moot point. Having my nephew around, we had to constantly get up to stop him from crawling up the stairs. There was no just sitting down to relax.
  3. My time is starting to become my own- my youngest is almost three. He doesn't need or want me around every second of the day. He loves to play with his siblings and he's old enough now and talking more that the older two are glad to play with him. That means that I have the time to write this post. I just have to keep my mom ears on to make sure there isn't a strange silence signaling shenanigans or excessive shouting because one of them has decided that the fly swatter is a weapon. When my nephew was here or when we go to visit, we have to keep him distracted. We had to constantly watch him to make sure that he wasn't putting things in his mouth that don't belong there or that he wasn't climbing things or walking up the stairs.
  4. I am almost getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep- Oh my goodness! Mom's with kids know how amazing this is! My almost three year old is finally sleeping almost through the night. With summer almost here, it's pretty bright at 6 AM. So once the sun starts to shine, I hear those little feet walk towards my room. So I get up and I take him back to his room and I lay down with him for the hour before everyone else has to get up.
  5. I'm starting to feel human again- Most of this has to do with actually getting more sleep. I realize that I'm not stuttering as much or forgetting the end of my... sentences. Lack of sleep or exhaustion reverted me to a cave-woman. My vocabulary was mostly grunts and no amount of caffeine ever made it better. Now that things are getting more restful, I can say a sentence and most people understand what I'm saying.
  6. I am going to get 3 hours- My almost 3 year old is able to go to preschool if we want him to when August comes around. I'm going to have 3 hours alone. I'm never alone. I could decide to work part-time or I could clean the parts of the house that I've neglected over the years because it's difficult to do that with curious kids.
  7. I can save money on not having to buy a bigger vehicle- Ok, so this one doesn't have to be a reason, because I actually would like to buy another vehicle and it would be nice if it was bigger so I didn't have to hear the kids fight in the back of the smaller car. It is, however, not a necessity.
  8.  I can start to declutter the house- I have saved so many things over the years in case we had another baby. There are things that we don't need anymore. We don't need bottles or baby toys. We don't need to keep all of those old baby clothes. We don't need to store the baby swing or the crib. We can get rid of those things by donating them or selling them. It may be painful to do that at first, but we'll have more room for other things. 
    I love my little nephew, but having him around from time to time reminds me how much easier parenting has become. Whenever that baby fever begins to strike, I will just need to make a visit to see him so I can be like, "Oh yeah. This is hard" and then snap out of it.

    If my husband and I were to ever have another child again, it wouldn't be the end of the world. We would love this little child as much as it's brothers and sister and I'm sure that taking care of that child would be a piece of cake- like riding a bike, right? But for now, I'm at peace with stopping at three. Who knows? Maybe I'll feel differently in a few years. We'll keep the option open and reevaluate in a few years.

    Do any of you feel this way? What are your thoughts? Did you have a stopping point?

   

Thursday, May 18, 2017

8 Fun Things to Do With the Kids This Summer

    Summer time is coming which means that school will be getting out for the summer. For a stay at home mom, this could be exciting because the kids will be home to play or, if you're like me, you may not know what to do all day to keep the kids happy and entertained. I've come up with a list of things that are cheap and easy to do that could keep the kids entertained for a little while.
 

  1.  On a really hot day, have a water balloon fight. Stores are now selling super easy to fill water balloons that tie themselves. You could fill them up over two different laundry baskets and place them on either side of the yard or outdoor area and have at it. 
  2. Our backyard is fenced in with a wooden fence. I know that some parents will not like this idea, but I let my kids write on our fence with chalk. The kids have the whole area to make stories or draw and it can easily be washed clean with a good rainfall of a hose. If you would rather not let your child draw on the fence, sidewalks work too. 
  3. Jump rope! I remember spending so many hours outside with a jump rope. It was even better if It was a long one and we could take turns with jump rope rhymes. 
  4. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is gardening. I made a raised garden bed on the other side of our fence in our driveway. You can always put one in your yard (which is more sensible), but our dogs like to dig up things, so it's away from them. My kids love to garden! They love being able to water the garden and once the vegetables or fruits are ready, the kids feel proud to pick them. This is also a good way to get them to eat healthy foods. They want to eat what they grow. Another plus: It's a great learning experience.
  5. Go to the park! If you're brave enough to take the kids, they could spend all day there. I usually take the kids either early in the morning or a little bit in the afternoon when the park isn't as busy.
  6. Pitch a tent in the backyard! This will provide shade for you too. The kids will love running around in there and can run in and out as they please.

  7. Have a picnic. Set a blanket or table cloth outside and eat outside. It's different from what the kids normally do and it will feel special to them.
     8. The last idea is just plain old crafts. You can find many that you can do outside like building a bird feeder or even paint something. I like to tie dye clothes as well. It's fun to do it outside because you don't have to worry about dying something you don't want to. This is a craft the kids and I did yesterday- it may not look pretty, but they had fun!
Haha- I really needed the right kind of paint brush for the words.

I hope that I gave you some new ideas for playing outside and keeping busy during the summer. What other ways to you keep you and the kids entertained?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Raising Our Children- Accountability Between the Parent and Teacher

   This blog will probably be viewed as an unpopular opinion. I believe that after a while, there is only so much that we as parents can do when it comes to raising our children. It isn't going to matter how consistent we are with our children if the school or teachers aren't on the same page.
    As a child, I was very strong willed. I didn't like to be told what to do or how to do it or when to do it. When I was a child, I didn't dare speak out too much in school because I was given a detention. If I was given detention I knew that I was also going to get in trouble at home for embarrassing my parents, so I tried to keep that at a minimum since I got in trouble at home often enough for being strong willed.
    Fast forward to now, there were a few people who wished upon me a child that as worse than me or told me to wait until the day I had a child just like me. That day has come true, I have a strong willed child. There is a mini-me in my house who likes to tests my patience, who sees how far he can push to get what he wants, who thinks that he can make the rules. My mini-me and I butt heads often and have you ever tried to patiently handle a strong willed child when you too, are strong willed? It's hard!
    When he's at school, he has different resources to help him. He has a social worker who works with him on how to behave in certain social circumstances. A scenario of such a circumstance: It's time for the kids to sit together in a circle while the teacher reads to them. They are to take turns to predict the outcome of story- guess who doesn't always wait his turn? This was me a lot of the time in school. I knew what the answer was and I was impatient to wait for the other kids to answer them. I remember one specific time in Kindergarten in Mrs. Newton's class. We were playing around the world and two other kids were stumped. Instead of waiting for them, I would shout out the answers. After doing that several times and being asked to stop, I was sent to the corner in the area that was used for the kid's coats. I remember talking the whole time and telling the teacher that it wasn't my fault for knowing more than the other kids.


    When you are a strong willed child, you get angry for a parent or teacher to have the audacity to think about disciplining you. You go through the same stages as one would do with grief:
  •  First, you can't believe it, you deny that anything happens.. This will get your strong willed child in more trouble when you are on your last stretch of patience. They start to say, "I didn't do anything wrong! What did I do?.
  • Then comes their denial:  I don't belong in time out or whatever discipline is being given to them. I didn't do it. It was "...'s" fault.
  • The next is bargaining. They think that they can control the outcome of the situation. I'm sure this is the part where my mom would want to shake me or pictured me getting slapped silly. I would tell my mom, "This isn't how my teacher does it. You're doing it wrong. I think I should sit in a chair. I am only doing this for a minute..." You get the point.
  • I'm going to skip guilt, I didn't feel guilty until I finally accepted my punishment.
  • The next is anger. This is where I would start name calling and be outraged that my mother didn't cave in, yet. It is SO important that parent's don't give in. Once you do, your child will know that they own you. It won't get better until you are consistent again.
  • Around this time, your child will probably start to cry. They know that you are going to hold your ground and that they will need to face that time out or that other discipline.
  • Acceptance. This is when your child has accepted the fact that they will need to do time out or whatever punishment that is given to them. I usually will set a timer for my child and tell him that he knows what he needs to do. I hand him the timer to start it. Every time that he talks, I will push the stop button and it is up to him to restart it. He knows that he will need to be quiet again in order for it to start again. 
  • This is the time that I would start to feel the guilt. I would realize that while I was serving my time out or spending time in my room alone, that I was wrong. For my children, in order for them to get out of time out, they have to say they are sorry and ask for forgiveness in order to get out. Saying sorry, is sometimes the hardest part of the punishment. Sometimes, this is when the bargaining comes back out. With a strong willed child, the process might start over again because this is the time that I might start getting mouthy again.

    There are many different scenarios that I could play out, but I think that you probably already get the point. The school and my husband and I had a behavior plan set into place. When we did this, we all agreed on how we would handle outbursts or incidents that would require some form of disciplining. Once we got on the same page, mishaps happened less often. However, when we weren't consistent at home, it was visible at school. Again, the same thing happens at school, when they aren't consistent at school, mishaps happened more at home.

    I believe that it is so important for the school and parents to be accountable with each other. During the school day, the school gets our kids so much longer than we do. They aren't only teaching our kids, they are also raising them in some sense. They are there when our kids get into fights on the playground or when something shady happens. If they aren't paying attention or doing a great job, that's when I notice that my son's mood has changed or he brings home a new, unsavory vocabulary. At that time, we correct it at home, but we aren't in charge of correcting the other kids who introduced those words or a certain behavior that the child wasn't introduced to in the home. We can tell our children that they can't do something or shouldn't hang out with a certain child, but once they're at school, let's be honest, we aren't there to stop it. That's when I believe that the school needs to be held accountable.
    I spoke with the vice-principle one afternoon when I dropped off my son's missing glasses. She told me that she has never seen so many misbehaved kids. For my son's grade, there are eight naughty kids for two classrooms. That's an awful lot of kids. She then said that there wasn't a place or time in order for the kids to serve a detention and the only thing that they could really do was to take away their recess, which is problematic because these kids need a chance to run around and play. Parent's need to parent, but it seems like in this easily offend-able world, that parent's would rather just try to be their child's friend instead of their parent otherwise, they might offend someone.
     I'm not saying that parent's shouldn't be held responsible for parenting because it IS our job to raise our children and have expectations for them. It's also on the child to behave well. I hope that when something happens to my child, whether they or another child started it, that it was handled well and that it gets reported back to me somehow so that I also know what's going on and can try to handle it from there.

    What do you think? Do you think that the school should have some accountability or should it all be placed on the parents? I think that together, we can raise outstanding children.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

    I was the first child that my mother carried. I guess I should say that I was one of two. My mom carried two of us in her womb for months before miscarrying my twin sister when she (my mom) was 17 years old. Because another baby can't live in the environment that was made at the passing of another, I was born shortly after. On April, 8th 1987, my mom became a mother.
    I don't know how she celebrated that first Mother's day in May because I was just a baby, but I bet it was probably pretty distressing. I've never asked her how it was and maybe I should. As a premie, I know that I spent a lot of time in the hospital with wires and tubes all over me. I don't know if I was sent home with her before she first celebrated that day. I hope that it was special in some way.
    Growing up, I don't know if my sisters and I really celebrated my mom. I know that we would make things for her at school or at church, but I don't remember what happened on those Sunday's. I think that I might have given my grandma some of those Mother's day trinkets, not fully understanding what the day was for. I think that I might have just taken her for granted.
    After grade school, the school didn't really help us do things for our mothers because we were old enough to do things on our own. Did I do anything? I don't know.
    My mom has always been an awesome mom. She has been through so much and she has taught me what it's like to be hard working and what it's like to be a good mom. I'm sorry mom if I haven't always acknowledged you. You are so important anyways. If I ever miss a Mother's day again, I hope that you don't take offense. You know that our family hasn't always been fancy about celebrating things. I hope that you know that I love you anyways! When you're old and gray, I won't put you in a crappy nursing home. You can live in our back yard in the shed- just kidding!
    I love you mom and I hope that you know it!

    Tell me about your mom! How do you celebrate Mother's day? Tell your moms that you love them today! (We should tell them that every time we talk to them) Without moms, we wouldn't be here!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why Does My Kid Need To Use Technology In Class?

    I remember the day that my very first child was born. He was born on a Wednesday and he was just perfect. My family came to visit us and surrounded us with love. The youth group that I volunteered with made a card for me, my husband, and the new baby and made the trip to come see us in the hospital. A few days later, my family on my husband's side came to meet our new joy for the first time. The world was just perfect.
    Our little boy was the best of both my husband and me. He was kind and funny, gentle to his baby sister. When I went to work full time, he was always a hit with the kids in day care and a favorite of the day care workers. His memory is out of this world and his imagination will get him famous one day.
    When my son turned three years old, he was unfortunately kicked out of day care for biting. At three years of age, the day care expected all biters to stop biting instantly. It was ok for a two year old to bite because two year olds don't know how to communicate their feelings with words. It didn't matter that he was only two the week before. So because I was working, the day care suggested that my son go to preschool.
    We took my son to the preschool screening and it was decided there that he would need some speech and occupational therapy. My grandmother was amazing and watched him before and after school- she encouraged his imagination and creativity- probably more so than school.
    So... Something happened. The world started to encourage us to have my child use ABC Mouse. It encouraged us to download learning apps. Do you know what happened? My son began to have melt-downs. They weren't small melt downs. They were big tantrums. We noticed that they would start whenever we turned the app off. My husband and I had a conversation and decided- our son was not to play on the computer or on apps.
    We have kept this up for a long time. We do not let him play on our cell phones or on our tablets or on our computers. Our parents have respected our wishes and have not gotten him electronics for Christmas or birthdays and it has been wonderful.
    Zoom forward to kindergarten... Guess what!?!?!? As a learning tool, schools use tablets. Guess who's attitude began to change? My son started getting into trouble in school because he would throw tantrums and have epic meltdowns. He knew that tablet time was coming and if he heard that word- even if it as just announcing that they would use it after a different activity was finished, he wanted it NOW!
    We had an IEP put into place for him when he was in preschool for speech and some occupational therapy. When he started kindergarten, we had to have a meeting to get a behavior plan put in place. We had to have a system so our child wouldn't get into trouble.
    I have told the teachers and the schools that I wish they didn't have tablets. I told them that tablets are disruptive and change a child's brain chemistry, but they just say, "All of the children use them."
    I'm sorry, but when I was a child, I learned from actual books. I didn't have a tablet to learn from. Did you know that when a child uses the computer or a tablet at school that the program actually reads the story to them? Did you know that the program also reads the answers to them and lets them choose the correct answer? I don't know how a child is going to learn to read when a machine is doing it all for them. I found that the same was true for ABC Mouse. We tried it for a month. Instead of my child actually reading anything, he would listen to what it would say and then click around until the computer told him he was correct.
    I was always distracted as a kid. I wanted to play house with my pencils. When I would do math, my numbers were assigned genders and I would imagine that 4 was a girl who would date 8. 2 was an ugly girl and 5 and 6 liked 4. I was already distracted enough in class. I didn't need a tablet to distract me further.  Now that my son is in first grade, his buddies will download Sonic the Hedgehog onto his tablet. Guess what he's doing instead of studying?

    Something chemical happens with our brains when we sit in front of a computer, tablet, our phones, or even the TV. It happens to adults the same as children. I know that I'm not immune from the effects of looking at my phone too much. I actually feel moodier and even more tired. There are so many articles about how it gives us instant gratification, the same that a drug would do if we were to do drugs. It's no wonder that children throw tantrums when they don't get their way. Imagine what it would be like if someone grabbed the coffee you were drinking from your hand and told you couldn't drink it. I imagine that there would be more black eyes in the world.

   Am I overreacting? What do you think about using technology in school?

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Kids Will Only Eat Chicken Nuggets

    My kids are such picky eaters. I suppose that it might just be a natural part of being a kid; I mean, there were things that I definitely didn't want to eat as a kid and if I had it my way, I would have only eaten at Mc Donald's. From what my mother-in-law tells me, my husband was also a picky eater. Maybe it's genetic?
    I have tried to make my kids eat foods that are healthy for them, but they would rather starve than eat an apple or just regular baked chicken. It's incredibly frustrating! Can I get an AMEN?
    As mentioned in a previous post, I am a stay at home mom. I have all day to look for new food ideas and creations that my kids will love, but I'm not interested in eating those foods. I'm not a fan of hot dogs. I'm not a big fan of mac and cheese, but it doesn't matter because my kids ARE picky eaters. My kids don't like to eat cereal. My daughter doesn't like mac and cheese. I can't even open up a can of Spaghetti-os and warm them up because my kids won't eat them. Even the temptation of a dessert won't be cause for them to try it. If you give them the ultimatum of eating dinner or going to bed, they would rather just go to bed without dinner.
    The first year that I was a sahm, I found pleasure in being sneaky. I would doctor up pancakes with chia seeds or protein powder. I would add black beans to brownies and zucchini to chocolate cakes. I would buy Pediasure or some other healthy supplement to give my kids until I realized how expensive it was all becoming and the food wasn't very tasty anymore.
    As a parent, I have so many conflicting emotions about my picky eaters. I want them to be healthy and I want them to also eat, but I don't want to have to make two different meals each night- one for me and my husband and then one for them. Sitting at the table waiting for them to finish their food feels like a waste of time and cramming it down their little throats is a choking hazard and also abuse. Maybe I should start sneaking the healthy food back into their diets. "Who wants a smoothie?" (Laughs uncontrollably because the children don't know that I blended carrots in with their watermelon, banana, strawberry smoothie) May I also mention that fruits and vegetables are also expensive? I'm glad I have that garden in the back yard.

    I dream of a day where my daughter won't only eat the roll served at dinner, she will also eat the chicken and green beans. Kids cannot live on chicken nuggets alone!

    What different foods do you feed your kids that are healthy and also like by them?


Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Start of Something New

    I have been surrounded by working women my whole life. My mom has worked my whole life, both of my grandma's have worked their whole life, and so did I... That was until my husband had gotten a new job and we moved closer to the Chicago area. I was very pregnant with my third child at the time and my husband and I both decided that the cost of childcare for three children was more than we wanted to pay. So I stayed home with the kids.
    It's been three years since we moved and now my daughter will be starting kindergarten next year and my youngest son could start day care in the fall if we wanted him to. There is nothing holding me back from working again. My husband has been very successful at his job and if I decide to work, childcare for a half day for one child and only a couple of hours for the other two won't be too strenuous.What could possibly hold me back?
    I wish the answer was complicated, but it's not. I'm scared. I think that in order for you to understand, I need to tell you some of my back story.
    I got my B.S. in Business Administration back in 2009. I graduated believing that I was going to immediately receive job opportunities left and right, but that didn't happen. You see, when I graduated from college in 2009, the economy went into a recession. Suddenly, all of those jobs that they told me I could get if I just went to college was given to those who already had experience in that line of business. Entry level jobs were asking for 2-5 years experience, but no one wanted to give me the experience that everyone wanted me to have.
   My husband and I met the first week of college and got married the summer before our senior year. I found out that I was pregnant with my first child a month before graduation. I know that this sounds like an excuse, but it made me a risk for employment, so those interviews that I went to provided no jobs. My husband and I moved to my hometown and stayed with my grandparents. It was a step backwards.
   I don't remember the exact date, but I got an interview one morning with a picture studio. I won't say the name of it, but it was one that was located inside a store franchise. I put on my interview clothes and high heels and went to this interview. As soon as I got there, I introduced myself and immediately had pictures thrown into my hand. "Can you say this? 'Where can you get this kind of deal where you can get one 8x10, two 5x7s, four 4x5s, and 8 wallets all for $9.99? You can get it right here!'" I said yes and then fed the pictures back to the man. He immediately told me that I was hired and could start that day.
   That was great news, right? Wrong! Remember when I said that I was pregnant?The interview was at 11 and I was going to eat lunch afterward. However, since I was starting that job right there on the spot, even though I needed to eat and I had prior engagements, I felt that I had to start. The man started training me and four other people.... three of the five us were pregnant and did the same thing. We waited to eat after the interview.
    So here we were, all at the front of the store, starving. The man made us take turns literally stalking customers as they came into the store. I was pretty good at getting the sales, but I was incredibly uncomfortable stalking people who didn't want to be stalked. At one point, the man training us told the only man who had "Interviewed" with us that he was retarded. It was awful and I wish that I had the guts to stand up to him. At one point, an older woman had been walking outside and fell and hit her head. I wanted to go to her rescue, but the man told us to ignore her and keep getting customers. After telling him that we had things that we needed to do and were extremely hungry because we hadn't expected to be hired on the spot, the man ordered a pizza and sent us home.
   I remember seeing my husband for the first time since I left that morning. We were supposed to both be helping out at a 30 Hour Famine with our youth group, (I of course was going to hide and eat when I needed to) but I ended up being gone the whole day. I walked towards him and sobbed. I remember telling him that I couldn't work for that horrible place and didn't want to quit until I spoke with him. He gave me his full support and I felt the weight lift off of my shoulders.
   A little while after that, we were hired for temp work at the factory that I had done all of my summer jobs in and even had an internship there.The work was busy and tiring, but we made really good money for what we did. We didn't do work that pertained to our degrees, we did factory assembly line work. It was hard at times and I felt cheated because I was in a job where I didn't need my degree, but again, the money was good. I worked there until my water broke and I gave birth to my first child. The temp work ended a couple of days later so my husband and I were without a job again.
    After a couple of weeks, my husband was blessed by a job that was about a 45 minute commute. My parents had fixed up the childhood home that I grew up in enough that we could move in rent free. By the time my son was almost 6th months old and after several failed interviews, a connection from within a local Subway gave me a chance and I got a job there.
    I only worked there part time, usually at night. My husband was getting his MA for free from the college that he worked for. So when I did get to see him, it was only brief and we were both distracted- he was distracted by homework and I was distracted by the baby. We did this for a little over two years until I finally got hired by the same college that my husband worked for. I now had two children; my son who was almost three and now a 9 month old daughter.
   My husband and I were able to carpool together each morning and drop our healthy kids off at the nearby YWCA for day care at a pretty reasonable cost. I loved my job and I worked there for a year and a half until it as time to move.
    You see, out of all of the jobs that I had after graduating from college, I never had to use my degree. The degree wasn't a requirement. I've been out of work for three years and I hadn't had to use what I learned in school once. The time is coming up for me to job search again, that is if I want to. It took me so long to even find a good job that wasn't factory work or at a restaurant. I'm not saying that those aren't great jobs, because I enjoyed the hard work that I did every day, but what if I start to look for something part time or full time and no one wants me? What if too much time has gone by and my 4 years of expensive schooling that I'm still paying for has become irrelevant?
    I'm afraid of being unwanted in the work force. I'm afraid of being unemployable. I'm afraid of being rejected. Why should I start looking for jobs?
   The answer to that is because I want to work again. I want to be in an environment where I do my job well. I love my children, but sometimes, they are the only people I talk to all day and I miss adult interaction. I also want to be able to do things! With one income, we have to be careful on how we spend our money and save. It would be wonderful to have some extra spending money so we can have experiences. I just hope that I won't let my fear of being rejected hold me back.

   I'm sure that I'm not the only person who has had the fear of starting over again. What was your fear and how have you conquered it?
   

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