Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Little Change

My husband and I work opposite schedules.  I work 5:30am to 1:30pm.  He works 6pm to 3am.  I see him long enough to pass the baton on childcare and feed him dinner.  Olivia is in Kindergarten and the other two go to Mother's Day Out (which I affectionately call Father's Day to Sleep) Monday through Thursday (except for Zoe, they didn't have a space for her on Tuesday, so that's her Daddy Day).  Originally, the opposite schedules were to avoid paying for childcare, but our kids needed more structure than Daddy can normally provide. It is still very helpful when school is out or the kids are sick.  All that is just to let you know that "family time" is very limited.  We do have Friday nights, all day Saturday, and Sunday mornings together, but for a while it just consisted of my husband laying on the couch, the girls being bored out of their skulls, and me being frustrated about the whole thing.

At the beginning of the year, we implemented a behavior reward system - the marbles I've mentioned before.  I have to admit that in the past, things like this didn't last with us.  We did sticker charts and it worked a week or so and I'd forget to dole out the stickers.  But for some reason, this is working for us.  The girls don't always earn their rewards.... this week for example... but they keep trying even when they didn't get their reward the week before.  I've consciously made each reward family-oriented so that Saturdays are our "family days."  It kind of worried me that if they didn't earn their reward that we wouldn't do anything, but so far, we still have gone out to do something, even if it wasn't their reward.

This week they were trying to earn a trip to the ice cream shop.  It didn't happen, but Bill decided we would go to the Toltec Mounds State Park (I might be totally forgetting part of the name of the place, but that's close).  It's a park dedicated to the mounds built by the Toltec Indians in the area.  It really just has some walking paths.. but we hadn't been.  It was a lot of fun.

As a little change within a change, I'm trying to use my camera more, so these family outings give me a chance to exercise my camera.  Normally I'm obsessive with my camera, but the past year was unusual.  I didn't take all that many pictures at all.  I guess I wasn't in the right frame of mind.  Last year just wasn't good mentally for me.  I'm doing much better this year, so far. 

These glasses were passed around the girls all day.  Their "movie star" glasses.  =)

It was a gorgeous day.



If you look, you can kind of see me in this picture....

After walking around the mounds, we went over to another park with a playground and let the girls play for a while.  I'm not sure what they are really called, but they had one of those old merry-go-round kind of things there.  You know, the kind you played on as a kid and probably got a concussion flying off when some bigger kid got it spinning super fast.  Or at least you puked.  I almost did while we were there, but I was laying on it funny trying to be all artistic with my pictures.  We played on a lot of dangerous playground equipment now that I think about it.  I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that our children are so ultra-protected sometimes.  A little of both I think.



Afterwards, we went out to eat dinner, where my husband ate peanut butter on his cheeseburger.  I know... gross...  he said it was good and would try it again.  I did try a bite, but he had some other nastiness on his burger I couldn't get past to really pass fair judgment on the peanut butter.  Again, a pretty successful adventure in eating in public.  Bill's head didn't spin around and I only had to make two bathroom trips with the girls.

Of course, no ice cream...  Maybe next Saturday. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This is what 100 pompoms stuffed into a gallon ziploc bag looks like:

100 pompoms
Along with a slightly demented-looking 6 year old...

I mentioned in my last post that Olivia's 100th day of school is creeping up and we have to make a hat with 100 items on it.  Olivia's first idea was googly eyes.  Which would have been really fun, but I was hoping to find something to do that wouldn't involve a trip to the store.  Not that we aren't there almost every day anyway, but I can dream...  We finally decided on pompoms.  I have lots of yarn and I even have pompom makers.  Why do I have pompom makers?  Because Hobby Lobby must pipe subliminal messages through the air encouraging me to buy something I don't really have a use for but MUST have no matter what.  I justified their purpose with this project though.  100 pompoms.  What was I thinking?

The first night I made 25 and my fingers were raw.  It seems all my bright, fun colors are Red Heart, which is made of sandpaper.  Or something like it anyway.  Rough stuff.  I wasn't sure how on earth I could make 75 more without a few bloody pompoms at the end (too gross?  sorry..).  Then I remembered the first aid tape and I taped up my fingers before beginning the second night.  I looked ridiculous, but my fingers were happy.  4 nights of wrapping and snipping and tying and we now have 100 pompoms.  And I didn't even have the urge to throw the pompom maker away after, which I was pretty sure would be the outcome after the first night.  Avoiding the yarn burn made a huge difference, that and the fact that I can knock out a pompom faster than anyone you know now.  I have it down to a science.  

Now I am in the process of creating the beanie to attach said pompoms to.  (I am fully aware of that hanging preposition, and despite my 9th grade English teacher's voice in my head, I am leaving it.)  (I'm really exhausted tonight.  In case you were wondering if I had started smoking crack or something)  I am more than a little sure that my kid's head is not 100 pompoms big, so I'm going to have to figure out how to deal with the extras.  It should be interesting....

It's barely 9pm.  I think I'm going to bed.  And for a night owl like me who can't manage to get in bed before 11pm most nights even though I have to get up at 4:30am, that says volumes about how tired I am today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Little Change

So, I've just been a little frustrated this past week.  I have this really bad habit of bogging myself down with projects and then I'm rushing to get them finished and pretty much neglect everything else in the process.  Earlier last week, I was working on crocheting an afghan (at my leisure) and a doll (again, at my leisure) and knitting a stocking for next Christmas (obviously no serious deadline, but I had hoped to finish it in January).  Then I remembered... my Dad's birthday is coming up and my brother-in-law just had his birthday which means we need to have a family get-together to celebrate.  Like this coming weekend.  And I haven't made them a thing.  So I had two things with a pretty quick deadline thrown into the mix.  Then Olivia came home with a note from school saying she needed a hat with 100 objects on it for their 100th day of school.  And did I just say "hey, we'll head to the store and buy a hat and something to glue on there!  No big deal."  Of course not.  I'm making 100 pompoms and tying them onto a handmade hat.  By next Wednesday.

Needless to say, instead of dancing and reading, you can find Momma on the couch with her crochet hook or pom pom maker.  Not really what I need to be doing.

Of course, I will admit that yesterday, after making may daily allotment of 25 pompoms, the girls and I sat around making pompom necklaces and bracelets.  Olivia did very well with the pompom maker.  I had to tie it, but she was able to wind it and cut it.  The other two needed a little (lot) more help.  So it's not like I totally ignored them.  We had some  crafty mommy-daughter time. 

Anyway.... I'm shaking it off.  I'm kind of amending my previous changes to focus on spending some quality time with the kids daily.  Even if I have a ton of things to accomplish... unless they can actively help, it can wait until they go to bed. 

My most recent change has been all for me.  Drinking more water.  I like water.  I like soda more.  So I made myself a deal.  I can have ONE soda if I drink 3 of my water cups full of water.  I think it's probably 24oz.  I keep forgetting to measure.  I've been very good about it.  Before I'd have at least 3 sodas a day.  They're diet, and half of them are caffeine-free, but I know they're still not good for me.  I have my one cup of coffee, three glasses of water, and then I can have my soda (which I normally hit that goal around or after dinner time) .  I almost didn't even have one yesterday.  I waivered.... eventually I'll cut the soda out...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fun Weekend

We've had a very good weekend here.  The girls earned their reward this weekend and we went bowling.  They've been before, but I don't think they remember it.  Zoe was just a tiny baby and Izzy didn't bowl, if I remember.  They're pretty good little bowlers.  Olivia got a 93.  There are times that I can't even get a 93.  Bill accused me of using the bumpers to my advantage (we didn't know how to make them go up and down so we just left them up), and while I admit that they did come in handy, I swear I never aimed for them.  It's bowling, not pool.  =)

 The girls called them "clown shoes" (and they color coordinated their shoes to the squares for the picture... )

 My Hurculean children carried 10 lb balls by themselves.  This one was only 6 lbs, but they preferred the 10lb ball.

 The ramps are awesome

 Bill wanted to try just letting Olivia push the ball, despite my objections.

 This is not an action shot.  It's the ball dead on the lane.  I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying "I told you so."

Afterwards, we went out to eat.  In a real restaurant.  We haven't tried this in quite some time.  I think the last time we tried, Bill lost his temper with the kids, I lost my temper with him, we left without eating, and I almost left him in the parking lot.  This time was much, much better.  The girls behaved beautifully and Bill never once had to wonder how he'd get home.  ;)

I did get tired of one thing... the bathroom.  I had made 6 visits to the bathroom with the kids and finally begged Bill to take Izzy the last time she asked to go.  My kids love public restrooms.  We can't go anywhere in public without a visit to the potty.  Even if they just went.  It drives me insane.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day.  I don't think Olivia got a good night of sleep, though, because I honestly don't think I had one conversation with her that didn't involve her whining or crying.  

Zoe has become a little artist lately.  At any given time, you will find her with a coloring book and a crayon (just one..) or a notebook and pen and she just sits and colors.  She's my calmest child by far, and she's usually content to sit alone and chill.  Her sisters give her some pretty strong competition in the attention department, so she let's them get the lion's share.  But today she found her way into some quiet time with me while I was folding laundry.  She just sat there on the bed with her coloring book and red marker and jabbered her little heart out.  By the time the laundry was folded she was red-spotted all over... like a true artist.  

She's also my most polite child... she almost never forgets to say "thank you, Mommy" when I get her a drink.  Today she cracked me up by saying "Yes, my dear, sweet mother."  I decided today to work on manners this week.  Being polite earns you a marble and forgetting to use your manners will cost you a marble.  Olivia is especially bad about coming in the kitchen and just yelling "MILK!" and expecting me to jump up and get her a glass of milk.  There are way too many "I want"s and not enough "please"s.  

Sweet little Dodo

Hopefully this will be a nice, normal week this week.  No snow, no missing school, just our normal routine would be wonderful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Roller Derby

I'm not a sports fan.  I don't understand most of them and they bore me.  I do kind of like hockey.  We had a hockey team for about a second a few  years ago and I really enjoyed going to the one game I made it to.  But this is Arkansas... not really hockey country. 

I have found something else I enjoy now.  Roller derby.

My sister has a friend who is into roller derby and she got my sister going to meets and eventually going to practices.  She started learning how to skate and ended up tearing up her ankle.  She's still recouping, but fully intends to get back to it when she's able.  This is really odd for me.  Growing up, my best friend and I always called my sister "White Bread."  We were more the type you would think would get into roller derby.  But my sister has been finding her inner freak.  ;)

She invited me to go to the meet they had scheduled last night.  At first I lamented the fact that I wouldn't have anyone to watch the kids and couldn't go.  She told me to bring them and she and her husband would help me with the girls.  I had been counting down the days.

We got there and the first thing I noticed was the ambulance in the parking lot and I got all excited.  In case you didn't notice the similarity between roller derby and hockey - they are both kind of violent.  People don't find this all that odd about me, even though I'm not a violent person.  I don't like to watch violent movies or wrestling or boxing.  But the hockey and roller derby kind of violence... I like it.  I can't really explain it.  Just go with it.

Now, I know you're thinking... you took your small kids?  It wasn't THAT violent.  Not any more violent than they already are towards each other.  At one point, they had found a little corner to play in and they were running in circles, tackling each other.  My sister said, "it looks like they're playing roller derby."  I thought, "hmmm... they do that at home all the time..."  Plus, they hardly watched the meet at all.

I had a blast.  It was excellent people-watching.  The meet itself kept my attention.  I understood the rules.  It was just a ton of fun. 

I just found out that there is another team close by that has a meet next weekend and I'm debating going.  I don't know if my sister would be interested and I'm not sure I would want to go alone. 

It makes me wonder... is 35 too old to be a roller derby girl?  It could be some good motivation to get this weight off.  I'm bad on skates and would probably hurt myself worse than my sister did (I broke my wrist skating when I was in elementary school, so I already have a bad track record).  But it looks like so much fun.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This week's change...

First of all, last week's change of reading to the girls more was not perfect, but much better.  Aside from tonight, when we were out and about and got home late and they were asleep almost before I turned out the light... Other than that, I tried to make sure that if I didn't read to them earlier in the day that I didn't skimp at bedtime.  Olivia even brought me a few books through out the week to read to me.  Books that we have, not books from school.  I have to admit that I do struggle with being patient when she gets stumped by a word because she goes from being so proud and confident to a very whiny "I can't do it" in 2 seconds flat.  I am trying though.

This week's change was inspired by my last post.  We have a lot of changes that need to be made in regards to just leading a healthier life and doing it one step at a time is definitely going to be the best way to go.  So - after dinner, the TV goes off and the music goes on and we dance.  Physical activity for all (except Daddy, who leaves for work right after dinner)... less TV (Olivia is most definitely an addict)... and good  Mommy and kiddo time.  And maybe we'll move straight from dance time to story time.  Try to build up to a much more structured and productive evening routine, instead of the chaos we have going on normally. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weighing on my mind

This is my oldest child, Olivia...

 Don't let the sweet look fool you...

Ah, yes... that's more like it

Olivia is 6.  She's very smart, very imaginative, fiesty, and (sometimes overly-)affectionate.  I love her with all my heart and soul.  But I'm worried.  I'm afraid that in that pretty little head lurks something really ugly.  I'm afraid that she's developing an eating disorder of some kind or another.

As you can see, she's healthy.  Not in a "my kid is plump, so I'm calling them 'healthy'" kind of way, she's really a healthy weight.  But she thinks losing weight is the best thing ever.

It started a few months ago when she was sick with pneumonia.  She didn't eat for a couple of days and she lost enough weight that it was visible on her.  It was only 1 or 2 pounds, but on a kiddo like her, it shows.  I was helping her get dressed one day when she started feeling better and mentioned that she had lost weight.  She went to dancing around the room, singing "I lost weight!  I lost weight!"

My jaw hit the floor.  I was horrified.  I had meant it in a negative way.  In no way was I like "Yay!  You lost weight!"  I meant it in a "you are way too skinny" kind of way.  But she was celebrating.

I gathered my wits and sat down to have a talk with her.  I deduced that a big influence on her actions was something I had never thought of as a negative influence.... weight loss product commercials.   I never thought that if she watched a Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig commercial that she would get it in her head that, no matter what, losing weight was fantastic.  I told her that losing weight if you were overweight was good, but that it was not always needed or wanted.  She doesn't need to lose weight.  It's not good for her to lose weight right now.

We're very careful about the channels the TV is on and the commercials they show if she's going to be around.  I really never in a million years thought about parental guidance for commercials...

She's mentioned it a few times here and there in the meantime and I try very hard to make sure if I'm going to talk about ME losing weight that around her I make sure to call it "getting healthy."  

The past few days, she has seemed to be preoccupied with MY weight.  I know a lot of people have gotten that slap in the face from their young child when they notice and mention their weight.  And I knew it was only time before I got my dose of that medicine.  But, boy, does it hurt.  Not only that, but you feel guilty.  And I'm just conflicted...  how do I go about losing weight without sending her the message that losing weight is good?  I know I have to focus on the healthy aspect of it all, but I'm just worried about reinforcing an anti-fat image in her.

Today she had a Daddy-date.  When they got home, he said he thinks we might have a problem on our hands.  If HE noticed it, then I know I'm not just being a worry-wort mommy.  He also said she said something "very insulting" about me, but he wouldn't tell me what it is and she was too embarrassed to repeat it.  I don't think I'm being overly-sensitive to think that it was related to my weight.

I'm feeling really awful about it tonight and I'm trying to turn it around and make it motivation to #1 - make healthy changes around here to teach her about nutrition and body image and #2 - lose weight myself.  I just feel like I'm facing a huge mountain and I'm having a hard time deciding how to climb it.  I will though... I have to.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Dilemma

I'm torn today.  I don't want to go to work and it will mean that my husband doesn't get much sleep since the kids are out of school.  But... it's not fair for me to get to stay home when everyone else has to go to work.  I know it's not fair.  But it would make my life so much easier.

People without kids and people with older kids usually take issue with people who have kids that cannot be left alone when they have to take time off of work.  And I realize that it's not really fair.  Your home life shouldn't give you special privileges at work.  But there is just no way for it not to be an issue, unless you're lucky enough to have someone who can take care of your kids no matter what. 

I don't. 

Then, in the medical field, you have the issue that some people are vital where some are not.  I am not vital to the operation of the facility on a daily basis.  Nurses are.  But if I'm not required to come in when they are, it's not fair.  I don't have quite the sympathy on that one.  

Bill's schedule is really going to be a problem come summer.  When the girls are at home, he doesn't (or at least shouldn't) get any sleep.  That's really tough on a person.  And then I worry all the time about my sleep-deprived husband watching our kids.  Last summer I had to work half-days the last few weeks of summer break because it was becoming a BIG problem.  He'd stay in bed and sleep even after the girls got up.  They got out of the house, made huge messes.... it was not good.  And his schedule is even worse now.  He at least got home in time to sleep a few hours before they got up (or he should have been able to... sometimes he worked late) but now he wouldn't get to sleep until I get home from work and that just isn't going to work out for us.

Basically, my life would be infinitely better (aside from the fact that we would be beyond broke) if I didn't work.  If I could figure out how we could do it and not have to eat Ramen noodles and beans all week long, I really would stay home.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ice cream, anyone?

As I mentioned before, this week's reward for the girls not losing all their marbles was a trip to the ice cream shop.  We have a fairly new place in town called Scrumdiliumptious.  Try saying that 10 times fast.  Heck, try typing it.  It's a cute little shop, with a combination theme of Harry Potter and Willy Wonka.  They had one of the Harry Potter movies playing and the girls were just entranced.  They're not really old enough for Harry Potter and it kind of freaked the girls out, but not bad enough to need to do something about it.

ice cream anyone?
So much ice cream, so little time...

Isabelle and Zoe got Bubble Gum ice cream, which I found really disgusting.  First of all, I'm not a fan of blue food.  And secondly, ice cream shouldn't be bubble gum flavored, in my opinion.
ice cream anyone?
 Isabelle disagrees...

Olivia had chocolate with M&Ms.  It really bothers Bill that Olivia's pronunciation of M&Ms is more like "enemas."
ice cream anyone?
Whatever you call it, it's good.

I behaved and just had a single cup of espresso chip.  Bill had a monster concoction called Augustus Galoop or something like that.  It looked really good.
ice cream anyone?
Better than blue ice cream anyway. 
After getting the girls all sugared up, we did something that normally induces sheer terror in Isabelle...

ice cream anyone?
Workin' at the carwash.....

She loved it though.  In fact, I think it was actually her idea.  Bill pretended the carwash was a whale and we were swallowed by it.  And, because my family is gross, we traveled through the intestines and eventually got pooped out at the end.  Yeah...

Friday, January 7, 2011

They didn't lose their marbles...

All of them anyway.

Looks like we get to go get ice cream tomorrow!

We're trying out a new system to try to get the girls to behave a little better.  They start out at the beginning of the week with a jar of marbles and if they break a rule, they lose marbles.  At the end of the week, if they haven't lost all their marbles, they get a reward.  This week's reward is a trip to the ice cream shop.  Anyone who really knows my girls can probably guess that Isabelle's jar is in the middle.  She's a tough nut...  Our biggest issue this week was that we are trying to keep them out of our bed at night (and still sleep).  It's been a rough week in that department.  The first few nights, they would get up and go watch TV since they couldn't get into our bedroom.  I had to hide the TV remote and lock the playroom and threaten to take all of their marbles before I finally had a full night of sleep.  I know it will still take some time before they are used to it,  I'm trying to be patient.  Exhausted Mommy isn't naturally patient though...

I'm thinking we might change a few things up for the next week.  Maybe have them earn their marbles, but lose them if they break a rule.  It's not a perfect system just yet.  And I need to come up with a reward for next week.  I don't mind splurging on movies or ice cream every so often, but we can't do that every week.  And I think we need a big huge reward after so many consecutive nights of sleeping in their room.  Like maybe bunk beds.  They really want bunk beds, but I have two reservations.... the first being my fear that they'll fall and break something (their father broke his collarbone falling out of a bunkbed) and the second is knowing that they'll fight over who gets the top bunk.  Well, there's the third... the fact that there are 3 of them and only 2 beds.  Someone will get a normal bed and they will not be happy.  I'll figure it out somehow. 

One a different, but not really all that different note, I think I've decided what my first One Little Change will be...

I am going to make sure I sit down and read to the girls every day.  At least 2 books, and not just at bedtime.  All 4 of us love books, and I do love to read to them.  But some days I wait until bedtime and the girls are just too wound up or I'm to worn out to really get into it and I either speed read the shortest book I can find or skip story-time altogether. 

Tonight the girls started getting a little wild about 6pm, which isn't unusual for them.  They start to get tired and lose their minds.  =)  Daddy was getting upset at the noise and running, and I wasn't in the mood to have one more person adding to the chaos, so I decided to set down my crocheting and just declare Story Time.  The girls ran to get me about 10 books (not exaggerating) and piled up on the couch with me.  Isabelle got antsy after about 3 books and wandered off to play, but the other two sat through about 6 before the UPS guy dropped off a package and we got totally derailed.  Luckily he had delivered a puzzle I ordered for them.  They adore floor puzzles.  I haven't had a lot of luck with smaller puzzles with them.  I think it's that the floor puzzles are big enough for all three of them to work on it at once. 

But, back to my point... Story Time did calm the Wild Ones for a bit.  It definitely needs to be a ritual around here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Little Change

I followed a link on one of the blogs I follow to this blog and I love the idea.  I'm always trying to just force a bunch of change all at once, and it NEVER works.  So... I'm going to focus on one little change at a time.  I need to look over my goals and see what to begin with.  Stay tuned....


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