Family · Perspective

Late Night

We went out last night! Babysitting was arranged.

Another couple, my husband and I went to our university alma mater’s basketball game. We stopped for some amazing small town Mexican food then on to the game. It was an excellent match up!

Then an ice storm moved in… Our planned 6 hour trip date night turned into 9. It was almost 2am when we pulled into our yard.

3.5hrs of sleep and Some hormones have me feeling a lot like this today.

IMG_2989.GIF

I told my husband that I didn’t want to deal with people at work… and that he is technically a person.

He just laughed and told me I’m grumpy. I truly love this man.

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Flexible Thinking

After “officially ruining” my 7yr old’s day by requesting he get dressed for school this morning – which I might add we had a 5 day break for Parent Teacher conferences, President’s Day and then a 2hr late start due to an ice storm! – I’ve apparently decided to binge eat myself thru my morning at work with a healthy chicken noodle soup, less healthy croissants, and unhealthy Girl Scout Thin Mints.

break-breakfast-corporate-cup-87435.jpeg

It’s been a banner eight hours since I got out of bed. It’s only 1:25pm.

Mixed into the muddle of this morning, I had the most uplifting text conversation with my dear friend Sarah at Horizon Mental Health. She is an amazing person, friend, college roommate, mother, wife, therapist… I could go on and on. The past few days, she’s been helping me sort out how I can better communicate with, guide, and connect with my 7yr old son.

My son has been thriving at school. He excels with his friends, peers, and in almost every activity he tries. When a friend was unhappy at school because he had to miss recess and read to finish an assignment, he stayed in with him and read his book at the next desk over. He is respectful with his teachers and coaches at school, youth group, and in community sports. Responsible, kind, loving, friendly, willing to work with others – all personality traits he possesses.

But whoa! We are not clicking at home the past few months. The last three months are also our busiest at work, craziest with family holidays, and then we all had various cases of influenza A, B, stomach flu, and some other weird respiratory virus. We are all out of whack!

What I’ve learned since November is that as his mother, I AM WRONG ALL. THE. TIME.

Me: “There’s 13 grades in school if you count Kindergarten.” Him: “There is NO SUCH THING as a 12th grade! You are WRONG!” Me: “Yes buddy, I taught 12th graders. They are called seniors. It’s the last year of school before you go to college or a trade school or get a full-time job.” Him: “You are WRONG!” Then I walked away from the debate because this wasn’t a war I wanted to fight. I love him too much to argue about absolutely everything.

Argument after argument. He gets angry and tells me I am wrong or he just isn’t going to do it (like wear pants or walk to his bedroom at bedtime – completely normal daily things). We are “bossing” him around.

My amazing friend directed me to a thought process call “flexible thinking.” I started researching it upon our initial conversation. My son is a “rigid thinker.” Very bright, likes structure, and gets his world rocked when there is unexpected change. Sometimes he is able to go with the flow. Other times, he is a mule with his hooves cemented in the ground.

As his mother and the main parent at home on the weekends and after school (my husband’s work schedule puts this in my wheelhouse), I am the one who typically is introducing the change or requiring him to be flexible.

Frankly, we need to dial back the frustration and find our workable space again.

A few things we will be trying to implement in our house after learning about “flexible thinking”:

  • A better framework for a schedule before and after school
  • A better framework for the weekend schedule
  • A process for him to adjust when it is out of his control WITHOUT arguing.
    • Breathe. Accept that some things are out of his control. Decide how he wants to proceed. Carry out his plan.
    • An example: T-man, in 5 minutes we are heading home. Five minutes later, it is now time to go home from the office.–“Breathe. Accept that even though you want to do x, y, and z before we leave, it is time to go now.” Then he will need to make his own plan for how to handle this and carry it out. This plan will likely look like him picking up his backpack, grabbing his snack and heading to the car. But if I suggest this, I guarantee it will be met with resistance.

Last week, I told a friend that I realized that I didn’t really have any life goals right now except keeping the wheels on this bus. The bus symbolizes my family. I have to keep us going.  I guess with every flat tire or change oil light, I’ll learn a new skill and be ready for the next challenge.

We don’t have to stay on the beaten path. Let’s be adventurers! It would be fantastic if we could ride the bus with minimal breakdowns, without the wheels coming off, and maybe enjoy the ride.

pexels-photo-385998.jpeg

Creativity · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Deep Thoughts: Kid Style

  • Elephant poop.
  • Ketchup.
  • Mud boots.
  • Dying of thirst.
  • What is a different name for salt?
  • Fun Dip: specifically the blue colored kind.
  • Play date plans for today.
  • What did my teacher say at parent teacher conferences this morning?

These are just a few of the topics I’ve covered in the last 18hrs. Some were full blown conversations like the elephant poop- size, smell, have you seen it before? Some were smaller 30 second blips- ketchup, how we like ketchup and it makes things taste better.

Young kids are so refreshingly spontaneous! Life is truly all about finding enjoyment in the small daily moments.

kids-girl-pencil-drawing-159823.jpeg

 

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Little Einsteins

Presto! Allegro!

The notes of Franz Schubert mixed with the smell of mixed berry muffins are how I’ve started my morning.

School is closed today for a deep disinfection. Yes, on a Tuesday, the illness numbers were just too high yesterday. The approximately 850 kids in our district will get a respite from the onslaught of influenza and stomach flu and respiratory viruses.

We received the word about 5:30pm yesterday. Pre-kids-Jen would have started mentally planning the day. Two-kids-later-Jen acknowledges that whatever I plan is likely to get wrecked, so we’ll set a couple loose goals and wing it.

IMG_2938.JPG

For instance, pre-kids-Jen and husband thought this would be our “adult bathroom.” We have another bathroom, so this one should be toyless, right?

Pre-kids-Jen enjoyed playing the notes of Schubert on the piano for relaxation. Two-kids-later-Jen gets her classical music via Little Einsteins on Disney Jr.

Honestly, there are some things I miss about pre-kids-Jen. She had time flexibility to go for a run and sleep when sick. Her non-work schedule consisted of weekends away for weddings, friends and spontaneous trips with her husband. She wore heels, matched purses to her outfits, and accessorized with trendy jewelry.

As I sit here smelling muffins baking and listening to cartoons, I realize how much my priorities have changed. I love these two little individuals.

IMG_2943.GIF

I’m not Mary Poppins. Of course, the process has been frustrating and exhausting! I have not handled all of it selflessly or with grace. If you live near me, you may have heard me loudly telling my kids (ummmm…. yelling) to get in the car. Or perhaps you’ve pulled out of the parking lot and seen me with my head resting on the steering wheel?

IMG_2942.GIF

It is like being in a rock tumbler. I haven’t lost my identity. Life has tumbled and changed it. I’ve rubbed off some of the sharp spots and my more positive traits are being polished. Slow and steady, one pair of footie jammies and Little Einstein episode at a time, I’m becoming more patient, compassionate, and understanding how deep love can be.

Creativity · Perspective

Three Things

If you follow my musings, you know we’ve been fully engulfed in influenza A, influenza B, and a touch of stomach flu during January. It’s like January was a germ-filled, Christmas-gathering hangover fog.

I’m welcoming February from my couch as I continue the long slow recovery, but I’d like to be a bit more playful with my post today.

IMG_2928.GIF

Three Things

Three things I like:

1) hot vanilla tea
2) peonies
3) hugs

Three things I can live without:

1) crickets
2) sunburns
3) instant gratification

Three places I’ve traveled:

1) Hawaii- Oahu & Kuaui
2) Saskatoon, SK, Canada- I have relatives there! It was a family road trip when I was a kid.
3) Sanibel Island, FL

Three places I want to visit:

1) Maine
2) South America
3) Georgia or Alabama- I’ve never been to that part of the South.

Three things I always buy as cheaply as possible- on sale or generic:

1) paper napkins
2) mustard
3) hand soap refills

Three things I splurge on and apparently feel like I have to justify to the world:

1) skin care- R+F, because I was tired of being a 30-something with acne
2) hair care- Monat Volume System, I can’t use the others “systems” because it makes my hair fall out. Most OTC shampoos make my psoriasis flare.
3) hot dogs. It’s just a mental thing. It’s all mechanically separated…

Three games I’ve played the past month:

1) Guess Who
2) War
3) Pie Face

Three things I like to read:

1) Articles that explain things I don’t know – i.e. Cryptocurrency, Easter Island stone heads, making diamonds from radioactive materials…
2) the Bible every morning. Lots to learn, ponder, and reflect on in between those covers.
3) Books – I know that is broad, but I have a WIDE array of interests. Historical fiction, Historical Non-fiction, “Better Yourself” type books, some fantasy but can’t get too out there- NO ZOMBIES or creepy stuff.

Three people worth quoting:

1) C. S. Lewis
2) Maya Angelou
3) Laura Ingalls Wilder

Quote1

 

 

Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Inhale-Exhale-Influenza

I swear… literally… if one more person says anything about “this oil would have prevented the flu” or “flu shot vs non-flu shot” superiority…

IMG_2925.GIF

Let’s have a bit more tact than that while we are in the throes of the influenza underworld, shall we???

My daughter’s class was missing HALF its students the last two days. That includes my child. My son’s class was down by 1/3. One of our local pharmacies had to close due to them all being ill!

Essential oils, fancy foods, vitamins and choice to get or not the flu shot- all great preventative things. However, when a sick child goes to school and coughs, breathes and shares the virus, I’m not convinced anything will protect your student or you. I can tell you that a cough-driven saliva shot straight to the eye has 100% chance of blooming into an ugly illness.

The moral of this story is: parents please keep your sick child home. Please. If you send them to school sick, they perpetuate the illness and will be sent home via the nurse shortly anyway. For the love and health of your babies and mine, please keep them home!

IMG_2926.GIF

With love from the trenches with my new best flu-induced friend- an inhaler– Jen

**hopefully we are close to healthy and I’ll be able to write about other happier things soon!**

 

Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Horoscope

Horoscopes are like fortune cookies. Rarely are they actually applicable. Even more rare are the moments I read them.

IMG_2922

Today, in my bed-ridden state, I decided to check mine out. Influenza A took down all four members of my family this weekend. Patient T, age 7, brought it home from school. Over the next 36 hours, we dropped in 12 hour increments to the fever, cough, body aches, and extreme fatigue.

I’m praising God that 2/4 of us are now past the fever. Boys rule. Girls drool. In other words, the males are fever free.

Back to the horoscope. “This is a rich time to meet diverse people. You could experience a wonderful trip to a museum or university that brings an opportunity to learn and expand your thinking.”

That’s pretty specific don’t you think? I was hoping for “you won’t die wearing 4 layers of pajamas with Kleenex stuck in your nose reeking of cough drops.” But hey! Bring on the new diverse people and trips to a museum or university!

Well thank you horoscope for the giggle and eye-roll! You hit the nail on the head today.

Much love and Lysol- Jen