I’m back, kind of? Maybe?

So I’ve been working on my fit project, which I tried to turn into a blog, but ended up doing a Facebook page instead.

Lately I’ve had a few things floating around in my head and I thought, “I should write a few blog posts about this stuff!”

So, I’m not going to promise amazing, informative content seven days a week, but I would like to make blogging a habit over the month of December. Until then, I’ll post a few things here sporadically, like the art projects and food crafts we have planned over the next couple weeks, with plenty of links back to the original source (I’m not *that* creative on my own!).

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Ok, Real Quick

Over the last couple months I have been busy attempting to lose weight for our upcoming beach trip, attempting to write my novel for NaNoWriMo (which I didn’t finish, but I will, because my sister thinks it’s a good story, good writing remains to be seen), and working on using up my personal care products with xenoestrogens and other icky stuff.

I broke down and joined a gym because, I admit, it’s really hard for me to stay motivated to work out at home. I like my new gym. I even joined their 12 week challenge, which starts in January. I hired a trainer, but only for four sessions, and only because the guy that signed me up assured me that this trainer can teach this old dog a new trick or two (we’ll see). Unfortunately, the trainer is hardcore into conventional wisdom when it comes to a healthy diet. After doing strict Paleo for a week and a half with my whole family, the change in my children’s behavior was a complete 180 for the better (not that they were unruly brats, but they weren’t as out of control of their actions, and my second son, who struggles with sitting still for more than 30 seconds, got a positive note home from his teacher about how his focus had improved), I can’t see how going back to the high grain, low fat diet is going to do us any favors (oh, I forgot to mention, I lost two pounds that first week without counting a single calorie and without a minute spent exercising). Showing my trainer my food log is going to be fun.

Unfortunately, I ran out of kid-friendly meal ideas, so we backslid into regular (crappy) eating, and of course their behavior has gone back to over-bouncy. And we’re about to spend a week with the in-laws who are so set in their ideas (as spoon-fed to them by the news and government officials), that they’d never get behind our gluten-free, soy-free, artificial colors/flavors/preservatives-free way of eating (especially since it is so new to us). Our trip is going to be fun //sarcasm//

So, I’m already looking forward to our trip home, and we haven’t even left yet. I’m excited to get back on track and finally get my health, and my family’s health, back!

I’ll do my obligatory New Year’s post in the next few days (I like setting new goals!).

Looong Day!

This is my first full day without my husband (who is on a trip visiting several libraries and the National Archive for his graduate thesis). This is not my first time taking care of everything while he’s gone (he’s been in the Army since before we got married, so between a year-long deployment and several trainings ranging from one week to six months, I’m used to “holding down the fort”), and I have my routines preset and ready for me to rock after he leaves.

One of those routines is getting up early (5:20 a.m.) so I can shower and dress before the kids get up. This morning, the baby decided to wake up at 4:50. After nursing and changing him, he was ready to go back to bed at 5:15. Joy.

While the baby had his morning nap, I worked on a big project of mine, clearing out and reorganizing my older boys’ room. It was nuts how much junk accumulated in their room! When I sent them in to pick up their room a few days ago, they threw toys in the trash bag along with trash simply because they didn’t want to play with them any more (why they have THAT many toys is another, mother-in-law related story that I will tell another time, ugh). Since I didn’t want them throwing away functional, non-broken toys, I took it upon myself to clear out their room for them.

I had a planned nap at 1p.m., but the baby fought going down. I decided for sanity’s sake I would put him in his crib, hope he went to sleep, and take a quick 30 minute nap myself. No nap for me, ha ha! My three-year-old, who is potty-training, decided that he had to go potty every five minutes. So just as I would start to doze off, “Mama, I have to go potty.” Finally, after the 5th trip to the potty, the baby started crying so I gave up on a nap and got him out of bed.

Now, the baby isn’t so much a baby as he is a young toddler (just started walking about two weeks ago), so between keeping him out of EVERYTHING (I’m working on dejunking his room too… it’s our storage for boxes we have yet to unpack), and jumping up to help my rambunctious potty-training preschooler (who kept asking for something to drink ALL THE TIME), I was feeling run-down to the point of wanting to cry by 2 p.m.

Fortunately then rest of the day ran fairly smooth, but cooking for and caring for four children by yourself is a lot of work (I wouldn’t trade it for the world), and it definitely compounded my weariness. (Oh, and the older kids and I made cake pops. We finished our chores early, and I like to give them a project to keep them from running around the house like wild animals).

It is now just after 8 p.m. and the baby is wide awake, and I still have stuff to do like water outside plants (I can’t take him with me), and call my husband and try to come up with something interesting to say (I really don’t have anything), and drag it out for 30 minutes, then feel guilty when I get off the phone after such a short amount of time. I just want sleep! Am I so selfish for wanting a little sleep?

Ok, whining done. I’m going to put the baby down whether he likes it or not. Thanks for reading!

Shaping Up To Be A Busy Summer!

I’m so excited! I just finished up my schedule for June and August (part of July is spoken for out of state)!

Daily schedule involves a walk to the park and playtime before it gets hot, and the hottest part of the day is set aside for schoolwork (we don’t homeschool, but I want to so bad!), reading time for all those summer reading programs, individual play, character training, memory verses, and quiet rest time.

Late afternoon will have us doing one extra cleaning task, free play indoors and outside playtime, most likely involving water (I may even get my car washed on a regular basis this way, ha ha!). And of course after dinner we have our family Bible time.

Thanks to the books “Managers Of Their Homes” and “Managers Of Their Chores,” I see this summer being productive and low on the “I’m bored” complaints.

Also, I have to throw this out there really quick, but I’ve been trying to find a daily personal planner that fits my needs as a mom of four, and I could never find anything I really liked. Then a couple nights ago I was playing with stumble.com and stumbled on the blog theoxfordplacediaries.blogspot.com and the blogger there came up with this really cool “seasonal planner” that I loved so much I grabbed an old thee-pronged folder and scoured the internet for similar printables (that were free), and I assembled it this afternoon. Between my “goals” page and my month-spread-across-two-pages calender, I came up with a schedule for extra cleaning tasks (such as wiping down walls in the kitchen one day, cleaning the glass doors in the kitchen the next day, wiping baseboards another day, little tasks that aren’t part of daily/weekly cleaning).

Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? No. But I have a bigger goal of preparing for the possibility of homeschooling full-time, plus I have changed my mindset from “raising children” to “raising godly young men,” which has changed the way I approach parenting and planning activities/schedules for my boys. I think, with having goals bigger than “keeping the children entertained,” or “just get through the summer with my sanity in tact,” it makes my proposed plan for the summer not seem so daunting.

Now, the need to lose 10 lbs in the next 6 weeks or so, THAT’S an overwhelming prospect! I’m hoping the daily walks to the park (with me pushing the stroller around the track for part of that time), combined with less internet time (I only have 30-45 minutes scheduled in the evening, mostly for blogging) and more home organization/cleaning will be enough physical activity to see a small change. OK, there will be more than that, but I’ll leave the weight-loss stuff for another post 🙂

What are your plans for the summer? Let me know in the comment section below!

OMGosh! New Year’s Resolutions!!

 

 

YES!!!! It’s that time again, time to make our New Year’s Resolutions (NYR).

I love beginnings. I admit I like starting projects on Mondays, and the first day of the month, and I get downright giddy when the first of the month falls on a Monday. Sadly, the new year and the new month fall on a Sunday, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love the first day of a new month, and the beginning of a new year is just a bonus.My excitement for the new year is less about the year and more about the month.

That said, my NYRs include completing half my 101/1001 list, and going Paleo/Primal (and at least getting my kids gluten-free since from what I read, GF can help children with difficulties focusing). And, ok, I admit it, my other NYR is also the number one NYR in the country, lose weight (about 10 lbs, and I will be talking about it here, yay for you LOL!). Oh, and finish decluttering and getting organized (Christmas didn’t set back my progress as much as I feared).

I just bought the book The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, as well as his cookbook The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, but my real first step will be throwing out the processed stuff and only eating real food. Processed stuff masquerades as “healthy” with its low-fat and low-calorie label, so don’t think that just because you cut out your Chips Ahoy and switched to organic low-fat cookies that you’re really doing your self a favor, it’s still junk.

As for the fitness aspect, of course I plan on teaching Turbo Kick (and I’m going to get certified to teach PiYo as well), and even though it goes against Mark’s teachings, I also have a half marathon lined up a couple months from now (I don’t expect to lose a pound while training for that). What Mark DOES suggest is sprinting, or some other High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which my favorite DVD series, Turbo Fire, has. I plan on using the shorter HIIT workouts when I don’t feel like sprinting outside (it gets really, REALLY HOT in the summer here).

So what are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions?

 

Building My Routines Part Two

Yesterday I talked about why I wanted to start building daily routines both for myself and for my children. Today, I want to give you a rough idea of how I’ve been building. Please note that I am using both Fly Lady‘s system, and www.titus2.com‘s “Manager’s Of Their Chores” book, and I did not come up with all of this on my own.

First thing Fly Lady asks us to do is shine our sinks. I admit I didn’t start doing that until last week, and I found Fly Lady several years ago! I’m not just building my routines, I’m training my children, so shining my sink became a priority. Here’s why: My oldest son’s job is to empty the dishwasher. When he would give me attitude (he has since adjusted it) I would point out that I can’t do my job (washing dishes, loading dishwasher) if he doesn’t do his. It hit me about a week ago, that by not keeping my sink cleaned out, I’m not showing my son that I do mean it when I say that we are a team. I’m not doing my part if I’m not keeping up on the dishes. I have since committed to (and following through with) washing dishes/loading the dishwasher as dishes are dirtied. A bonus to this is by keeping my sink clear, dishes don’t pile up on my counters, helping keep those clear, which helps my kitchen at least *look* neater.

Another thing Fly Lady asks is that we “swish and swipe,” doing a quick wipe down of the bathroom every morning. Fast wipe of the counter and sink, swift swirl of the toilet brush in the bowl (I also wipe the rest of the toilet). This is not a deep cleaning, this is a literally for me a two minute job. And I do it after I get dressed for the gym first thing in the morning, or at the latest, after I get out of the shower and I’m dressed and made up and still in the bathroom. I have started having my five-year-old do the same in the front bathroom, and it was easier to get him to do it without complaint when I explained that I do this every morning too. Because I strive to always tell my children the truth (even if it is the kid-friendly, sanitized version), I realized I just made myself accountable.

And it’s this accountability that has spurred more effort in keeping up the house. If I’m going to tell my children that they need to help out around the house, well, I better be helping out around the house too. So I also set aside time in the morning, after everyone is at school and I’m home from the gym to do a quick pickup of the house. As simplistic as this sounds, I have found that if I continually pick up items that are not in their correct places, the bigger cleaning tasks, such as vacuuming or mopping, aren’t so overwhelming (having to stop vacuuming before you start because of toys, random papers, etc makes a relatively simple task that much bigger. Much easier to take care of things as you see them).

So I have my morning “swish and swipe,” check Facebook over breakfast, dress the little boys, check on the older two’s chores, and then we’re out the door.

After I get home from the gym and shower, it’s really fast pick up the house #1, feed everyone at home, and during nap time I catch up on FB (I like to offer up advice on fitness, ESPECIALLY to pregnant women, and weight loss, preaching the good word of clean eating and weight lifting, smacking down the idea that 1,200 calories a day is enough to fuel the exercising person desiring weight loss), listen to or view business motivational calls and webinars, and do laundry.

The only change to this is on the days that the younger two are at our church’s “Mother’s Day Out” program, where I get four hours to do vacuuming, mopping, and my ongoing declutter project in the baby’s room.

I just realized how long this is! I guess I’m going to turn this into a three part series! Join me tomorrow for the “exciting” (ha ha!) conclusion of where I am now, and where I want to be!

But real quick, what are some of the things that you MUST do every day (besides shower and brush your teeth!)?

Building Routines Part One

Several years ago, while researching organizing tips, I found flylady.net. I admit I have not kept up with the routines and the routine building all this time. But lately, with my focus on accomplishing goals, I’ve discovered that I’m wasting a lot of time not doing the things that need to be done on a daily/weekly basis in a timely manner, at a set time of day. I’m a stay at home mom, so it’s easy for me to put off some chores until later, but many times later is after the kids go to bed, which is my prime work time. Also, when I am not working with my automatic routines and my to-do list, I find myself going into a mental lock and ending up on the internet.

Something that I have also been working on is making a chore chart/list for my kids. “You make your kids WORK!? Oh, the horror! Kids should be kids!!” I tell you now, I had very few responsibilities growing up, which was cool at the time, but then I grew up, moved out, and got married. When I met my husband, I was living with a friend who lived his life separate from mine, so I often cooked for myself. Since I didn’t really know how to cook, I ate a lot of Easy Mac and frozen burritos (so healthy!). Well, when my husband and I got married, obviously I couldn’t serve mac n cheese or burritos all the time, so I struggled to learn how to cook (I thank God for Rachel Ray and her 30 Minute Meals show. I wouldn’t have learned to cook without her!).

Growing up, I wasn’t expected to do any real housekeeping, and my room was a mess frequently. You can imagine what my house looked like shortly after having my first baby! I was too embarrassed to have anyone over ever (Fly Lady calls it Can’t Have Anyone Over syndrome, or CHAOS). It has really only been the last couple years that the picking up I go and regularly decluttering really sunk in.

I do not want my kids to move out without knowing how to plan/shop/prepare/cook several HEALTHY meals, run a load of laundry from wash to dried/folded/PUT AWAY, and how to keep their homes tidy. I’m telling you right now, from personal experience, kids do not just learn this stuff magically on their 18th birthdays. We need to teach them while they are still young, starting with keeping their toys picked up and building on until they could easily run the house by themselves as they grow in age, ability and maturity. A side bonus is when EVERYONE does a little bit, even if it’s just pick up after themselves, it eases the burden of the one who usually runs everything in the house (usually mom, whether she stays at home or works full-time).

Anyway, in the process of building my own routines (I’ll get there, I promise!) I have also started building the routines of my older children, which re-enforces my routines because I want to be the good example.

Now that you know a little of the “Why,” go to flylady.net to see where I got the inspiration for my own routines (no, I do not get paid for sending traffic her way! I just want everyone to know that she has good ideas for home maintenance!), and I will go into the “How.”

Teeth

I have an odd confession to make: My 7-almost-8-month-old baby’s teeth bother me. WHY??!!!

He is my fourth baby, but I have been in (serious) denial that he will grow up. As if willing him to stay a baby would work! I didn’t see head control, sitting up, and seal-flopping (like crawling only without the hand-knee coordination) as growing up things, just make-my-life-slightly-easier things.

A week ago I saw the little teeth attempting to reach the surface, and a couple days ago they erupted. I kept thinking, he’s too young for teeth! Then I’d remember that he’s almost eight months. Where did the time go? My willing him to stay small was working for a while then suddenly he has teeth and is close to his first birthday!

I guess the fact that we are done having kids has really made me feel the need to cling to our last baby’s “babyhood”.

Just my random thought of the night 🙂

Busy Day Today

My family went to an outdoor military museum this morning. There were tents set up with real gear used during the various war eras showcased. My favorite had to be the tent with the working WWII communication radios and record player. The big boys adored the M5 artillery tractor, a tracked vehicle that carried artillery pieces (cannons) and the men that operated the pieces, that we got to ride around in. We all liked learning about the other vehicles that were there, such as an M4 Sherman tank, M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, and a river boat that was used by the navy in Viet Nam.

My husband had a great time teaching the young buck manning the old rifle table all about the types the young man had displayed (including a model 1895 Krag Jorgenson that no one else had correctly identified!).

(**Pictures will be added tomorrow**).

I admit that I’m not a history buff, but I love museums, and find them to be a great tool to spark an interest in this nation’s history (or natural history, take your pick), and a great motivator to study certain subjects further when you get home. I just loved talking about what we learned today around the dinner table!

I also went to a baby shower at the local winery this afternoon for a woman in my Sunday school and women’s Bible study classes. The guests were all from the church, and I enjoyed the time spent with them outside of church.

Great weekend so far!

Halloween…

… at the grocery store! Seriously, the store down the road (where I get my daily salted caramel mochas, a habit I need to quit!) had games and candy and best of all, it was free!

My older three decorated cookies…

 

…and played a “knock over the ghosts” game.



They played other games, including pumpkin (bean bag) toss, cookie stacking races, pin the nose on the Jack ‘O Lantern, a ring toss and a cupcake walk. Everyone left with some candy (my kids weren’t greedy like some of the other kids who grabbed handfuls of candy from the buckets), their cookies and a cupcake each.

It was fun and it was FREE!!

 

Oh, when I was helping the kids find costumes in the dress-up box, I found the cool hats my husband brought home from Afghanistan. No, I am not wearing it correctly!

(Note the drool spot on my shoulder! I have a teething baby!)