Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm not cut out for Dating!

A few days ago, Savannah texted me. "Mom, he asked me out!!!" referring to the boy she'd been talking about nonstop for the past week.
I immediately replied, "Yay!"
About two seconds later, I came to my senses and realized what I'd just written. What was wrong with me. Yay??? What was I thinking? What happened to those days of normal, rational thinking when boys said hi to my daughter.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Because We Moms Like to Talk About Pregnancy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We're Going to Hollywood!

My parents got me and my kids three-day passes to Disney World for Christmas which is awesome because, as it turns out “the happiest place on earth” is also one of “the most expensive places on earth”. Yesterday, I took my kids to Hollywood Studios. We had a ton of fun and I learned a few things about my family as well, so really it was an educational trip.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Small Act of Kindness - Week Three

A couple days ago, Savannah and I were sitting in the waiting room of her orthopedist. It’s a large, wide-open room and at the time, we were the only ones occupying it. After a few minutes of waiting, an elderly woman in a wheel chair rolled through the doors. She came to stop right next to us. I mean, she was as close as she could possibly get without actually crashing into us. I gave Savannah a sidelong glance meant to convey the following thoughts: She’s got the whole, entire, empty room and she chooses to sit on top of us? Personal space, lady!

Savannah shot me a raised-eyebrow, dubious look back. I carefully avoided eye contact with the woman because obviously, only crazy people get so close for no particular reason. The fact that I wasn’t being very neighborly only played at the fringes of my mind as I studiously ignored the woman. Although, honestly, it wasn’t really a conscious decision to avoid the woman; it just sort of came naturally. It’s not that I don’t like talking to people, but I guess it’s simply easier to stay in my own world with blinders on to everything else.

Then she dropped the magazines that had been perched on her lap. Without thinking, I reached down, scooped up the scattered pages and handed them back to her. She thanked me and said, “You’re so kind.” I didn’t feel very kind, however. I felt ashamed that my first instinct was to avoid all contact. I decided to remedy that. I smiled and we started talking. I learned that she’d been a chemistry major back in the day and she had to walk upstairs to do her labs and a girl in her class had had polio and couldn’t walk so every day, four guys would carry her upstairs so she could participate in the labs, and bathroom doors are too heavy, and the train tracks from here to Louisiana were damaged in Hurricane Katrina and hadn’t been repaired yet, and if she was running the world, things would be different. The conversation was mostly one-sided, but I think she was just happy to have someone to listen to her chatter.

This encounter gave me the idea for this week’s small act of kindness. Talk to a stranger. At least once this week, don’t take the easy way out. Make an effort to connect with another human. You never know, perhaps they live alone and are lonely for conversation. Maybe they’re depressed and wondering what’s the point. Maybe they’re an angel walking among us. Sure, sometimes it can be uncomfortable stepping out of our zone like that, but you never know the effect it might have on another human being. So give it a try.

And as always, please share your ideas and experiences here. What you have to say could inspire another individual and give them an idea. And thank you to all who have taken time to comment on the past couple weeks’ posts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Having Fun at the Table

Since we've moved to Florida, our lives have changed quite a bit. Some things, although they seemed like a curse at first, are now looking a little more like blessings. When we first moved, I refused to sign my kids up for sports. First, I wasn't sure where or how to sign them up. Secondly, I didn't have the money to pay for registration fees and uniforms and such. Also, being new to town, I didn't have any friends with whom to carpool. I wasn't sure how work was going to go and how much time I'd have to devote to a sports schedule, especially with no friends to help me out by getting a kid to practice now and then. I felt like I was depriving my kids by not letting them participate in baseball, football, dance, softball, hockey, etc. But now? I feel a little differently.

The good thing that has come from this is that the seven of us have dinner together every night. I've always made it a priority to come together at the dinner table, but when the kids are involved in activities (even with my one activity per kid rule), we end up catching a lot of meals on the fly which can be less-than-healthy, expensive, and stressful. For the past six months, my kids and I have sat down to a meal together and it's given us the chance to connect in ways we wouldn't have otherwise. In fact, we eat outside on our screened-in porch half the time. We couldn't do that back home in Chicagoland!

Sometimes we share the best and worst parts of our days, but for the teens this generally deteriorates into, "The worst part of my day is playing this game and trying to think of the best and worst parts of my day". More often, we just goof around, tell jokes, talk about silly things that happened during the day, and laugh with each other. It may not make for deep, profound conversations, but it relaxes us, lets us enjoy each other's company, and enables us to simply unwind and laugh while sharing a meal. In fact, just last night, my five-year-old Brooklyn looked at seventeen-year-old Austin and said, "If you were a girl, you'd be pretty."
"Um, thanks, Brooklyn?"
This was followed by a monster burp courtesy of Clayton.

Yeah, we're classy that way. But we have fun together. So, what are your favorite dinnertime traditions? There's an article on Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site right now that talks about how one family has a different theme for every week night to make dinnertime fun and give them something to look forward to while waiting for the weekend. Check it out. And while you're there, submit your own fun family traditions for a chance to have your story featured on the site and/or a chance to win a Subway gift card!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Awkward Photos are the Best!

Over at Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time, there's an article about creating an album of shame. Basically, it talks about how, in this digital age, we simply delete the pictures wherein a family member has bad hair, a double-chin, or a goofy smile. Or maybe we go to town with Photoshop, ensuring everyone looks perfect in the family photo. This article encourages us to keep those goofy pictures and use them in our own Awkward Family Photos type album. I couldn't agree more! With six kids, it's near impossible to get them all looking and smiling at the same time. For every "perfect" picture, I have fifty hilarious ones and those are the ones I love. They capture my goofy family much better than the posed, matched clothes, smiling ones.

Check out Fresh Takes for Family for inspired ideas on fun family traditions! And, as always, you can submit your own story for a chance at a Subway gift card and a chance to have your story featured on the site!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Goes Up, Must Comes Down

It seems my kids are incapable of taking off their socks without turning them inside out. They’re incapable of putting their bikes anywhere but in a heap on the driveway. They can’t seem to put their plates in the dishwasher without fifteen reminders. And you can just forget about them ever figuring out something as complicated as the toilet paper holder. Their shoes can be found pretty much anywhere in the house except on the shoe rack. Despite numerous reminders, homework remains scattered about the house during the night until the morning scramble to get out the door. They think the ‘no eating in the family room’ rule doesn’t apply to them, and that sleeves and napkins are interchangeable.


Monday, January 9, 2012

One Small Act of Kindness - Week Two

My idea for week two is to bake something for someone. Make a cake for a neighbor, bake some cookies for your coworkers, whip up a pan of brownies for a member of your church who's been going through a tough time, recently had surgery, has their hands full taking care of sick kids. I mean, who doesn't love baked goods, right? And this is a perfect way to get your kids involved. They can help you come up with names of people to whom you can deliver the goodies, and they can help you bake or decorate the cookies, cupcakes, etc. What a fun way to spend time with your kids and teach them about selfless giving!

I made a pan of baklava that I'm going to bring to work to share with my new coworkers who have helped me, shown me patience while I've learned the ropes, and simply befriended me. I hope they enjoy it. :)

So, who's with me this week? If you choose to participate every week or just now and then, please, please, please leave a comment here and let us know what you did, how it made you feel, and how you think it will affect others. I can't wait to hear your stories!

One Small Act of Kindness - Week One

This is a project I wanted to start the first week of this new year, however, as with so many things these days, I dropped the ball and didn't get this post up in time. Still, I really want to do this project, so I figured it's better late than never.

You can't underestimate the power of a random act of kindness, a kind word, a small gesture, a thoughtful gift. Like the picture Jackson drew last year when he was in the hospital, you never know how your small act of kindness will affect others. It can be so far-reaching.

Jackson is in the center. He does something nice for three people. They, in turn, do something nice for two or three more people, and so on, and so on, and so on . . .

I'll toss out some ideas every week. You can use my idea or come up with your own. If you have a great idea that you'd like to share with everyone, please do!

My idea for week one (which has already passed, I know, but you can still fit it in sometime) is to pick up the tab for a stranger. I know sometimes it can be difficult to step out of your comfort zone so I thought we'd start off easy this week. While in line at Starbucks, McDonald's, etc., pay for the person's order behind you. Or while driving through the tollbooth, give the attendant money for the car (or two or ten) behind you. You don't have to spend a lot. Imagine how it will make someone's day when they pull up to the window to pay for their coffee only to discover that the person in front of them already picked up the tab!

So, who's with me? If you choose to participate every week or just now and then, please, please, please leave a comment here and let us know what you did, how it made you feel, and how you think it will affect others. I can't wait to hear your stories!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Santa's on MY Naughty List

I need to have a serious talk with Santa. Year after year, he brings my kids gifts that drive me up a wall. I’m sure his intentions are pure, but he sure makes some stupid gift choices. I really don’t understand these rookie mistakes. I mean, the guy’s been delivering presents to good little boys and girls for what, like a bazillion years, right? And speaking of good little boys and girls, I’m not entirely sure his “checking it twice” method is working. I’m pretty sure I have a kid or two who should’ve been on the naughty list.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

If I Fall Asleep RIGHT NOW . . .

Over my two week winter break, I slowly reverted back to my habit of staying up late and sleeping in even later, but in an effort to get myself ready to go back to work, yesterday I woke up early (okay, I woke up at 8:00 which, in all fairness, was early compared to how late I’d been sleeping). Then, last night, I went to bed at 10:00 like a good girl so I could wake up all bright-eyed and ready to take on my students once again. And by bright-eyed and ready to take on my students, of course I mean, getting out of bed, having a pulse, and not falling asleep during any classes.


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