Thursday, August 30, 2012

I am doing some things right...

Yesterday in my Mommy melt-down post, I pretty much bashed myself as a parent.  It was just that kind of day.  I felt "unglued" from the time my feet hit the floor. But today I want to take a different approach.  I'm a good mom.  I believe that.  I do think that "good moms" always think there are things that we should be doing better.  That's what makes us good moms.  Bad moms don't care how they're doing things.  Right?
Well, here are some things I think we are doing well (or things that show we are doing well).  First of all, I'm pretty "hard" on our children.  Hard is in quotations because I don't think it's that bad, but I do require some sort of responsibility and accountability on their part.  They are little bitty people.... that grow up (very quickly) into grown up people.  And those grown up people will be expected to live in society and interact with people and take care of themselves.  Therefore, I want to raise little ladies that are prepared for that.  I want my children to have good manners and to be thoughtful. Which they are (with the exception of the gas that Julianne passed in church last night... please excuse her... if you were close to us, she did say it wasn't funny... but it was).  My children are thoughtful.  I wish I could record their prayers at night.  They remember to pray for people that I don't even think about again.  We pray for their teachers and their friends, anyone that wasn't at school and some that were there but were acting mean, we pray for friends that are sick and for Mr. Chuck (our minister), we pray for our Great Grandmothers and all of our extended family.  We are doing a good job.  Our children know the most important skill they will ever learn.  To talk to God.
Tuesday while we were meeting a friend for lunch, we heard a fire truck.  Lucy's first reaction was, "Mommy, are we going to pray?"  We did.  And we do every time we hear a fire truck or ambulance. And I'm thankful they want to.  They are learning to be thoughtful and to understand (as much as they can) the feelings of others and how scared they must be if they needed to call 911.
I think we are doing a good job because most people enjoy being around our children.  We've all been around the kid(s) that drive us nuts.  I don't want my children to be that way.  Let me be clear.  My children are normal children.  They can be clingy and annoying.... but overall, they are great kids.  And most people enjoy spending (limited amounts of) time with them.  :)
I don't like for my children to run around in restaurants or stare over the booth at people.  I've been known to say, "They don't think you're as cute as I do."  Is that mean?  I don't think so... it's true.  I think my children are beautiful and hilarious and the best kids on the planet.  But I do realize that other people don't think they're as cute as I do.  You know how I know that???  Because I don't think other people's kids are all that cute.  I just don't.  I enjoy (a tiny bit) a cute story every now and then, but 99.999% of the time, I don't really think the story is anywhere near as cute as anything my kids do.  And that's normal, I think.
We demand respect.  I expect to hear yes ma'am and no ma'am, yes sir and no sir from my children.  We live in the south.  That's what we do.  They are learning (through trial and error, sometimes) the things they can and can't say to us.  Sometimes the line between friend/parent is crossed and we have to remind them that they need to watch their tone.  But they're learning.  And we make it clear when the line has been crossed.
I'm very thankful for my children.  And their daddy that holds the same standard of discipline that I do. I don't know what I would do if Jason and I didn't agree on parenting.  I can't imagine how difficult that would be to have a very strict parent and one that just lets everything go.  We are on the same page most of the time.... at least when he can keep a straight face... hehe.
Well, it's almost time for the troops to get up for school, but I just had to give myself a little pat on the back...  I think I'm a pretty good mama... and I have bad days... just like all the other good mamas.  But I'm trying.  I'm doing my best to raise good kids into great adults.  I pray every day I don't mess them up too badly. :)
Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back in the saddle

We've been back in school for a week and a half (well, Adelaide has) and I am SO ready for our routine to be perfected and life to return to "normal."  Adelaide's teacher, Mrs. Collins, is wonderful and we are so very excited for this year!  Mrs. Collins is so structured and organized and that's just what Adelaide needed this year.  We are working on personal responsibility and taking care of your things.

That is exactly what prompted my mommy-meltdown this morning.  I've been really proud of myself the last couple of weeks.  I've had all of her clothes picked out and ready.  I've packed her lunch the night before and had everything ready and in her folder in her backpack.  Her responsibility is to get up (she got an alarm clock this year.... more on that later), make her bed and come downstairs.  I fix breakfast, she gets dressed and brushes her teeth.  Then she's supposed to get her backpack.  I don't think that's too much for an almost 7 year old!!!  Well,  I have to remind her everyday to get her backpack... and it's hanging on a hook by the back door!  I know I know, she's only gone to school for 8 days, but still!!!  That's your only job... get your backpack!

So, after gently reminding her to get her back pack *again* I get everyone buckled to pick up our neighbor for carpool.  I stop at our stop sign only to see Lucy's BRAND NEW pair of Uggs that my mom sent her YESTERDAY!!!  She's worn them exactly 1 time and they were left outside overnight.
I'll take a moment to tell you I've been reading the book "Unglued" by Lysa Terkuerst (I have no idea if that's spelled right).  I think I've been doing better at being calm and gentle and choosing my actions, but for the experience we had this morning, I need a sequel called, "Un-super-glued."  Because it was ugly, folks.  Really ugly.  I like things to be orderly and calm and I like for everyone to have responsibility for their own things and their own spaces... and that's not really happening.  At all.
I feel like I'm doing the work of 12 people and the least you could do IS PICK UP YOUR BRAND NEW BOOTS AND TAKE THEM INTO THE STINKING HOUSE!!!!!  *deep breath*  That deep breath was supposed to calm me, instead I used it to take another breath and light into them about how I need help and that they need to be picking up their stuff and remembering their backpack and putting away their laundry.... on... and on.... and on.  Fail.  Again.

So, I'm making progress, imperfect progress.  But progress.

I apologized for flipping out, but asked them to PLEASE for the love of mankind and all things in this world that are good, pick up your shoes!

I even sent Adelaide's teacher an email and told her that I acted like a crazy person this morning and I was regretting it and would she please give Adelaide an extra pat on the back today?

Okay, there.  I feel better.

I told Lucy that since she wasn't taking care of her shoes, I was thinking of making her wear the same pair of shoes for a whole week (that's like serious torture for my shoe-loving Lucy).   I told her at the end of the week, if she was learning to take care of her things, I would let her have her other shoes back.  She responded with, "will I get any money?"  Um, no.  This isn't a reward... it's a consequence.  I don't know if I'll stick with that since she obviously doesn't understand the connection of the two.
Lucy and Julianne met their teachers yesterday and we are so excited for this year!  I know Lucy and Julianne are very excited to start, too.  They aren't understanding why Adelaide gets to go to school and they don't.

So, as far as routines and schedules... they're coming.  And I'm oh so ready to embrace them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to school time! Schedules and goals

Well, it's almost that time of year again!  Back to school time!  I love this time of year!  Not just because it means I get a little bit of a break while my kids are in school (although, I admit, I'm a little excited about that.... it's been a busy summer!) but I've always thought that the hype of buying school supplies and a new backpack and lunchbox is so much fun!  And my girls get SO excited about meeting their teachers and their new friends!!!  It's just very exciting!
Plus, it means fall is soon to come, which is my favorite season!  Fall means pumpkin (do you guys know how much I love pumpkin everything?), football (I loved football season before I lived in a football state, so now it's even more fun!), cool evenings but warm enough days to play outside, leggings (I hope this leggings trend never gets old... it's like wearing sweats all the time), soup, chili nights, family time and beautiful leaves.  I can't wait.  Okay, that's enough wishing my life away.
But for reals, it is so much fun to live through Adelaide's excitement!  Lucy and Julianne are excited, too, but Adelaide meets her teacher on Friday and starts first grade on Monday, so right now is her time!  She seriously checked the mail 100 times the last several days waiting on her teacher letter!  She was so disappointed when it didn't come as expected!  When she read her letter, her eyes just beamed!   She has Mrs. Collins.  She doesn't know anything about Mrs. Collins, but she is thrilled to just know her name!  It's fun to get on facebook and find out who all is in her class! Remember when we were kids and we had to wait and look around or call everyone to find out who's in our class!?  Well, thank goodness for facebook!  I knew within minutes that Adelaide had several friends in her class!!!
I know this is going to be a great year! I can't believe Adelaide is a first grader!  This is almost more shocking than Kindergarten!  Kindergarten still sounds sort of little... but FIRST grade!?  When did that happen!?
So, this week, our last week of summer with all the kiddies home, we are making the best of it!  Monday was super busy for me, but Jason took the girls to eat at Tip Top Grill and to run and play in the park.  Tuesday we went to the zoo with Hope, Braden and Brooks.  They drove all the way from Florence to play with us.  We had a great day!!!
Today we are hitting McWane with Amilia and Bella, Adelaide's friends from 4K, tomorrow we have a playdate with Ayla, Adelaide's most favorite friend from Kindergarten (she's also in Adelaide's first grade class, and I couldn't be more excited because her mama and I also became good friends over the last year.  Friday, we meet Adelaide's teacher!!  I mean, really, what a fun week!
I am so thankful for a summer with my kiddos, but we really operate better on a schedule.  Here is my hope, plan and dream for this school year.  I love to be organized.  Sometimes my yearning to be organized doesn't actually last into staying organized.  A lot of being organized, at least for me, is finding a system that works for us.  So, sometimes I spend what seems like forever creating a system and then I figure out that it doesn't really work well for us.  That is disappointing, but I'm doing better at realizing that we just have to move on to something else if that doesn't work.
So, what I'm PLANNING for the school year is to prepare a lot in the afternoon.  I don't do nights. I'm an early bird. But I don't really get moving all that fast in the mornings anymore.  Here's my reasoning.... hear me out.  Julianne's room is right next to our bedroom.  I love it this way because when she was tiny, we didn't have to worry about stairs when she got up during the  night.  It's still fine, but I don't really love how light of a sleeper she is.  She wakes up at the beep of the coffee pot or the wood creaking when we walk.  And now that she's in a regular bed, she is up as soon as she hears us stirring.  You would think the third child would sleep through everything.  You know we haven't been quiet for her... but she is a light sleeper... sometimes I don't think that's something you can "unlearn."  All that to say, since she wakes up so easily, it makes the early morning prep less helpful.  It doesn't do me a lot of good to wake up 2 hours before everyone else to pack lunches and get ready when she's up as soon as my feet hit the floor.  So, my plan for this year is to get my lunch prep, backpack prep and clothes picked out in the afternoon.  I'm going to try this for awhile.  I think making lunches during the dinner prep is probably the best time for me.  I'll already be bustling around in the kitchen, but it's before I'm exhausted.  When I get the kiddos to bed, I'm done.  I mean, like hit the couch as soon as I get downstairs, done.  So, I think afternoon will work better for us.
My goal is to have backpacks loaded and clothes picked out the day before.  We started this last year, but by the end of the year, we were scrambling in the morning to find clothes and library books... I want to do better this year.  I don't want to rush every morning.  I want us to have a calm breakfast and a happy start to the day.  I'm still planning to get up early.  I don't like waking up with my children.  I like a few minutes with my coffee cup and my Bible before I see anyone and get bombarded with "I need a drink, what's for breakfast, Disney junior."
There, I wrote it down, so now I have to do it, right?  Afternoon prep... remind me to tell you how it's going.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Julianne's birthday party

We are back in the normal swing of things... and by normal I mean, we're doing the no-fun stuff like laundry and meal planning that I've neglected the past... oh... forever.  I vow that we will have clean towels and washcloths by bath time tonight.  I hope.  After our world travels this summer and my convention in Las Vegas and Julianne's birthday party.... I'm ready for life to return to "normal."  Whatever that looks like around here.  It sure has been a fun summer, though.  I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the early, packed schedule of school, but I am certainly looking forward to more structure to our days and an earlier bedtime.  For all of us.  I didn't take a ton of photos at convention, but here are a few.  It really was such a fun trip.  Minus the Las Vegas junk.  I really don't like that place.  I am very thankful to be involved with such a caring, giving company, though.  The motto of Scentsy's founders is "give more than you take."  I love that.  I try to live that every day.  Some days I do better than others, but it's definitely a goal.
When I returned it was full on birthday party planning mode!  I had a done a ton of prep work before I left (mostly while my girls were in Memphis for the week), but there are so many things that can't be done until the week of the party... in fact a lot falls on the day before... which stresses me out.
I had a list (of course I had a list, do you guys know me?).  And I just worked to crossing off as much from the list as possible.  I got all of it done except for the tissue paper poms that I really wanted to make, but finally decided I could let it go.
On to the party... Julianne loves Dora.  Loves.  So, it was a given that we would have a Dora party. I don't like character parties.  This isn't meant to be harsh toward those of you that love characters.  I just get overload.  I don't like to see a character head on every piece of partyware.  Dora plates, cups, cupcakes, party hats, toilet paper... I just can't stand it.  So, I like to take a character and then plan a theme around it.  You might remember our birthday parties from last year.  The Sesame Street party was about as much character as I can handle.... but the details were primary colors.  The Mary Poppins theme was probably my favorite ever.... and the Tangled party was a huge success.
Back to Dora.  I thought it would be fun to have a Fiesta with Dora accents.  It was just enough Dora for me!  We had food from Salsaritas... which was perfect.  They delivered it and set everything up!  I would totally use them again.  We had a nacho bar, which I think was great for the adults and kiddos.... although I'm pretty sure my kids didn't really eat.  They were way too excited!
The decorations matched the invitations and I went with a color theme... bright, fun, fiesta colors.... teal, hot pink, yellow, orange, purple and lime green.  I found the idea on Pinterest to use wrapping paper for table runners and that worked out perfect!  I found wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby (can you say 40% off coupon) and it was just enough for all of the tables.... in exactly the right colors.
The invitations cracked me up.... even if I did write them. :)
They had very Dora wording... and I was afraid that people that didn't watch Dora wouldn't know what I was talking about, but they thought I was just being silly. The invitations said, "Come on, vamonos.  Everybody let's go!  Let's celebrate Julianne's third birthday with a Fiesta!  (address and info)  Did Swiper Swipe your day?  (rsvp info).  Dinner will be served, so make sure you let me know you're coming.  If you don't get a taco, you'll be a Grumpy Old Troll!"
I loved the invitations!  You can find the lovely lady that made them here.
We played some Dora games like Pin the Backpack on Dora.  I just printed out backpacks and cut them out.  The kids colored them and then we taped them on the custom drawn Dora (made by Daddy).  We also had a Troll Bridge with shapes cut out that the kids had to put in place before they walked across the bridge.  They were rewarded on both games with Dora fruit snacks.
I wish we had gotten a picture of the school supply stash!  Julianne has been so blessed and we have more toys than anyone should... so we decided to take donations for our church's school supply drive instead of presents.  That was very successful!!!  I'm pretty sure they have collected everything they needed!
Thank you, again, to everyone that came and supported Julianne.  It definitely takes a village to raise a child... and I'm convinced my children have the best Village in the land!
Stay tuned for two more birthday parties happening in October!  For right now the themes will be Tinkerbell (although that's what Lucy requested last year and then she changed to Mary Poppins) and Lilo and Stitch (aka a luau).
The ribbon banner the girls helped to make
I told you the invitations were adorbs.

Umbrella topiary with black beans... watch out, this might make another appearance in October. :)

Caroline with her mini-maracas

Kids table... Dora stickers, tiny pinatas, mini-maracas and Backpacks to color

The main pinata... full of goodies

Lucy and Dora... I see a resemblance. :)

Photo station... mustaches, sombrero, pancho thingy and maracas

The cake!

Sombrero cake

Lucy Goosey

Heather came to help me set up!  Thanks, Heather!

Mimi and Pops got here just in time. Thanks for coming such a long way for such a short time. 

Me and Suzanna

Senor Unibrow

Birthday girl

Juli closing her eyes and folding her hands for the blessing.  sweet.



Party pad

Beautiful Corinne


Nigel exploring

Juli handing Mr. Nick something


Braxton and Corinne... fast friends. 

Julianne and her sugarwater delicious barrel drink


Coloring her backpack

Juli's main squeeze, Bobby.

Donnie keeping a watchful eye on the swings.

Pin the backpack on Dora.

Shy face

Jonathan, this might come back to haunt you

Happy Birthday to you!

That's the face of an angel.

Blow the candles out!

Adelaide and Emma
Some people asked about my party planning... I'll do a blog post on that soon.  How I organize, how I plan and how I execute! :)