Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weight Loss - Want to Join Me?

I've been thinking that I'm gonna need some help in losing this baby weight. Here's what I'm proposing...

Let's create a blog for losing weight. We'll share the password and only allow those that are doing the weight loss challenge to be able to view it (so it will be a private blog).

We can post weight loss tickers for each of us on the blog. You wouldn't be posting your actual weight - just the amount of weight you want to lose.

We would each post what we ate for the day (making us keep track of our calories/points and being accountable to everyone else while also giving suggestions for food choices at the same time - who wants a salad everyday, ya know?)

We could also post how much exercise we're doing and what kind we like, etc.

And of course supportive notes and thoughts. I think this could be fun!

Anyone interested? Got other ideas as well? If there is even one other person really interested in doing a private weight loss blog with me, I'll create it. All you'll need to do is post (and support me! LOL!)

Invite your friends to join us too! I'll just need an email address to invite you to join the blog.

Attitude and Chores

Two things I want to work on (especially with my oldest) are chores and attitude. This summer Will has begun to test the waters with how far he can go in misbehaving. I don't know if it's just a phase of the age (almost 5) or if it's because Witt came into the world this summer and has taken more of my attention or if it's just cabin fever since we've been cooped up in the house (it's been way to hot to play outside). No matter what the reason, the attitude and misbehavior must go!

I know the first thing I need to change is myself, though. I need to focus on more one-on-one time with him. I also need to change my behavior in that it probably appears to him that he comes last. One example: He always wants a drink or something to eat as soon as I sit down to nurse Witt and he has to wait. So if I can take care of his needs/wants before nursing, I've eliminated me telling him to wait. Also, most days there are a few minutes where the two youngest are asleep at the same time and I can play trains, tell stories, or just whatever. Yesterday and today I took those minutes and did whatever he wanted to do. Today he spent 15 minutes playing the "what if" game. It goes something like this:

Will: What if the toy broke?
Me: I'd put it back together.
Will: What if you didn't have tape?
Me: I'd use glue.
Will: What if you were out of glue?
Me: Well, I guess I'd buy some more.
Will: What if the store was shut down for repairs?
Me: I'd call grandmother.
Will: What if grandmother was asleep for the whole summer?
Me: I'd wake her up.
Will: What if she was so tired she couldn't wake up?
Me: I'd call Nana.
Will: What if Nana's shops were under construction?
Me: I'd buy it off ebay.
Will: What if that place was under construction, too?
etc., etc., etc.

This is part of the ACTUAL CONVERSATION we had for 15 minutes!!! I even stopped him to ask if he wanted to ask questions with his time or play trains. The questions continued. I was busting out laughing by the end of the set time because it just went on forever. But after that, he went quietly down for a nap without argument. So maybe I'm on the right path.

Now for chores. He has been doing "chores" for about a year now. I'm trying to come up with a way to put a system into place to help me be consistent with what I expect from him. I'm putting a chore chart together that I think will work, but I just don't know if/how to reward him. I'm having troubles with this part...

Should he be rewarded for helping maintain the flow of our family house or should it just be expected since he is part of the family?

###Stopping to think what to do### hmmmm..... think think think...

Ok, here's the system I'll try first:

1) Get a large clear jar and some cotton balls
2) Introduce the chore chart - each chore completed gets a cotton ball added to the jar
3) Make some concrete "House Rules" (to be determined) that when broken he gets 1 warning and then the second time a cotton ball is removed.
5) He can earn extra cotton balls with good behavior and manners as well as extra chores
4) When the jar is full we'll do something special (to be determined)

What do you think? Too many rules? Too complicated for a 5 year old? I would love some suggestions! Please post your thoughts!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Don't Ever Say it Out Loud"

These are the words I thought to myself this morning around 3AM, "Don't ever say it out loud!!".

Moms, have you ever noticed that when you "brag" just a little about how well your baby is sleeping at night how it all falls apart the next night? and the next night?...

We hosted a scavenger hunt at our house Saturday (had a BLAST!) but I think I mentioned to someone that Witt had been doing really well this last week with only waking briefly to feed once per night. Well, that's all I had to say I guess. Saturday night was AWFUL!! I was up about 6 times between 10 and 5 with the longest block of sleep being 2 hours. Finally at 5AM I woke hubby and asked for relief. What a good hubby! No questions asked, no complaints, just got up and went straight to Witt's room with a "Thank you for letting me sleep as long as you did." (very sweet)

I turned on the bedroom fan, shut the door and got 3 more hours of sleep! Thank you, hon!! :)

Well last night was better, but not much - no "bragging" in that statement. After several night wakings, Witt finally woke for the morning at 6:30. I turned him on his back, turned the mobile on, and put the lights on dim and went back to bed. At 6:40 I hear "MAMA" - Nathan's up. He has toys attached to his crib that he can play with so I don't get out of bed.

This morning's rescue didn't come from hubby since he was already at work. Mommy's rescuer today was big brother Will! Around 6:45 I hear running little footsteps coming down the hall. Then I hear in Witt's room a big "Ah-Booga Woo-Ga" (Will's good morning). Witt stops fussing. Will comes in my room, "Mommy it's 7:00". "No it's not, " I say sleepily (looking at the clock it's 6:57). Nathan starts up again. Will runs to Nathan's room. Quiet. Hmmm, I think I fell asleep for an extra 3 minutes. Then Will runs back to Witt's room. Giggles from Will. Then finally to my room, "Mommy, Nathan's awake. I calmed him down by throwing lots of toys in his crib!" Very proud little boy. I give Will a hearty "thank you" and a "good job" and I get out of bed to see the outcome.

Nathan's crib is indeed full of toys. In addition to the standard Thomas Sheet and blue hippo Nathan sleeps with are: one green bear the size of Nathan, 1 brown bear 3/4 the size of Nathan, a fuzzy round pillow shaped like a pumpkin, a stuffed jaguar, 1 green sock, 2 little brown bears, an orange monkey, and a set of toy keys. Oh, and Nathan was in there somewhere. LOL! It was a cute sight. (I had to take a re-enactment picture!)

Then to rescue little Witt... I could only imagine. However, in with Witt was one little Gloworm playing soft music and lit up. Happy as could be.

Isn't it amazing how Will knows what each child needs? What a good big brother he is!

Maybe by tonight Witt will have forgotten I bragged on him and I'll get some sleep... :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Signing with My Boys

Yes, we've taken up sign language. We started when Nathan was 9 months old (he's 21 months now). Nathan was a colicy baby and whined an awful lot. I decided to start signing because I thought it might help him communicate better and I thought it would be fun. I've always wanted to know how to sign. I remember being in middle school and there was a girl that was deaf. I would pretend to communicate with her. Looking back, I don't know if she thought I was tormenting her or if she thought I was just nuts.

So, back to signing with the kids. I purchased the book Sign with your Baby and started with the most common baby signs: milk, more, eat. Then at a consignment store I found the video to help me with the signs a bit more. Nathan was 10.5 months old when he signed back "more". Just in the last two weeks has he said the word, so I'd say it has helped him communicate faster. :)

He started signing things more and more quickly. We bought the first volume of Signing Time videos because he was really showing an interest and so was our oldest son, Will. Wow! Signs everywhere!! However, very few words. I got a little concerned and stopped with the signing and really focused on vocal words. There was a small improvement. However...

About this same time, Nathan had been having significant ear infections and it was time to get tubes in the ears. After the tubes were in, the dr said he should be hearing better and his speech may improve. Within 1 week of the tubes, he had said at least 5 new words!!!

With the vocal improvement, we've gone back to signing for fun and plan to get the next volume of videos for his birthday in November.

Will I sign with the youngest, Witt? Most likely. It has been a lot of fun for us and had we not done it with Nathan I think he would have been much more miserable. It's almost like I had foresight in what would happen (of course I didn't - don't want to be psychic!).

Occasionally, Nathan will look to me for a sign even after I've told him the word. I visit the ASL Browser for a quick learn.

Living Green"er"

Upon moving to our new town, I've gotten more active in recycling. The city offers pickup for certain items that can be recycled and I jump on the bandwagon as they say. Wow - who knew that we could fill that recycle bucket full each week?! Then again, we go through at least 3 gallons of milk during the week, and I do cook a lot with canned items. I get so many magazines and catalogs in the mail (many of which I just toss immediately). We also make a trip about every other month to recycle the cardboard that comes our way. (I love ordering online and through catalogs; getting things in the mail is something I find fun. Plus with the Southern Living at HOME boxes that come our way, we usually have a lot of cardboard.) So anyway... we do the recycling bit and enjoy it. Find recycling information for your area.

Hubby came home one day with a bunch of the Energy Smart light bulbs. They use less wattage but give off the same amount of light. Are they more expensive? Oh, yes. Do I love them? Yes! I could tell a difference in how hot the room felt the first day. Will's room doesn't get a lot of circulation and was always really warm when the lights were on - it's much more comfortable in there now. I can't say that we've seen a significant improvement in our electric bill, but there has been some. We will continue to use these bulbs and the nice thing is they are now coming in a more "attractive" style than just the curly bulb. Go grab a few bulbs for yourself and see if you can tell a difference - let me know.

Paper napkins. Ugh! Go through a fast food line and they either don't give you enough or they give you way toooooo many. When it's the way tooooo many option, I've started saving them and putting them with my regular "pretty" paper napkins and using them. I used to just toss them in the trash. I've also stopped using paper towels to dry my hands at home. I've purchased a beautiful hand towel holder and use a washable towel instead. If we could all just stop using/wasting one paper napkin each day... I don't know the stats. I'm not that far in to going green. Babysteps for me right now.

Now, for the latest improvement, I never thought I'd do it. Don't know why, maybe from feeling funny about walking into a grocery store with bags or having to tote my bags while I shop. I know, I know, those are both silly reasons. However, one day when checking out at our local Publix, they were selling these Green Bags for about $2 each. I remember watching Oprah one day (which I rarely do) and she was offering some for $10 each; so for $2 I bought two. The clerk packed my groceries in them and out I went feeling "green" and good. I had just saved the landfill from two plastic bags! When I got home I realized that I had saved it from more than just 2 bags - those Green Bags hold a ton of stuff! I felt even better.

The real test for me was now to remember to take them to the store with me, walk in with them, and ask the clerk to use them. I've done this twice now at Wal*Mart. Both times the greeter at the door stopped me to ask if I had returns and I had to explain the bags. Both times the clerk looked at me strangely, but complied. Both times I was amazed at how much stuff fits in those bags and how sturdy they are. I want more bags!! So, I go back to Publix which is of course sold out and doesn't know when they'll get more. I found the Green Bags on the internet for a bit more money , but purchased them anyway because I do love these bags. (Choose The Green Bag under the Product heading.) They've also got some produce bags that I ordered and thought I'd try.

Just yesterday I submitted my and my hubby's info to stop receiving the pre-approved credit card offers in the mail. Again, just stuff I throw out without even looking at it. You can do that, too, at the centralized service for opting out. You can choose to opt-out for 5 years or forever. Do it! Save some trees!

I must say, I am enjoying the "greener" life. I'm not the No Impact Man, but it does makes me feel like I am making a difference. (I got many of these links from No Impact Man which I heard about from a good friend's blog... shout out to Laurel!)

These are just some simple things we've changed in our lives. Got any other simple suggestions? I want to be greenerer. LOL!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Mom I Am & The Mom I Want to Be

So, I just got the blog up and running and now after having put my last son to bed I can't sleep because I'm thinking of all the wonderful random thoughts I can put down in one place. I start wondering how honest I should be, how much information I should give, how many and who will be reading this. I think I've just decided to be me. For those of you that know me well, I'm a pretty straight forward person. I generally say things before I think about how to say them, though. I don't think this is a good quality, this is something I have been working on correcting for years. Being straight forward can be a good thing when used with tact and understanding of how it will come out and affect whomever you are speaking with. ANYWAY... I wasn't planning on going in this direction. I wanted to get my thoughts down regarding the mom I am and the mom I want to become. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly...

I am a mom that:

*kisses boo-boos and lets her sons cry without telling them to be a "big boy" and stop
*sings songs (terribly - LOL!) at bedtime and ends with a prayer
*rocks the baby to sleep and places him on his belly because that's how he sleeps best
*involves the kids in baking cookies when we're having a particularly rough day
*has a naughty chair and a naughty corner
*cooks two meals for supper because I have a picky son
*checks her email way too much
*loves to take pictures of the boys and share them
*doesn't get a shower every day
*loves to take the kids to the mailbox to see what we've received
*can make mountains out of molehills
*lets the kids watch waaayyy too much tv because I enjoy the peace
*bargains with the oldest child about food (2 bites of meat, 3 bites of veggie, etc) for dessert
*by 4PM is frazzled and ready for bed

I want to be a mom that:

*intentionally teaches my kids about God through example, word, study, and deed
*doesn't rush through the songs and prayer at bedtime to go plop down in front of the tv to relax
*disciplines consistently so my sons know I mean what I say
*can teach my sons respectfully that you don't always get what you want
*makes crafts with the boys without fear of the mess it will create
*can take the boys to the grocery store with a positive attitude and make it a game ie "Let's go hunt some groceries, kids!"
*gets a big book and reads a chapter aloud each night to the boys
*doesn't get overwhelmed with chores and neglect play time
*cooks healthier meals
*knows how to sew (I'm sure to have many clothes to need some stitches in the future)
*responds to her children's simple requests as quickly as I expect them to respond to mine
*takes care of herself
*doesn't shy away from telling a story when my oldest begs for one
*doesn't yell so much, get so impatient, or so frustrated
*lives simply and organized enough to not be hurried
*doesn't bargain to get the kids to eat - let them eat the amount they want and let that be that
*thinks before she speaks

Am I a good mom? Yes, I think so, most of the time. Are there improvements to be made - most definitely!

I'm sure I'll add more as time goes on, but that's what I wanted to get out before I went to sleep. I have a hard time shutting my brain off sometimes. Now I'm tired and can hopefully fall asleep quickly as little Witt is sure to be up within 2-4 hours. A mother's work is never done - we're on call 24/7... sometimes it's wonderful and sometimes it's, well... not.

Just getting started

For my first blog, let me just say - I am not a writer. I have recently taken an interest in others' blogs and somehow find their random thoughts comforting. Maybe it's as close as I can get to adult conversation during the day as I keep house and maintain my three boys.

So with that thought, I've started my own blog. Maybe this will just be a way to keep in touch with friends. Maybe this will be a great way for me to get some things going in my life (hopefully writing things out will give me some accountability). Or maybe, this will just be something for someone "out there" to read to be a part of their adult conversation.

Every good writing needs to have a "why". However large or small, there's mine.