Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a refreshing reminder

One of my MOST favorite blogs is called "Simple Mom" and that title says it all. The woman who runs it, Tsh, is a Christian and gives wonderful insight into all areas of life as a mom: time management, home management, self-care, creative play, budgeting, going green, etc. She has recently added some new off-shoots to her main site, including "Simple Bites" (kitchen tips, eating healthy), "Simple Organic," "Simple Homeschooling" and "Simple Kids." They are all wonderful sites, and not only do I usually take something away from each article, they are very SIMPLE to read, taking no more than 4 minutes of my time. How much do I LOVE this?!

She posted yesterday an insightful reflection on "The Tyranny of the Urgent," an article published in the 1950s on how often we confuse our priorities and do more of the "urgent" things in our day/life and do not focus enough attention on what it "important." A breath of fresh air for me!

Take a moment to click over and read this *wonderful* piece; like I said, it'll take you no more than 3-4 minutes. AND if you aren't already a fan of "Simple Mom," I think you will be! Read on!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

welcome, stella!

My sister gave birth to Stella Jane Stutler last night at 11:49pm. Stella arrived a week and a half early (just like big brother Jacob) and weighed in at 6 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches in length--long and lean just like Jacob was! Labor was fairly quick and all are doing well. I can't wait to meet her! Isn't she the sweetest thing?! I think she looks like Shannon, too, so it'll be fun to see who she looks like as she grows up (Jacob is all Steve). Congrats to one of my most favorite families!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

one last supper

Maggie and I joined our good friends Dawnielle and Asher for a fun dinner at Chuck E. Cheese last Wednesday night. It was Maggie's first experience and she LOVED it: all the lights, sounds, things to ride. She and Asher enjoyed trying to drive cars and motorcycles in video games, too. They especially enjoyed picking out some prizes with their tickets (won, mostly, by myself and D--some of those games are like gambling for adults): Maggie chose a magic wand and lollipop and Asher wanted the same thing.

The next morning, Dawnielle gave birth to a new baby, a boy she and her hubby named Zadok Dustin. He is PRECIOUS and has the tiniest features and a full head of dark hair. Welcome, little man! We've all waited a long time for you. Congrats to our sweet friends.

Friday, February 5, 2010

status updates

Most of you remember that I said I'm taking a break from certain social media outlets, primarily Facebook. There is something really addicting to me about zoning out and checking people's status updates. It's fun to feel a sense of connection to what friends/family are doing around the country. I haven't missed checking too much, but what I HAVE noticed is how often *I* want to log in and enter a status update, given what is going on in my day. It's quite humorous to me, how my mind is now trained to think.So, I figured I would share some of my non-posted status updates from this week:

"Driving in the rain, listening to books on tape with the kiddos."

"First MOPS this week and had a lovely time!"

"Making homemade cookies with Maggie."

"Attempting to give Maggie her 'room time' in place of her afternoon nap; bedtime is way too drawn out and it appears she does better going down *without* her afternoon nap. Sigh. Less time for me, but overall, better for Aron and my time at night."

"Curren is teething; pooping up a storm; irritated boy; follows me like a shadow all day long; tiring."

"Dawnielle and Razi welcomed sweet baby Zadok Dustin into their family on Thursday morning! He is AMAZINGLY precious. Got to hold him last night; made me SO excited for our impending arrival. Congrats, friends!"

"Stopped at Trader Joe's to get flowers for aforementioned friends and the checker cheerfully asked, "Are you in your 3rd trimester!? Congrats on your baby!" To which I almost responded, "What baby?"

"Reading really good, addictive, heavy -at-times, book, Into the Woods by Tana French. Every spare minute is used to read. Want to visit Ireland now."

"Wish I didn't have adult acne. Isn't that an oxymoron?!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Muffin tin lunch

After seeing this example on blogs well over a year ago, I finally attempted my first "muffin tin lunch." It was a HUGE hit with Maggie, who had a blast munching on whatever she wanted. This lunch worked well because I was low on groceries and was able to put a few of each item in each cup. Whatever she didn't finish we ate for snack after her nap. And along these same lines, my friend Casey wrote a recent post on using the muffin tin as a snack tray throughout the day: fill the cups in the morning and your child can eat anything at his/her leisure. But, once a cup is empty, it's empty; no refills until the next day.

Sometimes, as a mom it's SO easy to get overwhelmed with all the creative/crafty/fun ideas out there that I "should/could" be doing with my children. I've always liked the idea of implementing "measurable goals," a phrase I learned from a mentor years ago. Instead of feeling like I should do a "muffin tin lunch" or a "muffin tin snack" every day, I'm going to them each weekly. Totally doable, and totally something fun for Maggie to look forward to!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

the big 3 for me: managing my time, my expecations and my mornings

Motherhood has been a pretty consistent struggle for me, I'm sure that's no secret. It's a constant battle of dying to myself, choosing to play blocks or "imaginary voices" with Maggie when I would rather be reading a book, and just choosing not to "check out" multiple times a day. For me, this is one of the main reasons I wanted to implement some type of media fast. I noticed how often I would check my email or my Facebook or be reading the paper when one of my children would need me and I would get a little miffed internally: "Don't they see I'm doing something 'important?!'" I was noticing how easily an inner-conflict would arise in me when I was doing one of "my" activities and my kids were present. Taking a conscious break from media and limiting my times on email every day has truly reinvigorated my role as a mom. I think last week was one of the most fun weeks I've had with my kids in a very long time. I felt more relaxed, at ease, and truly enjoyed interacting with them.

I've thought about this more intently the past 7 days and am realizing that for me, motherhood is about managing the big 3 and managing them well: my time, my expectations, and my mornings. I need to use the time I do have for "my" tasks/chores/hobbies/wants well: when the kids nap, when they are having room time, when they go to bed. I need to utilize the times when they are not around to be productive on my end, or to relax well. Of course, I'm not saying only give your children 100% of your focus all day long; this isn't realistic. We have tasks to do around the house when they are with us, we need to run errands and of course, they come along, etc. I'm saying that for me, I'm learning more and more what it means to manage my time well so I can more fully enjoy my kids. And it's working. I feel this has been a 3 year process finally coming to a head last week. Along this same vein is managing expectations. If I can more realistically take a look at my day, I'll know when I can put in time to relax or time to knock some to-do's off my list in peace and quiet. This is helping me become a less frustrated and chaotic mom; I have such times built into my day so I know when to expect them. I know when they are coming and I can wait for them. And lastly, I need to start my morning before my kids; I just do. There is nothing more unpleasant for me about rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and barely having a conscious thought in my mind and having to get my children 5 minutes later. I can be pretty crabby at that point. Rather, if I wake up early, the house is quiet (and so is my mind!) and I can grab a cup of coffee, read the Word/pray/journal for a bit, then jump on a few of the those to-dos. My day starts of TREMENDOUSLY better with this one espeically in place.

Do you have a big 3?

Monday, February 1, 2010

in the tunnel

Enjoying the tunnel at the mall playground.