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how to set goals with your kids

I feel like I talk about goals a lot for my out of a business office atmosphere. I’ve never quite understood why the concept of goals seems to be so heavy in business work environment, but so lacking in a home, family or personal environment. Aren’t the later actually more important, more valuable, more worth setting goals for? I know there are some of you out there that feel me on this, I’ve heard you talk about them too! Especially my homeschoolers out there, setting schooling goals for each kid every year.

Since this is something I may or may not be a tad obsessed with, I incorporate the family into my own personal goals every year. No these are not new years resolutions (aka wishes), these are actual, measurable, tracked goals for the year. This year I decided the kids were big enough to participate as well, and we picked something we all could work on together as a family. Flossing.

Yep, simple, easy, but something that is often overlooked for all five of us.

First we set a measurable goal and made it specific – 30 days of flossing, all five of us, no missing a day or we’d have to start all over.

Second, we set up a way to track it and put it in a highly visible place – here is our completed 30 day sticker chart of awesome!

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This was right outside the bathroom they flossed in, only three feet from the floor so it was at their eye level. Every morning the kids got to mark off another day done and see their progress. I was honestly expecting to have to restart this a few times as they got in the habit, but they did not want to miss a day once this chart was up.

Finally, we picked a reward to celebrate our success!

This is the hardest one for me, once I’m on a roll I have a natural tendency to add more to my goal, make it bigger, stretch farther. I try to stop myself from doing this, especially with the kids. It’s so demoralizing for them to have an end be almost there and then watch that end move (it can be for me too!) But, I’m getting better about leaving the original goal the goal and celebrating it’s success, THEN setting a new one and starting all over.

We all need a chance to celebrate actual accomplishments (and yes I feel flossing everyday for a 5, 7, and 9 year old is an actual accomplishment!) Kids are often lacking opportunities to celebrate something they actually accomplished on their own. Not just showed up to, but actually participated in and achieved. It really doesn’t hurt the adults in the family either! We all need wins.

So here they are celebrating, they picked Menchie’s for their reward. It was oh so yummy.

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Being a goof, as per usual. Get one of me with my spoon like this mom. Ok, let me see that.

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Mmmmm….it’s so good mommy.

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This picture was immediately followed by “I want more!”

Time to set another goal! We are trying to decide what our next family goal will be over here, mommy has a few ideas, but we need whole family buy in!

What goals are you tracking right now? What would you like to set?

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what ‘first day of school’ pics look like when you homeschool

It’s not really our first day of school, I’m a slave driver and I don’t give them summer break (or at least that’s how they like to sell it to anyone that asks how they are enjoying their summer break!) I do however, enjoy seeing how the kids grow from year to year in ‘first day of school’ pics so I try my best to remember to take them.

Ironically we are actually not doing “school” per se this morning. We are field tripping it. We are kicking off our Year of Science with the Mummy’s at the Orlando Science Center. It should be significantly less crowded with the rest of the child population back in school. There are perks to being different. Less crowds for one. We get so spoiled during the school year. Parks mostly to ourselves, stores emptier, most field trips cheaper during the day when there is little to no demand. Love it.

Anyway here’s our ‘first day pics’

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The professional shot

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The personality shot

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They were all personality shots with this one. This was the most “professional” of the bunch.

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This is what I get when I say smile nice, lol.

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He was very upset about something, I can’t remember what at the moment, look at those puppy dog eyes.

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A momentary laugh for sister caught on blurry camera, it was that fast. Now you see it, now its gone!

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All of hers were this cute. Stepped right up, put on a smile. See kids, you could learn something from the little one.

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The official class photo of our 2015-2016 school year.

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Lord help me.

We are going to have some fun this year!

I really do love this gig.

a hour in the life of a writing mother

So I’ve been spoiled people. I got two hours at Panera last week to write essays for adoption grants (really trying to hammer these out as we could get a call any day now!) TWO HOURS OF UNINTERRUPTED TIME. I was able to drive there, order my chai, set up, hammer out 12 mini essays, drink my chai, check my facebook, snap a few pics, all in 2 hours. I had totally forgotten what it was like to write without an interruptions, I was in the zone. I was flying along, I was ENJOYING myself immensely. Writing and productivity and chai these are a few of my favorite things! (that last sentence must be sung people! Just thinking about it makes me want to burst into song!)

That said, I’m having problems adjusting back today. I’ve started this thing so many times and mostly it’s looked like this…(this was not the same child, I just chose not to call them out today…I’m sure a few of you may know who they are anyway…)

Me: *writing one sentence*

child: I’m going to make a hat stand!

Me: Great idea baby *hears grunting and struggling in the background, trying to keep my head down and look invisible*

child: I can’t get loops off! They’re too tight! Mommy fix it!

(cut scene)

2.5 minutes later

Me: *rewriting the one sentence adding another*

child 1: Mom! Mom! Can I take the blanket outside?

Me: the one we use outside, yes

child 1 : But I want to take this one? I’m gonna take this one, ok?

Me: the one you can use is in the van

*garage door opens, rummaging in van commences, muffled shouting*

child 1: MOM I CAN’T GET IT. CAN YOU GET IT?

Me: *gets the blanket, shuts garage, shuts door* she took the blanket around to the front of the house outside (to other 3 children)

child 2: Mom I can’t find (child 1), they were going to find the blanket and now I can’t find them!

Me: she took the blanket around to the front of the house outside

child 2: I CAN’T FIND HER ANYWHERE! OH WAIT, I FOUND HER!

(cut scene)

1 minute later

child: Can I go outside too?

Me: I can’t go out and watch right now, sorry baby

child: But can I go out? I want to go out too.

Me: I cannot go outside and watch you right now, no.

child: But…

*sound fades to black, internal groan and face plant into keyboard*

(cut scene)

1.5 minutes later

Me: *scrapping previous sentences and starting the above*

child: *standing contemplating what is going to be said for a full 30 seconds* We…are…going to make…a…couch thing!

Me: That sounds like fun *turns back to writing*

child: wait wait! and it’s going to be one up and one down!

Me: *smiles and turns back to writing*

child: WAIT! *deep breath and runs away*

(cut scene)

I’ve now had a solid 15 minutes of productive writing time and look at all I’ve accomplished. It’s only taken me almost an hour to get that 15 minutes and oh wait here comes another kid…

why I’m boycotting mother’s day

That title is shameless click bait, I admit. But hey if you’re reading this, it worked! And it is true, mostly.

Here’s why, most mother’s days for myself, and more people than I’d like to admit (and probably more than admit to me!) are just days set up for disappointment on the I am a mother end and endless amounts of guilt on the I have a mother end. I am very enmeshed in the raising small people phase of parenting. We are for the moment, out of the high intensity completely dependent phase, but fully into the mentally and emotionally exhausting raising small people phase. What I honest to goodness want at this stage (and what I hear from most of my ‘co-workers’) is a break! Sleep, alone time, a clean house for more than the evening hours they are sleeping (that didn’t require most of said hours to get there)! And according to this info graphic, apparently a small percentage of us also want a lumberjack.

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I already have me one of them these days. He just trades the flannel button down for a professional one for work. Just this weekend he even promised me I’d get to watch him chop wood. True story.

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But I digress, it’s the rest of that elusive stuff I want, and I’m clearly not alone. But that’s not generally the experience we get. In this phase of parenting, it’s not really very feasible, you know minus the lumberjack part (’cause you know, nailed it!) So when I woke up on Mother’s day to my same messy house, stinky litter box, not alone, even the sleeping in and breakfast I didn’t have to cook didn’t stave off the disappointment. Which to be honest, is a bit ridiculous. Any other day I wake up to the same circumstances and I’m happy and content with my life. Any other day my house feels loved and lived in, not messy. Any other day I appreciate and smile at the laughter and happy screams of my children. Any other day I honestly enjoy my life.

So we were on our way to my mother’s to have lunch with my parents and sister. We made our previously scheduled stop at Publix to pick up some of their awesome fresh flowers for my mom. As I walk in I’m thinking I need something, sugar, caffeine, something! I’m tired, I have a headache, I just want to be alone, this day is for me too, I AM A MOTHER TOO DANG IT!

I stand in front of the dessert cups for forever trying to pick if I want a cheesecake cup or a strawberry cup, can’t decide what I want, so I go pick flowers for my mom. Immediately find ones filled with purple flowers and grab those, then I see Oreo cups on sale for a dollar (one of Jacob’s favorites) and then I think I’d need something for Grant and there’s nothing in this section he could eat. So off I go for some bars, then I find granola and Grant and I had just been talking about granola the night before. There’s a new chex mix granola! He loves chex, double win! It’s starting to turn into a give a mouse a cookie story…drop a mom at a grocery store for one thing and…

One thing leads to another and I end up leaving with a dessert to share with my daughter, stuff for my mom (original mission) and something for each of my boys. The cashier wishes me happy mother’s day and I joke about the fact that I came in for one thing for my mom and ended up with something for all my kids, on mother’s day, typical. We laugh and I realize this was just what I needed, to think about someone else.

That’s what mother’s do best. We all have different perspectives and even different way of carrying out the same perspective, but ultimately we are thinking about other and namely our kids, most of the time. We may be thinking about their short term happiness or their long term success. It might be how we can help them get into the best college or how we can help them be who they were made to be. Maybe it’s trying to get them everything we never had or trying to teach them stuff won’t make them happy. But the point is, the focus is not on us, it’s not on me. (Disclaimer: I am completely for taking care of yourself and try to do and model this to my children. You need to treat yourself and teach your children to treat you with the same amount of respect you treat your kids, but that’s for another post).

So having a day where the cultural expectation is to think about myself and what I want and what I deserve for all this hard ‘work’ I do. This is not a day of happiness. Watching a kid smile at you when you finally get to be the one buying them a treat (instead of it always being a grandparent), sharing dessert with your daughter, getting to see/hear when someone receives your gift, those things bring joy. ‘Cause it’s not about me.

I’m all for teaching children to think about other people, it’s a lesson that will serve them and their future happiness well in life, and it’s one most of us (read me) could also do well to remember. Joy doesn’t come from being focused on me and what I ‘deserve.’ I certainly don’t need a whole day telling me it’s all about me. So next year, if I don’t get the coveted weekend by myself, I’ll be ok. I’ll just content myself with my lumberjack and ride along like it’s any other day. And if I do get anything else off that info-graphic, well, BONUS!

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