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10 gifts for the month of November

Traditionally people spend the month of November growing beards and listing things they are thankful for. The fact that I am thankful indeed that Bycemaster’s beard is back is just providential. There’s been many years I’ve participated, in the thankfuls, not the beard…but this year I decided to pass for some reason. I don’t know why, generally I try to cultivate a thankful atmosphere around here. I’d say it’s one of my guiding principles, if you will.

This morning the amount I have to be grateful for hit me so hard I just couldn’t help but write a few down. Remembering these things is not always easy. I’m struck when reading the old testament how many times God has to tell people to remember. Over and over, monuments were built and prophets were sent, we are a forgetful people.

For this reason I am sharing my list today. Writing helps me remember. I encourage you to remember and write yours as well! In the comments, facebook, in your journal, on your walls! Ok maybe not that last one, unless you have a chalkboard wall! Gratitude is really a wonderfully powerful thing, sometimes you just need to force it a little, to get the ball rolling.

  1. I am so grateful for Bycemaster and our joint love for music. So many songs have memories attached to them that make us both smile, that’s a wonderful thing.
  2. I got up for the second day in a row to do a morning run. I’m not training right now, just trying to finish out a just almost out of reach goal for the year. It’s getting a little closer 94.6 miles to go. Deep breath.
  3. It was cool out on said run this morning! Like no sun and 60s, it was wonderful.
  4. I’ve watched more than one friend recently take steps towards goals that have been hanging over them for a while. I LOVE watching people do this, pumps me up. Goals are awesome!
  5. Taking a shower with short hair is amazing. No heavy hair, no hour to wash it, no mess, no fuss, it’s done. Low maintenance FTW!
  6. Stress levels are returning to a normal/manageable level over here, some days we are breathing again. That is improvement.
  7. Even though I’d taken back too many chores in my uber stressed state, the kids have adjusted to the flow back to them with surprising grace, even my oldest. This is huge.
  8. Bycemaster got the second PC up and running for school on Monday. It has been amazing! So much faster and yesterday ALL FOUR got full lessons done. It’s incredible really, and look at me, I’m even on the computer. I may get some more grants done yet.
  9. My plea for coffee grounds was headed! One by one, my little plants are being nourished. It’s fun to watch something thrive.
  10. As always I’m thankful for our community. As I look back at the last week and think of the people who have sent messages saying they’re praying for us or responded to my pleas for prayers or made sure I exercised or just hung out and made me feel human again. I am always grateful for the people that are around me and my family. We have been in dry periods before, but I am so grateful we are not there now. Not at all.

What are you all thankful for? Do you do the November thankfulness tradition?

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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?

time to do it

I’m here, sitting down to do this thing like I said I would. One problem, I’m sick of talking about this photobook, and I don’t know what else to talk about.

So here we go, first draft is done. I just need to edit it before it gets sent off for review. Usually editing is my favorite part, I like refining things down to their best, it’s what I do. I don’t know what’s wrong with me now, but I don’t want to do it, I mean really don’t want to do it. I put it at the top of my list this morning and have instead worked up from the bottom doing everything but the writing I am currently doing and the photobook. I’ve got laundry going, kitchen cleaned, crockpot going, workout done, bills done. I even finished my current reading book AND got a shower, in the morning (showers in the AM hours do not happen for me). My avoidance of this task has made me extremely productive! Yay procrastination…wait…that’s not right…

In semi related news, one of my goals for the year was to get the real camera out at least once a month and just take pictures with it. When I first bought it almost 5 years ago (you can read about those trying circumstances here) I fancied myself a bit of a photographer. I used it all the time, I got some photos I really love (like the one in the post above), and then life got busier and I started looking at all these real photographers photos and I just got discouraged and stopped. Its been years, and that super special meaningful camera has caused me nothing but guilt as it’s sat their literally collecting dust…like cough your brains out when you try to touch it kinda dust. Possibly another reason it wasn’t getting touched…

But this year I made the goal tangible, once a month. Instead of my usual vague, take more pictures (gee I don’t know why that wasn’t working..). I also gave myself permission to not be a professional and still like what I take. Besides just like writing and running and pretty much anything, you don’t stumble on the good ones without a lot of bad ones.

I didn’t end up using the picture below in the book, but it did come out of one of our neighbhood park sessions last week. I know how some people get nervous with climbing, not what I was trying to provoke! It was completely kid prompted (mom take a picture of us!) and their happy faces show it! I am super pleased with it.

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Look at that. Guess I did have something to talk about.

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