Saturday, February 28, 2009

Helping Our Kids Schedule Their Time

I've made these checklists for our kids to help organize our morning and evening routines. Ours has two boxes - one for Miss Mae and one for Mr. H. I've laminated ours and hung two dry erase pens right next to it, so they can check off each item as they complete them. I'm going to try to attach them here so you can download them and use them, too.
I'm having trouble getting them on here so you can print them out full size.... I'll figure it out and post them in a bit. If anyone has any pointers I'd love some help!!

We Fell Off the Wagon a Bit...

But we are getting back on track!
We didn’t exactly walk away from our plan, but I’ve come to realize that implementing my goals (please see my previous post about running my house like a business…) is going to take some intense work and focus to start out – especially with a new baby who seems to insist on being held all the time. I know that once we can really adopt the good habits, I will be able to step back more and more.
Here is how it went down: we did GREAT for the first week and a half, and yesterday I realized that I was beginning to feel that same overwhelmed feeling and wondering what I could delegate when I realized I HAD delegated, and we had fallen off of our “take responsibility for our house” wagon. One night of my husband getting home late and the kids needing to rush into the tub and skipping the house pick up slips into two days in a row, which slides into me thinking, “oh it is just easier to do it myself” and that familiar weight of, “how can I even start on my work when THAT pile needs to be addressed,” and “I can’t possibly tackle that pile until the room is picked up” and pretty soon my day is shot.
Upon much introspection, I realized I would never allow a team of 20 very able adults to just go off alone after ONE project set up meeting and assume we would all be on the same page and the project would run itself, so why was I assuming these little people would be able to do it?? Even though everyone was very tired tonight and we are all fighting off colds, and it would have been MUCH easier to just get the kids to bed, we sat down and had a quick refocus ‘meeting’, did a quick house pick up, and agreed that we’d have a real meeting tomorrow night.
It amazes me that as soon as one of the original agenda items starts to slide the others head down the same hill. I noticed we were all snapping comments at each other and there was a real feeling of exasperation by the time we were finished with dinner. Kids are SO reflective. As soon as WE start to feel overwhelmed and are affected by the chaos in our environment, our tempers shorten and flare, and the kids immediately snap right back. Not okay for any of us.
Our new game plan is a weekly meeting to check in with everyone and see how everyone is doing with their responsibilities, posted checklists for the kids for morning and night routines, and a nightly check of our family calendar so everyone is prepared for the next day. I will have to ‘enforce’ these routines for a while, but hopefully we’ll get to the point that it just IS what we do every night.
My personal goal is to organize MY time so that I am focused and calm and ready to help them every morning and night as we get into our routine, and not worried about finishing this or that, or going through my to do lists in my head instead of giving them the 100% they deserve. That is possible, right?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Incredible Looking Breast Pump

Can pumping really be this simple and cute??

When I pumped for 4 long months. Four LONG MONTHS. Let's call them INCREDIBLY long months, I used a giant pump that was in the shape of a cute black backpack. It was the simple and cute version for its day, but a dinosaur in comparison. Lugging that thing around was a gigantic pain. Not to mention the feelings of hatred I had for it. This sweet little pump is actually almost darling - I mean, even though it is a pump.

I KNOW pumps allow moms to return to work. I know my son wouldn't have been fed breast milk for five months of his life without one. I get it. But having the intimate relationship I did with my pump, I feel the right to proclaim my disgust. I couldn't be away from an outlet or car cigarette lighter for more than 4 hours at a time, I spent almost as much time with that pump as I did with my son, and don't get me started on what it feels like to BE PUMPED - physically and emotionally. WHOOOSH, whoosh. WHOOOSH, whoosh. WHOOOSH, whoosh. I swear sometimes I could hear words in that incessant sound.

Enough ranting. Check out this sweet little pump. Let me know if it really works. And imagine yourself being set free to pump, pump, pump!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day Fun

I think Cupid threw up in our house.Once again, I imagined my kids making lovely little heart people and valentines and sweet little heart animals out of these heart shaped post-it notes.... I got wrapped up in something for a bit after I handed them each a little stack. Note to self: don't hand crafty goodness to kids without explaining the amazing creations you have in mind... and stick around to help!!

They really were funny, though. The dark pink are Mr. H., the light pink Miss Mae. Their game: only step on your own color. Much better than sweet little heart animals....

Monday, February 2, 2009

How To Take Great Photos of Your Kids!

Campbell Salgado makes me happy. I first heard about them when I was pregnant with my second baby. One of my friends told me I should have some preggo photos taken, and I thought, "NO WAY!!" First of all, I look HORRIBLE this giant, and second, why on earth would I want to look at them in the future!? Well I was incredibly wrong, and thankfully, I have the photos to prove it. I went in very apprehensive thinking I wouldn't have any revealing photos taken, and I ended up feeling completely comfortable with Francisco, and actually feeling PRETTY and happy with my gigantic body. I did my photo session with my then two year old son, and our photos together are an absolute treasure. We have pics of him showing my belly a toy, and kissing my belly and us giving each other giant hugs among others.

If I could go to their studio once a month to capture my growing babies I would. Their photos are magic! We went back as a family when my baby Miss Mae was born, and then again for her first birthday. I'm hoping to schedule another session when Baby O. can sit up, so we can capture all of his yummy meatballness.

Their process from beginning to end is like having life long friends photograph you...., well, like you are a rock star who has amazing photographer life long friends. I felt so at ease, as did my kids, and I felt like it was really US being photographed, not me racing around trying to make sure every hair was in place and praying we get a good shot in our 20 minute time slot. At the same time though, this entire studio and photographer are focused on US - very rock star for me. If you can, GO THERE.

AND, now they have a great blog!! And they are sharing tips for taking photos of our kids ourselves! How lovely and generous of them! I think I may just get out a sheet and take photos of the kids on the next sunny day!