They are full of it!

  

We drove by a church today with a marquise in front that read: 

“Change diapers and politicians often…                       

                                      and for the same reason.” 

I thought this was funny on so many levels and  just had to share. 

Warning: Politician Ahead!!!

Warning! Politician ahead! Image by The Rocketeer via Flickr

 

 Have a great weekend everyone!  

Posted in Weekend Funnies | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bedroom Battles

Child's Toy  •  The Mess

Image by Carlos Sottovia via Flickr

Ok moms and dads, I need your input.  Normally I post my witty thoughts, insightful self discoveries or crazy experiences with the family, but today I am looking for a little help from all of the experienced parents out there.

I believe this mother/child battle goes way back, possibly even to the caveman days when junior would leave his rocks and mammoth bones lying about the cave.  You know what I am talking about…the battle of the messy room! 

My normal parenting philosophy would be to let my son experience the consequences of his actions…if he wants to live in that mess, then we will just close the door and he can deal with it when he is sick of digging through the various piles in order to find the toy of the hour.  Unfortunately, nothing we do here seems to be easy.   We also throw in a shared room between a neat older brother and a messy younger brother. 

I have made several attempts to clean and organize the room, creating space for each boy.  While the older brother (age 9) isn’t a complete neat freak, he does do a good job of putting his clothes in the hamper and keeping his things off the floor.  The younger brother (age 6) does not.  It is a good day if his clothes make it within a 5 foot radius of the hamper.  He pulls out 10 toys at a time and leaves them strewn around the room.  Of course he doesn’t pull out the big, easy to clean up toys.  We are talking about army men, knights, various board games, etc.  Anything with lots of little pieces will do.

When we do order him to pick everything up, the toys get picked up and thrown in a corner or shoved under the bed.  I feel bad for the older brother and totally understand his frustration with his younger sibling.  I don’t blame him for getting upset and begging for a room of his own at least once a week.  I wouldn’t want to sleep in that chaos every night either.

Upon threat of throwing things away, the younger brother will make an attempt to straighten up a bit but the mess always returns in a matter of days, if not hours. 

So, this is where I need your help.  What do we do?  How do we teach the younger brother to clean up after himself without punishing the older brother by forcing him to live in a messy bedroom?  I’d love to hear your strategies!

Posted in Family, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Football Widow or Family Bonding?

Ohio State vs. IU (October 3, 2009)

Image by Indiana Public Media via Flickr

     When I met my husband, over 13 years ago, I quickly learned that football was a part of his life and, in order for our relationship to survive the months of August through January, I needed to learn to embrace the sport myself.  So I learned the rules, the lingo and the names of the teams.  I even joined his fantasy football league.  I actually found myself having a little fun with it all, although I don’t think I will ever love the sport as much as he does.

     He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and bleeds scarlet and grey.  His car is red with grey interior, our house is grey with red shutters and our children were able to sing the OSU fight song before they could sing their ABCs…you get the idea.   He would never miss an OSU game! 

     Then there is the NFL.  Holy cow…the NFL.  It all begins in August with the drafting of the fantasy football teams and the setting up of the pick’em leagues.   We, of course, get the NFL package through our satellite company so that we never miss one of the games.  Thank goodness for that!  (insert rolling-eyes smilie here)

     I used to be incredibly frustrated with the fact that our weekends seemed to be dominated by which ever football game might be on at any given moment.  Then several things happened,  the first being Tivo.  This fantastic gadget was a life saver.  We could record games and then watch them at our convenience and in fast-forward.  All of a sudden a 3+ hour game was over in an hour and a half!

     The second thing that happened was that our boys started to get a little older and began enjoying the sport as much as their father.   The boys collect football cards and show their dad the latest “good ones” they have gotten.  They will sit and talk with him about teams, player’s stats and who has the best shot at winning this Sunday.  After church on Sunday, everyone dons their appropriate football t-shirt or jersey and gathers around the tv to cheer on their fantasy players or favorite team.  Then, at half-time, all three of my guys will wander out to the yard to toss around the football themselves, running plays and talking strategy.

     Do I enjoy the sport of football?   Well, sort of.  I love the football parties and the social part of being a spectator.  I share a fantasy football team with my son and have a pick’em team in the family Pick-4-Fun league.  I have also occasionally been spotted wearing a football jersey and cheering on my team.  While all of this is fun, I don’t think I would do any of it if it weren’t for the men in my life.

     I decided many years ago that I could either be a football widow or I could join in on the “fun”.  What I have found over the years is that it can be a great tool for family bonding.  Anything that gets us all in the same room at the same time, enjoying each others company can’t be a bad thing, right?   And don’t forget, there are always the Super Bowl commercials to look forward to each year.

Posted in Family, Marriage, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Quest continues…

adventure woman

Image by decaf via Flickr

 

       I have always tried to live my life being open to meeting new people & living new experiences.  Recently I was presented with an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up and it all started with this blog!    

  I began Quest 2B Me as an outlet for my pent up individuality and creativity.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to say, or if anyone would want to read it, but I have found it to be very enjoyable!  I love to get feedback from people who read and enjoy my posts or, better yet, people who can relate to them.  It helps me to remember that I am not the only one living this crazy life of a mom!     

     I’ve enjoyed the experience so much that, on a whim, I contacted a local magazine to see if they accept submissions from local writers.  There were a series of e-mails and meetings and the next thing I know…I am not only writing for them but now I am the editor of the magazine!     

     I don’t post this to toot my own horn or to solicit accolades.  I post this because I want to encourage those of you who might be feeling stuck or bored to step out of your comfort zone and be open to new experiences.     

     Do what you enjoy and try new things, with no expectations.  You just never know where life might lead you if you are open to what ever comes your way.   We think we know “the plan” for our lives either because we have determined it ourselves, or because we feel that it has been determined for us, but nothing is set in stone.  There are a plethora of experiences out there that are yours for the taking.  The catch is, you have to occasionally be willing to give up the driver’s seat and just go along for the ride, maybe you will come across something wonderful along the way.    

     Who knew that my Quest 2B Me would lead me in this direction but I am enjoying it and can’t wait to see where it will lead me next!    

Check out The Zone  and visit us on Facebook.    

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Crazy Bones, Mighty Beanz and Silly Bandz – Oh My!

Star Silly Bandz Macros July 09, 20101

Image by stevendepolo via Flickr

 

      If you have children, you know what I am talking about here.  The Silly Bandz craze began last spring, before the school year ended.  If you were under the age of 12, you weren’t “cool” unless you had at least a dozen or so of these rubber bands on your arm.  They were available in every color you could imagine, some would glow in the dark and some were scented.  You could get them in every shape imaginable and all for $3.50 per pack.        

crazy bones

Image by bumblesweet via Flickr

 

     Next were the Crazy Bones, or maybe they were first, it’s all a blur.  I never really understood these little guys.  They are short, stubby plastic forms, none of which are remotely attractive.  Again, they came in a rainbow of colors and even though there wasn’t much you could do with them, other than line them up and trade them with your friends, the kids loved them.  My son and his friends even had “races” with them in the pool by dropping them in the water to see which one sank to the bottom first.  They spent hours upon hours doing this over the summer.  A bag of four or five bones were all yours for about a $1.       

Description unavailable

Image by SuperSizeMe via Flickr

 

      The most recent craze we faced were those little, horribly unbalanced guys called Mighty Beanz.  Now, correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t we have a larger version of these things when we were growing up.  Has anyone heard of Weeble Wobbles?  And I’d have to say that the Weebles would kick tail against a Mighty Bean any day!  For a very frugal investment of $5 you could be the proud owner of 6 of these little guys.  Really?!?!?  $5 for six capsule-sized plastic eggs encasing a little metal ball??  What is wrong with these people?        

     I don’t even want to begin to think about how many dollars worth of little plastic trinkets we have sitting around this house in Ziploc bags.  I am sure we could pay for a cruise or one year of someone’s college education with the money spent.  The one good thing we have going for us is that this money didn’t come out of our pocket.  Our children ponied up their hard-earned allowance dollars for the majority of the stash.  The rest was given as birthday gifts or by me, on the rare occasion that I was feeling generous, and treated them to a $10 shopping spree at the local “Five Below” (sssshhhh, don’t tell my husband).        

    As annoyed as I am with the idea of peddling useless wares to the kiddies, I would really like to meet the people who came up with these ideas.  I would almost bet that they were not mothers (well maybe the silly bands, they are kind of cute).  No mother, knowing full well that she would be trekking all over town to find the stinkin’ things only to bring them home and spend months stepping on and over them, would ever send these sorts of creatures out into the world.        

     I think I am going to invent something to drive those wonderful inventors crazy.  Any ideas?        

Posted in Family, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Art of Juggling and Dropping Balls

Animation of 3 ball cascade , also known as a ...

Image via Wikipedia

     Practice makes perfect or so they say.  Well, I have practiced the art of juggling for years now and don’t know that I am getting any better at it. 

     Actually, instead of getting better, I seem to be getting worse.  Maybe it is because I am continually adding more balls to the mix before I have improved with ones I already have in my hands.

     The balls I am currently juggling are being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, daycare provider, housekeeper, secretary, homework helper, soccer commissioner, writer, school volunteer, church volunteer, Freecycle moderator, Cub Scout leader and manager of all things Dora.  There is a part of me that loves every one of those things that I am juggling but I am finding it harder and harder to keep all the metaphorical balls in the air.

     I think there comes a time in everyone’s life where we begin to take stock of where we are, where we are going and how we want to get there.  I am definitely at that point and recently discovered that, in order to pursue opportunities and to keep myself & my family sane, it is time to start passing some of the balls on to other jugglers who will hopefully pick them up and run with them.  The hard part is going to be not picking up new balls in their place!

     Sometimes the art and challenge of juggling isn’t just keeping all the balls in the air but also deciding when it is time to set some down in order to improve the show. 

     How many balls are you juggling?  Is it time to re-evaluate?

Posted in Self Discovery | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Team Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Image via Wikipedia

 

     Some of you may remember my recent post discussing random acts of kindness.  Well, I have some friends that go way above and beyond in the RAK department.  He is one of the founders of The Healing Hands Foundation (THHF), a non-profit organization whose mission, as posted on their website, is to “provide high quality surgical care to children with complex congenital malformations in areas lacking resources and surgical expertise”.  She is a 4th grade teacher at a local private school for boys and a fantastic person to boot!   

Recently THHF teamed up with The Madieu Williams Foundation to orchestrate a joint medical and educational mission to Sierra Leone, Africa.  He was going as a part of the THHF team which had plans to perform free surgeries and to begin discussing and planning improvements for healthcare in Sierra Leone.  She was going as part of the educational team which was going to provide supplies for the school, training for the teachers and begin putting plans into action to improve the education process for the children at the Abigail Butscher Primary School.  Their 12 year old daughter also accompanied them in order to assist where she could.  

     I think all three of them went with the expectation that they were going to help many people while they were there but I don’t know that they were prepared for the life changing effect it would have on them personally.  I have seen the pictures and heard a few of the stories and was deeply moved, I can not imagine how I would feel if I had been right there living it.   

     My friend attempted to document her trip while there but was not successful due to technical difficulties.  She has since written a little about it on her blog.  I recommend that you stop by, read a little about the trip, and if you feel moved to support their work please send a donation to THHF.  Please also share this with your friends.  They have plans to return to Sierra Leone as well as several other missions in the works so I know that your support would be greatly appreciated.  

They are doing their part to make the world a better place.  What will you do?  

Posted in Improving the World | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Big Yellow Bus

School Bus Stop Ahead sign

Image via Wikipedia

 

     The first day of school, what a fabulous day.  So much preparation goes into this highly anticipated day.  We outfit the kids with new clothes and shoes, buy all of the right school supplies and wait with bated breath to receive “the letter” which then starts a chain reaction of phone calls and e-mails to find out which children will be in the same class.  It’s all so exhilarating.  

     The morning arrives and excitement, mixed with a little nervous trepidation, fills the air.  Everyone is dressed, fed and packs slung on their backs.  We walk out to wait for the big, yellow bus and exchange hugs as I provide words of encouragement.  I watch them hop aboard while waving and wishing them well.   

     I walk slowly back into the house, close the door and proceed to do my happy dance!  Wahoo!  School days are here again.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I love my children and I love the carefree days of summer but I do look forward to getting back into a routine and gaining just a tiny bit of “me” time again.  I’m not alone here in the house, I still have my little girl (19 mos) and another little girl (2.5) in my care but…they take naps!  

     I have set a few goals for myself this school year.  I plan to get to the gym several times a week and hope that the new routine will also help me to do a better job of meal planning.  I feel so much better about myself when I am eating well and getting in shape, it changes my whole outlook on life.   

     I also have a list of projects to complete…paint the hall bathroom, organize and purge the kitchen cabinets, attempt to sort, organize and purge the kids toys, etc.  There is something so freeing about getting rid of our clutter.  

     Our house, while not filthy, has not been properly cleaned or organized for about 2 months now.  When ever I attempted to clean and organize one room, it seemed as though the kids were busy messing up another.  Now I can clean a room and actually enjoy the results… at least until the big, yellow bus comes back.  

What are your feelings on the kids getting back to school?  Do you, like me, have any plans for yourself?  I’d love to hear what all of you are up to and maybe I’ll get a few more ideas for myself!  

Posted in Family, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Pool, My Kids, A Bee and My Ralph Lauren Sunglass

Sunglasses

Image by Tripp Fenderson via Flickr

     If you are a mom you know that, with children, the mood of the moment can take a change for the worse without any warning at all.  Things can be going wonderfully, everyone laughing and having fun and then “Boom!”, “Pow!”, “Ka-Blam!” everything goes to pot.

     I had a moment (or an hour) like that yesterday.  There we were, the kids and I, enjoying a relaxing and fun-filled afternoon by the pool.  I was chatting with my mom friends, the boys were playing with their buddies and the little princess was holding court with her many big-girl admirers who love to help and pamper her.  All was well.

     I guess I should preface this by saying that my little one is still suffering from a bit of a cold and did not get a nap yesterday.  Which means the events did not occur completely without warning but they definitely seemed to snowball a little.

     So, there we were, enjoying one of the last carefree days of our summer and, before I knew it, the little one started to melt.  (Melting is a term I use to describe the slow process of mood deterioration that ends with a child in a sloppy, puddley mess at my feet.)  She began by demanding to sit in my lap but then decided that it would be better for me to just get up so that she could sit in my chair.  She wanted juice but then threw it on the ground.  She was frustrated with every attempt I made to entertain and appease her.  Then she began to grab at and pull on my relatively new, Ralph Lauren sunglasses.

     I pride myself on being frugal, a bargain shopper, the finder of deals.  I have never spent more than $20 on a pair of sunglasses before and that was for my “expensive” pair.  So, the fact that I even own a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses is amazing in itself.  This was a decision I made completely on a whim while on a girls weekend a few months back.  This was also a decision that was met with shock and awe by my husband who thought I was nuts.  Hadn’t I thought about the fact that they were sure to meet their demise at the hands of the little people?  Of course I had thought about that, but I had owned my $20 sunglasses for two years and they had survived. 

     The Ralph Lauren sunglasses were fantastic!  They were UVA & UVB protected, they were polarized and the world just seemed a better place when I looked through these glasses.  I was thrilled with my purchase and thought I deserved them!

     So, when the little one began pulling on them, I decided that there was no way I was going to prove my husband right.  So I removed them and gently placed them in the grass, as close to my chair as possible, until she calmed down.

     As this was happening, my sweet, loveable middle child spoted a bee.  He recently developed a fear of the little buggers after having been stung twice in a three-day period.  He immediately started to scream, run in circles, and flail his arms to swat the bee.  With the screaming toddler in my lap, I tried to calm him and explain that, if he were to get in the water, the bee would not follow.  He told me that he didn’t want to get in the water because he had to pee.  Me, being the wise and insightful mother that I am, suggested that he should then go use the bathroom.  That idea apparently wasn’t a good one because he had spotted another bee between him and the path to the potty.

     So, there I sat, with a snotty, screaming toddler in my lap and a frantic, flailing 6-year-old crying and running circles around me in an attempt to avoid the possible attack of the bee.  I felt like I was beginning to lose my sanity and decided that it was time to go.

     I promptly packed the two unruly and unreasonable children in the car, made arrangements for someone to bring my oldest home later and then began to pack up our belongings.  I said my goodbye’s, put my sunglasses on and headed for the car.

     AHHHHHH!!!  What was that?!!?  I wasn’t seeing as well through my glasses.  Apparently, during the turmoil of the bee attack, my glasses were knocked out of the grass and stomped on a few times for good measure.  UGH!  They weren’t completely broken but did get pretty scratched up.   I will still wear them and will investigate the warranty that came along with my purchase but I was more than slightly irritated.  I’m not sure what upset me more…the destruction of my sunglasses or facing my husband and hearing the dreaded “I told you so”.

Posted in Family, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Quest Got Me Pressed

Yesterday began like any other day.  I got up, got dressed, brushed my teeth and then took a deep breath before venturing out into the abyss of children who were already moving about.  Brother #1 was arguing with Brother #2 over who was going to be awarded the opportunity to make breakfast for their 19 month old baby sister.  I can’t get them to put away their toys or to flush the toilet but she has them fighting over who is going to prepare a meal for her.   I’ve got to talk to her about her secret.

As the morning progressed, son #1 came to me with his exciting news…he had lost yet another tooth.  Little did I know that that this would be the beginning of one of the most exciting days I have experienced in a long time.

I called my husband to be sure that we had the coveted golden dollar that would be placed under our son’s pillow that evening.  He confirmed that we did and then the discussion began over whether we should continue the charade or if it was time to break the news.  As I sat and pondered the possible outcomes I thought – hmm, maybe I will blog about it.  

The next thing I knew…I had been Freshly Pressed

I couldn’t believe it.  I had written about The Tooth Fairy and before I knew it, I was visited by The WordPress Fairy.  It was so exciting to watch the number of visitors to my blog climb throughout the day and I loved reading all of the comments people left behind.

The best part of the day for me was the validation that…they like me, they really like me!  These days the majority of my proud moments come from bragging about the wonderful accomplishments of my husband and children.  It was very nice to have a proud moment to call my very own.

So thank you to WordPress and to the 3,000+ visitors from around the world that took the time out of their busy schedules to read and comment on my blog.   You made my day!

I guess it was just another step in the direction of my Quest 2B Me!

Posted in Self Discovery | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments