Category Archives: Kids / Parenting

The bulldog comes out…

There are many times that my ‘bulldog’ side comes out and sometimes stronger than others…but there is nothing that makes my bulldog side more angry than people that put my children in harms way.  Mama bear kicks in and this bulldog will bite!

Today while waiting in the line of traffic to drop my children off at school I saw three cars decide that general traffic laws don’t apply to them.  Instead of waiting in traffic like everybody else, they decided to pull out of the line and drive the wrong way in the oncoming traffic lane to go around the line of cars waiting to turn into the school parking lot.  Let me pause a moment for that to sink in…they drove the WRONG way in the oncoming traffic lane to go AROUND everybody else.

My first thought to these people is (in the words of Jim Carey’s character in Liar Liar), “Quit breaking the law a##hole!”

My second thought is, if you don’t like waiting in school traffic and feel the need to go around it, here is a brilliant idea for you…use a different street!!

My third, and most important thought for these people is to think about what you are doing.  Really take a moment and think how your actions could impact those around you.  Do you realize that all of the cars that you passed have children in them waiting to be dropped off at school?  Do you realize that any cars that you may meet (head one because you are going the WRONG way!) are parents/grandparents/neighbors/etc. of those children?  Do you realize that there are children that cross that street to hurry to get to school and may not see you coming the wrong way?!?

Is the extra few minutes of your time worth their safety????  No really, is it?!?  Here’s a clue….NO IT IS NOT!!!  How dare you value your time over somebody else’s safety.  That is not something that I will tolerate and it shouldn’t be something that the other parents/grandparents/friends/neighbors/etc. of our school family tolerate.

So, please remember….
* Think before you act…how might it impact others?
* Think of others before yourself.
* Slow down!
* Obey the laws.

Compassion Bulldog…out! 😉
Until next time… ❤
cropped-compassion-bulldog.jpg

Teachable Moments

I experienced some very good teachable moments with the kids today.

First I took them to the Jones Brothers Easter Egg hunt in Stinson Park.  I warned them ahead of time that there would be a LOT of other people there so we may not get any eggs and not to let that upset them because we will get lots of eggs from the Easter Bunny tonight so it is ok if we don’t get any today. We are going just to have a little fun.

There were in fact LOTS and LOTS of people there and the announcer said “Go” and the kids took off running…Lexi was run into and ended up falling to the ground and Liam didn’t know what was going on. Logan and Austin each got one egg and a mom with a very sweet little boy (who was probably only 2) came over with 3 eggs in his basket. She encouraged him to share one with Liam and one with Lexi since they didn’t get any. (Lexi was in tears this whole time because she fell and because she didn’t get any eggs). It was the sweetest thing and such a great moment to remind the kids that no matter how little somebody has, the nice and right thing to do is to share with others that have less than we do. It was good for them to see both sides of that. Thank you again to the wonderful mom and little boy that shared with my children!

Next we went to Jones Brothers for cupcakes and waited in line outside the door to get in. Once inside we followed the line ahead of us toward the counter and suddenly a woman starts yelling at me for cutting. Being that I had been waiting in line this whole time and was simply following the line that was in front of me, I had no idea what she was talking about. I spoke calmly with her and apologized that she was so upset but didn’t see how it was my fault or why I deserved the way she was treating me. Obviously she was very upset and I happened to be the person in the wrong place at the wrong time that fell in direct line of her attack. I, however, never lost my temper, never raised my voice and maintained a smile on my face (which secretly I think made her even more mad…lol!) the whole time. The other woman she was with joined in on the attack and instead of attacking back, I simply smiled and let them go ahead of us.  They then turned their attack on the poor girls at the counter that were working their tails off to try to serve everybody as quickly as possible.

The kids and I then got up to the counter to pay and I apologized to the girls at the counter for the treatment they had just received.  I thanked them for their incredible service and let them know that I admired the way they were handling such a busy day and such a stressful environment.

After finishing their cupcakes and walking back to our car, I sat and asked the kids what they thought about the day and what had happened.  They said they had a good time and were happy we went!  I asked them what they thought about the little boy that shared his Easter Eggs with us leaving only one for himself.  They said they thought he was very nice for sharing with Lexi and Liam and I emphasized again the importance of sharing and helping others even if we don’t have a lot to share or give.  I reminded them of how good that made them feel when somebody shared with them and that we want to treat others the same way as that little boy did with them.

Next I asked them what they thought about how the ladies acted in the cupcake store.  “Not cool” my oldest said.  We discussed how the women were angry and how they yelled at mommy.  “Did mommy get mad at them and yell back or push them or hit them or scream at them?” I asked.  “No, you talked it through with them!” they proudly answered!  I reminded them that even though it did make mommy upset that those women were yelling at me, it was important to stay calm and talk with them to try to make things better.  I also told them that even though mommy stayed calm and didn’t yell and tried to talk with the women, they were still angry and even though it didn’t fix things, it also didn’t make it worse.  I told them that sometimes not everybody will be nice or act the right way and we can’t fix that, but what we can do is stay calm and treat them better than they are treating us.  And if it gets really bad, to just walk away and go ask for help if you need to.

I am so very proud of my kids for they way they acted today.  They stuck together, they listened to mommy, they helped comfort each other when one of them was sad, they showed true gratitude to somebody that helped them and shared with them, they waited patiently in line for cupcakes without acting up and they quietly watched and learned from me during a stressful situation.  And most importantly they shared their thoughts and feelings with me and we had a great discussion about what we could learn from what we had experienced.  Love those little ankle-biters!  🙂

Until next time…be kind to one another and take every teachable moment life offers you.

Avoiding the Holiday Hangover

Holiday Hangover

Now before you get too far into this post…this has nothing to do with the typical alcohol-induced hangover.  So if you are hoping for a magic cure-all for that I am afraid I have bad news for you…the cure is don’t drink so much!! 

No, I am referring to that feeling you get after the holidays are over.  We spend a month (or more for some) building up to the holidays…planning and cooking and baking and shopping and wrapping and decorating and gathering together…etc.  And before long the day has come and it is Christmas Eve (or insert whatever holiday you and yours celebrate…yes, I am quite aware that everybody doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but in my house we do).  Tomorrow is the big day…Christmas Day!  Santa comes tonight!!  We have cookies and hot cocoa to put out tonight, reindeer food to sprinkle on the yard and the kids have one gift (Christmas jammies!) to open tonight from mom and dad.  My husband and I started the Minivan Express tradition last year so that will happen tonight as well!  (I will write more on that in a future post).

And then tomorrow morning arrives and the kids excitedly wake up and run into our room and bounce on the bed anxious to open their presents!  We all get up and mommy stays up in the bedroom with the kiddos (trying to make myself somewhat presentable for pictures/video)  while daddy goes down to see what surprises Santa has left for us (and to get the camera!).  Then daddy has us all come down the stairs to the Christmas morning goodies that await us!  After the flying wrapping paper and the excited squeals of the kids we all get showered and dressed and eat some breakfast before family arrives.

Family arrives and we eat, drink and be merry sharing the company of one another and stories of memories of Christmas past.  We exchange gifts and thanks and play some games and eat some more and then one by one people start to head home.  Soon everybody is gone and it is time for bed.  The kiddos get a bath and a bedtime story and then tucked into bed.  Mom and dad finish cleaning up the remains of the celebration and collapse on the couch together in exhaustion.

And then it is the day after Christmas.  The decorations are still up, but the anticipation of the approaching holiday is gone.  We know we will have to take down the decorations soon (ugh) and get them all packed away for another year (double ugh).  No more Christmas songs on the radio, no more twinkling lights and soothing tree by the fireplace.  No more Christmas specials on tv or cheesy Christmas Hallmark or Lifetime movies (those are my favorite!!).  No more Christmas baking or gift exchanges with coworkers, friends and family.  It is all just done.

That is the holiday hangover.

So to avoid that sinking feeling, here is what you do…look ahead.  Yep, that is it!  Look ahead.
Look ahead to the next thing…plan your New Year’s celebrations, gather with family and friends to celebrate the New Year and take a moment to reflect on the year behind and set goals for the year ahead.
Look ahead to Valentine’s Day and show those around you how much they mean to you.
Plan an End of Winter Celebration to say so long to the cold and snow and hello (and hurry and get here) to the warmth and new life of spring!

Find any excuse to celebrate life and surround yourself with those you love.   Decorate when you want (I am still trying to convince my husband to leave the tree up all year long and decorate it for each season/holiday!!), gather when you want, bake when you want, party when you want!  Make everyday a holiday!!  Life is short…make every second count!  One of my very favorite quotes is “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”  Create breath-taking moments!

A very Merry Christmas to you all and Happy Holidays to everybody that celebrates the many other holidays this time of year!

Christmas Tree

Small acts can make a big difference…

I woke up the morning of July 18th, got ready as normal and headed to the kitchen to get my cup of coffee before heading to work.  The stack of mail was sitting on the table waiting for me, as it is every morning, and at the top of the stack was a bright green hand-written envelope.  My curiosity sparked, I went straight to the mail pile instead of to the coffee pot first and picked up the green envelope.   I didn’t recognize the sender’s name but it was a local address…figured it was a bridal or baby shower invite of some sort.

I opened the envelope and inside was a Thank You card with a picture of an adorable 16-month old boy, whom I did not recognize.  The card read:

“Lori,

I cannot thank you enough for donating breast milk to help our son Isaac.  He had kidney failure from birth and formula was causing further health problems.  By giving him breast milk he was able to get the kidney transplant he so desperately needed.  We are three weeks post-transplant now and he is doing so incredible!  He’s now started crawling and standing, and even eating!  It’s amazing to watch.  We would not have been able to get to this point without the wonderful gift you have given to us.  I can’t imagine a more self-less thing to do.  You have given health to our son, and I am forever in your debt.  You are an angel on earth.  Thank you!

Kelly (Isaac’s mom)”

My heart was overflowing and the tears began to fall…that note and picture just made my whole day…heck, my whole year!

A while back, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that a friend of a friend (somebody she did not know) needed breast milk for her son who was struggling with kidney failure.  I was so excited to see this message as I had over 300 bags of breast milk stored in my freezer at that time because my son could not use it as he was showing sensitivity (we think to dairy) and would scream in pain after digesting it.  My husband and I had just discussed what we were going to do with it all.  I was not willing to just throw it away for as any mother that has breast-fed or pumped knows…that is hard work to get that stuff and it truly is “liquid gold”!  We talked about donating it, but we didn’t even know where to begin or if it would qualify as I hadn’t kept a food journal of what I was eating while pumping so it had gluten, wheat, dairy, etc. and we weren’t sure how that whole process worked.  But now this opportunity fell into our laps!  I was so excited!!!  I contacted my friend right away and her friend arranged to pick it up from me to deliver to this family that needed it.

Now, months later, I receive this surprise note in the mail that just changed my life!
Something that was so very simple for me to do, meant the world to Kelly and her son Isaac.  Such a powerful reminder that even the small things we do really can make a big difference!

Small things make a big difference

I am excited to write Kelly back and thank her for her kind words and the update and picture of little Isaac.  As far as I am concerned I now have another son…little Isaac will be in my heart forever now.  I am hoping to meet the family and someday be able to hold Isaac and hug his mom!

The Satisfaction a Checklist Provides…

checklist        
Hello, my name is Lori and I am a checklist junkie.

I love checklists.  There are few things that provide the same sense of satisfaction that checking items off of a checklist do.  It is exhilarating and motivating and helps me keep my life, my work, my kids, my home, etc. in order.

I decided to do a little research on checklists and see just what resources are available.  Here is what I found:

Real Simple has a very comprehensive collection of checklists on their website.  If you are a checklist junkie like me, you MUST check out this Link!  They also had The Best Free Apps to Simplify Your Life…can’t go wrong with simplifying things!

I found a list of 6 Fantastic To-Do Apps for Getting Organized on Mashable.  I can’t wait to try some of these apps out in addition to the ones I already use.  One of my favorites is the Cozi Family Organizer.  I love it!  My whole family can use it and sign in with their own individual email addresses but the same shared family password.  It will definitely come in handy as the kids get older and have their own calendar schedules happening.  Will keep me sane and in the know!  🙂

I came across a fellow blogger (and also a mother of 4 like me!) and she posted 100+ Ideas to Help Organize Your Home and Your Life.  Amazing list, check it out!!  I also subscribed to her blog while I was there…just saying! 🙂
Another great blog post I stumbled upon was Zone Defense: A Game Plan to Organize Your Home.  Worth checking out!

A good website to browse is Organized Home.  They have cleaning challenges, tips on how to cut clutter and get organized, recipes, ideas for household notebooks and much more! 

So now that you are on top of things and getting organized, how about the kiddos?  Here are some great resources to start early with your kids and keep them organized as well.  That will not only make life run a little more smoothly for you, but will help your child as they grow as well.

The Parenting website has a good (short and sweet) article called Keeping Kids Organized that provides some helpful tips.  A teacher for a specific school created a website for her students and their parents, but it has some great tips that anybody can use.  See her version of 10 Ways to Keep Your Children Organized.

Well looking at all of these checklists and organizing sites has my heart racing with excitement!  Time to satisfy my addiction and put together a checklist or two!

Until next time…make today amazing! 🙂

Patience is a virtue…that I don’t have!

We have all heard the saying “Patience is a virtue.”
When researching this a bit I saw the following explanation that I liked:  “Patience is a virtue because it is developed through difficulties and troubles.”

Wiki Answers also had the following explanation that I was really able to relate to:
It’s only perspective… Patience, or any reaction/behavior, without instruction or planning, unfolding into a positive event that ‘one’ can NOT imagine or make happen with physical intention is also ‘luck’.  Doing ‘nothing’ or ‘waiting for the correct moment’ can be the most difficult thing to do.  Those that do it well… have a greater sense of Peace in appearance. It only seems from another perspective to a worthy quality. The truth is Patience is an illusion… Still waters run deep, and patient people break things when no one is looking. Virtue is something one envies in another and overlooks in themselves. ~Bruce Filmore Dunn

There are more times than not that I find myself thinking about how I lack in patience…
When parenting I find I have a hard time being patient with my little ones.  It is hard feeling like a broken record and having them do exactly what you just told them (10 times) not to do!
When working on a project that I am excited about or when purchasing a car or house I find I lack patience.  I have a very hard time with the “waiting” part of the process.  I have discovered I (along with the rest of our society these days) have a need for instant gratification…I want it done now!  🙂

I just have to keep reminding myself (and you can do the same) that everything happens for a reason and will happen when it is supposed to.  Although the waiting is hard to do, it is just a part of life and we must embrace it and make the best of it…or try what I do…distract yourself!!

So until next time…”Are we there YET?!”   🙂

  • Patience

Time Management in Parenting…

Wow, I have missed blogging!  It has been way too long since my last post…
Things have been hectic at best lately and I feel like I am lucky to have enough time to sit down and eat…which does not always happen by the way!  So I am busy, tired, hungry and I am sure just a “joy” to be around lately…hahaha!

In all reality though, I really have been struggling lately with juggling working full time and being a full-time parent as well.  I know that sounds funny…full-time parent…aren’t we all parents all the time?!  I guess what I mean by that is the opposite schedules my husband and I work so as not to have to pay for daycare for our kiddos.  So I work full time during the day and then come home and “parent” full-time by myself at night while he does the same, but opposite…parenting by himself during the day and working full-time at night.  (I think he got the worse end of the deal because he actually gets up with the baby overnights more than I do too…thank goodness for my amazing husband!!)

It is exhausting!  And I know that it will only get worse in the sense that as the kids get older, they are going to have busier schedules with school and activities and friends, etc.  Currently my husband takes our oldest to preschool in the mornings and I did it while I was on maternity leave.  It is quite the task to get everybody loaded up into the van to drop Logan off and then pick him back up again.  This fall will be even more of  a challenge with one in preschool and one in kindergarten at different schools!  Same with baseball this summer…will have two of them playing instead of just the one.

So the reason this is all on my mind right now and I am rambling on is because next Monday is Logan’s 5th birthday…OMG it is less than a week away!  I have been meaning to schedule his birthday party for over a month now, but just keep getting too busy to actually do it.  So I finally sat down and looked at the calendar and tried to map out the party this morning and make the call to the YMCA to see if they have any openings for the date that would work best for us…and of course the person that books the party is not there.  So I left a message and am hoping for the best, but realize that there may be a possibility that my son’s birthday party will be pushed back to April since we have to work around Easter weekend too.

I must be busier than normal too, because little Liam will be 5 months old on Monday the 18th as well and he is still wearing 3 month clothing, which by the way is too tight for him!  I really need to go through the boys’ old clothes and find the 6 month outfits for him.  The bad part is that I know there are 3 month outfits that he has never worn once…what is wrong with me?!  Geez!  I am slacking…  Can somebody please put more than 24-hours in a day for me?!  Apparently that is just not enough for me to get everything done!

So long rambling nonsense in short…I think it is time for me to try to “re-organize” my time management system again!
I am currently using the Cozi website (www.cozi.com) for our family calendar so we can all (well my husband and I currently) see what everybody has scheduled.  It is nice because it also has a shopping list feature so we can both add to the same shopping list and my husband can access it via his phone and pick up groceries after work.  We just really need to work more on actually using it!!  I also have a neat magnetic organizer that has 3 different tabbed clear “folders” that we keep on the fridge.  Currently we are only using one of the “folders” for my son’s school calendar, but as the other ones get into school too, the rest will fill up with their calendars!

If anybody has any awesome tips/tricks/resources that you use to help keep your family organized please feel free to share!   I know I would appreciate it and I am sure other parents reading this would too!  “Help a mother out!”  Haha!  🙂