Monday, September 30, 2013

Shout Out to Single Parents!

I have the utmost respect for single parents!

I really don't know how some of you do it! Although I will say this. I am at the end of day 4 (of 8 days) and I have come to realize a few things:

1. Your normal routine will change BUT you must have a routine!
2.  Truly pick your battles!
3. Help is great and necessary BUT sometimes can be overwhelming!
4. YOU must give up for your kids!
My kids have been great while their dad has been away, even though I know both of them are merely missing the day to day interactions they have with their dad! You know like wrestling at night, being crazy, eating dinner together and on and on.  Despite the multiple questions from my almost two-year old like,   "where's daddy?"  and statements like, "I miss my daddy!" He is doing swimmingly!


The routine has changed, however there are a few parts of the routine that I would not negotiate.  First yes, eat what you want! Not just go have at the sweets (if we had any in the house) but what choices do you want for dinner and let's go shopping to pick it out!. That seems to have worked.  However, bedtime, the actual time for bed (non-negotiable) needed to provide for some structure and of course both boys are adhering to it. In fact both of them are almost putting themselves to bed. 


I always choose my battles with the boys. I don't have someone else to rely on to support me so the buck stops here. But I am reevaluating what my intended goal is.  Is it to just enforce rules? What rules? Why is that particular rule so important or should I focus on what I want to have happen and if there is an alternative way of getting to that end result than what I originally thought of is that altering my idea of parenting?  NO.. so go with it.  In the end it will save you time, and frustration.


I have help for sure. I have my mother in town supporting the kids and making sure I am able to get to work and the kids picked up and dropped of to the places that they need to be at.  I have planned for additional help (sitter) for the latter part of this week. Of course, this help is both necessary and wonderful and at the same time setting up for it, getting everyone on the same page and not forgetting something is difficult and overwhelming.


I have pushed the stuff I like to do aside, I have given up the TV shows I like and traded them for the Disney channel and Pixar movies and I have not had an adult conversation or "me" time until the very end of the day if at all because I am so exhausted.  So yes give up for your kids.  I do this partly to spend time with them and give them some normalcy but also to make sure that they are learning through this process. 
I am only walking in the single parent shoes for 8 days, but in the first four I have learned a tremendous amount. I only have two kids and the juggling act is ridiculous.  I have a new found appreciation for the time it takes single parents to plan, get kids where they need to be, hold down a job and constantly being needed.  It is a huge responsibility.  Some make it look so easy almost like there is no effort being put into it, but for me it is a struggle.  I love my kids, I love my work, I love my husband and I see an end. 

Mommy Blogger? How Do You Know?

The Definition~

Who would have thought many years ago when I was a student in the second or third grade around the time when the latest technology was an Apple IIe Computer and internet wasn't quite invented yet that there would be a phrase/title or occupation called "Mommy Blogger" or that there even would be a venue for publications almost like an online diary and for that matter any social media networking.  Today those terms are used all of the time and have changed the way in which we "do" things.  From advertising, writing in a diary, being earth friendly, what occupation we join to much, much more, our way of life is so vastly different from when I was a kiddo!

Wow as I reflect upon what I just wrote I feel kind of old.  Recently I read a blog post that when viral that shared in letter format how one mother is raising her boys to follow a moral compass.  Because of social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace (which seems obsolete since FB has taken over by storm)  or the many others (Pinterest, Linked In etc.) that the way in which we taught morals, values and manners have to be revisited.  These sites make it super easy to put something out there we all think to be cool, but sometimes we forget the repercussions of our actions.  Our way of life has changed and will continue to on a daily basis.  There will be new words, new language (texting) and many more ways to utilize the digital world. 

So how do you know if you have become a Mommy Blogger? What is that definition?  How do you know if you want to be a Mommy Blogger?  So I have thought about this for a while. I have thought about how my sister and her friend share a blog and have created a platform for their voice and their interests. Check it out "Good Luck with That" is the title of their blog.  Both she and her friend are mothers, and they both share a blog! That is the simplest definition of being a Mommy Blogger that I know of.  I am sure there might be some bloggers out there that might disagree. They don't get paid money or make money off of their blog (that I know of at this time).  There are also those bloggers out there that blog about their crafts, their interests and have become professional Mommy Bloggers. They go to blogging conferences, make money, network, link up to other vendors, provide giveaways etc.  Each has their own niche.  For example there is a friend of ours who's wife wrote a published a couple vegan cook books who also blogs about her cooking ideas and family. That's her niche.  Check that blog out!

So these are just a few Mommy Bloggers out there.  I am a full time working mother, who loves to craft, spends time on Pinterest, loves to plan/host parties, is an educator and much, much more.  I am not sure that I have completely found my niche yet in blogging but I continue to learn and grow and morph with these interests.  I also know that I have to balance my time with all this digital stuff with my family and my desire to put them first as well as my own work and hobbies.  So I consider myself a Mommy Blogger.  Will I ever be able to do this for dollars? I don't know, but it sure would be interesting to see how to get there (if I ever do).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall is here ~ Halloween is Near!

Fall is here

Fall is here and Halloween is around the corner.  I've already picked out (along with my oldest son's input) the kids Halloween costumes.  I am sure since it is all the rage they will not be the only Monster's Inc. characters in the town we live in.  I am sure since several of his friends last year were all pirates that this will be the case.  So I haven't gotten into creating my own costumes, purely for the fact that I really just don't have time and finding things online or when I am out on a trip shopping for something else I find what I need (always planning ahead).  So as much as I would like to blog about the cute "family" style costumes I made, proudly this is not the case.

So I still think it will be super cute the two of them in their costumes. I hope to get  pictures of them together (but we all know how photos go in our home)!

I am late in the game in getting the house decorated for fall. I am planning to pick out my pumpkins and gourds and have pulled out the ghosts we made last year and will hang those up.  Maybe if I can snag some time this weekend to fill the void of daddy gone hunting, we will get crafty! We shall see!

I am ready for pumpkins, fall decorations, Chai Tea Lattes, Carmel Apple Spice Lattes, and my new favorite Salted Carmel Mochas from Starbucks.  Candles add a little bit of wonderful smells to the house and of course a warmth that is much better than just turning the heater on.  So I can't wait!
Pictures to follow!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Goal: Start to Finish~

I guess I  must have been nervous last night as I tossed and turned thinking about what commitment I just got myself into! Running a 5K who was I kidding.  I awoke this morning getting myself and the family ready to go.  Snacks for the kids, of course their blankets (cause it was foggy and misty), the stroller, and diaper bag for my littlest, two bottles of water for myself and a few layers.  I think we are ready. 

My husband drove us there and we parked at the Middle School where some of my staff and friends who were running the 5K with me and the 10K would meet us.  While sitting in the rig my oldest son stated that he wanted to run the kids race.  He was back and forth with that decision within a 15 minute window of time.  We used the bathroom in the school and locked up and headed up the road to the start of the race.  I thought for sure that my oldest would have his nerves get the best of him and back out from the idea of registering for this 1 mile Kids race.  I couldn't have been more proud. What a family moment. 

As we all approached the park where the race began and ended we assessed our surroundings and popped into the line by last name alphabet to pick up our registration items. Mine included my running number (bib), my chip for my running time, and my racing t-shirt (the first in my collection). Then off to the kids registration table! I met my son(s) and husband there just as they were completing the paperwork.  We all put on our bibs with safety pins and placed our chips on our shoes with zip ties. My oldest met a friend (runner) that he chatted it up with and planned our their attack of a course neither of them knew.  We were assured by him that he wouldn't get lost and that he could do it.  Okay!

The kids race was first.  We found the starting line.  We said our goodbyes and I took video (mama paparazzi). Oh I was super excited and a little nervous for Ty. He wanted independence and was adamant about it.  My husband stationed himself with our youngest down the road to keep an eye on him.  Five, Four, Three, Two, One now they were off and fast! No pacing for the kids.

 I had wondered how long they would take and if the kids race would end before mine began. I wanted to see Ty finish, but I also was here to run my first 5K.  The announcement came that the kids were starting their trek towards the finish. Clapping and cheers began as the first runners arrived across the finish line.  I saw Ty with his father and stroller towards the end of the street and Ty was running fast.  He was turning on the speed as he arrived towards the finish.  It was cool to see. 

Now it was my turn! Quick goodbyes, kisses and hugs and requests to cheer me on were made.  The kids and my husband placed themselves just past the starting line to take some video! Oktoberfest music was blaring and we were surrounded now by what seemed like a thousand runners. 

My goal:  To complete the race! To run the whole thing! And to have fun!

Mission completed.  My running partner and I had a game plan.  We ran, we chatted, we listened to how quiet it was when we were running when all we heard were tennis shoes hitting the payment (because everyone had their iPods or other listening devices and seemed to be in the zone) and we cheered on those who were already heading back towards the town and finish. We noted the smell of hops as we passed the hops farm, fitting for O'fest. We ran, we passed people (one short term goal during the race) we felt great.  It helped that it was cool and misty that morning as opposed to the 95 degree weather in which we wogged the course a few days prior. 

It was neat to run in an area where you know a lot of the residents or work with many of them.  They seemed to be strategically placed along the course and provided encouragement, water, and a wave or smile while we passed them on the course.  Special thanks to Mrs. Crouse, Sarah, Mr. Traeger, Mr. Sowa, several students from our district and our band (who played music)!

When will it end?  Well shortly.  As we rounded the corner starting our last full mile the first of two 10K runners sped past us.  Everyone looked around and said at the same time, "10k!" we kept  on.  We  kept our pace and ran the last street towards the finish line.  I found myself saying things like, "keep your eye on the prize", "pick it up" and remembered that once a cheerleader always a cheerleader.  I was amazed that I was completing my goal, I was finishing my race! I was excited but now I was getting competitive.... What would my time be?

Surprisingly my running partner and I crossed the finish line at the same time with a time of 36:47! This was great. Our goal was to complete in 45 minutes!  We were done! My son and husband snapped pictures of our finish and were there cheering us on.  My son gave me a big hug and we stood to cheer on our 10K friends (who finished each 2nd place in their age group)! Whoot, whoot a successful and blessed day for us.  A momentous day for me! I couldn't have been more proud of my son (fits and drama and all) and for my own accomplishment!

We are hooked. Next year we are going to run the race with our dirndls  Color Vibe run in Salem in October! I hope to have my kids cheer me on that day!Can't wait to have paint thrown at us and run with my sister.  I am now even thinking of trying an 8K or 10K this year.  Not sure. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pre- 5K What?

Tonight is the night before I have to wake up on a Saturday early am like I would be going to work in order to make it to Mt. Angel and pick up my registration packet and bib for the Oktoberfest 5K run/walk.  

I plan to run the majority of it and feel pretty good that the last few early mornings have had fog until around Noon.  So it should be comfortable running time (as opposed to the 95 + weather we wogged in the other day!)  I am excited to have my family cheer me on and meet me at the end! It will be something to look forward to! I can feel my competitive nature coming out tonight as I begin to focus.

So here is to doing something new tomorrow. To life changes and to marking something off the bucket list.  I have heard that once you do something like this you get hooked! Well I hope to. I hope to get hooked to running, distance running that is.  I have always loved to sprint but not necessarily distance.  So here's to Oktoberfest, health and fitness!

See you in the Biergarten or Wiengarten after the run! 
What life changes will you make?  What is on your bucket list?  Share....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Run Run as Fast as you Can!


I have less than a week to prepare for my very first 5K run/walk! I am a bit nervous, not sure what to expect but have enjoyed getting out in the heat of the day in God's country to run! Yesterday I ran a few miles in the town in which I live and today I ran 2.76 miles of the route I will be running on Saturday during O'Fest.  My legs are burning, I am stretching, and realizing the value of hydration! I am also figuring out things like: how I want to wear my hair, what shorts are the most comfortable, and of course what music to listen to!

Sing a Song

Music is super important for me to keep a decent pace.  Today I grabbed my husband's iPod and played whatever he had there but I realized the music was too slow! I needed more motivation. I am sure I have pinned a website for play lists for 5K, 10K and Marathons  (NOTE TO SELF DOWNLOAD TODAY).  What music helps you maintain motivation for run?

I have never been a distance runner, more like sprints. Loved to sprint, which was a super helpful skill to have during softball season! But now it seems like therapy to run through neighborhoods, hops fields and near the Mt. Angel Abbey! It is beautiful and helps me slow down and smell the roses.  I am enjoying building endurance which each day. A little bit farther, a little longer of a time and eventually to completion.


Saturday will be my first 5K that I will complete. I am realistic about what goals I am setting. I am not worried about my competitive nature I am putting that aside and focusing on a few things.
  1. Finishing!
  2. Enjoying time with friends
  3. Getting the feel for where my weaknesses are for improvement
  4. Using this 5K as training for my Color Vibe run!

Pinterest Hatred, Why You Got to Be that Way?

Most people that know me, know that I LOVE to PINTEREST!  I just took a look at my Pinterest account and the number of followers I have are 576 and the number of pins I have made is over 6500 on to 68 different boards!  Crazy!  I wonder what the most repined  "pin" that I have posted is? 

This past school auction in April of 2013 I donated a Pinterest party! What is that you say?  It is different than joining a link party online and pinned, it was a party that someone bought at the auction where I would come and teach how to make a project I found on Pinterest.  The person who bought this party turned it into a Football Mom's Burlap Wreath making party. She provided wine, hordeurve's and some supplies! I provided supplies, instruction and time.  What a fabulous party. Pinterest was our go to for inspiration! Fun was had by all!
Why Knock It~
I have read several articles written by people who knock mom's who Pinterest. I have wondered why that is. I will not apologize for having creative interests. I will not apologize for sharing on FB and Pinterest my latest photographs of my kids first day of school.
Or of the latest party that I hosted.
Build a Library Baby Shower 2012

Fourth of July

Fourth of July Pie Pops

Sock Monkey First Birthday Party

Lego 5th Birthday Party
Nor will I gripe about those parents/ individuals who aren't creative, Pinterest or share their stories on FB.  I accept you just as you are.  Please don't knock my likes, my creativity or my hobbies.   So when you post your articles and your statements about what "real" mom's do with your PJ's to the bus stop, the "I'm barely lucky to get my kids fed" statements, I am happy for you!  It is a quite a feat to balance all of what life throws at you when you are a working mom, a stay at home mom, with kids whom you have responsibility for and to help take care of them, believe me I know! I am a real mom with real Pinteresting abilities (not all but some) and I take pride in the fact that I enjoy time with my kids, that I am organized and that I have hobbies I love to do.  And with that....


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Wondered How I would Be~

A Few Days Ago

Yesterday you were my baby and today you are my Kindergartner.  What a milestone and what accomplishments you've made, we've made over the past several years.  You impressed me this morning. With excitement (and a little nerves) we walked together to school. You allowed me to be a crazed mama paparazzi to capture moments we will never get back and you did it all with a smile! This morning was fun, together we got ready for a day of firsts, and together we walked to school, together we completed the scavenger hunt your teacher provided us and together we both nervously, and lovingly said goodbye! It is amazing the you that I witnessed this morning compared to the you that I saw two years ago when you first entered preschool. Such growth you have made.  You  owned it today and I couldn't be more proud!

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Secretly as we walked together to school I  thought about what it would be like several years from now when you would be a middle school student and I smiled when you grabbed my hand as we walked.  I am sure there will come a time when that won't happen anymore (or without a fuss). I enjoyed the conversation about Fall we were having and watching the acorn nut roll down the hill and the references you made to Ice Age the movies.  I enjoyed the long hugs and kisses as I said goodbye and enjoyed watching you at your table group reading your book after completing your tasks and chatting it up! I remember when you used to hide behind my legs and grab them not wanting me to leave.  You have made it your own!  I love that you get excited when you greet your friends and that you are okay with change when some friends are in different classes or schools all together.  I will always cherish the running hugs at the end of my day when I walk into the house and enjoy the conversation about your day... (even when you state you don't remember).

Life is Good

Today was your first day of Kindergarten.  As you dawned your back pack your almost two year old brother wanted to be just like you he grabbed your small backpack and put it on.  You are a role model to him, he definitely looks up to you.  Thank you for giving him hugs and a lot of love as we left for your new adventure this morning! It will be a different time for me when he goes to school. Ah life is good.

Let's not forget that this milestone, yes is yours, but is also your parents.   It is amazing how much time I spent thinking about you today, wondering what you were doing, if you were okay and enjoying yourself.  I was saddened when I left your school this morning. I wanted to stay and peek through the window (I promised myself that I would never embarrass you so I didn't).  I thought about you while I drove to work and shared the many pictures of you with you father. I wondered what your father was thinking (sharing his birthday with your first day) while being at work. I couldn't feel more blessed to be your mother and share in your maturation and growth in the past several years.  I sent a quick note to your preschool teacher thanking her for her support and looked forward to meeting up with you this afternoon after my work day.  Boy did the day go by fast!  I hope life slows down a little bit for both you and I to enjoy these small but significant moments and yes I hope to capture as much of it with photos as I possibly can. 


You have an awesome team of teachers that will work with you this year and I am most excited about what lies ahead.  I can only imagine who you will become and the wonderful ideas that you will share with us in the future!

I am okay! I am just fine! I am a proud mother. You are great and may this school year be a wonderful one full of new learning adventures!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Letter from Mom~

My Dearest First Born Son!

It is September and we are embarking on a new school year. You are entering Kindergarten at the age of 5 and I have been amazed at who you have become since your birth. The day I found out the blessed news that your father and I were expecting you was the day that all my hopes and dreams for you began. I waited nine full months in wonderment about who you would be. What your personality would be like, and where your life would take you.  The day you were born was one of the most happiest days of my life. Your first cries filled my heart with joy a joy that only a mother would understand.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have known what lessons I would learn while being your parent. 

I have learned so much about who you are. You have an incredible knack for teaching me patience, humility and how to enjoy life with you. I enjoy your shy nature, your ability to love and be empathetic, and I love how you have a sense of family and home.  Son, I have watched your shyness in the past two years dissipate with each new experience. You've made great friend connections and have learned lessons along the way as well.  The road certainly is not a straight one. The road ahead with each new year, experience and the unknown is curvy has peeks, valleys and twists and turns.  But you are equipped at the age of five to begin navigating those roads.  I will be right there with you. I will be your mother, a supporter, an encourager, a friend, and will help you navigate those tough times and ride along with you in those grand times. 

So you are entering your Kindergarten year! I am terrified of letting go, sad that the years have flown by so fast, proud of the accomplishments you've made socially, emotionally and academically, and overjoyed that I am here to watch your life unfold! My wish for you through this school year is that you have enough support, enough time, enough experiences and enough love from us to have one heck of a successful school year.  I will be amazed at the end of this school year at what you have learned about yourself and the world in which you live, who you have grown to be and what you aspire to do.  I am blessed to be your mother and I couldn't be more proud of you than what I am today.

So as I write this letter that I share with you and the world, I am thinking of all of the last minute things that I could do to make your first day of Kindergarten the best memorable day ever.  AND yes, we will take your first day of school "picture" with a chalkboard as we always do, so no groaning over that.  YES, I will walk you to school and be late to work (my boss already said that was okay)! I am excited to pack your lunch (with a little something extra special) of course. I will most likely shed a few tears as I leave your classroom (of course after watching a few interactions and lingering around as long as I can). I will trust your teacher and teacher assistant to take good care of you and I will trust you to do your best! I will think about you all day long, wondering how you are doing, if you are having fun, meeting new friends and chatting with your old ones, and I will ask you about your day! Son I love you with all of my heart and I wish this to be a great year together. 

Remember, you are my son and I love you so very much!