The art of taking 5

I will be the first to tell anyone that I did not know how to take time for myself.  I had for so long believed that if you are a SAHM your job is to do everything and please everyone in the household.

A wise lady told me how wrong I was, and if I don’t take care of myself than there is no way I can efficiently take care of others.

So what did I do with that new-found knowledge, I learned the art of taking 5.

I have a busy household and taking on writing children’s books and blogging has made my life a little more “interesting”. Here are the top 5 ways I sneak in me time.

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I wake up 30 minutes earlier than anyone else.  On school days no one wants to wake up, so I set my alarm clock for thirty minutes before it is time to wake up the crew.  I make me a cup of coffee and have me some uninterrupted internet time.  I am able to respond to emails, search products, watch how to videos, and research ways to grow my audience and books.  I love this time, because I can really focus on one subject, one topic, one thing at a time.

 

The art of taking 5

 

I take an after dinner walk or bike ride around the block.  After dinner the house can become a little chaotic. I finish my meal before everyone else and take a quick 10 minute stroll around the block.  This allows me to get some air, clear my mind, and if nothing more than to breathe.  I don’t get to do this as often as I like, but when I do I cherish that alone time in rain, sleet, or snow.

 

 

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I sometimes have an after dinner treat.  While washing dishes after dinner I try to have a little treat that I can savor while cleaning.  A piece of chocolate, a yummy cafe drink, or my favorite

 

 

 

 

The art of taking 5

Music is my vacation.  Sometimes when the kids are doing homework and the toddler is engaged in an activity I will put on my headphones and listen to three or four of my favorite songs.  I call it my mini vaca.

 

 

 

 

 

The art of taking 5Schedule mandatory me time once a week.  I know that some moms have mandatory me time daily, but it is unrealistic in my household.  Once a week has me singing the “Happy” song.  I usually have the whole day to leave the house and do whatever I want, but I never take the whole day, and most times I just want to be lazy and lay around the house.  Most times I will sleep late, curl up in bed with a good drama or romance movie, read the newspaper, or chit-chat on the phone with my family or friends.

I love me time because it gives me the opportunity to be totally unproductive.  Yes I meant to say unproductive!

Other ways that are not always successful, but when they are it is so worth it

Working out

Bath time for myself (candles, music, low lighting, and no interruptions)

meet up with my book club (once a month)

Church events that are for women only (scrapbook parties, brunch, clothes swap, etc.)

Staying up after all have went to sleep (This is not always successful because I am exhausted by the end of the day and all I want to do is sleep)

Share some of your mommy me time activities.  I would love to learn how you take 5.

Also check out http://www.momsncharge.com for more advice on learning how to take time for yourself.

Angry Mom On The Loose

angry woman on the loose

 

 

Have you ever just had one of those days where everything makes you mad or nothing makes you happy?  Well that was me yesterday.

It’s funny because I can’t really remember why it was such a tense day.  I had scheduled too many things for one day, parent teacher conferences being one of those things.  I had conferences with three different teachers and that can be draining in itself.  I had to do grocery and my youngest had a therapy session.

The kids were unnecessarily loud and active, or are they always that way and I was at a moment of tuning in to the many sounds of my household.

My husband was listening to music with headphones on and trying, and I stress trying to sing along with 50% knowledge of the lyrics.

The house was a mess, from the days before, because I have been sick, which means nothing gets done or things only get done to their specifications, which means nothing gets done.

I was moody.  I was pouting like a five-year old.  I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to be talked to, I didn’t want to sleep, eat, or watch t.v.. I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts and the sound of quietness (yes quiet has a sound).

My husband eventually started to read the signs of an angry mom and tried to get the house under control.  When that failed he sent everyone to bed 20 minutes before bed time and left me alone in a room with my own thoughts.

My thoughts were too many to handle so I opened up the Macbook and indulged in Netflix.  I don’t remember much about the movie I watched because I was sleep within 15 minutes of watching.  I awoke at 2 am, sneaking into each room to kiss the girls goodnight, filling the dishwasher, and picking up the toys I had stepped on, on my way to the kitchen.  Finally I jump into bed close my eyes, and not a minute to soon I am awakened by the sound of my husbands snoring.

I laugh turn over and force myself to sleep.  This is the life I think as I doze off.

It seems as if I was not the only one who had a difficult day mommy training wheels has a similar story to share and also Raising 5 Kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog.

How was your week?

 

 

Wait, why are you wearing green?

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and everyone around me is celebrating in some way.  We, in this household acknowledge this day, but we don’t really celebrate the holiday.

We will eat corn beef and cabbage tonight for dinner.

We do wear green to school and work.

Oh yeah,  I also made up some fun activities for us to do today. Take a look!

St Patrick's Day craftI take a piece of cardboard (This is the back of a cereal box) some green paint and a paint brush and let the kiddos free paint.  I prefer the free painting to giving them a template to paint within.  After they have painted as much as they like, I cut out the template, tape the template to the back of the board and cut.

painting for St. Patrick's Day Once I have finished cutting out the template, this is the final product.

4 leaf cloverWe take the clover and play a game called “What’s at the end of the rainbow” Now I totally made this game up in the moment.  I used colors that are not in a rainbow, but the kiddos did not judge me.rainbow game

The Rainbow Game is played with felt, foam, paper, whatever you have on hand in different colors placed to resemble a rainbow.  A die (we made our die out of cardboard) and your moving pieces (in this case our clovers).  Roll the die and move the number of places according to the die.

The winner makes it to the pot of gold first.  You can put whatever you want at the end of the game.

rainbow gamerainbow gameI wanted to make sure I read a book with the St. Patrick’s Day theme, but of course I don’t have any of those books, so I did what all great writers, parents, teachers, and caregivers do, I made up a story.  I made popsicle puppets and told a story about a man, a girl, a pot of gold, and a rainbow on a journey to find St. Patrick.  I drew my background and also used the images in my picture as part of the story.  Please don’t judge my drawings, my husband is the true artist in this family.

St. Patrick's Day storyWell, I guess we do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in our own made up way.

How are you and your family or students celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

 

Speak those words I long to hear

If you know my story, you know that I have lovingly struggled with my 2-year-old and her inability to communicate.  In the beginning I was sad and frustrated, but then I put myself in her shoes and realized that this must be a struggle for her as well.

I sometimes do get sad when I am around other children her age.  To hear them call out to their parents “mama” or “dada”, Oh how I long to hear those words.

I never realized how precious those moments are when you hear your child speak for the very first time.  I cherish what limited communication we do have with each other, and I am thankful everyday for her bright smile and tight hugs.  We have made progress  or shall I say she has made tremendous progress, and the effort is always there.

I have read many books and have searched the web tirelessly for tips and suggestions to encourage language and this is what I found works best for us.

Reading

Reading

Reading is our number one love and the reason for her progress.  I have always known the benefits of reading and how it unlocks the mind, but it has opened my eyes to its true power.

The type of books we use to encourage language are books with repetitious text and rhythm like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See” by Eric Carle

Picture books with vivid pictures and minimal text, like “All About Winter” by Frankie Murdock

Books that we read on our iPad device.  These particular books read to you, they are interactive, and many times they offer cool features like hidden gems and age appropriate games.

Books that encourage letter recognition and counting.  My daughter loves to make the sounds of the alphabet song, which brings me to the next discovery of works for her development and that is

Music

music

We sing songs with minimal lyrics, but catchy phrases and funny sounds, like Old Mc Donald, BINGO, and If your happy and you know it.

We love to get out the instruments and make up our own songs as well.  I will repeat a phrase over and over again, but allow her to create the beat with the instruments.  She loves trying to form the words and sounds that I am making, and the beat of the music gives her the ability to make the syllabic sounds.

Familiar children television songs like Daniel Tiger and Angelina Ballerina.  During her t.v. time she likes to watch the same episodes over and over again.  She can imitate the sounds and some of the words of the songs.  During the day when the television is off I can start to sing some of the songs from those shows and she will try to sing along.

She will occasionally show interest in other tunes, but she prefers many of the songs from PBSkids.

Drawing

drawing

We do so many different arts and craft projects, but drawing is the one activity that brings out the language.  She does not use words per se, but she speaks her gibberish in efforts to describe her pictures.

I have an easel that I keep supplied with paper and markers.  Throughout the day she will just go and draw and pull someone over to show and describe what she is drawing.

She also loves to imitate what I draw.  We are working naming the parts of the face and body, so I have been drawing happy faces for her copy.  This has helped with her identifying different parts of the face.

Some stories that are classics, that I do not own, I will draw out the story on the board and have her follow along.  On her own she will try to replicate what I have done and tell the story in her own words.

 

Therapy

We are fortunate to have a speech therapist come out to our home once a week to help with my daughters speech.  The therapist has toys and learning games and uses those tools to encourage her to speak.

He focuses on blends and beginning and ending sounds.  He also encourages her to initiate words on her own through different types of play.

All of these things have helped with her speech development and has given her the confidence to try new words and sounds.  I am excited about the future for her and I hope that maybe this can encourage another family, who may find themselves struggling with the same thing.

It’s All About the Kids

They Grow Up so fast

They grow up so fast.  Every year I can see my children age just a little bit more.  It will be a while before we are empty nesters, but the thought makes me sad sometimes.

My husband and I never thought we’d have five children, but I can’t tell you just how great it has been watching them all grow and become their own person.  When we had our first child we said Valentines Day would be for our children.  It is true we show love throughout the years, but we always said we didn’t want our children waiting on a Valentine from someone else because they would always receive that attention from us.

Maybe it was because our first child was a girl, and we thought about when she starts dating, the odds of her first boyfriend being clueless about the big deal of Valentines Day.  I just knew that when she woke up in the morning on Valentines Day her first gift would be from her parents.

Throughout the years we have tried to be more creative, but sometimes a simple homemade card and something with hearts all over it would be just enough to make them feel extra special.  When they grow older they start to surprise us with special gifts or gestures of love.  My favorite was when my husband and I came home to a special meal the girls had prepared.  They made menus, prepared a four course meal, dressed like servers, and even prepared a romantic space for us to watch a movie.

The love goes on and on, and I’m happy that they take a moment from the arguments of being siblings to show just how much they care about each other.

This year there is a twist.  Our oldest is away and she will not reap the benefits of waking up with hearts all over her room door, a card placed inside her book bag, and a small gift on her favorite cereal.  We mailed her a care package which we hope will make it in time.  I will post pictures tomorrow of our Valentine Day ritual, because the girls do read this blog from time to time :-).

I hope Valentines day is as special in your house as it is in mine. It’s all about the kids and we love that way.