Friday, October 9, 2015

Perspective is Everything

Earlier this week, MC said something that totally took me by surprise; he usually does.  He's an old soul who has always had a way with words.  He asked, "How do you do everything, almost everything...all of this work and still stay joyful?"  This one little question sent my mind in such a whirlwind I asked at least a dozen questions for clarity. The thing is, although I have an inner joy deep within that keeps me sane (mostly), on any given day I'm pretty certain that joy is camouflaged. So to think that his perception and mine don't exactly match was interesting to say the least.

MC likes calm, steady, predictable, and drama free.  I can actually tell when the household crazy is driving him a little crazy.  No matter how many times  I've lost my cool, complained and just not been very pleasant to be around....joyful is his perception.  Wow!  It really makes me rethink my expectations of myself.

Have you set unrealistic expectations for yourself?  What would your friends and family say?  Would you believe them?  I challenge you to take inventory.  Perhaps it's time to change your perspective.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I clearly remember the early days of puppy training.  It was a lot like having an infant or young child, without the convenience of language.  Of course I used language (good and bad), but early on, the puppy was clueless.  I have vivid memories of how frisky Coco was.  I remember taking her out for potty breaks, on the leash, and trying to get her to stay focused and take care of business.  A few times, I even overheard my neighbors giggling about our struggles.  One night, I was doing the routine nighttime break and realized just how close of a hold I had on the dog leash.  There was absolutely no slack.  She was within arms reach and still hard to wrangle.  In that moment, I got the visual of the phrase "on a short leash".

While it seemed natural for the short distance between us to guide her to do the right thing, she didn't.  Over time, I gradually eased up and loosened the rein a bit and noticed that after a short time of exploration, she got back on track.  So, just as with children, she needed the supervision and guidance, but with a little freedom to do it her way.  Having a teen and pre-teen recently brought this back to my remembrance.  I'll admit that being a control freak makes it very hard for me to fall back in most areas, but the kids really do need the space to find their way (or see that Mom really knows best).  They will pull all of the stops to assert their independence, but find comfort and stability in the structure and boundaries.

This has been the least fun stage, and I'm not sure it will improve any time soon.  It's definitely a transitional phase for everyone.  I've resolved to try to stay positive (1happymommy),  take it in stride, one day at a time, and hope to come out wiser.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pork and Rice Casserole

This is one of my favorite fall/winter recipes.  It's a no-fail, childhood favorite that just says "comfort food".

Pork Chops Casserole
6 pork loin chops
1 c. rice
1 can beef consommé soup
1 can diced tomatoes with chiles
1/4-1/2 c. chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
paprika, optional (for color)

Season pork chops and brown on each side.  Spread uncooked rice evenly in 9X13 casserole dish.  Place pork on rice in a single layer.

Pour on soup

Add tomatoes and chiles

Top with green onions

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

The pork is good, but definitely not the star.  The rice absorbs all of the flavored goodness and takes center stage.  I could just eat it for days!  It is a little spicy, so if you don't like a bit of a kick, consider using plain diced tomatoes.   I usually serve it with a green vegetable or a salad.  It just doesn't get any easier than this!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Back In Our Groove

We're finishing up the first nine weeks of school, and I must say I'm loving having my boys on the same campus again!  What a time saver at drop off and pick up times!  I'm also happy about the smooth transition that MC has made this far.  I'm sure his transition can, in part, be attributed to my transition the second time around.  I have deliberately chosen to NOT obsess about grades and assignments.  It's hard and goes against everything in me, but it makes for a much less stressful week!  I've shown him how to check his grades and update his planner by referencing his teacher's websites. He's a tad more responsible than his big brother which is just the icing on the cake.

Mornings have been nice, since JB goes in early for sports practice.  I take MC, at a decent hour, while my hubby drops off JB on his way out to work.  I've heard the early morning "discussions", but haven't been tempted to get up and intervene.  I think I've earned that break!

Its really odd to see how much I've changed as a parent over the years.  Baby Girl (whose now 4!) sometimes dresses herself and chooses her own breakfast and hairstyle.  This is huge for a control freak like myself!  I'm still not laid back, and I don't think I ever will be.  I've just decided to try harder to keep things in perspective.

This week, I filled my baking order since opening my business.  It's still hard to believe I'm a baker for hire.  This is really the best of both worlds.  I get to do something I love to do (bake) without the guilt of eating all of the treats.  I'm working on setting weekly business goals to make sure I gain momentum.  So far all of the feedback has been really good, and I plan to use it to tweak some things.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Sweet Life: Sugar Rush Sweet Shoppe

I'm always thinking of a project or idea, but often don't have the time
or energy to prioritize and make things happen (i.e.  I've been trying to finish painting a vanity for a month).  Well after years of convincing myself of all the reasons to wait, I decided to just go for it.  Life will happen.  There will always be more commitments than time.  As long as I'm raising kids, they will have a myriad of needs, and those needs shouldn't completely drown out my goals and dreams.

In the past year, I've watched as several people my age or younger have died unexpectedly or had their worlds turned upside down.  It's really forced me to realize that time waits for no one.  The delay for the perfect time may be the only time.  So, I took the plunge (and a few cake decorationg classes) and officially opened my home bakery.  It looks a little different that what I imagined, but it works best for where I am in life at the moment.  The biggest thing is that I took a HUGE step and just went for it.  The plan and model can be as fluid as I'd like, because it's all mine.

So far I've had several orders, and I must admit it's a bit stressful.  I'm hoping this subsides with more practice.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Here We Go...

Both boys are now in middle school, and I'm hoping that being on somewhat similar schedules will help me get back on track.  We're four years into being a family of five, and I'm just as bewildered as ever.  Tomorrow Baby Girl will resume preschool,  and I have big plans for getting my house in order.  Overzealous much, considering she'll only go two days a week.

On her off days, we really need to get on the ball academically.  I feel like I've spent this time with her just playing and letting her explore independently.  That has its place, but she definitely needs some guided learning opportunities.  I'm not sure whether or not she'll start kindergarten next year, or at all.  I still secretly want to homeschool even though I don't think I have it in me.

My theory on birth order...

I'm convinced the first kid is doomed, because he/she is practice.  The second (middle kids) usually tags along and can be overlooked and overshadowed by the oldest.  The baby usually gets away with everything because the parents are either too old, too tired, or just decided to pick their battles.  Bottom line:  No matter the birth order, it's a toss-up because babies don't come with instruction manuals!

This year I would love to find balance.  Go figure.  I'm still in search of the elusive idea of balance.  Chores, school work, schedules, disciplining and training the children....not to mention individual growth, building the marriage, and professional and personal goals.  The idea of getting it all right can be overwhelming.  I've always lived on or near level 10, so that's a big part of the problem.  The goal is to work my way down to about 5 and learn to enjoy the journey.

Here's to a great school year (and hopefully more consistent blogging)!

Monday, March 23, 2015

I'm Still Here

It's been months!  My lack of posts certainly doesn't represent a lack of activity around these parts.  It's quite the opposite!  We have been on a non-stop crazy train since the beginning of the school year.   With each passing month the kids' seem to double their extra-curricular commitments.  Sadly, I see so many others doing much more than we are.  I have no idea (nor do I want to know) how they manage. 

I'm trying not to get so bogged down in the mundane, day to day stuff that I miss life.  That would be a tragedy!  I'm also trying to revive a few personal commitments and goals in hopes that spending some time on myself will improve my overall outlook on my role as wife and mother.

Each day certainly brings its own set of challenges and lessons.  At this point in my life, I just want to get the lesson the first time. 

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