Insert Motivational Quote Here:

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*Taps mic*

Hello? Hi. Hi there. I’m Dana. Your motivational speaker. So….  How’s everybody doing today?

I’m here today to tell you more about The FABULOUSNESS THAT IS NOVEMBER and light a fire under that tired-out soul of yours.

If, that is, your soul is actually tired. Perhaps it’s all shiny and ok. Mine was not, so here I am.

This morning I walked the dog and and did some sort of nonsense called Fitness Blender, where sweet and annoyingly chipper Kelli tells me to squat, and I squat. Sometimes she adds kicks to the squats and this makes me feel all flair-ish, so there’s that.

The weather was cool and foggy and I BLASTED this song while I walked sweet Hosmer. All rather simple things.

But I have to tell you, Hosmer was so GRATEFUL for a walk. (He’s grateful for anything, really. My days with him are a regular immersion in furry gratitude. Case in point: He is currently sitting on my feet looking at me with such adoration he basically has become his own emoji.)

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Picture is blurry because dog moving. He keeps trying to come in to lick me.

Also, I have worked on THIS:

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This is not life shattering, I know. Every month, I get out my felt tip pens (all the pretty colors!) and I plan my month. I used to color code it for children and adults and all… but then I realized pretty much all of it sorta morphed into all children all the time, because they consume my life, so I just use colors that make me happy.

Also, I draw turkeys really badly.

But, I guess what I’m trying to say is… (*clears throat, attempts highly motivational voice*)

IF YOU PLAN TO PLAN, YOU’LL FAIL TO PLAN.

Oh wait. No, other way around. (*clears voice again, all the while realizing that motivational speaking might not be my jam*)

If you fail to plan… you can plan.. to fail? Right? That’s it, right?

Right?

We’re only on day 2, people. Progress, not perfection.funny-pictures-cat-does-not-think-plan-will-fail.jpg

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Going Off the Grid with The Plan

SHARPIES!

SHARPIES!

Linking up with Five Minute Friday!

The word for today?

PLAN.

Huh. As in… “That’s not part of the?”

Show of hands, momsies: How many of you sooooo like to have a plan?

I cart around with me a very ratty, scribbled mess of a spiral notebook that I use as a planner. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t have nice pockets or cute script or even a place to store stuff. But this system has worked for me for over… well, since high school.

I like to call the spiral: Master Control.

Lord help me if I ever lose it. I might not be able to dress myself.

I love to have a plan. I have lists, ya’ll. Lists OF lists. I have maps that explain the contents of closets. I have a daily cleaning chart, AND daily breakfast chart, AND I’m pretty sure I have a chart of my charts. It is also possible that at one point and time I scheduled, um, special time with the hubster. Like, I PUT IT ON MY MASTER CONTROL.

I did use code for it, but still, it was there, in pink sharpie.

(Total tangent: Once, my sweet Red walked in on me and the hubster starting in one negotiations for special time. Now, let me be clear: we were not hitting the Rated R late night viewing category yet, not even close. At this point, we were still in pre game talks and it was all rather PG. Anyhow – Red walks in, I squeal, this confuses Red a lot because squealing is not really my thing – I don’t do it often and now, I SWEAR, someday when he really GETS what was going on in our bedroom he’s gonna think= squealing, and it’s all my fault. Hubs, of course, is totally non-plussed because he NEVER gets PLUSSED about anything, and calmly says: “Hi Red. Mommy and I were just wrestling.”

Sooooo…. then Red goes to His Kids the next night and the teacher asks: “What are some things your parents do around the house?” and Red says, “Sometimes my mommy and daddy like to wrestle.” And from there I don’t know but THAT comment sure leaves a lot of room for interpretation… But if you’re me, you interpret it the saucy way because you are immature and a bit off kilter.

Anyhow. I will never make eye contact with his teacher again.)

Where was I?

Oh, having a plan. Sharpies. Lists. Plans are my happy place.

Except, once in a while, when they are not.

For some reason, every once in a while, my Master Control gets put away. I lose the box of sharpies. I take a break from The Plan.

Because, I don’t know… my brain says, “Wing it, Momsie. Live. Throw caution to the wind! Use glitter! Don’t color code your linen drawer. At least not today! Just for today? Un Plan!”

And I do. For an undetermined amount of time, for an unknown reason, and with really unimaginable results, I go all willy-nilly.

Now, granted, I do make sure to, like, wash underwear and cook things to eat (although frozen pizzas do turn up often), and I even remember to floss in there. Sometimes.

Otherwise? I am prancing about, all nutty and free, and it’s great. My life is like a big handful of confetti, thrown to the wind, and fluttering about.

And my house becomes a total mess. “Look at my house!” I think. “It’s a total mess!” And then I flit off to not do anything important. I read in bed. I drink coffee at three pm. Sometimes I read IN bed AND drink coffee. I am an animal!

And then, one morning, I wake up and think, “All right. Enough of this crazy talk, where’s my scrub brush?” And I go hunt down my sharpies, find them in some random drawer, clutch them to me and lisp, “MY PRESHUS” and I’m off and running with Master Control again.

I call it The Every Once in a While, Kinda Loosey-Goosey, No-Plan, Plan.

And it works for me.

And by the way? You can actually Plan too much. See below. Can you imagine what the woman is thinking in the picture? I can. But I can’t state it here because it’s not that kind of blog.

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Would you STOP YELLING. IF YOU DON’T STOP NOW I WILL COME UP THERE AND GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO YELL ABOUT.

Today’s post is sponsored by:

 

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See that?  I made the image extra large to help develop suspense.  Yea technology!

 

Ok, so here’s the thing:  It’s summer, and unless we are able to go to the POOL I am not providing my children with enough stimulation and opportunities for ACTIVE PLAY.  Because, basketballs, and tennis rackets, and your OWN GOLF SET and basically the equivalent of an entire baseball field (If you build it, they will come) in the back yard is not what toddlers deem ACCEPTABLE.

Summer has been great, ya’ll.  It really has.  But lately?  I need a break from summer break.

 

I have also worked it out that the relationship between my sense of well-being and general affection is PRECISELY DISPROPORTIONATE to the amount of times one of my boys hollers “MOM, MOM MOMMMMYYYY MOTHERRRRRR” at me from about two feet away.  One just did because he was “stuck” on the couch and couldn’t get up.  I asked him if his legs were broken and if we needed to amputate.  I have run out of good comebacks; I am now using my father’s.

That’s what summer does, friends.  It sucks the creativity right outta you.

 

So you can imagine what joy I felt when I spotted this in my mailbox:download

I recently met Corie Clark, and her book is going to be just what I need today.  If you build it, they will come,  yes, but if you put your feet up on the couch, open a good book, and read it, the toddlers will have to fend for themselves.

Stay tuned later this week for an interview with Corie! 

 

And yes, maybe later we’ll go to the pool.

 

Happy summer.  Keep the faith, Momsies.  When they go away for school we will miss them.  That’s what I keep telling myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Spruce Up and Avoidance

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Location:  The office.  Also known as my living room table.  And sometimes the bathroom.

I’m heading to the break room to re-microwave my coffee (and then forget it and find it two hours later.  In the microwave of course.  That’s where my coffee likes to hang) but then, I spot him – the lawyer.

We engage in meaningless small talk.  Well, I do.  The lawyer does not do small talk.   Passive resistance is usually the route I go with the lawyer, but alas, not this morning.

Me: Well, hey there…  Nice coffee cup.  Can you believe the weather? I like your tie.  It’s time for me to go now.

Lawyer:  It’s time for you to post about Organize Now.  It’s Saturday.

Me:  Saturday is for napping.

Lawyer:  You’re at the office.

Me:  My office is my house.  I can’t ever leave the office.  It’s horrible, really.

Lawyer:  *eye rolls*

Me: You know, a good lawyer does not rely on eye rolling to make a point… Atticus Finch never did the eye roll.

Lawyer:  Atticus didn’t have you as a client.  POST WEEK 5.

Me:  But… (sniffle) It’s about “Personal Information.”  I have to do stuff about credit reports and social security numbers and safety deposit boxes.  This is too hard.  Can’t we go back and repeat the one about priorities?  One of mine is to stay serene.

Lawyer: You will be serene after Week 5.  POST.

Me:  Responsibility is a big old pain in the-

Lawyer:  LANGUAGE, Momsie.

Sigh.

Week 5.  Organize your Personal Information

(dun dun DUN)

Jennifer Ford Berry wastes no time with this chapter.  Paragraph one:  “Could you easily locate your family’s birth certificates if you had to?  Social Security cards?… Personal information is something you would automatically think is stored away somewhere in your brain.  but would you be able to access this information in an emergency?”

Gulp.

Some of it…???

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Pinterest.com via Heather Seip

She then lists out the specifics for the following categories: Finances, health and safety.  Some of these I have already neatly filed away, but, for example, I need to:

  • photocopy our family’s passports in case they’re lost or stolen (same with credit cards, which I need to update).
  • create a health file for each family member (I have started this, but it’s a jumble.)
  • store license plate numbers and VINs in ONE safe location
  • have easy access to all bank accounts and phone numbers
  • purchase a fireproof safety box and USE it. (Um, I have one.  It has a title for my Jeep in there. My 1995 Jeep.  The other cars, and marriage certificates, and birth certificates?  All rather willy nilly in our filing cabinet.  A lot of things are willy nilly in there.)

The main point:  LOCATION.  Having all this stuff filed away is fine, but there should be ONE location with all of it (copies if need be) for emergencies (like, a fire, or theft) is good.

This is being all grown up, I guess.  Usually this is kinda how we operate at our house:

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I am thinking it’s time to pull in my Big Girl Mom Pants and conquer Week 5.

But first I gotta go find my radioactive coffee.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday Takeout and Toddlers

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Today’s post will also be linked up with Lindsay over at Wedding Rings to Teething Rings!

We’re talking Organization, my friends, and Lindsay, brave Lindsay, has  decided to post every day of the month of January about all things straightened, labelled, collated, and dare I say, TIDY.  Yep.  She’s doing something organized every day of the month.

My brain hurts a little bit just thinking about it.  I am doing good to just sidle up warily to  my weekly checklists with Organize This – Lindsay’s doing something spic ‘n span-ish for 31 days in a ROW.   I KNOW.  She’s like the Olympics.

And I’m gonna add my two cents.  My input to the Olympian Organization Challenge will be sorta like the Curling event – not really meriting much attention except for a few raised eyebrows, but surely not lacking in zeal.  This post is going to tackle what was once my favorite time of day:

Morning time. (dun, dun, DUN.)

When I say “once” I really mean, “I don’t really remember; I think it was before children.”

Here is a small diagram:

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Ok, so after I had kids I really thought I still had it going on for mornings.  I would get up, grab my coffee, and tackle my day with gusto and a lot of To Do lists.  This lasted approximately two weeks.

Ya’ll,  I got tired.  So often my mornings were spent fuzzily reaching for coffee, pouring it over my Cheerios, and sloshing creamer into my orange juice.  After that, I started to lose my enthusiasm.  My mornings started to look like this:

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I think she’s rather cute.

I had pajama pants for every day of the week.  I specialized in walking around aimlessly from room to room with a cold cup of coffee in my hand muttering the lyrics to Come on Get Happy.  I had completed the epic task of feeding two toddlers breakfast.    Something in me kinda died inside when I realized that simply cleaning up the kitchen would take up to an hour some mornings simply because toddlers UNHINGE THINGS.  They can take a simple bowl of Cheerios and turn it into a performance art involving linoleum, milk,  a lot of zeal, and two spoons.

I guess the biggest red flag to demonstrate to you that my mornings had become seriously disabled: I started using these:

Scrunchies

The scrunchie. If this isn’t a call for help from any tired out momsie, I don’t know what is.

So, I did the only thing I could:

a.  Got my hair did and threw away the scrunchies.  BEGONE 80’s!  You only belong on my Pandora station!  Not in mah hair!

And:

b.  I made a plan to not only “survive” mornings, but to make them THRIVE.  Mornings need to be thrive-worthy.  Why?  Because they are the diving board for the rest of the day.  I wish to swan dive, people!  No more belly flop mornings.

MOMSIE’S PLAN FOR A THRIVE-WORTHY MORNING:

1.  Show up early with your game face on:

The night before I set out my computer, my coffee cup, my journal and any morning reading I plan to be doing (usually this) and then…  (wait for it) I get up 20 minutes earlier than I think I should.  Yep, you heard me.  There is always 20 minutes in there that you can eek out.   It helps.  If you can, set that alarm across the room, break your snooze, get your hubs to elbow you viciously when the thing starts beeping, but GET UP JUST 20 MINUTES EARLIER.

2. Allow for a warmup:  First thing I do is I drop and plank for one minute, every morning.  Why? Because I am a STUD.  Ok, well really, it is only  possible for me to plank  because I can do so without thinking or counting or really doing anything that involves major synapses firing and basic intelligence. All I have to do is plank and stare at my phone’s timer.  But, and I know you know this:  PLANKING WAKES UP LIKE EVERY MUSCLE IN YOUR BODY.  Even my cheek muscles  (I’m talking the ones in my face) are working.  I do this every morning, for at least a minute.  From there, sometimes I go into a few downward dogs or maybe a sunrise pose, but that’s only when my studliness has decided to go off the charts for the day.  60 seconds.  Add a bit each week.  Get the blood working.

3.  Hydrate with flair:  This might seem frivolous but to me, it was important.  I needed a good reward in my morning.  I now am the proud owner of a great coffee grinder and I indulge in the good stuff every morning.  If you are not a coffee drinker than, well, bless your heart.  Get yourself some GOOD tea or a great juice that YOU love and you don’t have to share.  Stop it with the sharing and the Dollar Saver coffee.  Just stop it.


While you savor that first cup – read something inspirational, spiritual.  Journal about 5 things you are grateful for.  Take a breath, and whatever you do, do NOT (I repeat do NOT) check email, myface, spacebook, the tweetings, or any other sort of yahoo time sucker.  That comes later.

4.  Have a fuel plan:  In my house, we have a daily breakfast and dinner menu that is SOLID.  This simple little posting has saved me many mornings from fuzzy thinking. Fuzzy thinking like asking (at 7:45 am) “What do you want for breakfast, my sweet darlings?”  I know.  So not a good idea.  If you really feel like they should have some sort of (fake) say in their world, have them work up the menu plan with you.

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I apologize for smearing on the chart.  Blonde wanted to sabotage the menu chart with “hotdog day” and it ended up looking rather…. well like something you’d come up against in a 7th grade sex ed diagram.  It got nixed.

And by the way, when the sweet darlings sit and eat their porridge, what should you do?  You SIT and EAT too.  Listen to your Momsie.

5.  Run drills – pee wee version:  Also on our daily menu plan?  Chores.  Little chores for the littles.  Blonde sweeps.  Every day after breakfast, rain or shine, cereal performance art or no, he sweeps.  Red wipes.  I then go back and do it again after they leave, but it’s part of the plan.  We are training them up to eventually TAKE OVER ALL CHORES FOR THE ENTIRE HOUSE.  That’s why we have children, right?  Labor? It’s only fair.*

While they do their chores, get dressed.  In real clothes.  Add lip gloss.  Fold the jammies lovingly and bid them a fond farewell.  You will miss them,  I know.  Avoid mom jeans as well.  Invest in some cute stuff that you can wear with a degree of sophistication.  (Breaking this down:  If sloth lady is a 1 and Angelina Jolie is a 10, you want to go for a 5 or so.  You can do this.)

6.  Run drills – Momsie version:  Momsie also has chores.  I have split up the basic “How to make sure my house is somewhat tidy and clean” chores and assigned to the days of the week.  Sunday is my day off, of course.  Jesus said so.

7.  Take a break:  After breakfast, cleanup, morning chores, and the horrible run in with planking, sit down, have a cup, re-read your morning devotional, rest.  This is important.  Then, plan your day.  Get out of the house.  Figure out the shopping list for a project you want to tackle.  Plan your spring garden.  Get the big picture in play, if you wish.  But don’t attempt this until after steps 1-6.  Otherwise, you might get sideswiped by the constant tangled distractions of life.  Ok, which means, NOW you can check the facespace, mybook, endless chirpings, and other drizzles.  Perhaps set a timer.  I speak from experience.

9.  Prepare to lose a few morning games:  Eyes on the prize and all that until…  a kid is sick, the dryer blows up, or you really just kinda miss this pretty lady:

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What? I have pearls on. I can’t be that bad.

There is nothing wrong with an occasional Jammie Day.  My toddlers love this:  We eat pancakes (on Wednesday?  So not on schedule!  Rebel!) and we watch Curious George (bad for our brains!  Whatever!  Livin’ on the edge!), cuddle for extra innings on the couch (but what about fresh air?  gasp!  You’re outta control!) And. we might even sneak out a scrunchie or two.  Nobody needs to know. 

The nice thing is – if you stick to a plan like above, Sweet Momsie Sloth of the Cute Jammies can show up once in a while.  And she will have her coffee with lots of creamer, but free from guilt and stress, for sure.

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Recipe for Momsie’s Famous Oatmeal that Even Blonde Likes: (makes two good servings)

Bring saucepan of 3-4 cups of water to boil.  Before the boil, throw in about 4 handfuls of oats, NOT instant.
(The ratio is water to oats 2:1, so you can adjust accordingly. But you know I don’t like to measure so I use handfuls.  Handful = 1/2 cup).

Add a pinch of salt and allow oats to come to a boil.  As SOON as they do so, stir and turn OFF burner.  We like our oats a little chewy.  You can simmer gently up to 5 minutes but I think this is too mushy.  Anyway, if you allow this stuff to simmer it has a tendency to suddenly rise up in rebellion and bubble over all bubble, bubble, toil and trouble-like.  Not pretty.

Take off heat.  Add raisins, craisins, and a finely cut up apple.  Or a banana.  Or some strawberries.  Whatevs.

Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla.

Add a tablespoon each of wheat germ and flax seed.  I keep these around in my (beloved) mason jars and throw them into every baked good or hot cereal item I can.  I use Mom Guilt Brand Flax-seed and Wheat germ.  Great stuff.

Also, add a glug or two of molasses or honey.  If none available, use brown sugar.  Throw in a pat of butter when oatmeal is no longer molten.  Stir to glossy perfection.  Top with a bit of milk.

Oh, at last minute, sprinkle like 5 chocolate chips on top with a HUGE flourish.  The toddlers will be all:  YOU DA BOMB MOMSIE!  YOU DA BESTEST EVERRRRRRRR.

This adoration of the Momsie will continue for about 5 minutes.  Along with one more cup of coffee.

*Get it?  “LABOR”??  I know.  Hilarious.  I’ll be here all blog.