Since becoming a mom nearly six years ago, I’ve had big dreams for Mother’s Day. I always plan on not doing a thing all day. No cooking. No cleaning. No conflict resolution. No negotiations. Nothing! But these plans never pan out. Because, although the idea of doing absolutely nothing for the whole day seems appealing, I quickly remember that doing nothing today means I’ll be doing double work the next day. And that is not my idea of fun…
So we had a pretty normal Sunday. We went to church in the morning, and then to a few stores to look at patio furniture. Then my husband and The Goose went to the library while I stayed home and tried to relax. (This ended with me making a quick trip to the grocery store). When they got home The Goose and I called my mom to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day (I’d sent her gift in the mail last week). And then we had a nice dinner before settling in for our weekly tradition of watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. All in all, it was a good day.
When my husband and I were planning our wedding, I was intent on keeping my last name. Not because I was particularly fond of my last name. Not because it was my family name or because I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork involved in changing it. My decision was mostly because I was, and always have been, Jaime Lownsbery. And with so many changes happening in my life at one time (besides getting married, I’d just started a new job, and I was getting ready to move into my husband’s home, which was an hour away from mine). To be honest, I was feeling anxious. And adding a name change into the mix wasn’t helping things.
My husband, who is much more traditional than I am, assured me that he was okay with me not changing my last name. He wasn’t doing back-flips at the thought of us not sharing the same name, but it wasn’t so important that he was going to call off the wedding. Even so, I could tell that it bothered him. I knew he’d be happy to have us both share the same last name. So I decided to compromise – I would hyphenate my last name. And that’s where the trouble began.
Last week The Goose was on spring break. Since my mom is in town visiting, and we’re saving all of our vacation resources for a big trip later this year, we decided to have a week-long staycation… or, as The Goose called it, a playcation. We had a lot of fun and made it a point to do something fun and exciting every day of the week.
We started our playcation last Friday, his first official day off. We went to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and to play arcade games. Even though we’ve been there a dozen times, we still had a lot of fun. In the past, The Goose has always been terrified of Chuck E. Cheese (the mouse, not the arcade), and has never gotten close to him. (He even kept a safe distance when we had his birthday party there!). This time, however, was different.
Every Monday, The Goose comes home with a short list of spelling words and a daily record for us both to initial indicating that we did, indeed, practice his words for ten minutes. That’s right. We are expected to practice the same six words for ten minutes each night. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to hold the attention of a five-year-old for ten minutes, especially when those ten minutes are to be spent on something as boring as practicing spelling words he already knows, but it’s nearly impossible. But we have to do it, because if we don’t, he won’t get the special sticker for his name tag. It’s really a big deal.
A few weeks ago, after we’d practiced the same set of words three days in a row, I was fed up. The Goose was tired, wasn’t paying attention and he kept spelling the words wrong (actually, he just kept spelling the word poop), and I didn’t see how it was benefiting anybody. So I decided to change it up. I came up with a few fun ideas to make practicing spelling words challenging, but fun, and now it’s so much less of a struggle.
It’s no secret – kids are hard on furniture. Especially my kid. He is constantly jumping from the chair to the couch, standing on tables and tipping over footstools. It used to drive me crazy – especially when I’d ask him over and over to stop.
Whenever I start to get irritated, I have to remind myself of one thing…
When you have school aged kids, the morning rush hour takes on a whole new meaning. At the start of the school year, I would wake The Goose up at 7:20, so he could make the bus at 8:20. I quickly learned that getting him up earlier was a huge mistake. As it turns out, the earlier he gets up in the morning, the later he is for school. Getting up early means he has plenty of time to get dressed (or run around the house in his underwear), to eat breakfast (or watch as his cereal gets soggy), and to play with Legos, trains, or just lay on the couch telling me he doesn’t want to go to school.
Apparently, this is a common phenomenon. Almost all of the parents I’ve spoken with have told me the same thing – the earlier the kids get up, the worse the morning is. I’ve found that there is a mathematical equation to calculate the optimal wake up time for each child. At our house, it is school start time, minus drive time to school, minus walking to the car and getting buckled in, minus getting outside clothes on (which is variable, depending on the time of year), minus breakfast time, minus packing backpack time, minus getting dressed, minus whining time (the five or so minutes he spends in bed complaining that he is too tired to wake up).
During the past few days we’ve had record breaking snow fall, and The Goose is having his second snowday in a row. While I love having him home with me, I sometimes struggle with finding fun snowday activities to keep him busy.
If you’re in the same boat, check out this list for a bit of inspiration!
We’ve all seen it – the mom that hovers over her kids saying “No, no, no. Don’t touch that.” “Put that down. You’re going to get dirty.” “I just cleaned up, don’t take out any more toys.” “You are going to clean this all up – do you hear me?”
I admit it – I used to be that mom. I would get irritated when The Goose would start taking out toys that I’d just put away. Frustrated when I saw him picking up handfuls of dirt when we were getting ready to leave the house. And I was constantly asking him to stop touching things, because I didn’t want to take the time to clean up after him.
I am not in the habit of making New Years resolutions. I have a hard time believing that come January 1st I will suddenly change my life completely, exercise more, read more books, save more money, the list goes on and on. I do, however, make an annual “Birthday Resolution,” by setting one goal I’d like to accomplish before my next birthday rolls around. And, since I’m celebrating a birthday in a couple days, I thought it would be a great time to share the progress on my birthday goal from last year.
Last year, I decided to change the way that my family eats, and I’d have to say it’s been pretty successful. In years past, much of the food that my family was eating was made from boxes, mixes and cans. I’d been working to change it, but it wasn’t until I set my birthday goal that I started making real progress. Now, most of the food that we eat is made by me, in my kitchen, from real ingredients. Making this change has been time consuming, without a doubt, but it’s also been very rewarding. And it’s saved us a lot of money.
Winters in Michigan can be brutal. Last year was the worst I can remember. It was too cold to play outside in the snow, there was too much snow for us to go anywhere, and we were downright miserable. By the time The Goose had his 10th or 11th snow day I was quickly running out of things for us to do. We needed some indoor winter fun. Pronto.
One day, while The Goose was having quiet time, I planned a surprise.
I brought the snow inside.