Simple Everyday Mom

Making Everyday Count

An Impromptu Invite

My toddler has recently picked up the habit of grabbing my phone and exploring. While that isn’t all bad, he has inadvertently called several people, some at 6:45 in the morning! No one has been woken up by it…until today. He called someone and I heard it ring and grabbed the phone and hung it up in a panic hoping it didn’t ring on their side. Well it did. I am glad it did though, because she called me back. After talking for a few minutes I invited her over to catch up. 

Being a stay at home mom I have a tendency to get into routine. I don’t always think to invite people over or go to a lot of social events, especially in the evening (think of the meltdowns!)  It was wonderful to see her and since she has a little guy about the age of my youngest is was a fun little impromptu playdate. I forget how refreshing it is to just sit and visit with someone. I end up feeling encouraged and hope the same for her. 

So today I just want to encourage you to make a plan to visit with a friend or someone who might need a friend, not for any reason but to visit. Whether you stay at home or not sometimes we get so busy we forget to invite other people into our lives. I hope you end up walking away feeling as refreshed as I did.

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A few ideas to help make the most of your family time

My baby boy is teething and needs his Momma whenever I am available, night or day. My 2 1/2 year old has a thirst for knowledge that sometimes seems unquenchable. Whether it’s music, letters, numbers, or working on new words, he has a strong desire to learn anything I will teach.  Last, but not least,  my husband. He is ambitious for everything life has to offer.  He not only works 50-60 hours a week, but is training for the STP (Seattle to Portland bike ride) and working on getting a bachelor’s degree.

The one thing I can count on when it comes to my schedule is inconsistency.  While at times it has been a big struggle I have learned a few things to help me get through it.  I have had to use my imagination to make time, but it has worked out very well. The three most notable things I have found are the following:

1. Embrace my husband’s busy schedule

For a long time I struggled with my husband’s schedule. He works odd hours and when he isn’t working he has another goal he is working towards. I have always supported his goals and ambitions, but that doesn’t always make the time away easy.  The struggle for me was the long hours he works, not to mention the commute is an hour each way. So I decided to find a way to make more quality time with him.

I joined the gym a few months ago and was looking for ways to build my endurance. The gal I met with suggested a spin class. I don’t personally do a lot of bicycle riding, in fact I don’t even own a bicycle., but I saw the opportunity and snagged it.  I invited my husband to do it with me and he agreed to try it. He didn’t have much interest because he really didn’t think it would be difficult since he rides so much. He was wrong :), but that’s topic is for another day. Ever since then we have a standing date Monday mornings that we go to spin class together, not only does he get some training in, but we have quality time together.

2.Invite my toddler to be a part of my routines

I swear my toddler does more housework than any other kid I know. (ok I could be biased but it’s alot). He enjoys every minute of it. He helps me load the dishwasher (when I used it), starts the dishwasher, washer, and dryer, picks up his toys, helps me vacuum, sets the table, cleans his plate and many other chores.  One thing I have started doing is working with him in the kitchen. I recently started making mason jar salads. I get everything prepped when he is napping and when he wakes up I show him how to put the ingredients in the jar.

What I love about this is he is not only learning basic responsibilities, but we get to have fun together. Instead of trying to do it all and finding time to be with the kids, I combine them and get the best of both worlds.

3. LET GO!

My baby boy got his first tooth last week and now is teething again. I can see little white spots on the other bottom tooth and on both of his upper teeth. I had no idea he was teething with his first tooth because he never showed it, however with three coming in at one time his need for his Momma has greatly increased.  I have struggled with truly letting go of the other things that need to be done, but once i did I realized how freeing it was. I will get the housework done eventually, and I attack it everyday (I am a bit behind since my surgery, so this is especially hard right now). I know that this time won’t last forever, they won’t remember the housework I did, but they will remember the times I spend with them.  So I don’t get upset when they interrupt my cleaning or need to play when I have a million things to do. I remember that in just a few short years my house will be clean, but this time will never be here again.

I am a person who likes to have a routine and stick to it, but I have let that go for now and focus on the things that are more important. My schedule works some times and other times it doesn’t, but I am glad I have found more ways to mesh my family time with my time I need for everything else.

What things do you do to help make the most of your time?

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One Mother’s Wisdom

As a mother of young children I am constantly thinking about how I can teach my children. How will I impart wisdom to them and how will I know if what I am doing even works?
In the spirit of Mother’s Day I went and visited my mom. I asked her to impart her motherly wisdom to me. I was hoping she would tell me something that would change my life, maybe I could even share here on my blog. The reaction I got wasn’t what I expected. My mom froze then she looked at me and asked me if I was joking. When I said no she told me she isn’t very good at that.
I thought about what she said long after I left. Then it hit me. My mom never has been the eloquent well spoken type person. It wasn’t commonplace to have hours long conversations as I grew up. She has always been an action person.

While I was healing from my surgery she was there. When I needed something from the store she was there. She text me when she wasn’t here to make sure everything was ok. She let me know if I needed anything I could call her at work and she would b here.
I realized it’s not about saying the right thing at the right moment or doing everything perfect. It’s about making sure your kids always know you are there for them everyday, always.
Thank you mom!

What has your mom taught you that has changed your life?

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I gave to Stamp out Hunger and why I have mixed feelings about it

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I have been waiting for the Stamp out Hunger drive the U.S. Postal Service for a few weeks. I would like to say it’s because I want to give and make a difference, which is true and I love to do that, but that was not my motivation this time.

I have two reasons I was looking forward to it. First the food banks that I know of in my area have precise donation windows that are usually only an hour or so, and when you have small kids it is hard to round everyone up and get there on time (and not forget your food!). Secondly, I have been trying to get rid of all processed and unhealthy foods since I am starting my journey towards veganism.

Just to be clear I think food banks are important and extremely needed in society. Food Lifeline ( a non-profit that operates in the Western Washington area) do studies every 2 years and the most recent showed that 45% of the people using food banks in this area have some kind of post-secondary education and 35% are children. There is alot of need and I am more than happy to give.

So here I am giving away all the food I refuse to eat as I try to make healthier choices in life. I begin to think, as this nation tries to fight the epidemic of obesity, should we really be giving all of our highly processed unhealthy food to the poorest people? These are the people whom studies show don’t know how to make the best food choices. These are also the people who are preyed on by fast food chains that try to say they are healthy and affordable.

So as a health conscious person who desires to help in her community what do I do? So far, along with the food I didn’t want anymore, I try to find the best of the worst.

Canned beans; even though they have added sodium.

Canned vegetables; even though recently a local woman found a frog in her green bean and Q13 fox (Seattle News) reported it is total legal for companies to have small amounts of animals in their food (yuck!!)

Whole Wheat pasta; which would be one of the best choices except I didn’t have any on hand.

What would you give to try to attempt to help in a healthy way? I would love to have suggestions beyond what I have so far, and what do you think we can do as a society to get more fresh foods to the hungry?

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I found time in the sink!

ImageLately our dishwasher has been acting up and I asked my husband to look at it. He only had a few minutes yesterday so he peered in there and told me he needed to fix it. Since he hasn’t had time, I have had to hand wash the dishes. I have to mention here that I despise hand washing dishes! Hand washing dishes and hand crushing ice (anyone else do that as a kid? Ya know, before it came from the fridge) are two things I stay away from like the plague.

Today I finally tackled it. I was surprised at how soothing it was. I did it while my boys were napping and finally found time to think. I like to have time to think, yet with two little ones I rarely get that opportunity. During their naps I am running around doing chores that require my full attention, or I am taking a nap too. Either way I don’t get much time to just think. So as I did the dishes I had a notepad next to me. I have been way behind on everything because of my recent surgery and this was perfect timing to start getting my thoughts organized. Before I knew it I had filled up the page.  

I have been looking all over for more time and today I found it in my sink. 

Where have you found more time?

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Hard Times Can Teach Good Lessons

The last 3 weeks I have spent the majority of my time on the couch. I didn’t do this for fun may I add I was healing from my recent hernia surgery.  My follow up appointment was today and I got clearance to be able to pick up my boys again. There is no words to describe the feeling of being able to hold my boys in my arms again. 

I would have never guessed that I could go that long without holding my children, but I knew that if I did I would reinjure myself and have to start the process over again. I refrained and fortunately I had a support team around me that made it possible for me to take the time I needed to heal. This ordeal made me realize two things. 

First, we never know how much we can overcome until we are forced to be in that situation.  It is so easy to take for granted the everyday interactions and I didn’t realize I would be in this situation. Though my surgery was an outpatient surgery and some would consider it extremely minor, my heart broke just the same as my boys just needed their Mama and I couldn’t give hold them. It forced me to find new ways to interact with them, new ways to console them, and news ways to feel special. It really taught me alot about how to expand my mind when I am healthy. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing and now I know new approaches to support my boys. I am not glad I went through this, but I am glad for what I learned from it.

The second thing I am grateful for is the support I had. Without my husband, mother, and mother-in-law I never would have made it through. Well I wouldn’t have made it through healed anyways. It’s incredible to see the outpouring of friends as well when you are going through tough times. I am so grateful for them as well. 

We all go through things that make us stronger on the other side. What have you learned through the tough situations?

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The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received

If you are anything like I am, you have probably strolled your share of parenting websites. If you are even more like me you have probably questioned yourself a million times on your decisions as a parent. I think to make matters worse there are parents out there that add their comments to articles and just flat out bully other moms. I realized that just because they are meaner and louder (yes, I said louder even if it’s a typed message it can be loud at times) doesn’t make their opinion better than yours.

One day while I was knee deep in second guessing myself I had a doctor’s appointment for my oldest son. I asked him several questions and he told me at the end of one of his answers the best pieces parenting advice I have ever received.  Now he could sense my insecurity in the topic we were discussing  it was this. Jasmine , you and your husband are the specialist for your child. You are the best decision maker there is when it comes to what’s right in your child’s life. I don’t care how many degrees a person ha,s you will always know your child better than they do. Feel free to second guess, double check, or clarify anything a doctor has to say to you.  Now I will clarify and  say he did go on to say that is for parents who care and want the best for their children (but he knew that we fell in that group).

I have to say that changed my view on parenting all together. I knew I could make good decisions and that I was a good mom, but it took away all that doubt, fear and second guessing that I had held on to. I was able to have confidence in my parenting abilities again. I may not have a degree, but I will always be my children’s specialist!

How does this advice make you feel? What is the best piece of parenting advice have you ever gotten?

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Does anyone really NEED a drink this big?!

20130411_162034 Ok nobody really needs this big of a drink (considering that the city of New York is banning large drinks) it surprised me that Starbucks has come out with a new drink size. It’s called the Trenta and to be honest I had to buy it once for the novelty, it’s as big as my head!! I probably won’t buy it again because I am cutting refined sugars out of my diet, but I couldn’t finish it anyways! Just wanted to share one of my recent splurges, what is something you have splurged on recently?

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Stuck in the Was

As days roll by it’s easy for one to get stuck in the was. I was this, it was that. Instead of focusing on the was, I try to focus on the what will be. I will be this, it will be that.  I have to say at times it is very difficult. At the beginning of the year I decided there was alot I wanted to change about myself, and I started on the path. Funny thing is when you make a decision you are ready to go, ready to be. yet the people around you have no idea. They remind you of the person you were and not the one you have yet to become.  I can tell them I am changing until I am blue in the face, but really I have to walk it out and prove it through my actions.

It can also be overwhelming at times when I want to change. It’s painful to see the things within myself that I don’t like, however the good thing is, I can change them. I have long stopped wishing my husband would change and have started finding ways to change myself (If I am not satisfied with something.) This could include changing my outlook, my routine or just plain letting something go. I have a tendency to over complicate things and I am ready to get back to being the simple laid back everyday woman I am.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t see myself as a mundane average woman, nor do I think there truly are any of those anyways. I see myself as someone who is creative, strong, loving and kind. So I can’t be stuck in the was, because I am ever changing and so are you!

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Don’t forget to tell your kids they make a difference

I had my niece over today to help me with my boys since I am in pain from my hernias (see Darn you, hernias! if you need more info on that) she is just old enough to watch the boys with supervision and it was so helpful to have her here.  So before she left we were talking about a few different things. I told her I really appreciated her and she made a big difference. She seemed shocked by this statement. She was really surprised, she said she didn’t know she could make a big difference. 

I spoke with my sister (her mom) after this and told her about it. She decided to start rewording her compliments, to show what a difference she makes. At my niece’s age, 11, kids understand the concept of making a difference yet many don’t think they can apply it to themselves, that they can truly make a big difference. 

I have begun thinking about how I can take this concept and show my toddler how he makes a difference. He does so many chores around the house mostly because they are fun and he does them with momma. I try to say thank you as much as possible and rejoice with him when he does something new, but I am going to start focusing on how he perceives it and go from there. 

What do you do to encourage your children and let them know they are making a big difference?

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