Trashing the TV

Turn it off

Image by nitrodog via Flickr

Yesterday I talked about some of the concepts/lifestyles that I would like to take from The Waltons and put into my own life.  One thing that I listed was getting rid of nightly TV routine.  I would like to have some traditions to replace the TV.  Here are some things that I have been thinking about introducing or doing more routinely.

~Reading a book out loud.

~Putting together a puzzle as a family

~Reading the Bible

~Playing Wii together as a family

~Praying the rosary

~Playing board games/cards

~Listening to books on CD

~Going for a walk

~Sitting on the porch and identifying sounds in the dark

Does anyone have any other suggestions?  Any suggestions for games that would interest the whole family, including adults?


Family Friday

OK – I am trying to catch up.  We had some computer issues at our own home! So while I actually wrote this on the 9th, I am dating it for last Friday

My oldest daughter received a game from her Godmother for her birthday.   We seek out certain games for our children, especially this my oldest, because we want to inspire life-long learning, and in her case, over come some sensory processing issues, in a fun and family friendly way.  Well, this one certainly fits the bill.

While recommended for ages 10+, my 6-year-old (now 7) was able to play it very well with a little adult help. This game is hilarious to play with the kids. It is fascinating to see how their minds work. We were playing this over Thanksgiving weekend with the kids and my parents. After several rounds the girls wanted to go off and do something else. The adults could not stop playing!

If you are looking for a game that will work equally well for kids and adults, I highly recommend this game! Simple to learn. Easy to play. But the game will never be the same twice.  This game would be enough to make me institute family game night in our house if we did not already!

Refreshed and Ready!

Well, I survived last week.  For me, that is gift enough.  It was a long week –

3 TaeKwonDo sessions, one of which was a graduation for Hubby and my oldest – they got their green belt.  1 surgery on hubby’s elbow.  I guess I was much more worried about it than I admitted to myself, because when it was all over it took me a couple of days to “recover”.  1 recovering hubby, who is not that pleasant when he does not feel good.  A 6 hour training session for a program that I will be facilitating at my church (more to come about that later).  I needed to find care for my girls during that training so hubby did not have to have total responsibility for them (thank goodness for Mrs. Sports who took my girls for the day!).  1 dinner with my cousins.  They are always able to make my day brighter!  Then today at church I got to see “my” baby boy and his big brother.  They both always make me smile.  Not only that, I was asked to watch them Tuesday evening!  So I get baby time and my girls get a playmate for a couple of hours!

So – what did I pull out of this chaos of a week?  A LOT of blessings –

1) My parents who watched the girls while hubby was in surgery

2) My girls have been wonderful this week – helping out and fussing over their daddy.  (that is not to say they did not have their moments, but their good moments by far overshadowed their bad!)

3) Hubby’s surgery was successful, they found exactly what they expected, and recovery has been relatively smooth so far.

4) My oldest was publicly praised  by her TKD instructor during graduation

5) I stepped out of my comfort zone to accept the challenge of facilitating this program at church and attended the training without knowing anyone else that was attending, and ended up  making a couple of new friends.

6) The sure knowledge that we are slowly but surely building a supportive group of friends at church.

7) BABY SNUGGLES!!!!!!!!

8) Priority focus – I will talk more about that this week, but I was so glad for it, even if it was provoked by fear.

9) The ability to pay the mortgage for another month.

10) The realization that I sincerely missed blogging, even if there are only about 5 people who read my meager writing!  Those people cheer me on and keep me accountable and focused.

So I am ready to hit this next week and the beginning of the holiday season with joy and hope.  Even the winter blues are not scaring me right now!

Life IS good!


Honesty is not truly the best policy….

I am going to relate this story because I thought it was hilarious, even though there was a bit of a sting to it.   But because I can see some of the changes my journey has made in my life and in my health, the sting was not as bad as it would have been just a month ago.  And when it comes from a 6-year-old, well, they call ’em as the see ’em.


We were watching a show called “Deadliest Journeys”.  This particular episode was about Bolivia.   They discuss how farmers in the mountains use a series of zip wires to get across the deep valleys.  Honestly, they don’t look that safe.  In one scene they show a man bundling his child up in “bag”, tying the bag to the pulley and then straddling the bag (not sitting on it, but keeping it between his legs),  hooking himself to the pulley and off they go across the wire.  My youngest was NOT impressed.  In fact she was quite indignant about the whole thing.  She immediately recognized the potential danger to the child.  My thoughts were going in a direction about how dangerous a lot of things are in different cultures, but you do what you have to do.   Then a remark caught my attention.  She was informing me that we could never do that.  Curiosity won and I asked her why.  In all her childish innocence she informs me that we could not do that together because I was “too big” and would break the wire.  She just looked at me with her big brown eyes.  Then she goes on to talk about how the people who use those zip lines are much smaller than I am.  Since they are from Bolivia’s mountain ranges and the tallest one looked maybe 5’5″, I am choosing to believe that she meant because I am so tall.  That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Sorry about the whine

Yesterday’s post was so whiney!  I sincerely apologize for that.   It was just one of those days.  Actually it has been one of those weeks.  I can’t honestly say why, just that I feel totally discombobulated and can’t get myself motivated or organized.

So today is a new day and a new attitude.  I AM going to get my 15 minutes of activity in.  I did make it up and in the shower and had breakfast this morning.

One bit of whining that I did the day before yesterday was about playing Candy Land and painting toe nails and finger nails.  I am ashamed of myself.  Those moments, no matter how tired I was, were definitely gifts.  How many more evenings am I going to be the best partner to play board games with?  How many more evenings will I be begged to paint her nails (even if the feet were a little stinky!)?  I shocked myself that I got so caught up in making sure she did not cheat during the game that I almost missed the grin and gleam in her eye as she tried to win.  I am not pleased at my behavior when she would not sit still and potentially ruined her pedicure.  What was I thinking?  Does a 6-year-old CARE that her nails are perfect?  Is she going to turn into a compulsive cheat because she wanted to win at Candy Land and was just having fun trying to sneak one by me, all the while knowing that I knew what she was doing?

Last night was my “do-over” night.  We did not have anything planned.  My oldest watched her favorite shows she had DVRd.  Baby girl came upstairs and played in the loft area as I finished up working.  She talked to her Barbies, she sang, she talked some more, she sang and sang.   The girls stood at the kitchen table while hubby and I finished up dinner preparations.  We ate our dinner. Hubby and I sat and had a few minutes together while the girls went upstairs and wrote in their journals.  Hubby and my oldest needed to practice their Tae Kwon Do, and the only place with enough open floor space is the living room.  Baby girl and I laid down on the couch together while the other two members of the family went through their form.  Baby girl tucked herself behind the bend of my knees and the back of the couch and perched her chin on my hip to watch her daddy and sister.  She gave me a running commentary the whole time, pausing for breath only a couple of times.  Before long she laid her head over to the side and started moving her legs around in the final fight moments before I felt her get a little heavier and her breathing slowed down and she started snoring.  We laid there for 30 minutes – I just did not want to let go of the moment.  It had been a perfect evening of family, relaxation and peace.  I am so glad that I was given a Do-Over Moment.

Has anyone else ever had the chance for a do-over?

Half Way There

I am half way to establishing a habit!  I can’t believe that I have gotten up and taken a shower and eaten breakfast 10 days in a row!  Normally there would have been at least one day that I would hang out in my jammies during this 10 stretch.  But not this time!  This is honestly an amazing feat for me!

I have also managed to keep 2 of my 3 tables in my living room clutter free for 4 weeks.  I have still not managed to attack that one table, but I will get there!  Please don’t ask me what the rest of my house looks like.  It is not pretty,  But I have 2 clean tables!  We have even managed to sit down and eat dinner at the table as a family, with the TV off, at least 3 times a week in the last 4 weeks.  That does not include any times that we have eaten out together.  So I am making some progress in getting my priorities straight.

Since I am at the halfway point with my first goal, I am adding another.  This may seem like a puny goal to many people, but to me, who absolutely does not like to sweat, it is a starting point.  My new goal is to do at least 15 minutes of purposeful movement each day.  That does not include walking to the bathroom, going downstairs to get something to drink or eat, etc.  This is 15 minutes of movement just to move.

Now that I am actually making progress, I have to slow myself down from trying to jump on top of more goals.  I want to slow down and be methodical and purposeful in my goal selection so that I don’t defeat myself.  If I get other things done, great.  That is a terrific bonus.  But I don’t want to set too many goals and end up setting myself up for failure.

So, as London Tipton would say “Yay Me!”

Brenda Song on set of The Suite Life

(Oh dear, I have been watching too much Disney Channel with my girls!)

Post Party pump-up

Oh my, what a party!

If this is any indication of what our lives are going to be like for the next few years, I need a better job!

Let me give you a run down of what was consumed by the 7 girls from 8pm Friday until 11am Saturday.

  • 6 bags of microwave popcorn
  • 12 juice boxes
  • multiple glasses of water
  • 1/2 gallon of Gatorade (fruit punch flavored)
  • 2 lbs of bacon
  • 2 packages of sausage links
  • 1/2 bottle of syrup
  • 2 batches of pancakes
  • 3/4 gallon of OJ
  • 3/4 gallon of milk
  • 7 cupcakes (and all the toppings they could keep on them including pink sugar, chocolate chips, flower sprinkles, star sprinkles, bugle sprinkles)

The craft was a massive hit!  I got the idea from this video:

We used ribbons to tie the journals together instead of wrapping it around the notebook, as in the video.  They decorated the journals with jewels that we glued on, and some stick-on foam letters.  They were adorable!  A couple of the parents have said that their girls have written pages in their journals.  I know my girls have!

I will say that the energy expended by the girls could have powered a small city.  The screeching, well, that was ear-piercing!   All the work was worth it when I got a giant hug from my little girl saying that this was the best birthday ever.  The youngest one, though, has been telling me that she needs at least 1 more of everything that her older sister got, because, you know, she must one-up her older sister!

Now for the Pump-Up part!

While I did not get everything done that I “wanted” to get done…

I had set 6 areas to declutter as my goal before the party.  I got 3 of them done.  Those 3 areas are still clutter free today!

During the frazzled moments before the guests started arriving I was trying to get the all the dishes washed and put away.  About that time, my  youngest looked up at me and asked if she could wash the dishes and I dry.

The first thought was “NO – I have too much to do and I don’t have time to make sure the dishes are washed correctly and get them all put away and get the million other things done!”

Then I looked down into her big brown eyes and realized that the time is quickly coming when she will not want to do any work with me.

I took a deep breath, looked around and realized, really realized, that the house cleaning was not important (did I really think that this little girls were going to care how neat my house was?), nor were the million other things that I had been stressing over.

“Go get the stoodle.” I said.  Happily she ran to the pantry, got the stool, climbed up on it and started washing dishes.  She chattered on and on about all the little things that had happened at school that day.

So my pump-up excitement?

  • I have maintained some clutter free areas.
  • I let go of the unimportant things without any guilt.
  • But the best one – I looked down and recognized the Gift of the Moment – the desire of my little girl to spend time with her Mama.  No other gift in the world could be more valuable!