Independent activities for children are hard on mama hearts

Sitting in a loud, echoey pool watching a little in swimming lessons is a mix of relaxation and anxiety. Two very opposite emotions. 

I have one child who is timid and nervous if he can’t touch the bottom. {I kinda don’t blame him.} And another who appears to have little fear. I’m constantly in awe of the different personalities these two possess. 

Teacher swimming lessons feels like a level up in parenting. Trusting someone to care for your child while they are in water that goes over their head. It’s different than the leap I felt leaving them at preschool in the care of strangers surrounded by strange children. At preschool you know they are safe and constantly busy. At swimming, I feel a strong need to be the one to watch my child at all times. No one else is watching him the entire class. 

Seeing 15 young kids in the pool while their faces barely stay above water and they are constantly told to swim across a giant pool. All the anxiety. They make it look so hard. All the huffing and puffing and holding of breath. My anxiety is on full alert during swimming. 

  
At the same time, my kid spends 75% of the time sitting on steps or holding on to the side of the pool waiting for the next instruction. So it’s kind of relaxing. To sit there and just be in the quiet. Well, unless I have a smaller child to tame. Then it’s the opposite of relaxing because I have to make sure TWO kids don’t drown. 

The relaxation is my reward for the busy that comes next. Swimming that overlaps the start of soccer skills class. Oh, that was an exciting four weeks of busy Saturday mornings! I’m still patting myself on the back for picking overlapping activities instead of swimming at 8:30 am on a Saturday. I’m not built for that

It amazes me that a child can be SO excited for something like soccer and then show up and not do anything. Because he doesn’t want to run. Or because he’s too busy talking to his friends. 

Children activities are such a big dose of humble pie. Things that are second nature to a grown person are not close to being coordinated things for children. I know age 5 is too young to determine what a child is “good” at but it also makes me fast forward and wonder what activities he’ll focus on in the future. And when I’ll know what activities to drop. I don’t want to overextend ourselves and especially not him, but I also want him to have the opportunities to try many things and enjoy what he wants. 

Parenting is such a strange mix of emotions, especially when your children start doing independent activities. I know I’m just hitting the surface of independance, but I’m a mom of a 5- and 3-year-old, so I’m new to these emotions! 

Independent activities for children are hard on mama hearts

Thoughts on removing my 5 year olds tonsils and adenoids

Right now I’m sitting shotgun in the T&C, listening to public radio discuss the Iowa Caucus and the candidates. We’ve been listening to a lot of political public radio lately. But it’s hard not to when you live in Iowa! It’s been a crazy place to be! 

Maximus is in the back with headphones, comfy clothes, his special blanket, his favorite puppy, and he’s watching the LEGO movie. There’s snowing blowing across the roads that are already partially covered in snow and ice. Basically, it’s not the best driving conditions but we’ve got a 45 minute drive so Maximus can get his tonsils and adenoids removed. 

We didn’t come to this decisions lightly. We don’t run to the doctor on the first cough or fevers. We let little bodies work through it and give OTC meds when they need some help. Our sick kid parenting probably comes from my approach to deal with my own migraines instead of going to see someone. It might not make me the most compassionate caretaker. ūüôā 

We’ve had a long fall. Not necessarily being in and out of the doctor, because I’m convinced that Maximus has an insane pain tolerance. Again, maybe something I’ve passed along. {As I write this through the beginning stages of a migraine.} This kid once had a ruptured ear drum and double ear infection and didn’t say anything until right before it ruptured and then said he was fine. The looks we got in the Doctor office were kind of amusing. {That got him a one-way ticket to tubes, which gave the Doctor a way to see that he had enlarged adenoids.} 

A few months ago I noticed that his tonsils were big. Like really big. We took him in that next week and he had a positive strep test IN the office. Again, looks of shock that HE didn’t tell us something was wrong. We were only in because his sleep apnea had gotten bad and we needed to know how this played with his adenoids. And I was scared at how big his tonsils were. This kid. 

So here we are, one cancelled surgery due to him being sick, in the middle of what was supposed to be Snowcopolypse, driving to take my 5 year old to a surgery appointment. I’m ready to put the sleep apnea and general yuck that he feels behind us. But I’m a giant ball of nerves! 

I’m finding peace in the things that God has provided us with this week. Two days in a row, our neighbor cleared our driveway and sidewalks. Unknowing of what our days were looking like this week. It has been a huge blessing to us as Bryan didn’t have the time to do it. The weather was forecasted to give us 10-12″ of snow and 30-40 mph winds. Thankfully, we didn’t get that. We have mostly 100% visibility and mostly clear tracks to drive on. 

Send your happy thoughts and prayers for a textbook surgery, manageable recovery, and no bleeding after the surgery. ‚̧ԳŹ

Thoughts on removing my 5 year olds tonsils and adenoids

Holiday break seems to be working so far

While on Christmas break, it’s been apparent that I miss the therapeutic taping of the keys on my laptop. I walked away from work on Thursday, December 18 and only looked back a couple of times. I may be awful at really being disconnected when I take vacation days, but I’m really good at doing it over the holiday break. Probably because the end of the year is chaos. At home and at work. I get burnt out and am ready for that two-week break. I don’t turn on any laptops and I stay away from my email as long as I can. I even set myself up by telling my boss I wouldn’t be connected unless he needed me. ūüôā

IMG_9976Over the past year I’ve fallen in love with Starbucks lattes. I know its clich√©, but I’ve always been a name brand gal. I love me some Starbucks, Apple, Nike, and North Face. We decided to buy a Starbucks espresso machine for our Christmas present. Ironically, right after we hit Gold Level. Lucky for us, we found it half off! That’s the thing about liking name brand, if it’s not in the budget then you don’t get it. It makes me appreciate the things I do have. We’ve spent the past week trying to perfect a latte. Because here’s the thing about me…I don’t like coffee. I had to ease my way into Starbucks. Starting with a vanilla mocha. Sugar and sweets in a cup. It took many tries to force myself into liking a latte and I eventually got myself down into a healthy choice. So, Bryan is becoming quite the barista with notes written all over to see if I like the way he made it. With a little help from my sister-in-law, a former real life barista, he’s gotten it pretty good! {All the irony in the world is that I didn’t like the drinks when she was one. Major fail on my part!}

All I’m missing from this break is a few good books to read. Ok, and some quiet to read them. Let’s be honest, I’m not sure my little guys would even let me read if I had any books right now. Loud and a whir of constant disagreements is what my house is about these days. I’m hoping to find myself at a Target one of these days, maybe using the excuse that my sister-in-law gave the boys each gift cards for clothes so we should spend them!¬†ūüėȬ†On my wish list are Jen Hatmaker and Jessica Turner books.

IMG_9967I’m currently loving my Erin Condren planner! I got it in December and immediately fell in love! I also got a wellness planner and love being able to keep track of my water, foods, and exercise. That’s where I’ve been doing my meal planning as well. We’re pretty carefree this break and not using the schedule much. I gotta say it’s pretty awesome! With two small children, they don’t have too many activities yet but we definitely feel the crazy that is life. We all needed some time to just¬†be. Bryan is using the time to be in the basement as much as possible {building things and making lots of noise}. I got the boys to help me sort toys before Christmas – pack away, future basement toys, throw away, and give away piles. I sorted through clothes in all of our closets and came up with toss and giveaway piles. {Anyone else feel like they always need to pull out kids clothes? I feel like I should be sorting their clothes weekly. And let’s not get started on my lack of a consistent organizing system of too-small-clothes and ready-to-be-next clothes.} This is the second year I’ve purged in December, but last year I waited until after Christmas. I’ll definitely be doing it again next year and will stick to pre-holiday sorting. It helps me feel better about getting stuff out of the house and also helps me adjust to bringing in¬†more things. I don’t wish away these years {too much}, but the constant toys scattered all over my house does wear on me. Only so many things fit nicely into a basket and I basically hate organized piles.

IMG_9973Let’s talk about children playing together, nicely. It doesn’t happen a lot at my house. I desperately wish for it everyday. Instead, they mostly fight over a toy the other one has. And then it ends in physically¬†hurting each other. We get small glimpses of them playing with each other in make-believe. The thing that is so interesting to me is that most of the time they play a game of brothers. Like brothers who play together and are nice to each other. Brothers who are driving trucks around and doing things. Do they realize that this make-believe game is how they should¬†actually¬†be in real life? Someone tell me that eventually this game they play will be who they are. PLEASE!

Holiday break seems to be working so far

Creating a Will and Power of Attorney

For some unknown reason {life being crazy}, I wrote this post in the beginning of 2014 and never posted it. I suppose it’s fitting since we talking about doing it for two years and it took me a year to post it…

After two years of talking about it, we finally signed our Will and Power of Attorney. We went to our lawyer to do our Will and Power of Attorney documents. We decided to go to him even though there are plenty of forms online. It’s an uncomfortable conversation and thing to do, so we decided to work with a professional to ensure we did everything the right way and we thought everything through.

Steps in getting your Will done:
First, we had a face-to-face meeting to have our lawyer go over the standard Will and Power of Attorney. We answered his questions and made decisions so he could draft up the documents.

    • Who will have custody of the children? Who has financial responsibility (if it’s not the same person)? What happens to the money – does it go into a trust? At what age do children get their share of money? How do you split up shares of money between children?
  1. Before he drafted the documents, we each had conversations with individuals who we wanted to be on the Will or Power of Attorney. (We each have our own Power of Attorney that falls back onto our respective parents if the spouse is not able to act as Power of Attorney.)
  2. Review the documents for questions or changes.
  3. Go into the office and sign them in front of a witness.
  4. Purchase a safety deposit box.
  5. Put the Will in the safety deposit box.
  6. Put the Power of Attorney documents in our Legacy notebook. (Step 6b. Create a Legacy notebook.)*

We’re still working on items five and six. We may need to set a goal for ourselves given our history between steps three and four. ūüôā

*What’s a Legacy notebook? It’s a central location for all the important stuff. For example, we have legacy folders for each of our children. This includes doctor phone numbers, medical records, etc. What we haven’t done yet is create a legacy folder for our family. Essentially, this is all the information that someone will need if something were to happen to the spouse who handles all of the finances and mortgage, etc., or if something happens to both of us. These folders should help others run our house and family. Something we didn’t know before, the Power of Attorney document goes in our home, where someone can access it quickly and easily. In a critical situation, you don’t want someone to wait for bank hours to get into a safety deposit box.

What’s next?

After we put all of our documents in their designated safe places, we need to update our electronic records. We need to update our human resource files to reflect the secondary beneficiary. We will update it to be the trust name. So, the primary is our spouse and secondary is our trust. Because we have the trust set up, it will ensure that money is handled in the manner we decided. We also need to update our life insurance policy for a secondary beneficiary and also our IRA profiles. Essentially, we need to update everything to reflect the trust as a secondary beneficiary so everything points to the Will as the dictating piece. Instead of each system reflecting something different. I assume this information can be found online, but this has proven to be one of the biggest reasons why choosing a professional was the right thing for us. We’re in unknown waters now and don’t know how everything works for (or against) each other.

It was hard reading that first draft of our Will and Power of Attorney. No one wants to think about the unexpected turns life can take, but I feel a huge sense of relief knowing that there’s a plan. If the unexpected does happen, I can live every day until then knowing what will happen with my children and family. It’s not a fun thing to consider, but it is so very important.

My final note: I am in no way an expert (and obviously not a professional!) on this matter. This is my experience as I understand it based on our situation. If anything, hopefully it brings up some questions about how or what you need to consider. And gives you enough information to seek out a professional. I know it’s easy to do things with the Internet, but it’s not always the best way to handle legal matters. Pay a professional to know their job and to take care of you!

Creating a Will and Power of Attorney

5 Reasons Why Falling off the Budget Wagon Sucks

It’s no secret that Dave Ramsey lives in my house. Even if we don’t have¬†a budget set for the month, he’s still in these four walls. Here’s the thing about not¬†having a monthly budget, he’s here in a not fun way. I know it’s a reflection of his principles and our belief in them that causes the guilt, but man, the guilt. I’m too afraid to look back to the last month that we actually made a budget, but I’m pretty sure it’s been a good six months. Here’s the thing, some months (most?) it worked in our favor. Meaning, we didn’t spend more than we would have wanted to. That doesn’t mean we¬†don’t still feel guilty.

Source image: http://401kcalculator.org
Source image: http://401kcalculator.org
  1. Guilt. Even when you don’t spend too much money, you still feel guilty that you spent any because it wasn’t accounted for and tracked.¬†I think, for the most part, when we don’t create a budget we get in each other’s heads and go into extreme savings mode. We assume that since we aren’t tracking the money, then we don’t have it to spend. Which in turn makes more guilt when you do spend money. Money that you probably have to spend. But, you don’t know that¬†because you didn’t create a monthly budget. You see where I’m going with this?! When you live like no one else, you can’t turn it on and off. You have to commit and be diligent.
  2. Miss goals.¬†We’ve missed some family & financial goals over the past few months. The irony is that it’s not because we spent the money. It’s because we weren’t focused on our monies or goals. We could have started projects sooner, but we were in this self-inflicted feeling of not having any money. We didn’t realize that our savings had reached the point of moving forward with the project. When we got antsy to move on¬†projects, then we had to spend extra time going over every dollar and figuring out if we really could start. Just because we saw the money, didn’t mean we hadn’t missed something else over the past few months. It wasn’t a complete setback, but it still took a lot of time and mental willingness to move forward.
  3. Inaccurate spend.¬†There have been a few changes to our normally line items over the past few months. For instance, we’ve spent the past six weeks carpooling and are driving a shorter distance. We have absolutely no idea what our gasoline budget is for the month. One, because we aren’t sure what an accurate amount was when we stopped budgeting. And, we didn’t do a budget last month so we have to do some research on spend last month to predict this month. Again, time wasted. Another item is our grocery spend. We’ve been buying most of our groceries out of the organic section and with it being summer we’re going through a lot more fruit. This is another item that has been ongoing for quite a while and we don’t know where it’s at. Each monthly budget is based on the past month and then things coming up this month. We can’t accurately plan without knowing how these line items have shifted. More time wasted.
  4. Failed savings. We said this winter that we needed to start Quinten’s college savings fund. It’s July and we haven’t done it yet. Nor have we investigated to see if we’re doing the same thing as we do for Maximus. It’s one of those unchecked items that continues to linger in the background. Adding to the guilt in item one. We rarely move money from one savings account to something else, so even though we’ve been saving money that could be for his college, we haven’t been. We work under the philosophy that the accounts stay as they are and money doesn’t getting taken out of them. If we want something new, we add it to the goal list and save up for it. Or, we look at our monthly spend and add it to the current or next month. {This philosophy is probably what makes us end those non-budgeted months with more in savings than we thought!}

As you can see, we’re spending July getting back on track. We’ve put our Excel¬†budget spreadsheet on hold and are¬†testing out a new budget app that we put our monthly budget into and then track our spend. So far we like it. It helps us see what we have left to spend on each line item and I enjoy seeing the pie charts of categories. July is always a tough month because of summer life and Maximus’ birthday. We know it’s coming, but that unexpected extra spend always gets us. Like, how much should we¬†really¬†spend?? We’re 4 1/2 years into this financial journey and we still have a hard time staying focused. I can tell this is going to be a lifelong journey!

What are your tricks to staying focused on your budget?

5 Reasons Why Falling off the Budget Wagon Sucks

Our little boys of summer

The little boys of Leger Lane, like children everywhere,¬†love¬†the outdoors. When Maximus was 18-months old he used to sit at the sliding glass door and cry because it was winter and he couldn’t go outside. Quinten, at 2 1/2, is almost always out on the deck when it’s raining. Their love has no bounds.

Chasing a caterpillar into hiding
Chasing a caterpillar into hiding

EVERYONE in the house was excited once the weather got warmer this spring.¬†Everyone. There are only so many toys you can play with in the house and chances are high that you will fight over a toy with your brother. Or maybe that’s just our house? ūüėČ

Our favorite summer activities:

  • Play in the backyard – dig in the dirt and move dirt from one spot to the next
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Go to the pool
  • Go to the park
  • Go for walks – ok, not Maximus’ favorite, but the rest of us like it!
  • Play baseball – not a surprise if you know my family! ūüôā

Bryan and I have a shared favorite activity this summer – riding our bikes! It’s a little difficult to find time to ride together, but I’m excited that he shares my love of riding! I’d also put softball on my favorites list. It’s always been one of my favorites, but this year I’m having a lot more fun and enjoying it more than usual.

IMG_8504
Lunchtime ride

Maximus put together a Summer Fun list, which I dictated. Later, he made me add go on a Vacation to China. “Have we been to China?” “No, we went to Minnesota.” “Oh yah, put that on the list, too.” Apparently Bryan’s work trips to China are nothing but fun and also the only place to buy Cars t-shirts. #priorities

IMG_8477
2015 Summer Fun

We’ve gotten a good start on our Summer Fun list and are about half done, minus the China vacation. We’ve spent more hours outside than inside. We’ve missed bath night more times than I can count. Or rather, we’ve gone more nights without a bath than the number of times they’ve been¬†clean this summer. The boys have gotten into a routine of wearing their clothes to bed {and don’t always put fresh clothes on the next day}. They fight bedtime because it’s very much still light out when they go to bed. And they wake up far earlier than anyone should because the sun comes out nice and early. We’re loving summer hard and giving it our all. Dirt under our fingernails, sand in our hair, new freckles on our faces, farmer tans on little arms, and skinned knees are the¬†proof. We’re unanimously voting for 12 months of summer!

Our little boys of summer

My personal goals: health and fitness

I’ve read a lot of blog posts about health and fitness, so maybe that makes my post¬†a bit clich√©. However, I have put a lot of time and effort into myself this year. Primarily my health and fitness, but spending a little bit of time on the fun things like hair, nails, and clothes. ūüôā

I used to think doing things for me was going out with¬†friends or shopping. Then I realized there was a whole part I wasn’t focusing¬†on and that was my health. It doesn’t always look like something for¬†you, but it really is. Health and fitness help your confidence and self-esteem. What’s not to love about feeling good about¬†you?!¬†I wrote about my switch to clean eating¬†here. Before the food changes, I had a semi-regular exercise regime. However,¬†with¬†the food changes, I really focused on an¬†exercise routine. All of a sudden I was planning out my meals and workouts.

I’m in an accountability group that¬†really helped me get a routine and new lifestyle in place. Seeing my friends continue to eat healthy gives me new food ideas but also keeps me accountable. Hence the purpose¬†of the group! ūüôā

After almost a year of a pretty strict schedule, I’ve learned to let go a little. Letting go means I don’t get up to workout every morning. Some days my workout is a softball game at the end of the night. Some days my workout is a bike ride at 5 am or a Body Pump routine in my living room. And other times it’s a Yoga workout¬†during nap time. I’ve learned that it’s important to put variety into my routine and that rest days are just as important…as long as they don’t last more than one day! While the varied workout times isn’t working well with my morning routine, I’m adapting. And not feeling guilty that I start some days without a workout.

I’m not sure why it took me this long to realize that health and fitness are ways to take care of me. I suppose that the hectic lifestyle of little humans and a full-time job finally took its toll and opened my eyes to the more important things. After all, when your time is limited you are forced to pick your priorities. And I don’t think I have many friends who are willing to hang out at 5 am. Wait, I have a couple of friends who enjoy riding their bikes with me at 5 am! Guess, that’s a double win!

I started 2015 with what I felt like were attainable goals of healthy eating and a focus on strength training. Halfway through the year, I am more than pleased with my accomplishments so far. I’ve never felt more fit and healthy. And that makes me feel even better when I do my hair, nails, or get a new piece of clothing! Here’s to a continued focus the¬†next six months so I can end¬†the year with a checkmark next to Health Eating – less processed, more clean & more hydration and also Exercise and Strength Training.

My personal goals: health and fitness