Pumpkin Patch Magic

Today my son and I went with his school on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. The day was beautiful! The sun shone through sparse clouds, leaves rustled under our feet, and the air was filled with giggles and laughter of children. The kids fed a few farm animals and we headed out on a hayride. I’m amazed at how I forget how great it is just to be surrounded by nature. The morning was a tough one to say the least. Being outside, in the crisp fall air, seemed to be just the cure I needed.

After the hayride, everyone picked a pumpkin and two gourds. I gotta say, my son picked out some pretty awesome gourds! Out of all the ones there, he managed to find the only swan gourd….way to go bud.

On days where things seem less than sunny in your world, try stepping outside for a minute and take in a little nature. It definitely worked for me today. Well that, and a fun trip to a pumpkin patch as seen through the eyes of a child.

All you need is love…..and a good dance partner

My husband and I recently went to a wedding and had a wonderful time! It was on a farm, in a barn, and was just kind of magical really. We got to see friends, family and witness the beautiful beginning of a new Mr. and Mrs. I look at my Mr. and am just amazed at how we’ve grown, both individually and together as a couple over the almost nine years of our marriage. Whew!

So here are a few things that I’ve learned:

1. I’m not always right! Oomphf, that one hurts to admit! (Maybe don’t tell my husband I said this one!) I don’t like to be wrong, and when I am, it’s really hard to admit it. I don’t always do it willingly either. But after some thinking, I can, eventually, apologize and see things in a different light.

2. That you need to laugh. Life can throw you some curves, and not always provide you with a warning sign before hand. We’ve found that laughing at how difficult, or completely absurd a situation is can actually make it better. Laugh and lessen the stress.

3. That you need a good dance partner, both literally and figuratively. Well, I LOVE to dance….at weddings, in my kitchen, my car, down the aisles of Target….you get the idea. Luckily for me, my husband is a great dancer and will entertain my need to be on the floor at weddings. More importantly though, is the need for your partner to dance through this life with you; to be with you when it’s easy and fun, to create memories, to celebrate accomplishments, to support one another through disappointments, and most importantly, have the love and understanding when times are difficult.

Those are just a few thoughts I had after the wedding weekend. I hope this finds you all well, and that you have a great start to your week.

Pressure, Pushing Down on Me

Good morning everyone! Is it just me, or does it feel like today’s society moves faster than ever before? That’s probably because it is. There is so much that we are expected to get done in a day that sometimes, I’ll admit, I’m already tired at the day’s beginning. Thank goodness for coffee! (Or tea if you prefer.)

Whether you’re a stay at home parent, a working parent, or someone who is single, there are obligations that you have to fill. There is work to be done at the office, deadlines to meet, kids activities/sports practices that you need to get to, housework, late night studying in college or to better your existing career. Pressure is always there, but we need to make sure we aren’t putting too much of it on ourselves, or on our kids.

I sometimes forget that my kids are only 4 and 6, and then am completely shocked when they act their age. Kids acting like kids you say? I know, like I said, somehow it shocks me! I have to remind myself that their little bodies can only handle so much activity, even if it’s a really fun one that they’re enjoying, it needs to be managed. Ah, time management, and not in the usual sense. I am really trying to be an energy detective, looking for clues if my children have had enough in hopes to prevent a meltdown. No one every likes to experience the full force of a child’s frustration. And, prepare for a spoiler alert, kids don’t like it either! It doesn’t make them feel good to completely lose control, not have the energy to settle down, and then face repercussions for a situation that they don’t have the ability to navigate. We, therefore, are their navigators.

I am a work in progress regarding this issue. But being aware of this, and to look for areas that need tweaking is the first step. As for the other steps, that I’ll cover another time. I’m tired! May you all have a wonderful day, and may your coffee, or tea, see you through!

Learn to swerve

Hi everyone! Here in the mid-west it’s raining and in the mid 60s…it feels like fall! I have to admit, I do love a rainy day. It’s an opportunity to cozy up, slow down just a bit, because let’s be honest, you can’t exactly run in the rain. (Well, I guess you COULD but would you really want to?) You can still be super productive, but there’s an ease to the day. It’s almost as if you have to have realistic expectations since you can only get so much done. Extra errands become less necessary. I’ve already rearranged my day because the thought of taking my youngest in and out of the car to various stores in the rain just seems ridiculous.

Life is like that sometimes. We have a set plan for our day or week and then something unexpected happens and we have to adjust. It is in this adjustment that we can either succeed with grace, or fail. I worked as a nurse for 16 years, and I’d go into the unit with my set plan and mindset for the day. Which is funny because the minute I entered my first patient’s room that all changed. I HAD to adjust to my patients, to their expectations, fears, disappointments, successes, or regressions. You prepare yourself as much as you can for your day, then see it shift once it starts.

This shifting occurs all the time as a parent! I’m actually laughing at myself because there have been mornings when I’ve gotten up extra early, got ready head to toe, and have lunches packed all before my kids wake up. Once their feet make it downstairs, any of my preparedness is out the window, blown away by the storm that is children. It’s not all bad, it’s just that they are people too, with THEIR own agenda and THEIR own internal schedule. They aren’t robots set to obey all commands.

So today, be kind to yourself. Life doesn’t go to our specific plan. If it does, consider yourself lucky! But if you’re like the rest of us, remember that it’s going to be okay. Let the rain come, bring your umbrella, and shift when you need to!

Let’s talk about stress baby

We all have it, and we all want it to go away. But how can we decrease our stress level in an already demanding and overpacked scheduled? Some will say to remove certain things from your life. Well, if you’re like most of us, our stress comes from work, our family responsibilities, and daily tasks, which, are not removable. Others will say exercise, but if you are already overloaded, the idea of adding in one more thing just seems daunting. So the questions remains, WHAT CAN WE DO TO DECREASE OUR STRESS!?

I think what’s important is to find out that triggers an increase in your stress level that ISN’T one of the above stated responsibilities. For me, I tend to start getting a little worked up when my house is, shall we say, a disaster. To be more specific, every room seems to have been attacked by a mini tornado of stuff….clothes, toys, art projects, dishes, laundry etc. I then turn into a cleaning monster and do a full attack on the mess, but not in a graceful way. Something inside erupts and I find myself saying, “I can’t take it anymore!” Once everything is cleaned up, and organized into an acceptable fashion, I feel better. My trigger is clutter. Which means, I just need to stay on top of straightening and cleaning, oh mercy I’m already stressed about this task!

This will be a forever work in progress. Stress just doesn’t go away. It’s sneaky, and is like a chameleon, it can change and take many different forms. It can rise up at any time, which means we need to be ready to handle it at any moment. How do you do this, you ask? There are a few techniques to bring down a rise is stress. The first is controlled breathing. When you feel stress coming on, stop what you’re doing. Breathe in through your nose for 4-5 counts, and out through your mouth for 4-5 counts (like you’re blowing out a birthday candle). Do this a few times in a row. It will help decreases your heart rate, increase the oxygen to your brain and throughout your body. Deep breathing can be a tool to help you relax and can be done anywhere. If you need something more active, I recommend exercise. Sometimes just a good sweat session can be exactly what the doctor ordered. Another more fun option is to dance it out! Play your favorite song and sing and dance along! Blast the radio in the car, sing along, and move yourself to a better state of mind.

We all struggle with stress. Taking the first step to decrease it is the hardest, but keep at it!

Stormy Sea of Parenting

Self forgiveness is the hardest part of being a parent. I try to start each day with the right mindset – to be my best, kindest, most loving self. My feet hit my bedroom floor and as my morning sleepiness wears off, so does my patience. It hangs on through the first batch of “nos” and sibling disputes. But as the parental waters start to experience storm waves and sea squalls of disobedience, I find it harder and harder to navigate. To quote a friend, I’m “treading water” in a sea of uncertainty and the waves start to knock me down. Instead of being my best self, it’s every man (or woman, in this case) for themselves! My mantra meets the reality of time outs, cool downs in rooms and loss of privileges. Raising kids is hard! Some days are just harder than others, and if you’re a parent, you’ve been there and know what I mean. Bad days can really ruin our self image and parenting morale. The secret though, is forgiving yourself. This is also hard to do because if you’re like me, you have high expectations for yourself. But we must learn to be gentler and kinder to OURSELVES! So, if you’ve had one of those days, take a deep breathe and try to forgive yourself. Know that I’m right there with you, and will be back at sea tomorrow, hopefully better equipped to handle whatever weather finds me.