Friday, February 15, 2013


It seems simple enough right?

Put one foot in front of the other... 

The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step... 

Just do it... 

Why is it so hard?  Every decision to make a change requires a start.  

June 12, 2012 

The day I decided it was just as hard to be fat, as it was to be healthy.  

And so...

I started.  Was it perfect? Have I had setbacks, of course.  Eight months later I am 50 pounds lighter, happier, and excited for where this journey will take me next. 

There are lots of ways to get healthy and lose weight, but none of them work unless you START.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One more Valentine Idea - Teacher Appreciation Treat Printable

As part of our Random Acts of Kindness activities I wanted to give a Valentine's treat to all of the teachers and aides that work with my kids, not just their classroom teachers.  I had a hard time deciding something, that was simple and inexpensive.

I finally decided to do just a little bag of candy - Dove Hearts and Hershey Gold Nuggets and created a little topper that said, "For a teachers with a special heart, you are a treasure".  Cheesy I know, but hopefully it made them smile and even if it didn't the chocolate was good!  I'm sharing the image I created below. I used it as a treat bag topper and printed my kids names on the back fold over portion. This is just the graphic that could be used as a card or treat topper or any other number of ways.

To all the amazing teachers out there - Thank you for all you do!  I am sincere when I say I don't think I could do it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine, you deserve a High 5! Sticky hand non-candy Valentine

Last minute as always, but we are finishing up our Valentine's tonight.  Between my boys I have to do over 50 Valentine's for their classes, so I like to find something inexpensive as little costs can add up quick.  I also like something unique and non-candy if possible.  Finding something that fits all of those can be difficult.

I'm pretty happy with how these turned out.  I grabbed a big bag of 72 Sticky Hands on Oriental Trading when they were having a free shipping special so paid less than $8.00 total.  My son has a February birthday so I am going to put the extras in his party bags.  

I love the photo Valentine's we did last year but wanted to do something really simple this year so just created a quick black and white card.  It took me less than ten minutes to do the little card and you know what - my kids still loved them.

The boys wrote their names on the back, I left the sticky hands in their individual wrapping and stapled them onto the card.  I wish you could see the hand a little better but this way they don't loose their stickiness (is that a word?). 

*The sticky hands I linked to are a little different then the ones I bought last month, but I couldn't find the exact ones I purchased. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week with Kids

This year our women's group at church has been encouraging us to plan for and celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week.  I love Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) because it helps me remember to be better. I'd love to say that I naturally think of others all the time but honestly I let life get in the way too much.  I've found that planning to do Random Acts of Kindness, especially around holidays, is a great way to help not only myself, but also my kids focus on being better.  Even the best of us can be kinder, more caring and considerate in our daily lives. The best part about kindness, it's contagious!  As we are kind to others it helps others pass that along in their lives.

Random Acts of Kindness Weeks is celebrated the week Valentine's Day. In 2013 that means it starts tomorrow, February 11th.  Today at church we were given cute little cards and heart stickers to track doing a RAK each day this week.

In the past we have incorporated RAK activities into our Christmas Activity Advent.  This past Christmas, we put on our best elf garb and put candy canes on people's cars and taped microwave popcorn to the redbox machines.  It was my teenage stepdaughter's idea to dress up and the little kid had so much fun with it (or course the photo below at the redbox my son doesn't look so happy!).

There are so many great ideas about how to do RAK activities out there.  A quick search on pinterest led to tons of great ideas.  The official website also has great ideas and even printables.  If you are an educator they have school based ideas you can implement.  I know my boys elementary school participates in the Be Kind program.

A few of the things we will be doing to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week -

Makes cards & a treat for the kids teachers - We are going to include the "specials" teachers like the Art, Music & PE teachers & aides in addition to the classroom teachers.  My sister is a Elementary Art Teacher so I try to remember to thank the specials teachers.  I know my kids love these other classes and the efforts of those teachers make a difference for my kids.  In addition to a card from the kids, I will also write a note.  Teachers often say that their favorite gifts are handwritten thank you notes.

Individual Kindness - I will be working with each of the kids to pick something they can do for another member of the family.  It will be their choice so I will have to report back on what they choose!

Microwave Popcorn on redbox - This is a repeat from Christmas but it is fast, easy and we are a redbox loving family so my kids think this is extra fun.

Trash Clean Up - Unfortunately we live in a neighborhood with lots of trash around.  We are going to go out and pick up trash and help make our neighborhood a little cleaner.

Bubbles on the Playground - A great pinterest find, we will be buying some bubbles at the dollar store, attaching a quick tag and leaving at the playground for kids to enjoy. Don't all kids love bubbles? Plus it's easy to do while also spending some time at the park.

Bring flowers to a friend - Surprise a friend or two with flowers.

Recognize Good Work - One other idea I love, although not necessarily child related, is to find a way to recognize people through their employers. This could be your child's teacher, a co-worker or even a favorite employee at the grocery store or gas station. As a former HR Manager, I know how much employees and volunteers love it when they are recognized for their efforts.  My kids school district has a Recognize a Valued Employee Award program and anyone including parents can submit an online recognition for a staff members efforts.  I did this for my son's wonderful preK teachers last year and they were so touched by it. Many companies have ways to submit recognition online, you can also post a compliment on Facebook or twitter.  I know one I am doing this week is submitting a compliment for an amazing manager at Target who helped me one day when my toddler was throwing the mother of all fits in his store.  I've needed to do it for weeks and will be submitting this week!

A few of my favorite ideas I found from other blogs include - 

Make them Wonder has a great free printable and lots creative RAK ideas. I found the bubble idea on pinterest and started exploring her site.  I love how she incorporates Random Acts of Kindness year round with her kids!

The Good Long Road shared ten ideas that are both free and kids friendly!

Loved this idea to make homemade coloring books and leave with crayons in hospital waiting rooms.

Toddler Approved's 100 Acts of Kindness series is a great resources with dozens of participating blogs that can help inspire you with ideas.  I wish I had discovered this earlier to participate for the whole four week project.  I hope to do it next year!

You have to check out the same sites 25 Acts of Kindness as a Mom.  This list is fabulous and I hope to incorporate more of these things daily.

Finally, some tips for celebrating Random Acts of Kindness with kids -

Plan - As someone with ADHD, sometimes planning is my nemesis and it does sound a little odd to plan a Random Act of Kindness but I find with busy family schedules that is the only way it will get done.

Be Flexible - Although planning is important you also have to be flexible. All mom's know there is a last minute appointment, a sick kids, an extra errand that needs to be done that can throw off your day.  When I make schedules of things like this I try to allow myself the ability to easily switch things out if I need to based on how the day is progressing.  I also avoid things that are time sensitive for the reasons I already listed!

Involve the Kids - Depending on the age of your kids you can include them in making cards or crafts, choosing what to do or who to do it for (you would be amazed at the ideas that even my 3 year old has come up with).  Kids will get more out of participating if they are involved in multiple parts of the process. My kids are also more excited about doing giving away something they help create, even if its as simple as helping cut out a printable you found on the internet.

Make it Personal - Although I think its good to include opportunities to RAK strangers for kids, especially small ones, including service to people you know can often make it more meaningful.  You could do a RAK week that was entirely limited to your family!


Do you do RAK activities with your kids?  Have ideas or a post? I would love to hear or see. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mini Moments or That's Why God Made Them Cute!

Ever had one of those days where it felt like the kids were crawling the walls or the fighting and whining would never end?  One of those moments where if you heard, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" again your head would literally pop off?  Lately it's often my very destructive one year old that gets me wanting to tear my hair out.  If you hear silence, a scream or a crash you can pretty much be sure she is destroying something or beating on her almost 4 year old brother... again.

It's in the those moments, when let's face it you are really tempted to either A) Walk out the front door or B) follow Bill Cosby's comic wisdom and take them out of this world! Of course reality sets in and you realize you would never do either one of those but for that brief, brief fraction of a second when your last nerve's last nerve has been squashed on one too many times those thoughts do flash through your mind.  Or maybe that's just me???

It is in those moments that I always seem to say, "That's why God made them so cute!"  

Personally, I think I have some darn cute kids... 

Look at those two happy boys.  You gotta admit those smiles are pretty darn heart melting!  Bonus: my family room doesn't look like a tornado went through it either so I'm guessing company must have been coming over!

Baby girl rocking big brother's sunglasses and playing in her seat while I cleaned out my van one day.  Again - how could something so cute ever terrorize her brothers right? 

These are the mini moments of motherhood that I cherish.  They make up for those gross moments of cleaning carpets & car seats, the sibling fights that seem to never end and the whining that you can hear in your self!  These mini moments are what God gives us to remember how precious these little ones are and how lucky I am to be a mom.  After a few kids and a realization that one day the fighting, whining and destruction will stop, and my house will be empty, I've started to cherish these a little bit more! 

Yesterday I had one of those mini moments.  My little man coming home from preK all excited to tell me about Goldilocks & The Three Bears. School was a big transition for my 3 year old but just recently everything seems to be clicking and he is loving learning.  But honestly the best part - was his little voice saying the word porridge and explaining that they lived in a cottage, "which is like a whittle house". 

I'm hoping to start documenting these moments more and sharing.  What have been your mini moments this week? I'd love to hear!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding Health in Chaos - My Mission to become a Healthy Mom

Last year I weighed over 200 lbs, really I was on the verge of a quarter ton!  Yep, I just said that out loud, or rather will be sending it out to the blogosphere which is actually even more scary... but it was my reality.

Its been my reality for just about as long as I can remember.  I have had short periods of being less but never for very long.  I was the fat kid from a very early age.  Like so many people who struggle with weight I am cursed by both genetics and bad patterns I developed in childhood.  Patterns of food serving as both comfort and protection against the challenges and struggles in my life.  Being overweight - fat, has been part of me for most of my 33 years.

The last few years whenever I mentioned weight people would say, but you just had kids... Which is true. I've had 3 kids in the last five years.  All by cesarean section and two were difficult pregnancies that required bed rest.  My children have left their mark (literally) on my body but the reality is that I was overweight well before my beautiful babies arrived.  Unlike many women I couldn't use them as an excuse.

Age and maturity has helped me to accept myself and be comfortable in my skin, but underneath that acceptance my longing to not be overweight never changed.  Those dreams of my teenage years to be able to wear normal size clothes and not be dragged down by my weight never went away.  I found ways to justify my weight - children, heredity, no time to exercise, no money for a gym, chronic pain.  I also took comfort that unlike many overweight people I didn't suffer from any weight related diseases - diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure.

Yet, deep down the longing for something different never went away.  

At times it seemed that my determination to learn to love myself made it easier to ignore my weight.  If I lost weight it would only confirm that I wasn't as comfortable as I said, that I wasn't as sure of myself as I let everyone around me think... But then I had two defining moments that made me realize that I was not where I should be and those slowly led me to know that change was needed.  I began to see that I could love myself AND change.  I could be strong and confident and say - being fat is not who I am, it is NOT a part of me and I can shed that for something better.

I'll go into those moment in a different post but they brought me to the realization that becoming healthy was truly the only way to finally show that I did love and accept myself. Accepting the fat me as OK was what was fake, not letting it go for something healthier.

On June 12, 2012 I decided it was time for a change, not a diet (although I have nothing in particular against them) but a decision to find a way to become a healthy mom in the middle of my crazy chaotic life.  Time to put away the excuses and become a healthy Mom my family deserves.

Almost eight months later I am within reach of losing 50 pounds.  I still have more to go and I hope to share more of my journey to becoming a healthy Mom here. I want to share because I have found strength in other's choices to leave their fat behind for something better. I've been inspired, encouraged and uplifted as I have seen others who put themselves out there in the public forum and shared both triumphs and failures.  As I've lost weight I have had so many ask how I did it {I'll give you a preview - I don't have any fancy tricks} and shared their struggles with me.

So here are my before and current pictures.  I'm not done yet!

As of today I have lost 48 lbs and am excited to see where this journey ends up!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Project 365 - January Highlights

The last few months have been an evolution for me.  You see, I had 3 kids in 4 years and worked out of the home for most of those years.  It felt like most days I was surviving and not trying for much beyond that!  In September I hit the one year mark of being a wahm (very limited consulting) and have been drawn to focus on those things that have slipped away in the chaos of the last few years.  One of the things that has been neglected is a deliberate effort to document our life.  I love taking pictures, especially on my on phone, but that's about as far as it goes.  Literally... the photos sit on my phone.     

I decided that January was a great time to change that and start documenting our life in a more deliberate way.  I like bite size, easy projects so I decided to jump on the Project 365 bandwagon and try to take one photo a day and share via instagram. I wasn't perfect but did about 95% {so that's still A range work right??}.

I thought I would start sharing a few of my favorites each month on the blog as another way to document and share the story behind the photos... 

This picture describes my little girl perfectly.  We had to go straight from church to a 
family birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.  So here she is all dressed up, trying to 
play a car racing game. Didn't matter she couldn't actually do it, she loved it 
and would push off any boy that tried to play with her! 

New Year - Time to get back on track!  Luckily both myself and the kids love
green smoothies. Great way to start the day or as an afternoon snack. 

A not so fun part of life!  Our first experience with LICE... I wasn't messing with the nasty bugs
so the boys got their head buzzed.  An unintended consequence, you can really tell how
huge his eyes are and those beautiful lashes!  Why do boys always get the gorgeous lashes???

Living in Vegas normally means nice mild winters.  This year we got a true cold
front for several days.  Walking the kids to school in 27 degree weather was a
new adventure.  Hey, for once the kids didn't fight me about wearing gloves and hats!

January was the month of things breaking - cars, vacuum, pipes
(thanks to that lovely cold weather), flat screen TV and our washer!
This was after it got fixed - a great day for a mom of 4.
I would never have survived pioneer days!

Trying out a new system for organization.  I use my phone for a lot of things but there
is something about getting it all on paper than helps my ADHD brain get focused.
After several weeks I'm still liking it. 

Big sissy picked up little man from school and took him on an adventure...
Just a quick trip to the corner store, but when you are five that seems amazing.
He thought it was AWESOME and they brought home ice cream
for us all {everyone else thought that was awesome}. 

Little Miss finally has enough hair to put up and use clips!  Hooray.
It might be past her eyes by the time she is two. 

Afternoon cuddles with this little man - one of my favorite parts of the day.
His sweet spirit make me grateful I get to be his mom. 

One of my 2013 goals is become better at keeping a clean house.
First habit I am working on is going to bed with a clean sink.
It really does fell good, especially in the morning!

Noah was an old pro at the dentist.  Of course his favorite part was getting to watch cable TV
{we don't even have basic at home}. I love this picture - kickin' back, so perfectly Noah. 

This is disgusting - NOTHING like Starbucks! Enough said. 

A brief moment of cuteness on a morning of errands with the kids. 

So proud of my guy!  He wrote his name all by himself in his preK journal.
He was so proud of himself and his fabulous teachers made a big deal out of celebrating it.
{I know - hard to look at anything but the crazy tiger hat...
a Christmas gift he begged for! I'm hoping the weather warms up soon..}

Part of documenting, I started a "One Line a Day Journal" and completed January!
It tracks 5 years and I'm looking forward to seeing how life evolves.  

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