How I Spend my Free Time

I lay in bed strategizing ways to tactfully make my way down the stairs, grab my book from the living room, and make a mad dash into the family room without waking up a soul. It was going to happen, today was my day! I was going to do it! I was going to read! After all what is the point of being a part of a book club if you never get to read the darn book!? I glanced at the alarm clock it read 5:30am. Yes! I had the potential to read for an entire hour! The combination of anticipation, excitement, and adrenaline was enough stimulate that I even considered forgoing coffee right away….besides I had not contemplated a side trip to the kitchen, that could foil everything! It was go time!

I climbed over our 4 year old who was sleeping next to me. I tip-toed out of the room while holding my breath, for fear one exhale might be too loud and somehow heard over my husband’s snoring. Haha! I did a weird dance down the stairs in the dark trying to avoid the center of all stairs where the wood creeks. I then walked along the perimeter of the room as to avoid more creeks in the wood (old houses, gotta love em). My cat like reflexes really came in handy when I came in contact with two baseball bats on the living room floor that I had asked our son to put away…to be honest I lost my footing rolled a little, and came a quarter of an inch away from striking the keys on the piano. The dog heard me and barked. This just got real! I ran into the kitchen, forgot we put the baby gate up and half of my body went over it…I am certain it looked hilarious but man it hurt!  Removed the gate, guided our blind dog down the stairs, opened the back door and let him out. Closed the back door and he barked to come in. Let the darn dog in walked around the kitchen to find that he was right; he did not need to go out to pee he had already taken care of that in the kitchen.  For the love of books, why!!!! So I cleaned up the mess, finally broke his code, he wanted food. So I fed him and quietly walked back to the living room where my book awaited and my 4 year old holding a Belle dress.  My dream of reading that morning was officially shattered. Within ten minutes everyone was up. …I wanted to cry but I didn’t. I went on with my morning routine, made breakfast, did laundry, made beds, did hair, daughter hated the way I did her hair so we redid hair, listen to girls argue over a doll, removed said doll, son was concerned about guinea pig because he was dirty, gave guinea pig a bath (because that’s what you do 20 minutes before school), daughter realized there was a back to her homework page, helped her finish her homework, threw some water on my face, put on clean underwear and grabbed clothes off the floor to wear, drove older kiddos to school, drove preschooler to school, and arrived home and glance over at my book, finally, alas!  And my phone rang.

For the next two hours I helped a friend with a crisis, switched around the laundry, made dinner, edited pics, filled out forms the kiddos needed in order to get registered for various activities/field trips/etc., stopped at the bank to get preschool tuition and headed to preschool to pick up our 4 year old…all the while wondering how I might be able to finagle a way to read for 20 minutes later in the day.

Get home, make lunch, put 4 year old down for quiet time, 4 year old gets up from quiet time 3 times, finally she settles in with a few books for a little while, I clean bathroom, finish editing pics, workout for 20 minutes…noting I clearly did something to my lower half of my body when it came in contact with the baby gate (get yourself a Beach Body coach and accountability group…best thing ever!), plan a party (which was amazing…Frozen was the theme and kiddos got to build their own snowman…I included a few pics below), organize a few activities for our playgroup, take a call from a friend who needs someone to watch her kiddos…I am totally your girl! (Always make time for others, some of the best advice my momma has ever given me) .Get 4 year old up, we run to car, drive to pick up older kiddos from school when the real chaos begins.

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Both kiddos jump in the car eager to tell me about their days and our 4 year old wants to chime too! It is a chorus of chaos those first ten minutes. Once home kiddos put bags on hooks, folders on table for me to go through, grab a snack, and we start on homework. One child reads aloud to me while the other does their math then they switch, I check work, and we go over spelling words while I put the finishing touches on dinner. Dad arrives home, kids set table, we eat, then the older two are off to religious education while I go to the Cub Scout meeting and learn about selling popcorn. All the while I am sitting in the pack meeting my mind keeps going back to the book I never got a chance to read and I wonder how I can do things differently tomorrow morning. Then the meeting is over, I pick up older two from religion education down the street, go home, bath/showers, sit out clothes for the next day, make lunches, and tuck in kiddos.  I fold a load of laundry, but on my PJs, grab a glass of wine and that book I have been dreaming of all day and settle into bed. Ten minutes later I am out! LOL!

The next morning I basically go through the same routine but instead of preschool my 4 year old and I head to a playgroup meet up. There I enjoy chatting with other moms while she plays with other kiddos. While chatting one of the moms who has children who are not of school age yet asks me, “So, what do you do with all your free time now that the kids have school?” For a moment I felt complimented, clearly my tired eyes had not given me away and I must look refreshed.  Then my blood began to boil a bit….and I thought, free time, what is that?  But I finally came to the realization that all of us new moms, myself included, have hope and dream of a utopia like life that will present itself once the children are in school. Sadly it never happens but far be it for me to shatter this young mother’s dream. So, I truthfully replied, “I think about reading a lot.” And I am almost certain she thought I was crazy but that is okay.  It is important that we allow those new moms who are in the thick of diaper changing, spit up, potty training, etc. to have their hope. In fact I know of a couple amazing friends who kept their mouths shut when I would dream about what life would be like once my children were in school…though looking back, they did always have a smirk on their faces.

Do tell, how do you spend you free time? Or perhaps I should rephrase the question, how do you dream about spending your free time some day? Haha!

Book Club: What should we read next? Need suggestions Please!

Our book club is at that emotional sector of our current book; where the anxiety peaks just before the end of a book…do you know the feeling?  The feeling of waiting hours before you read the last sentence of the book because you don’t want it to be over? Then, after finally reading that last sentence you experience such a low that you need to go searching for that next book…that next great book….the one that will build up the anticipation within you….that will give you that natural high again.  Okay, yes, I realize that sounds like an individual who might have a problem…. I suppose my drug of choice is reading, lol!

 

We have officially completed, or at least most of us, Bloom, by Kelle Hampton.  I blogged about the book earlier, here is the link for those who are interested,

And I am happy to say that we had the opportunity to meet Kelle in person and get our books signed. It was a book club first! I must say she is not only a great writer but also, possibly a fashion icon. Here we are taking our mini road trip to get our books signed….

Waiting in line to get our books signed…….

Here we are…guess which one is Kelle, lol!

 

We have read a nice variety of books, from fiction, non-fiction, self-help, etc. Here is a quick list of the books we have read in the past……

This book was amazing. It really pin-pointed the main issue parents tend to experience when disciplining their children, maintaining their own composure.  2 year olds are supposed to have temper tantrums, not 32 year olds. I would give this book 5 stars ***** 

 

This book was okay.  She had a lot of valuable points to be made and ones that I agree with however the manner in which she portrayed the information was a little condescending and even hypocritical at times.  I would give this book 3 stars ***

This book was funny and allowed moms to know that they are not alone when it comes to motherhood. However after reading a few chapters I felt like it became a little redundant. I would give this book 3 stars ***

This book was amazing….I would highly recommend this book! It was difficult to put down. We had a movie night after we finished reading the book and the movie pales in comparison. You need to read the book! Hands down, 5 stars *****

This was also a good book and a really fast read.  We have not had a movie night but it is in the works.  I would give it 4 stars ****

You can read my thought in the link above…

 

 

So, we are open to any and all suggestions. What is a great book you just couldn’t put down?

Momup! Monday: Making time for Mom, Michael’s Cake decorating classes, Book Club, and more.

Far too often it seems like moms get so caught up in their children’s lives that they forget to live their own. I am sure we have all been witness to the “crazy mom”, you know the one, shoot you might even be her.  The mom that is constantly running one child from one activity to the next, making certain each child is on time, with water/snack, bag, change of clothes, etc. but she can’t seem to remember the last time she ate or even had a BM.  Or maybe you are familiar with the moms who purchase the high-end clothes for their children yet run around town in glad rags with holes that showcase their granny panties, talk about embarrassing (sad thing is there are mirrors in their homes they just don’t have time to look in them).

Just the other day I had a personal encounter with an “I have invested all my life into my children” mom.  She stood there talking to other moms during pick up and she had a towel on her head and the sad thing is I am not sure if she realized there was a bath towel on her head.  I wanted to interrupt and share the news with her but she looked frazzled as it was and I didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.

And I have saved the best for last, the “I live through my child” mom.  Thanks to Toddlers in Tiaras this example is effortless to explain.  Plain and simply stated, the “I live through my child” moms are the moms on that show. They are the moms who did not have the opportunity to be in pageants, or dance class, or (fill in the activity/class here) when they were children so they are forcing their children to do the activity hoping to live vicariously through their child’s actions.  This type of scenario only ends badly, often with an upset mommy (that is putting it mildly), unappreciative child, and years of therapy, but I didn’t have to tell you that.

Whether you suffer from overscheduled children, no time to look in the mirror or living vicariously through your children, I am here to tell you that help is available.

Take your life back, granted you still need to do everything for everyone but include yourself in the mix. Sign up for a cake decorating class, join a book club, take dance lessons, whatever your interest may be, you’re not dead, live your life!  Many moms say they will get back to their life once their children are grow. There are two problems with that statement, one, you never know how long we have on this planet so make the moments count, why put off tomorrow what you can do today? And two, we are modeling behaviors and lifestyles for our children, don’t we want them to live their lives to the fullest once they are adults? Be the mom you want your daughter’s to become one day, the inspiration for your sons to look for in future wives, Live YOUR Life!

How I am living MY life …..

Beyond my motherly, wifely, community, etc. duties I enjoy taking classes and reading. I like to always be learning and gaining knowledge, for wisdom is knowing that you don’t know it all.   I most recently attended the Wilton Course 1-Cake decorating basics class at Michael’s http://www.michaels.com/wilton_cake_decorating/wilton_cake_decorating,default,pg.html.

Here we are, the moms who took the class with me and me all ready to decorate! It was so much fun.

Like the website states, you don’t have to be a chef or even experienced in the kitchen to decorate a cake, cookie, cupcake or brownie. The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating taught me the techniques to decorate treats that are sure to put a smile on my kiddos faces.  I am now prepared for our next birthday party, Valentines party, Christmas celebration, etc. 

I learned how to make a cake into a blank canvas. Look closely, no cake crumbs.

I am so excited to put my new-found skills to work and see what amazing characters I can create on a cupcake, cake or cookies.  I was amazed at how easy it really is, once you are familiar with the various tips and techniques you can really create anything, your imagination is the limit. (But let’s just keep the fact that it is actually easy between the two of us, shhhh).

This was the first cake I decorated in class. If nothing else, at least it illustrates the progress made from the first cake decorated to the last.

I would highly recommend this course to any and every mom or person planning a party in the near future, like the instructor said, “Lets turn those $.50 cupcakes into $3 cupcakes”, she had a great sense of humor and patience, thank you Laetitia. I did become a little frustrated when it came time to decorate the cupcakes, but I have a tendency of making the simplest things very complicated.

My flowers, they are a work in progress. The key to perfecting the flower is determining where you are going wrong, which the instructor did and helped me correct.

I took the class with two other moms from our playgroup, they actually bought me my cake kit as a birthday present, thanks again ladies.  I highly recommend taking a class with a friend, it is a lot of fun (and you have a good chance of having someone else in the class that has supplies that you might have forgotten, like disposable bags, food coloring, and cupcakes, thanks Lilly, I owe you).

This was the final cake, I was so proud, as you can tell by the statement I chose to place on the cake.
Lilly, one of the moms I took the class with, this is her cake and it is gorgeous. The flowers were a pretty peach color, the leaves were perfect, and the lettering was amazing.
Evangeline was another mom in the class, she rocked the flowers, and her cake turned out beautiful she’s a natural!

Another added bonus to the class, you get time away from the kiddos for a couple of hours, it is important to have time away, it makes you a better mommy (seriously, there are articles and statistics to back up that statement, just Google it).  I had so much fun I want to sign up for another, and I think I might since they offer a discount for the next class!

Yep, I will be framing this.

I am also in a book club with other moms that meets every other week.  It is so enjoyable to sit down for a couple of hours every other week and catch up with the ladies (because let’s be honest book club is roughly 60% chit-chat about life and 40% about the book, no, maybe it’s more like 30% about the book and 70% the everyday mommyisms, the percentage isn’t important). 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the book we are currently reading. I am having a tough time putting this one down. I have so many questions and thoughts I can’t wait to share with the other ladies tonight! Here is what I am thinking; he is actually on a search for answers regarding GOD since he says he is an atheist. I think he is having a tough time with his father’s death and the whole idea that he just seizes to be (I wonder if I am right?).

Again, it is nice to have a couple hours in the evening away from the family to remember who you are and that you have your own thoughts, questions, and feelings to share, regarding the book of course, Duh!

So, join a book club, or a garden club, or whatever your interest might be or if you can’t find one start one, www.meetup.com offers a great way to meet up with other people who share your same interest and are local (this is not a dating site, they have playgroups, garden clubs, vegan clubs, book clubs, you name it and there is probably a meetup for it and if there isn’t, start one).

What are you doing to live your life and not your children’s? Or what would you be interested in doing? I know if can be tricky thinking about yourself for a change but please do so and share your thoughts.