Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up


Hey, hey!

So.... last night Little Dude and I were in bed by 9 o'clock :) Ah-mazing night sleep!

Last night we went out on a little soon-to-be-family date night. Pizza and glow in the dark pirate mini-golf is always a good time!

Seth and I tied in score and Little Dude got a totally legit HOLE IN ONE with NO help! Woo-hoo!


































Super fun time!

I know I've already told you about the beauty blog Maskcara, but you guys... I tried another one of her tutorials last night and it worked SO GOOD on my hair! I've never had so much body in my hair without product- you can see how voluptuous it is in the picture above, which was hours after I had done it :)  Check it out... you will LOVE it... TWIRL CURLS... but make sure you watch the actual youtube tutorial posted at the bottom of her post... that way you can actually SEE how she does it.

One of the reasons I love Cara's blog so much is because she, too, has been through quite a journey but has come out totally on top and beautiful as ever! In fact, just last week she got married to a really great guy (who was my friend in high-school) and along with her toddler son, they've just created a little family unit. So, so, soooooo cool for all of them. It gives me chills :)

In other, totally non-related, news...

It was Western Day at school this week and Little Dude had a blast! He wore his real cowhide chaps with the most confidence you've ever seen. Had I not shut his idea down, he wanted to wear the chaps and ONLY the chaps... if you get my drift... lol. "That's against school code, pal. Sorry."




















Happy weekend everyone! Hope you enjoy it!

XOXO

Friday, September 28, 2012

Definition of LOVE


















I've been thinking a lot about love lately. Not the love for my friends, or family, or my Little Dude... but love, love... the kind of love that is mutually shared with someone else..

I've been thinking a lot about what I envisioned love to be, what that love once meant to me, and what it is to me now- all three being totally different definitions.

Today I want to write about the last definition- the what love IS to me now kind.

Love is simple. Love is exciting. Love is scary. Love is believing. Love is patient. Love is honesty. Love is friendship. Love is passion. Love is respect.

Love includes sacrifice. Love includes highs and lows. Love includes elasticity. Love includes texture. Love includes communication. Love includes challenges. Love includes selflessness. Love includes healing. Love includes misunderstandings. Love includes hurt feelings. Love includes laughter. Love includes intimacy. Love includes tender moments. Love includes disappointments. Love includes surprises. Love includes compromises. Love includes silliness. Love includes seriousness.

I could go on and on.

What I love about our love (mine and Seth's), is that it is all of these things... but one thing it is NOT is perfect.... and if I ever portray through my writings that it is perfect- that I am living some Cinderella happily ever after story, free of trial- then I'm not expressing myself accurately.

When he proposed he said to me,

"Jacy, I can't promise you that it will be some wonderful and perfect journey from this day forward... but what I can tell you is that you are my best friend, and there is no one else I'd rather spend my life with than you. And I think together, we can build something really amazing!"

It has taken me some time to realize that love isn't some perfectly edited script like I always thought it was. Heck, I learned early on that my life wasn't either. I'm finally understanding that it won't always be perfect. And actually, there have been many days (even in the last few weeks), full of intense, difficult conversations reviewing all of the challenging aspects of our love: blending a family with a 4 year old... getting remarried after being single and independent for so long... establishing a new home together... learning to trust again... bringing in new ideas of how we think it should be... tempering expectations... starting over...

It's not an easy-peasy transition, nor should it be.

So this awesome love of ours can be a little intimidating at times.... but it's also proving to be the best and most incredible thing I've ever experienced. Really.

I wasn't sure I'd ever find it- you know, true love... but the truth is... everyone's 'true love' is different. There is no one-size fits all. Each definition will vary... and each love story will have a different ending. But it's how you live your love, and how you make it work in your life and in your relationships, that really defines it.

I think for me, if I could narrow it down, I would say this:

It is when the lights are dimmed, and two heads lay upon separate pillows, that something truly magical begins. No, it's not sex. It's about something even more amazing than that. It's about being vulnerable. It's about connection. It's about working together (even amidst the many imperfections that line every relationship). It's about expressing hopes and dreams. It's about creating possibilities and opportunities to reach those hopes and dreams.  It's about giving your all and building something magnificent together

This is love. 

At least that's the way I define it.

**What is love to you? Do you have a definition? Has it changed it years past?

**Where is the "My Name Is" feature today, you ask? Life got a hold of a few of my ladies and there wasn't one ready for today... my deepest apologies. It's good stuff, I know. If you'd like to participate or know someone who would, email me! I need more of you ;)

Image Credit

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fitness and a Daring Goal

George Tiedemann/Time Life Pictures, Getty Images
















I'm just going to say it like it is today.

I dread working out. 

I'm the type of person you might overhear saying at play group:

"When my body feels the urge to work out and be active, I just go lay down until the feeling goes away."

I will admit, embarrassingly as it is, that I have adopted this ideal into my life for the last few years. Ahem... more like 10 YEARS. Yeah, that's right. I haven't done hardly ANYTHING active for the last DECADE. As I sit here and type that out, I honestly can't believe it either.

I suppose there are two pretty legit things I can blame my lack of physical activity on:
1) A bum knee that hurts on a daily basis (5 surgeries later- 1 of them pretty major)  
2) Not enough time in the day

While both reasons seem understandable... they really aren't what's keeping me from being active.
I mean, my knee is what it is... and the more I just sit around, the weaker my leg gets. No good will be done waiting for it to feel better one morning. I need to start strengthening it again. Period. And the latter issue is just plain bogus. There IS enough time in a day, I've just never made physical activity a priority in my life. All I need to do is rearrange, re-prioritize and make a life-style change. Easy as that.

SO! On a whim last weekend, I went into the gym (a gym I haven't walked through the doors in MONTHS) and decided it was time to do something challenging and intense and totally different than anything I've ever done before.

I hired a personal weight trainer for the next 3 months.

Yes, me... little ol' weakling Jacy... a soon-to-be gym rat. Sweet. But I figure now is as good a time as any and I've been saying "TOMORROW" since I can remember.


Here's what I'm planning to do:

I'm planning to work out 5-6 days per week. Whether that be weight training, cardio, or a few mile walk on a treadmill, I am going to get myself moving and start making some changes.

I'm planning to take a picture of my bod this weekend and then post a before and after picture (on this blog) in December once I've finished my last session.

Look, we ALL have insecurities... some are different than others. For me, my body has been one of mine. I know I don't have weight to lose... but I have never been in shape... ever... and it's something that I've always wanted to be.

So, this is not about a specific number, nor is it about trying to prove anything to anyone.

Instead, this is about setting a goal (a goal that will be extremely difficult for me- both physically and emotionally) and actually DOING IT!

And even though I don't love the gym... and I usually feel stupid there... and can't help but laugh at all the meat-head-die-hards staring at themselves in the mirror... I am going to power through it and FINISH because I said I would. And then I'm going to implement the routine in my daily life even when it's over.

And with that, I am going to set my mind and accomplish something I've never done before... I am going to tackle a task that I've never really liked doing... I am going to make an activity that I'd rather not be doing a priority... and I am going to be accountable to myself, to my trainer {Mr. Buff} and to all of YOU!

AH! I can't believe I'm actually doing it and I can't believe I wrote in on here! There is officially no turning back now :)

It's been one week since starting and I'm finally getting past the brutal pain my body initially went through. It's been really tough but, I can't wait to keep going. I'm eager to see the progress- even if it's just a little bit at a time. Woo-hoo!

** Does physical activity play a role in your routine? What do you do to stay active?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Checking In & Checking Out- SNOOPING































Yesterday Seth surprised us by popping by the house to say "hi".

He said right as he came in,

"I can't stay long tonight... 20 minutes or so... and then I have an appointment at 5."

Knowing that a 10 minute conversation about wedding stuff can turn into an hour long discussion, I understood his preface. We chatted for a bit and then right at 4:35 he kissed me and said,

"Well... I better get out of here... I have a massage scheduled. I'll come over after, ok?"

I looked at him and teasingly said,

"Are you lying? Do you have somewhere else you're going that you're not telling me?"

He gave me the eyes... the 'are you serious?' eyes... we both laughed a little... and then he was off.

I sat down with the Little Dude for a bit. About an hour later, when I stood up I thought to myself,

Maybe I'll call the massage place and schedule me one, too. I am so very sore from all that weight lifting, after all.

So, I looked up a massage place- the one I'm pretty sure Seth goes to- and dialed the number.

"Hi! I have a question for you! I'd like a massage... do I have to be a member of Massage Envy to get one? Or can it be a one-time thing? I've never been in before..."

"We have a killer special going on... What kind of massage would you like?" she said.

"Um... I don't know... what do you have?"

And then right at the moment I thought

Well, Seth has praised his runaway polygamist therapist numerous times... maybe I'll ask if she has an opening tomorrow?

"Does a Seth so-and-so go there?" I asked.

"Pardon me?" the kind lady questioned.

"Is a Seth so-and-so there right now? He's my fiance and he raves about his masseuse there... I can't remember her name."

"Oh!" she laughed. "Congrats! Yes, Seth so-and-so is here... he sees Misty."

"Misty! That's right!"

And then, very quickly, my mind started to roam around a little bit and I said,

"Hey, um... don't tell Seth I called in... I don't want him to think I'm checking in on him or stalking him or something weird like that."

She chuckled and said,

"I swear I won't tell him."

Then I hear in the background coming from a male voice,

"Is that Jacy?"

It was silent for a moment.

The receptionist sheepishly said,

"Oh boy... we are busted! He was standing right behind me... he heard our whole conversation."

We both broke into laughter and then I felt dumb.

Crap! Now I look like a paranoid, non trusting, stalker fiance who appears to be checking up on her man. GREAT!

I called Seth right after I hung up the phone. He answered with a chuckle,

"You stalking me? You didn't think I was really there, did you?"

And then I told him the same story I just told all of you... and I felt really, really, stupid trying to explain myself because I looked SO GUILTY! And for a minute there, I even felt kind of guilty. Bizarre feeling to say the least.

Seth came back over to the house and upon entering the door, he handed me a gift card and said

"While overhearing the front receptionist say my name... and then the name of my masseuse... I figured it must have been you. Ironically enough, I was actually buying you this gift card from Misty so that you could get a massage tomorrow. I've been wanting to do it for a while now and of course, the one time I do it, you're on the other line. Funny!"

After getting over what a nice gesture this was, I started to think some more and I had these epiphany's:

1) I am SO grateful that I have never really felt the need to "CHECK IN" on Seth. He's never given me any reason to question his loyalty. I don't feel like I need to check his phone, his email, or snoop around his house... and I have yet to do so. You'd think that I would, right? And even though there is always this small nagging fear in the back of my mind that he (or anyone for that matter) could be lying to me, my nerves are calm and I am at peace with him.

I think this is what truly trusting yourself feels like... because it allows you to be vulnerable- with other's, with love and with yourself.

2) I am SO grateful that he "CHECKS OUT" every single time. I've never once caught him in a lie. He's never once been somewhere other than the place he told me he'd be (alright, except when he drove up to meet my parents, take them to dinner, and ask for my hand in marriage- that was forgivable :). He's never once made me feel suspicious or the creepy guy vibe.

 I know I've said it a bunch of times before... but he is predictable and consistent. TWO WORDS that I am truly appreciative of.

3) I am SO grateful that I'm not a detective. I don't want to be a detective. I don't have time to be a detective. I don't ever want to feel like I need to be a detective again. And even though I never snooped on my ex-husband pre-discovery day, the aftermath led me to be one for a while and I absolutely hated it. Not a fun way to spend your time.

4) I am SO grateful that Seth knows me well enough to know that I was NOT snooping on him. I'm sure it crossed his mind momentarily... especially because I am a betrayed woman who asked "are you lying?" before he left. But after talking it over, we realized that it was just a silly coincidence and that we both knew each-other well enough to know that it was nothing more than a happenstance- and a funny one at that :)

What a refreshing feeling it is that when I do "CHECK IN" (even if it's accidental), everything "CHECKS OUT".

**This may be too personal... but, do you check in on your husband or significant other? Do you feel the need to check his phone or email? If so, does he let you do it? OR do you snoop? 

Image Credit

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

YAY or NAY: Television?





























I don't watch television... hardly ever. Not the news, not Saturday Night Live, not Modern Family, nothing. If the T.V. is on in our house, it's either for a midday showing of Wall.e or 10 minutes of Little Einstein's before preschool. In fact, I have no idea what shows are even on anymore. I guess because it's something that I haven't been into in years and years (like the last decade or so), it's no longer intriguing for me.

I'm not super opinionated about the topic (one way or another), but I'm curious to know if you are?

Soooo.... YAY or NAY on television? Are you a diehard show follower? If so, which ones and why? If not, how come?

Image Credit


Monday, September 24, 2012

WEEKEND FUN!


First, Girls Night was FABULOUS!









































Such beautiful ladies... such a lovely temperature... such a wonderful time.

There's something really magical about a bunch of women getting together (some perfect strangers) and just being able to have a fun time- no matter where we are in our lives. We had a BLAST! If you didn't get to make it this time around, WE MISSED YOU! Next time, for sure :)

The rest of my weekend was spent hanging around with my man-friend, bawling and MISERABLE might I add. It has to do with my ambitious choice to hire a personal trainer at the gym last Friday... and the repercussions of not be able to move since- hardly at all. I am so NOT exaggerating- worse pain than my breast augmentation hands down. My arms are on fire and I can hardly move... and when I do... I cry... which is why today's post (and yesterday's too) is short and sweet. I seriously think I was overworked and injured something and I'm slightly concerned that it is this painful. Should it be?

I'm calling Mr. Matt, my buff trainer, tomorrow.

Anyhow, Happy Monday! I hope it's starting off to be a good week for you? Mine will be... if I can brush my teeth and get a shirt over my head without feeling like I'm going to pass out. Lol... but it's really not all that funny... :(

And now I'll go soak in a hot bath... again... for the 67th time since yesterday. Woah!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Hello everyone!

Whatcha doing today?

I'm getting ready for Girl's Night tonight... YAY! I'm hoping to have about 12 ladies and I can't wait!

We've had a great week, full of accomplishments.

Little Dude received his Alphabet Crown at school yesterday and wore it with pride the rest of the day. He said "You only get a crown on your birthday OR if you are smart like me and can recognize and sound all the letters in alphabet."





























Good job buddy!

Little Dude found all of the bandaids and became "Bandaid Boy".



















Good job buddy!

Also, things at the aquatic center are really popping! Swim lessons are the BEST investment... I do private lessons for the little guy year round and it has proven to be worth every cent. Check it out!




Good job buddy!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the good things in your lives :)

XOXOXO

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Name is MISSY


My name is Missy, and I’m infertile and 99% cry-free.



















What’s that, you say?

You can wish me a Happy Mother’s Day and I won’t break down! You can post a photo of your newborn niece on Facebook and I won’t unfriend you! And while you’re at it - go right ahead and complain about your overactive 3rd trimester bladder – I won’t be fantasizing about slapping you.

It seems like I’m a bit of a minority in this respect. I’m sure you know a few of us infertile women and we can be a touchy bunch. To be fair though, a girl can get a little tense when she’s pumped full of hormones and been told to “undress from the waist down” for the fifth time in one week.

Our journey towards parenthood has had plenty of laughs. What are the odds, for example, that the nice lady who processes my husband’s... samples... at the doctor’s office, would be married to his coworker? If I had a dollar for every friend, neighbor and acquaintance that I awkwardly ran into while at my near-constant doctor’s visits, I would be rich AND childless. I’m surprised that rumors of a stubborn STD didn’t start circulating. What non-pregnant girl goes to the OBGYN 20 times in one year???

I don’t claim to have the answers for anyone other than myself, but here are two ideas that have allowed me to be infertile AND happy for the last three years:

1. Figure out what you have control over, and what you don’t. Give your all to the former, and be at peace with the latter.

My body can’t make babies. But it also can’t fly, and I try not to lose sleep over either of those biological facts. I have control over the medical measures I pursue, and I have vigorously planned those things – but at the end of the day whether or not it happens is out of my hands, and I have decided not to make what I’m unable to do the focus of my life. Letting go of things you can’t control is incredibly FREEING. It releases you from unnecessary guilt and pain, and leaves you with more energy to work on what you can control.

2. Have a plan B. And while you’re at it – make it AWESOME.

So what happens if you don’t:  find “the one”/land that job/own that thing/have that baby?

After about two years of waiting to get pregnant I started to feel restless. My focus had been on pregnancy for so long that the rest of my life was in a rut. I started asking myself some hard questions about what would happen if life didn’t turn out the way I planned (as if it ever does! What a joke!). The truth was, all my plans ended at a door labeled “pregnancy” - there was no plan B. When I decided to take ownership of my future I had to face the scary idea that “I might not get pregnant, now or ever”. Admitting that hurt badly. But it was the ladder that got me out of that rut.  Don’t do yourself the disservice of limiting your growth and potential to be dependent on one particular event or outcome.  Face up to the scary maybes, and then have fun planning the AWESOME that will follow.

I don’t want my lighthearted attitude about infertility to minimize the very real pain and sorrow that many, many people experience. But I do want to share with you my strong belief that disappointments and heartbreaks (especially those that arise from circumstances that are out of your control) don’t need to define you or hold you back from making your life the most beautiful story you can dream up for yourself.

Next week I’ll find out the results of the last medical intervention that we are going to be attempting for now.

And the week after that?

In the words of a great man: “Come what may, and LOVE it”.





















**Remember that the purpose of this series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow. Missy will be reading your comments so you may comment directly to her. I am certain she would appreciate any questions you have and/or words of encouragement.


p.s. Missy has a BLOG if you'd like to follow along- really good stuff on there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So, You Can't Live Without Him?























The other day when telling one of my dear friends about my engagement, she asked with excitement in her voice but slight concern in her eye,

"So, you can't live without him?"

Of course this friend of mine adores Seth... but, being that she's been right next to me on this roller-coaster, knowing first hand what I have endured, she wants to ensure that I am ready for such a mammoth commitment- especially one as life-altering as marriage- and rightly so... I totally would do the same for her.

When she asked the question, my mind began to wonder what so say. You'd think there would be no question whatsoever. You'd think a soon-to-be-married and totally in-love woman would shout out from the roof tops,

"NO! I can't live without him!"

Even though I would have loved nothing more than to calm her nerves and answer her question with the most persuasive reply, I didn't. And not because I don't really love Seth or that I want to live my life without him; I didn't answer it that way because I CAN in fact live without him.

Let me explain.

Something very profound has permeated the oxygen and I am breathing more and more of its goodness in on a daily basis. It's a little word called independence. It's something that I've never really had before... but have grown to appreciate it's benefits in numerous ways over the last 2 1/2 years.

You see, when I found out everything... from my old life... it was literally as if my husband died that day. Really. Everything I knew, gone. Everything I thought, dissipated. In just ONE day, everything changed. My husband, as I knew him, never came back to me. I've never experienced the death of a close loved one before, but I imagine that this is what it feels like to become a widow. Except, I was the widow that no one knew about- only a select few knew of my despair. And while I would have loved meals brought in, or help with raking leaves and shoveling snow, or gorgeous flowers on my doorstep with deepest condolences, I suffered my loss, grieving and overwhelmed, for the most part alone.

After spending countless minutes, hours, days, and weeks without him, the very person I never thought I could live without, I suddenly realized that I WAS living without him. I WAS finding happiness without him. I WAS fulfilling magnitudes of personal joy as a single woman, without him. I WAS learning to depend on me, myself and I- for the very first time ever.

Slowly but surely, I became a new and improved person. I had to be because there was no other choice, really.

Because of all of this, my new relationship is almost a complete contrast to my previous one. And sure, I think a lot of it has to do with the man I'm engaged to... but I think an equal part has to do with ME, also. I'm not the same needy and dependent and insecure girl that I was just 3 years ago. I still have my weaknesses for sure... but, gone are the days of feeling that my happiness is dependent on someone else.

I love Seth and I can't wait to start a life with him... but I will forever hold a new level of confidence and pride in that if something tragic happens, or if certain choices are made, or if something out of my control takes place and I'm not able to be with him any longer, I am certain that I CAN live without him. I've done it once... I can do it again. And although I hate the idea of thinking that something bad may happen (because I really don't think that it will), what a striking conviction a strong faith in oneself can be- knowing that I will be okay... regardless of what life pitches me (and I know that Seth feels the same exact way considering what he has conquered and overcome, as well).

Whatever is in the air at my household, I really like breathing it in! This is a really good place for me to be. I'm in love with a man who adds so much joy to my life, but I'm also creating my OWN joy!





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Girls Night is THIS SATURDAY...


And I cannot wait!





























Here's the dealio...

Saturday night, I'm going to be at specific restaurant in downtown SLC at 5:30 PM. I thought it'd be marvelous to eat outside in this GLORIOUS weather and beat the crowds a little bit. We won't do dessert there, though... I have something else planned that lends to longer chatting and yummy treats (and it's close enough to walk from the restaurant).

For precautionary measures (because I'm not super comfortable posting our Girls Night destination and itinerary for all the world to see), I thought I could email you the details if you're in. Sound good?

Again, you can be young or old, single or divorced or married (happily or not)... the point is to branch out a little bit more and meet new friends. Even if just ONE of you show, I will SO BE THERE! But since I'm hoping there will be more of you, and a diverse group at that, please let a willingness to get to know other women accompany you to the par-tay. This is the WHOLE POINT!

So! Get dressed up in something that you're comfortable in and COME!

WHO'S STILL IN? 

If you ARE, please confirm by saying so in the comment section and then leaving your email address so that I may send you specifics (or you can email me at jacyleeclemons@gmail.com and I'll email you back). But PLEASE let me know! This way I know how many to plan for.

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALREADY HERE.... YAY!!

p.s. If you're already my in-real-life friend (from work, church, wherever!) and you want to join the fun- PLEASE DO! Don't feel silly.... JUST COME! :)

Image Credit

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Satisfaction of Work


Lately I'm really trying EXTRA hard to teach my son how to take responsibility for his personal space and belongings- whether it be making his bed, putting his toys away, hanging up his clean shirts, etc.- because I think it's just SO important to create structure in the home (something we haven't always had). At first, when I implemented the changes, he grudgingly helped around the house, but he's getting better and more cooperative and we're still working on that daily... BUT, let me tell you.... this kid has NO PROBLEM getting dirty and helping Papa on the Wyoming Ranch.






















You guys, I'm not kidding when I say that Little Dude learned how to operate and successfully maneuver a backhoe in less than 5 minutes and actually dug a 40 ft trench over the course of 3 hours (in 2 days). And when he wasn't on the tractor, he was helping Papa dig with his little shovel.

I'd watch him from afar, totally amazed at his attention span and willingness to work.  And then, after a long and hard hour, he'd come into the cabin, sweaty and flushed, and he'd give me a play by play of what he had just accomplished and which buttons do what on the John Deer Tractor.

I was so proud of my little fella- he was too.



















There's such a reward in learning to work. There's such satifaction in seeing the progress made and this weekend of back-hoeing reminded me that the same pride and satisfaction can come from simple chores around the house, too. Because even the littlest types of work can teach life lessons that don't just keep the house clean.

In my hunt for helpful advice, I found a really great list of tips that help put things into better perspective for me. If you're interested, read on! GOOD STUFF!

Twenty Tips for Teaching Children to Work:
~by Daryl Hoole

Learning to do less for your children so you can do more with them is a good maxim to live by in the home. Following are a few basic principles about teaching children the work ethic and then twenty tips for practical application.

It's a parent's desire to raise up children who will be responsible, self-reliant, competent, contributing, well-adjusted adults. It's in the home where the attitudes, habits, and skills leading to these attributes are best nurtured. It's in the home where children best learn to express love by serving one another. It's in the home where children can learn to work.

It's through helping in the home that children feel “part of the team” and gain the benefits of being needed and sharing in the well-being of the household. Besides, mother needs the help. As one mother candidly put it, “All hands on deck or mother will sink.”

There's a deep, lifelong lesson that can be gleaned from taking care of property and possessions and serving people. It's called respect — respect for things, respect for others, and ultimately respect for oneself. Respect, coupled with gratitude, is the essence of being good stewards.

Furthermore, a child who learns to manage successfully his own life and his own room can more easily take care of additional rooms and lives when such responsibility comes to him.

Tips:
  1. Be a model — an example. It helps if a child sees his mother and father doing tasks about the house and yard.
  2. Work with children. Show them how to do a task; don't just tell them to do it. When clearly taught and effectively trained, and when appropriate expectations are established, children can be held to a fairly high level of performance.
  3. Be consistent. There is strength in consistency. When children finally come to realize that “this is the way it is,” they accept it and their resistance and arguing diminishes. If you decide to waive a rule or policy, declare an exception; don't just let it slide.
  4. Instill good habits. Children who develop good habits have already won many of life's battles. A wise parent recognizes that many tasks are more a matter of habit than time. Habits are a great force in our lives. Help children make good ones.
  5. Allow consequences to be the disciplinarian. For example, if a child doesn't put away his bike before going to bed, as he has been instructed to do, being aroused from bed to go do so may help him remember next time. If a child balks about taking his turn in the kitchen because he's “too tired” or “too busy,” then he is also too tired or too busy to receive phone calls that evening or enjoy other privileges. If a child carelessly loses or breaks something, he should replace the item with his own money, or at least make a token contribution, according to his age, toward its replacement.
  6. Catch them doing something right and respond with praise. For example, if a child usually forgets to hang up his coat, instead of scolding him, watch for the time he does hang it up and quickly respond with positive reinforcement. Children respond in a more positive way when you warn them by saying something such as, “This morning will be room inspection, so be prepared.” The goal is to have them clean their rooms, not to make them feel sheepish or embarrassed about their lack of tidiness. They are more motivated when we praise them for doing something right than when we scold them for doing it wrong.
  7. Be positive and appreciative, rather than negative and critical. The ten-to-one ratio is a good guide — give ten compliments to your child for every one correction.
  8. Make work a privilege, not a punishment. Instead of threatening, “If you don't get your chores done on time, I'll give you two more jobs to do,” it's better to say, “You've been such a good worker today I'm going to let you help me cook dinner.
  9. Make a proper distinction between “required” and “hired” jobs. Required jobs have to do with one's basic responsibility as a member of the household, such as making one's bed, cleaning one's room, or taking a turn clearing up after dinner. Generally speaking, no one should be paid for such tasks. Hired jobs have to do with extra work about the house and yard that a child might do for pay. Such jobs vary from family to family and according to the maturity of the child, but could include tending a younger brother or sister, washing windows, doing heavy yard work, or taking care of minor repairs.
  10. Be flexible. Be considerate of children's agendas. Be careful not to foster resentment or rebellion. Teach your child respect and courtesy by considering his plans and commitments as you assign tasks. For example, “Saturday chores” do not necessarily have to be done on Saturday. If there are conflicting activities Saturday morning, many of the chores could be done anytime between Thursday and Saturday at noon.
  11. Give clear instruction regarding what is expected and let children enjoy the good feeling of checking items off a list as they're completed. Posting a list or making a chart helps children see the beginning and the end of their work, which is psychologically helpful. Besides, this does away with the chance that they might get the notion that if they finish one task, Mother adds another one, so they dawdle and stall to avoid Mother. (See The Ultimate Career —The Art of Homemaking for Today , p. 77 for illustration of a job box.)
  12. Make work fun and rewarding . Make the most of intrinsic rewards — the idea that a job well done is its own best reward. The maxim “work and then play” can bring about rewards, but guard against being a parent who teaches that “work is never done.”Games work wonders in motivating children between the ages of three and six and in the process good habits can be formed and basic skills developed. Following are a few examples:
    -A child wears a puppet on his hand (a stocking or a paper bag makes a good puppet), and then the child tells the puppet to pick up the toys or clothing. 
    -Playing “Twenty Pick-up” can work magic in a cluttered room. Everyone scurries to pick up twenty items, motivated by the advantage of seeing the beginning and and an end to the task. And for the child who “keeps score,” it's fair; everyone has the same amount of work to do. 
    -Pretend to wind a child up like a toy as he begins a task. He'll very likely come back to be rewound for the next job. 
    -The “squirt game” is a good one for three-year olds. Mother squirts a cleaning solution on a paper towel and the child wipes off the refrigerator door, the oven door, the dishwasher door, or whatever else needs cleaning. (Disposable wipes also do the job well in children's little hands.) 
    -Let your child dust for dimes. Hide dimes or quarters under some of the vases and lamps throughout the house to ensure a thorough dusting. You'll know by the number of dimes if the child has “hit” all the spots. 
    -Offer rewards for work well done, such as allowing a child to choose his seat in the car for the day, or his place at the table, or which movie to choose during TV time, or which story to read at bedtime.
  13. Provide incentives. The mother might say, “When the toys are picked up and you're ready for bed, I'll read you a story.” or “When the weeds are pulled, we'll go swimming,” or “As soon as the kitchen is cleaned up, we'll watch a movie.” A caution: don't make offers unless you can follow through by providing the promised activity.
  14. Play music to work by. Lively music can infuse children with energy and provide momentum as they work. For example, the song “YMCA,” or sound tracks from Cinderella, or Annie are favorites in some homes.
  15. Subscribe to the “Little Red Hen” theory. It only makes sense that those who eat and sleep in the home should also help with the work. Everyone is a team member. Help your child appreciate and support the role of each member of the family. Dad's basic responsibility is to provide for the family. Mother's main role is to care for the family and the home. Children are to honor and obey, or in other words to cooperate and help. The result is usually a smooth-running, happy home.
  16. Negotiate tasks when advisable, making them fair for all concerned. If your child needs an unscheduled ride somewhere, you might handle the request by negotiating with him by saying, “I'll drive you there, which will take about fifteen minutes round trip, if you'll give me equal time by folding these clothes and sweeping the porch.”
  17. Inspect the work . What gets measured, gets done. Teach children to work thoroughly and well and then help them to finish the job by “checking off” their work and calling them back when something isn't done right. Be quick to praise when work is satisfactory.
  18. Make work easy for them. Set them up for success. For example, encourage children to play with their Legos or other small toys on a sheet or large tarp. Then when the play time ends, they can just roll up the sheet along with the toys for a quick clean up.Install low hooks, shelves, and clothes rods within easy reach of children. Provide a sturdy, safe stool for reaching high places.
    A pattern or template for setting the table ensures immediate success, even for a very young child. (See The Ultimate Career — the Art of Homemaking for Today, p. 80 for illustration.)
    Provide them with bedspreads with plaids or stripes to facilitate getting them on the bed straight.
    Encourage their becoming responsible people and taking incoming telephone messages by supplying a bulletin board nearby or keeping a pad and pencil handy. Expect them to note all messages. Post itemized checklists for cleaning various rooms such as the kitchen and bathrooms and helping with the laundry. (See The Ultimate Career — the Art of Homemaking for Today , p. 80-82, for sample lists.)
  19. Develop self-reliance. It's important for us to teach our children to be self-reliant, which means to learn to be responsible and accountable for oneself. The Lord sends recipes, not cookies. We as parents should do well to follow this pattern and do the same for our own children.
Most mothers would agree that it's easier, faster, and done better, at least at first, to do most of the tasks themselves rather than to take the time and patience to teach a child to do them. But a home should be like an apprentice shop where novices (children) learn life skills from masters (parents). A good mother should gradually work herself out of the job. Dorothy Canfield Fisher said it another way, “A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.”

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**If you're wondering what the 20th tip is, so I am... there wasn't one... ha! So, how about you give me YOUR 20th tip! What are some ways you teach your children work-ethic?

p.s. If you don't believe me when I say that my 4 year old son is a backhoe guru, WATCH AND SEE with your own eyes ;) He did this over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again!







Monday, September 17, 2012

My Beautifying Routine (The Missing Parts)






























Have you ever looked in your rear view mirror and been like "WOAH!!", totally stunned by all the long hairs you NEVER saw growing in your brow area? Is it the lighting in the bathrooms? Is it because I've learned to overlook them? What is it? Because the same darn thing happens every few weeks or so where I'm always aghast and beyond embarrassed by the look of my straggly, SCARY brows. So I bolt into the house, grab the tweezers and devote some serious attention to the pluckage- no matter where I'm supposed to be.

This was my afternoon yesterday :)

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I like to beautify myself. No doubt it about. I absolutely want my outer presentation to reflect the joy and love for life that is bursting within me. Looking well-kept and put together is very important to me.... but let's be honest here... it can take A LOT of time and maintenance- time and maintenance that I don't always have/make time for. And while I'm good at keeping up on some things, I'm terrible at keeping up on other things! Like, really, really, really BAD!

Just for fun today, although I'm not sure what the point is (lol), I thought we could talk about the MISSING PARTS of our BEAUTY ROUTINES.  Kind of like 'Beauty Tips' in reverse ;)

Alright, I'll go first! Here's my awesome list:

Plucking my eyebrows. Already stated above... but just to reiterate, you can call me "UNI" across the produce aisle in Walmart and I'll most likely answer. I have NO CLUE why I can't keep up on this seemingly simple task; but it's baaaaad- always has been!

Painting my toenails. Rarely happens. Sad because I love the way it looks but I just can't get myself to do it... ever.

Shaving my legs. Not my first priority. And since I brought it up.... am I the only one who cannot get the hair off of my knees? No matter how hard I try and no matter which angle I approach them, my knees are always covered with patches of hair! WHAT'S UP WITH THIS? Annoying! Seth calls me Patches McGee sometimes :)

Washing my hair. Okay, this is because I choose to do it this way and have worked long and hard getting to this point. I wash my hair every 4 days I'd say and I'm actually quite proud of this :) Dry shampoo is a must, though.

Lotioning up. LOUSY at it. I cannot stand my dry, scaly, flaky skin, but for some reason or another, I just can't seem to make putting lotion on my body apart of my daily routine. Weird. I think it might be because it is sooooo cold doing it after I'm out of the shower. Apparently it's something I've really  gotta work on, though. If your mom almost falls out of the golf cart upon glancing at your shins, you know you've got a severe problem.

Wearing deodorant. I've seriously worn deodorant maybe 10-15 in the last 5 YEARS. Don't really get b.o. therefor, I don't wear it. I've had the same deodorant bottle for a half decade and it's still sitting in my medicine cabinet just waiting to be used. If you know me personally and think I stink- please tell me now... or else I'll just keep living in oblivion, being known as the smelly friend.

Teeth whitening strips. I used to be militant about this, but because I've done it so much and for so long, my mouth has just had enough. Last time I tried it, I couldn't sleep or work-out for days because it hurt even to breath- they were that sensitive. So, I gave it up cold turkey. Although, my sister told me to brush with Sensodyne toothpaste a few weeks before, during and after the treatment and it will take all that discomfort away. I might just have to try it out because my teeth could use a little pick me up... especially before the big day ;) We shall see.

Mustache Maintenance. Guys, I don't not deal with this because I'm lazy... I don't deal with it because I DON'T KNOW HOW!!!!!!!!!!! It is getting really quite noticeable... particularly on the corner of my left upper lip. It's getting darker (even the skin it seems) and the hairs are longer and I have NO CLUE what to do. If you wax it grows back thicker, right? Same for plucking? If you shave, it'll be even worse, correct? So... what do I do? Bleach it and learn to deal with the tuft of hair on my lip for the next 60 years? UGH!


**Alright ladies, don't be bashful! What are the missing parts of YOUR beautifying routine? Please tell me I am NOT alone :) And please give me some upper-lip hair remedies. Seriously. Never been so serious :)


p.s. GIRL'S NIGHT INFO will be posted this week so you know what to expect! YAY! I'm so excited! I hope you're still planning on it!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up


We're here in Wyoming for one last hoorah! It's quite a bit chillier than last time, which means my momma's having a heck of a time in the kitchen! Check this out! Sooooooo YUMMY!



ITALIAN CHICKEN WITH SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS
3-5 Italian sweet sausages
3 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
seasoned salt
8 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, cut into thin slivers
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 large peppers, red, orange, yellow, green, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large carrots, diced
1 28 oz. can diced Italian tomatoes
1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup chicken stock
4 tsp. flour
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Prick sausage and microwave for 5 minutes.
Season chicken with seasoned salt.
Heat 2 tbsp. butter with 2 tbsp. oil in large pot and brown ½ chicken.  Transfer to large bowl.  Repeat with remaining butter, oil, and chicken.
Cut sausage into 1 inch slices, brown in pan and add to bowl with chicken.
Add onion, garlic and peppers to pan, pour juices accumulated in bowl into pan.  Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring often.
Add next 9 ingredients, through the stock into pan.  Add chicken and sausage into pan.  Mix well.  Cook over high heat for 10 minutes.
Mash together remaining 4 tbsp. butter and flour.  Stir into chicken mix and cook until sauce thickens slightly.  5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve with cheese.

If you like this sort of thing.... it was DELICIOUS!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

**Recipe by Brooke Carn


Friday, September 14, 2012

My Name is ANNADEL


My name is Annadel and I had a plan to adopt 2 children under age 5 with no special needs or health problems. 

This is our adoption story.






























It was January 2010 and my husband and I had been married a year when we started talking about having kids together.  This is the second marriage for both of us; we have 3 kids each, ranging from 14 to 23. I was over 40 had had my tubes tied 15 years prior, so giving birth to a child was not really an option but it did cross my mind for like 26 seconds.  As we talked and looked at different options I thought Ethiopia or Haiti would be places we would be interested in adopting from. I had a coworker who did some charity work at an orphanage in Haiti and saw the need there.  This was in January 2010 so right at the time of the Haiti earthquake and adoptions had come to a complete halt there, so we decided on Ethiopia as our country. I have always been drawn to the beauty of the Ethiopian people and felt like this was right for us. 

We began the long process of paperwork, taking full days off of work to do the paper chase. We had our list of necessary documents and would mark them off as we went.  Each time we thought we were done, we needed one more thing or this document was not notarized correctly or we needed a different version of that form.  After about 6 months of going back and forth we were finally done with the paperwork. Then the hard part of waiting began.

Every few weeks I would call the agency to see if they had any children for us. I also began looking on www.rainbowkids.com at the waiting children’s list.  These children are older than 3 and/or have some special need or medical condition or they are a sibling group.  A little over a year after we started our paperwork I was scrolling through the list of these children who wait and saw a beautiful little 3 year old girl looking back at me.  As I read her health condition I was certain I could not handle a child with this particular need. My thought was “I don’t want to watch one of my children die.”  My husband had the same thoughts when I discussed it with him. But I could not get this little girl off my mind so I contacted the agency “just to see”. I got some extra pictures of her and some more information on her condition and realized how uneducated I was.  After doing a bunch of research, I realized her condition was not even scary and that she would live a long healthy life. So I prayed. As I was getting ready for work one morning thinking about this little angel, I just started to cry and knew I would be willing to accept a child with this condition and that was what I was supposed to do, whether it was her or not.  It ended up that she was not to be our child and was adopted into a wonderful loving family along with another little boy from her orphanage who was a really good friend of hers.  I did get to meet her and deliver a care package when I traveled to Ethiopia.  She is a precious little girl with a great family. This little girl started the first change we made to our paperwork.  We now would accept a special needs child but the age stayed the same. “What if an older child had issues and I just could not handle their type of “baggage”?” I would definitely stick to the 2 children under 5.

About 3 months later, in June of 2011, I decided to call the agency again and check on our status. Our agency representative said she was just about to call us because they had a healthy little girl that was going to go on the waiting children’s list and wondered if we would be interested. She was a little older than our limit of 5 as she was 5 going on 6. We said yes and she sent the referral. She did warn us that she looked angry in some of the pictures. Angry is an understatement. She looked like she would kill us in our sleep.  Luckily they had sent some of her smiling too.  We decided to accept referral and thus started our 2nd update to change the age parameter which we changed to 8. 

Even though this referral was a relief, the waiting continued as we waited for a court date which finally came for October 26th 2011. After several flight delays, plane changes, spending my birthday in London, (which was kind of cool since we had a 9 hour layover and took a tour. Just wish I hadn’t been wearing 3 day old clothes), 24 hours in the air, and luggage that was sent back home; we finally made it to Ethiopia to meet our daughter, Andinet.  She was waiting for us and was excited as she saw us pull up.  I recognized her immediately and could not get out of the car fast enough. I just grabbed her and squeezed her tight. It was an amazing day.
















The days we spent at the orphanage were so much fun. Not only did we get to love on Andinet, but all of the kids were amazing and so cute. While we were spending time with Andinet another boy named Mikiyas (pronounced Mickey-S), who said he was 12 , hung out with us too. He spoke English pretty well and translated for us. When I asked him why he wasn’t in school he said he was starting the next Monday. Come to find out he had just been moved that week to Andinet’s orphanage from another that had closed.  I spoke with him and asked if he had an agency and he told me that Dinknesh, one of the in -country reps for our agency, was going to help find him a family. He also said “I ask God every night to help me find a family so I know I will get one soon.”  The amazing faith of a child.  As we spent time with Mikiyas, I started to feel like I might want to make this great kid my son. Again, way out of our parameters, and he is diabetic so not only was he way older than planned, he also had medical needs.  As we prayed about this boy we felt like it was the right thing to do so, our minds were made up to add him to our family. We did not say anything to him as we did not want to get his hopes up just in case.  I later found out that there was an in-country rep who was going to be traveling to the US  and had one last goal before she left- and that was to get Mikiyas moved to KVI orphanage before she left and it just happened to be the week we were there that he was moved. He was not in school yet because of the move so we were able to spend the entire week with him. If he had been in school we would not have had the opportunity to spend the time we did with him. God has ways of pushing us in the right direction. 

As we prepared to go home and leave our now 2 children behind to wait for the embassy appointment, my heart ached for them both. Andinet did not understand that we were not going to take her with us that time and was very upset.

Once back home, while we waited for the Embassy appointment, we received and accepted the official referral for Mikiyas.  Before we even sent our referral paperwork for Miki back to the agency, I got an email from the rep saying she needed to talk to me. I called her and she said she had been contemplating whether or not she should even mention it since we had just accepted the referral for Mikiyas, but that there was a little boy that met all of our parameters that did have the medical condition we were open to and wanted to know if we would be interested. I asked if she could just send his pictures without the referral. She said she could but if we saw his picture we would not be able to think clearly. I called my husband and he said we could look but he didn’t think we should accept because we had only wanted to adopt 2 children.  She sent the pictures and she was right, I was in love. 




















But, the more we discussed it the more my husband pushed back. I was supposed to take just the weekend to decide but I drug my feet and cried and waited almost a week to call the agency back to tell her we had decided we could not adopt Kare (pronounced Car-A). I cried for almost another week and in talking to my husband, his push back and worry was that his boys would feel pushed aside. I asked him to talk to them about it and see how they would feel about us adopting both Mikiyas and Kare. They were super excited! That was a Sunday and I called the agency on Monday asking for Kare’s referral.  Another round of Paperwork updates to change our parameters to 3 children ages 0-14.

In February 2011, we traveled to Ethiopia to bring our Daughter home and to see the boys.  When we talked to the in-country agency rep she told us how Mikiyas would not believe her at first that we wanted to adopt him and how he then threw his hands in the air and said “thank God” in praise and thanksgiving to Him. When he saw us he was so happy and just hugged us and did not want to let us out of his sight. What a truly emotional day to see Miki again, knowing that he was our son.  He ended up in the hospital to try to regulate his blood sugar and he was scared that we would not want him since he is sick. It just broke my heart that he had those thoughts. We had to keep telling him that he is our son and we will love him always.  It was hard to have to leave my boys again and continue to wait.
















We again went back to Ethiopia in July 2012 for Court for the boys. They are officially our son’s in the eyes of the Ethiopian Government but at the time of this writing, we wait for the Embassy appointment to bring our precious boys home. We are hoping that soon we will all be united and we can finally rest from the long exhausting process.

We are grateful that we had some one- on-one time with Andinet. We feel like she needed us to be there just for her. She is very excited to have her brother’s home to join our big family of soon to be 11. Andinet has been so much fun and has made the stress of it all very worthwhile.  She has fit into our lives perfectly. She is weird and goofy like the rest of us and makes us laugh every day. We could not imagine life without her and don’t really remember life without her.  God has blessed us on so many levels with her.

To end our story, I have learned several things from this journey:

1. Nothing in Adoption is the normal and you need to be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait some more.

2. God’s Plans are not always our plans and I am so thankful that I listened to Him this time. I am so very blessed.

3. My heart breaks for the waiting orphan. Many people wait for healthy infants thinking they are “helping” while thousands of children wait for a family due to age, are part of a sibling group, or medical conditions. I would rather not have the children wait. It is heart breaking to have the older children ask you to help find them a family.

4. Older children are great. I met so many that have such fun personalities. They were a blast. I have become a huge advocate for older child adoption.

5. Only 7% of adopted children are black.

6. It makes me feel very uncomfortable when people tell me what a great thing I am doing.  I just feel so much more blessed by these children than I will ever bless them.  My heart is full every night when I hug and kiss my little Andinet and when she says to me as I hug her and play in her super awesome curls, “Mom why do you love me so, so much?”  Yes she knows she is loved and that is such a great feeling.

7. People can be rude and not even realize it.

Please if you are one of these people, remember these things: medical records are private, and the children’s family background and history is for them to share not me. 

If you want to make the comment, “wow you are starting over” here is my answer: “No, I am just continuing on the path God has chosen for me.”

 Another rude question I get a lot, but usually not to my face is “Why don’t you adopt from the US when we have need here?”  I have several answers to this one.  #1) Why don’t you? #2) Although domestic adoption is great, I feel that American Children are no more deserving of a forever family than African Children.  #3) My children were in Ethiopia.

8. This process was harder on some of my bio children than I thought it would be. Give them the extra attention they need too.

My eyes and heart have been opened for the orphan and I still look at the waiting children lists even though our family is complete (for now).  I came across this quote that sums it all up for me:

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” -David Platt.

If anyone reading this has a heart for adoption or are considering adoption, look at older children or a special needs child. They wait and wait for their Mommies and Daddies, while many Mommies and Daddies sit on waiting lists to adopt healthy infants.  If Adoption is not for you, there are other ways to help bring children home to their forever families. You can Sponsor a child or donate to an adoption.

Other places to check out:
http://www.illienadoptions.org/IllienFoundation.html  I have met several children that could be adopted through Illien. Let me know if you want any information.







My name is Annadel and I am so grateful that I followed God’s plan for me instead of my own. I am truly blessed with amazing children, both biological and adopted. 

**Remember the purpose of this series is to support, uplift, and encourage. Any questions you have are welcome and Annadel will be reading your comments.


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