Tag Archives: change

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Cycles Of Abuse Can Be Ended

A conversation with a friend of mine recently caused me to look back on my childhood and, once again, marvel at the blessings that I experienced. Both of my parents were in abusive situations growing up, ranging from moderate to severe treatment by their abusers. Statistically, it would be reasonable to expect that my siblings and I would have been treated similarly. Continue reading

Bittersweet: The Holidays Are Over

a hand holding a pen writing in a bookI never thought I’d say this, but I might be overjoyed for the boys to be back at school.

Usually, we love our holidays. We skyve off school whenever possible during term time. We homeschooled for the better part of a year before we moved, and loved it.

Maybe it’s because the boys are getting older and more independent. Maybe the move means that we need new holiday traditions. Maybe having a TV for the first time has made us less inventive and more lazy. Maybe being responsible for my granny messed with my spontaneity, having to make sure she was taking her pills every day and worrying if I was away from home. Maybe I’m looking forward to getting back into MY life, my stuff. Child-free.

Maybe it’s a little of everything.

Part of me feels that we wasted the second half of the holiday. Part of me says, “Don’t be silly! Look at all the visitors you had, the stuff you did!” It WAS fun.

I AM sad that it’s over. I love to be with my kids. I will miss them, especially the older boys who have reached a new phase of independence and busy-ness.

I guess this is good practice for when they all leave home!

by Nan Sheppard


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Photo graciously provided by beX out loud, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Celebratory Week

girl in pink holding bunch of pink balloonsNext week my girls will start Kindergarten. They are ready for the classroom experience. Everything they do right now is a game associated with something new they are learning. When we went to the museum last week they counted the steps. At home they are playing “store” since their Dad taught them about pennies, dimes and quarters. They are selling their toys to each other and in the process reinforcing the concept of money.

While I am excited for a little “me” time (ha, ha) as well as an additional class to teach at a new college, I am also a little sad. One of my girls has been acting out the past week. She had a monster of a tantrum while Grandma was visiting. And while I’ve learned how to manage her during these outbreaks, it was a new experience for Grandma. A friend of mine mentioned it could be due, in part, to her anxieties to starting Kindergarten. I think she is right.

So this week we are celebrating and getting ready for school. We are going to venture to a pizza and arcade venue on Monday afternoon. Then on Tuesday we are going to head over to the place where you stuff your own bear (you know the place) because after 4 months they have filled their marble jars and deserve their reward for good behavior, plus they are having a sale! On Wednesday my daughters start a ballet/tap/gymnastics class. They have been doing gymnastics for about 6 months so the dance portion is new. The new patent leather black shoes that make lots of noise have been a big hit. Thursday is “meet the teacher” night so I plan on giving them both new butterfly necklaces in the morning so they can wear them that night. In addition, we are going to treat ourselves to pedicures.

It is going to be a busy week right before school. They might not want to go to school after such a fun week. However, my goal is to get them excited about their new adventure. My message will be that we are doing XXX because they are starting school next week. I have a list of things to do on their first day, such as take pictures, measure their height and weight, make a special breakfast, etc. I don’t want to go overboard – oops, I think I already have. Most importantly, I want them to know school is a positive experience and something to look forward too.

What do you do to get your kids ready to go back to school?

by Kelly Damron

Photo graciously provided by Pink Sherbet Photography, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Snowed In

snow-covered road lined with carsWe live outside of Philadelphia, and as a result of the recent snowstorms, aptly nicknamed Snowpocolypse and Snowmaggedon, the kids have had an unexpected holiday.  One that might actually lead to canceling part of their Spring Break or extending the school year as a result.  It’s been a week of being confined in the same space, and having snow too deep even for good sledding, usually a mainstay of our snowy days, where most of the neighborhood ends up in our backyard and I bake cookies and make hot chocolate until we run out of both.  This time, with close to 45 inches of snow on the ground, it’s quieter and less fun than normal.

The kids are thrilled to have this unexpected holiday, and getting them to make sure they have all assignments done that are due on return, where they thought they would have more school days in between to complete, has been a challenge, especially as they start hoping that the new snow we expect will again delay their return to school.

From the Mom’s point of view, I don’t mind having them here, but it plays absolute havoc with my work-from-home business.  I still have things to do, clients to speak to, and a work day, that’s now interrupted with various degrees of “I’m Bored” and “What can I have for lunch?”  and “Whatcha Doing?”  It’s like when they were younger and they used to wake up in the night, interrupting my sleep, but now it’s interrupting my concentration time during the day.

I know they will return to school soon enough, and I’ll probably wish they were still here, popping their heads in and asking me what’s up.  I think what I’ve learned from this experience more than anything else is that I’ve becoming accustomed to my own sense of work-day pace, my own routines, just as if I worked in an office.  I’m comfortable with my regular routine and schedule, and the disruption makes me feel a bit out of sorts and less productive than usual.

Working from home has always meant needing to improvise when there’s a call from school, a kid has forgotten a project, or someone is sick, but as the kids have gotten older, the frequency of these moments have diminished.  And apparently, so has my flexibility associated with the daily schedule and the “be prepared for anything and everything” vibe that can be parenting.  I needed this lesson in lightening up, I’m sure.  But I can also tell you I’ll be glad when I can slip into a bit more of a routine as well.

How do you deal with the daily routine, and what do you do when its disrupted?  Do you feel disjointed too?  How do you find your groove again?  If we have any more snow days, I’ll need all the help I can get!

by Whitney Hoffman

Photo graciously provided by woodleywonderworks, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Reduce Stress With Small Change

exploding firework on black backgroundHappy New Year, everyone! Hard to believe that we’re already 4 days into 2010 but there you have it. Calendars won’t be denied.

I don’t know about you, but a particular quirk (curse?) of mine is constant analysis/evaluation of life, particularly how well I’m doing at any given activity. Stress has been too high for a few months now, and I don’t like where that has taken me.

One of the bad things about being in a stressed state is a reduced ability to solve problems. This makes things worse, don’t you agree? Another not-so-nice feature of stress is the magnifying glass it seems to put between you and problems. They just seem….bigger.

It’s easy when you’re feeling bad to look at those bigger problems you don’t know how to solve and just shut down. I think the worst thing about being stressed is what it does to the family. Rather than feeling like playing with my kids or even just enjoying them a little, my mind is cluttered with todo lists and problems. Not cool.

New Year’s is the big time to make resolutions; the assumption is you set goals for the year and your life will improve. That’s all well and good, but I’m not making any resolutions right now. Instead, I’m making changes. One tiny change at a time.

It’s amazing how much better life can feel with even one problem out of the way. Equally amazing (and frequently ironic) is how easy it can be to solve some of those problems. Case in point: Hubby and I had a giant desk that needed to be removed from our house. I stared at it for ten months, getting dusty and cluttered, before I finally taught myself how to post a sale ad on CraigsList. Honestly, I didn’t believe for a second that anyone would buy it. But they did! And came to pick it up to boot. All I had to do was clean it off.

Now that it’s gone, I’m enjoying looking at the big bare spot where it used to sit. I’m also breathing a bit easier, knowing that what seemed like an insurmountable task is over and done with. On to the next one. Which seems easier now, since I can look at my empty carpet and breathe a little easier now that that item is off my todo list.

I realized yesterday that I haven’t written a todo list in a while. I’ve thought about making resolutions or even just some monthly goals, but the whole idea just sets my teeth on edge. So I’m not doing it. No resolutions for me! I think I’ll stick to the small change strategy instead.

Did I mention that I actually went sledding with the boys last week? I did! It was fun too, so much so that I almost went again this afternoon. I opted to go shopping and finish some errands instead, but at least I did something fun recently.

That’s a start.

by AmyL

Photo graciously provided by visiticeland@hotmail.com, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved