Sunday, November 1, 2015

Our Year of Rules

We did it!! We reached our goal... One Year of House Rules

Ready, Set, PLAY
I Double Dare You to Make a Mistake
Get To Know SLOW
Color Your Daze
Yes, You Can Break It
Do Nothing
Count Me In
Waste Your Time Wisely
Be Like Water
Power Up With Little Words
Wear Gratitude on Your Sleeve
Bite The Lemon

So, the million dollar question,
can rules be FUN??

YES and...

play-full, intense, amazing, silly, slow, inspiring, embarrassing, colorful, challenging, amusing, inconceivable, hectic, humbling, euphoric, enjoyable, exhausting, blessed and bittersweet

All thanks to these smiling faces. 

And this new one...
I started this blog with a superheroes pic, so let's end it with one more.
Plain clothes, glasses, mild mannered...trickster sticking out his tongue!
(Yeah, he's one of us!)
He knows FUN, how about you?
 Thank you for hanging out with us the past year.
It's been SUPER!

Friday, October 30, 2015

How To Jumpstart a Lemon

Kids don't like to be told what to do.

It's an obvious fact and yet, I seem to forget it every time I nag nudge my kids to a task. I think I am helping them out but really what ends up happening is little movement and lots of yelling up and down stairs.

I could tell you what the experts would say on the topic of motivation but that would make for a very lengthy post. Instead, I'm going to share with you what my husband always says (from one kid to another) to break up the stalemate.

"Ethan, WHEN do YOU want to do your project?"

"Reese, WHEN do YOU want to play your flute?"

That "when" and "you" make all the difference. Words no longer become a heavy reminder or an absolute decree. We simply ask a question and it's for our kids to decide.

With freedom and a greater sense of control, everything changes. And that immovable, big lemon suddenly starts to roll.

Happy Friday:)

Monday, October 26, 2015

To-Do Lists are EVIL

Did someone say EVIL? For devoted list makers, the above title can read like blasphemy.

Who dares? That person would be Cal Newport, author of "So Good They Can't Ignore You".

And honestly, I'm so glad he did.

For some, to-do lists are serious business. I leave a paper trail for everything I want to accomplish. And that's the problem, because the most important items don't happen due to busy work.

You know busy work, the little to-do's on your list that hijack your day. Newport calls these items shallow work. "Most of us are drowning in shallow work."

At home, my husband, David makes fun of my to-do lists because I sometimes write down banal things like "eat breakfast". In my defense, I like to see check marks but really, who am I kidding? I've padded my lists with enough shallow (read between the lines, procrastination and lemons) to edge out those bigger, deeper items.

So what does Newport propose? What are we, to-do?

Read Eric Barker's interview with Cal Newport entitled,  "How to be the most productive person in your office - and still get home by 5:30pm."

It's an amazing "list" of possibilities to help you Squeeze the Day:)

Happy Tuesday!!

Note: Here's the direct link if you have trouble opening the above article.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lemons and Frogs

Before you ask, no, this is not a blog post offering recipes... NO frog legs delicacies here!

But "frogs" were our jumping (or hopping) off point for this month's rule, Bite the Lemon.

It all began with a book, Eat That Frog! Again, not a cook book but rather a how-to-book filled with techniques to break one of their procrastinating ways.

Via: Eat That Frog!

"Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.

Your "frog" is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.

The author explained that if you can commit to "eating your frog" FIRST everyday, you create the habit needed to tackle those hard jobs. And each time you succeed, you set off a release of endorphins in your brain. You know, that high that comes over you when you finally complete a task you've been avoiding?

Who doesn't want to feel good?

After reading a few more chapters, I felt confident that I could inspire the kids with this information along with a few other nuggets I culled from my reading. Lemons, let me at 'em!!

Yeah, you already know where I am going with this... it didn't quite work.

Turns out my kids weren't impressed with my "info dump" or swayed by the discoveries of neuroscience.

It kind of bummed me out that they weren't as interested in all these details as I was. But that should have been my first clue. The way I think is different from Ethan which is different from Reese which is different from David.

It's more than just comparing apples to oranges, more like, lemons to frogs.

And that old slogan of "Just Do It", is going to need some work.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Inspiration Art

Better late than's some inspiration art for October.

"Squeeze the Day", a fun play on words. 
"Seize" a little humor where you can get it...Happy Monday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What's a lemon?

Our first round of business this month has been identifying our "lemons". You know, those activities that we put off doing for a million and one reasons.

Lemons fall under many categories: things we Have to do, Need to do, Should do and even Want to do BUT don't.

I talked to the kids about it over a snack of sweets one day (cuz I'm no dummy). Our conversation triggered a memory, a tell for some of their lemons.

It's the ole answer a question with a question....

"Ethan, did you make your bed?"
"Um, what's a bed?"

"Reese, did you practice your flute?"
"What's a flute?"

"Are we doing homework?"
(In unison, without missing a beat)
"What's a homework???"

You see? Lemons, lemons, lemons!

I asked David about how he handles lemons.

We started talking about David but honestly, I don't know what happen because when the conversation was over, it was all about me. I lost the conversation but not how David deals with deflection and avoidance.

And me? I found my lemons on the bottom of my to do list. My lemons make the list, again and again, but never seem to get done....not exactly a TO DO List!

So, how about you? What lemons are lurking in your day to day to day to day...?

Sunday, October 11, 2015


This weekend we had our first "bite" of lemons....

Lemonheads were easy...

  Lemons slices were harder...

Reese talked a good game but then lost "it" laughing...notice the drops on her sleeve.

Cheater, cheater, lemon eater...David coated his lemon with sugar.

It wasn't enough!
And me, I like lemons...sort of.


Monday, October 5, 2015

october's rule

It's late, sunday night and I'm holed up in my bedroom with a pen, some paper and a glass of water with lemon.
That's it. There's no punch line here. This is me, trying to write.
You would think after 11 months of writing 100+ blog posts that it would be easy, a piece of cake (mmm, cake) but it's not.

My idea for a rule is somewhat formed but the words are not flowing, not tonight.  Rather, they're sitting on the tip of my tongue and that's frustrating. So, I take another sip of my lemon water and try again.

Know what else is frustrating? Knowing that I had all weekend to write this post and didn't. I waited until the last minute and now I am writing in the midst of brain fog, baby feedings and bed time for the older kids. And it's getting LOUD here, not helpful.

Okay, so what's this really about? One word, procrastination (and this month's rule:)

October's rule is all about the ways we delay, put off or postpone things. What things? Well, things like studying for tests, doing homework, exercising, working on that resume, calling a friend or relative, tackling that huge pile of laundry, starting that diet, scheduling that overdue doctor appointment, making time for _______ and writing blog posts.

You get the idea.

We're calling October's rule, BITE THE LEMON because this month we're sinking our teeth into all our last minute ways.

But first, a bit of cake sounds really, really good. Happy Monday:)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Our LAST RULE!!!

New month, new rule on Monday.
Here's a hint...lemon.
Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Downside to Gratitude

Yes, you're probably scratching your head wondering if you read the above title right. A downside to gratitude? Is that even possible?

Actually, yes.

When most people talk about gratitude, they often focus on the positive benefits of gratitude. But what about the flipside, the negative side of gratitude?

In this ying-yang world, you know you never can have one without the other.

There really are some cases where gratitude is NOT the correct or appropriate response.

You can read more about in this article entitled, "Five Ways Giving Thanks Can Backfire" found on the Greater Good website.

Just some last thoughts to keep gratitude in check and your heart in the right place.:)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Scenes of Gratitude

Awesome clouds

Sunny windows

A boy who still gives me flowers
A reason to buy this
Some inspiration before the start of school
And a very grateful send-off to summer!
Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Paper Crowns and Chicken Soup

Do you like my crown? It's very Glinda-esque. Reese made it for me to show my "Super Mom" status.

What did I do to deserve this honor? I heated up some chicken soup.

REESE LOVES CHICKEN SOUP! But not just any soup, she loves my mom's chicken soup.

For the last few weeks, my mom has been staying with us, a few days at a time, to lend a hand wherever it is needed. Some days that means doing loads of laundry, vacuuming and other house chores but most days, it's about holding her newest grandchild and cooking some great dinners.

I just reheated some chicken soup - mom's chicken soup - and Reese did a happy dance!! But, my mom, she's been making chicken soup for us (and so much more) ever since Kevin was born.

We've been enjoying family style portions of baked chicken cutlets, meatballs and tomato sauce (toms handpicked from the garden), amazing side dishes laden with fresh vegetables and ALWAYS some chicken soup.

Oh, how it makes our house smell GOOD and makes us smile! 

Reese may think I'm a Super Mom for my small, benevolent act but I know where the credit truly belongs.

Feeling GRATEFUL for my own SUPER MOM...she wears the crown well!!
Thank you, mom! XO

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wear Gratitude On Your Sleeve...Or Onesie!

Sorry we've been gone so long.
We're still here...still nesting.

Normally, this is the post where I would say
New Month, New Rule but not this time. 
There's been a lot of change in our household these last few weeks.
We're still adjusting to our status as a Family of Five.
With the start of school also in sight, I decided some more attention to
GRATITUDE was in order for us.
Today, Kevin is sporting our Inspirational Art for September.
 Baby + Onesie + Fabric Markers = CUTIE:-)
We're feeling grateful this month. How about you?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Everywhere I look...gratitude.

I LOVE when I focus on an idea and then start seeing said idea popping up everywhere I look. Our focus on gratitude has been no different. Gratitude is just blooming all around me, even in my inbox.

Check out the following article I received from MindBodyGreen on how to raise Grateful Kids. I picked it just for you!

7 Ways to Raise Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World

Direct Link:

Happy Mon-Yay!:-)

Friday, August 7, 2015

August Rule

Those cheeks, those eyes and that little mouth!!  Oh, the many wonders
of a new baby. Tiny hands, teeny tiny toes and when I close my eyes,
there is still that delicious scent. I AM IN LOVE.

There is nothing like the discovery of a newborn, in your arms, all yours.

This month, as we revel in the slowdown that comes with having
a new baby in the house, we are counting our blessings big and small.

August's rule is all about gratitude...


Happy Friday:-)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oh, Baby!

Sweet News To Share...WE HAD A BABY!!!

Weight: 6 pounds 9 ounces
Length: 20 inches long
Born July 25, 2015 at 1:25pm
xo Our Family of Five xo

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Don't Play the Blame Game

"You broke my goggles!"

"You made me lose my turn!"

"You ruined my picture!"

"You're mean!"

You, you, you!!! When the kids get mad, "you" statements of blame fly freely at our house.

In heated moments like this, no skill is involved, just a lot of finger pointing and tempers flaring. Matters don't get resolved as much as decibel levels rise and I am called in to play referee. To say it is exhausting would be an understatement.

If we are going to get better at arguing, we HAVE got to learn a new approach!!

To start, you, you, and you will have to go - goodbye! - and in it's place, one little power word needs to be remembered.

I'll let the kids at Mosaic Project tell you all about it.

Remember, when you teach kids to use I Statements, you teach them to "take their power back".
Power up, sounds good to me - Happy Friday!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

For Arguments Sake...Power Up!

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

"You didn't argue enough as a child!"

That's what my husband has said to me on more than one occasion and you know what, he is right.  When a discussion starts to get heated or as he likes to say "good" or "interesting" I often back down or suddenly fall silent.

I've never been one that was quick or clever with my words but then again, I've always associated arguing with fighting and when you are a people pleaser, that trait goes right out the window.

It wasn't until I met David and then met his family that I came to see another side to arguments.

Over the years, I've watched them get loud with opinions, take challenges and remain so clever that I can't tell you how comical it all gets. That there is still smiles or laughter in the end, totally fascinates me!

Fifteen years later, I'm still learning but it's my hope that Ethan and Reese will pick up on these skills quicker and learn to argue with the best of them.

To be persuasive, compelling and funny - SURE, maybe even win a few arguments - but even more, to express themselves, their inner "I" and to know there's power in a good clean fight. 

More thoughts on why you should teach your children to argue...HERE

Power up!