Monday, November 23, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Bedtime

I’m referring, of course, to my children’s bedtime. It’s one of my least favorite times of the day. It’s such a process. First, I start with my son. He’s the easy one. At just over a year old, he’s pretty worn out by bedtime. Change his diaper, put him in pajamas, kiss him goodnight, put him in his crib, and close the door. Done!

My daughter, used to be easy, just like that. Not any more. Here’s my routine: Tell her to hug and kiss her daddy. Go upstairs and brush teeth, get a drink of water, go potty, change into pajamas, read story, say prayers, turn on music, and finally tuck her in. Not too bad, right? Wrong!

Before I can get the door closed, she’s asking for another drink. Then she needs to go potty again. She wants her stuffed piggy, so I go downstairs to get it. Another drink. Now she wants to watch TV with Daddy. Finally, after working every angle, she gets “scared” and wants me to sleep with her.

I pull out a pillow and blanket (tucked under the bed because of the frequent usage), and lay down. This usually does it. But the whole time I’m thinking to myself, “I have so much to do.” Finally, once she falls asleep, I am able to go about my business.

Evenings are my time. I need time to unwind, to catch up on things, or to just have personal stare-at-the-wall-feeling-overwhelmed time. We all need time like that, don’t we? I often get so caught up in getting to the “my time” that I forget that my children’s needs should come first.

I need to enjoy the time with her. I need to find joy in the fact that I don’t need to see the book, in order to read it to her. I’ve read it so many times that it’s ingrained in my memory. I need to remember the excitement I felt when she first learned to say her own bedtime prayer.

When I put myself in the right frame of mind, I can use the time alone, while lying on her floor, in her room, in the dark, to think. I can organize my thoughts, plan the following day, or reflect on how many blessings I in my life. I can offer thanks for my precious children, and the joy they bring to my life.

This is one I have to work very hard at, to see the positive side. But like everything else, there is always an optimistic way of seeing it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Word Count

I just reached 40,000 words on my first draft!!! Yay for me. I think I deserve a treat... :)

Book Review - Alma

Last night I finished reading "Alma" by H.B. Moore. It's her newest release, and the second book in the series. It's the story of the prophet Alma from the Book of Mormon. Once again, H.B. Moore has taken a story from the scriptures and brought it to life in a that is easy to understand, and entertaining too. I connected with the characters and story line, and I have a greater appreciation for the original text of the Book of Mormon.

I look forward to the next in the series, "Alma the Younger", sometime next spring.

Great Christmas gifts for youth and adult alike.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – 30 Minutes

Have you ever had one of these experiences?

You’re at home, minding your own business, and you get a phone call. The caller asks if they can stop by for a few minutes. They are headed out the door, and will arrive in less than thirty minutes. This isn’t the kind of visitor that will be standing on your porch; rather, it’s the kind you will be inviting into your home.

The house is in a not-so-presentable stage. There are dirty dishes in the sink, and even breakfast dishes still on the table. Toys are scattered across the entire floor. You and the kids are still in your pajamas, and you haven’t done your makeup.

Of course, you tell the person on the phone, “Sure, now’s a great time. I’ll see you soon.” Then you hang up and immediately begin to panic.

Ever happen to you?

Right. Me too!

But after I take a minute to get over the shock, I find that it’s a pretty wonderful opportunity.

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law called. She asked if she could come over that afternoon, and have me help her with something. It was still early morning, so I thought that sounded fine. Well, somehow the morning slipped away from me, and before I knew it, she was calling to tell me she was on her way. It was noon, so technically, she was coming “this afternoon” like she had said earlier. My interpretation of “this afternoon” was around 2 or 3. Wrong!

The people who know me best live under the false conclusion that my house is always neat and orderly. While I do my best to keep up with that pretense, it’s just not true. I get lazy, and the mess starts to pile up. It’s simple things, like wanting to catch up on my blog reading, writing the latest chapter of my story, or finishing another chapter in the book I’m currently reading. Before I know it, it looks like I haven’t cleaned in a week, although I could have sworn it was spotless yesterday.

But when I’m faced with an impending visit, from someone who believes my house to be exempt from kid’s messes, I realize just how much I can get done, in a short amount of time.

I can spend all day thinking about what I need to do that day, and never actually get anything accomplished. I’ll sit down and write up a list, and then prioritize it. Sometimes I even estimate how long it should take to do, so I know if I’ll be done on time.

But when I only have thirty minutes to get it all done, I don’t have time for list making. I have to throw the plan out the window, and just do it. And it amazes me how much I can get done. I find myself running from one room to another, and actually enjoying the excitement of the deadline. It becomes a game: Can I get the laundry folded and put away before the doorbell rings? Can I sweep the kitchen floor, removing the crushed cereal from breakfast? Can I take out the garbage, including the diapers from upstairs first? Will my house stop smelling like diapers before her arrival? Quick, turn on the candle warmer!

On that particular day, I actually found myself with time to spare, so I grabbed my book and started reading a new chapter. Just when it started getting good… knock, knock.

I opened the door, and smiled when she said, “It smells good in here. Are you baking?”

Give it a try. By the afternoon, you just might find yourself with time to do something you WANT to do.

Happy Monday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Independent Kids

Having independent kids can be difficult. My 2-1/2 year old daughter rarely gets her shoes on the right feet. Her pants are put on backwards frequently. She puts way too much toothpaste on the brush. She gets her own drink from the bathroom sink, climbing on the toilet to do so, and spills all over as she gets down. If I offer to help she refuses. “I do it myself!”

My 15-month-old son’s newest thing is going down the stairs by himself. He’s been doing it “the standard way” for several months (backing down). That’s always been fine. Now, he sees his big sister going down frontwards. So he thinks he should do it that way too. He tries to hang onto the wall and step. That kind of freaks him out a little (and me a LOT), so he sits down. Then he goes down one by one, sitting, then scooting forward until he drops a step. He’s not very stable, and I don’t like it at all when he tries it on the big stairs. The small ones I’m okay with, but he doesn’t listen.

He also started being independent when he eats. He’s started to refuse to eat anything I try to feed him. I have to put it down on the table, so he can pick it up and feed himself. I had a small hamburger the other day, and he wouldn’t take a bite (he used to all the time). When I put it in front of him, he picked the whole thing up and bit in. It was a little weird seeing my baby eat a hamburger.

But the thing I have to keep reminding myself is that independence is a GOOD thing! They are learning and developing. They will never progress if I do everything for them. So even if I have to clean the kitchen floor after every meal, and wipe up the sink after each drink, it’s a good thing.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reading and Writing

I’ve been working on writing my first novel for the last several months. Today I reached the 30,000-word mile mark. I’m very excited. I need to get to at least 80,000 words, eventually. I’ve learned so much since I got started, and I must say that the writing community here in Utah is incredible. There is an abundance of support out there for aspiring authors, like myself. I’ve met published authors and new beginners, as well as everyone in between, and they all have the same thing in common. They love to write, and they love to support anyone else who loves to write. What a great community.
A few weeks ago I attended a writers class at a local library, taught by published author Michele Ashman Bell. She took time out of her schedule to meet with people like me, who hope to someday be published. I learned a few new things that night, but most importantly, I came away with confidence and motivation to keep going.
I follow several writer’s blogs, all out there to offer support and encouragement to fellow writers.
As I’ve submerged myself into the writing world, I’ve discovered authors I had never heard of before, as well as re-discovered some I’ve read. Recently, I’ve read some exciting new books, and wanted to pass them along to you. They are all in the LDS Genre, which is what I'm writing in as well.

Mini Book Reviews:

Lemon Tart and English Trifle,
by Josi Kilpack (LDS Fiction – Mystery)
I loved the main character of this book. Sadie is a spunky middle age woman who feels it is her personal responsibility to know all of the going-ons of her neighbors. And she’s tends to be a trouble magnet. I look forward to the 3rd book in this series, when it comes out next year.

Eyes Like Mine, by Julie Wright (LDS Fiction)
With a half-pioneer/ half modern world time setting, this book was a lot of fun to read. Julie Wright used this story to show the importance of how family is here to support us through our trials. Not just our living family members, but also those who are on the other side of the veil.

Abinadi, by H.B. Moore (LDS Historical Fiction- Book of Mormon Fiction)
This is my most recent read. Heather Moore has an incredible way of bringing the story of Abinadi to life. I recommend it to anyone who wants a better look into this Book of Mormon story. I’ve already started reading her newest novel, the second in the series, called Alma, and love it.

I’ll continue to post my latest reads, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Weigh-in Day

While I was attending weekly meetings at Weight Watchers, I heard a lot of motivating messages. One of my favorite ones was:

Being overweight is HARD.

Losing weight is HARD.

Maintaining your weight (after losing it) is HARD.

Choose your HARD!

At the time, I was in the process of loosing the weight. I could fully agree with the fact that being overweight was hard. I struggled with it daily.

Loosing weight was not as hard, for me. Once I made up my mind, and found a program that worked for me, I just stuck to it. I didn’t cheat. I wasn’t tempted. I could sit in a room full of chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, and not eat anything. It wasn’t because I was restricted from cookies. It was because I was motivated. I was strong. I was accomplishing my goal.

Now that I’ve reached my goal weight, I’ve moved onto the ‘maintaining’ phase. For me, THIS IS HARD! It’s like I’ve lost all my motivation. I can no longer be in that room filled with sweets, without pigging out like a starving child. My mind, or maybe my taste buds, is telling me, “Its okay to eat 10 cookies. You’ve lost your extra weight. You don’t need to deprive yourself anymore.”

I am struggling to find the balance. Yes, it’s okay to enjoy a cookie, or two. But that’s where my problem lays. I have to find out how to tell myself to stop after that second cookie. And I’m working on it.

That brings us back to Weigh-in Day.

I usually weight-in on my home scale on Monday mornings. That’s part of the “Fresh Start” approach to my week. It kick starts me. It makes me feel one of two things. The first is the feeling of success. That happens when my weight is within the range I want it to be. That means I’ve successfully maintained for another week. This is rarely the situation. Usually, it’s the second: Crap! I’m up again.

When this happens, as it did this morning, I can react in two different ways. The first one is to get discouraged and eat anything I want, to make me feel better. That never works!

The second reaction is to determine that I will do better. I will put a stop to the climbing numbers on the scale. By far, this is the better answer. It’s the one I try to take, week after week.

As the holiday season approaches, I have a challenge for any of you who are looking to loose weight. Don’t wait until the New Year. Don’t put it off, thinking you’ll fix it later. At the very least, determine to yourself that you won’t gain any weight. Commit yourself to at least maintaining where you are. Prove to yourself that you are in control. If you try this, like I’m going to try, you just might surprise yourself.

And if you have a bad day, or a bad week, just think: Tomorrow’s a new day. Start again.

Happy Monday.