Sunday, February 28, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Be your child's advocate

Welcome back to the Super Sunday Series - where I speak to all topics gifted and how they relate to your child's well-being.  Please click on the tab above if you want to discover more about the Series and its topics.

It doesn't matter that I spent 6 years as a trial attorney.  I always get major jitters when standing up to speak.  I used to throw up behind the courtroom on the first day of trial, truthfully.

Personal phobias aside, yesterday I spoke to the Ohio Association of Gifted Children Parent Division meeting about using social media to help you with your gifted child.  Which is funny because I (literally) didn't know what social media was until about 6 months ago.  And now I'm speaking about how important it is.  And it went great!  I'm not sure how many people will be joining Twitter today as a result of my talk, but there were many good questions about the hows and whys of social media.  And my hope is that hearing about my experience will help move these parents a step closer to discovering the joys in social media.

I attended the first half of the meeting as well, which was nice, as I''m a member of OAGC.

While there:

I heard frustration . . .over schools not meeting the needs of gifted children.

I heard bewilderment . . . over how best to help gifted children reach their potential.

I heard anger . . . over state testing and its lack of "real measurement."

I heard hope . . . that some kids are doing very well and that can happen for all kids someday.

I heard pride . . . from parents who have newly discovered "giftedness" in their child.

And I was thrilled to share my story of how much blogging and Twitter have helped raise my awareness of the issues we all face as parents of gifted children.  The energy in the room was palpable and the attendees were engaged and truly committed to finding answers.

With a 2nd grader, I'm on the front edge of the "gifted push."  It was wonderful to hear people with older kids talk about their experiences over the years.  One of my favorite quotes came from a parent of high school aged gifted children.  She spoke about striking a balance (and I am paraphrasing):

"My gifted kids are in band, play a sport, on student counsel and in AP classes.  They have 4 hours of homework a night.  One of the biggest challenges is knowing they can handle the work, but also knowing they can't, because I just can't push them to the brink of exhaustion just because they can.  And finding the balance of picking which AP classes they should do, instead of all of them, is very hard sometimes."

I was amazed how many people rely on their teachers to educate them on the issues because, as parents, they don't have a knowledge yet of where to find resources.  What a disservice you might do to your child if you do this!  My greatest source of happiness over discovering social media is this:  Arm yourself with as much knowledge and understanding as you can.  

Oldest's very first teacher said this to me over and over.  "You must learn how to be the advocate for your child.  This is one of your most important duties as a parent."

I had no idea what she meant 6 years ago.  Yesterday, I witnessed how important those words were as I saw several people floundering with their difficulties in the school system.

So here is my message to you - BE YOUR CHILD'S ADVOCATE.  They are counting on you (and so is the future of our country).

Next week on the Super Sunday Series, I'll talk about what I think it means to be your child's advocate.  

Tomorrow, March's Happiness Plan - It's all about the kids, man!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

6 Word Saturday

Speaking publicly today.  Terrified.  Details tomorrow.

Cate has more.  Head on over.  

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dear So and So

Dear Children - 

Thank you for attending school, sans illness, all week long.  

Mommy's gonna keep you after all!

Dear Friday Follow - 

Midday Escapades, One 2 Try and Hearts Make Families are hosting once again.  Enjoy.  I do.  Thank you again, ladies.  What a wonderful way to discover new blogs each week.  It's like having a free pass at the candy store.  And Mom's not there to tell you when to stop.  

Anyone wanna help a girl reach 200 today?

Dear That Puppy

I think you ARE calmer!  And you're having accidents in the house much less.  Maybe I can send you in for a little nip/tuck every time you misbehave.

Best $330 I've spent all year

Yes, they are lame this week.  If you want better ones, head over to Kat's place for some more Dear So and So fun.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blinding Envy

The other day in Panera Bread, I saw a woman walking to her seat with 3 catalogs, her lunch tray, and nothing else.  No friends, no kids, no "stuff."  And for a moment, I was blinded with envy at her ability to casually glance through catalogs, while clean, enjoying a leisurely, people free lunch.

I haven't looked at a catalog for months, maybe a year.  I throw them away the moment they come (in the recycling, don't call the Green Police), just so I don't feel the failure of having no time to look.

Later, I thought of three ways to shift my envy -

1 - I could think, "Who needs most of that stuff anyway?"  It's just stuff to covet and make me feel like I'm supposed to keep up with the Joneses.

2 - My catalog time is coming.  All I need to do is look at my mother, who scrutinizes catalogs on my behalf (for the children, of course).  Then gives me the high points over the phone in her quest "for their next present."  It might be 20 years away, but my time is coming.

3- Maybe this woman looked at me with my harried, un-showered (same outfit three days in a row - think I'm making that up?  I am Missy the Unfashionable), no make-up, kids following me, dropping things, spilling their RED drink on the floor, crying over it, etc, etc, etc and said, "if only I could have those days back."  Or "I am so sad I never had days like that."

Or she might have looked at us and thought, "Good thing I'm not her - those kids are ragamuffins and she looks like she hasn't bathed in a week."  Did I mention this was last week during the "spontaneous mid-winter break?"

Because you never know what someone is longing for, right?  Which is a good reason not to take your own blessings (spilled red drink and all) for granted.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Castle and the Purple Dragon

Oldest is a jump in first and say "OH, Sh*t!" later kind of gal.  It keeps me awake at night - thinking about high school, college.

Youngest thoroughly evaluates a situation before she dips one toe in to test the water.  Then she decides if it's worthy of her time and attention and may participate.  I love that about her.

Saturday she had a birthday party at one of those cavernous warehouses full of bouncy houses.  She spent 30 minutes scoping out the action, made her plan, and jumped into the fray at the slide.  Promptly knocked heads with another little boy as they bounced into each other accidentally, but no matter, she pressed on.  She had made her decision, right?

Then, disaster.  She entered a castle bounce house that I discovered too late was beyond her abilities - she's small.  She'd been in there for 5ish minutes and I'd neither seen nor heard her.  I walk around the castle looking for her and see these two little girls feverishly climbing over SOMETHING, something low to the ground and it looked like they kept tripping over it.  I knew.

"Hey girls, have you seen Youngest?"

"Oh, yeah, she's right here (pointing under their feet), she wants to come out."  Blissfully continuing to climb over her body.

So in true Moms CAN move cars when they think their child is hurt fashion, I hurtled through the entrance of the castle, scaled the wiggly wall, dove over the slide and there she was.  Bawling.  Hitching and bawling so loudly, so terrified, possibly more scared than I've seen her.

So I grab her, hold her, all the while these two girls are still zooming past us, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, completely oblivious.  Ever wondered how people can actually stampede other people with no awareness of doing it?  I got a glimpse into it Saturday.  Yes, these girls were young, but I'm telling you, Youngest was in such a terror that I hope and pray my own children would GET SOMEONE if they ever see another kid like that.

Anyhoo.  I get her out and when she can finally talk, she tells me that she "got stuck and the vewy, vewy scawy purple dwagon was on top of her and she was so, so scawed, Mommy.  Can we go tell Oldest?  Can we call Daddy and tell him?"

The purple dragon in question was attached well above her head, and was obviously not a real threat.  But I'm sure to a 2 year old laying on the floor, unable to get up, it did look as real and scary as her perception of it.

She's made her plan of attack for the next time she goes, which is (and I'm not making this up, people), "I'm going to go to that purple dragon and say NO, THANK YOU, Purple dragon.  I do NOT want to come in there today."  And she nods vehemently while saying this, convincing herself of the wisdom in her plan.

Moral of this story?  May you recognize the purple dragons in your own castle for what they really are - a scary, yet imaginary threat.   Don't give them any more time, energy, attention or fear than they deserve.  And learn to say "no thank you" to them.  Nobody needs a fake purple dragon terrorizing their castle, do they?  We have enough real dragons to slay as it is.

Do you have any purple dragons in your life right now?  I do.  But I'm taking my lesson from a 2 year old and saying, No, thank you, purple dragon.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blog Awards Give Me the Warm Fuzzies

Look at all the bling from last week!  I actually couldn't keep up with it and saved it all up for one special thank you today (sumthin' about sick kids, snow days and holidays turning last week into a spontaneous mid-winter "break" - for the kids - but I'm so over it, really!).  Truly, I am thankful for all of this blog love - you know how to make a girl's week bright!

Also, WELCOME new followers!  So happy to have you.  I hope you enjoy what you read and I hope you give me feedback, which is always a gift.

So without further ado, I would like to thank my family, for entertaining themselves while I type feverishly on the computer, Sidney for planting the seed to do this to begin with, Blogger for annoying me with your limitations now that I "get it" more, Rabbit for my hot design, Hal for paving the way to a new, better, I own it myself blog if I could just pull the trigger on what I want to name it, Old Man Winter for finally giving a girl a break from his wrath, and the following lovely award presenters:

Beautiful Blogger from Autumn and Alicia (who both have beautiful blogs themselves - don't miss out on them!).  I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about me:

  1. I think buying new shoes is cruel and unusual punishment.
  2. I learned how to fill my own gas tank before my mother did.
  3. I owned a horse (Arabian mix) for 5 years as a child.
  4. My 20th high school reunion was last summer.
  5. My lips love cake, cookies and ice cream.  My thighs do not.
  6. I like root canals more than exercise.
  7. I love being awake at 6am, but would never, ever do it if That Puppy  weren't waking me up every day.  

The You're going places, baby Award from  Miss Angie - because, according to the award giver, the things I blog about will be talked about in 10 years.  Why, thank you Miss Angie!  How flattering!  My assignment - answer "where do I want to be in 10 years?"

Hmmm,  I'll be on the verge of 50, with a Senior in High School and a 7th grader.  Literally, I hope to be getting ready to take the mac Daddy of all Spring Break vacations ever, as it might be our last full family one.  Sniff, sob.  Professionally, I would like to no longer be a volunteer and be bringin' home some bacon myself, preferably through writing and not hog butchering (get it?).  Personally?  Still happily married, sleeping past 6am (finally) and never having run a marathon (b/c I know my limitations).


One Lovely Blog - from A Mom After God's Own Heart - this one is for newly discovered blogs - and thank YOU for discovering me!  I'm happy I discovered YOU!


Sunshine Award - from a Short Southern Momma - - seriously, I love that name and I love her blog!  True southern charm.

And last, but not least, Kevin, for putting me in his Favorite Link Friday post - TWO WEEKS RUNNING.  He has a great blog worth the follow.

Thanks all!  I am honored, humbled and thankful to each of you.  I'm also supposed to give awards out myself, but alas, I have to punt this morning.  I think I would be giving out close to 30 if I did them all and I just don't have that in me.  BUT, for those of you who gave them to me, you ROCK IT and if you're a new follower and want one of these shinies, by all means - take it and say you got if from me!  Let's spread the love around.

Peace out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happiness and Ethics Make Good Bed Partners

In law school, you "learn" a lot about ethics.  As a lawyer, you're required to take ethics classes every reporting period - to "learn" friendly reminders of what's OK  - or not.  Something I've learned over the years is that you can teach classes and make attending those classes mandatory until you're blue in the face.  But by the time you're an adult, you're either ethical or you're not.  In other words, a class isn't going to teach it into you.

I believe being ethical and being happy are completely intertwined concepts - happiness cannot exist without ethics.  Yes, sometimes it feels good to be bad and you get a charge of exhilaration from it.  I proved that notion quite well in college.  But over the long term, unethical behavior comes from people unhappy at their core.  Kind of like the imagery of Satan (if you believe in that).  He may seem like the happiest guy at the party - he's exuberant, gregarious and draws people in.  But he's also the most unethical (he created the concept, I'm sure), and at his core, he's a miserable fallen angel who pretends to be happy in his eternal position of finding people to damn. 

I was on the receiving end of two unethical people last week.   One happened in my "real" life, one happened here in cyberspace.  The details don't matter and I wouldn't share them anyway, tempting though it may be.  I could rant, rave, shout obscenities (I did do that, just in the privacy of my own home) and fling accusations all over the place.  All of the things that I want to say could be true, but the responsiblity is misplaced.

The truth is that I trusted people with work of mine.  One I knew I shouldn't, but did anyway, hoping for the best.  One I didn't check out, I just trusted.  I have no one to "blame" but myself.  I assumed the best  in two different situations by trusting them with my work and I got burned.

Sometimes being ethical isn't very much fun and it can often be in the minority.  But it is always necessary for my happiness and that's an important realization to make.  Because the alternative isn't an option.  I hold myself and my family to a high degree of ethics - even if it's not popular.  I can thank my parents for that.  And thank Husband's parents for doing the same with him.  

Do you want to start your own Happiness Project?  Check out Gretchen Rubin's book and blog if so, or do it with me - I'll help.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Twitter and Gifted Chats

I've decided to expand on a previous post about Twitter Gifted Chats.  They are wonderful ways to connect with other parents, educators, advocates and organizations about the issues currently facing gifted children and their parents.

Gifted chats happen on Fridays at noon and 7pm EST.  Topics have included asynchronous development, twice exceptional children, homework, finding inspiration, parent advocacy groups, intensity/overexcitability, advocacy and meeting the social and emotional needs of gifted children.

Sadly, I have only made two - and not by choice.  The two I've attended have been bursting with reference materials, webpages to access, tips and ideas about the various topics.  But more importantly, they've been filled with people, all of whom have gifted children in their lives, and the common threads between us have inspired hope in all.

These chats are open to anyone interested in gifted issues facing children today - the only thing you need to do is join Twitter and find Deborah Mersino - who facilitates them.  As a matter of fact, I highly recommend you read through her blog posts from the past few weeks to give yourself an idea of how fortunate we all are to have her spearheading these chats.

Here's a mini step-by-step guide to get yourself to Twitter gifted chats:

Create an account at Twitter.

Find Deborah Mersino and follow her.  @DeborahMersino is her Twitter username.  Here is a link to Deborah's background if you would like to learn a little about her.

Watch her tweets for polls on #gtchat polls early each week, then vote!

Check back on Thursday to see what topics will appear at either noon or 7pm that Friday.

Show up at Twitter on Fridays by typing #gtchats into the search box 1/3 of the way down the right sidebar.

Save that search.

Click on #gtchat at the time of the chats and follow along or provide your own input!  Just make sure to add #gtchat somewhere in each tweet.

It's that easy.  Please contact me at if you need help setting up an account on Twitter - it's pretty easy, but I remember feeling far afield of comprehension when I first created my account.  You can also follow me there! - @gifts2love.

Happy Sunday - and I hope so see you at a Twitter Gifted Chat sometime soon.

**Sponsor note: I have not received compensation or exchanges of any kind for providing this information.**

Saturday, February 20, 2010

6 Word Saturday

Decisions on the horizon.  Stay tuned. 

Now, go visit Cate.  6 word Saturday is soooo creative and cool.  Oldest does it now too.  Last week, she did a 6 word Sunday - "I love Lemon Temples at brunch."   

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dear So and So - I Am Clearly Obsessed with Winter's Wrath

Dear Kat -
Still my favorite day of the week.
Wit = fun and if you want more, head to Kat's place.

Dear Old Man Winter - Part I -

MY HOUSE IS LEAKING.  LEAKING!  I feel like I live in a log cabin or am on Survivor.  LEAKING, I say!

I expect Old Man Winter to be a crotchety old coot with bad manners, but this is a bit much, buddy.  You're going to "the home" if you don't start minding your Ps and Qs

Dear Old Man Winter - Part II -

I love my children.  Really, I do.  We have had 34 possible school days since coming back from Christmas break.  Guess how many days they have both been at school where they belong?  TWENTY!  YES, that's right!  20 out of 34 full attendance days since we came back from Christmas Break.  That's 59%, which, by anyone's fuzzy math calculations, is an F.  AN F, I SAY!  And you know what "F" stands for in the lexicon of a former Criminal Defense Attorney who had to find the quickest and most effective way to communicate with her clients?  Yes, you are correct - F in this instance does NOT stand for Family Friendly, which I will NOT continue to be if the snow/sickness rotation doesn't stop.

No wonder I'm half crazy

Dear That Puppy -
Today we celebrate our 4 month anniversary with you.  In honor of that, I am taking you to the vet, where they will open you up, remove your female parts and then send you back to us, sterile and calmer?  Please let that answer be yes, calmer.

Still working on the whole alpha dog thang

Dear Follow Friday

Yay!  Midday Escapades, One 2 Try and Hearts Make Families if you're interested.
A girl who loves finding new blogs EVERY.  SINGLE.  WEEK.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grabba Cuppa Coffee and We'll Catch Up

I love the requests to keep you posted about various things 'round here!  Let's catch up then, shall we?

The Great Pacifier Elimination Weekend - It came.  The Paci went.  As predicted (in my wittle brain - I didn't share that prediction with you), Oldest cried harder than Youngest.  Even though I told her this was not her cross to bear.

It was so sweet when I asked Youngest to say a few words about her paci:

"Pathy - I love you.  Have fun in the gawbage."  Then she threw them away ALONE, with Oldest sitting at the table bawling.  I'd laugh, but . . . it wasn't that funny.  And if I'm being honest here, I was a bit teary myself.

How did she do the first night?  Sadly pitiful.  She never asked for it - she would say, "I want ma pac- I want a snack, my blankie, a drink (insert anything that can be placed in the mouth)."  And she really didn't know how to fall asleep without it.  So she was up until 10pm.  Then we had about an hour of wake time at 4am (is there any other time when you feel that half-dead?  Unless you really are half-dead?), but otherwise pretty good.

And she's improved daily.  But I'M over the every evening "Moooommmmmy, can we cuddle?  Mommy, I have a question.  Mommmmmmmy, can you come up heah?"  That's been going on every night about 20 minutes after bedtime - up to an hour.  Mommy ain't gonna be the new paci, sister.  I've got TV to wat- oh, guess I don't have that excuse for a little while, hmmm?

The Family Mission Statement - It's happening over several weeks for those of you who have never done it.  We're going to call it Team Our Last Name.  Well, not Team Our Last Name really, but Team (insert our last name here).  Husband vetoed writing a song of it, which shocked me, actually.  But, whatevs - I'm happy to write that bad boy up (not him for refusing to make it into a song) - the "Famwy Mithion" that is.

Our standout words at Sunday's strategy session (which makes me laugh to call sitting around the dinner table giggling over mission words a "strategy session") were:

  1. loving - 3 votes
  2. silly, fun, enthusiastic, happy
  3. kind
  4. noisy with pets
  5. awesome
  6. dedicated
  7. sweet
  8. believing - 2 votes
  9. musical
  10. listeners
  11. educated - 3 votes (including an enthusiastic "dedgucated" from Youngest when she heard it - literally giving us all the thumbs up while yelling it)
  12. open
  13. respectful
  14. honest/with integrity
  15. supportive
  16. committed
Clearly, this Sunday we's gots some work to do, narrowing that abundance down.  

Giving up TV for Lent - an anonymous commenter talked about stocking up on books (check) and projects (not check).  Anyone have tips for extended no TV times?  Projects for kids ranging from 2 to 7 years old?  I can drag them around the house with me decluttering like a Maaaaaaaaddddd woman (go ahead, cackle while reading that, like a maaaaaaaadddd woman would), but it might be nice for them to have some kid-friendly things to do too.  Or hard labor.  I can do either.

And to clarify, no TV means no DVDs, Wii (which we don't have), or "other TV type things" either.  Except for the exceptions mentioned yesterday.  Like LOST - OMG - Tuesday's was gooooooooood.  Pant, pant.

That's all.  Random thoughts and updates by Missy.  You can all start sleeping again.  Phew, you!  Now, to get back to MY sleep issues . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TV - crack for kids?

I've talked before about my love/hate relationship over TV.  I love it b/c it distracts the kiddos and lets me do STUFF.  I hate it because it turns them into bickering little meanies (practicing nice words).

"Get out of my way!"
"I can't see!"
"Stop touching me!"

It makes me wish I'd never turned it on, all the while that I'm praying they stop bickering and start watching so I can do STUFF!

Like an alcoholic who curses the drink, while drinking . . .

Like an overweight person who bemoans inability to lose weight, over dessert . . . 

I've been reading for years that the American Academy of Pediatrics says children should watch no more than 2 hours per day.

My book club book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families says the real average is around 7 hours a day.  How can that be possible?

We probably do 1-2 during weekdays and 2-3 hours on weekends.  It's become problematic, though, because they want to watch different things, but also end up watching each other's stuff too.  

Today, we're doing something about this love/hate relationship of ours.  Lord.  Help.  Us.

We, as a family, have decided to have a "virtually TV free" Lent from today until Easter.

What do I mean by "virtually TV free?"  This is Husband's idea (the cradle Catholic of the two of us).  Give TV up completely but for a few, small exceptions:

Me - Lost and my 20 minutes of treadmill time
Husband - Lost and March Madness (which is the real reason he suggested this alternative)
Girls - One show per day, trading off who gets to pick each day

Hold me.  I'm scared.  Whatever are we going to do with ourselves?

I've been slaving over my DVR for 3 days, trying to watch all my backlogged shows to make room for what's going to accumulate (and likely need to be deleted, sadly).

I'm not going to get to watch the Bachelor finale (who IS pregnant, anyway?), no Survivor Heroes vs.Villains for me.  No Grey's, no Desperate Housewives or Brothers and Sisters.  No CSI or CSI: NY.  No Criminal Minds or The Mentalist.

OMG.  What have I done???  It would have been so, so, so much better to give up alcohol or dessert, like I suggested.  But we made this decision a family decision and now I must reap the "rewards."  Bet you're going to see a lot more of me here, which might not be a bad thing.  I might even catch up with everything I'm so behind on, which could be a good thing.  We will definitely have more quality family time (which is why Oldest voted for this option), which will be a great thing.

But still.  Lent is 46 days long.  Forty.  Six.  Days.

What about you?  Have you ever done something like this?  How did it work out?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maintaining a Coherent Blog

Blogging for 6 months has shown me two necessary ways to keep a coherent blog - structure and accessibility of your site and content coherence.  I'm writing today about content coherence.  Editing note: We are digging out of almost a foot of snow again along with another snow day from school.  My house is losing almost all coherency, so it's nice to cling to some vestige of order this morning.  :)

I realized quickly that just throwing up all over the page day after day wasn't going to cut it in the long term.  If I was to last in the blogging world, it couldn't just be rant after rant after rant.  If you look back at some of my earliest posts, that's about all it was.  "I'm mad about this," "The kids are driving me crazy over that."

I originally started my blog for a specific reason - to raise awareness about giftedness in children and its impact on a family.  And I also realized early that blogging about more than just giftedness was going to make me the happiest, so I narrowed the focus of gifted aspects to the Super Sunday Series (which I consider to be my flagship), with the rest of the week reserved for "other things."

Shortly thereafter, I discovered that I needed even more structure for the "other things."  I didn't want to sit down every day and say, "What's today?"  For me, at least, I was afraid that would lead to failure.  So I structured my week like this:

Sunday - Super Sunday Series - gifted issues
Monday - Happiness, or ME stuff, self-improvement, betterment (right now I spend most Mondays doing a happiness project, based on Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project)
Tuesday - Technical Question Tuesday or Guest Post - where I reach out to readers to assist me in the many, many, many areas I still need help with - or post elsewhere, like today!
Wednesday - Family Moment Day
Thursday - Editorial Day or Leftover Day - react to things I see, read or hear about, OR catch up with things I need to do (updates from previous posts, for example)
Friday - Memes - Dear So and So and/or a Friday Following right now - found at 3 Bedroom Bungalow to Let in Crazytown, Midday Escapades, Hearts Make Families, One 2 Try and Trendy Treehouse
Saturday - another meme - 6 word Saturday - found at Show My Face

So that's my week - it helps for planning.  I'm sure it will evolve over time and that's what should happen to keep things fresh for me and my audience.  But I can use this structure to plan out at least a week ahead, which I highly recommend.

Finally, I try to structure my post content as well.  This is where my legal training overrides my creativity and I am virtually compelled to write in IRAC - issue, rule, analysis, conclusion.  State the issue, quote the rule, do an analysis with examples and reach a conclusion.  Sometimes I don't have a conclusion to reach, but I always try to end with hope.

I "hope" this was helpful to you!  How do you get "blog coherency?"  Share with me.  :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Happiness Project - thoughts about THE BOOK

Mondays here at Loving My Children's Gifts are devoted to finding your happiness, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project.  

Gretchen recently posted a request for help on her own blog.  She asked that anyone conducting their own happiness project through groups, blogging, or elsewhere consider doing a review of her book - so that others can learn more about it.  Considering the emphasis I'm putting on the book, blog, and ideas therein, I am happy to oblige.  Plus, who doesn't love giving their opinion?  

As a whole, I found the book inspiring.  That should come as no surprise to any of you who read my Monday posts.  Gretchen uses wit, self-deprecating humor and heavily relies on research to support her theories.  In short, my kinda gal when it comes to writing style and delivery.  

Gretchen uses a month by month approach, giving details about her resolutions each month.  I didn't learn until the book that each set of resolutions is meant to carry over every month, so that by the time December rolls around (if you start in January), you could be what she termed "boot camp perfect," because you will have been doing some resolutions for months.  She also strongly suggests keeping them charted.  This can be done easily on a spread sheet and printed.  She emailed me samples of her resolutions with a template.  I've just copied the template and taped it into a notebook with room to take notes and keep a food log every month, for example.  

Specific Examples (from the book - I've tailored my year from hers - see below)

January  - boost your energy month (clean closets, go to bed earlier, do something hard on to do list daily)
Februrary - love (with significant other - quit nagging, don't expect praise, give proofs of love)
March - work (ask for help, work smart, enjoy now)

And so on, through the entire year.  

Throughout the book she admits worry that some would find it selfish or condescending.  Where does she have the authority to write an entire book telling others to be happy?  Why would anyone care about the little things she did over the course of a year - wouldn't people find it boring or worse, condescending?  

It is in this humility that she brings the concepts alive.  Maybe I would have become discouraged, or even annoyed by her seemingly endless amount of time to accomplish all of this (compared to my own paltry 2-3 hours per day of "work" time, for example) and put the book down.  But I found myself drawn in by her own admissions of "what makes me special?" and became determined to create my own project, on a different scale from hers.  

For example, I won't do what she does and write an entire novel in a month.  While my passion for writing has been re-ignited, I don't have that capability in this calendar year.  But I am devoting time in one of my months to developing some book ideas I've had - research, outlines, etc.  And that's the beauty of the book - everyone can benefit from a happiness project of their own, no matter the scale.  You create your own project.  

I absolutely agree with her that a project of this level must be monitored.  She talks extensively throughout the book about how she didn't want to try this (actually couldn't) by taking a months long sabbatical somewhere.  She wanted to do it at home, with her family - she wanted to discover if a person could discover happiness "in their own kitchen."  

This resonated deeply with me (and many others I'm sure).  So many people aren't in a position to go away and "find" their happiness, like Billy Crytal in the movie City Slickers, or Thoreau at Walden Pond.  And truly, I don't want to live my life waiting for our vacations to enjoy life, yearning to "get away from it all" to feel fulfilled.  

THIS is my life, right now.  If changing a few small things every month can help me appreciate the moments, then I'm all for it.  But I can't just SAY I'm going to change myself - doing the resolutions on paper is important - no, paramount, to having success in this project.   

If you read the book and don't do the resolutions, you'll still feel good after reading it.  It's that kind of uplifting book that makes a person feel like they can tackle the mundaneness of life.  Your experience will be much, much richer, however, if you take steps to DO resolutions for your own project, rather than just read about it.  

One final note:  Gretchen wisely points out that you never know what's around the corner.  You don't know "when the phone's going to ring" with a call that could change your life forever and make you look back and say "before X, that's when I was actually happy.  I just didn't know it and didn't appreciate it then."  So true, isn't it?  I talk a lot on this blog about the little things in life that can be so hard, so seemingly difficult in an otherwise blessed life.  I don't know what's coming for us - but something will.  And that's not being pessimistic - it's acknowledging life - everyone has life changing moments, events that occur that you often can't prepare for.  To try and prepare for these inevitable changes by taking the steps to improve your outlook NOW really calls to me as a human being.  

Bottom line of the world's longest book review?  Buy it.  Enjoy it.  Try to do it - no matter the scale.  Often just making an effort makes you feel better.  And feeling better helps with contentment and happiness.  

As always, I welcome your thoughts.  :)  

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Friendship and Bullying

Welcome back to the Super Sunday Series - where I speak to all topics gifted and how they relate to your child's well-being.  Please click on the tab above if you want to discover more about the Series and its topics.

This week we conclude our exploration of Friendship, which has grown exponentially since it began in January.  Today is week 5 - Bullying.  Week 1 gave you resources to helpweek 2 talked about where to find friends and week 3 talked about making friends.  We explored Developing Close Friendships in week 4.

I believe gifted children are particularly prone to bullying.  They don't fit the mold.  They often can't read social cues.  They have an advanced sense of justice that may lead other kids to dislike them.  Watching for bullying signs and equipping them with the tools to handle it is one of the most important things you can do to for your gifted child.

Michele Borba, in her book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, has a sentence under each topic called the "change to parent for."  With bullying, she says the change to parent for is "[y]our child learns to defend himself, feels safer and more confident, and is less likely to be targeted by a bully."  Page 323.

Barbara Coloroso wrote an excellent book called The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.  Colorosa identifies three types of bullying:  verbal, physical and relational.  Page 15.

"Verbal bullying can take the form of name-calling, taunting, belittling, cruel criticism, personal defamation, racist slurs, and sexual remarks."  Page 16.

"Physical bullying is the most visible and therefore the most readily identifiable form of bullying," but accounts for less than 1/3 of incidents reported by children.  Page 16. 

Relational bullying is diffcult to detect, and "is the systematic diminishment of a bullied child's sense of self through ignoring, isolating, excluding, or shunning."  Page 17.   "Shunning. . . joined with rumor . . . is a forceful bullying tool [as] both are unseen and hard to detect."  Id.

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, Colorosa's book lists some Do's and Don'ts: (found on pages 132-134):

  1. Express your support in words like "I am here for you," I believe in you," "you are not alone."
  2. Assure your child it is not her fault.
  3. Help him learn the things he can do.
  4. Report it to a school personnel.
  1. Minimize, rationalize or explain away the bully's behavior.
  2. Rush to solve the problem.
  3. Tell your child to avoid the bully.
  4. Tell your child to fight back.
  5. Confront the bully or bully's parents alone
Colorosa also lists antidotes to bullying:
  1. Strong sense of self.
  2. Being a friend.
  3. Having at least one friend who is there for you.
  4. Being able to successfully get into a group.
pg 137.

Of these antidotes, I've written about #2 and #3 with this friendship series.  With #1, you might find some ideas here at one of my Super Sunday posts.  My posts on perfectionism, for example, talk about internal dialogue and how that contributes to your sense of self.  #4 has an entire chapter devoted to it in Good Friends are Hard to Find.  Well worth the buy.

We have not seen bullying at our house - yet.  I think Oldest will be at high risk for certain bullying - especially relational.  She just doesn't have that social savvy some kids have (which I've talked about before as well).

Truthfully, friendship and its nuances could be its own blog and we could spend many more weeks discussing friendship difficulties.  But I'm ready to put it to bed for now, reserving the right to come back to it at a later date.  Unless YOU have a specific question or topic about friendship you'd like to see.  Let me know.

Disclaimer #1 - I have no agreements, sponsoships or income from any of the authors mentioned thus far in my series.  These are just great books, well worth the investment, that I want to share with you.

Disclaimer #2 - I've slept approximately 5 (broken) hours the last two nights.  This post is not my best work.  Sorry.  Sleep will return (it better) soon, as will the caliber of my Super Sunday Series.

So how about you?  I think it's no surprise that I'm a worrier when it comes to parenting.  Are you?  Do issues like bullying keep you up at night?  Have you had experience with it yet?  How did you handle it if so?


Saturday, February 13, 2010

6 Word Saturday

Finally got date night last night.

Check out the rest at Cate's site - Show My Face.  

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear So and So - the things I see

Ahhhh, Friday.  Dear So and So day.  Dear, dear So and So.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the followers, words and inches (in snow, see below).  Then head over to Kat's place and check out more Dear So and So zaniness.

Dear Twitter -

What do you do to have followers in the 10s of thousands?  At the rate I'm going (100ish per week), I will have 10,000 followers sometime in January 2012.  I AM a patient girl, but really?

I'm not going to win the Twitter popularity contest in 2010

Dear Comment Word verification -

I've been reading a lot of posts complaining about you of late.  Especially Blogger verification.  I feel for you - it's not your fault your owners put you on their comments.  So I thought I'd -  you know, throw you a bone, since no one likes you?

Recent words you've given me and my interpretation of them:

Dingstu - is that a new Chinese Pot Roast?  Or does it mean someone named Stu is getting rejected?
Halibilu - a new variation of one of my fave words hullabaloo, perhaps?  Or Halibut, I luv you?
And finally, glesture - would that be a "glad gesture?"

I know not the answers.  I just ask the questions.

Do I have nothing better to do than ponder the meaning of comment verification words?  Somebody needs to put this girl to work!

Dear Snow last Friday and Saturday - 

So that was pretty fun.  10 inches on a Friday.  Picking up Oldest early so we all got to spend a snowy afternoon together.  Our fun family trip to BW3 was exciting too - driving in snowy weather and all.  Saturday it was just lovely shoveling snow and getting that great cardiovascular going before 9am.  Hot chocolate party afterward certainly can't be beat!

Weekend snow storms are my favorite kind

Dear Snow this Tuesday and Wednesday

Right - let's recap.  We got 10 inches Friday/Saturday.  Then not 72 hours later we were treated to 7ish more inches.  Which of course means that none of the original 10 have gone anywhere, therefore totalling 17ish inches on the ground?  Something like that.  And it's mid-week.  I don't LIKE snow mid-week.  It messes up the PROGRAM and Missy LIKES THE PROGRAM.

Despite getting nothing done for two days, the time with the kiddos continued to be lovely and my new mantra is "At least we're not on the East Coast where they have more than 50 inches in the same amount of time"

Dear Snow this coming Sunday

Don't even think about it.  It's Valentine's Day and we have our favorite family brunch to go to.  Plus we're at quota.  Got it?

After the first snowfall, snow's only fun to watch when you're watching it happen to other parts of the country

Dear Trendy Treehouse, Midday Escapades, One 2 Try and Hearts Make Families -

Follow Me Fridays ButtonI do enjoy your Friday Carnivals - so I'll hop on for another ride this week.  Thanks for the time and effort you put into such a major undertaking.

Missy the Grateful

Dear Kat -
Have I told you recently that Dear So and So is my favorite day of the week?

How'd you ever think of that?

Dear new visitors and followers -

Officially, let me say WELCOME and thank you for coming!  As most bloggers, I love to hear from you (the good and the not so good - all feedback is a gift!), so keep your comments coming.  I am also working to improve Loving My Children's gift's navigation opportunities, so watch for that!  It's been on my list for a week, but the letters above show why it's still on my list and not on my site.

Much love - let's hold hands and skip through life together, hmmmm?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Family Mission - Yes or No?

In my online book club, this week's habit from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, is "Start with the End in Mind."  (Visit Simple Mom for more info or to join.)

What does that mean?  In two words - family mission.   I liked the idea, at least until I tried to start a discussion at dinner Tuesday night and was met by less than enthusiastic responses around the table.  Except Youngest, who did run around the room enthusiastically, yelling, "Famwy mithon!"

It was a discouraging exchange with all of them, frankly.  Maybe because I just did a successful and fulfilling mission and strategic plan for another organization and expected everyone to jump with joy at the idea.  I left dinner bereft, thinking maybe we don't really need one after all.

I finished this week's chapter last night and read the following quote:

With proper involvement in the process of creating a mission statement, you'll find that it will overcome the fear of parenting, of being decisive.  . . . You won't get into the state of collusion that many parents do wherein they feel validated by the weaknesses of their children and look about for friendly, sympathetic allies who will agree with them and massage their hearts and make them feel that they're okay and it's their "bratty kids" who aren't.  Page 95, 7 Habits.

That's a pretty compelling reason for me.  And Husband, after I read it to him.  So we're back. Let the mission planning begin.  

What about you?  Do you have one?  Have you ever thought about it?   

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When Mommy Takes the Paci - What Happens to the Toddler?

To add to the fun and games around here (you know - sick kids, snow, snow, snow days and snow), I've decided that this weekend is The Official Goodbye to Pacifier Weekend - TOGPaW for short.

For one, it's TIME.  Actually quite overdue.

Two, it's a 3-day weekend, where we have enough planned to keep Youngest busy, but no sitter after Friday night.

Three, I.  Can't.  Take.  It.  Anymore.  The night-time replacement, that is.  I can go to bed early per My Happiness Project all I want - I'll never feel rested if I'm Chief Paci Replacer every.  Stinking.  Night.

Four, courtesy of my favorite girl EVER, California Girl, I have a PLAN.  And Missy do like PLANS.

So here's the P-L-A-N:

Friday - make the announcement.  "Attention, Youngest.  Tomorrow's nap is your last time with Beloved Paci.  After that, your paci-blankie will henceforth be known as your blankie.  Sans paci.  I am glad you have loved it as you have.  I am thankful it helped us both survive your first year as pleasantly as we did.  I appreciate that you only use it when upstairs.  However, enjoy today's nap, tonight's bed and tomorrow's nap, sister.   Because we're chucking it."

Saturday - the Great Pacifier Elimination.  With great fanfare, we will throw them away post-nap.  I might be shedding some tears with Youngest, truthfully.  That night, family members are coming over for dinner.  Keep a little girl from dwelling over the inevitable bedtime.

Saturday PM - sleepover.  Oldest in Youngest's room.  As Oldest told me, "so I get to be her paci that night, right?"  Right.

Sunday - cupcakes for breakfast, because for heaven's sake, the night might suck.  Thanks to California Girl, this seems a fitting way to celebrate her first night without it.  Plus it's Valentine's Day.  Plus we will have them from the night before and why NOT combine frugality with TOGPaW.

Sunday night - Oldest gets to do sleepover again.  It's called CYA.

Monday - will it all be over?  Good Lord, I hope so!

So give me the goods people - is it going to be the worst weekend EVER?  Minor discomfort?  Piece of cup cake due to all of the hoopla surrounding it?  Tell me, tell me, tell me.  Oldest didn't use one (I TRIED) so I am a Pacifier Elimination Virgin.

And I'm a little terrified nervous.  I did hear a story about someone tying her child's pacifier to a balloon on her 2nd birthday as her way to say goodbye to it.  At her party.  Word has it this did not go well.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

25 never before known facts . . .

About yours truly.

Miss Angie, at My So Called Chaos, tagged me to write 25 things about my life - sometime last week.  Thanks, Angie!  After much debate and agonizing over what 25 fun facts and trivia made the cut, I present to you, "25 reasons to think SHAZAM! - ain't that nifty!"  Enjoy.
  1. I am a Montessori kid.  As are my kids.  
  2. I took 7 years of French in HS and college, only to travel to Paris and get mocked over my midwestern United States accent attempting French.  Mocked, I say.  Like answering me in English with a French accented TWANG, for gosh-sakes!
  3. If I went back to school, I'd major in psychology.  It's what I've used most over the years - the dimestore variety, that is.
  4. I've been married 12 years this May.  We've been together 16 years this July.  We had our first kiss at a 9 hole party - ever heard of those?  Let's just say it's a shock we even remembered the kiss.  On a curb outside one of the party houses.  I'll teach a Romance 101 class to anyone who needs one, btw.  
  5. I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain when I was 22 years old.  I swore I was coming back again and now 17 years later I know it's not going to happen.  Unless my kids want to do it and I go with them because there ain't no way on God's green earth they're doing that alone.  Like Mommy did.  
  6. I did my Senior thesis on Earnest Hemingway - do you know the connection b/w #5 and #6?
  7. Going to law school taught me many skills.  Love of debate was not one of them.  I used to throw up behind the courtroom on trial days.  Love of compromise was one of the skills I learned and love.  There's very little in life that CAN'T be a compromise.    
  8. I love grocery shopping.  L-O-V-E.  If I had time to go 3x/week, I would be even happier.  THAT would be the key to My Happiness Project.
  9. I might be the worst laundry doer ever.  Seriously.  Ask my Husband.  
  10. I am organized, almost to being OCD, with schedules and keeping our family running smoothly.
  11. I let junk build up on counters and keep a really dirty car - the dichotomy between #10 and #11 must mean something - maybe I need to go to therapy to find out.  Or maybe I just need to LEARN TO CLEAN UP.  
  12. A life goal was to have my first child at 30.  Oldest was born 5 weeks before I turned 31.  I like meeting goals, even stretch ones.  ;)  
  13. I had an Arabian horse for 5 years.  Her name was Bambi Queen.  
  14. Husband and I are completely over-the-top about our love of Our Lady Peace.  We've seen them 9 (Me) and 11 (H) times.  It's our THING.  You know, something that ties you together as a couple like nothing else?  Our love of that band.  They have been "with" us on many occasions - singing Somewhere Out There endlessly to Oldest when she wouldn't stop crying as a baby, things like that.  We met them this summer.  I cried.  
  15. Speaking of being a fan, I've seen the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar 7 times.     
  16. I am the youngest of 6 children and an only child.  Impossible?  Nope.  Think Brady Bunch.
  17. I skydived when I was 20 years old.  
  18. Last Spring, I read all 4 Twilight books in 2 weeks, proving that young children really can raise themselves if given the opportunity.
  19. Some people splurge on shoes - I splurge on books.  It's a sickness.
  20. I flunked the first semester of contracts in law school and still pulled a 3.0.  Had I not flunked that class I would have never had to earn extra credits that summer.  Therefore I would have never met Husband.
  21. Every time I think about my children growing up and leaving me, I cry.  I've heard the teenage years will change that for me.  
  22. One of my "bucket list" items is to travel start to finish on Route 66.
  23. My nickname in college was Dixie.  I'm guessing only 25% of the people who knew me had any idea it wasn't my real name.
  24. My children have been listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks so much lately I find myself singing the songs when I'm puttering around.  Help me.
  25. I was a much better parent and had all the answers to other parent's kid problems before I had kids.  Having kids sucked that sanctimonious knowledge right out of me.  Now?  I just limp along like the rest of us, seeking wisdom from those who have done this before.  Thanks to everyone for that. 
Because I am feverishly finishing my book du jour (Water for Elephants - get it) and watching the BIG SHOCKER on the Bachelor at the time of this draft, I'm punting on tagging 25 people.  

I'll just ask YOU to share something nifty about your own life in a comment.  If I get 25 comments, maybe I'll post them, WITH tags, so people can come and check out your interesting blog based on your interesting fact!  

Let the over-sharing begin . . .

Happy Tuesday!  Today is even more snow for the great state of Ohio - 10 more inches.  Really?  We'll see.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happiness took a hit last week

Monday is Happiness Project Day - inspired by Gretchen Rubin, her book and website called the Happiness Project.  Not only do I recommend her book, but I love her blog as well.  Very inspiring.

As today's titles suggests, I hit some bumps, struggled  failed miserably for parts of last week.  There were a couple of days where I would literally snarl with rage over challenges I faced.  Challenges that were legitimately frustrating, but I'd handled similar situations in January just fine, so what gave out last week?  Examples include:
  1. The Puppy's continued house training accidents.
  2. Youngest not napping enough, or at all.
  3. Youngest not eating or drinking to the point of "near dehydration."  Funny how fear can manifest as rage, isn't it?
  4. Having a long, difficult decision making meeting, where some people left unhappy.
  5. Oldest having to stay home from school sick on the first day I had to myself get "stuff" done.
So if these are issues I handled just fine last month, why did I give way to unhappiness last week?  The answer, in retrospect, is easy.  I put aside at least 4 of Missy's Maxims and allowed myself to get swept away by fear, resentment, frustration and fatigue.  I broke these:
  1. Proactive, not reactive.
  2. BE in the moment.
  3. STAR - Stop, Think, Act Right.
  4. Practice patience.
I can cut myself a little slack (remembering my maxim to strive for betterment, not perfection) and recognize that really sick kids are stressful, not getting anything accomplished in your life for almost a week is really stressful and the world continuing to operate regardless of your need to STOP for awhile is stressful as well.

For a few nights I went to bed saying, "Please let tomorrow be better."  Then it wasn't (worse actually) and I felt more and more helpless with my escalating reactions to life's general annoyances.  Until Wednesday night, when I went to bed saying, "Tomorrow WILL be better.  I am the one who can make it so."  And . . . it was.  Considerably.  

I learned a couple of things about myself this week, integral to my happiness for this project:
  1. When I'm not accomplishing, I get increasingly frustrated and angry until I can "right" it.
  2. Being proactive, rather than reactive, might be the single most important maxim on my list.  
One final note.  Some of you may (or may not!) be wondering how I "scored" in January's resolutions.  Out of 31 days:
  1. Food diary and exercise - I kept the food diary 29/31 days and I averaged 5 days per week on exercising.  I lost 9 pounds.  Met that goal splendidly.  We were also supposed to eat in 4x/week and we did, which is a little boring, but does save money.
  2. Skin care nightly - I did this 23/31 times.  Pretty good.
  3. Putting the dishes in the dishwasher nightly - 28/31 times - score!
  4. IBBE - In bed by eleven nightly - 20/31 times.  Definitely needs improvement - because I'm still tired!  For February I've moved the bedtime back to 10:45pm nightly.  Ugh.  
So that's January.  How did you do?   

And let me know - what do you do when you get off track - when you allow life to control you, rather than controlling your response to life?  

Here's to a happier week for all!  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Developing Close Friends

Welcome back to the Super Sunday Series - where I speak to all topics gifted and how they relate to your child's well-being.  Please click on the tab above if you want to discover more about the Series and its topics.

This week we continue our exploration of Friendship, which has grown exponentially since it began in the middle of January.  Today is week 4 - Developing Close Friendships.  Week 1 gave you resources to help, week 2 talked about where to find friends and week 3 talked about making friends.

Developing Close Friendships.

Now that you've learned how to help your child make friends at all, let's dig a little deeper into making close friendships.  The book The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids observes that "no matter how hard they try, some . . . kids are always going to have a tough time fitting into certain social groups.  For them, the trick is to find groups they can fit into, or to find one or two close friends . . . who understand and accept them."  pg.69.

And this notion, finding one or two close friends, is what today's post is all about.  Good Friends are Hard to Find points out that one of the best ways to develop close friendships is through playdates.

I like to host first playdates at our house, by the way.  That way I can keep tabs on Oldest and how things are faring, especially in relation to Frankel's Rules of a Good Host.  These rules are similar to the Good Sport Rules, with slight variations.  Most importantly, the guest is always right (unless the guest physically hurts your child or is not obeying rules).  Other important Rules include suggesting a change in activity when bored, not being critical of the guest and being loyal to the guest.  pp. 103-115.

Frankel gives suggestions about how to help facilitate these rules, such as immediate enforcement after a violation with escalating consequences for inability to comply (in order- a reminder, followed by a warning, followed by a short time out).  pp 103-115.

We had a girl over last summer for a play date.  I could hear all kinds of inappropriate language going on down the hall, so I called Oldest in to give her a reminder.  The problem was that the other girl came in with her, so I couldn't call her out in front of her friend like that.  Especially not with this girl.  Truthfully though, just breaking up the bad word marathon by calling her in for a moment helped.  Then we talked about it after the playdate.

In various playdates we've had, I've seen all of Frankel's rules violated in some way or another.  And it's true, if the Good Host Rules are not being followed, then someone's unhappy.  I'll share examples from both sides - Oldest as rule breaker and Oldest on the receiving end of someone else breaking it.

A neighborhood girl invited Oldest over late last summer.  When Oldest arrived, another little girl was there as well.  They ended up rushing off on their scooters, with Oldest trying to run to keep up with them (at dusk).  Oldest couldn't keep up and eventually got stranded on a corner, not knowing what to do or where to go.  Terrified, she went back to the girl's house, and sat with her parents until I walked down to pick her up (having no idea this was happening).  The parents said nothing about where their daughter was and why Oldest was just sitting with them by herself.  It was a clear violation of Frankel's Disloyalty Rule.  I, obviously, was mortified but talking through Oldest's fears about being left behind and getting stuck on a corner were paramount to my shock over how I felt the situation was handled.  We don't do much with them anymore - even though Oldest asks often.

Oldest herself violated the cardinal rule of  Being a Good Host a couple of weeks ago.  We had a little girl over to play and from the sounds in her room, things seemed to be going swimmingly.  The mother stayed to visit, Youngest was providing the comic entertainment for us, and That Puppy Lilly was sniffing around having accidents in the living room, so I wasn't able to head upstairs to listen in.  As they were coming down the steps, I said, "Did you two have a good time?"  The girl didn't answer, but Oldest said, "we had a great time.  Friend wanted to switch to American Girl dolls, but I just kept telling her, 'every time you ask, I'll make you wait longer to switch.'  Just like you say, right Mommy?"  Scrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeech.  Oops.  Don't ever question whether your kids are internalizing the things you say to them every day, by the way.  So this was a great example of Oldest violating the Guest is Always Right rule.  I have high hopes for the next time, though.  We talked a lot about the importance of it after Friend left (as in "if you want friends, you can't treat them like you are their mother" type of talk).

This is where we are in Oldest's life - at the need to develop close friendships.  And we're working on it - slowly, slowly.

And finally, always provide a snack!  I usually do one midway through or if the kids have hit a lull they can't get out of.  Or if it's a playdate right after school - I do the snack right away.

Next week, I want to talk a little about "when friendship goes bad,"  in the form of bullying.  Then I plan to leave the subject for now, unless YOU have something more that hasn't been covered.

My question for you this week:  are you good at doing playdates for your kid(s)?  Do you find it deepens their friendships?  

See you tomorrow for Happiness Monday!  Or this week (un)Happiness Monday . . . stay tuned.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

6 word Saturday

Must do 2 six words again this week!  And party with Cate and Show my Face - so much creativity on Saturdays over there.

Winter Storms make for Icy Puppy

Snow just made busy weekend un-busy

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear So and So - today's the day!

It's Dear So and So day!  Check out the rest at Kat's blog - 3 bedroom bungalow.

Dear Monday -

Momma always told me there'd be days like this.

It's ok, tomorrow will be better

Dear Tuesday -

Momma always told me there'd be days like this.

Two days in a row are pretty bad, tomorrow MUST be better

Dear Wednesday

Momma always told me there'd be days like this.  Days where, right out of the box, everything goes wrong.  Days where Youngest, finally recovered from her mystery illness (which included an xray to rule out pneumonia), is now hell on wheels because she's been waited on hand and foot like royalty for 6 days and wants the special treatment back, thank you very much.

Days where Oldest just HAS to get out the bedroom door first and plows Youngest over in the process, knocking her headfirst into the wall, only to berate herself for an hour about what a miserable person she is.  Where's the fun in that?  Not only do I not get to berate her carelessness myself, but I'm supposed to feel sorry for her because she's so remorseful?

Days where I waste my more-valuable-than-usual time (because I lost so GD much of it from the heretofore mentioned illness last week) waiting for a meeting for 45 minutes, thereby reducing my ability to meet to 15 minutes, since I could only stay until 11.

Days where that Puppy Lilly pi**es on the living room rug right in front of me after I took her out not 20 minutes before.  Days where Youngest naps for 45 minutes, instead of 2 hours (those two hours being all I have to get anything done).

Needing a spa day doesn't even begin to cover it

Dear week -

Obviously something is going on atmospherically this week.

Maybe I'M the one living Groundhog Day over and over and over until I get it right.

Dear Debbie Downer -

Get the HELL out of our house.  You are no longer welcome.  As I say to my children when everything goes wrong too long, "today is going to be a good day, DAMMIT."

Sometimes bad words are well placed motivators in the game of life

Dear Trendy Treehouse ,-
You're doing a blog hop too?  Can't wait to hop around and check everyone out this week.
Follow Me Fridays Button
It's the little things that count

Dear Follow Friday - 

You're baaaaaacccccck.  One 2 Try, Midday Escapades and Hearts Make Families are worth a look today!

Followers on a Friday = pick me up from a tough week

Dear Weekend - 

You WILL be better than this week.  Understand?

Proactive, not reactive is back in the house

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who Received the Sunshine Award?

You can STILL be the 100th follower and get your button on my sidebar for the month.  Hurry and do it today, before tomorrow's marathon Friday Follow!  As a matter of fact, some people on this very list today could be the lucky month long winners.  Go for it!

Michelle at Flying Giggles and Lollipops gave me this award a few days ago!  So nice!  Thank you.  Check out Michelle's lovely blog so see why getting this award from her is such a nice compliment!

In the tradition of this award, here are the rules I must oblige by in order to pass it on:

- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.  Check.
- Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.  Check.
- Link the nominees within your post.  Check.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.  Check.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.  Check.

My 12 nominees of the Sunshine award are:

Jen - Laughing at Chaos - she needs a little sunshine and has been a follower and supporter from the beginning
Becca - Becca's Backyard - Becca told this girl about Friday Follow - thank you
Gayle at Gramme's Blog - she is so nice!  If my parents did a blog, this would be them
Diane at Created by Diane - suh-weet is an understatement on this blog
Sonia at Adventures of Sonia - my sorority sister
Alix at Casa Hice - because I love her
Cate at Show my Face - because I love her 6 word Saturday
Kat at 3 bedroom bungalow to let in crazytown - because I love her Dear So and So
Hal at Weblog Redux - because his dry wit is hilarious and he gives great advice
Autumn at Living Out Loud - because she's a great commenter 
 The Professional Family Manager - because I'm a sucker for anyone who promotes the JOB aspect of parenting and running a home.  
Kiesha at Highly Favored - because we just discovered each other
Miss Angie at My So Called Chaos - she gives great comments and is a relatively new blogger like me!

Wow.  Doing this - the backlinking and commenting?  Took a loooooonnnnnnng time.  Enjoy these blogs - they are worth the gander!  Plus, some of the people I thought about already had this award.  If you have it already (or if I know you do) then I didn't give it to you again.  

Spreadin' the love . . . 

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