Sunday, February 1, 2015

Kid Command Center

One of Pnut's doctors suggested I read a book called Taking Charge of ADHD: A Parent's Guide.  It's written by Russell Berkley.  If you have a child with ADHD, I suggest reading it.  It was eye opening. If you're not a reader, you can find his lectures on YouTube.  They are great too.  The book gave 14 "rules" parents should follow.  One of them is to put reminders at the point of performance.

For example, Little Dude NEVER washes his hands or flushes the toilet.  Every time he goes into the bathroom, Brian and I yell "flush and wash your hands!".  He never does.  So I found some cute cards on Etsy, put it in a cheap frame, and put it in the bathroom.  Now I don't have to yell or get annoyed, and Little Dude has a physical reminder every time he goes in the bathroom.

Raising kids with ADHD, when you have it yourself is a difficult task.  I read all these books about how I'm supposed to "be their frontal lobe" because theirs is underdeveloped.  I'm not 100% certain mine is developed.  I struggle with the same things they struggle with.  When I read about putting reminders at the point of performance, it made total sense.  I need this too. The book also suggested a token system for rewards and consequences. We've had a billion of these.  They work for awhile, then I forget about them, or they stop working....

A few days ago I decided to search the internet for a plan.  I needed a token system and I needed to have it out in the open.  I stumbled upon family command centers.  If you Google it or search on Pinterest you will find a ton. I picked out different parts from different pictures and made something that works for us.

At first I wanted it in our family room and I wanted it to be for the whole family.  I decided to scale back and make it just for the kids, so I put it in their playroom.  I went to Joann's, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Storables.  I must have made a billion trips back and forth.  Buying and returning all kinds of crap.

Here's what I came up with.

I got everything for the chore board from Joann's.  For the actual chores, I got 3.25" wooden circles and a giant hole punch.  I printed out the chore pictures from a chart we have been using for awhile.  I got it on Etsy. I glued the chores to the circles and put magnets on the back.  I used stickers for the words and glued ribbon to separate the sides. We had so many chore circles, I had to get extra boards to store them all.  I switch out their to do's through out the day.  They keep their rewards on the bottom of that board too.

For each chore they do, they get marbles.  Each one has a bucked for marbles.  The middle bucket is where I keep the marbles.  I got the buckets at Joann's and the hanger at Storables.

Here are our house rules.  Nothing too crazy.  The board and ribbon came from Joann's.  I just printed out the rules and laminated them.  I put magnets on the back and voila. 

The kids can trade in their marbles for rewards.  I got the rewards from here.  I laminated them and separated them by how much they are worth.  The buckets are labeled 10, 20, and 30.  Bonus tv is worth 10.  A trip to the ice cream shop is worth 30.  We are still working out the points.  Yesterday they had like a billion hours of extra computer time.  

I printed out some ideas of how they can earn marbles.  This is also a reminder for me.  I sometimes slack off on the marble giving.

I found this at Hobby Lobby and I couldn't resist.  One of my favorite quotes and fitting for my little angels. 

I've had these baskets for ever.  I think I got them at Storables.  I just put their names on with the left over stickers.  They put their backpacks, shoes and jackets in these. 

It has been a couple days and it is working well.   We are still working out the kinks.  I need to come up with a certain time of day they can trade in marbles.  I'm tired of doing it all day long.  I also need to set up rules regarding how many electronic rewards can be used each day.  

For the next 2 weeks I will only give marbles.  After the 2 weeks I will start taking away marbles as consequences.  We will see how that goes...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Had Goals?

Apparently I had some goals for 2014.  Here's how I did:

2014 goals

Family Goals-(If you read last years goals, these are basically the same.)
  • Have at least one family adventure a month. (This was so much fun!) I'm fairly certain this was a fail.  
  • Have date night once a month.  I don't think this happened either.
  • Help kids become more independent. Work in progress.  Penelope did make breakfast this morning.
  • Have family dinner every Sunday. I might have been drunk when I wrote these.
  • Create recipe binder. I bought a binder
  • Plan and prep meals for the week on Sunday.  Seriously? 
Personal Goals
  • Find out what foods are not helping my body and eliminate them from my diet.(unless it's wine.  Then I'll suffer.)  I have a good idea what foods bother me.  Not eating them is something else all together. 
  • Continue my strength/stretching from PT. This would have been good.
  • Go to yoga once a week. I talked about going to yoga a lot.
  • Finish Boise in 6:30.  Last years finish was 7:16. I love how optimistic I was.  I finished in 7:12, I think.  Still better than 2013!!
  • Run and finish my first marathon with a smile.  I finished!  I believe there were tears and a look of constipation, but I FINISHED.
  • Finish in the top 10 at Iron Girl Seattle. This might be tough, considering it will be in the middle of marathon training.  Uh....I didn't even do this race.

Here's to a more realistic 2015!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Recently I've read a lot of books and gone to a few lectures about raising gifted kids.  While there are many characteristics common in this population, these characteristics are not unique to these kids.  The one I've been most focused on is "perfectionism".  If you saw Pnut's work or her room, you would not jump to the conclusion that she's a perfectionist.  She does not have straight A's (although they aren't A's anymore, are they?), her room is not spotless (or even kind of clean), her hair is rarely brushed, and she has no problem pulling clothes out of the dirty clothes hamper to wear.  She doesn't scream perfectionist.  From these lectures and reading, I've learned not all perfectionists look "perfect".  Pnut feels like if she can't be 100% certain she will succeed, she doesn't try.  If you don't give it your all, you won't lose anything if you fail.

This morning she wouldn't eat breakfast.  She knows if she doesn't eat, she can't go to gymnastics.  After an hour or so of yelling, crying and threatening, it came out that she didn't want to go to gymnastics.  She said "It's getting too long and too hard."  She wants to quit because it's getting hard and she's not the best.  When her coach says "Keep your legs straight." she hears "You're not good enough."

This took me back to 8th grade.  We had moved from Atlanta to Baltimore.  I had been on a swim team in Atlanta for around 5 years.  It was a well known team who produced Olympians.  I loved it.  When I found out I was moving my coach suggested a team in Baltimore.  I went and tried out.  I was told what team I would be on and when practices were.  Twice a day for two hours.  I freaked out.  I wasn't good enough to do that.  They thought I was good just because of the team I came from.  These practices would be too hard.  I wouldn't be good enough.  They would find out I was a fraud.  I told my parents I didn't want to do it. I gave up because I was scared.

This kind of thinking is still with me.  I'm afraid to give my all during training.  If I do every training session, and give it my all, and still don't do well at a race, I really will be a failure.  If I have some doubt in the back of my mind, like my training could have been better, than I give myself an excuse for not doing as well as I think I could.

I am working on this, but it's not easy.  I feel like it should be easy.  I know I'm doing it, so I should just stop.

As a parent, I find it hard to know when to push my kids.  I don't want them to give up because things are uncomfortable.  I also don't want to be that crazy mom who is pushing when her kids aren't enjoying it.  This morning I told Pnut she was going to gymnastics because it's something she enjoys and I'm not letting her give up because she's scared or uncomfortable.  I hope it's the right decision. I will try to teach her to strive for excellence, not perfection.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Portland Marathon Recap

I'm not sure where to even start. I had to wait a couple days before writing my thoughts down or it would have been a whole lot of "That was the worst thing I've ever done." "Running sucks" "I suck"...

I'm feeling a little better about it now, but I still don't really feel like rehashing it.  Bottom line, it was a rough day for me.

Here's how the weekend went-

The day before:
After a long drive to Portland, we checked into the hotel and headed to the expo.  I was able to get my bib and a shirt but that's about it.  Pnut and Little Dude were INSANE.  I said hello to Lindsay and Julie then went back to the hotel.  Note to self-NEVER take the kids to the expo.

Don't they look thrilled?
I met Lindsay and her family for dinner.  I had chicken and rice, and a glass of wine.  It was nice to hang out and relax a little.

We went back to the hotel and I was asleep by 8:00.  I think I got the best sleep I've ever had the night before a race.

Race day:
Since I fell asleep at 8:00, I was up pretty early.  Unfortunately the kids were also up early.  I was trying to get ready while trying to get the hotel wifi to work on the ipad so Little Dude could play a game, and trying to get Pnut some breakfast.  None of this was easy at 4:30am, but I got dressed, and the kids were happy.  I headed out to meet Lindsay, Kerry, Julie and Megan.

Once I found everyone we headed to our corrals.  Julie and I were in the same one, which was nice.  We hung out, hit the porta-potty, and took a bunch of pictures.

I felt totally ready. I was excited and confident.  Brian sent me a text letting me know where he and the kids were.  It was awesome to see them!!

I think I was blowing them a kiss

Julie and I ran together for awhile.

I was feeling good and ran ahead for a bit, then she would catch up, then I'd run ahead....This happened a few times.  Around mile 7 (I think) I had this horrible idea to try and catch the 5:00 pace group.  This was also the time that it was getting really hot and sunny, and there was no shade.  Did I mention I didn't run with a water bottle?  I didn't, and I was thirsty.  I'm sure the aid stations were not that far apart, but at mile 9, I thought they were 10 miles apart.  Around this time Julie caught up with me.  We chatted for a couple minutes and that was the last time I saw her.  (ps-she did awesome!!)

I finally got to the next aid station and thought I could get myself together.  I was only 9-10 miles in. I knew there was time for me to pull myself together and still have a good race. I stopped, tried to pee, got some water, electrolytes, and pretzels.  I took my time and thought that I was ok.  I ran around the corner and saw Brian and the kids again.  I got some hugs, and picked up a rock for Little Dude that was on the course. I felt like that was the boost I needed.

I was wrong.  About 1/4 mile from there I fell apart again.  I was so thirsty.  Around mile 13 I sent Erika a text that I was fading.  You know things aren't going as planned when you're sending texts during a race.  From here on, things were just painful.  I started getting stomach and leg cramps.  My mouth was so dry I couldn't swallow.  I had a headache.  I ran occasionally but I mostly walked.

Trying to keep it together for the camera

That picture was around mile 20.  I was done.  Right before this picture was taken, I was going to call Brian and tell him I quit.  The only reason I didn't was because I was too emotional to even talk.  I worried he would answer and I would just start crying.

At mile 24 I started to wonder if I was going to die.  I seriously thought I might die.  I was dizzy and so crampy.  But 2 miles from the finish....what are you going to do?  Who quits that close to the finish?  So I kept going.  I forced myself to run the last 1/2 mile.  I saw Megan and her family.  It was awesome.  I knew the finish was so close.  Then I saw Brian and the kids.  Lindsay and Kerry were with them.  I remember seeing Lindsay but I was so out of it, I didn't see Kerry.  I remember giving Brian a hug and just crying.  Someone said "Go!  You have to keep running."  So I took off to the finish line.

Crossing the finish line was a little anti-climactic.  I felt like my finish like was seeing my family.  I knew then I had made it.  I got my medal and ate some Cheetos.  I can't remember the last time I had Cheetos, but they were good.  I don't have a picture with the medal because I couldn't put it on.  I didn't want anything touching me.

We walked back to the hotel.  I took an ice bath, took a nap, had some dinner and passed out.

The next morning we had donuts!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This Time Next Week!!

If all goes well, this time next week I will be laying in bed with my feet up after finishing the Portland Marathon.  I'm not going to lie, the last 2 weeks have been rough.  They have had me wondering if I'm going to be able to cross the finish line.  I had a calf injury.  A pull or strain or something.  I hurt my calf.  It's still tight and balls up when I run.  I also have these ridiculous knots in my butt and hip, and my lower back is tight.(Seriously, do you feel like you're listening to your grandmother talk about all her ailments?)   I've been told it's due to a tight or "sticky" psoas.  To top it off, I'm not sleeping because my lovely children, and dogs aren't sleeping.  Oh yeah, I also started taking some medication a couple months ago that decreases my appetite.  Normally I'd be thrilled to not be hungry, but it makes it hard to train for a marathon when you're not eating.

Enough of whining.  Thankfully my friend Julie, who is running Portland, posted a blog about her "taper maddens" this morning.  You can read it here.  It's very funny.  It also made me feel better about the crazy place my mind is right now.  Like maybe I'm just a little crazy right now and I actually will be able to run 26.2 miles next week.

I've decided to do whatever I can to get to the starting line, and the finish line, and enjoy the miles in between.  I spent today preparing for the week ahead.  I made food so it will be easier to make myself eat. I did all the laundry.  I cleaned the kitchen.  I made sure the kids have everything they need for school.  I want this week to be nothing but Operation Get Ready for Portland.  I'm getting ART (active release technique) tomorrow and Wednesday. Then going back Friday to get my calf taped up.  I'm going to take naps when I can and just rest as much as possible.  I'm going to try to get to yoga at least 3 times. I'm going to think happy thoughts, do daily affirmations, meditate, make a sacrifice to the marathon Gods.....whatever I need to do.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

72 Days

I have 72 days until my first marathon!  10ish weeks.  72 days sounds better than 10 weeks.  10 weeks is WAY too soon.  72 days is far enough away.

This week I FINALLY feel like my training is coming together.  I've been able to get in my workouts and feel good most of the time.  I'm still trying to figure out what to eat during my runs.  Everything seems to upset my stomach.  I've got some time (72 whole days) to figure it out.

I had a 7 mile run a couple days ago.  I was dreading it.  It was pouring and cold.  7 miles is a difficult distance for me.  I'm not sure how to run it.  It's not a "long" run, but it's not short either.  I forced myself to go and it was the best run I've had in a long time.  A run that just clears your mind and makes you feel good. A run that reminds you why you run.

I realize in the next 72 days, I will have crappy runs.  I will have runs that make me wonder why I'm doing this.  There might be tears.  But I know there will also be amazing runs.  Runs with friends and runs with only my own thoughts (and Ke$ha on my ipod).  I'm looking forward to my 4 miles tomorrow and 13 with Julie Saturday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Do Less

I am overwhelmed with summer.  There is so much I want to do, need to do, think I need to do...

What I really need to do, is step back and think about what I HAVE to do.  I'm at a point where I need to go back to basics.  I have to get out of bed, feed the kids, do enough laundry that Brian can go to work without looking like a hobo.  Amazon is pretty relaxed as far as dress codes go, but clean is probably important.  I have to help Pnut deal with whatever is going on in her brain right now.  I have to help Little Dude deal with the intense emotions of an almost 5 year old.

At this moment, I just need to focus on those things and nothing else. True, I have a marathon in 95 days.  I have family coming to visit in a week or so. If I don't train enough to run the race, it's not the end of the world.  If my house is a mess, my mom will deal (it won't come as a big shock to her either).  I have to lower my expectations of myself.  At least until I get through this funk I have plunged into.

I can't continue to beat myself up over dirty dishes, or unhealthy snacks the kids eat, or pancakes for dinner, or dog hair on the floor.

I'm reading a book about helping your child deal with anxiety.  It talks about how sometimes the world is too big and sometimes it's too small.  I need to make my world smaller for the moment.  I really do want to train for the Portland Marathon, and I really do want my house to be clean for my mom, but I don't want to beat myself up about missing runs and dirty floors.

Here's my plan for the rest of the day:

  • make the kids a snack before swimming
  • get kids to swimming
  • cheer for them when I really want to say "what the hell are you doing?"
  • make a relatively healthy dinner (that only I will end up eating)
  • don't get insanely angry when no one eats dinner
  • shower
  • pray the kids sleep through the night
  • go to sleep
That's honestly all I can do in the next 7 hours.