When They Act Extra, I Become Extra

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A Facebook friend of mine recently posted that 13-year-old girls are, well, extra. And I felt for her, because as the parent of three kids (14, 13, 11), I definitely know what extra looks like and sounds like.

So in order to get through this season of extra, I have learned how to capitalize on my own extra. And you know what? Teens and tweens are all about their own extra, and are quite embarrassed at the possibility that their mom might become a little extra of her own.

And eventually friends, all that extra cancels itself out, and we are left with nothing, And when the choice is extra or nothing, nothing works better than anything else.

But because more often than not, extra is everywhere, I am going to share with you the top ten ways this mom becomes extra:

10. I wiggle, sing, and create hand motions to match the lyrics of songs they listen too. This part is not too hard because my daughters are in show choir at school. And they practice a lot. So I use what I’ve learned from them, or I just make up my own stuff. Especially in the car. While I’m taking them to school. And my vocal volume increases the closer we get to the school. And yes, it can be full-on extra by the time I pull in the morning car pool line.

9. I post a silly bitstrip comic of us on Facebook and tag them. I don’t know about you and if you have kids on Facebook, but my children do not like being tagged by their mother. If it’s a picture they like, they usually like me to text it to them and allow them to post it themselves. And since the rules of social engagement in this family mean we have to friend and follow each other, I can post and tag as I choose, And Bitstrips comics are a funny way to do that.

8. I pretend as if I am going to wear something from their closet. That sends all kinds of looks of horror through the hallways.

7. I text them selfies of me. Sometimes I’m doing the duck lips.

6. I take a time out. As the mom of a close-knit threesome, it is definitely noticeable when someone is missing. The hangout place is our living room, and when someone is missing, especially the mom, it gets them out of sorts. For some reason, even if they don’t want to talk to me, they want to be in the same room with me. And when they are extra, I sometimes need to remove myself temporarily.

5. I move the wifi router. A couple of years ago I saw a picture on Instagram where the parents change the wifi password each day and do not give out the new password until all chores are done. I tried that, and frankly could’t keep up with it on a daily basis, so now I just move the router so it is not so accessible by their devices. That by far, is a one of the most effective ways to eliminate extra — eliminating the connection to the internet.

4. I encourage my dog to go visit them. You see, my children shower my dog with affection all. the. time. They however only want to be bothered with her on their terms. So when they get extra, I tell the dog to go visit whoever is extra. And she does. At that is a beautiful thing, especially when they just don’t want to be bothered.

3. I will perform the sign of rue from The Hunger Games anywhere. Anywhere. Including the cafeteria at their school. Because undoubtedly, one of their classmates will want to join me. And just like in the movie, it catches on.

2. I shower them with affection. Hugs, love, and kisses. And I tell them stories of a long time ago when they were a baby, or a toddler, or even more amusing…an interesting character from a school musical performance of their younger years.

1. I twerk. Yes I do. And let me tell you, the thought of that is enough to eliminate the extra for a while. To be perfectly honest though, I have never had to twerk. I’ve gotten pretty close, though. I’ll turn on the music and brace the wall, and apparently knowing me and the thought of what could happen sends them into fits of fear where extra  is no longer welcome.

So tell me, have your kids ever been a little extra? What did you do?

Mommy is Okay With Me

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MOMMYIn the blogging world, if you are a mom and you blog about being a mom, you are identified as a “Mommy Blogger” or a “Mom Blogger.” When I started blogging in 2006, my kids were 3, 5, and 6 years old. At that time they called me Mommy, and I referred to myself as Mommy. When others called me Mommy, it was okay, because in my mind, Mommy was synonymous to Toni — and that is definitely my name.

I really never gave it much thought until the oldest of the Three Amigos turned 13 and announced that he would no longer be using the term Mommy to refer to me since he was now a teenager. One year later, the second of my tribe turned 13, and she too expressed a desire to officially change her vocabulary to reflect Mom, rather than Mommy. Actually, here lately I have heard myself also being referred to as “The Birthgiver,” which can add a whole new dimension to the names I am called.

My youngest though, in her 11-year-old wisdom has said, “I will call you what I want, when I want. Sometimes it is Mom, sometimes it is Mommy, and sometimes it is Daughter of My Grandparents.”

Yes, folks, we can go from very informal to very informal in my house in a matter of seconds. And when I am with my kids, the truth is that I was answer to any of the above, because that’s who I am. If I am around others and the topic of parenting arises, I am still a mom, and I don’t mind being referred to as such.

Especially since I blog about being a mom — thereby making me a mom blogger.

As a blogger though,  the question arises if I want to be known as a mom blogger or a mommy blogger. And just recently, I read a very thorough discussion on Facebook by bloggers like myself and what we’d like to be called. For some of my counterparts, mommy is a term used for children and children only. They feel that being referred to as a mommy blogger gives others the rights to call you Mommy, and that can be awkward.

But for me though, when others have called me Mommy, especially if we are talking about me kids, it’s okay. Because that’s who I am.

And you know what, that’s who my mom is too. She is my Mommy and I am 42 years old. And frankly, I don’t hear it enough in my house and wish I heard it a little bit more.

So when it comes down to it for me, I’m whatever my kids want me to be, and Mommy is okay with me!

What do your kids call you? How will you feel if that changes?

About that #SocialExperiment

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10433128_10153101054218117_2183159325676118237_nIf we are connected on social media, it’s very possible that you may have heard about a #socialexperiment that I am participating in. It’s a little different. And seeing as how I have never participated in a social experiment of any kind before, it does take me a little bit out of my comfort zone. But you know, it’s a new year…so why not?

Shortly after New Year’s Day, my friend Cheryl asked me about my dating life. My response wasn’t that positive — I think my answer may have been “it’s non-existent” and her wheels got to turning. And since she has about five other really good friends and family members who answered that same question the same way, she got busy.

Using the premise of “Six Degrees of Separation,” Cheryl believes that my next date is six degrees from her. Now, she really does know a lot of people, and the people she knows also know a lot of people, and based on that theory, she is convinced she can find us single gals a connection.

Her premise is that in this day and age of social media, it should really easy for like-minded single women and single-men to connect. And when I think about it, that sounds pretty good. And when I joined the group, I committed to blogging about my experience — without completely divulging all the details of my adventures.

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From February 1 to March 1, she is busy liking, sharing, and discussing. I trust her, I trust myself, and I trust the universe. I’ll provide the updates for you here and on social media using the hashtag #sixdegreesofdating. And if you feel so inclined, feel free to get to liking, sharing, and tagging yourself!

Have your ever participated in a social experiment? Would you want to?

2015: People, Not Things

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Well friends, we are about one month into the new year and I’m still reading fun posts on blogs and in social media about plans, goals, and hope for 2015.

One concept that I’m seeing a lot of, and one that I’ve done in past years is finding one word to set the tone for your year. In past years, I’ve used inspire and unfiltered. This year, I’m not quite as brief and I am having a hard time coming up with one word.

Just one word.

Maybe my word this year should be verbose. Seeing as how I can’t come up with just one word, you know.

And you know, my lack of one word has stressed me out since January 1.

But I do have a phrase.

People, not things.

This year, I plan to improve the quality of my relationships with others. I want the people in my circle to know that I love them unconditionally. I want my children to know that it’s the quality of our relationships that matter. And most importantly, when I go to sleep every night, I want to my heart to to fill full of memories with those within my circle and who I pray for diligently.

When I pray each morning and set my intentions for the day, the week, or whatever, I want to ask God to show me ways I can be of service to the people around me…especially my family. Especially the three people who call me mom, the same three people whose hormones are raging, who argue constantly, and who think I am old-fashioned.

In my own praying and journaling about this, I’ve discovered that sometimes, just sometimes, my outreach to the world is plenty, but in my own household is filled with exhaustion, complaining, and demanding.

So here we are for 2015: People. Not Things. 

Do you have a word (or a phrase) for 2015? What is it?

Oh What a Relief it Is!

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I did it!!!! I survived in the insanely busy registration season of working at a college, however classes begin next week so I’m not quite out of the woods yet. I am looking forward to a great year, and an even better fall semester, but we can talk about the specifics later.

While I have your attention for a few moments, I do want to tell you about just a few things:

1. Regular blogging begins again next week. I’ve missed it.

2. All three of my Amigos started school this week. Even the homeschooler. Somehow when I had the flexibility to choose for him to start later, especially during the busy season, I decided he should start when his sisters started.

3. I am attending my first blogging conference EVER, and I am too excited! Next month, I will be at the TYPE A Parent Conference and I am really looking forward to it. And blogger friends…if you’d like to attend, I have really good news for you! If you register for the conference and use the discount code BLOGPARTNER, you can save 25 percent off the cost of your own registration! Check it out at www.typeaparent.com.

4. My co-workers and I did the ALS Ice challenge. Because it is so hot in Texas this week, it was refreshing and insanely fun! We solicited the donation from our entire team, but only three of us were brave enough to take the challenge. ALS is a very debilitating disease that has no cure. I did it to honor one of my college classmates and sorority sisters who has been living with this disease for several years now. Please consider making it one of your causes!

That was the quick and dirty….next week I promise I’ll have more for you! But in the meantime, tell me about your August…

 

 

 

 

The August Disclaimer

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Welp. It’s August. How are you feeling about that?

For me, it’s not too bad. Except it’s the busiest month of the year in my educator career. Like insanely busy.

My friends and family pretty much know it. The kids have to be reminded of it, but by August 3, they remember.

And this year, I’m breaking one of my August rules. You see, because August is so busy at work, I decided several years ago to shut it all down this month. And I’ve written about that before. Click here or here if you’d like the refresher. Between work madness and back-to-school madness for the kids, I don’t have time to focus on much else. And my attendance at family events and reunions has definitely suffered because of it.

So this year, I decided to be a little more involved with the outside world and live a little during this month. I’ll be on social media in all my glory taking selfies and engaging in weekend road trips with the kids to the family homestead. And I’ll be blogging, regularly.

But here’s the disclaimer.

My blog will run seamlessly to you, but really, the posts are not in real-time. It’s important for you to know this because if there is a natural disaster and I don’t mention it here, you need to know that I am not as insensitive as I seem. It’s only because I’m taking the month off, but my posts are not. They were written throughout the summer and saved to be published during the month.

If you can’t take the thought of feeling disconnected from me in real time, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Because in the sense of the true digital maven that I am, I will be connected via social media.

And here’s to a great month! See you in September!

:)

 

 

Dear Andi, I Tried.

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Warning: This post is about as insignificant as they come. But we have to talk about it. Because I have wasted most of my summer on this train wreck and it is now time for me to get off.

Let’s start from the very beginning. About 10 years ago I started watching the Bachelor and Bachelorette series on television. And after watching a few seasons, I kept getting frustrated season after season because I would allow these suitors in my heart, and they would eventually get kicked off the show. Then I’d be forced with watching the star of the show claim they were in love with someone else and I knew they weren’t.

Or, they’d pick the person I want but by the After the Final Rose episode they have parted ways. Or, as in one instance, the bachelor decided to break up with the girl he chose on national TV. And that hurt because that girl was from Dallas and everybody should know that YOU DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS.

Somehow I then decided that there are more important things in the world. And I was some comforted that Trista and Ryan Sutter are still married. So I didn’t watch it so much.

But last spring I got caught up in Juan Pablo’s season just because I thought he was a jerk and it was quite funny for me to see  the girls get frustrated and tell him off. And one of those girls was Andi Dorfman. And now, Andi is the Bachelorette.

The season began in May and I was really excited. The kids and I watched intently each week. We kind of thought that the kissing was a bit much, but it really opened up a lot of great conversations about love and relationships. Good conversations that parents need to have with their kids…and it was a good venue to bring those conversations to light.

And the kids and I decided that Brian was the one. There were a couple that just rubbed us the wrong way and some some that were strange, but we held out for Brian. And he made it pretty far, but he left the show right before hometown visits.

Now I’m sad. Because I wanted Brian to be on the home visit show…and to be there in the end. But as I always do, I got over it though because Andi seemed really happy with the four guys she had left.

So because I had a meeting at church last night, I missed the hometown visits. And today I looked on-line to see what happened. But I really had no vested interest at this point so I didn’t want to actually watch the show, but I did want to know what happened.

And low and behold, I find an entertainment blog that tells me not only what happened on the episode I missed, but the rest of the season! And…there was a video of one of the guys (supposedly the one who gets jilted in the end) talking on his cell phone on a airplane about the whole ending. He bad-mouthed Andi, the guy who supposedly won, and the whole process.

The good news is that Andi is happy. And that’s what I want. But I didn’t really want to know the outcome and hear about all of the drama. And yes, I still wish Brian was in the running. So I tried to hang in there to end, but I can’t.

Sigh. The problems we have in the first world.

What do you watch on Monday nights?

The Homeschool Workspace

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Let’s talk some more about homeschool shall we?

An important part of homeschooling is being organized and organizing my son’s learning space. Since I am not the only adult that helps him with his homeschooling, everything has to be organized.

The other little pickle in our homeschooling plan is that we physically do not have a lot of space at home. So in addition to being organized, I’ve got to do it in a small space.

When I tell you I make use of every inch on one of my bookshelves, I am not kidding. So here’s what our homeschool materials/ textbook/ bookshelf looks like:

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Each shelf has specific subject areas, including a section for reference materials and magazines that we use for current events. We even keep school supplies in the bottom drawer with writing utensils, highlighters, markers, etc in the cylinder on the middle shelf.

During the school year, I am a fanatic about keeping that shelf neat and organized. Even on weekends. But in the summer, not so much. Matter of fact, if I took a picture of it today…well let’s just say I didn’t take the photo above anytime this summer.

And then there’s the walls. I keep them covered with resources related to the topics we are covering. Here’s an example:



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Sometimes I’ll place the chart paper on the wall and use it like a blackboard for him to do problems on, or he can write questions he has as he’s progressing any given lesson.

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I use the sticky back chart paper. And when we are break from school, I just take the sheets down. This summer, our dining room and living room are covered with the kids’ goals for the summer, Bible verses they are studying, and the summer chore charts.

Some families I know have dedicated rooms for all of their homeschool items, but we just don’t have the space for that so we make it work with the space we do have. And for us it works.

Enjoy your Thursday!

 

Let’s Talk About Homeschooling

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I get a lot of emails about our decision to homeschool my oldest. Since I’m currently planning our curriculum for 8th grade, I spend a good portion of my evenings and weekends thinking about homeschool. And of course, thinking about it makes me want to talk about it to you.

In this episode, we will talk about the three things you need to do first when you are considering homeschooling. Click here to listen!

 

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The Weekend of July 6th!

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Happy Day of Dragging after the long holiday weekend!

That pretty much tells what things are like around these parts.

Oh that and today is July 7, which means it’s the day after July 6. And that isn’t a typo, because our weekend didn’t really get good until Sunday and that’s how I’m choosing to remember this Independence Day weekend.

First things first…dessert.

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This is what I decided to do this year and it was so wonderfully easy. I bought a box of ice-cream sandwiches and dipped them in red, white, and blue sprinkles. Voila!!!

Now on to other issues.

I decided to take the Three Amigos shopping on the 4th of July. They needed summer clothes and I needed retail therapy. Ya’ll it was rough. I can’t even begin to speak favorably of that experience. Gone are the days of cute matching outfits and stylishly classic separates made by a certain clothing designer with polo players as his logo.

We are now about wearing winter beanies in the summer, drop crotch pants, and arguing with any suggestion that someone by the name of  “Mom” will make.

And there’s the one child who absolutely hates trying clothes on in a store. And once she does, it’s either everything fits (when it doesn’t) or nothing works (when they do).

The whole experience made we want to declare my independence from motherhood. So I’m now working on alternatives to shopping with three tweens/ tweens. And let me tell you, because we will be on vacation with my parents next month, there were certain things I felt they absolutely had to get. Because as we all know, they need to represent our family appropriately and when it comes down to it, I’d rather just deal with their attitudes before I have to hear parenting judgments from my elders.

So it was rough. Very rough. For me and for them.

But there was also watermelon. And we all know that watermelon makes the world a better place.

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But in a quite funny turn of events, there were two little worms. And that brought great humor as all three of attitudinal children who wear winter beanies in the summer, were now terrified of live worms they discovered while shucking corn on Saturday.

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And I realize that we live in the city (well, suburbs), but we embrace some aspects of county living. And shucking corn is one of them. And that’s what we call it. To use some official term related to corn husks just isn’t right.

By then we made it to Sunday, July 6! The kids donned some of their new gear and we headed to the annual church anniversary celebration for one of our churches. Yes, you read that correctly but that’s a post for another day.

We danced.

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And played sports.

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And took selfies.

 

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And had our first snow cones of the summer. I would tell you how many we actually had, but a certain 11-year-old in my house says that I don’t need to blog about everything. So we’ll save that for another day.

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And the best part of it all, FIREWORKS!

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And we had a fabulous July 6th!

How was your Independence Day weekend?