Define My Day – Week 2(ish)

Remember I am doing the Define My Day challenge? Well, I am seriously sucking. I think my biggest issue is remembering to do it. I am having trouble seeing the forest through the trees. I like how DMD is based on long term goals and how the day to day can get you there with the right focus. But I feel like I am too immersed in the daily to-dos that I am missing the long view. How do you narrow down your three daily priorities when they all are to ‘survive’?

What I do like about DMD is the support. I get email checks in from the founder, Nick Boris and was automatically added to a Facebook user group. How’s that for meeting users where they are? The participants, as well as Nick, are super responsive to questions. He even posts impromptu videos on how to maximize the planner.

I am still committed to doing this, but it is going to take some work on my part. Stick with me!

Define My Day – Week 1

Facebook ads rarely catch my attention these days, but as I was mindlessly scrolling, wondering where my day had gone, I found myself clicking on an ad for Define My Day which boasts ‘small steps, big results’. Isn’t that what we all want? The magic pill? I also wonder what algorithm Facebook used to target me with this ad – likely ‘tired, distracted, mom, ADHD, productivity obsessed’.

After reaching out to Nick, the founder, I told him I wanted to go all in for a month and chronicle it on my blog. He agreed and sent me the planner to get started. The way he recommends to start is to watch all the videos, then on Sunday night work through the monthly plan. Got it. Well, I watched the videos on Saturday and felt TOTALLY overwhelmed. Then life got hectic (gee, maybe I should have BETTER DEFINED MY DAY) and I didn’t really hunker down until Monday night.

Once I got going, it wasn’t as hard as I was making it out to be. DMD has some great tutorials in video or written form, for however you learn best, to get you started. I clearly opted for progress over perfection.

This is my first week and as I mentioned, I did the preplanning. Some of it seemed a little hokie – like my monthly affirmations which I am suppose to say out loud when I wake up and go to bed. I had to fight the urge to write ‘you is kind, you is smart …’. But hey, what is the harm?

The monthly goals are personal, professional, health and relationship which all make sense and were easy. Then I had to decide which books I was going to read this month, which was the most fun part and admittedly the most time consuming.

So here are my WEEK 1 MILESTONES:

Nick also discusses the importance of DAILY DISCIPLINES which includes rest, exercise, eat well, water, read, and positive interaction. I did make some of those my own so they are measurable and this week will strive for 5000 steps, 64oz of water and 20 minutes of reading. His intention for reading is to learning something or educate myself, but Momma needs a break.

I’ll check back in at the end of the week and let you know how it went!

If you want to join along,  DMD is offering a 30% discount for Muddling Momma readers. Visit https://shop.yourdefinedlife.com and use code MUDDLE30 for 30% off your first delivery of any subscription for a single, 3pk, or productivity pack.

 

(You should know, they provided me the journal free of charge, but they don’t get a glowing review based on that. The thoughts are my own.)

Dear Marcie, You’re Two!

Dear MJ, the newest two year old!

Girl. I don’t even know where to start. A lot of people say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, and He surely had that in mind when He gave you a cleft lip and palate. I am not sure anyone else could handle those challenges with such grace as you Miss Marcie. You are wonderfully hard headed, stubborn and demanding – all qualities some of my favorite women have – including your momma, but let’s keep that between us.

I remember when you were admitted to Hopkins with ‘failure to thrive’ not long after you were born. Fast forward two years later at your birthday party I asked for a bite of your cupcake. You looked me dead in the eye, shook your head and said a firm no. I gave you a little tickle and you reluctantly put the teeny tiniest spec of icing on a spoon and shoved it in my mouth. It is not lost on me about how much you love me based on that bite. A thousand kisses would have said the same thing.

You are a tough cookie who likes to move, jump and dance. I have so many favorite things about you, but one of them is your walk. Girl you walk with purpose and it cracks me up. I can just imagine you stomping up and down the hallway to your corner office. Or down the dirt path to the construction project you are heading up. Or to the bedroom where your mess ‘o kids are playing.

MJ, I love you and I am so lucky to be your Aunt. You need it? I got you.

Happy 2nd Birthday

Aunt Jackie
xoxo

 

Raising a Boy

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going on right now politically and I’m having a hard time seeing down the road when our President is not in the White House anymore. He has seemed to bring out the ugliness in people and social media is a hotbed for … let’s just say people hiding behind screens and not being nice.

How do you teach your kids to be nice when the nation’s leader can’t even be nice? That is a question for another day – today I find it exhausting. But what I AM seeing a lot of on social media is the fear that ‘our boys’ will be ‘falsely accused’ of sexual harassment, rape, etc. Mike is only five, but while we joke that he ‘loves to hard’ with his hugs, kisses and butt bumping – as parents we HAVE to make sure that he understands no means no NOW. He needs to hear that word frequently, feel it’s consequences and learn self control.

I am worried he will grow up and drive too fast, or not reach his potential, or have his heart broken (in more ways than one), or feel left out. I do not worry about him being falsely accused. S. and I are raising Mike to know that kindness counts and when he sees someone who needs help to help them. I hope we raise him to not put himself in situations where a false accusation could happen and not to be with people who encourage the wrong sort of behavior. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

How are you raising your little ones these days? Are you doing anything different?

Kindergarten & Helicoptering

I still can’t believe I have a Kindergartener.  I am not organized enough to have a Kindergartener – I can’t remember to take my OWN lunch out of the fridge on the way out the door how can I remember to give Mike HIS lunch? He doesn’t have a desk drawer of random semi-healthy snacks to rely on! And we budget for the inevitable monthly overdue library fees so remembering Mike’s weekly library day seems so overwhelming. I know we will figure it out, but there is SO.MUCH.PAPER.  I know it is only week two and we will eventually get our shit together, but Mike better grow up quick and get a damn day planner.

Also, his school just started using the DoJo app, which seems to be pretty popular among the ‘mommy communities’. Cool, cool. It has a feed like Facebook for the school (our’s currently has 2 pictures), the ability to text message teachers and a section where parents can see when their kid gets a ‘DoJo Point’. Since Mike’s school is a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) school the are focusing on reinforcing positive behavior by acknowledging it. SO – when Mike or his class does something good he is given a point which he can use for a prize. I am not sure how I feel about all this yet, but after chatting with my Mom she hit the nail on the head when it came to verbalize my intial reaction. Teachers (and their support staff) complain about the rise of ‘helicopter parent‘, and rightfully so. But this instant access to my child’s behavior? I think that’s feeding into that culture. I am literally getting a concrete number to compare him against his peers. I can instantly text his teacher for clarifications or ‘check ins’. How is that NOT enabling helicopter parents?

I know S. and I struggle with the thin line between being an involved parent and being a helicopter parent. We like to know how Mike is doing and how we can work with him at home because we view education as a partnership. And now that he is in Kindergarten we know NOTHING. He tells us NOTHING. I have no idea who his gym teacher is. No clue what they read. No idea who he sits with at lunch. If it isn’t in his take home folder I don’t know about it. He just doesn’t share that information despite asking 100 different ways. I fight the urge to email his teacher (she seems slower to respond on DoJo) to just check in on a regular basis. Trust me, I know she doesn’t need that. I am sure there is someone else doing that (there is one in every class).

I feel like we just floating through this experience and if he walks out the door with a lunch then we have had a successful day. It gets better, right?

I got my GoDaddy renewal notice yesterday and realized it’s been awhile since I blogged. I think it’s because there are some things going on behind the scenes I am not ready to talk about (don’t worry, nothing bad) and I am working a new job that is not only taking up a bunch of my time, but giving me a bit of a creative outlet.

I have lots of ideas stewing in my brain – product reviews, listicals, and just musings of being a working mom and wife with ADHD.

I should also note that I have opened up this post 3 times the past week and have been interrupted to:

  • Print coloring pages of zombie towns (do not tell your kid you can print coloring pages on demand, DO NOT)
  • Watch Captain Underpants (again, thanks Netflix)
  • Find his red tie (not his yellow tie and CERTAINLY not his plaid tie)

This motherhood thing is a struggle right? Between Mikey, S. and our now TWO dogs – I often find myself asking (read: demanding) not to be touched for 10 minutes. But honestly, there is nothing I rather spend my energy on – raising this little boy to be a good man and human being. And being a wife S. deserves and giving these damn dogs their best life.

And what about me? I am living the life I want to live. I am doing work I enjoy and am passionate about. I finding time to read and spend one on one time with S. Life is good right now.

Stay tuned. I’m not ready to give up blogging just yet.

Happy 5th Birthday Mikey!

My Littlest Love,

You are one whole hand! I remember going to the bank for a consolidation loan when you were just an itty bitty thing and hearing that our loan would be paid off in 5 years. I had to laugh because imagining you being 5 was such a surreal, unbelievable thought – yet here we are! (also, that loan was paid off early ;))

Your Daddy and I can’t believe who you have grown into. Besides having long legs and crazy bedhead all the time, you are a good kid. We hear from Miss Amy and Miss Jamie how you offer to help, show your manners and be kind when you don’t think anyone is watching. Out of everything we want for you, we want you to be kind. It sounds like you are on the right track.

As a 4 year old you had quite a few new experiences!

You took your first vacation to Ocean City and stayed in a ‘big house with lots of rooms’ (or a hotel as we called it).

You moved into a new home with a new space themed bedroom! It’s usually a mess with your treasures, but for now we can step over your Lego collections.

You REALLY got into Halloween this year. You were the cutest astronaut and spent weeks leading up to AND weeks following the holiday talking about skeletons, zombies and pumpkin picking. You even mastered how to draw a skeleton and came home with hundreds of skeleton drawings. 

Your imagination and creativity really came out this year. You’ve enjoyed doing art projects and coloring in the evenings before bed. I have to admit, you are REALLY good at coloring. Recently you’ve take up singing and dancing and just being an all around performer. Your favorite song seems to be The Greatest Show from The Greatest Showman. But you aren’t picky. You love the Ghostbusters theme song too.

SPEAKING of Ghostbusters … That has consumed so much of our time and energy. Daddy and I aren’t real sure where it came from since the movie came out in the 80s, but you are obsessed. You love the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer the best. You know the difference between the ‘old’ Ecto-1 (from the original movie) and the ‘new’ Ecto-1 (from the Melissa McCarthy movie). We’ve indulged you a bit, but I am sure this obsession will quickly be replaced with something new.

You closed out your year 4 by playing your first team sport – t-ball! You didn’t love it, but you didn’t hate it either. Contact with the ball never really happened unless it was on a tee, and after a few swings you would make contact and it went FAR. We will see how you are feeling this time next year, but Daddy and I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines. You also passed level 1 swimming this year and are totally independent as long as you are wearing your puddle jumpers. We joined the pool this summer, so we are looking forward to seeing you advance.

My sweet love, your belly laugh and requests for ‘nuggles’ makes my heart soar. We are so proud of the boy you are becoming and look forward to you being one whole hand. Keep asking questions, keep looking for adventures and keep being kind.

With all my heart all the time, happy birthday,

Momma xoxo

Let Me See Your Handshake

After college when I started working for an association that had a global membership of top entrepreneurs I started to pay attention to handshakes. And it wasn’t just the ones I was getting, but the ones I was giving. I made a conscious effort to give a firm, confident handshake while giving eye contact and a smile. It’s hard enough to be female these days, but a female in the workplace needs to take every opportunity to be taken seriously – starting with a handshake.

So what does this have to do with parenting? Nothing really. But I’ve mentioned a few times on social media that we have a ‘family handshake’ and a few people have asked to about it. To be honest, I don’t remember how it evolved, but it wasn’t a conscious decision. I do remember it coming about in the fall when it was parent’s day at his school and for some reason he was overwhelmed and started crying. We obviously wanted to run over and scoop him up to find out what the fuss was about, but it was the middle of circle time and his teachers are competent (and reacted appropriately). But from the other side of the room I wanted to make sure he knew we saw him and he was okay. So I gave him a thumbs up. He repeated it. So I gave him the ‘okay’ symbol and he repeated that as well. From there our handshake grew and sometimes there are ‘special additions’

Now S., Mikey and I do ‘our handshake’ when we can’t verbally communicate with him, before bed and at the ‘goodbye’ window at school. It’s hardly a secret handshake, but I love that we have something that unites us that is as simple as a few hand gestures. So, without further ado, our handshake performed by Mikey!

Dear Mollie the Five Year Old

Dearest Mollie,

How are you one whole hand? I remember the day you were born – I am sure you will hear this story many times over, so I won’t bore you with the exciting details of your grand entrance again.

I am writing this to you as I fly from Maryland to Texas which gives me lots of time to think about what this year has brought for you. You didn’t become a sister this past year, but you really felt what it was like to have a little sister, especially one who required some extra attention. I was so impressed with how easily you bounced between houses, hung out in doctor’s offices and explained to everyone, even strangers, about your sister’s lip.

Uncle Sammy and I got to see you in action at your first (hopefully of many) ballet recitals. You also discovered My Little Ponies this year much to my excitement. Grandma and Grandpa got you the set for Christmas and you happily explained who everyone was. They have changed quite a bit since I was a little girl!

Your personality hasn’t changed one bit since you were born. You are still headstrong and sweet. One time, when we were going to the park to feed the ducks, you asked if I knew your Daddy. I explained that yes, I did know your Daddy, he is my brother. Well, you were having none of that and insisted it couldn’t be true. You were so adamant that I wasn’t your Daddy’s sister that I started to believe it myself! I can easily see law school in your future, but you could also be a superstar sales executive with your determination and sweet smile.

You and Mike have reached a new level of friendship that melts my heart. You both spent more time together this year and have shown him how things are done since you are a whole two months older, thus making you wise to the ways of the world. You could easily be one of his favorite people!

My sweet Mollie, happy 5th birthday. I hope this year brings you new adventures, new friends and more giggles. And selfishly, I hope you get more Barbies who need their hair brushed and outfits changed.

Love always,

Aunt Jay Jay

Brave Trails

Hi friends! It’s a yucky day in Maryland and work is crazy busy, but I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know I am raising money for Brave Trails via Facebook for my birthday tomorrow (don’t let that stop you from buying me a present though).

This blog has taken me in some interesting directions like meeting Matt Marr of the Dear Mattie Podcast. You might remember he asked me to be a guest and talk about the 12 For 1 Diaper Drive a few years ago. Well, Matt is someone I deeply admire for so many reasons. One big thing he’s done (and he’s done plenty) is help bring Camp Brave Trails to fruition.

Growing up I went to Camp Mardela and it was such a transformative experience. A lot of my summer memories were made there as well as lifelong friendships. It helped shape who I am today. Camp Brave Trails is a camp specifically for LGBTQ teens to cultivate their leadership skills.

I’ve watched a lot of their promos videos and read lots about Brave Trails and I realized as a straight cis female I didn’t need a place to fit in. I fit in almost everywhere. But for LGBTQ teens – they need some safe spaces and Brave Trails not only offers that, but more. They do the regular camp activities like archery, skits and campfires but they also do social justice, learn about self acceptance and fundraising for causes close to their heart. In short – Brave Trails is shaping our future leaders and damn if we don’t need a little hope for future leadership these days. 

Other good news – Brave Trails is not only going to be doing 2 week long sessions in California, but they are coming to Maryland for a week! If you have a chance, like them on Facebook and look at how happy those kids are.

If you’d like to donate, here’s how: http://www.bravetrails.org/donate-here/

So far my birthday fundraiser has raised enough money to sponsor a day of leader training. Leaders training leaders – I like that. And I will leave you with a picture of me during my Camp Mardela years.  It basically sums up camp – bucket hats, jorts, gimp bracelets and rosy cheeks.