Use your passion

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My 13 year old son loves video games.  He would play them all day if I let him.  He wants to design his own when he grows up.

This morning, I wrote a note to him to look up the websites a dance dad told him about a few months ago.  Then I wrote him another note that said, “Use your passion to create something new today.”  Why should he wait until he gets older to create?  Why not now? Why sit around playing someone else’s game when he can use his passion and creativity to design his own?

That applies to all of us.  Why sit around waiting for something to happen to us?  Why not get up and do something right now?  My 10 year old daughter and I created an etsy store a couple of months ago but haven’t done anything with it, yet.  We’ve been incredibly busy with other things and keep putting it off.  But why can’t we spend a little time each day working on it?

It’s all about prioritizing.

Prioritizing and using my time carefully are two things I’m horrible at.  Just ask my fitness moms.  I’ve done a very bad job this time around and feel just awful.  I’ve let myself get pulled in several directions and piled too many things on my shoulders. Slowly, my commitments are falling away on their on allowing me more time, finally. Today, I’m creating a schedule with a list of things I NEED to do and a list of things I WANT to do and allowing time to do both.  I’d rather dabble a bit here and there than only focus on one or two things.  This may not work for everyone but I want to give it a try.  I’m tired of reaching the end of the day not having made time to do things I enjoy. I’m allowing life to get in my way.

We only live once.  Make the most of it now.

 

Mommyhood through the years- School

I stopped by my daughter’s classroom this afternoon to see when a project was due.  The teacher told me a packet went home with all of the information.  I was honest and told her I didn’t read it.  If there’s something I need to know, she usually tells me.

This got me thinking.  When my oldest two daughters were in school, I read every single paper that came home, signed every single test, checked their binders every day and made their lunches the night before.  I remembered and went to every parent conference. I volunteered over 5,000 hours in three years, was the Volunteer Coordinator for a year and PTO president for two years.  I was under 30. I was an awesome mom.

The two younger kids came along when I was 30 and 33.  By the time the youngest went to kindergarten, I’d just survived a year with three kids at three different schools and my oldest was a senior in high school preparing to leave for college the following summer. Having a kindergartner and senior makes for a very emotional year. The first two years of my second go round having two kids in elementary school went pretty well.  I walked them to their classrooms every day, walked to pick them up after, remembered to sign binders 85% of the time and made sure their “buddies” checked their binders (when you have four kids with a seven year break in the middle, you learn to assign buddies to make sure no one gets lost and is fully dressed before leaving the house).  I was under 40. I was a pretty good mom.

I realized today, that I’ve gotten lazy with the younger two.  My son is homeschooled so I kinda have to know how he’s doing.  Thankfully there are no papers or binders to sign, no report cards or parent conferences.  My youngest daughter is 10 and headed to middle school next year (WTF?!?!?!).  I can’t remember the last time I checked her backpack, signed her binder, looked at her report card (unless glancing over it while driving counts).  But she gets her stuff done on time and like her teacher pointed out after my confession, at least she’ll be independent.  I’m over 40.  I’m an okay mom.

lazymom

Being Overwhelmed

Being a human can be busy.  Being a woman can be hectic.  Being a wife can be frenzied.  Being a mom can be flustering.  When you put them all together, along with everything else you do, can be overwhelming.

 I take on a lot.  Too much.  I like to help.  I’m a human, woman, a wife, a mom of 4, a homeschooling mom, dance mom, a student, a WAHM, SAHM, shuttle 3 kids around, run 5 Instagram accounts, 2 Facebook pages, sit on the board for an upcoming company, the chair for a fundraiser at my daughter’s school, a blogger, fitness challenge leader, TBMG admin, a gym member, maid, organizer, cook, crafter, reader, laundry room attendant and more.

 I also have ADD (can you tell?).

 I am also overwhelmed.

 It’s not always a bad thing.  Most of the time I’m able to keep chugging along and get things done. However, I when I get called out (or call myself out) about not keeping up with certain responsibilities, I’m forced to stop and take a look at everything on my titanic-sized plate.  This is when the panic sets in.  This is when I realize just how much I have to do, or have created for myself to do.  This is when I realize that I’m overwhelmed.

 Most people can deal with this rationally and occasionally I’m able to as well.  I make lists, set timers, ask for help, etc.  But sometimes, like the most recent time, I shut down. When I shut down, not a lot gets done.  I hide out.  I’m 5 weeks behind on homework and have a midterm in 9 days.  I haven’t blogged for Real Fit Mom in months.  I haven’t kept up with my duties as a TBMG admin. I’m way behind on pulling winners and promoting sponsors for my fitness challenges.  I joined a gym in November and have been about 6 times.  I have 3 weeks to bling 3 dance costumes and sew bottoms onto 3 shirts.  I haven’t stepped foot in the playroom since Christmas and the only reason my kitchen is clean and laundry is done is because we have to have dishes to eat off of and clothes to wear.

 I wake up every morning knowing what I NEED to do.  I get reminders, most of which I appreciate. Sometimes it still doesn’t get done.

 I know that I’m not alone.

 What others should realize about people like me, is that we don’t skip on responsibilities on purpose.  We WANT to be successful, organized, responsible and reliable.  On the outside, our lives may appear happy-go-lucky and carefree.  Social media doesn’t help.  Smart phones make it harder.  Fun apps provide a safe haven.

 But every day is a new day.  I tell this to my fitness challenge moms a lot.  If you had a bad day yesterday, try to start over today.  Lost a whole week?  Get back on the ball next week.  Shut down for a month (or two)?  Take baby steps to get your shit back together.

 I updated my dry erase calendar yesterday.  Today, I made a short list of things to do on my dry erase board.  After this post, I’ll make a loooooonnnngggg list of things that need to be done.  I have a brand new pack of sticky notes to post reminders to myself.  I’ve also discovered that my dry erase markers work on the refrigerator and my kitchen cabinets.  Yay!  I deleted all of the notes in the Note app on my phone because I never go back to check them.  Instead, I took my fitness iPod holder, stuck some index cards and a pen in it and keep it strapped to my arm.  Yup, I look like a dork but I always have something handy to write things down on.  Ok, so I haven’t actually put it together or worn it, BUT, it’s on my mental list of things to do.

 The good thing is, I woke up this morning, drove my daughter to school and instead of going back to bed, I got on the computer and found stupid articles to keep me occupied for 2 hours……then I got up and made a protein smoothie and sat down to write this article which is growing longer so most of you won’t make it to this point.  But, I’m up, I’m starting over, it’s not even 10:30 am so I still have plenty of time to get things done and I have a plan.  Check back with me later to see if I decided to get back with the world or if I retreated back to my hide out.  😉  #dontgiveup #justkeepswimming #yesiputhashtagsinanarticle

Article also posted on Tampa Bay Moms Group.

Today is a new day. Make it count.

​I’m not usually the worrying, stressed out type. But I have been for the last week. I gained several pounds, let my house go to shit, put off decorating for Christmas, ignored my family, deprived myself of sleep and it was all for nothing. I failed my statistics final. I won’t graduate this month, I won’t start subbing to help pay for my youngest daughter’s dance and I won’t be taking a semester off from school.

This sign has hung in my room for several years. I don’t remember why or when I made it. It is a new day. I can’t fix what happened yesterday but I can make changes today. I won’t bore you with my to-do list but think about this; we only have one life to live and we should fill every day of it with love, joy and laughter. Worrying, stressing and being angry or resentful are horrible ways to waste what precious time we have.
I watched my oldest daughter graduate from college last Sunday. I helped heal her broken heart with a new puppy. We shared an entire day with friends and family and it was wonderful. Every day should feel like that. 

I’m off to make today count. I’m going to make it amazing. I’m going to eat my leftover sandwich for breakfast because it was so good I don’t want to wait for lunch (thank you Carrollwood Deli!). I’m going to make sure that my husband and kids all laugh at least once today. And I’m going to end the day next to our fire pit in Florida’s 80 degree weather because it makes me happy. We all deserve to be happy. 

My mom taught me how precious life is. I grew up with so much love and laughter in our home and I’m passing that onto my children. Live for today. Every day is a new day. Make each and every one count. 

Miracle of the Moment

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^^^^ Listen!!!

Yesterday my family said goodbye to a dear friend. She fought cancer for four long years. As I sat in the service I reflected on my own life and how I lived it. I’m a procrastinator. Big time. I never reach my fitness goals because I’m lazy.

Sandee can never hug her family again. She will never laugh with her friends again. She won’t get to see my daughter dance anymore. 

“Do what she can no longer do” popped into my head. I want to remember this every day not just for Sandee but for my mother-in-law, Granny Pat, Shirley and all of the many people we know who have lost their lives to cancer, to anyone who is no longer with us. 

My husband are not big planners. We tend to be spontaneous which I love. One of the lessons I learned from losing my 1st son was to live every day to its fullest. Life is short. While doing dishes this morning, Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Miracle of the Moment” came on and I was moved to send a message to my fitness moms which led to this blog post.

It’s ok to take a day off. It’s ok to sit down and play with your kids and not vacuum today. It’s ok to take time for yourself. But don’t forget your purpose in life. Don’t let your goals get away from you. Do what they can no longer do- live. 

I know they love each other

My babies went to sleep tonight with tears in their eyes. I know they love each other but they are just so different. They want to spend time together but are both so hard-headed. They want to get along but just don’t understand each other.

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As a parent, I don’t know what to do. I listened as they each told their side of the story. I watched the tears roll down their faces, one feeling bad she’d ruined the movie, the other feeling his sister ruined everything. Then I got frustrated and told them that they could enjoy the summer sitting in their rooms.

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They feel that they are too different so they can’t get along. I feel that I’ve failed to teach them to compromise. I talked with both about being the bigger person. Maybe they need a project to work on together. Round 2 involved more tears and more blame, “She always….” “He always….” So I told them, separately, that tomorrow they would help each other clean their rooms. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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I just checked on my 2 sleeping babies. I know they love each other. I’ve tried to explain that fighting over a movie is trivial. I want to tell them that people are being shot, blown up and killed in freak accidents every day. I want to remind them that every minute is precious and they should make the most of it. But I want to retain their innocence as long as possible, so I say nothing except, “I love you very much.”

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Tomorrow is a new day. All I can hope is that all will be forgiven and we can start anew. I will remind them that no matter what they go through in life, they will always have each other. I will tell them that being different is good. I will teach them again about compromising and about being compassionate.

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I know my Littles love each other and I know that tomorrow they will find a common ground. They always do. I will have them read this post and know that we will all be thankful that we don’t have to watch Max and Ruby ever again. There is one thing that never lacks in our family- love and laughter. Yes, I know, that’s two things but they go together, hand in hand.

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Parenting is hard and it never gets easier. No two days are ever the same. But I prefer it that way. It means life will never be monotonous and I can tell you that in my 22+ years of being a mom, not one day has been like another. People often ask how we raise 4 kids. I jokingly answer, “Drugs and alcohol.” But honestly, the more you have, the easier it gets. Tonight was a trying time but my beautiful babies are sleeping and will wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready for new arguments.  😉 I know they love each other and will find something in common to occupy themselves and hopefully not give me anymore grey hairs.

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Extremely proud mommy moment

I wrote the following article for a new post so it’s not in first person.  I wanted to share it with my followers since we are extremely proud of our little dancer.

Nine year old Tampa dancer, Maggie Barrett, started dancing when she was two years old and started taking lessons at Centerstage Dance Academy when she was fie. Last year, Maggie created a dance video for PTA Reflections through Carrollwood Elementary with the theme “The world would be a better place if…”  Maggie chose “…there was no cancer” in memory of her grandpa who had recently passed away.  Maggie moved from the school to district level receiving an honorable mention award.

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This year she chose dance choreography again with the theme “Let your imagination fly.”  She asked Centerstage’s studio owner, Yvette Breheney, for a song choice.  Yvette suggested a version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s “Pure Imagination” and Maggie chose one by Fionna Apple.  With the help of her siblings and mom, Maggie’s video was filmed at the gorilla exhibit at Busch Gardens.

Again, Maggie moved from the school level to the district level.  As Maggie and Kathryn sat in the auditorium, they waited for the dance choreography category.  Honorable mention was called.  Third place was called.  Second place was called.  Kathryn rubbed Maggie’s back and told her, “It’s ok.  You can try again next year.”  Then they called first place.  “Maggie Barrett.”  Both were shocked as Maggie walked to the stage followed by her mom, in tears, with her camera.  Maggie was thrilled with her first place win and, knowing how big Florida was, thought this would be the end.

The family was speechless when they were told Maggie was a winner at the state level.  Again, they thought this would be the end of it.

May 1st, the 23rd wedding anniversary of Maggie’s parents, they received the news that Maggie was one of 8 dance choreography/Intermediate level students to be chosen as a National winner.  There were 300,000 total entries throughout the US from grades K-12 in six different categories.  Of those, 1,000 were considered for the National level.  Of those 1,000, 206 were chosen as winners for the National level.  Only three students were awarded the Award of Excellence for dance choreography at the Intermediate level.  Maggie was one of them and the only one in her category and age group chosen in the state of Florida.  She will be recognized at several events throughout the year and her family couldn’t be more proud.

Here is the video from her entry: