Be a Five Year Planner

Yesterday, I was inspired by a very interesting blog http://simplemom.net/five-year-plan/

Sexy Neck and I sit down together every January and decide our year plan for home renovations. We also talk about any changes we would like to make. We also make or review our five year plan. Really I do most of the initiating on this, but my husband is always game to come along on the goal setting journey!

Our plan sits on the side of our refrigerator.

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In 2010, we decided to avoid using paper towels.

In 2011, we decided to switch from using margarine to butter.

In 2012, we decided to use a reusable mug to get hot drinks at various coffee shops instead of copious amount of paper ones!

Looking back these are kind of random, but they were very meaningful at the time and we haven’t gone back. (How annoying for anyone looking for margarine or paper towels at our house!)

Our five year plan includes:

– replacing all our single pane windows (done!)
– replacing our roof (2013)
– painting the outside of our house (done!)
– save money to take our family of five to Germany, Spain, France and Switzerland for 6 weeks (2015) to visit some old friends.

My favourite thought right now is: A day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day! (Checkout 2 Peter 3:8.)

Goal setting always keeps things in perspective for me as a stay-at-home mom. It is easy to get bogged down in laundry, cooking, cleaning…

Be Nostalgic Not Stupid

Merry Christmas Everyone! To my new and old friends, and to my family (given and chosen).

Here is my Christmas life lesson for you!

I tend to get emotionally attached to things. In my daily life, I have to make a conscious effort to let “things” go. This include mostly physical things that have been given to me and words that have been said to me.

I was reminded of the importance of letting go on Christmas Eve.

Here is a photo of our awesome Christmas tree picked out together as a family from a local Christmas tree farm. Our eldest son just put the angel on top of the tree.

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Here is the tree after my husband unplugged it on Christmas Eve. The plug sparked and the lights went dark.

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Now here is the background information that I need to share: I have vehemently refused to buy new lights for our tree because these are the exact same lights that were on my tree as a child. My parents have a beautiful artificial tree with lights and I wanted their old lights! We have been using these lights for about ten years and my parents had them for over twenty years… So you can imagine…

Now I need to have a little talk with myself: Seriously, Joanna, don’t be stupid. Give up the lights!

Now comes the hard work because I am trying to figure out what else I am holding onto that could potentially burn down my house!

Be a Breastfeeder

The words I heard from a family member sitting at my kitchen table as I sat on a chair ten feet away:

“She is still breast feeding?”

I was not suppose to hear these words, but here is my response, via the blog world, to my dear family member.

Yes, I am still breast feeding my fifteen month old son. I am going to try and breastfeed until he is two years old. I didn’t make it to two years old with my oldest two. One I cut off around 21 months and the other stopped at 23 months. I am the worst breast feeder though- from yeast infections to mastitis to cracked and sore nipples. I have had it all. I am a stubborn breast feeder. I have also just been too lazy to heat up and clean bottles so breast feeding seems like the easier, more convenient option. It is always ready, the right temperature and I don’t have to worry about what some manufacturer had put in. Plus I don’t have to check the recall list fort breadtmilk.

So there’s my two cents! Be a breast feeder if you want to. But more importantly be supportive of people!

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Be an Anything Builder

Stop and take a moment to look at your couch, chairs and pillow (and perhaps some books, a strainer and an umbrella?).

Now take a look at these items through the eyes of a three and five year old.

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I am always amazed at what my boys can create from around the house. As long as an item is not sharp nor fragile they are allowed to incorporate it into their construction. Actually, I also don’t allow food nor drink, we save that for the kitchen table.

Today’s anything rescuer machine involved dialogue about helping others, a song and a few toooo to doooo noises. They even took a journey in their transformed helicopter to New York!

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This reminds me of the Christmas season and the things I WANT to be doing to celebrate: be an anything rescuer, helping others with a song and perhaps a few toooo to dooo’s along the way!

Be a Tree Cutter

I love, love, love having a real Christmas tree in our house. I love opening the front door and the beautiful tree scent whaps you in the face. I love multi-coloured light, twisted branches and ornaments place wherever. (CC, our 3 year old, insisted on placing all his ornaments on two spots. No I won’t be moving them!)

Our tree got put up last night and I hope to keep it up for a long time in January.

We use the old multicoloured strings of lights that were on my tree growing up. Multicoloured, non-LED and beautifully imperfect. Some flash, some are burnt out, others are hard to see! Last Christmas, Sexy Neck went hunting for replacements, 3 big box stores and 2 family-owned stores later he found some!

This year was the very first time that all 3 of our boys were involved in some part of “putting up the tree”! I loved putting up the old ornaments from my childhood, ornaments Sexy Neck and i got pre-kids, having my mom sitting on the couch to talk to and seeing my boys put up the ornaments they had made/been given.

But I think the highlight for my boys was the fact that the tree was to tall and Sexy Neck had to pull out the saw. (We always try to get the tallest tree!)

Here is the action:

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We even found a bird’s nest:

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But if you want to see a really wild, neighbour-scaring, creative tree, checkout my cousin’s tree in Spain!

http://notsospanish.wordpress.com

Be Proud

My son is almost fifteen months old. He cannot walk, but he sure can climb! He climbs his brothers’ bunk bed ladder, onto kitchen chairs. Today, he climbed up on the couch in between his big brothers. He was so proud!

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This proud moment made me think of judgement for some reason and my judgement in particular.

It would be easy to judge the fact that my son isn’t walking as the ‘norm’ is 12 months.

It is easy for me to judge, myself especially. But I need to learn to be proud of the little things and let the other things go! My inner dialogue could probably burn a house down. I am very hard on myself.

My children have become my teachers in many ways. Thank you baby boy for my lesson today,

Joanna be proud!

Be a Ding Ding Marble Thing Maker

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I had to throw in a lighter post today.

My boys loves to create: Lego, blocks, and paper. They especially love it when Dada gets out the tools and the wood. Today’s creation has been in my oldest son’s mind since the summer.

Tonight, he created his ding ding marble thing. There are some benefits to having dada at home.

I am realizing that ‘hard’ times also bring blessings.

Be Stretched

I’ve never been known for my ability to stretch. I have never been called Gumby! On my University volleyball team, I remember we used to laugh at my inability to touch my toes. I was called peg legged!

I know that I am not physically flexible, but I didn’t know how mentally inflexible I am!

I have been stretched. In the last six week, my husband has been injured, my physically home has changed, my boys have been sick and I have been holding onto to Jesus’ cloak asking for help.

Yesterday, my husband returned to the hospital because his suture was red and hot. Yes, he has an infection. He is now back on the couch at our house. We didn’t move back down the lake closer to his work. He can’t work for a few days.

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This sent me into an emotional tailspin – okay what now? Who goes where? Who is doing what and how can I get back to my yoga class?

It all “worked out”! But not before I almost had a meltdown because my expectations weren’t meeting up with reality. Boy have I been stretched!

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I may be able to touch my toes if this continues! I pray that I can!

Be a Panda in a Heat Gym

Whenever I coach volleyball, my eldest son loves to come with me. He insists on wearing his “coaching” shirt which is a University of Alberta Pandas volleyball shirt. This shirt is precious to him (and me!) as it was given to him by my coach when I played. Her daughter had worn the shirt until she grew out of it.

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I love this shirt too! But last week, I was coaching at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Club Volleyball tryouts (Whew, that was a mouthful!). I chose my wardrobe carefully, wearing a Heat shirt of course! He wore his Panda shirt and I must admit that I received a comment from someone on the Heat coaching staff.

It made me realize how immune my son is to doing something simple that made someone else feel uncomfortable.

How often do I do the “comfortable” thing because I don’t want to offend anyone? How often do I do something because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings?

EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I am so outwardly focused on wondering and worrying about my actions or words and how they are perceived by people outside my immediate circle. My inner circle gets the “real” Joanna, but others get a watered-down “comfortable” version of Joanna.

This simple shirt incident made me realize that I need to be more like my five year old son. Every day, I need to put on my ‘coaching shirt’ of my choice, do my best and have fun! Sorry if it makes you feel uncomfortable!

Be “Acting Consciously Not Reacting Habitually”

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This is an old photo from 2007 when I was in labour with my first son. I thought of it this week because in my “new life” in our little basement suite 60 kilometres down the lake from our house.

I love exercising and doing yoga makes me feel a re-connection with my body and slows down my sometimes “frenzied” mind.

In the last two weeks, I have attended 5 yoga classes. This is more classes of any type that I have been present at in the last 2 years. In each of these yoga classes, I have experienced the emotions of sadness (yes, I did cry in class), anger, surrender, and learning to trust. Hey, is this the grieving process?

Anyways, last night at yoga, the teacher came out with this comment that we need to “act consciously not react habitually”. Oh man, I am a woman of habit.

I come from a long line of habitual people.

Perfect example: Both of my parents had the same barber/hairdresser for over 30 years! Yup… they both have great hair, but this is a wonderful? habit of going to the same place over and over. The other great? habit that has been handed down to me is being a “Yes” person. My parents try very hard to be good people, to help out and to say “Yes”.

For me in this journey of the last 3 weeks, of moving our family of five, has reinforced to me that not all my habits are healthy and that it is okay to shake things up. I commit to acting more consciously in my life back at home.

And hopefully I can get back into yoga/life shape so that at least I can touch my toes!