Tuesday, November 3, 2015

7 Signs that You Need to Toughen Up

I remember the day vividly when I realized I needed to toughen up.  I was working full-time and I had two small kids and my husband was working all the time.  They both suddenly came down with the stomach flu.  I had several light bulbs that needed to be replaced and I hadn't bothered to do it because I needed to get a ladder out of the garage.  Suddenly a spider came out of a towel and my daughter yelled, "A bug!  Where's Daddy?"  It occurred to me then that I needed to take control and toughen up.

I killed that spider and marched out to the garage for the ladder.  It felt wonderful.  Then I took some probiotics to ward off the stomach flu decided I just wasn't going to get it.  I just couldn't.  And I didn't.  And from that day forward, I felt like a new woman.

Now, 5 years later, my daughter comes to me when she finds a scary bug.  Or she takes care of it herself, since she's also a mini-scientist and loves to catch and collect all kinds of bugs.  When she grows up and is a young Mom, I have no intention of her living in a dark house, filled with spiders the way I did, because there is just no reason to.  Of course, I love my husband, and we are a good team, but being tough and independent is one of the most rewarding changes I have ever made in my life.

Here are 7 signs you need to toughen up:
1.  You don't change your own bulbs, especially the high-up ones.  That's right ladies, don't be afraid to go get a ladder.  There's no reason to leave it for your husband.  Take charge right when you realize it's burned out.
2.  You go to your husband when you find a bug that needs to be killed (or caught and released, depending on your point of view).  They're not that scary.  In fact, you could help your kids collect disgusting spiders, cicada shells, and preying mantis (see below, every summer we collect these and I find them all over the house in plastic bags).  AND you can put the worms on the hook yourself.

3.  You are afraid to take on house-hold projects, even small ones such as adding extra hooks to the swingset or hanging pictures.  There is no reason to leave pictures sitting by a wall for weeks on end just because your husband hasn't had time to hang it.  We live in the world of HGTV.  And, some women are ready good with their hands.  I'm not, but some are and if you're a lucky one, you could tackle some paint jobs and help with the bigger jobs like tile or building decks.
4.  You hate going places by yourself.  You often pull the, "I don't want to drive there by myself," routine, especially if that means a road-trip or an airplane ride with the kids by yourself.  Get yourself a DVD player for the kids, and hit the open road.  You will survive.  If I can do it, you can.
5.  You don't take out your own trash.  Sometimes husbands have early meetings or just forget.  You have strong arms, so putting them to use should be no problem for you.
6.  You never take care of yard work.  But what happens if your husband forgets to water those baby trees?  You can pull weeds, you mow the yard.  (Okay, I admit my husband doesn't let me mow the yard because he says it doesn't look terrible when I do it.  But I do everything else.)
7.  You won't shovel your own snow.  Give the kids a shovel and get 'er done!

Of course, I'm not 100% independent.  I still make my husband throw away dead mice and squirrels, but I do my best and I'm proud to show my kids that being fearless is possible.

Independent Moms

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Our favorite Halloween tradition - Dry Ice?

I wanted to share with you our favorite Halloween traditions.  My husband started it when our kids were really small, and honestly at first I thought it was pretty crazy and extreme.  But our kids beg for it every year and I know it's something they will remember forever.

It's pretty simple really.  We get some dry ice from our grocery store, then fill our cauldron with Kool-Aid (just follow the directions on the package) and then add the dry ice, one small rectangle at a time.  It bubbles and hisses and smokes and they love blowing the smoke around and watching all the craziness!  We put it right in the middle of our newspapers while we are carving pumpkins and it adds a lot of fun.  Plus, they love the super cold Kool-Aid!  Whenever it starts to get too tame, we add another rectangle of dry ice to the cauldron.  We re-use the same cauldron every year, it's just a little cheap one we got from Target.

** Note, dry ice can be dangerous, so watch the kids closely and never let them put their hands inside the bowl.  

And tell me, what is your favorite Halloween tradition?


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Monday, October 26, 2015

3 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Better Sleep and Stop SNORING

Quit Snoring

My husband has always been a poor sleeper, but lately it's gotten out of control.  He is having a lot of stress at work, and this has caused him to start sleep-walking.  I don't love the idea of installing top-notch baby gates just for his safety.  On top of that, he snores like a man who is lost in the woods and the only hope for survival is to grunt at other animals to communicate.  Seriously, sometimes I want to pinch his nostrils, but I fear for his life if I do.

His sleep issues cause him all kinds of problems, and they worse they get, the more tired and stressed he gets.  The poor guy.  He even got super expensive and invasive surgery a few years ago, and they called it "the snore-cure".  They took out his adenoids and tonsils and snipped his Uvula (the thing that hangs down in the back of the throat).  He was snoring again within a few months and actually it's worse than ever.  We've tried snore spray, we've tried sleep pillows, we got a fancy, expensive bed, and nothing seems to work.  So, imagine my surprise when I found something that actually works.

Here's what happened.  One night my husband was snoring so loudly it was shaking the bed and I turned to him so I could get him situated to his side, which usually solves the problem for awhile.  To my surprise, HE WAS ALREADY ON HIS SIDE!  Now I had no recourse left and decided I needed to try something drastic.  My friend has been telling me about these Essential Oils for a long time, how she uses them to ward off colds, uses them to make a natural eye cream, and much more.  She told me there is an oil called Valor II that is specifically designed for snoring and sleeping issues in general.  I really don't usually buy into this kind of thing, but if he was going to snore on his side and walk around the room all night, what choice did I really have?  I ordered her starter oil kit, along with a few other oils she recommended for me.  My friend then told me to put a drop of oil on each of his big toes right before bedtime.  You should have heard my husband, "What kind of voo-doo are we doing?  You want to put SMELLY OIL on my TOE?"

He succumbed anyway and in the morning I asked him how he slept.  He smiled sheepishly and said, "Well, I have to admit that's the first time I have slept through until 5:45 without waking up in as long as I can remember.  I guess your voo-doo worked."

It's been a few weeks now and he is still sleeping great.  I have noticed he is hardly snoring at all anymore, even when I wake up in the middle of the night to deal with one of the kids.

I am sleeping better too, especially when combined with a few other tricks I tried:

1.  Drink lots of water early in the day.  I find that if I'm dehydrated, I don't sleep well, but if I drink water late in the day, then I'm up all night peeing (am I the only one whose bladder never fully recovered from those pesky pregnancies?)
2.  Get the temperature right in the room.  Scientifically, it has been shown that air temperature can greatly affect the quality of sleep, and not everyone has the same magic number.  We have experimented and found we need a high fan and/or a temperature of 65 degrees or less for optimal sleep.
3.  Experiment with Essential Oils.  My husband used Valor II to help with his snoring, but I find that a different one, Cedarwood, works better for me.  I never thought I would be recommending something like this, but truly, it has made such a difference for us!

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about these oils.  I am still learning a lot, but I have a lot of resources at my fingertips and can help you find what you need.  You can reach me at katiefnorris (at) yahoo.com.

Disclaimer: I have been blogging for over four years and in that time I have never directly sold any type of product.  However, I have finally found one that I am passionate about, so I have decided to become a direct distributor.  I do receive a commission on any oil that is sold through my webpage, but all opinions on the oil and their effectiveness are completely my own.  I do not claim to be a medical practitioner. I do not diagnose, treat or prescribe any medical treatment or advice. You should always discuss treatment of medical conditions with your medical practitioner before using any alternative therapies, natural supplements, or vitamins. The following safety precautions are guidelines only. You should consult with an aromatherapist about essential oil usage and always inform your primary care physician what you are using as they may not be conducive with his/her prescribed therapy and medications.  

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

I’m not a Work-Out Mom, I’m not a Career Mom, so what kind of Mom am I?

We moved across the country this summer, and this meant my kids would be the new kids at school, so I began to have a one track mind on getting them assimilated quickly.  I made playdates with neighbors, I signed them up for soccer and Girl Scouts, but at Back to School night something funny happened.  When we walked into the school, I realized this was also about us as parents, and more specifically, about me.  I needed to meet the Moms too.  Now I felt like the new kid myself and something struck me.  There were Moms dressed in their fancy career clothes, there were Moms dressed in work-out clothes (at 7pm), and there were the PTA Moms.  The problem was, I didn't fit into any of those categories.

I work out a little, but I don't love it.  I used to be a big career Mom, but I quit when we moved to Colorado, since we were only going to be there for a year, so while I still remember vividly what it was like to be a working Mom, as far as everyone else is concerned, I am a stay at home Mom.  I'm not a trendy Mom either, or a shopping Mom.  Suddenly I felt panicked.  Where would I fit?  What kind of Mom was I going to be?  Would I go back to work?  Would I get super involved in school?  Would I join a gym?

I shared my insecurities with my Mom and my husband.  They pretty much thought I was a crazy person.  Why did I care where I fit in?

I tried to get over it by telling myself I was being silly.  I just needed to be myself and all would be well.  But I did care.  I went out and bought a fancy tennis skirt.  Then toyed with the idea of going back to work.  I joined the PTA.  I was sure something would feel normal soon.

Then one day my kids came home from school and for about the fifth day in a row, they were all upset about something that happened on the bus.  The bus company kept changing drivers, and changing pick-up times, and seating arrangements, and I realized this bus situation was causing them a tremendous amount of stress.  They said they loved the bus and truly there were a lot of advantages.  Everyone in the neighborhood takes the bus so they get to socialize a lot.  They got to trade Pokemon cards, which they loved.  Even I loved the bus because they looked so cute getting on and off and plus then I didn't have to fight the car line every day, but I knew it wasn't working.  I made an impulsive decision and decided to pull them off the bus.  They were sad about it at first, and I could tell everyone thought I was a bit crazy about the whole thing, but I decided to give it two weeks.

Two weeks later, I was amazed.  They never complained about school anymore.  They were happier.  There were no more tears at night.  The bus truly had been causing all the angst, they just didn't know it.  That's when it hit me: I'm not Gym Mom, I'm not Soccer Mom, I'm not Career Mom.  I'm Flexible Mom.

Since I'm not working I can change our schedule if we need to.  I can babysit my nephew if my sister in law needs a break.  I can get my husbands tire fixed for him on a whim.  I can go with my Mom on a crazy two hour drive to look at a horse she wants to buy, because I am flexible.

It's good to have an identity.  I think that's why Stay at Home Moms struggle so much, because sometimes just being a stay at home Mom isn't enough of an identity for us.  But for now, I'm content to be Flexible Mom.  Because someday, I might find something I'm really passionate about, and I can be flexible enough to jump on it.  And in the meantime, I'll just keep trying my best to be a good Mom, and I'll keep trying to live in the moment and savor every moment of my flexible life.

Please consider trying out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn!

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