Archive | October 2013

How We Do One-on-One Time With The Kids

Sense I’m not a writing and most of what I say is rambling nonsense, I asked Dean to write up this little article on how we do one-on-one time with the kids. Enjoy…

It’s hard to over-estimate the importance of one-on-one time between
parents and children. Ask any child development expert, child, parent,
or even a random guy off the street and they’re all likely to agree
that one-on-one time with your kids foundational to a healthy
upbringing. However, if you ask them each how to pull it off, well
that’s where the agreement comes to a screeching halt.

We’ve seen the importance of one-on-one time with our kids. Whether
they’re struggling with an issue or just not acting like themselves,
just knowing someone is there who understands and will love them
through the mess is enough to help pull them through. One-on-one time
accomplishes that beautifully. But how in the world does a parent make
that kind of time? Especially with nine kids.

Failed Attempts
We have tried many different things over the years. So many, in fact,
I can’t even recall all the date nights, art projects, or long talks
we’ve attempted. No matter what we attempted, or with which kid we
tried it, the result was the same: greedy kids and exhausted parents.

Each time we’d spend time with one of the kids, the next kid would
expect (dare I say, demand) something more. If the first kid went on a
walk, the next would expect a walk and a bag of Skittles. The third
would expect to walk someplace more exciting and pick out their own
treat. Number four in line would expect to get to drive to Dairy
Queen.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but it wasn’t far off the mark
either. It became a competition. When their ever-increasing
expectations weren’t met, they were left disappointed, we were left
disenfranchised, and the whole thing fell apart.

Somehow, someway, we knew we had to figure out a way to make
one-on-one time work. For EVERYone. Preferably without losing our
sanity in the process.

Movie Night with Mom
I wish I could say our latest decision to start focused one-on-one
time with the kids (you know, the one that finally stuck) was the
result of careful consideration. But our story, like so many other
great stories throughout history, began with a dare.

Whoever could eat the most birthday cake would win a movie night with
mom. It was meant to be a silly, fun little party game. We never
expected to see a room full of kids eat themselves stupid for the
chance to spend a couple hours with Elizabeth. Nor was I expecting the
looks of disappointment in so many eyes when they had to admit defeat.

At that moment we realized movie night wasn’t a luxury. It was a
necessity. So Elizabeth told them they would all get a turn staying up
late and watching a movie with her. The gloomy faces turned bright
again. It was a startling turn around.

That began in March. After they all cycled through their turn (2
months later!), nobody wanted it to stop, and it hasn’t. In fact, it’s
only grown.

Why Did It Work This Time?
I think the main thing that kept this version of one on time from
turning into chaotic selfish fits is the way everyone gets the exact
same thing. They each get a movie. They each get the same small treat.
They know what’s coming, what the other kids get, and they all get
along. They even get excited for each other from time to time. It’s
everything we hoped for one-on-one time. Well, almost.

Beyond the Movies
Movie Nights with Mom have been such a hit that we not only recently
started Movie Nights with Dad, but came up with a system for weekly
one-on-one time with mom, and one-on-one time with dad. Try to picture
this.

In a ziplock bag sits eight smaller bags (nine when the youngest gets
a bit older), each labeled with one of the kid’s names. Inside that
named bag are two envelopes, one marked “Mom” and one marked, “Dad”.
In each envelope are identical bits of paper with identical activities
on them. These activities range from “playing Would You Rather?” or
“jumping on the trampoline” to “yoga” or “eating junk food”. It’s a
long list(activities enough to not be recycled for THREE YEARS!). It’s
an odd mix of activities, too, with some of the kid’s favorite
activities and others that nobody ordinarily looks forward to.

On a child’s day for one-on-one time, they pick randomly from the
appropriate envelope (from their “Dad” envelope when it’s their turn
for one-on-one daddy time) and that is the activity that we’ll do that
day. No excuses, no complaining, just a parent and child enjoying each
other’s company. The activity is secondary.

What makes this so brilliant is that there are activities we know they
won’t like. Heck, there are some we won’t care for. Some might not
even be possible (Honestly, how do you do yoga with a two year old
anyway?). But that’s not the point. The activity isn’t supposed to be
the feature. That’s secondary. That’s background. It’s the PERSON
that’s the focus, and by using activities that aren’t on the top of
their list, that truth shines through all the brighter.

On the practical side of this, Elizabeth and I each do a movie night
with one each week, and one-on-one time with another each week, both
on a rotating schedule. It’s hard to get excited or to build any real
connection if you know you have to wait two months until it’s your
turn again. So we’ve worked it out that nobody has longer than a two
week wait between one-on-one time/movie night with dad/mom.

Results
So far, this has worked out beautifully. We haven’t seen the jealousy,
greed, or just plain nastiness that our previous attempts have
resulted in. I think that’s because going into it the kids know what
they’re getting. They know they’re not getting cheated. They also know
we’re not raising the stakes. At least, not for the next three years.
🙂

How do you manage one-on-one time with your kids in your busy world? What hasn’t worked for you, and what has?

No Sugars Update

I though I posted this one already. Oops, So for anyone that cares about my crazy diet update, here ya go.

It’s been three week with no coffee and no sugars. It’s starting to get a bit easier but I still really want to eat the sweets. That’s always been my weakness. I miss coffee but it’s been ok without it as far as the withdrawals because I can drink tea. Not the greatest but it keeps the headaches away so I’ll take it.

I found out some interesting info on the whole no sugars thing. It’s not just that I’m intolerant to sugars but I have Candida something or other. That’s the medical term 🙂 From what I understand it’s a bad bacteria that feeds off sugars. The only way to get ride of this bacteria is to starve it out with NO sugars. This takes three to six months! Some of the symptoms of Candida something or other is depression, chronic fatigue, add and adhd symptoms, food allergies, brain fog, irritability, body pain, and many more. The ones I listed are ones I have almost all the time. To know that I just need to cut out sugars for a few months and I could get rid of many of these is wonderful news.

The good news is I’ll be able to have sugars again, one day. haha Once the bacteria is killed off I can start adding sugars back into my diet. Hopefully I won’t go crazy with sugar at that point and bring the candida back, which can happen if I over load on sugars.

More good news! Dean found some pills that will kill of the Candida in a month. Bad news, I tried to order then and the company never sent them to me. Thank God I went through Amazon so I didn’t get screwed over. Even more good news…Dean has looked up and found some natural ways to get ride of this thing. Cinnamon oil, coconut oil, and garlic are a few of the things he found that kill off Candida within a couple weeks! I have been taking 4 TBSP of coconut oil for the last couple days and will keep this up until I get the cinnamon oil. A few drops of oil sounds much nicer then 4 TBSP of oil. lol It hasn’t been that bad really because I add it to popcorn, so I have really greasy popcorn and the oil doesn’t really have a taste.

I should be good to go by Thanksgiving. That’s the best news of all.

My goal at that point will be to add sugars back in slowly and of course keep many sugars out completely. Not adding sugar into my tea, keep away from sodas, and sweets, however, I’ll be happy to have some bread.

Running Recap (Oct. 21st-26th)

I was only able to run twice this week do to needing a couple extra days to recover from my 10 miler on Sunday. So now my half is pushed back again. I’m trying to be ok with this. I thank God I didn’t put money into a race that I wouldn’t have been ready for. I’m determined to run a half before the snow in on the ground. I want to run my first half outside and the weather is getting colder. I like running in cold weather but I’ve never ran in the really cold air before. I will run my half before the year is out. I WILL!

I’ve still be pretty lazy with my cross training. I am giving myself the rest of this month to not sweat it and exercise if I feel like it but not care I if I don’t. However, November and December I’m kicking it into high gear. I want to finish the year strong. My goal was to be down to 135lbs my the new year but I’m not going to make that. I knew it was a big goal so I’m ok with not making it. I would like to be down to 150lb though. Still a big goal but if I work hard and stick to this horrid no sugar/carbs diet I think I can pull it off.

Sense starting this diet I haven’t binged/purged at all. In fact, the last time I did was September 25th. I did binge a few times right before the start of the diet but I kept it down. I still struggle with the mental side of disordered eating but I guess not acting on them is a pretty big step in getting better. I feel like I’m swinging the other way and finding it easier to restrict and I find myself talking to myself at meals. “It’s ok to eat this, it’s really not that much,” and so on. It’s funny how I can suffer from both extremes at the same time. One minute I’m having trouble eating a salad and the next I want to eat everything in sight. Maybe one day I’ll be able to look at food and not think anything. That will be a wonderful day.

Monday: Abs and legs

Tuesday: Abs

Wednesday: nothing

Thursday: Abs, legs, and 4 miles

Friday: nothing

Saturday: 8 miles

Total miles: 12 miles

Music Monday

This wasn’t the song I had planned for today but the Holy Spirit has been dancing in my soul today. I’ve been dancing to this song all day. Enjoy!

Running Recap (Oct 13th-20th) and My First Double Digit Run

This has been a pretty good week. I didn’t do as much strength as I’d have liked but I’ve been  lazy and I’m ok with that.  🙂 I ran my first ever double digit run today! 10 miles! It was a great run in the snow.

I was a bit nervous running so far from home on my long run because my body is still adjusting to my new diet, but I did good. No accidents, aka, I didn’t crap my pants miles from home. lol. The first five miles were great, I felt strong and light. At the five mile mark I turned and headed for home and my legs started to hurt. I decided to eat my Larabar at that point and hoped my legs would stop hurting, and that the bar wouldn’t make my guts start moving. For the next two miles all was good. Guts were fine and I could tune out the leg pain. By mile seven I knew I wasn’t going to poo myself but the pain in my legs was getting worse. By mile 8 my legs throbbed with pain and it took everything I had to not walk the rest of the way home.

My montra was, “one foot in front of the other, don’t think about anything else, you can’t stop this close to home.” It’s an amazing feeling pushing thought when you think you have nothing left. My first 10 miles, a shower, and some time off my feet, and all I can complain about now is a sore ankle. Not bad!

Total miles for the week:

Monday: None

Tuesday: 5 miles and leg exercises

Wednesday: none

Thursday: 3 miles and arms and abs

Friday: none

Saturday: none

Sunday: 10 miles

Total miles: 18 miles!

How was your week of running?