Sunday, July 27, 2014

Not So New but Very Improved

Friday is laundry day. As I was hanging out in my beautiful laundry room two days ago, I realized that although I vented and complained to you about the process of that room coming to be, I hadn't shown you the finished product. Well that's not cool! Brian worked really hard on it, and it was definitely worth the wait.

Though the laundry room is bare bones right now, it's organized and efficient. I spent a good portion of my time last school year making my entire house more organized and efficient. This year, my goal is to maintain that order and add some personality to our home. Make it more us. My friend Julie's home is very personalized with lots of touches that make it feel cozy and homey and just theirs. In fact, there's a huge, gorgeous family portrait on canvas above their fireplace. I don't know that I have that in me exactly, but I definitely want to add some more photos and put more reminders of what really matters within our view. We don't have a fireplace anyway. A home is always a work in progress.

Back to our new and improved laundry room, it's tiny but I managed a few shots. A wide-angle lens would have been helpful, but this was the best I could do. Here is the view as you walk in from the garage.

Here's the view as you're walking to the garage. Cleaning and laundry supplies are tucked away in cabinets now instead of sitting on a wide shelf above the washer and dryer.

The alcove is the best. There's a practical counter, the cabinets hold our sports equipment, there are baskets for our shoes, and I absolutely love my laundry sorter. It makes laundry day bearable!

Last but not least, a curious Matthew was wondering why in the world his weird mother was taking photos in the laundry room.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tough Day

It may sound strange that a tough day for me included three naps, but that's how it went down. I awoke at 4:20, was running at the park by 5:30, strength training with friends at 6:30, and forgetting my breakfast an hour later. That's were it all went wrong.

I even made it the night before! I had my yogurt with mashed banana, berries, and almonds in the fridge, but I left it at home. I was so disappointed but also too cheap to buy food with my coffee at Starbucks. I may have saved some money, but I paid for that poor decision all day.

Lesson learned. Waiting two hours to refuel after exerting yourself in hot weather is two hours too long. Eat the carbs and protein when you need it. If you don't follow that advice, you'll feel woozy and weak and a bit nauseous all day.

That's me. Always learning!

Friday, July 25, 2014

♫ Here Comes My Guy ♪

Since reading my plot for a Tom Petty musical months ago, you know he's one of my favorite musicians. Well he's sharing some new songs with the world again! I'm excited and happy he has so much to say. I like how he says it in music and in this printed interview. Tom's my kind of guy! Except maybe not to converse with according to the video that goes along with that interview. Don't do drugs, kids. And buy his new record.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Playing Games

Elizabeth's Aunt Meg introduced her to the phone game Draw Something. Similar to Pictionary, you draw a clue and your opponent has to guess it. Meg is very artistic and talented at drawing, and Elizabeth enjoys art so they've been sending pictures back and forth.

Elizabeth invited me to join her in the game. Unlike Meg, I am not good at drawing, and fat fingers on a tiny touchscreen does me no favors. Elizabeth may enjoy playing with me only to laugh at what I try to come up with. Sometimes she gets home from school and exclaims, "Mommy! What is this?"

Well this morning I opened up our game and was thrilled with my clue. I wonder if she will get it? Can you? Sadly, this is one of my best efforts. And I still did it wrong! Once you figure out the clue, can you also find my mistake?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When Positive Reinforcement Turns Negative

I never pretend to know it all. I have a lot to learn and I'm always learning. Every day a person or experience teaches me something, whether it's good or bad. I also do a lot of teaching. I admittedly don't always get it right, but I try to behave the way I want my children to behave. Sometimes it works and they develop good habits such as always wearing their seat belts. Other times I need to remind them over and over again to do something or to not do something.

Fortunately, I've had the opportunity to sit in a lot of elementary school classrooms, and I've picked up some tips on how to manipulate children into making good choices. The most powerful I've seen is the giving of positive reinforcement to peers. "Thank you for pushing in your chair, Emily." Suddenly, the kids who didn't push in their chairs are going back to their desks and pushing in their chairs. And no one yelled at them or even told them to do it. Genius. I decide I'm going to try this at home.

You see, after dinner Elizabeth always clears her place at the table and takes her dishes to the sink while Matthew leaves everything where it was to go do something fun, fast. So after dinner last night I thanked Elizabeth loudly for helping to clear the table. Without a word, Matthew walked from the family room to the kitchen table, picked up his plate, and walked to the sink. I didn't say a thing but was thinking, "I did it. I got him to do it. He's learning. This is so great!" He set his dishes by the sink and I was opening my lips to thank him when he picked up Elizabeth's dish and put it back on the kitchen table. Oooooh. Mom was denied.

Hmmph. Teachers don't know everything. I bet they learn something new every day, too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Soundtrack

Summers are fun. It's also fun to relive them through music. So when I was a preteen and teenager, every August I'd make myself a cassette tape of the popular songs from that summer. I don't know where those tapes are now. I suspect my parents threw them out, but I wish I could listen to them today to see what's on them. I bet memories of the Summers of '88 to '94 would come flooding back. Or not. Who knows? But I'm sure I'd do plenty of smiling and even laughing if I listened to them now.

The other day I was reading an article about the top ten songs of this summer, and I didn't recognize many of the song titles. Am I officially an old fogey? I listen to the radio--maybe not the coolest stations but it's still popular music. Occasionally I go to classic rock, but we're mostly tuned to the pop stations. Unless a rap song comes on. Yuck. And even though these two sort of ruled the summer, Iggy Azalea's and Ariana Grande's music just isn't my cup of tea.

For the kids and me, it was pretty much a OneRepublic summer. If we weren't listening to them, we were listening to ten other songs that prompted me to ask, "Do you know who wrote this?" Elizabeth caught on soon enough and would automatically sigh, "That guy from OneRepublic?" "Right!" She is now well-versed in Ryan Tedder's songwriting and can find the similarities in the openings of "Love Runs Out" and Adele's "Rumour Has It." Yeah, he did write that. He also co-wrote that new Maroon 5 song so we may be setting ourselves up for a Ryan Tedder fall, too. I don't know, though. Jason Mraz is gaining strength with his new album and I'm liking it. A lot. But it's hardly fall yet, even though I think it is because I'm all alone while the kids are at school and have time to ponder stuff like this. It's definitely not summer anymore.

So although I'm not going to make a cassette tape to celebrate Summer 2014, I came up with a few songs that will forever remind me of these past few months. These aren't necessarily my favorite songs. In fact, I dislike John Legend's song of cliches so much that it doesn't stay on for longer than a few notes, and when I really listened to what Sam Smith was saying I no longer cared for that one. If you have a pretty song then write nice lyrics for it, people! But Paramore really is fun and that's what summer should be.

Sara's Summer of 2014 Soundtrack
"Love Runs Out" by OneRepublic
"Am I Wrong" by Nico & Vinz
"Rude" by Magic!
"Sing" by Ed Sheeran
"Believer" by American Authors
"Stay with Me" by Sam Smith
"A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay
"Me and My Broken Heart" by Rixton (easily Matthew's favorite tune right now)
"All of Me" by John Legend
"Raging Fire" by Phillip Phillips
"Cool Kids" by Echosmith
"Ain't It Fun" by Paramore
"Maps" by Maroon 5
"Love Someone" by Jason Mraz

Monday, July 21, 2014


Just kidding. But not really.

The kids went back to school today so, thanks to our carpool arrangement with the neighbors, I do have some freedom from about 8:00 to almost 3:00. I'll comfortably drop off the kids at 7:45, and Hannah will pick them up in the much more chaotic parking lot at dismissal. Hey, it pays to be a morning person. My commitment is about ten minutes and hers probably ends up being twenty. That means more freedom for me! Unfortunately, that freedom is more about getting things accomplished rather than doing fun things I want to do because my must-do list is a mile long. I was working like a dog this morning and exercising what I feel might be manic behavior. I reminded myself that there are a lot more school days so I don't have to do it all today. There's really nothing to report except some cleaning and errands.

I was excited when the kids ran through the front door after school because I had been looking forward to hearing about their day. Elizabeth said she thinks sixth grade is going to be really fun, and Matthew proclaimed that this was the best day of his life. When I asked why he said, "I love school. I love my family. I loved everything about today. I love PE." I think the PE teacher's everything-is-awesome attitude must have rubbed off on him. Fine by me! This kid came home and was so excited to start his homework. He had to do it. Now! When I asked him if he wanted to go out for popsicles first he said no. Who is this kid? I hope he sticks around. His homework was to decorate a box of tissues for his classroom. Clever.

He worked on one side tonight and gave it a Minecraft theme. Of course he did. For a change, Elizabeth was the impatient one who just wanted to go out for popsicles already!

But let me back up to share some photos of the kids this morning. First, I really don't know why they can't blink at the same time. Gosh!

our next door neighbors/carpool buddies, Alex and Luke

Matt on the playground

Who are all those old ladies sixth graders?!
So after school and after Matthew's homework, I took the kids out for a treat to our favorite Mexican popsicle place called Paletas Betty. They gave me more details about their school day over a cool treat. Bonus: I captured a photo and no one blinked.

We're hoping for another fun and productive Day #2!