Thursday, May 10, 2012

Are you sure that's a Priority?

Recently, I tripped on a toy when I was snapping at my daughter because she did not want to get out of her nice warm bed (Really, who can blame her for not wanting to get of a nice warm bed?). Two thoughts came to mind: One - Who put that toy there? It was obviously my punishment for being such a witch. Two - I needed to reevaluate where I was. I needed to start from square one and get back to the un-crabby mom I know I can be.

A great place to start when you are as tired as I am, is sitting down, seriously. So I squeezed a half hour into my day and sat down. I needed to make a few lists:

List One – What do you do?

Take a good long look at what you do. Where has this life brought you? What is in the normal schedule? Write it down.

Children's Church Leader
Baseball Team Mom
Make dinner, breakfast, and lunch
Work full-time
Clean the house
School volunteer
Church service
Church volunteering
Son's sports
Daughter's Dance
Family events
Church Service
Grocery Shopping
Kids' Homework and Projects
Read the kids stories
Trying to get exercize
I will keep adding.....If you can think of more, email me at this_joyful_life at

List Two – What's Important to Me?
On a separate piece of paper write down what your priorities are. What is important to you? The things that you want to do. The things you want to be a priority in life. Hint: If there are more then 10 items on that list then you may want to number them from most important to least and delete anything after 10.

1. Spending time with Kids
2. Attending church service
3. Work
4. Homework and reading
5. Healthy eating
6. Healthy activities for kids
7. Just relaxing
8. Enjoying nature
9. Exploring


List Three – You Are the Sunshine of My Life
Who is a priority to you? Limit the list to less than 20 people in no particular order.
1. Spike
2. Stitch
3. Rapunzel
4 - 8. Anyone who has had the label of Mother or Father in any of our lives (5 people)
9 - 12. Anyone who has had the label of Brother or Sister in any of our lives (4 people)
13. Shipwrecked
14. Bones
15 - 16. Princess and the pea
17 - 18. Two J's

I think the list is complete even though some of the people on the list I do not get to see often.

List Four – Goals
Write down your goals. Things you want for yourself and for your family, in the short term and long term.

Short Term Goals
1. Children to get along
2. Homework do be done in a timely manner.
3. Reading with kids every night.
4. Family vacation time to reconnect
5. Housework schedule and keep it

Long Term Goals
1. Debt Free
2. Travel
3. Take Photography class
4. Kids learn to play an instrument

List Five – Prized Possessions
Choose what items have the most emotional, physical, and nostalgic value. Limit the list to less than 20 items. A category of items like pictures or jewelry can be listed as one on the list.

Wedding rings/jewelry
Angel Cards
Tea Cups
Cooking stuff

Re-evaluate your lists and your life
After I completed my lists I took a good hard long look at our life and figured out where I could start making changes, what I can get rid of, and who we really want to spend our time with. It was overwhelmingly exciting to have a place to start. The idea that saying No to things would get me closer to my priorities like seeing their grades soar while their spirits rise, teaching the kids about how we are just one in the world of many, enjoying watching their faces while a turtle swims by, kicking back on the porch with some sweet tea and a book, or sitting down for some good ol' fashion family game time. All of these things are prevented because we get caught up in all that we have gotten ourselves into. Sometimes we think we have family obligations but are they really an obligation or can we just tell that family member that we do not want to go because that function is not a priority today? This is possible!

So if you are where I was, jump off your broom and grab a pen, MAKE SOME LISTS and keep them with you as a reminder of what you need to do to make the priorities in your life A PRIORITY. You will be amazed at how you feel! I know I was!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mona Lisa or Rubbish?

I have two children, or, shall I say, two heirs to the throne - lucky me. I was blessed with a boy, then a girl; the perfect order, some think. I tend to think it should have been the other way around because big sisters are known to be really loving and responsible. But anyways, I digress. My oldest is in third grade and my little one is in preschool and they are truly two of the most amazingly creative people I have ever encountered in my life.
They both love art and I too love art. I love real art, like a beautiful sculpture, a meaningful poem, or a Van Gough painting. You catch my drift. I also love my children and their art work, to an extent.
With children who really love art (especially Rapunzel) your house becomes a gallery for elementary school children. Rapunzel, my little one, (that is what she would like to be called) creates art everyday at school and then when she comes home she sits in the living room in front of the window so she can feel the warmth of the sun while she creates more art. That means everyday Rapunzel alone brings home at least 10 pieces of art work. Stitch mostly likes to invent contraptions and create art work at the house. Being that he is in third grade, there is less art work that comes home with him but what does come home is at an increasingly higher quality then years before.
Both of the kids love to share their beauty with the world. They have the idea that the entire universe should be able to view the miracles that come out when their fingers touch the paint, paper mache, or coloring utensil. They firmly believe that their art work deserves recognition and appreciation by all and that there is NO BETTER GIFT then a piece of art from Princess Rapunzel or Prince Stitch. In their eyes it is all a Mona Lisa.
BUT, there are 365 days in the year and if you times that by ten pieces of art a day,that means we are going to have to admire 3650 pieces of art work. My children do not believe that a prince's or princess's art work should be tossed into the informatory or be in any way, shape, or form damaged. The believe that art belongs in a gallery - a gallery that is equally divided between two countries; The Country where Boys reign on high and the Country where Girl's are the stronger of the species.  
How do I accommodate these demands? I must accommodate the requests of my sovereign. If I do not they become disheartened and they tend to cry while screaming the words "You don't love me!" Since we don't want to disappoint them, I had to come up with some ideas on how I can accommodate such high demands. 
Of course I would prefer to only display true works of art in all areas of my house, but we all have ideas of what is true art and I do feel that what my children produce is Art in the simplest and yet warmest form. Who doesn't smile after seeing a piece of art crafted by a small child?
First - I decipher whether or not the art is either rubbish or a Mona Lisa and if it is rubbish, it is briskly granted a silent demise. Rubbish would be the scribbling of circles on a plane white piece of paper or a out of the lines coloring by my eldest who is completely capable of coloring with in the lines.
Second -  I take all the art work that is brought home and enter it into the Art Gallery dungeon - a big Tupperware the size toy box.
Third - I place the art work that the Prince and Princess distinguish as priceless heirlooms for future generations on the gallery which you commoners call the fridge. This is art is considered that of the Mona Lisa, this would be art that I can look at it and clearly say "Wow, you took a lot of time to complete this and you were extremely creative with the colors." or the not as often "Oh My Goodness, you did this? This is brillance!".
Fourth  - I go through the dungeon every two months (twice the change of moons) and pick the most exquisite pieces to be displayed with the utmost respect - hung in the kitchen or living room. I also decide what pieces will make it to actually meet the heirs of my children. Many pieces succomb to a rapid demise, rubbish.
I have found this process quick and effective. The royal children do not seem to notice some of the missing pieces, but they do notice when art is not properly displayed in a visible area. For instance, last night Rapunzel asked "Mommy, how come Stitch has more art work on the wall then I do and why is my art not at your work also?" Because I have such an effective system, I was able to respond quickly, stating "Look right there honey you have just as much as your brother and I will pick out a piece of art and make sure to put it on the wall at work because your art work is better then the Mona Lisa." Rapunzel was pleased and asked "So your Boss can see?" I lovingly responded "Of course! Who wouldn't enjoy looking at how talented you are."
What do you do with your art? Do you decide Mona Lisa or rubbish?