Friday, November 13, 2015

Do your kids need to friggin' chillax already? I might be able to help.

I recently shared this Huffington post article, Why Is My Daughter Aggressive at Home and an Angel Everywhere Else? on Facebook. I often feel very alone in this matter but when I shared this article I had so many people saying, "OMG ME TOO!!!!" This article applies to ALL kids and parents.

It's no secret that we've sought out therapy as a family because our home life is a goddamn shit show. I'm a yeller. I hate that I am, but I am. I blow up easily and my kids are definitely monkey see, monkey do. Therapy is helping a lot to help keep us all in check. It's ok to have strong emotions but it's the outlet that you need to get a handle on. It's also very important for kids to learn how to label their emotions, which is easier said than done, especially for my stubborn girl child.

We've tried a bunch of different things like breathing, counting, yoga, 123 Magic, etc. What I'm learning is that there's no one thing that's the magic fix. You need to take a little bit from here and there to find what works for your family. And it takes FOREVER to figure this out. Often, once you do figure something that works, it'll only work for a couple weeks and you're back to square one. Parenting is hard, yo.

My two kids have different motivations. Ava, who's seven, is motived to get stuff but once she has it she doesn't care about it, which makes for pointless spending of the monies I don't have. I could burn all of her belongings in the backyard and she wouldn't give two shits. I'm being serious. Finding what motivates her is difficult. My four-year-old, EZ, is easily motivated by stuff. Taking a toy away from him is like taking a sword to his heart.

So. It's a balancing act, but I wanted to share what has been working over the last month for our family. I'm not saying it's a perfect fix, but it does help defuse tense situations in our house.

I don't know about you but when my kid is being a shithead and I need to discipline, it's very hard for me to come up with an appropriate consequence in that very moment. Like they say you should. Usually, it causes more problems because it only pisses the kid off more and makes things worse. You might say, "So what?! They asked for it and need to have a consequence!" True but it usually ends up hurting more than just the child who needs to be disciplined. And I'm sure you know things aren't that simple otherwise all children would never throw tantrums and always be perfect angels. Relationships and people are far too complicated to slap One Size Fits All kind of label. Same goes for disciplining children.

With the help of our therapist, we started consequence jars. You can find something similar on Pinterest. We decided to not call it a consequence jar because not everything in there is something necessarily harsh. We have a five minute time out, no sweets for the rest of the day, do 25 jumping jacks, two-minute bear hug with mom or dad, etc. (See below for the full list.) It took us a while to come up with a solid list. Something that we feel works for both of our kids and our family. Often, it's not about hard discipline but redirecting a bad attitude.

Our consequence jar is called, chillax. Printed in green rather than red because I don't want it be associated with something bad. When, one of the kids is being a turd, for whatever reason, they randomly pull from the jar. If they refuse to do it, I do it for them. They have to do whatever that strip of paper says.

Last week, EZ was being mega whiney about who knows what and just wouldn't quit so we pulled from the jar, at this point I was using it as a redirect because OMG STAHP! He pulled 25 jumping jacks. He was whining *surprise* that he couldn't do them and I said, "Well, I'll move your arms and you do the legs." This activity helped us go from a very tense, irritable situation to belly laughs because MY GOD, my kid is so uncoordinated. I needed the redirect as much as he did. I find it hard to get out of an irritable mood. When I'm annoyed or pissy, I can't easily shake it. I tried to put a bunch of things in the jar that will help ME chill the fuck out too.

I should note, according to our therapist, that our list doesn't include anything that has interactions between siblings like bearhug your sibling for two minutes, you know, the same sibling you just sucker punched two seconds ago. Separate them. They need to be apart long enough so that when they do interact again they won't feel resentment. My kids go at it like cats and dogs, FORCING them to love each other when they just want to tear out their sibling's throat does them no good.

To balance things out, we also have a goodie. jar. EZ calls it the blue jar because goodie. is printed in blue and he can't read. We have simple things like watching one show of your choice with mom or dad, go on a long walk with daddy, ice cream for desert, etc. I need to come up with more none money type things, though. This is working for making the kids stay in their rooms at night. It helps promote good behavior and they really want to pull from that jar since they have NO idea what's in there. It's always a surprise.

Put time limits on your ideas. For example if the reward says, watch a show with mom or dad. Make it say, watch ONE SHOW that's 30 minutes. Or if it's something that's an outdoor activity, say if weather permits. If not, pull another slip of paper. It helps give the kids and idea that it's not an endless consquence or reward. I don't have a solution for things that happen in public or the car but baby steps, ya'll!

Below are links to both of our lists. I'm working on adding more ideas for the goodie. jar. If you have ideas throw them my way! I'd love to hear them. Feel free to print these lists for yourself. I hope my list will at least give you ideas for your list. Create your own lists! HOW MANY TIMES CAN I SAY LISTS?!

I went to Pinterest and Google for ideas. I pulled what I thought would work best for my kids. No two families are alike. Maybe your family is religious and you can find ways to put things on your list that apply religiously or maybe your kids would be more affected by having their Xbox taken away for a day. I don't know... something, anything, is better than nothing. Good luck.

Click to download  
chillax.  goodie.  jar labels

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sibling Love

J was gone on a work trip and I was alone with the chicken heads for three whole days. So what does one do during alone time with the crazies? TARGET!!!!!

That's right. Target. I figured I could make a trip to the holy land and drop $100 on nothing in particular. I also promised the kids a giant sized coloring book if they were good for the nanny. 

I picked up Ava from gymnastics. Instead of going home to change out of her leotard, she said she'd just throw on some shorts because TARGET!!! We had to wait in the car for about 10 minutes before Ava got out of class so I let EZ bring the iPad. They have both been playing this new Inside Out game based on the movie. It's a lot like Candy Crush. They love it and keeps them busy. It was free which makes me happy.

So anyway, Ava jumps in the car and off we go. About five minutes from Target, EZ was stuck on a level and he wanted me to help. I couldn't because I was driving but asked Ava to help. Well, she got him through the level but kept on playing which made EZ mad and SO MUCH SCREAMING AND FIGHTING. And then...

I heard a real scream. You know, the scream that means some bad shit just happened and someone might actually be dying so you better pull over? That. I couldn't see what happened because DRIVING! EZ sits behind me and he was the one screaming bloody murder. I tried to see what was going on the rear view mirror and then he turned his face and I got a glimpse. 

I don't think I have ever pulled over so fast in my life. There was blood streaming down EZ's face. It LOOKED bad because there was blood everywhere. Ava was balled up in her booster crying her eyes out saying she was sorry over and over. EZ was crying and kept touching his face getting blood on his hands, clothes, hair, pretty much everywhere. 

So what happened? Ava threw the iPad at EZ and it nailed him right under the eye. It was about a half inch long cut. It wasn't bad enough that it required stitches, but it cut our Target trip short. GAWDAMMIT.

I detoured to Walgreens because I had it in my head I'd just use liquid bandage because a real bandaid wouldn't work right next to his eye. We looked like a train wreck of a family walking in Walgreens. I only had some teeny Kleenexes found at the bottom of the glove box to clean stuff up. WHY don't I ever have napkins in the car? This a common problem for me. I never have napkins or Kleenexes when necessary. This is just one thing about me that irritates the hell out of J. :)

I did the best I could to clean EZ up, but man he looked pretty tore up. Ava's face was red and splotchy from crying hysterically. Do you know that she was seriously terrified that he'd throw the iPad back at her and insisted I not give it to him? I mean really. Siblings. I swear.

I find the liquid bandage and head home without too many stares and gasps. I plop EZ on the kitchen counter, clean up his face, and whip out the liquid bandage. I gently apply a small amount and....

HOLY SHIT!!! I'M SO SORRY! I DIDN'T KNOW IT WOULD BURN!!! OMG STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE! I WON'T PUT ANYMORE ON!!!! SHHH, IT'S OK! I'M SORRY! Please don't let the neighbors call CPS. Please, please, please. I'm not abusing him, I was just trying to help.

So there you have it, do NOT use liquid bandage on a fresh cut. It burns. Lesson learned.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jumping into Summer!

Did you know yesterday was the first day of summer? Yeah, it was Father's Day too. Cool, huh? I don't know where you guys are but it was HOTTER THAN HADES yesterday and a perfect day to hit the pool.

Every summer all I hear is, "MOOOOOOM, can we go to the pool today?" Every. Single. Day. Even if it's raining or barely 70 degrees. They are little fishies and I have Goldfish Swim School to thank for that. Oh I saw your eyeballs nearly roll out of your head when you suddenly realized this is a sponsored post but here's the thing, if you read me often, you'd know that I don't sponsor for just anyone and everything I write is the real deal. I adore Goldfish and you should too. Let me explain why...

My kids started swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School back when they first opened. I didn't have high hopes because neither kid wanted anything to do with water being near their face, eyes, nose, mouth, or hair. Well actually, hair was fine as long as it didn't cross that invisible line on their forehead. Kids are weird little buggers. After a handful of lessons both kids willingly dunked their entire heads under water. So yeah, Goldfish Swim School won some mega points with me.


They haven't been in swimming lessons for a little while because gymnastics, ice skating, replaced a car... ya know, life and money. Hey guys, it's a reality we all have to face. So I peed myself a little when Alex (manager and owner) emailed me asking if I'd do a post for Goldfish's Jump Start Clinic in exchange for free lessons for the kids. Duh. Yeeeah, I'm game. The kids had their lessons a couple weeks ago and I'm so glad they did. We've been to the public pool forty bajillion times since and it was a nice refresher for their past lessons.

What is the Jump Start Clinic?

It's one, half hour lesson a day from Monday through Friday. It's a jump start for the summer and to brush up on swim skills, technique and water safety. The fee is paid by week but contact a Goldfish Swim School in your area to check on price. There's a sibling discount, as well. <-- YAY!


Unfortunately, I didn't get to take the kids myself. Ya know, work and all that jazz. But our nanny took the kids and snapped some pics for me and this post. LOVE YOU, TEAGUE! The kids actually look like they love each other.

I really love how Goldfish has made swim lessons their sole priority. You can do birthday parties and they have open swim, which is super fun but what really impressed me is that they make swim lessons an experience. The showers are RIGHT THERE in the pool area. There's an area where waiting siblings can color, there's even a chalk board they can doodle on. The fish and turtle tank is always a hit. The dressing rooms are really clean, same with the bathrooms. There's a hair drying and diaper changing station. These swim suit dryer things. You can buy the goggles they provide in class along with other swim gear. I swear I see a million kids at the public pool with those goggles and I'm thinking, "GOOOOOOLDFISH!" They have quarter candy, which is fab for an after swim lesson reward.

I'm rambling but I'm just soooo stoked about this place. It's really very cool and you should absolutely check out their Jump Start Clinic. It runs now until August... SO GET ON IT!!!!  You won't regret it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Starting a Revolution!

I'm a big fan of documentaries and social impact they can have. So it was a no brainer to say HELLZ YEAH when asked to watch a documentary and blog about it. Documentaries have helped open my eyes to carbon footprints, how we eat, what we eat, and so much more. The documentary Revolution is right up my alley. 

How do we even begin to change our world? We all know we are destroying it but yet we continue to live each day like our natural resources will always be available. Listen up, people! We are closer to running out of our natural resources than we think. The oceans and forests are the life lines of the Earth and we humans are killing them. Faster than ever before. Throw in money grubbing corporations and well, it's like someone took a big poo on the Earth and refuses to clean it up because NOT IT!

The longevity of the human life, oxygen supply, and existence on earth is being severely damaged by modern economies. At what point do we stop and say, "Hey, I think I want a better world for my kids and future generations!" In this film you will see some amazing shots of our Earth. In the oceans, snow, deserts, and forests. The imagery that Rob captures is stunning.

Rob Stewart is the filmmaker for Revolution. I totally want to say Rod Stewart. Ya know, the singer? It makes me chuckle. How many times do you think he hears that? Anyway, he was asked a question while he was filming his other film Sharkwater why he was bothering to save the sharks when large quantities of fish were going to be eradicated, due to over fishing, in a short period of time. He didn't have and answer and decided to go on a quest and make this new film.

I'm a loud mouth with saving the Earth. I am crunchy about things; cleaning products, essential oils, making my own laundry soap, etc but I'm not exactly lining up to picket. I mean it's awesome there are people that are super passionate about protesting but that's not me. I'll blog about it and do my best to educate anyone who will listen. That's why I'm encouraging you to watch this film. Maybe there is something YOU can do even if it's a tiny change. Something is better than nothing. The film isn't not long. Pause and come back if you have to but please watch it. It's important.
Revolution is an exhilarating and hard-hitting full length feature film from award-winning Sharkwater filmmaker Rob Stewart. Not only does it shed light on crucial environmental topics and how we can save the planet, but he shows how past world events have taught us what we need to do to save the future.
Revolution is not just about the environment—it’s a film about hope and inspiration. It’s a call-to-action with an uplifting message that tells us it’s possible to alleviate the damage already done. It’s time for a Revolution!
Revolution premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has already gone on to win ten awards, including the Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Revolution released in theaters, online, and through your favourite conservation group starting April 22nd, 2015.

Check out the documentary here
Be sure to follow Revolution on Twitter and Facebook. They are also raising funds for the World Wildlife Fund, a notable conservation organization, through the sales of the film online.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ewe. Get it off. GET IT OFF!

The pool opened Saturday for the first day. We woke up to a bright sunny day. It was going to be a beautiful day in the high 70s. Which is too cold for me to go to the pool. Shush, I'm very particular about temperature.

Mid-day I got a text message. Funny how my daughter who "HATES READING, MOM" can easily read my text messages, especially ones that say POOL. I respond that we'll go but I hate my neighbor friend for asking BECAUSE THIS IS INSANE!

The kids were overjoyed. They have been dying all fall, winter and spring to go to the local pool. I'm grumbling the whole time because I know I'm going to have to actually get IN the water. EZ is almost four and Ava just turned seven, still too young to be alone in the water.

I pull out my swimsuit from last year. The one piece I bought because this mommy belly was getting awfully soft. It's still too soft to wear a two piece. I'm working on that though. I'm doing the 90-day Bikini Body Mommy workout (BTW it's free). Shut up, it's awesome but I'm only on week four so I don't look awesome yet. Actually, I don't look different but I do feel stronger. Anyway, Ava gathered up the rest of the pool stuff while I bended my body in unnatural ways to get into my swimsuit.

There happened to be way more people at the pool than I expected. The water was heated so that was lovely. The kids barely got their shoes off before they were in the pool. I had to drag them back to slap sunscreen on them. I used a new face sunscreen that worked nicely and didn't leave white marks all over. I sprayed myself and we went in. Well, I hung out on the edge for as long as I could without going in. Eventually, I did get in and it wasn't so bad. It was actually kind of perfect.

During the lifeguard break, EZ wanted to go into the sand. He loves the sand and asked me to cover him. We forgot our sand gear so I just used my feet while he happily laid down waiting to be buried alive. He rinsed off in the freezing cold outdoor showers and got back in the pool. Why those showers aren't heated like the pool, I have no idea. At the next lifeguard break both kids went into the sand because I said we were going to be going soon. I sat on the chair and watched the entrance to the sand pit like a hawk. They weren't getting out of there and slipping into the pool without me knowing. I could foresee my future of hanging out at the edge of the pool with a book and not having to catch a flying child in my arms and being drowned at the same time.

The kids were worn out from the pool. I noticed their faces were pretty pink but they both get that way when they are hot and it just looks like they are getting burnt when they aren't. Turns out they were. The sunscreen I used on their faces wasn't waterproof. Awesome. And I didn't really spray my back so I have a line on my arm where the burn starts. It's not horrible but still hurt for days. I hate, hate, hate when I miss a spot on my skin like that.

When we got home I made the kids take showers because sandy butt cracks. Ava went first and while she finished up I pulled EZ's swim shirt off and what the fuck? What is that?! It has legs. It's moving. OMG IT'S A FUCKING TICK!!!!

I have never had one on me before and never had to deal with one live. Gross. Gross. Gross. Gross. I tell J in a voice that I think is non-hysterical because if Ava sees it she will freak the fuck out and never go outside again. She's terrified of bugs. But J tells me that I was pretty hysterical. I need to review the video footage because I say bullshit. That was not hysterical Stacia.

EZ didn't seem to care too much but before we rounded up materials to remove the thing he mutilated it with his hands and the head was left inside his skin. BARF! The only way to get it out is dig. Guess who doesn't like to have their skin dug at with a needle? No one! Especially a 3 year old.

*full body shivers*

Ticks completely gross me out. Ava thought EZ was going to die because when I was reading what Google had to say for J's benefit she picked up on the horrible things. We were consoling two kids that night, each crying for different reasons. Oh man. It's funny though, I specifically remember thinking my brother was going to die when my mom took him to the ER for busting his lip open on a brick wall. I stayed home with dad and I remember sitting there eating dinner, just the two of us and thinking how horrible it would be if Cory never came back. I couldn't stop worrying that the longer it took for them to be gone the less of a chance of him coming back. Little did I know it just takes a long time when you go to the ER for those things. I was young with a vivid imagination.

Who knew the first day at the pool for the summer would turn out so awesome. No worries. We'll be back. Ticks don't rattle this mama... much.
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