Day 10 – Thoughts on time management

OK, here’s a blast of sheer honesty: I sometimes really suck at time management. Really. For example, here it is, 11:30 on Sunday night. I WILL get this post finished before midnight, because…well, because I promised a friend I would meet the 30 Day challenge head-on. I could easily cop out. I have a ton of valid, reasonable excuses.

But I won’t. (That’s another thought for another day.)

As I mentioned in the homework post, I’m trying to be a better role model. Really, I am. But I’m just grateful that tonight my kids are in bed, and here I sit, typing away. Using way too much punctuation, getting all snarky and pretending that anything I say really matters.

Who am I kidding?

So here are a few goals that I will strive towards this week:

  • finish all requested writing at least 12 hours prior to deadline,
  • read all assignments and submit them at least 2 hours prior to deadline (see, I’m not expecting miracles, just improvements),
  • not going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink (does stacking them on the counter count?),
  • folding AND putting away all laundry (and not allowing any one load to go through a wash cycle more than once…and not hitting the “fluff” button on the dryer more than once twice)

    I believe my machine is mocking me. Yeah, yeah, the clothes are clean. I get it. Unless you're going to jump into the dryer by yourself, leave me alone.

    I believe my machine is mocking me. Yeah, yeah, the clothes are clean. I get it. Unless you’re going to jump into the dryer by yourself, leave me alone.

Eh, that’s enough for one week. Maybe next week I’ll add in some other goals. Perhaps this 30 Days will not only get me blogging more regularly, but include some life-improvements as well? One could hope!

Day 9 – Thoughts on music

Eclectic. That’s the only way to describe my taste in music. There truly isn’t anything I won’t listen to once. My favorites include Blake Shelton, Buckcherry, Garth Brooks, Lorde, Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum, AC/DC, Chicago, Johnny Cash, George Jones, George Strait…well, it goes on and on and on.

Dance like no one is watching.

Dance like no one is watching.

Someone once told me that you can tell a lot about someone regarding their music interests. I question that. For some of us, music isn’t always about a message, or the lyrics, it’s about enjoying the rhythm, the beat, the ability to let the music just flow through your body.

Now, there are some songs that mean a lot to me. Some that I cannot listen to, unless I’m alone, such as Garth Brooks, “The Dance.” Some that remind me of people or places or things that I have experienced. And then there are songs that just make you get up and move. The songs that when they come on the jukebox, you stop what you are doing, grab the nearest person and enjoy every beat.

Music makes the world go ’round…and I couldn’t imagine a world without it.

So what’s your favorites? Care to share a few with me? Sure be cool if you did.

Day 8 – Thoughts on giving (Christmas Angel Project 2013)

This will be the third year that I have organized this project, and I’m hoping that this year is bigger and better than ever! 🙂angelI love the holidays. And I plan to do my part to spread some cheer. For those that haven’t participated before, here’s how it all started.

I need two things from you: 1) Names of people who could use a little pick-me-up, a spring in their step, a reminder that someone, somewhere is thinking of them; 2) Angels willing to give of their time and show a complete stranger the meaning of the season.

Are you on board???

Let’s rock this!

Use the “Contact Val” tab at the top of the page to give me your names (addresses and suggested gifts/needs) or volunteer to be an angel. I’ll do my best to match people up, and no matter what happens, rest assured knowing that every angel request is responded to…trust me.

I cannot wait to get this year rolling!

Day 7 – Thoughts on raising boys

Yes, as you are well aware, I have boys. Four of them. I joke that they’re the reason I dye my hair, but that has more to do with genetics than anything. So here are some of my thoughts on what it’s like to raise boys…and perhaps a tip or two on how to survive:

boys on first day of school

From left to right: George, EJ, Big Bro and Scooter. My crew.

  • I’d tell you to expect the unexpected, but that’s not true. Expect the impossible. Really. Want to hide the last Hershey kiss in the light fixture, in the middle of the kitchen, with no ladder? Go fold clothes. I dare you. You’ll find your son hanging from the light. Seriously.
  • Do not teach them hide and go seek. I mean it. Unless you want to spend frantic minutes looking for them, only to find them in the dryer. Yeah. Not kidding on this one either.
  • Throw out any book that tells you boys and girls aren’t different. I bought dolls for my boys and gave them a kitchen, thinking I wouldn’t introduce any biasness and would let them be “themselves.” The dolls became hostages and lost their heads, the kitchen was turned into a bunker and doll arms became guns. *sigh* I have to admit, I was never a Barbie fan myself.
  • Do not tell your son to “act like a man.” Unless he’s older than 18. I do not want my child to leave his socks on the kitchen floor, expect his dishes to be picked up after him or expect the sock fairy to magically appear each night. (Kidding, just kidding.) Actually, my problem is that our children grow up too fast, and we always expect them to act older, not just act appropriately for the age they are…and there’s a difference. I’m afraid I may have done a little too much of this with my oldest. He has a very old soul, and I worked so hard to raise him to be a good child, I forgot to let him be a child. Lesson learned the hard way.

    Life is never dull around here.

    Life is never dull around here.

So how do you survive it all? I’m not sure I know quite yet, but I do know one thing. Let go. Don’t get so wrapped up in all the different aspects that you forget that you’re living a life. Make some memories. Have a water fight. Give your son a wedgie. Let them know that you’re not just Mom, and that you remember how to have fun.

It can’t be all rules, all the time. Stay up late. Tell scary stories. Play in a fort. Get dirty. When they ask what’s for supper, tell them it’s frog eyeballs and spider legs. Get creative.

Sometimes the rule is that there are no rules. Inside toys played with outside? Sure. But no complaining if something breaks.

Sometimes the rule is that there are no rules. Inside toys played with outside? Sure. But no complaining if something breaks.

The time will fly by, and before you know it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do all these things sooner.

Four boys. Apparently God has a very good sense of humor. But that’s OK…so do I.

Day 5 – Thoughts on scars

Scars. Most of us have them. Some are worn like banners, proudly showing what we have survived. Others are hidden, harder to see and never talked about. And then there are those that are only felt on the inside. Yes, we all have scars.

I talk about my scars in a pretty matter-of-fact manner. I can’t change the fact that they are there, I have no desire to erase them, they are part of who I am. In fact, I wonder what type of person I would be without them?

I have scars on my hands from a “fight” that I was in in junior high. I have a scar on my finger from stitches that I had to have when chopping corn one fall.

I have three scars on my knee from orthopedic surgery when I was in high school. I have scar in the crook of my elbow from a not-so-wise decision that I made regarding jumping from a stack of bales when I was younger.

I have two scars on my shins from frostbite. Apparently yoga pants and a pair of Uggs are NOT enough protection when going out mid-winter to bring the cows in, especially if you fall through a snow bank and it takes you 15 minutes to get back to the house. Lesson learned.

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. That's my only excuse. The mark has faded, but it still looks like I left a pair of too tight socks on. Nice one, Val. Nice one.

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. That’s my only excuse. The mark has faded, but it still looks like I left a pair of too tight socks on. Nice one, Val. Nice one.

I have three scars from gallbladder surgery. I have a large scar from three C-sections.

No, my days as a model are long over. 😉 But each one of those marks tells a story about my life. My ability to keep on keeping on. Especially the scars that you cannot see.

The whole point of living is not to preserve the body that you were given, it’s to live life to the fullest. Sometimes the world leaves its mark on you, but hopefully you are leaving an even bigger mark on the world.

I’m not sure where my next scar will come from, but I have no doubt that it will happen. In fact, I’d be rather disappointed if it didn’t.

I’m on Day 5 of a 30 Days of Thoughts series…check out the other days here!

Day 4 – Thoughts on homework

I am 36 years old…and I thought my days of having homework were long over. But I was wrong.

It’s funny, seeing things from a student’s perspective once again. I had toyed with the idea several different times, but it’s now reality. I am taking a few college courses to become a certified paralegal. And I think I may have lost my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a dream come true to be working where I’m at…I love every minute, and never find myself hesitating to get ready for work in the morning. (Some say that I just like playing dress up…and I won’t deny it.) After staying home for a long, long time, it’s nice to have more interaction with people older than, oh, let’s say 9. 😉

I don't wear my coveralls as often, but they're never put away too far!

I don’t wear my coveralls as often, but they’re never put away too far!

I've been dusting off my dress clothes, buying a few things (a size or two smaller...YAY!), and breaking out the shoes that you don't dare wear on the farm. Yes, I am blessed!

I’ve been dusting off my dress clothes, buying a few things (a size or two smaller…YAY!), and breaking out the shoes that you don’t dare wear on the farm. Yes, I am blessed!

As a mother of a sixth-grader, fourth-grader, first-grader and pre-schooler, I know all about homework. I know what I’ve told my boys time and time again. Don’t procrastinate, double check your work, read what’s assigned, take notes and review.

Perhaps someone needs to start reminding me about all the good advice I’ve been giving.

For example, this weekend was a bit of a whirlwind. Basketball, 4-H, trying to catch up on housework, harvest, etc. Life was just a bit more full of life. Finally, late Sunday afternoon I started wrapping up my assignments for the week. I had started them while in the hospital with George, but I had three papers due. And I hadn’t started them…yet.

Needless to say, it was a long evening, but I hit “submit” at 11:54 p.m. on my last paper. And although I’m hoping I learned my lesson…I know it will probably happen again.

But I will strive to do better, to set a better example and to pick up better habits of my own. But 36 years of old habits are a little hard to break.

And I’m just not sure this old dog is ready for any other new tricks.

This is Day 4 in a series of “30 Days of Thoughts.” You can get caught up here.

Day 3 – Thoughts on Football

I’m sitting on a couch, supposed to be working on a few assignments, and remembered that I hadn’t completed Day 3 of my 30 Days of Thoughts. And while I planned on doing to in-depth, soul-searching posts, I’m just not feeling it today.

So I’ll write about what’s in front of me…a football game.

I just so happen to be watching the Steelers – Patriots playing, and I have to say, one of my favorite things about Sundays is watching football.

Yeah, I’m one of those girls.

You know, the type that likes sports, prefers to get dirty and (until recently) spent very little time on things like fashion and makeup. I prefer to be outside, not in. I enjoy hunting, fishing and camping (although my idea of “roughing it” is a fully-equipped camper). And there are days that nothing sounds better than a nice cold beer.

My buck from a few years ago...yep, I hunt.

My buck from a few years ago…yep, I hunt.

Back to the football…

Here’s why I like watching football:

  • It’s exciting, ever-changing and speaks to my inner-Neanderthal.
  • I have four boys. ‘Nuf said.
  • These dudes are getting paid some big bucks. I might as well watch.
  • I enjoy the uniform fashion trends.
  • There’s something about the tradition of football that I enjoy. All levels: pony, high school, college, professional.
  • I like doing things not expected of me.

There’s a ton of other reasons, but that’s a pretty good start.

I promise, the rest of my 30 Days won’t be this lame. 😉

See you tomorrow!

Day 2 – Thoughts on Sports

Here is Day Two in my “30 Days of Thoughts” series! Woohoo! I can’t believe I made it this far! 😉

Here’s my topic for the day: kids and sports.

I know it’s a pretty polarizing topic. People either feel that kids should be involved, and learn to win AND lose, or that sports and childhood don’t mix. I’m somewhere in the middle.

Let me explain.

This is Scooter. He’s 9. He’s all boy. And he likes sports.

Scooter, in all his glory. He loves all things having to do with sports.

Scooter, in all his glory. He loves all things having to do with sports.

He loves all sorts of sports.

Wrestling. Check.

Wrestling. Check.

Baseball. Check.

Baseball. Check.

Football. Check. (He's #84)

Football. Check. (He’s #84, about to sack the QB.)

Basketball. Check.

Basketball. Check. (Scooter’s the tall one in the red.)

And it actually is helpful in school. He’s learning about teamwork, getting along with others, listening AND if he doesn’t get good grades, he doesn’t get to play. It’s a tool to get him to work hard, and it works well.

His older brother? Well, Big Bro doesn’t care much for sports, and he’s a little more limited in his choices. But he likes music. He plays piano and the trumpet. But that’s another thought for another day.

Here’s my point: I often hear people talk about today’s children being too busy. They are involved in this and that, and sometimes you just need to not be involved. I agree…and disagree.

I see it the opposite way. Today’s children aren’t involved enough. Nothing is expected of them. The world is their oyster and no one tells them that they have to work for it.

No, not every child is destined to be a football superstar, or play for the NBA, but every child should learn that you have to work for what you want. Including practice, listening to a coach and making sure that you’re pulling your weight with your grades. For Scooter, the key to motivation is sports, for his brother, its an instrument. In another year or two, I’m sure EJ and George will let me know what their interests are (I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m hoping for at least one more sports nut!).

It’s not what our children do that’s so important, it’s making them responsible for something.

Yes, we have a busy schedule, and yes, we do enjoy the down-time when it comes, but managing time and a calendar and keeping track of schedules is also an important lesson. In fact, I find my children teaching me more about scheduling every day!

Can there be too much of a good thing? Certainly. But if you’re in tune with your kids, and know where you’re at, then you’re one step ahead of the game.

And all I need to know is where the next step leads.

30 Days of Thoughts

I’m going to do some thinking…sounds scary, eh?

It’s November, and I have lots to be thankful for, I have lots to share and I have lots to talk about…and I’m going to try to do it all – 30 days straight.

Some posts will be short, some will be longer, some may be a photo, some may be video. What I can guarantee is that it will be all me. Well, not ALL me, but you know what I mean.

Day One:

Today’s thought:

Image via Vital Awareness page via Ag Proud page. :)

Image via Vital Awareness page via Ag Proud page. 🙂

This image has brought a ton of thoughts to my head. But before you go off, telling me that there are serious allergies, and serious health issues, and some people really, truly cannot eat certain foods, please, rest assured that I realize that. Completely.

My thoughts on this image are not so much to do with the different needs that we have, it’s how we handle them.

We are quick to judge and determine that the food choices we make are superior to the choices that others make. And when I say “we,” I mean society in general.

Instead of focusing so much on what we choose, perhaps we should just focus on why we choose. If you make your decisions based on fads and peer pressure, and feel a sense of guilt of never doing “enough,” that’s not how your plate should make you feel. Food is not the enemy. If you make your decisions based on research and what you determine to be best for your family, then know that you are doing the best that you can.

My decisions are not the same as the family next door. And that’s OK.

For example, I spent the last six days (off and on) in the hospital with George. Trying to work with the dietary staff on what he could/could not have was a logistical nightmare. We finally got to the point where is dietary restrictions were just listed as, “Let Mom handle it.” No one knows better than a parent, especially a parent of a child with diet restrictions.

George, summer 2012 - all sass and attitude! Make the food choices you need to, no guilt required.

George, summer 2012 – all sass and attitude! Make the food choices you need to, no guilt required.

At the end of the day, we all have a common goal: providing for our family. How you get there is a personal journey, and one that I will not condemn. But I ask for the same respect in return.

And the world would be a better place. Right?

I’m joining a group of amazing people with our “30 Days” themed posts. I’ll include a link to each day on this post, as well as a link to all my blogging friends joining in. Here’s a start:

And here’s links to each of my 30 Days posts: