Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Family Meeting

You know what drives me nuts? When nobody knows what's going on and everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off and you've got something planned but then whoops so does your husband so he's forgotten to tell you and whose going to watch the kids. And of course it always falls on the mom to be responsible for either canceling their plans or finding a sitter. Like it would kill him to change a meeting or say "no" to something or call a babysitter...oh whoops I think I went off on a tangent for a moment, well enough about that, besides my husband is going to want to revoke my blog after this :)

So, I always have a nice organized planner and schedule and meals organized and activities planned. But it doesn't do anyone any good because nobody else knows about it. So we initiated Family Meeting:
Well actually I've always liked the idea of having one but sometimes we get busy and slack but our week always goes better when we have family meeting.

1.) I always sit down before the meeting and make my own plans first.  I make sure I include my goals in the plan for the week, such as exercise.  Sometimes in the business of life we can't see that we are neglecting our relationships and time with the people we love.  It is very important to plan according to your priorities.  So I plan time with each of my kids, my husband, and time for me.  Then I also plan meals and I make a grocery list for the week.  I take an hour on Sunday to Plan, before our family meeting.  (There is so much more to be said here....so a post on planning will be in the works.)

2.) Get the whole family together, choose the same day and time each week, we do ours Sunday evening before bed its a great time to do it because everyone is usually home and because Monday starts tomorrow so you might as well be prepared.

3.) Get out your planner and have everyone else get out theirs. i.e. work schedules, sports or other activity plans.  Put every one's schedule together, and work out any conflicts.  i.e. "I'm busy this night so can you pick up the kids."  Or you may have doubled up on something, now is the time to make a choice, which one are you going to do or not do.  Or decide if you can get someone to help or get a sitter...

4.) Family Concerns...I ask everyone if they have any concerns and if there is anything that they need help with or something that is bothering them that they need from me or dad.  Most of the time it is something like the kids would like to go to the park or they'd like to have a daddy date etc.  Schedule in any needs or discuss any problems and possible solutions.  Try the solution during the week and then check back at the next family meeting to see if that worked or not, and then brain storm more ideas.  I'll usually have concerns like I need help with the housework and we will work together to decide what to do about it.  We have decided to schedule a chore day once a week and everyone has to do one big chore.  That works for us now but when it doesn't I will bring it back up for suggestions.  Dad usually has things like we need to kneel for family prayers and obey our parents.  Oh man, I remember when parents were such downers and now I'm one of them.

5.)  Individual goals: usually everyone has a couple goals they are working on and then we talk about how they are doing with their goals and what we can do to help.  For the longest time one of our daughters had the goal that she didn't want to hit anymore (she was 2.)  So, we talked about what would help her and then we worked on it and almost every week she had the same goal but we continued to work on it and then pretty soon it was getting better and better and soon she only hit once that week and then we started working on other goals.  It was pretty neat to see the progress.  It was even neat to hear the kids say what they would want their punishment to be if they hit and how it helped them do better.  I believe kids are good and they want to do good but they need help.  Putting them in charge of their goals helps them learn to be responsible and to understand that they are good but that they just need practice to get better at something.  My daughter did not want to hit and knew that it was bad but she just needed some help getting through it.  She knew what the punishments were going to be when she hit, she had helped come up with the punishment too. 
     Of course you'd want to do this a lot different with older kids but the idea is the same, have them pick a goal and then help them keep track of the goal.  Help them see the rewards when they get it right and to see the pit falls when they get it wrong.  Check up on them and see how you can help them.  Family meeting is a great time to do this.  Help them reach the goal with small steps.  See my post on attainable goals to help with goal setting. (You could even just talk to each child individually for this part.  Although, unless it's really personal it is nice to know that the whole family is supporting you in your goals.) My husband and I also talk about our individual goals at this time too, it shows a good example of learning and growing.

6.)  If you don't already have House Rules and Consequences then your first family meeting would be a good time to do that.  Talk about what rules the family needs and what should happen when they are not followed.  Make sure to print them out and display them in your house.  I love that the kids get to pick their consequences because it helps them remember that it is their choice to disobey and that they are responsible for their own choices.  You could also come up with a reward system to reward good behavior check out my post on Warm Fuzzy Jars for our reward system.

7.)  My hubby and I will then talk, after we excuse the kids, about #1 the budget and how we are going to spend the money.  We have a budget template but there are expenses that come up that require us to make changes regularly.  (Post on budgeting to come) Then #2 concerns about the kids and what we can do as a couple and anything that is bothering us about each other.

Family meeting is all about empowering your kids and teaching them responsibility.  It also teaches them collaboration and teamwork.  It teaches the kids that they are the ones that choose for themselves right from wrong.  You will have to put your foot down from time to time but I have found that when I ask my kids what they think is good and right that they will usually be good and right.  They will need guidance help and direction, they will need consequences.  They will make mistakes but they will know that they are responsible for those mistakes and you will have to hold them accountable.  What I love the most about Family Meeting is that it helps us to make time for the events and people we love.  We are organized to do what we want and when.  We are all on the same page.  No more running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mommy and Me Workout

Working out with a small one or two year old hanging around the house, what a pain in the rear.  We all know the importance of staying in shape and working out everyday, but then there comes the part where we actually have to do it.  "My kids keep getting in my way, AHHHHHH!" Drive me bonkers.  I think I worked out for 30 min. but I only got about a 10 min. workout in.  And talk about trying to do it when your husband is home, ya right, even if he is home you know who the kids are going to bug, not him.  And if you try to leave well that's hit and miss especially at my house when schedules get changed regularly and we live in a small town with a small gym without daycare, it's pretty difficult to get that workout in especially in these cold winter months.  Also, as a working or schooling mom sometimes we just don't want to leave our kids again so we can go workout.  So I love to do Pilate's and I love to dance.  Every time I get down on the floor to do something a sweet child would lay down on my lap or pull on my leg or....the list goes on and on..... My Mission is to work out at home, enjoy it, and stay in shape:


Rule #1: Involve your kids!  The only way to beat them is to join them. 

Rule #2: Start the timer and do not stop moving for at least 30 Minutes.  I do both strengthening and Cardio.

I would tell myself that I could not stop moving/dancing for 30 minutes. This really helped to have a time frame to shoot for. It gave me a stopping point and helped the kids.

Rule #3: Turn on some Music.  Turn on music your kids like and then turn on some you like, Remember to take turns! :)

Rule #4: Dance (for at least 15-20 min.)

Here are some ideas:
  • Use all your body parts i.e. How can I move just my head....hands....legs.....finger....etc.
  • Think up adjectives to dance like and move like them and have the kids come up with some ideas of their own i.e. sticky, slimy, round, big, small....Etc. You could even print out a page of them from online: I found one on Moms who Think. And then just point to one on the page and see if you can move like it.
  • Find some fun verbs to dance like.  i.e. Jumping, skipping, hoping...  I even printed out some clip art of actions and showed the pictures to the kids and see what kind of fun moves they can come up with that go with the photo.
  • Feel the music and show your kids your goofy side. Nobody else is watching anyway. :)  Even use the words of the songs to come up with silly moves.
  • Use an aerobic video you like and adapt it for you and your kids to do together.  Or even a mom and me video to give you some more ideas if your not confident in the creating area.
  • *******You must dance with your kids or it doesn't help you*******
  • Let the kids have fun with the music and let them teach you.  My kids have come up with some really fun things like the "Run and Scare" (we run around each other and then just turn around randomly and scare each other) the kids just have fun being with you and enjoying you.  Or my older kids like the "Freeze dance" were you have to stop moving when the music stops.
  • The kids might start to get bored and then you can pull out your favorite Zumba, Kick Boxing, Insanity, Kettle bell video or even Dance Revolution or Wii Fit and work harder at the end of your workout.
Once the kids have had some attention and something active to do a lot of times they'll stay out of your hair for a bit so you can get some good stuff done. 
  • I have a box of things that my kids can do all by themselves.  If they are done moving with me, then I tell them they have to do something on their own until the timer goes off.  Their choice is to move and workout with me or to do something from their box on their own.  I will not stop my workout to help with other things during that time (except the potty) otherwise I don't ever get my workout done and I need it, they need it, it is for the good of the universe.  Okay maybe just my universe but a universe anyhow.
Rule #5: Stretch and Strengthen (10-20 min)
  • I got a exercise ball, kids love these things and they are great for you too.  Sit on the ball with your "baby" on your lap then bounce several times and then stand up (holding the baby of course or she might end up on the floor), and repeat.
  • Lay them on their back and then roll them back and forth a bit. Then say it's my turn.  This also helps kids learn sharing and communication skills.  Then do it on your tummies.
  • Make sure you have a wall or couch to steady your feet.  Then lay on your back on the ball, place your child sitting on your lap and as you come up to do a crunch you say "Boo" or "Peek a Boo" whatever you like.  Young ones really like this and you get your abs strengthened all in one.  You could even do this on the floor doing crunches or other ab strengthening exercises.
  • More ball activities...On this website, Work Out Work Up Inc.
  • Everyone knows good old fashioned strengthening activities from Gym class i.e. push up, crunches, jumping jacks, try some of these the kids have fun trying to do them, especially the stretching, use some simple ones that you already know and show the kids how to do them, or just let them have fun trying them.  They just want to do what you are doing and that is a great way to get your kids excited about exercise.
  • I love the good old fashioned airplane.  Lay on your back, stick your kid on your feet (Tummy down) and stick them up to the ceiling and ride them around if this isn't a workout I don't know what is. Your legs are working and then pull your head up from your abs not your neck and you will work those abs too.  They'll want to do this one over and over again.
  • Do some squats while holding your child in front of you and going up and down at your knees.
  • My kids loved it when I just bounced around to the music and held them.  They loved that feeling and it gave my arms a work out not to mention some more Cardio.  Don't forget to switch arms.
  • Try some Pilate's...I have about 10 of my favorite Pilate's moves and I can do them very fast and they keep my core strong and my pains at bay.  Here is a blog with a photo of some of my favorites.  You may also want to find a good video on how to do these exercises.  These you would want to save for when the kids got bored, and deserted you. You can put strain on your back if you don't do them correctly so be careful, listen to your body, and when you feel pain you need to change.
There are many many possibilities, the point is to workout for at least 30 min. involve your kids when they are around and interested. And Enjoy your kiddos.

I lost all my baby weight after my second baby by doing this workout at least 5 days a week.  And I would go for maybe two 20 minute walks a week.  I also had to eat a bit less from when I was pregnant.  "Oh food, I have a love hate relationship with you."  Anyway, How did you loose your baby weight?  What kinds of activity do you do with your kids at home?  Are there any ideas that you could add to this work out?  Remember it's never the same each time you do it, just don't stop moving!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Attainable Goals

I often times feel frustrated when I am making New Years Resolutions for a couple of Reasons: I don't end up doing what I set out to do, and they are usually about the same goal every year, and I feel like I'm just starting over and over again.

Some examples might be: I'm going to eat healthier, loose weight, exercise more, do more with my family, finish a project, buy a home, finish school, organizing my home, and they can go on and on.  I have struggled finishing a lot in my life but because of it I've learned a lot about how to finish, or how not to finish.  My husband teases me all the time when I tell him about something that I want to do.  He'll say..."Okay Hunny!"  and you can tell that his smile is saying, "I'll believe it when I see it."  Last year I set the goal to loose weight and I did finish my goal last year so here are some tips that I've learned along the way...

"I am not afraid, I was born to do this." - Joan of Arc
Top 10 Ways to Complete Your Goals:

1.) Don't compromise a long term goal or dream because you think it is unachievable.

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
- Gandhi

2.) Set a goal that is a top priority for this year or for this time in your life.

Now this may seem contradictory to the first one but if the goals you are setting aren't top priority on your list, it's NOT going to happen! For instance if you are sick and fighting disease and you set a goal to exercise regularly, you might be too tired to be able to do that.  That phase of your life will pass and then you can set that goal later but setting a goal that is not going to happen at a certain point in your life is disappointing and heartbreaking.  Another example would be if you are trying to loose weight and you are pregnant.  Even if you did achieve this it wouldn't be healthy for the baby.  So be smart take on goals that you can do at that point in your life.

3.) Set Small Goals to help you reach long term goals and Work Hard.

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
-Vidal Sassoon

You will not get it done all at once you will have to have patience and wait for it.  Even though I am an adult now and I ask my impatient kids to wait, I too have impatience problems.  My impatient thoughts are saying, "Geese Louise...aren't I there yet.  Well I guess not, maybe I should stop or, eh, I'll just do something else."  Here is the key, set shorter goals that can help you reach your long term goal.  My long term goal was to loose 20 lbs, so my short term goal was to loose 2 lbs a week (If your more patient then I am you could do even less per week.)  I worked out and ate healthy and it was hard to stick with it, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so I kept with it and kept working so I could expect different results.  I got results.  It didn't all happen right away but slowly I changed.  Every time you complete a small goal there is a sense of satisfaction, you don't have to wait forever till the end before you get some relief (that gets tiring.) Let's face it we are all impatient to some extent.  When you've reached each small goal you just get closer and closer to your main goal...
4.) Commit and Educate yourself.

If this is a goal that you end up setting every year then it is obviously important to you and it would be something that can make your life more enjoyable in the long run regardless of the work necessary to achieve it. So commit yourself now. "I am going to do this!" In the end there is no one else or nothing else to blame if you don't achieve your goal, it's up to you.

I hate it when I really want something but don't really know how to get it. Sometimes I'm too stubborn to admit it. So first, admit that you may need some help with your goals. Two heads are better then one, right! I can imagine the more heads the better. You may need to learn about something and research it, you may need to go to school and get a degree. If to achieve your goal you need to buy something or your goal is to buy something you may need to learn about budgeting, you may need to figure out how you can make more money. You may need to learn about nutrition and about how to cook better meals...the list goes on an on.  I had to figure out how many calories to eat and how much to burn in order to loose weight and it worked like a charm.

5.) Tell other people about your goal.

Have somebody else to talk to about your progress. Someone else that is committed to the same goal, is a nice benefit, you each can talk about the progress you are each making and help keep each other keep motivated. It's always nice to talk with someone who can relate to what you are going through and that can empathize or offer ideas or encouragement.  Having someone else to report to always makes me work harder because I don't want to have to give them a bad report. Not only that but it makes it more fun to have someone to do it with, and it makes your commitment more real.

6.) Write it down and follow up on your progress once a day.

You will commit yourself even further once it's written down, you don't need to write it out with your own blood but a Sharpie might do.  I used to have a written planner and I would write my goal in there and keep track of them and change them as I changed or as life changed and just kept moving them from week to week.  I always plan out the week on Sunday and then I will include any steps I needed to do for that goal in that week and when I was going to do them.  Now I keep my calender on my phone and I do the same thing on there and I have a One Note system for my To Do lists and my goals and it syncs up with my computer, laptop, and phone.  It is really nice to have it wherever I am.  If you don't plan out time to make it happen, especially if it is something that you have had trouble with making time for, it's not going to happen all on it's own on the fly.  So write it down. At the end of the day check your planner and see if you've accomplished your goal or if you weren't able to what you need to change in order to make it work. It doesn't make you a bad person if you weren't able to do it it just means you have to do something different to make it work. You can't stay stagnant, life changes so you must also.  Even if you aren't a planner/calender type person you can write down, i.e. "I am going to work out 30 minutes a day at 6:30am."  Always check your progress.  I used a food diary and weighed myself each day to check my progress.  If you don't check up on yourself you'll let yourself slide.  Write down progress and any changes to the goals.

You could also write out the goal and maybe a quote or something that inspires you and keep it somewhere that you will see it all the time.  This can help remind you and it can help you to create a great new habit.

7.) Set yourself a deadline and think of a reward for yourself when you achieve the goal.

Decide when you want to finish each big goal and then also the small goals.  If you also give yourself a reward for accomplishing your goal you will be a lot more likely to finish.  Treat yourself to a trip up the mountain for skiing or a spa day or shopping day, or my husband would like a hunting day, whatever you really like.  With my weight loss I would give myself one cheater day a week were I could go slightly over calories for one day if I stayed under the rest of the week.

8.) Visualize Yourself achieving the goal and use positive self talk.

"Act as if it were impossible to fail."
-Dorothea Brande

Some of the most successful people in life spend time visualising what they want and how they are going to do it.  I am a dance teacher and I do this before I perform a dance and I have my students do it too.  The movements become more of a part of me and the kids can perform better and with more confidence.  It's like they've already done it the way they've hoped so why not again.  Athlete's use this technique and it has been proven to be helpful in many other areas too.  I do this before I decorate or organize something, I will picture what I want it to look like before I do it.  When I was trying to loose weight I would visualize my body as I wanted it to be and it would help keep me focused on the possible future.

Whenever you would like to change or do something new or achieve something better you have to think it's possible and think that you are able to accomplish it and push out all thoughts of doubt and fear and replace them with hope and faith.  Remember that you will fall and falter but that the more you do the more you learn the better you get at it.  You can't expect perfection but you can expect to get there in time with hard work, patience, and help.  Getting up each time you fail is the only way to finish.

9.) Complete your Goal.

10.) Celebrate!!!.....and then set a New Goal.

Once completed don't forget to reward yourself.  And remember that it is all a part of life and there is always more to do, learn, and maintain.  You are never really done, life's journey is full of opportunities and we can take advantage of them as we strive for our goals.

 Before +20 lbs.
After -20 lbs
What's your New Years Resolutions this year?  Here's hoping you achieve your goals and dreams, one step at a time.

More posts to come on weight loss, mommy and me work outs, budgeting, and home organization.