The Dream Manager

The Dream Manager
My boss LOVES business building books and audios and I have had the privilege of benefiting from his passion for this. He frequently passes an audio or book to me and I have yet to dislike anything I have read or heard from him. A couple weeks ago I borrowed The Dream Manager from him and absolutely loved it. For this non-dreamer it was a very empowering book and I am currently taking steps to implement this in my life. If you don’t run a business or coach people who run a business it’s probably not super beneficial until you get to the last chapter where he explains how to implement it into your life. I don’t want to tell you too much because I really think you should read the book, but I will tell you a few of the fundamentals that I’m working on.

1. Make a list of 100 dreams (or goals) that you have for your life. It can be as small as lose 5 pounds or as big as fund and build an orphanage in Africa. Just right them all down in a list. You can edit later.

2. Get a dream journal and write down each dream you would like to achieve and then write down the time frame. 0-12 months, 1-5 years, or 5 years or more.

3. Then pick a few dreams that you want to work on right now. I don’t think he suggests this, but I plan to write a few thoughts on that dreams page that help me focus on how to get there. If it’s lose 5 pounds I would write. Exercise at least 3 days a week and cut back on sweets.

4. Take time each week to review your dreams and celebrate when you fulfill them. This helps to motivate you in your daily life to be working towards something.

I realized while talking to a friend the other day that without dreams/goals you are just existing, not really living your life to the fullest potential.

I’ll share a few dreams I am focusing on right now:
0-12 months: make our house feel like our home
1-5 years: pay off all loans with higher interest than our house
5 and beyond: Plan and take an extravagant vacation (couple or family)

Not AS Bad

It’s been cold here, like really really cold. Probably one of the worst winters I remember ever in Illinois. For some reason though as bad as the winter has been it hasn’t FELT as bad as it usually does. I credit a few things for this.

1. We chose to live here, we really like living her, so I feel as though complaining about the weather that I chose to live in would just be silly.
2. We work from home. That means we never HAVE to leave the house. Well until the groceries run out, and if you know me well, that’s often. I’m an under buyer in the grocery department. I need to seriously step up my freezer meals.
3. We have a garage for the first time ever. Getting into a chilly car, far exceeds getting into a cold car. This also means we never have to scrape, which is pretty stinking awesome.
4. Heated seats. I mean who knew heated seats could be so life changing? I sure didn’t.
5. And last, but certainly not least. We have a great excuse to use our fireplace.

I will be welcoming Spring with open arms this year, but in a weird way I have enjoyed the winter, especially the snow.

I Will Never Be The Same

So here is another one of those posts that’s been rolling around in my head for a good few months and I’m finally carving out the time to sit down and write it down. I will never be the same mother again. Each child that I have from this day forward will have a different mom. In many ways I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is, so I’m learning to move on from the paralyzing fear I have from this truth.

It hits me when I’m walking up the stairs behind Ellery as she goes step by step at a snails pace that never again will I have the patience for a 10 minute trek up the stairs for 6 diaper changes a day. Calculate that friends…we sometimes spend an hour a day going up the stairs.

It hits me when I tell Ellery we are going to go “bye bye”, so let’s get ready to go, and we are in the car an hour later for no reason other than Ellery wanted to run around a bit longer or didn’t really feel like meeting me at the door until then. And I’m ok with this because she’s my only child and we have no urgent places to go most days. When kid #2 comes along (whenever that day may be) Ellery will likely have to be somewhere and I’ll be frantically herding my children to the car to be on time and inevitably we’ll be 5 minutes late or more everywhere we go.

It hits me when Ellery sits square on my lap and we snuggle with a blanket and read a stack of books. Sometimes 20 or more in one sitting. Someday my little girl will only get one leg sometimes. She’ll be okay with that eventually, and I know in the long run it’s good for her, but it hits me that my next kid will find that the one leg book read is the norm and a full lap sit is a treat.

It hits me when two little hands tug at my pant legs to play and I stop what I’m doing and plop on the floor with her. Someday I’ll have four hands, or more, tugging on both pant legs and someone will have to wait their turn.

And it probably hits me the most during family date night, bath time and bedtime when Andrew and I focus all of our attention on our little girl and she soaks it all up. That no kid after her will have the same childhood, at least infancy, that she had.

We wonder so often how kids raised by the same parents turn out so vastly different. And I’m finding out that the secret we keep missing is that no two kids were raised by the same parents (except maybe twins or multiples). That’s the beauty of family though. Each kid that enters your family teaches everyone something good. Ellery taught us how to love fiercely and what real patience looks like. Our next kid will teach Ellery that sharing is a part of life, a really hard lesson I imagine, but a good one. And Andrew and I will be different parents. In some ways that will be a great thing, and in others I’m sure it’ll be hard. I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that God creates families and he knows what is right for our family. And that as a family grows it isn’t destroyed, it’s enhanced.

Can you tell this has been weighing heavy on my heart lately? Ellery is at that age where people start asking when we’re thinking about having another. Honestly the thinking about it has probably been the reason we aren’t on our way to having another yet. The thought of disrupting the good thing we have going on is more than this mama’s heart can handle many days. I’ve spent months thinking to myself that maybe one is good. I mean not really, but it’s crossed my mind. She is enough for me. I don’t feel like I have to have a full quiver to have a full heart.

And I’m coming to the realization that I’ll never be the same mom ever again, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll be better.

One Little Word

One Big Impact. The word to end all tantrums…haha totally kidding, I wish there was a word for that! It has however ended about 50% of our tantrums and for kids I’ve worked with it has had the same effect. Are you dying to know what this one little word is that might just change your life as a parent? It’s so simple, HELP. From Ellery’s early days when I would see her get frustrated with something instead of fixing it I would say, “say help” and then I would fix her frustration. This week she started using it properly and I cannot tell you how many tantrums have ended before they’ve begun. We had a few very frustrating weeks, especially because I loathe responding to screaming. But something clicked over the past few days and my sweet little girl is back.

I’m lucky that my sister-in-law taught this to her little boy and we witnessed the magic of this word when we lived with them. Then I taught it to the little boy I nannied for, and we had very few tantrums. Makes for a much more pleasant day, and a more polite kid. So there is my little piece of unsolicited parenting advice for the day…not super revolutionary, but has been an amazing tool in our family. Up next…help PLEASE.

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The Year of More

So I went MIA for a bit. I finally decided to just disable comments on the blog for awhile until I can figure out how to filter the amount of spam I was getting. It kind of paralyzed me and made me not want to write because on days I would post I would get about 50 e-mails notifying me of comments, all of which were spam. Problem potentially solved for awhile.

So here goes my annual resolution post (in no particular order)…

Last year my goal was a year of minimization. We did pretty well overall. We didn’t minimize our pounds so much, but we didn’t gain any either so I’ll take that as a win in the battle of the bulge. My new mantra is thin by 30, I highly doubt that will happen, but goals are good, right? Moving on. When I thought about what I really wanted for 2014 I realized it’s a lot of more. Not more stuff…I’m always on a quest for less of that, but more in many other areas of my life.

More quality time with my kid. I’m tired of just “being around” her all day. I want to be “with her” and in order to do that I absolutely have to start planning our days better. When I nannied I gave so much undivided attention to my little boy and I realized it was easier for many reasons, one of which was planning. So more planning is on the agenda for 2014.

More blogging. I miss my little space on the web. I have some ideas of series that I want to blog about which will help guide me to blog more. It’s one of the few things in my life that really feels like mine and it’s a fantastic way for me to keep record of what we are doing. I love to sit sometimes and read through different categories. It serves as a journal for me, a very un-private journal, but a journal nonetheless.

More relationship building. Andrew and I are relational people. It’s one of the highest values we share and I want a year of more intentional relationship building. This means more planning on my part and more inviting.

More dates. We must. We have a whole army of people waiting in line to hang out with our little girl. We are the luckiest people in the World for this and we so rarely take anyone up on it. This has to change. I miss my husband as a boyfriend. Friends get ready, we’ll be calling you soon!

More me time. Not much more, just a little bit more. By blogging more I immediately up the me time because I escape to my basement office while the baby sleeps and the husband reads. But I need to be more disciplined about going out every once and awhile by myself even just to walk around Target with no agenda. Once a month would probably suffice.

More God Time. Not to be confused with more church time. Just more time with me and God. I would say reading the Bible more because that’s what I always strive for, but this year I don’t feel like it absolutely has to be that.

It would also probably be good if I worked more, saved more, cleaned more, exercised more, ate more vegetables, and so on, but that would require more hours in the day, so for now I’ll stick with my top 6. Just those 6 alone is a very tall order. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and that you are off to a fantastic New Year.