Advice from a Snow Day Veteran

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Someone else's snow day declaration. www.kooziez.com

Someone else’s snow day declaration. http://www.kooziez.com

OK!  So, I don’t have a ton of notches on my sled, but I have enough to share some tricks from the past five years of grade school mothering.

  1. Never feed the pre-hype for school possibly being cancelled.  This can back fire when you do have to motivate your troops and get them OUT!
  2. In preparation of possible snow day(s); get some FUN food that you usually don’t have in the house.  You know the things your kids tell you they eat at their friend’s house.  Sure having soup, grilled cheese and cocoa are staples on snowy days.  But surprise them!  We will be celebrating with brownies and cool whip!
  3. Don’t let the day just unfold.  Talk to them and “let” them decide the day.  This works great when you need to remind them what they might miss out on if they keep throwing a fit.
  4. Sure snow days are hard on the schedule, but if you can be home with your kids; become a kid!!!!  Let loose!  Play outside.  Throw the first snow ball.  Make snow angels.  Show your children that being an adult can be fun too!
  5. Plan for some quiet time during the day, especially after playing hard outside.  We usually watch a movie and snuggle down under an avalanche of blankets in our basement.
  6. I also highly recommend silly, loud times!  I can’t wait to start the first “tickle tackle” with the kids.
  7. As a mom who blinked and now has a funny, bright 10 year old, please enjoy this bonus time with your children.  Don’t miss IT, while being in the same house all day.  The days are fleeting friends…
  8. If you have older kiddos, put them to work!  We will get some mad dash race cleaning done tomorrow and I am pretty sure I know a 10 year old who will be shoveling my sidewalks.  If you have younger one, have them pick up!
  9. Take lots of photos!  Do simple things and enjoy it!  As for me and my house we will be dancing in the kitchen to very loud music (and serving the Lord :))
  10. Last but not least… Fights, Tears and Personalities are also part of a snow day.  Let laughter, forgiveness, and compromise be the goal for the day.

NOW HUDDLE UP WITH ME…

COME ON BRING IT IN CLOSE…

ON THE COUNT OF THREE…

ONE 

TWO 

THREE

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!

 

P.S. Here is a fun website for you to “predict” the number of snow days you might have for your area.  Looks like 2 for Liberty!

Snow Day Calculator

 

Oh… Pandora

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I was just sitting on my comfy living room couch working along on all my projects and loose ends that need tying up.  To keep myself focused I usually turn on Pandora to the Tina Turner channel.  My Momma didn’t raise no fool.  Song after song is either Tina Turner, someone like her or music from the 80’s and early 90’s.  It is one of my favorite channels because it just makes me happy.  I usually end up singing along.  As I write this Michael Jackson is belting out The Way You Make Me Feel.  Yes, I am signing in my head as I write.

Have you heard the line that music is just a memory?  I’d have to agree.  Earlier a song from 1991 came on and I instantly thought I had climbed into a time machine.  I was transported to my bedroom when I was 15 years old.  I could clearly remember singing into my microphone.  I mean hair brush.  Only one person seemed to understand me at that time, Ms. Whitney Houston.  We would duet together on How Do I know He Loves Me.  I remember begging for my Mom to drive me from our country existence to the mall 30 minutes away to get the single.  Oh, the simple times before iTunes, YouTube, and CDs.  I played that 99 cent cassette single continuously and I still have it.

Every time I hear that song it brings back a flood of memories about the first boy I would talk to on the phone.  Nothing too crazy or wild.  It was huge at the time. I would sneak off and call.  Of course, I thought my parents had no idea.  Except looking back it seemed that they always ended up needing to make a phone call when I was on the house line.  Hmm… that seems fishy now that I have a parental view.  I would die of humiliation when they got on the phone and started dialing a number.  I would get off the phone quickly and turn on that cassette single and sing.  Whitney seemed to be the only one who knew about love, boys and how I was feeling.

I will always know that song word for word.  Those days of teendom are 20+ years ago, but music can make me feel that age all over again.

Tell me one of your “time machine songs.”  I’d love to know!

Ok I have to write for class and possibly clean… hmm probably not the clean.  🙂

Make sure to check out yesterday’s blog post on Lucy and Ethel!!

Blessings,

Kristin

PS – now Whitney Houston’s So Emotional is playing…

Lucy or Ethel

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Come on now… you know what I mean.  Are you the type of friend that creates crazy situations? Or are you the type of friend who is the accomplice to the crazy?  You might be either or both depending on who you are with.  You probably have a dominant I Love Lucy personality.

According to Sabienna Bowman, Ethel needed Lucy just as much as Lucy needed Ethel. Even without a show to call her own, the legacy of Ethel can be felt in every best friend combo from Mary and Rhoda straight on through to the raucous ladies of Don’t Trust the B—in Apt. 23.  

Let’s take a closer look at what comes to mind with Lucy and Ethel’s personalities.

         Lucy                                             Ethel

Crazy                                                      Steady

Loyal                                                      Loyal

Rule Breaker                                   Rule Follower

Truth Stretcher                                Truth Seeker

Supportive                                           Supportive

Hare-brained Ideas                    Voice of Reason

Maniac                                                 Balanced

I am without any doubt a Lucy.  I have gotten amazing girlfriends into crazy situations more than once.  Like the time I instigated a living /dining room flooring demo at my friend’s home. Yep, that was a big one.

Our husbands were out all Saturday and we both didn’t have children to exhaust us yet and stop us from what we did to her home.  It all started out simply.  We were hanging out at her new-to-them home and talking about the possibility of hardwoods under the carpeting.  I brought up how lucky we were when we pulled up two bedrooms and a hallway of carpet.  We found great hardwoods under twenty-year old carpeting.

I got that crazy look in my eye and said we should pull up a corner to see.  She agreed because together we are actually two Lucys.  We were giggling as we tugged on that corner and we were pleased with what we found.  So, we worked all day and removed all the carpet from the open living/dining room area.  As we pulled, sweated and laughed about what our husbands would say, we got to the middle of the room.  We were in trouble.  There was some major damage where walls had been removed to make the space an open floor plan.  I definitely felt like Steve Urkel from the show, Family Matters with the famous line, “Did I do that?”

I sure did.  Oh, we knew it wasn’t going to be a project that we completed, but a mess we created.  Then we did what we could, we cleaned!  We worked double-time to get all the carpet and padding out, swept the floors and then figured out how we would face our husbands.  We were dirty and little scared.  We definitely had some esplaining to do as Ricky would have demanded of Lucy.  To this day almost ten years later, our husbands still question what we are going to get into together.

I am thankful tonight for my girlfriends.  Those who are Lucys and those who are Ethels are both equally important to helping me have fun in life!  To my Ethel friends, thank you for coming alongside me in my craziest of times.  To my Lucy friends, I am sure another adventure is ahead of us.

Hope you have a lot more adventures ahead of you too!

Blessings!

Kristin

PS- I am blogging daily for Lent (M-F)

Blog Resources:

Women in the Box: Ethel Mertz, I Love Lucy

This entry was posted on January 9, 2013 by Sabienna Bowman, in Women in the Box

http://classicland.tumblr.com/post/33621071702/lucy

So much…

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I often hear the following:

“I don’t know how you do it all.”

“You should learn to say no.”

“I see you coming and going all the time.  Aren’t you exhausted?”

“Just watching you buzz around makes me exhausted.”

I’ll be honest sometimes it stings.  I do have a lot of plates spinning.  And sometimes I am not sleeping much.  My “extra” things are keeping me up late.  It is the soft footsteps padding down the hall from my sweet three-year old at 3:00 a.m.  And yes, I could have a big production of the injustice of getting out of bed to tuck him back in, but I’ve noticed that his current level of “momma need” is fleeting.  My gig is to be his “person.”

Being his “person” reminds me of a great line from the show, Grey’s Anatomy from a couple years back.

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It is a different kind of “person” than the friendship described on that show.  But it still stands true.  I am his “person” and I will always be.  I am actually 3 smaller people’s “person” and one adult’s.

I try to not lose myself in all the doing, going and being.  It is a lot of ever-changing, coaching, and communicating.  I could use a nap just thinking about it all.  We all know that there isn’t time for that. 🙂  I keep my plates spinning and my people happy. (most of the time)  I am enjoying this phase of motherhood, family, MOPS Leadership, and master’s classes more than any other time yet.  It is freeing to have all these parts to my life and I am thankful for all the plates to spin.  Some days it seems like everything is falling apart and plates are crashing by the crate full.  Those are the days that stick out when some one comments about the business of my busy-ness.  It cuts a little, but I know that this crazy season is what I am in for now and it is a good thing I love it.

A Solid Investment

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Our wooden play set stands guard in our backyard of dead, dry grass as a beacon of hope for warmth and long days outside.  We moved to our home a little over 2 years ago.  One of the first, big, non-negotiable purchases we knew would be a play set with swings.  It has been a staple in our outdoor play and many times during this mild Missouri winter, we have been outside playing on it.

Today was one of those days.  A day “too cold” in Momma’s opinion, but just right for all three kids.  I heard them through my cracked open kitchen window.  They were laughing, shooting storm troopers together and of course there were the predictable set of tears and screaming.  It was an accident.  It is hard for our three year old to remember to watch for swinging feet and spinning tire swings.  Especially after not being outside for a few weeks.

They all came in chilled to the bone, but gleeful.  Time with each other on their play set was just what they needed in the great outdoors to run, scream and pretend.  I asked more about what they pretended and they each went into different versions of a Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  I am thankful they can be so happy together on a cloudy afternoon.

That play set was a solid investment.  Their cackling laughter is worth every penny.  I am so glad we didn’t wait.  I know it would be have been a big mistake if we had delayed or never installed the play set.  Glad as parents we just did what needed to be done.

In My Rearview Mirror Tonight

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In my rearview mirror tonight, in the dark as I drove home a new way on our busy highway I saw life differently.  As my kids chattered on about their day and church, I felt my heart in my throat.

In the backseat of my cluttered, orange van was my 3 blessings all buckled in unaware of what I was seeing.  Nothing out of the ordinary, except we had a lot more shining headlights near us on the highway.  As the lights shone in, I did what all moms do, I assume.  I glanced in my rear view mirror to see my kids as they spoke and asked me questions.  With the ever changing light, I couldn’t see them very clearly.  Their sweet faces would be lit for a moment and then go dark.

What caught my heart and made me try to do my best “motherhood moment time freeze” (MMTF for short) was what I saw upon their heads.  I saw two with little ash crosses and one with curls.  My two older kids took part of Ash Wednesday services, where they were marked with the sign of the cross in ashes by our Pastor.

He said to each person marked, “Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.”  I hope and pray that those are more than just words they heard once.  I hope those words are resonated in the love they receive from their Daddy and I, their Sunday School teachers, their church community, their extended family and friends.  That in our hearts and minds we can remember their cross on their foreheads like it is always there.

If they grow with knowing that, then we all will have blessed them.  

 

PS – I am challenging myself to post every day of Lent.  

        Dear Lord, Help us all. Amen

        Read, share, skip – – do whatever works for you.  I need to write and publish more.

 

 

 

 

 

K.I.S.S. – A Quick Tale from a Former Poser

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We have probably all heard the K.I.S.S saying before.  I don’t like what the last “S” usually stands for.  I don’t like to throw in derogatory or demeaning names just for the heck of it. (ok – personal soap box is over)

The K.I.S.S. idea and motherhood has been a struggle for me to keep things simple.  Ten years ago, when I started staying home I decided to become Martha Stewart.  Literally.  I put her up on a pillar of what was right, expected and needed by my family of 3 at the time.  I would make meals from scratch, stay up on all laundry and ironing and I would set ridiculously high expectation levels that robbed my life of JOY.

Until one day I stumbled on a show hosted by Martha Stewart’s grown daughter, Alexis.  It popped my self-imposed and society-imposed bubble of Martha Stewart goodness immediately.  OUCH!  I felt different after hearing another side of the perfection saga of Martha Stewart.  Alexis shared that as a child she couldn’t live up to expectations, she didn’t have fancy treats or meals, and rarely a Halloween costume.  Seriously??  And here I was trying to be Martha!  The construction, expectations, and appearance boiled down to a pretty poor relationship with her only child.  No thank you that is not the legacy I was after.

I knew I had to learn the greatest lesson that Martha could teach me.  I needed to learn and live K.I.S.S. – – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  I still enjoy a craft or 12, but I don’t want perfection.  I still enjoy cooking, but a meal from Costco to warm up is ok by me.  By keeping it simple, I can keep up.  My kids can depend on me to sit and listen.  They know I would rather read with them then have a clean and empty kitchen sink or sparkling bathroom counters. And I am focused on the simple things.  It pours into how we live, how we celebrate and how we can do more for others.

I highly recommend in this time of out-doing yourself, your neighbors, and society that you K.I.S.S – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  Trust me the impact is worth it.

Blessings at Christmas to you and your family.

Kristin Wooldridge

A Recovering Martha Stewart Poser

Word Clouds Are COOL Gifts! Let me tell you how!

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Word Clouds Are COOL Gifts!  Let me tell you how!

Recently I wanted to give a thoughtful gift to 22 members of my Mothers of Preschoolers Steering Team but that can add up quick.  Even if I kept it to $3-5 per member!  I was looking all over the place for a personalized way to give them a gift that would meaningful to each of them and possibly their families.  I tried the internet, Pinterest, strolling through ornament aisles of stores.  I just couldn’t find the right thing that didn’t feel like I just bought 22 of something for them.  They each mean so much to our group, the ministry as a whole and to me personally.  Twenty mini bottles of lotion or $5 gift cards didn’t cut it for me as I wanted to honor them.

The answer came from the school hallway bulletin board outside my 7 year old daughter’s classroom.  There were over 22 shapes that caught my attention and they listed so many sweet qualities of each child.  It prompted me to email the teacher and ask how she taught them that.  She replied it was a website and it was easy.  Well, I wouldn’t say it was so easy to just go to the site and try to figure it out, but once I did I knew that it was the perfect gift with heart!  One of the leaders from my team posted the gift that she had framed and it gained some attention on how others could make one.  So here goes I am going to break it down, so you can create word clouds with meaning as gifts.

First let me show you a couple of examples…

This is from putting in my blog web address. (I love it!!!)

boogie oogie oogie  rectangle

Lovely Christmas Season words…

Christmas tree Longleaf pine 3

Jumbled up heart with  my family’s names…

My Friend’s family names in horizontal layout…

Enough of the show and tell!  Let’s get to it and see if I can brush off my internet click through how to directions!  (It has been 11 years… I bet we can do this together!)

There is a FREE website called Tagxedo.com. (www.tagxedo.com) It is a great word cloud creator.

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You can do like I have done and load a blog website or any website for that matter.  It will automatically fill your word cloud with whatever words are on the site.  And the more a word is repeated the bigger that word will be in the cloud.  Cool, huh?  No thinking!

But chances are you are reading this because a personalized word cloud suits your needs.  So here goes!

1 – Open up www.tagxedo.com in a browser

2 – Click the CREATE button in the top right corner and it will open the Tagxedo Creator page.

3 – To load your words – click on LOAD in the left side bar.

> In the LOAD menu, you can upload a file from your computer, a webpage or your own text.

> To make a family name word cloud here is the “formula” I used for the clouds I gave as gifts

– Mom’s name 10 times

– Dad’s name 10 times if you want it the same frequency as the mom (I did 7)

– Each child’d name 5 times

4 – Once  you have typed the names in without commas in a run-on sentence or in a list – hit SUMBIT.  Your words will be put

into a cloud! WOW!

5 – Now the FUN BEGINS! Color/Theme/Font/Orientation/Layout and an ALL button!

Let’s look at the buttons by these prompts:

Rotating Arrow – this is like a free spin and it changes the cloud for you

Right facing arrow (like a play button on your DVD player) – this opens up a menu for you to make a choice

Lock – When you get one of the formating items how you would like it you can lock it in as you work on the other

components.  You can unlock at anytime to adjust.

COLOR – changes the color scheme you have already chosen by a shade or two each time you click it.

THEME – choose a new color scheme

FONT – gives you a listing of all the fonts available.  You can remove fonts that might not fit your theme or may be

too big.  I usually click off Boston Traffic and Headline One because they are just too big.

I use the rotating arrow a lot on font to see different combinations.

ORIENTATION – gives you a menu for any, horizontal, vertial or both horizontal and vertical.

LAYOUT – mixes your words around

ALL – is the master spinner of all these prompts.  It changes everything for you.

OPTIONS:

SHAPE Menu

> There are 114 shapes

> You can even add your own image – which I haven’t figure out yet)

> So pick a shape — love it — keep it — hate it — change it!!

HISTORY keeps a copy of each change you made as you play with the cloud.  It doesn’t save it longer than your session

WORD/LAYOUT OPTIONS

> If you want to do more specialized words, skips, layout changes, you can play with these options.

> I didn’t tweak any of these.

> Theme preference for color family options is helpful.

> Font preference for the number of fonts you would like is helpful too.

Then once you are happy with your word cloud, go back up to Save/Share.  You will be given many different options for saving.  I save an image at 500KP (JPG).  Here is how I format it when I save one: Name of the piece shape of the piece font color family.  For example for the family heart above it is Wooldridge_heart_colorname.

I hope this walk through has been helpful.  When I started last week, I felt like I needed someone to help me.  Since I can’t loan out my 7 year old daughter, you all are stuck with me!

Please enjoy www.tagxedo.com and make gifts for those you love.  Get your kids into it too!  I could see this being a great way to make a yearly ornament for kiddos with what they are involved in and of course involve the year many, many, many times!

SHARE, PIN and LIKE this post.  I would love the help in sharing this great site.

Happy Creating!!!!

My 3 year old knows more than me…

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He is starting to process and talk more.  He has been what most would call delayed.  We say he is a late bloomer.  He has impressed us for a couple of years with his resourcefulness.  He could imitate sounds for things that he needed or wanted, which always reminded me of the character from the Police Academy movies.  The sound, “shhhhh” was for the water dispenser for our fridge.  “Woof” was all he would say for our dog, Harley.  It was simple but we all got it.

As I said, he is starting to really bloom.  I have teased that it is like watching someone who imigrates or visits here with broken English as he tries to find the right words.  He is focused.  He usess gestures, taps his foot and looks around saying, “eh” or “um.”  If you give him time, he gets it together.  He beams with pride, if you ask him the right claryifying question back.  And he loses his red-headed temper when you are way off base.  He is even known to cover his eyes with his hand and shake his head back and forth in dismay and disapproval.  (Which cracks  me up, but I would never let him see me laugh)

His two older siblings came out of the womb talking non-stop. (hmm… that is definitely hereditary if you ask my Mom)  But Rhett has been much later to talk and question.  He is now sharing his highlight reel of his preschool morning and it is amazing.  He is starting to not just listen to books at bedtime, but repeat, sing along and now ask “why.”  It is music to this Mama’s ears.  Even all the whys.

You may be wondering how a 3 year old is smarter than me.  It all happened as we read before bed this past Saturday.  We were reading a family favorite, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado.  He has heard this book hundreds of times and I am sure I have read it a thousand times or more in the past 10 years of bedtimes.  It is an “auto-pilot” book.  Meaning I don’t need to read it with the words.  I can just recite it and I don’t often pay close attention to the meaning behind the words.  We were snuggled together and he was very relaxed sitting on my lap in our chair.  All of a sudden he turned to face me and took  me by my cheeks.  He pulled me close and I fought the urge to go into “mom-mode” of “hey, let’s get back to the book.”  But something happened that has never happened before.

He looked deep into my eyes and beamingly said, “Me love you like God love you Mama!” Oh, the tears of joy I instantly had were so full of love.  I covered his face with kissed until he started squealing.  I told him repeatedly, “you got it buddy!”  He gets it better than I do.  He pulled away and said, “Me see God soon?”  And I replied, “God is in everything you see.”  Rhett looked around and said, “Me meet God on Tuesday.”  I said, “Maybe so.”  And he smiled back.  We snuggled down and finished our book with a mom that was not on “auto-pilot.”  We prayed and I tucked him in tight.

As I stepped out of his peaceful room, I thought I can’t wait to share this story on Tuesday.

Hope you have a great Tuesday and that you can find the blessings in the abundance we all have in our lives from God.

Love,

A Mom of A Late Bloomer

BE A BLESSING!

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It all started when Ian went to Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. I would bubble up with all the remember to’s when he left me each day for school.

Remember to play nice.

Remember to use your listening ears.

Remember to be good.

Remember to share.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Remember to help friends who need help.

These don’t even cover the magnitude of what I thought I needed to remind him of each morning. It became quite a long speech. One day it hit me that he didn’t need a bullet point list on how to be at school. He had received that foundation. What he needed was encouragement and inspiration from his Momma. I thought long and hard about what to say in a quick, loving send off.

Be good – but it sounded like be better than others

Be the best – but it sounded like a lot of pressure for a 1st born/type A kiddo

Follow Instructions – but it sounded only rule focused and not creative or relational.

Then I started to learn more about God’s intentionality about each person being designed with a true gift and purpose. We are to use our individual giftedness to be a blessing to ourselves and others. It flipped a switch in my brain. A true EUREKA moment happened. I had found it. My blessing and sending off each time my kids headed to school or anywhere became…

BE A BLESSING!

In the morning now for years, I focus on each of them before they leave our home. Right after jackets and backpacks are on, I take them by the collar and look them right in the eye. I smile and say, “Be a Blessing!” No matter our morning. No matter how tense the time may have been. I bless them. It has become a Wooldridge Ritual. Even Amon surprised me when I was heading off to my seminary retreat in August. He took my by my shoulders and told me to Be a Blessing! It was the first time in over 4 years of blessing our children, that I was blessed before I headed out on a new journey. It felt GOOD! I felt like I was commissioned and blessed with love.

Even today as my three kids left for school, I pulled each of those yahoos by their collars and looked them in the eyes. I then happily sent them off with their blessing!

It is powerful.

It is intentional.

It is positive.

It is from love.

It is inspirational.

I pray for the them to do good, kind things to themselves and those they come in contact with. And that they can make choices that they can be proud of or at least learn from. Raising loving, positive kids should never be easy. It is all about constant choices, communication and pressure. But it is rewarding and amazing to witness their wings being developed. Man, oh, Man – – are they going to take off some day!

SO REMEMBER…

BE A BLESSING!

A little extra I had to share with you::

Today after Ian and Kaylee left the house. I turned my attention to the final details of getting Rhett out the door. I heard the back door open and I wasn’t surprised to hear MOM yelled. It happens often…

Someone forgot a coat

Someone forgot a permission slip

Someone forgot a lunch

Someone forgot a library book

Someone forgot their glasses (usually this one)

I came quickly back into the kitchen to see Ian beaming. Then he started to repeatedly and loudly chant to me.

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

What a great chant to start my day! I am blessed beyond measure.

Praying that each of us can B E A BLESSING to those in our lives.

(Thank you for your grace and support as I have been absent from blogging. I am praying to be more intentional. It helps me express my thoughts and I hope it provides encouragement to you as your read. Thank you again for your support. I count each of you who read this as blessings in my life. BE A BLESSING!)

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