Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Daughter is My Hero

I always wanted a boy first, something about having that big brother there to protect you.   When we found out our first was going to be a boy we were so happy.  Then a couple of years later and we found out we were having a girl and it couldn't seem more perfect.

After becoming a mom to a girl I soon discovered a few things, first I was horrible at doing hair.  My daughter would often come home from playdates with her hair in cute little ponytails, maybe my friends way of trying to give a subtle hint.  I also learned that sometimes my daughter would baffle me.

As a child I was more shy and timid, crying easily in new moments- she took on life boldly and fearlessly, yet could still be quiet and almost meek at times.

Our stubbornness and our differences would at times make us both dig in our heels and she definitely seemed to gravitate towards her adoring father, yet she was my girl.

Last week I worked out again for the first time in many years.  I don't know why I really stopped, I think the desire to sleep in during the summer and I just never made it back to workout when the next school year began.  After my workout out I felt like I could barely walk, barely move.  That night at Alex's soccer practice everyone asked if I was okay as I was walking with an obvious stiffness.  It took almost two entire days until I felt like I could walk normally again.

Wednesday night we were practicing on a small indoor field due to the rain.  They were doing a shooting drill with the strikers much closer than they usually would be and Alex ended up taking a direct hit to the face.

As she dropped to her knees holding her face, I was sure as I ran over there was going to be lots of blood.  Miraculously there was not, she came out, got a drink and tried to settle down, visibly shaken and upset.  But after a little bit she went back in, all the parents commenting how tough she was.

At this point in the practice they were doing a lot of running.  She joined her teammates running hard, but was still not quite feeling her best.  As she ran her eyes welled up with tears, I could almost see the internal battle going on in her head.  Her eyes became more red and a few sobs escaped her lips.  She continued to run.  She sometimes would look back at me almost seeming to say save me but that she would keep going if I told her to.

As a mother I felt conflicted... torn... wanting to protect and shield my child, but not wanting her to ever give up.  

She seemed to gag as if she was going to throw up, but still she ran.  Finally I waved her over, after I was almost certain she was going to lose it all over the floor.  Thankfully she did not.

The next day as I wobbled around the house, complaining about my sore legs I thought about my daughter the night before, determined to keep going, determined to finish strong.   Looking to me for what she should do, looking to me to know how much she needed to endure, what she needed to push through.

As a parent it is so easy to want to shelter our kids, to protect them-- and trust me there are many things that I do protect and shelter them from, but ultimately they have to learn to battle through, to push, to keep going even when things are really hard.

I try so hard to let my kids know that I will love them no matter what, that nothing can take away their worth, who they truly are... yet they have to work, they have to try for their best.

Things in life don't come free, we are not entitled to things.  We have to work, we have to push when times are hard, we have to keep going.  And I will always be there, never stop loving her, never give up on her, never stop pushing her to strive to be her best self-- but I will be there, to wave her over and comfort when she has had enough.  I couldn't take the pain, the fatigue from her but I can be there, I can always be there.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Five: Rain, Doctor, Panera Bread

Happy Friday everyone!  The rain has finally stopped here, at least for a few days and the weekend is supposed to be "nice".   Since it's Friday that means it's time for Friday 5!

Grab button for Emmy-Mom

5 Thoughts

1. Rain! Rain! Rain!  I think this could be in all of the my thoughts for the week as we had so much of it!  Even ended up having two indoor practices for Alex's team because of it.

2. That second indoor practice was at a new place with a field that is really too small for our team.  They were doing a shooting drill and the girls shooting were pretty dang close to the goal because of the size of the field- and well let's just say Alex had a Scott Sterling moment with our best striker on the team! (Ball right to the face) Thankfully and miraculously no blood was involved.

3. Yesterday I took Lucas to the doctor, he needed a boost in some of his immunizations before entering 7th grade... let's just say it has been a while since he has been to the doctor.  I was so so good at taking them all when they were little and getting the regular shots and checkups.. but once their shots were done, I kind of missed a few years of the annual check-up.  They all seemed to be doing fine and I didn't have any concerns so just never took them in.

4. I finally bit the bullet on something yesterday... something I have been thinking about doing for a while but didn't really want to do... it is going to be one of those things that could really change things for the better, or maybe it will be no big deal. I will post a picture as soon as it arrives.

5.  Wednesday we had our monthly girls night at Panera Bread, it is a diverse group of women of all ages but we always have so much fun coming together, visiting and talking.

5 Pictures
Eating the Alpahabet
The letter A- for eating the Alphabet 

working out

soccer team

rain drops on the windshield

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tips To Getting Kids to School On-Time

Morning are hard, especially mornings before school.  Getting everyone up, eating breakfast, making lunches, making sure backpacks are ready... oh and don't forget the hair.

I have to confess, we have left the house a few times when I realized I did not fix my boys hair; my daughter's hair I seem to notice more as it is totally crazy if it is not done (heck sometimes it is crazy when done- the trouble with having half curly hair).

I remember pulling in front of my oldest son's school looking over as he was getting out of the car and thinking, oh crap, we didn't do his hair.  I didn't dare tell him, as it wasn't that bad and I didn't want him to be self conscious about it, as it was too late to do anything about it then.

How can I help my kids get ready faster in the morning?  Here are a few tips I am learning.
Tips For Getting the Kids to School on time

How to Get The Kids to School On Time

1. Let them Pick Out Clothes the Night Before
   -Yes, I said them, as not only would it be one less thing for me to do and teach them responsibility and all that good stuff, but my oldest is starting to get picky now.  Skinny jeans in his world are a no go; for a kid who is as tall as me but has the waist of a toothpick, skinny jean would look good on him, but try as I might he will have nothing to do with them.  It is so much easier if I let him pick out his clothes the night before.

2. Pack their bags the night before
  Nothing worse than scrambling in the morning looking for their missing homework or permission slips, get it all in the bag the night before! (Have a spot in your home for their homework papers-here is how I organize all those school papers and homework)

3. Make Lunches the Night Before
   I always do a little dance on the days the kids want to buy lunches, but on those days they don't-- if we would just make lunches the night before it might be a whole lot easier.  I even have two posts full of Easy School Lunch ideas!

3. Make Doing Their Hair a Breeze!
   When your boys wake up and their hair is sticking straight up, a product like GRIT is a life saver.  My boys both have more of the natural hair style, my youngest is totally the California surfer curly hair, so I don't want a product that is too heavy or mega hold.

We have recently started using GRIT Low Hold, Low Shine for my oldest.
Grit hair care review

This morning his hair looked good enough to me, but he asked if I could use the GRIT product as he said he likes how it helps his hair stay in place and look shiny (even with the low shine).

I'm telling you-- my son starting to care more how he looks is a bit of a new world for us-- welcome to the teenager years.

GRIT has a whole line of products for men and boys, available at Great Clips, even some that are strong hold and mega shine.
Grit Products

My husband used the Hair + Body and said he was surprised how thick it was, as often products like that are just too runny, he liked it.

**A little tip- if you are going to Great Clips to get your hair cut (where I take Alex to get her bangs trimmed as I cannot do it straight for the life of me)-- you MUST get their Great Clips App.
Great Clips App

 It is free and you can use it find out wait times AND check in and reserve a spot.  If you just walk-in, everyone who reserved a spot will get in ahead of you, even if you were there first, I learned this this hard way one time, so definitely get the App!**

What tips do you have to make the mornings go more smoothly?

Make sure to check out the Great Clips Instagram Feed-- they currently have a Giveaway for a Playstation4 Pro happening!  Definitely something you will want to enter.
Playstation Giveaway

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Word of the Year

In the past I have picked out a word for the year, I really had no intention to this year.  A couple of years ago my word was present- that seemed perfect and like something that I still need to work on today.

Sunday night, as we were sitting around eating our ice-cream after our family night, there was just this moment of contentment and happiness and it hit me that I need to BE.

To BE more present

To BE real in life with who I am and who I show myself to be

To BE there-- really there, in those little moments with my kids

To BE actively engaged in doing good, doing more

To BE more physically active, getting back to working out and eating right

To BE who God wants me to BE.

I just need to BE.

The best part, I don't have to do it all at once.  The New Year isn't the only time I can set goals and try again; but every week.... every week when I partake of the Sacrament at church, it is like starting fresh again.  Being washed clean again and trying again.. and again and again, as I am so far from who I can be.

So this year-- I am going to BE.

Do you have a word for this year?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fun Things to Do On a Rainy Day- Making Stop Motion Videos

Right now much of the country is covered in snow, and here in SoCal we are actually getting a lot of rain, so what is something fun you can do on those cold and rainy (or snowy) days, something that everyone will like?  How about making a stop-motion video?

Until recently, We had never made a stop motion video, but after seeing the tutorials on the GoldFish Website, we knew we wanted to try.

Tips for Making a Stop Motion Video

Stop Motion Video is actually a group of pictures, taken one after the next that are then put together to seem like a moving picture.  There are a lot of Apps out there for making stop motion videos. (See more tips and Apps here)

1. Plan Your Scene
    Do you want something short and funny?  Something dramatic? Something sweet?  Unless you have a lot of time and really want to do a big production, you will want to pick a little short scene, think one thing happening.  Definitely seek your kids input as they have all kinds of creative ideas.

2. Get Your Supplies
    First, you will need something to record your video; you could technically take a bunch of pictures with your phones camera and put them together, but the Apps make it so much easier (and don't fill your camera roll with a ton of pictures)

Just about anything can work in your video, some useful supplies you may want:
   Construction Paper
   Molding Clay (they have packs of this at the Dollar Store)
   Yarn, pompoms, pipe cleaners

 For our videos we used Goldfish Crackers for the characters of our videos.
Goldfish Crackers
Right Now You Can Enter to Win $5000 if you make your own stop Motion Video using Pepperidge Farm Goldfish-- Find More Info Here

3. Set Up Your Scene
   **Before you begin constructing your scene, get out the App and see how big you need it to be.  You want your scene to fill the entire screen, so definitely size things out first.**

-Make the background and props you will need in your scene.  Make sure you have everything ready and all of the props set to the side.  We recommend taping the background in place, we taped it to the back of an old chalk board, as otherwise if it slides, it will throw things off.

--Prop Action: If you are wanting props to open or grow, you will need multiple version of that prop.
   Example: In our Picnic video, the fish carries in a "folded" picnic blanket then it unfolds as he lays it out.  My daughter actually made three different blankets, all of various sizes, so the blanket gets bigger as it unfolds.  We also made multiple umbrellas, a folded one, partially open and fully open, to make it seem like it was actually opening up.

TIP- 3-demensional scene looks really cool, but are definitely more tricky to set up and move the figures just right, if your basic scene and background is flat, it is a bit easier to do.  For your first video I recommend a flat scene.
Making a Stop Motion Video
A 3-D Stop Motion set up we did- though someone kept eating our Goldfish!
Here is our Picnic Video-the third video we actually made.

4. Camera Steady -Start Recording
     You definitely need to have your camera mounted or somehow stationary, movement of the camera will make the whole video off and shaky.  You can use a stand for your phone or tablet, or a third party one.  For our picnic, I mounted my phone using a phone tri-pod which I attached to the handle of my camera tri-pod, a bit crazy but it worked. Once your camera and props are in place, then start shooting.
How to mount camera for stop motion video

5. Shooting Tips
   --Small Movements-- the more fluid you want your movie, then you need very small movements between pictures.  You want to set your things in place, take a picture then move your character just a tiny bit, then snap the next picture, etc.  If you want something to move faster, then move it a bigger space.
Goldfish Crackers

   -Keep things moving-- unless something is supposed to be stationary, like a house or tree- you will want to move each movable thing a little bit in almost every shot to help it look more realistic.  We did not do this as much with our first video, as we were still learning, but learned this trick in the end.

(Example- in the picnic, even when the clouds rolling in is the focus, we still moved the Goldfish just the slightest bit to make sure he looked like he wasn't a frozen statue all of the sudden).

-Take lots of pictures!  Our Christmas Tree video is 145 frames and lasts about 30 seconds, so yes we moved everything 145 times for 30 seconds worth of film.  It does take some time to do it well, but it is so fun!  My daughter would move the things, then I would click, say okay, and she would move them a little bit more, it was fun working together.

Have fun!

It really can be a lot of fun making these videos, in fact we are kind of hooked and have made several now.

If you want to take a try and making Stop-Action movies- definitely check out more tips and tricks at the Goldfish Website.

--While there--Don't miss out on your chance to enter to win $5000 when you make a video of you own.

Have you ever made a Stop-Motion Movie?