Ice is the New Black

So last weekend the state of Texas was shut down due to a nasty ice storm. This was no surprise to me because although I was raised up north, I’ve been in Texas for almost 20 years. (Clue: They don’t use salt here – just sand(??)).

To some, my title quote may indicate a reference to a certain Netflix series regarding a prison sentence but that is not the case. My four days iced in with my handsome husband and 3 maniac kids was a perfect fit. Just like that little black dress or the sleek black pants that ALWAYS make you feel good about yourself. It was a completely relaxed little vacation from the world.

We didn’t clean (much) or decorate for Christmas or worry about anything. My son came up with a new term “relaxed homework.” This refers to his new style of laying in bed, watching television or listening to music while completing homework. (Granted, there is a TON of rechecking going on in this process) It’s easy, slow and low pressure.

My husband played video games with my son, like together…at the same time. While they played they talked. They really talked.

The girls played in the ice and went sledding and played in the ice. They also watched cheesy lifetime holiday movies until we were all begging for them to change the channel. (Spoiler alert: The girl gets the guy…always)

I cooked for real. There were a lot of OOOHs and AAAAAHs when I presented the variety of soups, breakfast items and creative lunches. I felt like a chef lauded by millions (or 4 – whatever) when I presented the final dish Monday night. Shrimp and grits with fresh green beans was a big hit.
I also got a boatload of laundry done but now I’m just bragging.

Now they are predicting another storm front next week. Yeah, I’m praying for ice.

I Scoff at Bad Hair Days

This morning, one of my daughters was brushing her hair and said “I guess this is just going to be a bad hair day-ugh!” At the ripe old age of 10, I don’t want her dismissing all hope for the day based on the way her hair looks in the morning. So I did what any mother would do – I threw her in the shower and said “you don’t like it, change it!”

She went to school with a fabulous wet flip/headband hairstyle and a huge smile. I would like to think she learned a valuable lesson about self empowerment but I’m happy that just for today, she was able to own her day.

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Any thoughts on how to nip negativity in the bud or just start your day on the right foot are welcome!!

I Called 911 on Tuesday, What Did You Do?

Tuesday morning, my son woke up with an upset stomach. No fever, no vomiting, just a couple of bouts of diarrhea. At 7:20, I dropped his sisters at school and came back to take him to middle school.When I came in he said he REALLY didn’t feel well. The mommy bells in my head were going off so I told him to lay down on the couch and rest with me. I set my alarm and decided we would see how he felt at 8. At 7:53 he started kicking me and I thought he was having a bad dream so I touched his leg lightly and said his name…he didn’t respond. I stood up and saw my son on his back seizing; arms and legs pulled into his body, eyes rolled back in his head and what sounded like gasping. I rolled him on his side and got my phone to call 911. All I could think was “Dear Lord, Please DO NOT take my baby today.”

It is by the grace of God that I was able to recite my name, address and phone number to the 911 operator. I was shaking uncontrollably. It was about that time when he stopped seizing and lay there completely unresponsive – with his eyes open. “OH GOD HE’S NOT RESPONDING!!” I shrieked. The operator calmly asked, “Amy, is he breathing? Is his chest moving?” Yes, he was breathing. She talked me through the worst of it; reassuring me as I locked up the dogs and cleared the way for a stretcher to get through the house to him. he was motionless for about 5-6 minutes when the firefighters arrived.

He wasn’t lucid until they had him loaded on the stretcher. He saw my face and looked very worried. The face quickly changed when they asked him where he was – he looked like he thought they were crazy for asking him if he knew his own living room.

In the ER, all his tests (CAT scan, blood work, etc…) looked good. Wednesday he went to see his pediatrician who referred us to a neurologist for an EEG and ruined his life by telling him he was not allowed to play in his first baseball game of the season that night. She cleared him for all activities by this weekend except television, video games, swimming and baths.

Apparently, it is not unusual for adolescents and children to suffer a first time seizure. “Each year, 120,000 children seek medical attention because of a first or newly diagnosed seizure. Of such children, approximately 37,000 develop recurring seizures or epilepsy. Many first seizures result from an event such as trauma, hypoglycemia, or a high fever. Such provoked seizures might recur whenever the precipitating situation is present, but they generally do not require long-term treatment.” (http://www.gillettechildrens.org/fileUpload/Vol15No2.pdf)

I would have liked to know this, so I am sharing my horrifying experience with you. File this away in the back of your mind, parents: If your child has a seizure, clear the area, turn them on their side, time the seizure, and do not put anything in their mouth (My son bit his tongue). You will FREAK OUT and that is okay.

I will be praying for my babies, your babies and all of you tonight.

Holiday Stress Made Less

This is the time of year we all tend to rush more, spend more and generally stress more. Worries about clean houses, appropriate gifts and party invites can make this a time for blood pressure to rise and bank account balances to fall.

I am no exception to the rule. We traveled across country for Thanksgiving again this year. I worried about what to pack, what to eat, what to entertain the kids with and everything in between. As our departure approached, I started a new meditation routine. I began meditating every time I worried about something outside of my control.

It didn’t make all my worries disappear or magically solve my concerns but it did allow me time to take a step back and look at the situation from another perspective…and it worked. for example: I didn’t scream out loud when I forgot the food I packed for the trip and I barely winced when I returned from dinner with a friend to find my daughter had vomited and refused to allow my mother in law to care for her while I was out.

The payoff for this mindful exercise; a week of being mothered and spoiled by my Mother-in-law. Late night talks followed by early morning fun with the kids were topped off with amazing food and warm cups of tea.

Thanks to a little meditation and preparation, I am thankful for a great holiday and hope to continue this through the coming weeks of more holiday fun and stress. I wish the same for you.

The Secret To Holiday Balance

Last night, I walked along with my children as they begged for sugary treats. If nothing else, this tradition gives us an opportunity to talk to the neighbors we rarely see.

On a few occasions, perfect moms answered the door with a baby on their hip, candy dish in hand, and commented sweetly on the costumes. The majority of houses had candy dishes left out on the front step or dads sitting in a chair passing out candy by the handful so they could more quickly return to their easy chair and the nightly news.

Holidays are one variable that can tip you off balance faster than anything else. The unspoken expectation of your child, partner or friends lends an “unsolvable x” to the equation.

Rewind the night back to the 30 minutes prior to our fun candy walk and you would see me scowling at my husband as I throw candy into bowls and corral my children out the door. I was seriously bent that my son and husband weren’t following my plan. (How dare they think for themselves!!!)

It was during the walk that I un-clenched and realized my folly. This was my opportunity to stop hovering and worrying and just enjoy a walk. (While monitoring my children running crazy at night dressed in all-black costumes)

Here is the secret…Acknowledge your own imperfection. Give yourself a break. You can plan and prepare but when it comes to including other people, it’s like predicting the weather with a pinwheel.

If you keep a gauge on your reactions (emotional and physical), actions and environment any situation is manageable.

The Time is Now

There are only a few weeks left before the holiday sweep begins. We will all be expected to be organized, giving and cheerful while surrounded by unpredictable weather and more unpredictable relatives.

I have been working on getting organized and healthy for the upcoming holidays but IT IS NOT TOO LATE!! You can start today. Just make a plan and a weight will be lifted from your shoulders.

Here is any easy way to get started: Make a list (or seven). What ever you worry most about: gifts, clothing, decorating, food, make a list and start checking it off.

My latest list is simply labeled “extras” I capture all the stuff I always run out of this time of year: tape, scissors, small gifts, sharpie markers…etc.

The trick is to have it available. Post it on the refrigerator and each time you check off an item, take a picture with your phone (don’t forget to delete the old). You will have the list handy wherever you are!!

You Cannot Plough a Field…

You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind. – Author Unknown

Think about it…this quote is a call to action. I talk, talk, talk about what I am going to do and what I need to do. It seems common to make a plan and find the best ways to reach goals and then once the plan is in place the action fizzles out and its “back to the drawing board.” Don’t get me wrong- I’m just talking about my own personal experience. I’m sure no other person on earth has done this. (And the billion dollar weight loss industry is great testament to my singular inadequacy)

Last week I stopped planning and started doing. I needed a LOT of help. (Still do too-just a babe in the woods here) I had two goals: eat less and get aerobic activity every day. I ate less sugar and crappy stuff (YAY). I did not do aerobic activity every day (BOO). I did do more activity though and it was fun! Please keep commenting and posting ideas on Facebook. Call me out if I check in at McDonald’s!! I dare ya!

This week’s new challenge: Home organization!!! Cluttered closets and crammed kids rooms beware!! I’m making room for holiday gifts and all the wrap crap that goes along with it.

This weekend is all about the purge. By Sunday, I plan to be able to walk in my walk-in closet. (woohoo) Ill put ip pics and progress through the weekend (starting tonight) Please post a comment if you know how to do this better!

HM2HM: ….and GO!!!

The theme for today is “What Goes In, Must Come Out”…uhm…GROSS!!! Not really, I am starting this challenge (which I shortened to HM2HM because sometimes cheesy is fun) with diet and exercise. Heather posted some GREAT stuff on the Facebook page and it got me inspired. Please look because its really worth it (www.facebook.com/AmySchmidtYL).

What goes in…

Can I get a "Yum Yum"

I started with diet (as in what you eat NOT how you can torture yourself and launch head-first into a month-long fast food binge fest) and decided of all the things I have seen the skinny cow idea was my favorite. (I can’t wait for tonight) Seriously, here are the guidelines I am following and keep in mind I am a pescatarian which is a douchey way to say vegetarian who also eats fish and cheese. 1. Eat smaller more-frequent meals (goal is 5 per day). 2. Increase protein and reduce carbs and sugar. 3. Don’t deprive. That is it…for now.

Must Come out…

Exercise not bodily functions!! I am moving in an aerobic fashion every day. Last night that meant walking to the soccer fields and playing soccer with my kids (they won). I will commit to 30 minute duration and plan to add in resistance next week. If I eat something with a lot of jazzed up calories, that means more exercise. So with that, it begins.

I want to share a realization I came to while running down the soccer field yesterday: If you’re carrying around 4 D’s up top, a super strong exercise bra is not an option.

 

 

Your Challenge, if You Choose to Accept

Tomorrow is the day. The start of the Hot Mess to Hot Mama journey. So, here is the plan:
1. The challenge will be 9 weeks long.
2. Each week I will list 2 goals for the week. (easy stuff so no worries)
3. I will open a blog or have a guest blogger (volunteers are welcome)) regarding the goals.
4. You will leave amazing comments destined to change the lives of millions of readers (ok, tens of readers).
5. We waltz in the door to our respective Thanksgiving celebrations as Hot Mamas!! (aka feeling great and looking great)

Please help make this a success by making suggestions and participating.

Get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow – it’s on!

This blog post will self destruct in 5 ….

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

As a project manager, I tend to approach most things with the same methodology. The following is a small lesson I learned this week – in project terms.

Gather requirements:
We decided it would make sense for me to work less hours but still needed me to provide benefits (good luck). So I started looking around and networking a bit.

Feasibility study:
Feasibility of this job combo is the veritable unicorn in the woods.

Planning:
A friend set up two interviews for me at her company (yay friends!). Just to meet people and get a feel for the group.

Execution:
I went to the two interviews. Was interviewed several times and left loving the company, the people, the atmosphere – everything. Both of these positions are full time and potential for travel (when did my scope start creeping?).

Go Live:
I got an offer – yay!! They like me. They really like me!!! An offer for the same job I am doing now with the same (or more because this is a new-ish company) hours and the same pay. Hmmmmm…I want it!!! I love the people, the atmosphere, the company- yay!!

In discussions with stakeholders (mainly my husband but the kids chimed in here and there) the question was raised “don’t you like your current job?”. I do! It’s just…Uhm…oh. This new offer was not in line with the requirements specified at the very beginning – the purpose of the endeavor.

Shut down:
I countered the offer with a request to work from home but all parties new that was not a good idea. Declined.(insert one violin slowly playing a sad, sad melody)

Lessons learned:
1. Stick to the plan.
2. Have amazing friends who will still talk to you after you make a boob of yourself with her coworkers. (yeah, she’s that good)