Million Moms Challenge

The Most Difficult Yet Best 5,172,000 Minutes of My Life

From the time I was 24 years old to 34 years old, almost a decade, I was either pregnant or nursing one of my five children. I am currently 38 years old which means that for exactly one quarter of my life, my body has been growing and nourishing another precious human life. If you are counting, that is approximately 8.9 years, 3,175 days, or 86,200 hours that my amazing physical body has been working to sustain life.

pregnant #5wm_thumb[2]

(Delivery Day for Baby #5)

For me, pregnancy happens very easily. Which I recognize does not happen for all women and for some women may never happen. Each of us will have our own unique experiences and no one’s story is the same. But for me pregnancy and childbirth has and is truly a gift….{continue reading}

baby #5wm_thumb[3]

(Baby #5 First Bath)

This is just a small excerpt from my story, as I join in with the Million Moms Challenge to share one of my best moments of pregnancy. Every mom has a pregnancy story and it is something that unites women from all over the world.  I would love for to you Click on over to read my story and share YOURS as well!

Also, by joining in the conversation and sharing your stories and thoughts, you will be entered to win some amazing prizes.

How to be a Happy Mom

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room. Here’s Heather in her own words…

–Amy

Since the beginning of time, all of mankind has had something in common, we want to be happy. I know I want to be happy. My greatest happiness and joy comes from my family. Receiving awards, recognition, money, doesn’t compare to the feelings I have when our daughter learned to ride her bike without training wheels or when I saw the smile on our son’s face when he worked side by side with his dad on his pinewood derby car. But, if I am not careful, the stress of taking care of others and managing family life overshadows the happy and leaves me sad and miserable. It doesn’t have to be this way. This plan of family life is meant to be a happy plan.

Here are 8 things that Happy Moms have in common.

1. Happy Moms Avoid Comparisons As mothers and women we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. If we want to be happy, we have to stop. We are usually comparing our weaknesses and shortcoming to someone else’s strengths. It is not a fair comparison. And, when we compare, we foster feelings of jealousy and envy. Those feelings will make us miserable. There will always be someone skinnier, with a cleaner house and with kids that seem more behaved. Always. SO what…comparing will not make us skinner, or our house cleaner. Don’t waste energy on comparing. It is the same with our children. Don’t compare our kids to others. When we do, we miss all the magic that is in each of our own children. We overlook how wonderful and unique they are. And we put unfair pressure on them. When we find ourselves longing for someone else’s life, sit down with a piece of paper and pen and start listing all the things you are thankful for. List all the blessings in your life. When you feel yourself starting to compare again, get out the paper and re-read all that you are thankful for. We will quickly realize how blessed we really are. The other thing we can do to stop the comparing is to serve others. Serving others brings humility and helps us recognize our many blessings. Lastly, we have to be careful with social media. It is easy to read about all the recipes and refinished furniture and beautifully sewn cloths and feel inadequate. Just because we don’t do all those things, doesn’t mean we are less. Nor should we compare ourselves to all the “ideal” posts we read.

2. Happy Moms Recognize Their Worth. There comes a time when we have to accept ourselves, as is. We need to love ourselves. Instead of wondering what we are good for, we need to know that our role is THE most important role. We are raising and influencing future generations. We are primarily responsible for nurturing little human beings. It doesn’t get more important than that. Even if we don’t have children of our own, there is nothing that compares to a women’s loving influence. Take a minute and write down all the things that you are good at. Don’t be shy, write them down. Maybe you are a good friend, patient, a talented seamstress, or creative. Own them, find strength in your strengths and use them to help others. The sooner we can recognize our true worth, the happier we will be.

3. Happy Moms Choose Good Friends. We are quick to preach this to our children, but do we realize how important it is for us. We need to surround ourselves with people who lift us up, who believe in us, and who support us. Avoid relationships that are one sided and draining. We want friends who don’t compare, who revel in our successes and who believe in lifting others up, not putting others down. That is also the type of friend we want to be for others.

4. Happy Moms Have Faith and Pray The act of being faithful, in and of itself raises our spirits and gives us hope. Hope is happy and healing. Couple that hope with prayer and the sun will shine happy rays. :) Even on the worst of days, having faith that we are trying our best and that tomorrow will be better, can help us feel happy today. Prayer can help us lead happier lives also. It gives us a chance to express gratitude and ask for help. When we pray, be specific. Yesterday I prayed that I could be more creative with our 3 year old. Lately she has wanted me to play zoo, and make animal sounds. Sometimes that is hard for me, so I asked for help. Pray for more time with your family, pray for stamina to get through a long day. Sometimes my prayers are that I can get through the next 15 minutes. Happy moms have faith. For me, faith helps because I know that I am never alone.

5. Happy Moms Make Time For Themselves As mothers and women, we tend to take care of ourselves last. I have caught myself more than once saying “when the kids are older then I will have time for….”. We need to stop thinking like that. We should find some time for ourselves to cultivate our gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn to do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. It is not selfish.

6. Happy Moms Simplify We need to clean up and clear out. Take a look at your schedule and make sure it is not too full. Don’t over schedule our kids, or ourselves. Juggling a million things doesn’t make us better moms with cooler kids. It just stresses us out. We are not happy when we are stressed. Our kids only need one or two extra activities, same with us as moms. We should simplify our homes also. Too many clothes and toys in our homes and cars add stress. It can become overwhelming to manage so much stuff. Simplify. Cut down to what is manageable and spend less time keeping up with all the stuff, and more time with those you love, doing things you want to do and being happy.

7. Happy Moms Stop Worrying I am very guilty of this. I am a worrier. It causes stress, and then I am not happy. It will take practice, but think about it this way: If you can’t change it or control it, then there is no need to worry about it. Instead think about what you can control and put your efforts there. The other thing we can do to stop worrying is to turn off the news. I watch the news filled with all the negative and horrible and I worry more.

8. Happy Moms Smile and Laugh Smiling and laughing naturally brings happiness. Let your face light up and let out a giggle. In fact, smile at someone else and watch their face light up. We can get so rushed and serious that we forget to be happy. So even if you have to force it at first, smile.

RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU ARE A HAPPY MOM?
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU ADD TO THE LIST?
Have a question or just want to say hello.

Chalk Board Tees and More

I have been wanting to make one of these fun Chalk Board T-shirts and finally had a chance to get around to making one now that the kids are back in school.   The chalk board cloth may or may not have been sitting in the JoAnn’s bag on my craft room floor for almost 4 months now….   I had wanted to make some for the kids for their last day of school with a big chalk board square on the back of the shirt so all of their friends could sign it like a yearbook.  Then I thought it would be fun to get a picture of it!  But…alas…it never happened.  I just never found the time.  But I totally plan on doing it this year!

And I am really glad I finally made them.  They are a lot of fun and my kids LOVE them.  And I like that they are a fun and unique way to let your child’s personality show.  The possibilities are endless.

chalkboard tees 4 wm

And you are never going to guess just how easy it is to apply.  I found my chalk board cloth at JoAnn’s in their specialty fabric section.  I believe is was $4.99 a yard…but I bought it a while ago and my memory is not what it used to be! 

chalkboard tees 5 wm

I simply made a simple pattern of the shape I wanted to make the chalk board cloth into and cut it out.  It cut so easily and smoothly.  As you can see, I used chalk to make an outline of the pattern and then just simply erased it.

chalkboard tees 6 wm

Then I just glued it onto the shirts with this Fabri-Tac.  So EASY!!!  I was going to sew it, but figured I would give this a try as I was too lazy to pull out the sewing machine which has been in storage since school got out in early June.  Some day, maybe I will get the energy to pull that baby out again!  And so far, with some use and a couple of washes, it seems to be holding up really well.  Bonus!

chalkboard tees 7 wm

Before you can write on the cloth with the chalk, you will need to “prime” it by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the surface of the cloth.  Then simply wipe it off and it is ready to go.  I did this after each washing too.

chalk board tees wm

I also made my son this tie t-shirt!  He loves it and thinks it is a great option for wearing to church.  Not really what I had in mind, but fun to wear around the house.  How fun would this be on a little baby onesie?  I think I will make one for the next baby boy gift I need.  Or how about a chalk board in the shape of a  little guitar?  Or flowers?  Or Mickey Mouse?  Or for pictures on the first day of school with their grade written on the shirt!  Gah!

chalkboard tees 8 wm

So many fun ways to dress up a simple t-shirt and make it a lot more fun and unique.  And…I am planning on using the left over chalk board cloth for another fun and unique project.  Stay tuned for that one!

chalkboard tees wm

If you were to make one…what would you use it for?

Finding Family Time

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room.

  Here’s Heather in her own words…

Amy  {The Idea Room}

_______________________________



At the start of every new school year, I start to wonder, can I really do this again? Packing lunches at dawn, homework, baseball practice, teaching, nursing a new baby, piano, dance, grocery shopping, rushing home to get dinner on the table, the kids in bed, just to start it all over again the next day? 


I miss the slow pace of summer and being together as a family all the time. Finding family time during the school year can be a big challenge. I am not the only parent concerned about the rush that the school year brings. Questions are always coming in from concerned moms about how to focus more on family and less on the hectic lifestyle that they are living. 


As your thoughts turn to the new school year, I offer some suggestions to help you find more quality family time.

#1: Limit Your Children’s Activities.
Limit your kids to one, maybe two, after-school activities. Shoot for one. This may be a harder decision for you than for your kids. We tend to want our children to be involved in everything and learn every skill and talent. Kids also feel pressure from teachers and peers to be involved in lots of different activities. Choices have to be made. Think of it this way: Teaching your kids to make choices is an essential part of a parent’s job. These activities build skills and give kids a sense of what they can do. But time spent with the family gives them a sense of who they are. Plus, if your kids are always away from the family at their different activities, they can’t be spending time with the family. Don’t over schedule your kids. 

#2: Limit Your Activities.
As parents, we need to limit our activities. A good rule of thumb, no more than one night out for each parent, per week. When we are gone all the time we can’t be there for our families when they need us. The rituals that build closeness- bedtime stories, walks after dinner, playing games, talking-can’t happen when Mom and Dad are always gone. Don’t over schedule yourself. This doesn’t include Date Night. Date night is essential to keeping marital relationships strong and on track. 

#3: Turn off the T.V.
Turn the TV off during meals, especially dinner. In fact, consider turning the TV off Monday through Thursday. You will love the difference it makes in your home. There will be less contention. There will be more talking amongst family members. More will get done around the house and you will appreciate the calm atmosphere. There will be more time for homework, reading, talking and playing. There are better things for families to do than spend excessive amounts of time watching TV.  Plus, having the TV on in the background adds another level of noise and stress. 

#4: Eat Dinner Together.
Set a standing time for dinner and stick to it. Make it clear that all family members are expected to be there to eat together. This could be one of the most important rituals you have with your family. Do what ever it takes to sit down together. Make it special. Light candles, set the table, use special dishes. Don’t discuss discipline issues, don’t answer the phone, turn off the TV. Make it a safe place where every family member feels loved and accepted. If dinner is impossible for you to eat together, eat breakfast together. Just try your best to eat together everyday. Even one day a week is better than never.

#5: Get Some Sleep.
Set a bed time for your children, and for you. 10 pm or 11pm at the latest (for you of course.) Stick to it. When we are rested we feel calm. When we are calm we are better able to deal with our families. We are more calm, more clear headed, more loving and compassionate. I know what you are thinking. “I have too much to do and I only have time when everyone is asleep.” I hear you. I understand. I am the same way. Regardless, getting the sleep we need will bless our lives. If we are not over scheduled we will be able to admonish this suggestion. Do what needs to be done, and let the rest go. It will still be there in the morning, promise. 

#6: Read Together.
Whether it is at night as part of your bedtime ritual, or during the day, find time to read with your children everyday. We read stories every night before bed. We also like our reading tree. We take a blanket and a book outside and sit below our favorite tree and have reading time together. Great bonds are created when we sit down and read together. 

#7: Cook Double.
Dinner is one of the hardest times of the day. Everyone is tired, hungry and there is much to do. Simplify your meal prep so that you can spend more time with your family and there will be less stress. One way to do this is to cook double. Double your recipes, freeze, and save half for another night. It is worth finding a dinner plan that works for your family. Plan ahead, try to prepare, and simplify. It is not so much what you are putting in your mouth, but that you are doing together. 

#8: Plan a Fun Family Activity Every Week.
Friday nights are perfect for a family activity. They don’t have to be expensive. Family Volley is loaded with family activities, a new one is posted every Friday. Be creative. Check out what your communities and cities have to offer. Take a hike, play a game and make a homemade dessert. Anything together. I know a family that goes out every Saturday night together. The children take turns planning the activity. They are given a 5 dollar budget. They have been carrying out this tradition since their children were very small. The children have become so creative, most of the time they don’t even need the 5 dollars. These weekly activities give your families a chance to regroup, and reconnect. 

There is a great analogy that I like to use in class from Stephen Covey. 
Pretend that you are trying to cut down a tree. Next to you is someone else trying to do the same thing. You work and work and never take a break. Never the less, the person next to you finishes before you do. You question what they have done. 
“How is it you finished first? Especially when you took breaks every hour?”

The response, “I might have taken a break every hour, but what you didn’t see was that during each break I sharpened my saw.” 

We often think that our families will function better if we put our noses down and never take a break. That is not the case. We need to take a break and sharpen our saws. Take time to spend with our families, engaged in fun, interactive, meaningful activities. We will be more productive, and happier. 

These 8 suggestions will make a HUGE difference in your family. If we want to protect our families from the 24/7 world that is trying to take over, we must decide to make our home and families our fortress. We have to be intentional with our families time. Family time will not happen unless we make it happen. 

HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOUR FAMILY TO BE TOGETHER?
ARE YOU GLAD THE KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL?
Have a question or just want to say hello.

Establishing Back-to-School Routines

 

Hey guys…It’s Amy…still taking a little break and spending some time with my kids before school starts next week for us.  Becky from Clean Mama is back to share some great tips for getting back into a routine when the kids head back to school!  Thanks Becky!

Hi there Idea Room readers!  I’m Becky from the Clean Mama blog and I’m back today to share a little checklist with some ideas for a smooth transition from summer fun to back to school routines.  Even if your kids have already started back to school, the tips today are easy to implement any time.

 

I have five areas that I think will help organize your home, your child, and your school year.
1.  Set up a snack and lunch making center or spot in the kitchen-
       
*put lunch items in a container in the fridge and pantry
*make healthy snacks easily accessible to hungry kids – fruit, veggies, nuts, pretzels, cheese….
*put lunch making supplies (bags, lunch boxes, reusable containers) all in one place to alleviate searching
2.  Create an art work and school work collection spot – decide how you’ll save special artwork and schoolwork (binder with sleeves, boxes, scan to computer)
I’m using these boxes from The Container Store.
3.  Start or update a family binder or notebook-
*determine important sections: home-keeping, contacts, school info, contacts, bills, emergency info, etc.
(Shameless plug: my Etsy shop, Clean Mama Printables-is full of great documents to quickly create a Home-keeping binder – I even have a School Days Kit that’ll help get your year off to a great start)
4.  Create and/or Stock a Homework Station-
*stock up on supplies (now that everything is on sale)
*designate a quiet spot for homework – this can be as simple as the kitchen table and a basket with school supplies
This is a cute little station from The Container Store.
5.  Sort Through Clothes, Shoes, Outerwear-
*place outgrown clothing in boxes/bins
*donate clothing to friends, family, your favorite charity
*make a list of what your child/children need and watch for sales and coupons
Any ideas you’d like to share that help you get ready for the next school year?  We’d love to hear them in the comments section!
You can go here to grab a little School Days Checklist to make your transition a little easier this year!

international_delights_header_large_spring

 

Hey, In other news, I would love for you to come and join me, Amy Anderson (Mod Podge Rocks) and Jen (Tatertots and Jell-O) for a live chat tonight over in the Blog Frog’s International Delight Coffee Talk Community. What are you favorite beauty secrets? How do you stay looking young? And what products or recipes that you love and want to share? We’re talking all about beauty and how to maintain it TONIGHT, Thursday, August 18th at 9pm EST. Come join us!!!

 

To join us simply follow this link!

 

 

Great Ideas for Getting Your Kids to Work

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room.  I for one, really enjoy all her great tips and advice on things that most of us as parents struggle with.  Here’s Heather in her own words…

–Amy

_______________________________

Happy Thursday, it’s Heather from Family Volley. Before I share a few great tips to get your kids more excited about work, I wanted to thank you for all the support last week. Your comments were much needed oxygen. It is comforting to know that there are so many of us fighting the same fight, and that we can get through it. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

 
Hard to believe an hour earlier this room was spotless.

Is work a scary word at your house? Does it immediately elicit moans and groans from your children? It doesn’t have to. Here are three quick tips for getting your kids to work, with a good attitude. The last one is our family favorite.

1.  Listen First–Is there complaining when you mention it is time to clean up? Children don’t always feel like they are heard. SO, listen to them for one minute. What do I mean? Give your children one minute to complain. Let them whine and complain as much as they want for those 60 seconds. Once the 60 seconds are up, it’s time to get to work.

2. Use Labels –Do you ever hear your kids say, "I don’t know where that goesssssss?" Kids are very visual. Take pictures of the toys that go in each bucket or space. Post the pictures on the front of the storage spaces so it makes it really easy for your kids to SEE where things go. You don’t have to take pictures of every toy, just a few of the toys that can represent. You can also include the name of the object for older kids who can read. If your child likes to draw, have them draw pictures of their toys.

3. MAGIC ITEM! My FAVORITE!–when it is time to clean up, I pick a MAGIC/SECRET ITEM in whatever space we are cleaning. Our kids RACE to find and put away the MAGIC ITEM. Whoever finds and puts the MAGIC ITEM away, gets to choose what’s for snack or dinner, or which park we will visit. If it is Monday, the one who finds and puts away the MAGIC ITEM gets to choose what dessert to have for FHE. I always make sure that what they get to choose benefits and affects all the kids. They love this game. It is like a scavenger hunt. I have fun picking new MAGIC ITEMS every time we clean. If the room really needs attention, like our playroom, then I will pick a few MAGIC ITEMS. Sometimes I announce the MAGIC ITEM right when it is put away. Other times I wait until everything is put away and then announce with a grand "ta-da."

p.s. We can’t expect our kids to work at the same speed as we do. The best way to get your kids to work and clean is to slow down and work and clean with them. 

 p.p.s. And remember…if we groan about work, so will our children. We have to have a good attitude about the work to be done.

Want more suggestions for getting your kids to work?
DO YOU THINK THE "MAGIC ITEM" GAME WILL WORK AT YOUR HOUSE?
If you give it a try, let me know how it goes?
HOW DO YOU MAKE WORK FUN FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Have a question, or just want to say hello?
Twitter

Oxygen Stat!

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room. I for one, really enjoy all her great tips and advice on things that most of us as parents struggle with. Here’s Heather in her own words…

–Amy {The Idea Room}

 _______________________________________

Nine weeks ago, we had our fourth child. The delivery was great, no complaints about the recovery, and I love seeing her in the middle of the night when she is hungry. I tell myself I don’t suffer too badly from “the baby blues.” The first few weeks I feel very anxious. Then it starts to wear off and I am able to manage pretty well as my body adjusts. Some days are better than others, and there are tears here and there, but overall I try to fight through the depression.

Until…I have a day like yesterday.

Yesterday I sat down to calendar out the month of August. I have some big speaking engagements that are coming up, we have family coming to visit, the kids start school, I start teaching again, and that is just the beginning. I am not ready for my speaking engagements, the house is not ready for company, nothing is ready for the kids and school, and I still have a syllabus to write. Not to mention I am not ready to get back to the stressful grind that comes with the school year. And don’t forget, the laundry is not done.

As I sat in front of the calendar watching the days fill up, I could feel the walls closing in on me. I could feel the tears welling up, and the helplessness that can so easily take over after having a baby.  Over the next hour, it got worse. By dinner, I was in a very dark place. I was fighting off the darkness in my mind. I knew what was happening. I knew I was just tired so I felt overwhelmed. And even though I knew everything would be okay, I couldn’t get myself straight. I headed upstairs to nurse the baby and cried the entire time. After getting everyone in bed and cleaning up the kitchen, I climbed into bed. I lay there with tears in my eyes wondering if I could take care of our family and manage the month of August, and all the months that would follow. Laying there, I recalled a piece of advice my father gave me right after we had our first child (our son).

My parents were in town for a few weeks after our son was born. They could tell I was feeling overwhelmed by my new responsibilities. Not to mention the post part-um hormones had me completely sideways. As my dad and I sat on the porch talking, he asked me if I remembered the instructions they give you about oxygen masks when you fly on a plane. “Yes, if the cabin pressure drops, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling.” I said. ” Do you remember the part about traveling with children?” He asked. “Um, sort of. Something about your mask and then their mask?” “That’s right,” he said. “They instruct you to put your mask on and then put the mask on the child.” “Why do you think they tell you that?” “Well, if the parent doesn’t take care of the themselves so they can breath, then how can they help the child.” I said. “Heather,” he said, “it is the same way with being a mother. Remember to take care of yourself so that you can best take care of your family.”

As I laid there thinking about this analogy. I realized that it had been a long time since I had put my oxygen mask on. Doing things for myself can make me feel guilty, but it shouldn’t. The oxygen mask is to give us life sustaining energy to do what has to be done better. When we think of it that way, it takes away the guilt. It also lets our conscience guide us so that we are not avoiding our responsibilities all in the name of “oxygen”. As mother’s and women we have a natural instinct to take care of everyone else’s needs. It is in us to nurture, and in doing so we push aside what we need so that we can care for those we love. Our responsibilities are so great, when we don’t feel like there is time to get everything done (which is everyday for me), the first thing we cut out is what we need. I am happy to report that today I am going to get lots of oxygen. I can feel the walls lifting and the sun is shining bright again. The darkness has faded and I am ready to take on August, and any other month that wants to be crazy busy.

How about you,…
DO YOU EVER FORGET YOUR OXYGEN MASK?
DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?

 

DO YOU EVER FEEL GUILTY DOING THINGS FOR YOURSELF?
 
Have a question or just want to say hello.


Triathamom Race and Giveaway

Button

Last April my little sister convinced my brother, his wife and me to participate in a beginner triathlon.  I was really excited and super nervous at the same time.  I started running in college just for exercise and grew to really enjoy it.  But it was always just a hobby/exercise.  I have never been competitive because I am not really fast.  But I am okay with that.  I just did it because I enjoyed it and loved how I felt after my runs. 

I continued to run after my husband and I were married but as soon as the kids started to come along it became harder and harder to find the time and the ENERGY to get out and run.  I sort of forgot just how much I enjoyed and missed it.  After my 4th baby, I felt a strong desire to get back into it but was several years older and quite a few pounds heavier.  It was hard to get back into running form.  But I started running again and enjoying…and then…I got pregnant with #5!  After having #5 it was almost impossible to find some time to get out and run.  So I was glad to have this triathlon to get me motivated to get out there and get moving again.  Can you guys relate?

My sister and I trained together and woke up at 5:00 am and headed to the gym several mornings each week.  It felt good to be doing something just for myself after years of pregnancy, breast-feeding and taking care of the kids and the home. 

We followed a training program for a sprint triathlon we found on the internet and changed it up a little bit so that it would better our schedules.  The first time we attempted to swim I thought I was going to die.  Growing up I had a few swim lessons but the only swimming stroke I had seemed to master was the “doggie paddle”!

triathalon 3wm

(During my race…no fancy flip turns for me…still working on that.  And no mocking the nose plugs…

I kept getting sinus infections because I would get water in my nose…not pretty…but necessary for me..haha)!

I couldn’t even make it across the length of the pool without feeling tired.  My husband who grew up swimming on swim teams came with us and taught us how to swim the freestyle stroke WITH OUR FACES IN THE WATER!!  With lots of practice we were able to learn to swim well enough and feel like we could actually do this.

tri2wm

(brother, SIL, me and my sister)

The day of the race came and all of us were pretty nervous…except for my sister in law who is a little bit crazy Winking smile and also in incredible shape!  We had no idea what to expect or how to set up our transition area…I love the look on my face in the picture below…can you see the nervousness and apprehension in my face?

triathalon 1wm

We were each marked with our numbers and then given a timing chip to wear around our ankles.  I wanted to just enjoy my first race and just make it across the finish line.  When I crossed the line I felt so good to have accomplished something for myself.  It was also fun to have my husband, kids, mom and other family members there cheering for me and my siblings on the sidelines. 

That experience gave me a little bit of confidence in myself and helped me to realize how important it is to set goals for yourself.  So when I heard about this Triathamom race I knew I wanted to participate in a triathlon again.  And I would love for some of you to join me.  I know not all of you are in Utah…in fact only about 12 percent of my readers are in this area…but you could find a race in your local area.  And just because you may not live in Utah doesn’t mean you can come out and join us. Triathamom has woman from all over coming out to participate in the race. The Hampton Inn at Thanksgiving Point is offering a special discount for Triathamom participants and their families. You can learn more on the Triathamom site.

Triathamom is a race that is geared towards the beginner!  People with with no or a little experience.  And it is for women only!  Experts are also welcome to join in.  Don’t get me wrong…Triathamom is a real Triathlon!  There website is full of great information that explains all about the race so that you can know what to expect the day of the race and also gives you some great training tips.  You can do all three events…the swim, bike and the run…

 a 300 yard swim, 12 mile bike course, and a 5k run…

or you can opt out of either the bike or the swim.  So if you are really uncomfortable doing one of the events, you don’t have too.

This is the perfect race for someone who is wanting to try a triathlon but who may be nervous or unsure and therefore decides against participating. 

triathalon wm

(after the race feeling happy and relieved at the same time)

Well, why do I tell you all of this? 

Triathamom is giving one Idea Room Reader a free spot in the race!  To enter you can follow Triathamom on Facebook.  

For additional entries you can:

1.  Subscribe to my Triathamom Training Channel on Vimeo which was started by my friend Becca from Blue Cricket Design.

2.  Subscribe to The Idea Room RSS or become a follower if you aren’t already Smile!

Triathamom is also offering all Idea Room Readers $5 off of the registration fee, all you need to do is enter the code “theidearoom” upon checkout.

You can register here for Triathamom!

Triathamom is  September 24th in Herriman, UT.

**This giveaway will close on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm PT.

I would love to have you come and join me!  Who is in?

 

.

Water Marble Nail Polish

I just got back from a little vacation with my mom, two sisters and our children and we had a chance to try these water marble nails.  Every year (sometimes 2-3 times) we go on a vacation together  without our husbands and take the kids to play and hang out with their cousins.  It can get a bit crazy, but we always have a great time hanging out, hiking and swimming together.  We just got back this past Sunday.  So that might explain my lengthy absence around here.  While we were there my sister taught us how water marble nails with nail polish using this really fun and unique marbling pattern.  My girls and I really enjoyed it and all the girls were able to get it done.

water marbled nails

The process is actually pretty amazing and easy, but there are a few steps involved.  Since there were already some great video tutorials out there, I won’t bother writing up a tutorial and will show you the video we used to learn how to marble our nails. 

nail polish

We followed the tutorial pretty closely, not only did we put scotch tape at the base of our fingernail and around the finger…we also rubbed some Vaseline around our fingertips and fingernails to make the clean up process a bit easier and faster as it can get pretty messy.

water marbeled nails 2

Make sure to have some nail polish remover on hand and to do this in a well ventilated room.  The possibilities are endless!  Have fun and get creative.  Wouldn’t this be fun for a girls birthday, slumber party or Girls Night Out?  Have you ever seen this or had this done for yourself?

water marbled nails 1

Video from My Simple Little Pleasures

Keep the Sparks Flying

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room. I for one, really enjoy all her great tips and advice on things that most of us as parents struggle with. Here’s Heather in her own words…

–Amy

_________________________________________________________

keeping the spark alive in your marriage

Thank you for all the great comments on last week’s post about “How to Date Your Husband”. It was exciting to hear that the questions helped get the conversation between you and your spouse started. Since I started guest posting here on The Idea Room, I have received some great questions from readers. Believe it or not, at least a third of them have come from wives who want to know how to “put the spark back in their marriages”.

The complaint is that things are not like they “used to be”, and at the end of the day when their spouses are looking forward to spending time together, they are tired, exhausted, and “not in the mood”. The questions have been honest and straightforward. With so many women wondering the same thing, I thought we would address the topic. Don’t worry, it’s family friendly.

First, realize that to women, subconsciously everything is related to how we feel about being intimate. Dishes aren’t done, intimate. Kids were hard to handle today, intimate. The house is a mess, intimate. Husband helped with the laundry, In.tim.ate Sometimes men don’t understand this. Tell them. Explain how difficult it can be to “relax”, when there are so many things that need to be done, and so many things on your mind. For women a bad day means they are “not interested”. Men do not usually view things this same way. Women need to be shown love and attention. For women, having our husbands help shoulder our responsibilities is much more likely to get us in the “mood”.

So given that everything in our day affects how we feel about the bedroom, we can make some changes in different aspects of our day that will help us more easily find the “temperature” we have been looking for. Struggles in the bedroom are not necessarily bed room problems, but all the other problems in life tend to affect the bedroom.

Here are some suggestions….
  • Life in general can make us tired, but sometimes we are trying to do too much and that makes us really tired. When we are really tired we don’t have the energy to “be together”. Assess your families life. Are there some things that you could cut out so you have more energy to be together.  Be sure your family isn’t over scheduled. Activities are good, for you and your kids, but too many will mean your family is not getting stronger, instead you get weaker because there is no energy to spend with one another.
  • Establish a bed time for your children, and stick with it. Not only will it be better for your children, but it will give you and your husband time to be together everyday. This alone time is very important when you are trying to establish “similar temperatures”.
  • When you have time together at night because the kids have a bed time you stick with, spend that time talking. Turn off the television, turn off the computer and any other technological distractions and Talk. Remember when you were courting, when things were “how they used to be”. Remember when you fell in love? You probably talked a lot together. Try it again, only listen and learn as if it’s the first time, and don’t interrupt. You have to make time to do this on a daily basis. 15 minutes of talking daily is one of the surest ways to keep the two of you from “drifting apart”. 15 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but most (like 80%) of couples, don’t talk to one another for 15 minutes a day. Pay attention to one another the way you used to.
  • Along these same lines, if you have a television in your bedroom, take it out. Let your bedroom be open to connection through words and touch.
  • Go on dates. Weekly. Or at least every other week. Baby sitters are much less expensive than therapists. It is okay to leave the kids and go do something together. This sends a message to your children that your marriage is important. Hold hands, walk slow and enjoy being together. Treat each other with kindness and respect and you will feel the temperature rise as you spend time just the two of you. This can include a night away with one another. You can’t expect to retain feelings of love when you neglect your companionship.
  • Find things you like to do together and do them. Don’t give up the things that made you so happy at the earlier phase of your marriage. Be intentional and do things together.
  • Say hello and goodbye to one another. When your husband leaves for work, don’t just holler “bye” from the kitchen. Go to him, give him a kiss, an I Love You, and say goodbye. Connect the same way when he comes home. When you were dating I bet you wrapped your arms around him and wouldn’t let go. Do that again.
  • Go to bed at the same time. Establish a nightly routine that allows you and your husband to climb into bed at the same time. Laugh and chat while you brush your teeth. This routine should happen every night if possible.
  • This one is direct. For the next three months, you and your husband each commit to being intimate twice a week. You are responsible for initiating once, and your husband the other. When it’s your turn, set the mood, the place and the time, the agenda. When it’s your husbands turn, be a willing participant. You will quickly see that those two days of the week you may treat each other better than you did when you were first married. Set aside time and make it a priority.
  • Don’t be so judgmental and hard on yourself. Let go of the thought that you don’t look like you did before you had kids, or when you were younger. Be comfortable and confident in your own skin. We are always hardest on ourselves. Relax and learn to love yourself.
  • Make your bedroom a safe haven. I am so guilty of this one. If I am not careful, our bedroom becomes the dumping ground for everything undone. Especially unfolded laundry. I always think by putting it on the bed, it will force me to fold it before I go to sleep. Yeah, doesn’t always work. It is the last place in the house to get vacuumed and dusted. Our bedrooms should be a safe and comfortable place for our relationships. Make the bed everyday, don’t let it become the laundry room, and attend to it just like you do the rest of your house. It will make a big difference when you climb in to bed with your spouse each night.

You will start to find that as you and your husband put more effort into finding time to be together, you will feel better about yourself also. Use your alone time to compliment one another and express gratitude for all your spouse does. Thank him for all the ways he supports your family. Tell your husband how you feel when he acknowledges all the hard work you do for him and for your children.

Rekindle the flame you once had and you will see that “things will be more like they used to be”.
How do you keep the sparks flying in your relationship?
Have a question or just want to say hello.

 

 

 

Contributors

our sponsors: