2014 Goals

Many people made New Years resolutions on Jan 1st.  I have done that in the past.  I start off strong then by Valentine’s day I have given up or completely forgot about them.  That is not surprising since a resolution is usually too vague.  Something like “I am going to lose weight.”   That is a great idea but there is no plan and no deadline.  That for me leaves room for failure.  This year I am doing something different.  I am setting goals.   I have a specific direction with check points along the way to ensure I reach my goal.

I like to set new goal each quarter.  That way I am  making changes more than once a year.  This quarter I am concentrating on two areas, Fitness and Finance.  My fitness goal is to complete Les Mills Combat.  This program is 60 days of mixed martial arts inspired workouts.  I have three boys currently enrolled in karate so it comes as no surprise that I wanted to try this program.  I have completed my first week.  It is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone but I am loving it.  In addition to Combat I am also participating in a 10,000 push-up challenge.  100 push-ups a day for 100 days.  I have completed 1600 push-ups this month.  My arms are sore but I feel strong!  Last year, I got off track with my fitness.  I was working out occasionally but didn’t have a clear focus.  Now I have challenge groups set up which help motivate me to work harder.

My finance goal this quarter is to pay off two credit cards.  Last September, my husband and I attended a 9 week Financial Peace University course.  We took this class in 2001  when we were first married.  But after four kids, and 12 years of marriage our finances had changed.  I am so glad that we took the time to retake this course.  Although the  steps were exactly the same I learned more this time around.  Funny how that works.  Even though I had been using a budget the last 12 years my husband and I were not on the same page.  This class really helped us get back on track.  It really helped us see how we were wasting money.   We realized changes were necessary.   For instance, we paid off debt 12 years ago but started using credit cards again.  We were falling back into old habits.  It was time to break them.   We have already made progress and the goal is to have both cards paid off by the end of March.

These goals won’t be easy but I am committed to reaching the finish line.

Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone a day filled with family, fun, and lots of memories.  My family is already getting lots of laughs from our Christmas card.  With four kids it is impossible to get them all to cooperate.  Gotta love my 6-year-old refusing to smile.  Guess I should have signed the card with Love from the Franks and THE GRINCH.Christmas Card 2013

Taking care of Mom

As a mother of four my days get busy.  Rarely do I have a free moment.  There are meals to prepare, a house to clean, laundry to fold, and homework to check.  Then we add in the time I spend driving them to school, karate, and other social events.  I don’t want to sound like I am complaining because honestly I am so thankful that I am able to stay at home with my children.  I know they will grow up too fast and that I will miss all these busy moments.  However, the last few months I have come to realize that in order to take good care of my family I also need to take care of me.

For the past few months I have been putting my exercise routine on the back burner.  I have been working out a few times a week when I had time but I wasn’t making it a priority.  Like most moms do, I felt it was more important to tend to my family’s needs and I would just work out whenever I had time.  Then I noticed that I was overly tired and gaining  weight which  made me cranky.  Let’s face it when Mom is cranky  the whole house suffers.

Its time for a change.  I need to remember its okay to take care of me!  The first item on my to-do list is now exercise.  After I drop my older kids at the bus stop of course.  I  immediately put on my workout clothes when I wake up so there are no excuses.  Once breakfast is done and the kids are off to school my younger kids know I am going to take 30 -60 minutes to exercise.  Right now I am doing a 30 day arm challenge and the Combat program by Les Mills.  Sometimes my kids join in other times they color quietly or play in their room.  But the result is I feel better and have more energy throughout the day.  The bonus is my kids are watching me create healthy habits.

If you are interesting in joining a 30 day challenge or looking for accountability let me know in the comments.   We would love for you to join our group.  It is nice to have a group to encourage one another and stay motivated.  It makes such a big difference. What are you waiting for?  Make health and fitness a priority. I promise you won’t regret it.

The little things

I can’t believe that I have neglected this blog for an entire year.  There were many days that I thought about writing a post.  I planned several of them in my head actually but never typed them.  I don’t really have an excuse nor do I feel like I need to make one up.  The truth is life got busy.  It is always busy with four children but I guess I didn’t anticipate all the extra things that would come up with more children in school.  I found myself volunteering in the classrooms.  There was more homework to proofread.  There was more lunches to pack and a new schedule to learn.  I hope I don’t sound like I am complaining because honestly I enjoyed the new routine but something had to give while I figured out how to juggle all the new stuff.

I realize most people what until the New Year to make resolutions but I am making one now.  It’s time for me to get back on track.  I believe I have worked out all the kinks on our routine and I armed with a plan to stay organized.  So I am ready to blog again.  I have so many things to share with you.

Today, I am keeping it simple.  As we prepare for our Thanksgiving Holiday I just want to say that I am thankful for the little things.  I am thankful that we are celebrating with a quiet day just our family of 6 and my Mom.  There have been plenty of big extended family gatherings lately and as much as I enjoy those it will be nice to have a relaxing day with my family.  I am thankful that although it is cold outside that the sun is shining bright.  I am thankful that we are all healthy.  I am thankful that I have learned to enjoy cooking  so I will prepare the Thanksgiving meal  for the 1st time ever.    I plan to sit back and really cherish every moment as we watch football, eat turkey, and just be together.  Those little things really do make great big memories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Organized for school

The kids started school this week.  Yippee! Of course I will miss the boys while they are in class but I am so happy the arguing will stop and they will no longer complain about being bored.   Truth is my kids love being on a schedule.  They love riding the bus and meeting new friends.  They love to learn new things.  But most of all they love responsibility and going to school makes them feel grown up.

My oldest son started 3rd grade and then my 5 yr old started Kindergarten.  Both boys are attending a new school since we moved over the summer.  I have double the backpacks, lunches, and papers with two kids in school this year.  I knew I had to figure out a way to be organized in order to save my sanity.  Thankfully there are a lot of great ideas out there.  I read several blogs and also looked at pinterest for some inspiration.  We now have a backpack station, a homework board, and a menu board to keep things running smoothly.

I ordered a wall shelf with hooks to be my backpack station.  I needed something big enough for all 4 kids.  The younger kids love to carry a backpack like their older siblings.  Not to mention everyone needs a place to put their jackets.

Next on my list was a place for all the papers.  Between homework assignments, school info, karate info, and art work my refrigerator was covered.  Of course the papers would fall off each time someone wanted something to eat.  I took an old frame and removed the glass.  Then I bought corkboard and covered it with burlap.  Add some ribbon and letters for colorful decorations.  Last but not least I added 4 bulldog clips to hold the papers.   The first letter of my kids names spells home.  They put their papers on the clip under their initial.

My kids love to eat!  The moment they wake up they start asking what is for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I shop for groceries on a weekly basis.  I always have the menu in my head.  But I had a wall in the kitchen that needed something to add some color.  Then I saw this menu planner at Mom Colored Glasses.  I couldn’t make my recipe cards fast enough.  The kids can flip thru the binder to help me decide what to cook.   Then I arrange them in the order I want on the board.  But the best part is I no longer have to answer the question “What’s for dinner?” a million times during the day.

We are still adjusting to a new school campus.  We haven’t figured out the perfect time to arrive at the bus stop yet.  But I can honestly say we had a great first week!  I feel organized and ready to tackle the school year.  Do they look ready?

Extreme Makeover Lego Edition

I have a love hate relationship with Legos.  I appreciate the fact that they keep my kids entertained for hours.  I love that they use their imagination to build all kinds of things.   But I hate the mess when they are scattered all over the place and I really dislike finding them with my feet.  Some days I feel like my house has been taken over by  Legos.  After we moved into our new house it was obvious that we needed a new Lego station. The boys were using an air hockey table.  It was too big for their new room and with all the Legos spread out no one could play air hockey so it was wasted space.  I am not about to show you the madness underneath the table.

Thankfully one of my friends loves pinterest and she is always finding great ideas.  I was inspired by this post by I am Momma Hear me Roar.  Before I had a chance to change my mind I got all the kids to help me sort out the legos.  I am not going to lie. This process took  several hours and tested my patience.  I tried to look on the bright side so I reminded myself that my 20 month old and 3 year old were practicing their colors.  Once we got the legos sorted I still had to find the right dresser. As luck would have it  my husband found someone that was throwing away this cube.

This would fit so much better in the boys room.  I knew it was meant to be since this cube had 9 openings and we had 9 different colors of Legos.   After researching online I found some bins on Amazon that would fit  the 7 X 7 openings perfectly.  To make this find even better there was a used set of the bins for 10 dollars cheaper.

Last but not least the boys needed the perfect place to build.  They are constantly fighting over space.  Once again my friend found the perfect solution at That’s my Letter…a portable Lego tray.  My wonderful husband agreed to make trays for each of the boys.    We used Lego boards that we already had at home so the trays were inexpensive to make.

I am happy to report that the boys love their new Lego station.  They spend hours in their room playing.  There is no fighting since everyone has their own workspace with the Lego tray.  Now that everything is organized I think all those colorful bricks are pretty cool.

Wonder what the kids will build next?

Mom, Where’s your car?

I had no idea that almost 11 years ago when I got married that I would lose the garage.   I thought it would have lots of tools but silly me thought I would still be able to park my car.   Over the years my husband inherited an old Willys Jeep, and a corvette.  Later he purchased a quad.  Then after the kids were born there were bikes and scooters.  At that point I had given up all hope of ever parking in the garage.  It didn’t seem like a big deal to me when we were in Arizona.  I could live with the heat.  But once we moved to Oregon, I didn’t like scraping the ice off my windshield or getting soaked while buckling 4 kids into their car seats on the rainy days. 

When we purchased our new house my husband assured me that I would once again be able to park in the garage.  I will be completely honest, I didn’t believe him.  Happy to say that he proved me wrong. 

 Funny thing is when my youngest boy woke up this morning he was very confused to see the driveway empty.  He knew dad drove the truck to work but he then asked me in a worried voice “Mom, where’s your car?”  After I stopped laughing I took him to the garage so he could see.  Poor child had no idea that the garage was where a car should be parked.  Needless to say I am one happy girl.

Creating Memories during the Moving Madness

We got the keys to our new house almost 4 weeks ago but I still have boxes to unpack.  I can not park in the garage.  I have no photos on the walls.  Many people of asked me if we are all settled in.  I usually respond with the house is functional but not organized yet. Believe it or not I am okay with that.  Of course I would love for everything to be put away and for my house to look decorated but I also have 4 young children that need my attention.  During all of the moving madness my husband and I wanted to make the kids feel like they were part of the moving process and to make it fun for them.

We had a few minor repairs to do before we moved in furniture and lots of painting.  The kids couldn’t really help us paint so they were forced to stay downstairs in the playroom which only had half of their toys.  They did a really good job of playing together with only a few arguments.  Although I could have continued painting for hours, I knew it was time to stop for the kids sake.  Instead of finishing the master bedroom we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the pool.  The kids were beyond excited.  It was a great way to relax after working on the house.

The next weekend we had more painting to do.  My in-laws were very generous and watched the kids for us.  As we were driving to pick up the children my husbands suggests we sleep at the new house and take the kids swimming again.  I looked at him like he was crazy since we had not moved any furniture yet.  My husband explained that we would all camp out in the living room.  At that point I realized the kids would love it!  So we gathered all the sleeping bags and pillows along with their swimsuits before we picked them up.  When we told the kids of our plans they couldn’t stop screaming.  They thought it was the coolest idea.  I will admit it was not exactly a peaceful nights sleep for me but it was worth all the laughter and smiles from my children.

Maybe I will be able  to park in the garage this weekend after I unpack those last few boxes.  I probably won’t hang any photos on the wall until my Mother comes for a visit to help me in a few weeks.  But we have already created wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.  Those memories are what makes this feel like home sweet home even if my house is still unorganized.

The Next Adventure

Four years ago we made the decision to move to Oregon.  We have been renting the same house for those 4 years.  About 6 weeks ago we found a house that we wanted to buy.  Everything fell into place quickly.  Today is our last full day in our rented home.  Tomorrow the next adventure begins as we officially move into our new home.  This is a cool house with lots of yard for the kids to play,  a pool to enjoy during the summer, and an amazing view of the city.  This is a house we will enjoy for many years.  At the end of a busy day you will find me sitting on the back patio staring at this…

Commitment to good health…a child’s view

Two years ago I made the decision to become a Beachbody coach.  After having four children I had gotten out of shape.  Since I am now in my 30’s it is not so easy to just bounce back.  I knew I had to work for it.  In order to succeed with my fitness goals I had to get the whole family on board to help keep me accountable.  Obviously we changed our eating habits but more importantly we had to get the kids excited about fitness.   My children are still pretty young so I often wonder what they are thinking about Mom’s health and fitness goals.  Do they think it is important for them or just for grown-ups?

Recently my son was required to complete 6 essay questions in order to test for his black belt.  One of the essay questions was about commitment to good health.  Below is his response:

What is your commitment to good health?

I will commit to good health, by exercising once a day and eating healthy foods.  Eating right is important because I will not be able to work my body as hard if I each a lot of junk food before I exercise.  Exercising is important so my body can do the things I need it to do when I am doing sports and martial arts.  Right now I am doing a push-up challenge with my family and I am trying to get up to 100 push-ups at one time.  Also, sleeping when you are tired not stay up late.  I am not able to run as far or do as many exercises when I have not gotten enough sleep the night before.   Also if we don’t get healthy we can’t do that many things and we will get fat.

I have a commitment to my health by staying in martial arts and playing as many sports as I can.  I am playing flag football right now and will try out for Pop Warner in September.  I do not want to get out of shape.

My son is only 8 years old but you are never too young to start good habits.  Eating right, daily exercise, and plenty of sleep is a great combination for a healthy lifestyle.  Nice to know he is on the right track.

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