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.

Wordless Wednesday Black Belt Edition

Kicking Karate Party

Interesting fact: 1 out of 900 people that start martial arts actually reach their black belt.

My son passed his test on May 12th, 2012 at the age of 8.  I thought that was a good reason to throw a party!  I love finding the perfect decorations and creating cool treats.  Of course I am an amateur when it comes to baking.   I certainly don’t have all the latest kitchen utensils and gadgets. I just sort of wing it.  Below are a few pictures of what I what I put together.

I found all the paper products(plates, napkins, cups, and tablecloth) online at Party City.  They were on sale for $1 per pack.  I could not have done better at the dollar store with plain solid colors.









With shipping a karate gi cookie cutter cost $20.  I couldn’t bring myself to pay that price so I did them free hand instead.  My cookie decorating skills need some work.  I figured out I don’t have much patience for it, nor do I have any decorating tools.  But they are still cute and the kids said they tasted good which is all that  matters.








I used the lollipops as a party favor for everyone to take home with them.  This was my first attempt with chocolate molds.  It was pretty easy but more time consuming than I imagined.  I did the black belt first and let that set.  Then I did the rest of it in white.  I wasn’t brave enough to do different colors for the hands, face, or hair.


















The road to black belt took 4 years.  It was fun to look back and see how much my son had grown with this collage my Mom and I put together.  After the party my son asked if we could frame it.  The collage now hangs on the wall in his room.









I am so proud of my son for reaching his goal.  It was an amazing day!  This is him trying to steal some of the treats.










Four years ago my oldest son started tae kwon do.  He joined the Little Dragon program and loved every minute of it.  After about a year he decided to join the black belt club.   Enrolling in the black belt club meant that he was making a  3 year committment to tae kwon do.  If he kept up with classes and worked hard he would be eligible to test for his black belt.  When he signed up he was only 5 years old.  Part of me was unsure if he really understand the committment he was making.  He attend class 3-4 times a week.  Once a month he participated in seminars.  He attended karate camps during the summer to help master skills in order to advance to the next belt.  He never seemed to get tired of karate.

Over the  years I noticed how much karate helped him grow.  It was amazing to me how focused he became.  He started setting goals and working hard.  He gained so much confidence.  He began assisting in the lower ranking belt classes.  He tried out for the school talent show.  He scored high on this oral book report at school. I truly believe that he was able to do all of these things because of the discipline he learned in karate.

At the end of March we found out that he was in fact eligible to test for black belt.  This is where the hard part really begins.  All black belt candidates are required to spend 6 weeks conditioning.  This is where they weed out the people who are not serious.  In addition to the black belt curriculum they are required to do running , sit-ups, and push-ups.  Each week the instructors are expecting to see improvements.  The first conditioning session my son actually threw up he worked so hard.   But my son politely asked to be excused, then got sick in the restroom.  He  came right back out and told the instructors he was good to go.  He picked up right where he left off.  Quitting was not an option for him.  At the end of class several parents came up to me and mentioned how impressed they were with my son.  He wasn’t the faster runner that day and he made a few mistakes on the forms but they were impressed with his determination.  I have to admit I was inspired by him too.  He earned my respect that morning and in the following weeks as we have found out that he passed his conditioning training and is invited to test this Saturday.

My son just turned 8.  He will be one of the youngest from our studio to test for black belt.  He is already encouraging his younger brothers.  I can only hope that they will be determined to follow in his footsteps.

Spring Cleaning

This weekend my husband and I decided to do some major spring cleaning. With four kids we have a tendency to collect a lot of stuff.  Okay I must also admit I am a pack rat.  I like to keep everything.  I get very sentimental and have a hard time letting go of things.

The kids are getting older and collecting more of their own stuff.   Our house is just not big enough to keep everything.   It was time to purge some items from the playroom.   My husband of course would be happy if all the toys disappeared.    I do believe I get more attached than the kids.  Today we determined it was time to get rid of the train table.  My heart dropped. I started to freak out. I realize that  may sound silly to some people.  My oldest son was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine as a toddler.  He got the train table when was 2 years old.  Of course he has collected many trains over the years.  We have moved that train table so many times to make it fit in their bedroom and recently the playroom.  The last few years my oldest has outgrown his love of trains and moved on to Legos.  I kept trying to push my younger sons towards the trains and although they played with them a few times they never had much interest.

Before I could change my mind the boys put together a fun track so that I could take a picture and place the train table on Craigslist.  Within minutes I had several calls on the table.  Obviously Thomas is still really popular.  The first person that responded asked me to hold the table until she got off work.  Secretly I was hoping that she wouldn’t show up.  But early this evening she arrived ready to take the table to her children.  I am not going to lie, I got a little teary eyed.  It was bittersweet. It was the end of our Thomas Era and a sign that my boys are growing up.  But at the same time two other children will be happy when their Mommy brings home this table with trains and tracks.

As I was putting the kids to bed tonight we found Engine No. 1.  Somehow Thomas had fallen out of the drawer and was left behind.  Now I have a reminder of the train days to put in my son’s memory box.  That has brought a smile to my face.

So I am curious does anybody else have a hard time letting go of their children’s toys?

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