Thursday, February 28, 2019


Parenting is hard.  Like, really really hard.  And it's touchy subject.  You can make an enemy quick - just tell them they aren't parenting correctly.  

That's not my aim today, it's really not.  I want to talk about the two role parents need to play in their kids lives.  One of them we're all (mostly) really good at, the other not so much.

This is the one we're awesome at!  We all love our kiddos. We think they are great.  Remember when your kiddo was little? Could you take your eyes off them? They were the most beautiful, the cutest, just the absolute bestest. 

Social media is full of cheerleader parents. We all want to show off the awesome things our kids are doing.  Rightfully so! You've pour a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that kid - show him or her off! 

Parents also need to guide their kiddos. This one is harder.  It means showing them the way but not doing it for them.  It requires leading.  Guiding also requires a critical eye.  

Here's the fact: EVERY kid screws up, even yours, even mine. Being a good guide mean that you're one the lookout for what your kid is going to screw up and you walk them through it. You try to help them avoid the trouble but you know it's going to happen. 

Once you accept the fact that your little precious one is capable of making the wrong choices, you become more equipped to help them recover.  If you stick your head in the sand and think that your precious little one can do no wrong, you're doing him or her a disservice. You wouldn't be equipped to help them recovered from their missteps. You aren't able to see down the road and help prepare them for the pitfalls to come. 

When the Bigs were little, I stumbled upon a question that changed everything. "What happened right before that?"  One would come to tattle on the other for hitting and I'd ask "What happened right before that?".  The tattler would fess up "I threw my shoe at him" Case dismissed, you got what you deserved.  Asking that question requires that I understand that neither of the Bigs is perfect. They are both capable of doing something wrong. 

You'll notice that I named this one guide and not critic.  You need a critical eye but you do not have to be overly critical of your kids.  Be honest with them.  Call them out. Keep high expectation.  That doesn't mean you have to be harsh and nitpicky with them. This will destroy your relationship with your kid. 

I'm not saying that Ryan and I are perfect parents. We mess up ALL THE TIME.  I'm just saying that we TRY to balance these two roles.  So, what do you think? What's your secret to parenting?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


I just finished a big project at work.  I launched my little baby project out into the world.  Now, I'm just waiting for people to start using and loving it. 

I've said before that I'm a do-er. I love a good list. I love checking things off the list.  So, why don't I love finishing a project that I've been working on for 6 months and thinking about for over a year?

Don't get me wrong, I am super excited for people to use this new platform. I'm so happy that its up and running.  But I do feel a little bummed. 

Monday I worked most of the day finishing up some of the behind the scene tasks.  I officially checked off the last task off my big project list.  After everything was done, I felt a little let down.  A little listless. 

"What should I be doing right now?" 

"Did I really think of everything?"

"Is there something else I should have done?"

I don't like this feeling. I want to finish well. 

So, I'm fighting against this perfectionism.  There may be something I forgot but it's released out to the world.  I'm going to stand by and watch people enjoy it.  One deep breath at a time.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


I saw this photo on one of my librarian facebook pages the other day and laughed out loud.  I think I'm going to set it up in my middle school library and see if the kids get it. 

The photo got me thinking about procrastination.  I'm not generally a procrastinator.  But when I want to do it, I'm queen of it. 

I have something on my priorities list that I've been 'meaning' to do since October.  But no one's asking about it so I haven't done it.  It's really not a priority, I just put it up there to remind me it needs to be done.  It's not a hard task but it does require peace and quiet and a block of time. 

Let me tell you "peace and quiet and a block of time" are in short supply in a middle school library.  I'm always going to do it tomorrow.  Oh wait, tomorrow is 5th grade library day, that'll be crazy.  I'll do it the next day.  That's how it hasn't gotten done. 

The thing that I really procrastinate is phone calls.  I do not like to call people on the phone and ask them for something.  I love talking to my girlfriends once I'm on the phone.  It's so hard to pick up the phone. 

Here are my 2 secret weapons to get stuff done and not procrastinate:

1.  Schedule it - I'm a paper calendar girl.  I looooove my planner. It's call the Time & To Planner, you can find it here. (I don't make any money if you click that link and buy one. I just really love it that much, I want you to have it. The planner was created by a teacher and I'm all about lifting up awesome people. Check it out.)  I'm such a nerd that I assign different areas of my life different color pens.  Family = navy blue; Middle School = purple; High School = light blue; District = hot pink; Church = green.  Those colors help me see where I need to be each day in addition to scheduling meetings and projects.

2. Tell someone - I have an awesome co-worker with me in the library.  If I tell her "today I need to make a video", she'll hold me accountable.  I find if I tell Ryan that I'm going to workout after school, I'm much more likely to do it when I get home.  He doesn't get on me.  Sometimes he doesn't even remember I told him.  But I remember and it feels like a commitment I made.  And I can not stand not fulfilling my commitments!

How do you overcome procrastination?  Help us all out by telling us in the comments!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Friday night I found B in the kitchen.  He was making his own tacos.  He had a flour tortilla, ham, picante sauce and celery leaves.  Not celery - the leaves at the top of the stalk.  Of course he wanted me to try out his recipe.  When he wasn't looking, I threw out the celery leaves before I chowed down.  B's taco wasn't that bad.  What really cracked me up was that B was taking notes and writing down his recipe. 

Then Saturday night the Bigs were out so it was just B, Ryan and I at home.  I was hanging on the couch coloring but I could hear B in the kitchen again.  He was making tacos again.  I let him create.  A little while later he passed through the living room on his way to his room.

Me: Hey bud, did you clean up your taco mess?

B: Yep

Me: Your kinda clean or my kinda clean?

B: ummm...1%....actually about half way between yours and mine.

Me: let me check (I stand up and go into the kitchen). What about this pizza crust?
{apparently he'd snacked on pizza while he created tacos}

B: you can have that

Me: nice try bud, go throw away the pizza crust. 

I did go into the kitchen to make sure he cleaned up well - ya know closed the picante sauce and tortillas. 

I found this in the fridge.

Man, I love this kid!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Overcoming the Crab Mentality

Everyday I listen to a podcast called Increase Your Impact with Justin Su'a  everyday.  It's short and sweet and very helpful.  Monday's podcast was so powerful. It's called The Crab Mentality. It's well worth your 3 minutes to listen. 

Get this image in your head: a bucket of crabs.  One crab could get out of the bucket but they can't because the other crabs are pulling it down. The crab mentality is the idea that people don't want you to succeed, they want to pull you down. 

If you've experienced this you know how awful it is.  You're all excited.  You're going places.  You're doing things you've always wanted to do.  Then someone sabotages your project. Or someone you trust turns their back on you. Or starts a rumor at your expense.  You're that one crab trying to get out and people are pulling you down.  What do you do?

First off, I'd say take a little bit of time to grieve.  Grieve the loss of the friendship. Grieve the failure of your project.  Grieve the end of the dream or your plan.  But don't take too long.  If you take to long, you'll risk wallowing and giving into self pity. 

Second, make a plan to move forward. How will you save the project?  What will you do next?  How will you handle your relationship with the person who hurt you?

Then get to work!

There is one more thing you need to do. You need to decide that you wouldn't be a crab to another person.  There's a saying "Hurt people hurt people".  If you don't do the work to repair your heart and mind, you're going to hurt others.  You're going to feel like it's ok because it's been done to you. 

But you're better than that.  You don't have to pull someone down to feel better about yourself. You can be an uplifter.  Make up your mind that you're not ever going to make someone feel the way you've felt.  Then find someone to pour into.  Do something to help someone else everyday.  It could be something small like holding the door or it could be something big like helping someone become better at their jobs.  Just do something! Be the good!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Good Stuff

Happy Valentine's Day or Happy Totally Made Up and Ridiculous Holiday Day - whichever camp you're in. 

I don't have strong feelings either way about Valentine's Day.  In the past (when my BFF owned a flower shop) I've received gorgeous flowers.  I've also received thoughtful cards.  I don't think there's been one when Ryan totally blew it.  I'm pretty sure Brighton jewelry has been a big player on several occasions.

I love it when Ryan buys me cards because he has this funny habit of marking out some of the words and personalizing the card.  As a word girl, that always makes me happy.

What really makes me happy is that Ryan goes out of his way to show me he loves me the other 364 days of the year.  He runs my errands - even when that errand involves dropping off things to be monogrammed.  He makes sure the dishes are done when I come home from being out of town.  He never fusses when I ask to go to bed early.  Meeting me in the driveway to help me bring in the groceries. 

That's the stuff.  Personalized cards.  Errands.  Acts of service.  That's the good stuff. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Systems vs Goals

I'm reading an AWESOME book by James Clear called Atomic Habits.  I heard about it from a teacher I follow named Colby Sharp.  Colby organized a teacher book club to read it and I am blown away.  I'm not even halfway through the book but it is flagged and highlighted within an inch of it's life.

Atomic Habits are the small things that you do every day that add up to have a big impact in your life.  In the first chapter Mr. Clear writes about focusing on creating systems instead of setting goals.  "Goals are about the results you want to achieve.  Systems are about the processes that lead to those results." He goes on to describe 4 problems with setting goals.  The first problem blew my mind.

Wow! Why had I not thought of this before?  Both teams want to win the game but one of them has done more to reach that goal.  They've implemented systems to insure they are successful. 

Do like to have goals but I've realized I'm actually a systems girl.  I like to make a plan.  I love my paper planner.  Each week I try to plan out as much of my life as I can. I write down what days I'm going to work out, what days I'm going to write and all the boys' activities. 

And I love to track my progress.

I also try to help the boys implement systems to help them meet their goals.  In the Fall, Zac was struggling with an assignment in English.  He has to say a certain number of vocabulary words each grading period.  The first grading period he forgot.  The second grading period we made a plan - a system.  And that's made all the difference. 

I believe that one of our responsibilities as parents - to help our kids meet their goals.  To help them set up systems to achieve their goals.  I just hadn't been calling it a system, I'd been calling it plan. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


In case you're living under a rock, this Thursday is Valentine's Day.  B's class is having a card exchange and party.  This required a bit of negotiation Sunday night.

B loves to make deals so I approached the party stuff in a business like manner. I took the notices from school to his room and had a seat across the table from him.

First we discussed the box decorating.  They are going to decorate their boxes at school Thursday so we had to decide what supplies he wanted to take.  B had already decided he needed construction paper and tape.  I asked if he needed anything else "Nope, I got this." I told him to let me know if he thought of anything else.

Next is the biggie - the cards.  B does not like to write.  It's  actually physically painful for him.  I showed him the class list.

"OK, here's the list for the cards." I told him.

"Do I have to write their last names?"

"Nope, I think first names will be good.  How about your name? Are you going to write your name on the cards."

"Yes.  You can put the cards together."

"I can do that. How many nights do you think you need?"

"Ummm, 3 nights"

Monday night comes and it's time to re-open negotiations. 

"Remember, you need to do some of your valentine cards tonight.  Actually, I need you to do half of them tonight.  Tomorrow night we'll be a basketball for a while. You can do the rest of the cards Wednesday night.  How about that?"

"I wish they came assembled."

"I'll put them together, you write on them."

"I'll write their names. You write my name."

I anticipated this.  I didn't figure he'd write both his classmate's and his name on the cards.  I agreed to write his name on the cards. 

"What time do you want to work on the cards?"


Oddly specific but I'll take it. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Stay Well

There's a saying in Texas "If you don't like the weather just wait, it'll change".  I'm not going to get all global warming on you but it seems like the weather fluctuates a lot lately.  This past Monday it was almost 80.  Friday it's supposed to be 45 and rainy.  Which, of course, means everyone's going to be sick.  I should probably buy stock in allergy and sinus meds. 

It's hard to know when to go to the doctor during all this.  Especially when there's no fever.  Over the past several weeks, I developed a dry hacking cough.  I figured it was the weather and dry throat. I didn't feel sick.  Until last Thursday. My head started hurting and my throat hurt. I went home and went to bed. Ryan took me to the doctor on Friday.  Still no fever but I had bronchitis.  Steroids, antibiotic, cough meds, and inhalers.  Back to bed.

I stayed in bed most of Saturday.  I missed my niece's gender reveal party but thanks to FaceTime, I was able to see it. I was determined to be up and around Sunday.  I wanted to serve at church and go see The Book of Mormon with momma.  I really think it was the steroids that knocked it out. I felt so good Sunday.  It made me think about how long it had been since I'd felt that good. 

It had been a while.  Ryan and I started back on our eating plan and I had started PIYO again the second week in January.  I remember asking friends "when do I start feeling good because I'm exercising and eating well. I'm just as tired as ever."  I guess my cough was a bigger thing than I'd thought. 

After work Monday, I got back in bed. I was tired from work but I still felt good.  I decided to not work out this week to give my body a break. The steroids make me really hungry so I'm giving myself a break on my eating plan. 

It's hard for mom to be sick, you have to make a plan to take care of everyone.  It's also hard for teachers to be sick, you have to make a plan for you students. Sometimes it's easier to just slog through.  It's hard to say "stop, I have to get better". Thankfully, I have Ryan and my momma pushing me to rest and go to the doctor.  I hope you have someone like that in your life who will look out for you when you're not really looking out for yourself. 

Take a break, Momma.  Stay well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

You Can Go Your Own Way

Are you singing now?  Are you twirling around in your best Stevie Nicks impression?  Good deal, you're welcome!

Don't we like to do things our way?  Burger King used to encourage us to have it our way.  Starbucks for sure does - you can customize your coffee to ninth degree.  Oh, and Sonic! Sonic says they have 168,000 different drink combinations.  My favorite is Diet Green Tea with Strawberry. 

It can be hard to go GOD's way.  The world's way can seem easier, faster and more fun.  To be honest, sometimes GOD's way is like being on an endless road trip.  When will we ever get there? When will we enter the promised land?  When does our dream come true?

Often, we want to go our own way and GOD's way at the same time.  We want to tell GOD how He's to fulfill the dream in our heart. That's as much a recipe for disaster as going the world's way.

Did your momma ever tell you "when I'm good and ready, that's when".  Mine did.  And so does GOD. 

I'll tell you a secret: GOD is GOD and you and I are not.  He knows everything.  We know a fraction of a very very little.  While we feel like we're on the endless road trip, we're really picking up things we need along the way, all by His design.  We're learning new skills we'll need for the dream.  We're learning endurance.  We're learning grace.  We're learning patience. 

But mostly, we're learning trust.  We're learning to trust the One who put the dream in our heart.  To trust the One that knows every hair on our head.  The One who knit us in our mother's womb. 

Of course this is a day to day trust.  It's something we know in our minds, that we can trust GOD with everything, but our hearts and stomachs need reminding on the regular.  And we're not alone.  The Bible is full of stories of heroes of the faith who needed reassurance.  Last week I stumbled on some verses in Exodus that opened my eyes and provided that reassurance again. 

 Did you catch it?  The last half of verse 17

GOD took them the long way because He knew if they took the shortcut, they'd turn back.  It's the same with us. He knows us. He knows our hearts, our desires and our weaknesses.  He's accounted for all that.  So trust Him.  Trust Him that every no is a protection.  Trust Him that He loves you enough to make sure you're adequately prepared for the promised land.  Trust Him! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Ice Cream

The Bigs were at a church retreat this past weekend so it was just Ryan, B and I.  Saturday night we helped transport one of the groups and passed by a new ice place in a nearby town.  I mentioned that I'd like to go there.  On the highway home, Ryan said he couldn't stop thinking about ice cream.  Unfortunately, B didn't have any shoes on so we couldn't get rolled ice cream. I, on the other hand, was appropriately dressed so we headed to the grocery store. 

I went inside and called back to the car to report my findings. Ryan and B chose yummy Ben & Jerry's flavors Cherry Garcia and Phish Food.  I looooove s'mores.  I had a sore throat and really wanted some yummy ice cream.  But also, I'd been doing well on my eating plan and I didn't want to gain everything back. So, I picked Halo Top S'mores.

Have you ever had Ben & Jerry's Phish Food?  It's chocolate ice cream, swirls of marshmallow and little chocolate fish.  It looks so yummy.  I should not have opened it before I opened mine.  My diet s'mores ice cream didn't look or taste so great after seeing Phish Food.  I ate a little and put it back in the freezer.  B did share his with me but I had promised him his own container so I didn't push. 

Later Saturday night, Ryan opened the freezer to find this:
It says "not eat" in the top box.  Then some face drawings. Then "This is Brennan's ice cream tub".

We both busted out laughing.  B knows whats up.  You can't count on anything being there the next day around our house.  Personally, I hide stuff that I don't want to share at work.  I love that B just took control of the situation and marked his ice cream.  It's a little self advocating thing and I love it!