April 2010

I’m a bit squishier than I was in my hay-day when I played sports, and would bike for hours, just for fun.  Now I play legos and chase my 4-year-old and she bikes around.  It seems to be a universally accepted excuse to be a few pounds too heavy after having produced three children, and I’d take the excuse…except it isn’t true.  Oh, it’s true that I’m a few pounds heavier, but it has nothing to do with having children.  In fact, I’ve gotten progressively skinnier with each additional child – the best diet plan ever!!

After each pregnancy, my immediate weight postpartum has been less than my pre-pregnancy weight.  I’m not exactly sure how I’ve done that, but I always remark that pregnancy agrees with me.  I think much of it has to do with the fact that when I am eating for two, I eat like a borderline health nut, and when I am eating for one, not so much.

Anyways, it has been many years since I have been fit, and I have come to realize that during my soccer days, to say ‘I’m out of shape’ meant that I get winded too fast while running 3-5 miles over the course of a soccer game.  So I have learned that ‘out of shape’ is very much a relative term.  I’ll take those ‘out of shape’ soccer days anytime now!

Each year I vow to shape up, and each year I come up with excuses for why I cannot – all focusing on lack of convenience.  Well, life is not getting any more convenient as more children are added to our family, so it’s about time I just bite the bullet and JUST DO IT…a slogan I can grab onto.

I have my Vibram FiveFingers (picture to follow) and will receive my new, fancy shmancy double jogging stroller tomorrow (which cost an obscene amount that I’d be too embarrassed to actually post).  I’ll be alternating between having my 4-year-old ride her bike, and packing one of the three in my Ergo baby carrier (wow, I sound like one big advertisement).

I don’t do well with generic goals like “get in shape.”  So here’s the target

Thanksgiving Day 2010 – Smithtown Turkey Trot.  Goal under 24 minutes.

In just under 7 months I’ll have the results

How do kids always seem to know the most inconvenient time for childish inconveniences?

It’s the newborn who explodes through his diaper the one time you are out without a change of clothes.

It’s the toddler who announces she needs to go potty RIGHT NOW, when you are already running late, and just finished buckling everyone into the car.

Today, it was the 4-year-old who spilled her freshly made carrot juice all over the table, the floor, and her clothes, right after I had put in their colored laundry.  Argh.  How do they do that?  So many times my girls have messed their clothes in one way or another  just after that category of clothes was washed.

Their timing is impressive.

For the past 4 years, I have been intentionally unemployed in one sense, yet in another I hold down 3 full time jobs.  I left corporate america to take on the 24-7 job of mommy.  The day I walked out of the office for the last time was such a joyous day for me.  So I traded in one type of work for one that doesn’t pay nearly as well, but the benefits are endless – kisses and hugs all around.  Plus, I get to be the boss, and I get to remind my kids that I’m the boss…how fun!

But, even though I have left the office, my business brain refuses to be quiet.  I have finally admitted to myself that I am an entrepreneur in spirit – now I just have to follow through and become an entrepreneur in practice.

It’s in my blood, it’s in my schooling, and if there is a DNA marker for entrepreneurism, I’m pretty sure I’d have it.

My dad is an entrepreneur.  He started a business in our basement when I was little.  I loved having him there.  Occasionally my brothers and I would forget that dad is working downstairs and we’d hear a shout from the basement, ‘YOU KIDS SOUND LIKE A HEARD OF ELEPHANTS UP THERE,’ so we learned to walk softly in the dining room.  When his business grew enough to move into an office, the highlight of my week was spending Saturday morning there with him licking stamps, twirling around in a chair, or being helpful in some other very important.  In High School I was part of the business clubs – the only clubs I joined.  Then I went off to the Wharton School of Business for my undergrad degree.

Since I was a little tike, I have always wanted my own business.  My first venture was in middle school.  I started buying candies at Costco and reselling them at school for a profit.  Before the bus even arrived at school on my grand opening, I had 4 friends volunteer as salesmen.  Unfortunately I was never schooled in maintaining inventory or managing people because I am pretty sure they literally ate most of my profits. That gig lasted a few weeks.

I was a soccer trainer for a while, making very good money for a teenager.  I had a few private clients, and trained 2 different teams.

In college, instead of studying during a study session, I complained to my best friend that I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation.  Like a good friend, and probably hoping that I’d just shut up, she and I developed a business concept around my long time hobby of soccer.  It never took off, I was too chicken to take the steps to execute.

Three years ago I came up with a baby product, inspired by my oldest child.  The making of that has stalled a several times in trying to find the right raw materials.

Two years ago hubby and I launched a consulting company.

Hubby’s goal is to have a restaurant of his own, which would make him an entrepreneur, although I don’t think he looks at it like that.  And it’s an unstated certainty that I’ll be the business side of that operation.

I have had a book in the works since my college days, oh 9 years ago…but I guess that would make me an aspiring author, not an entrepreneur.  I do hope to actually finish that one day and offer it as an ebook…but don’t hold your breath.  I have two other book ideas that have come from my experience as a mommy.

In the meantime, this writer-want-to-be gets to ‘play author’ here, for an audience of one, and on a good day, three or four.

In the past week my brain has once again exploded with ideas, and I’m trying to write them down before I forget them.  I’m also revising my baby product idea.  With so many old friends starting out their families, I got inspired to see if I can actually get this thing made.  Another possible consulting biz.  Another blog maybe or a new trade magazine.  A twice a year event to host a used baby item tent sale, oh the ideas keep flowing.

One might think that with every additional child, the energy level would drop and my brain might actually quiet down.  But instead, the number of new ideas seems to grow exponentially in relation to the number of children.   Whenever I say to my darling husband, ‘husband, I have a new idea’, he smiles with his charming smile, but I just know he is really thinking, ‘oh no, here we go again,’ to which I reply, ‘it’s an adventure.’

So I’m off to continue my adventure.

oh, and a definitely think the entrepreneur thing is genetic because my brother caught it too.  If you are a lacrosse fan, you’ll want to check him out at: ScoreMoreGoals.com

Okay, I had no intention of writing 2 posts on this (here and here), let alone 3, yet after the last post, my thoughts ran over to how this applies in teaching character.  A word came to me that I think summarizes this nicely:


Am I modeling for my children how they should strive to live?  If they were to strive to be like me, would that be a good thing?

Do I model for my girls patience and kindness in dealing with each other?  The familiar saying, things are “more often caught than taught” really applies here.  I may tell my girls to be patient, but if they see mom being quite impatient all the time, they will quickly see through that hypocrisy.

Seeing and hearing the way my 4-year-old deals with her younger sister can be a barometer for me.  The tone of her voice likely reflects the tone she hears from me.  Sadly, that tone is often harsh.

When one of my girls ask for help on some task, I can offer that help in one of two ways:

A: huff, mumble under my breath at the inconvenience and harshly do the task being requested.

B: offer a gentle response, letting them know that I take joy in helping.

Life is lived moment by moment.  In each moment, I can move closer to the image of Christ through my thoughts, words and actions.  I can also help my children move closer to the image of Christ by properly reflecting Christ to them.

I am always modeling character.  The question is am I modeling godly character or sinful character?

Driving home from a family outing today, I saw a truck parked on the side of the road with the words “Gentleman’s Club” and, predictably, a huge picture of a woman wearing nothing but skimpy underwear.  I did a double take, not believing my eyes.

Sure, I’m prepared for battle when I enter the mall, quickly ushering my kids past the Victoria’s Secret storefront and shielding my own eyes from the half-naked men in numerous other storefronts, but to see this image on a truck was simply shocking.  All I could think was, ‘I hope they don’t look over there.”

I couldn’t get this out of my mind all afternoon, wondering what our world is coming to when not only does this filth exist, but it’s accepted and even celebrated.  And the name struck me as odd, “Gentleman’s Club.”  I asked myself, what is Gentlemanly about all this?

I found the following definitions at Websters:

– a man of good family, breeding, or social position.
-a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man

So I ask again, is there anything gentlemanly about these places?

Do the men who patronize such establishments show themselves civilized or well-mannered?  Can anything that goes on inside of these places be classified as civilized, sensitive or well-mannered?  Would anyone really look at such a man and think, ‘he had a good upbringing?’

So, for fun, I came up with some alternative names, that better reflect the nature of such clubs:
Smut Hut
Sleazy Salon
Pervert Peepers

Any other suggestions?

On Saturday I wrote about whether I thoroughly teach my children how to do things, rather than just telling them what to do.  The example I used was in teaching my girls to write thank you notes after receiving a gift.  The implication of teaching or telling goes much farther than just writing notes.

Thinking back over my childhood, I have no recollection of being taught by my parents.  I recall being told to do this or that, with maybe a brief demonstration, but nothing that I would consider teaching. Granted, my folks may claim otherwise and my memory may be faulty.  Nevertheless, the absence of any such memory may be an indication that any teaching they did offer was lacking in some way.

This lack of training has become quite evident in recent years as my family has expanded and my domestic responsibilities have increased.

Case in point: I wish I was taught how to cook.  I do okay in a kitchen, I can usually follow a recipe and occasionally, by divine intervention, I produce something delectable, but overall, I lack some basic cooking knowledge.  Oh, how I wish I was taught how to cook.  How to time a meal so that my chicken isn’t ready 30 minutes before the rice is done (not to say that ever happens!  Bless my patient husband).

I know I spent time in the kitchen with my mom growing up.  I received tips here and there.  But there was no methodical, intentional instructing on how to cook, how to plan a meal, make a grocery list, do the shopping, prep the food, time the cooking, present the meal.  Such skills are what life is made of, and I am sorely lacking.

If I think long enough, I’m sure I could come up with a long list of areas in which I lack proper teaching and training.  But looking back isn’t the point.

The point is looking forward.

It’s looking at my girls and my son, who will one day, by God’s grace, be grown women and men, in need of real world skills.  As I go about my daily life, am I instructing them or merely telling them?

As I vacuum, am I explaining the need to get all the way to the walls, even in the corners?

As I dust, with them at my side with their little rags, am I patiently showing them how to cover the entire surface, folding the rag as it gets dirty?

Am I repeating that lesson again and again until they fully understand, or do I show them once, and expect them to ‘just get it.?’

Am I walking with them, side by side?  Or am I standing off to the side with expectations that are unreasonable due to my lack of patient teaching and training?

I am good at telling my girls to clean up their room, but have I really taught them how to do that?  Have I showed them more than once?  Have I explained the how while cleaning up with them, or do I just say, “come on girls, clean up” as I hurriedly put things away?  Have I walked through this with them day after day for a week, or longer, until they truly understood, or in my impatience have I expected a 2 and 4-year-old to be room experts after a single, half-hearted attempt to show them what to do?

May my eyes be opened to other areas where I fall short in this way and may I become more intentional about changing my pattern from mere telling to one of patience, persistent teaching.

Elizabeth Esther, who has a blog that I stumbled upon a while back, posted very openly about her recent struggles with lacking joy as a mother.  I highly recommend her blog, and this post specifically.

Have you ever struggled with losing the joy of mothering?  When I first became a mom, I never thought that would be possible.  How could I possibly lack joy in being a mother, in caring for this precious life given to me by God?  Her post reminded me of the valley I recently came through struggling in the same way.

What is the purpose of any trial, other than to humble us and draw us closer to our Lord.  Her post was a refreshing reminder that others endure similar trials, and that my struggles really aren’t unique.

May her post be refreshment for your soul and encouragement to your heart.

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