Welcome to my Mayhem!

I hope to help other mamas by sharing my solutions and ideas, fantastic finds, tips and tricks, and awesome other websites that might help you in your quest to be the most awesome mama you can be.

And don't worry, I am far from perfect - you'll find this is also my outlet of family related ups and downs, stresses and issues, rants and discussions... so you won't feel at all upstaged by lil' ol' me - you'll fit right in, I promise!

Come on by, drop some comments, leave me some suggestions, or your own finds to share - everyone's welcome!

(P.S. If you have a "mom blog", drop me a line and I might add you to my list over there...)


Ups & downs...

I keep trying to figure out why my girls keep getting sick on and off lately.
The Dr. said there's apparently a lot of colds and flus and bugs going around and that they're not the only ones. I'm glad of that... but at the same time... wtf.
I've speculated with Bri's dad & stepmom about her bouts of stomach pain and general bitchiness (yes, I just called my 8 yearold bitchy)... I know at least one kid that got her monthly gift already at age 8. I'm hoping that our speculations are wrong and we're just grasping at straws. I don't think I could handle PMS on top of typical Bri moodswings. lol. It has been sortof monthly that she's had these stomach complaints... but I haven't kept track closely enough to say it's exactly monthly. At the same time she's also had 3 ear infections, and been puking at least a few times with the stomach pain - and then Nika puking within a week of either side of Bri, so I'm thinking it's just a bug.

I just got a call that Nika apparently ran into another kid's teeth. *blink*. Awesome.
So she'll have a bump on her head, evidently.

I'm still getting used to this new schedule from the custody b.s. --- As much as I like having my Thurs and Fri nights free, I still have to work those nights... and as much as I like getting to *actually* sleep in on Fri mornings (sorry, I'll try not to rub that one in)... I think I miss them more on weekdays when they're gone (and are at school *anyway* for most of the day)... than I do on the weekends. I think it has a lot to do with wanting to go get them from school, etc.

Thankfully I think the kids have adjusted and are quite happy with the new arrangements because they know what's going on. The whole... who's picking up who and when... crap... has been decided, and they don't have to ask questions as much. They're also falling a lot better into the routine of "mama's house" and "daddy's house" without as much of a hitch now, because when they're there, it's all-together, not spread out randomly. So not so much fighting at bedtime or in the morning after they've been at daddy's... and much happier children for the result. In fact, unless one of them has had a particularly bad sleep, I seem to have some pretty damned good kids in the mornings now. Between keeping to a schedule, and making them responsible for their own bedtime schedules with those checklists (below)... I think maybe I just had to let go a little and give them the guidelines, and let them take control. I have a few friends who'd have said "DUH, that's what I kept trying to tell you". Ok. Point taken.

Kidlets go back to gymnastics the week after March break... they're incredibly excited, and so am I... Bri is *amazing* in gymnastics, looks like she's been doing it all her life, when her last session this time last year was her first-ever session. She climbed the bloody rope to the ceiling in about 10 seconds flat, on her first try - no help... and was jumping across parallel bars, for crying out loud! Nika's pretty good at it too, but I think her interests may lie in dance, rather than gymnastics... time will tell. For now she's excited to go to gymnastics with her sister.


Round two... or three... or more...

Ok so I clearly need to get around to doing this again. It's probably good for my soul or something. I keep forgetting I have this blog and clearly, I posted 3 times, set it all up, and then forgot about it. Truth is, life happened. I split up with my girls' dad... moved out... got my own place, and started over.

My girls live with me and my amazingly awesome boyfriend, who I'm a wee bit crushing on (lol). They spend alternating weekends, and every Thurs-Fri at their dad's. They seem to have adapted really well, we had our moments of acting out but they seem to be subsiding.

An overview, this being March tomorrow... Bri just turned 8 and Nika just turned 6... they are crazy... and awesome... and well... growing up. Bri has had some behaviour issues but seems to be getting through them... Nika is just now starting to really show her wish for independence. She never used to assert herself with her sister, she never used to really fight against me, either. I knew the day would come and it's finally here. I'm actually glad of it, I'm really happy to see her not taking any crap from her sister... and as much as it upsets me to put her in timeout... the fact that she actually does *earn* timeouts now, when she never used to - NEVER... I see it as a good thing, as much as I am frustrated when it happens... at least I know she's not a pushover and she's starting to make her own decisions and mistakes.

Mornings are my biggest downfall, but I had a conversation with a children's counselor and she suggested the checklist thing, which I have successfully used from time to time - again, my downfall being "time to time"... my downfall has always been lack of consistency. But what she suggested was starting small. A morning routine with times set out for points... with their bathroom time swapped so they don't share space too much in the morning.

So... as it stands, I wake them gently at 7am and have an alarm set for 7:10am. They have til the alarm, to get up. (I thank SuperNanny for that idea, actually).... and then they have a checklist - and it's their own responsibilities to get through it. Up by 7:10 -check. Get dressed by myself by 7:15 -check (which is easy because I get them to pick their clothes at bedtime and put them out)... have my hair and teeth brushed by 7:25 -check. Be at the breakfast table by 7:30 -check. Finished breakfast by 7:45 -check. And the important one; EARN FREE TIME until 8:15 -check. And then, boots/coat/backpack on by 8:25 (when the "teacher bell" rings and we need to leave). I use Handipoints for this checklist, and at the counselor's suggestion, they'll have actual little "tokens" that they earn for each checkmark at the end of a week - and the last 3 mornings I've used the checklist for have been smoother than any morning I have ever had - and it places the responsibility on their own shoulders, to get their own selves ready. I'm lovin' it.

On another note, Bri's been sick all weekend apparently. Argh. She's off school today and still in bed. Poor ween.


Something that works...

And for all ages, at that. Thought I'd write a quick note today to point a few of you in the direction of a website that I am totally in love with, because it helps with my stubborn kiddies - gives them something to strive for and something to help us keep track of things like good behaviour, chores, etc... and I can use it to reward them too! I dunno about your kids but my kids thrive on reasoning and having a reason to do things... sometimes just "because mama said so" isn't good enough. It should be good enough... but let's be realistic here... lol. Yeah... no.

So... it's over there in my links... *gestures thatta-way* ... it's called Handipoints. It's good for kids of most ages I would say... at least 3-16ish maybe? They get this little cat to dress up, and they get bonus stickers (which tell you all sorts of educational and interesting facts when they put them in their "album"). If you pay for a subscription they can use bonus points to buy clothes for their little cat person and stuff... which my kids love the idea of, but I won't pay for. Sorry guys, I'll promote ya but I ain't payin' for pixels, mates. They also have this little virtual world they can run around and do stuff in, and "chat" in. ...I use quotes because they can only say pre-selected phrases to each other - yay for pervert-free zones!

The main point of the site is that you can create lists (and user names) for each child (and parent), and they can earn (or lose) points for good or bad behaviour (like "Being polite" or "Being mean to your siblings"... "Colouring on your walls"... etc.)... for doing your chores (like "Cleaning your room"... "Feeding the cat"... "Clearing the table"... etc.) - - You can even make a "Learning" list... so they can get points for stuff like "Learn a new word" or "Get an A on a test". You can pick from a TON of pre-made selections but you can also create your own and assign as many or as few points as you want. Then, they can choose rewards to work towards.. or you can even assign quarters or nickels to their points, and pay them their allowance that way!

Anyway... when I remember to stick to the damn thing every day... it's great because if I say "clear the table", they don't throw a fit... they do it because they know they get a check mark! Is it bribery? Well... I guess sortof... lol... but when you have a 6-year old like mine who you'd literally have to duck-tape to a chair to enforce time-outs, and a 4-year old who stomps upstairs, hyperventilates and slams doors when you ask her politely to do something... let's face it... saying "Stop... take a breath... now come clean the table or you'll lose points for today" and having it WORK?... Well... let's just say it's awesome. So I'm sharing. :)

P.S. Bree & Nika each got gifted outfits from Grandma today... Bree's is a beautiful green velvet hippy looking thing... and Nika's is this AWESOME plaid-skirted dress complete with a "scottie dog" on the front, AND... get this... a matching plaid poncho and matching tam!! It's the most freaking adorable thing I've ever seen in my life. Promise to post pix when I find the camera.


Bear with me...

I'm still updating and getting this ball rolling... I might change my layout a few times before I settle. This one's... rather pink... and flowery... hmm. If you see one that suits me somewhere (before I get around to making my own, that is!)... drop me a note!

Hm. On a mom note; Nika was starting to wean herself off the thumb sucking for a while... but now over the past month she's reverted to thumb-in-mouth... so much so that she's getting a chapped bottom lip, poor thing. I don't like getting her in trouble for something like that... but I also don't want her to have a sore lip, and y'know... all those things about how it's gonna make her teeth crooked and what-not. I feel bad even just reminding her "Nika... thumb?"...because it's all the time and I don't want to harrass her about it. Tryin to find some solutions. I'll let you know if I find any. On a happy note, aside from one or two "oopses" (too busy playing, etc.), I think I am confident enough to say that she is totally potty-trained, and is even getting up in the night now - which is where we were having trouble for the last 6mos or so. Yay Nika!

Bree's been having a bit of an issue lately with what I call her little "hissy fits"... if we tell her she can't do something, or insist that she give her sister a turn, or get her in trouble for something she KNOWS not to do, even.... she does this irritating little "HMPHHH!", crosses her arms, and stomps off, slamming doors, etc. on the way. And I don't know how to deal with it because clearly, me getting angry just eggs her on... and talking calmly seems to perturb her just as much.. like I'm patronizing her. On and off there's been jealousy things with her sister but I don't think that's entirely it. I feel like I'm missing something.

Ah well. Off to work, gotta leave in half an hour so I should proooobably go change and stop playing with my new blog. *grin* Talk to you later! By the way if you stop by, drop me a note! :)


Getting Started

Hello world!

I'm Zoe... and this is my first post on this blog. I've had other blogs in the past, and still use at least one of them... but I really wanted to start something relevant where I could talk about kids, parenting, and life changes, and maybe... just maybe... help others by doing it.
So... I hope that you'd like to join me on my journey, and feel free to comment wherever and whenever you like. If you're a like-minded, crazy, blunt, unique or somewhat-insane bloggin' mama and you'd like me to link to you, let me know, as I'd like to expand my links list :)

You can see from my profile that I've got two little girls (I've decided to refer to them by their shortforms for a glimmer of privacy - besides, really... who wants to be referred to as DD1 and DD2? How inhuman that seems to me.)... Nika turned 4 today, and Bree turned 6 on the 3rd. Oh yes both in the same month... it's bad enough that you feel a year older every time your kids get older... I get two hits of older-ness in the same month. LOL. And then there's my hubby (we'll just call him "hubby" cuz that's what I do online mostly anyhow)... and we've got two roommates here at the moment, and two cats; Casey (M) and Emmah (F)... yes that's their real names LOL.

Very soon though, our living situation is going to change. We're picking up from this city life, and going out to live communally with our best friends and kids' goddess-parents, out in the country where they have an organic veggie garden, free-range chickens, and a ton of space and fresh air. Not to mention 4 more kids, 2 adults, 2 dogs, and 3 more cats. *grin* It's going to be big changes but a lot of positive stuff! I'm particularly excited because I always feel so much more relaxed there... and because my friend has such a different parenting style - in a good way! - I think I might learn to be a little more down-to-earth and a little more relaxed with my kids... even when they're being insane. :) I hope that we're all going to learn and grow from this. Actually... I know we will.

My friend also homeschools... Bree is graduating Senior Kindergarten in June, so she gets her little graduation ceremony, etc... Nika is supposed to start Jr. K next Sept. I think what we're going to do, is give the kids the option of what they want to do. I really believe in the homeschooling because I've seen how amazing P's kids are... on the flipside, Bree seems to do really well at school, and Nika's been looking forward to it ever since Bree's first day. We'll see what they decide. I think they'll thrive either way because they will still have those opportunities at home.

I'm really really excited to make this journey... I think it's going to open a lot of new doors and the fresh air (mental and physical) will be really good for us.