Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thoughts from a Night Owl Parent

So I have been thinking alot about sleep habits in relation to kids lately. Now I am a night owl. Always have been. When I was probably nine or so I got a nightshirt for Christmas that said "I may rise, but I refuse to shine." The statement was true then and still true today. But somehow I feel pressure from society to be an early riser as a parent. I hear about moms who wake up an hour before their kids, to have time to center, time to get chores done, time to exercise, time to be. Sounds great. But while my kids will sleep till 7 or even 8am depending on the morning that puts me getting up at 6am at the latest NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I am convinced that not even God gets up that early. Really! And I am not motivated to get up that early if I don't have to. Let me sleep. I'll get my quite, kid free space at 10pm when the boys are fast asleep.

Now part of my problem is that I'm friends with alot of early risers. And as such I compare my days to their. Not fair to any of us but it's reality. But here is the thing. The advise we give to new parents is sleep when the baby sleeps. Great advise for a newborn who naps during the day yes. But the sentiment then becomes that as parents we change our sleep habit to fit our kids rather than help our kids learn our patterns. For the most part I'm pretty against the idea of sleep training babies. I was always one that let my kids sleep when they slept. But as I look back, I did sleep train my kids. By simply being myself, following my own sleep patterns my kids have learned to adapt to my schedule, just as I have had to adapt to theirs.

 As a college student with an infant, I would often shut myself in a kid safe room, lie down on a mattress, put on some music and let Ian play while I napped. It wasn't deep sleep by any means, but it was rest and Ian learned to play by himself while Mommy got some much needed shut eye. As he got older, we always had quite toys and books around for the mornings. He would get up play on his own and I would get at least another hour if not more of rest. The same thing happens today. The boys know they can crawl in with Mark and I and cuddle. But once they are done they go off and play while Mark and I continue to sleep till either they boys start fighting and need us to intervene or we absolutely have to get up. It's perfect. And works for us night owls.

But my other problem is that we live in a society that works on the early risers schedule. I would be perfectly happy to start my day at 10am. But most other people start at 8am if not earlier. So we adapt. I guess that's my point too. Not being an early riser never has made me a bad parent. I have created routines that work for me and for my kids. And that mean the I'm still laying in bed while my sister-in-law and nephews are already out sledding. Or that I don't realize that school was actually canceled till almost 9am because I went back to bed after finding out that there was a 2 hour delay. From my stand point it's wonderful. You early risers go ahead and wake up at the crack of dawn. I'll enjoy my beauty sleep. With cuddly boys by my side. Or at least the background music of kids at play.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Reading Challenge for 2014

Being surrounded by books at least 3 times a week has made me think about all the wonderful books I have yet to read. Shelving books and organizing books at work at the books store has allowed me to glace at books I might normally look at simply because they are not in sections/genres I normally am drawn to. So this year I am giving myself a reading challenge for the year. To read a book from each section of our store. Now I'll be upfront. I'm giving myself a few passes. I see no reason to read something from Large Print when they are elsewhere throughout the store. Nor do I figure I should force myself to ready something from foreign language or Kids foreign language since the only foreign language I know is German and it's been so long I probably don't even have a kindergarten reading level anymore. Our $1 bin/ Mass Market paperback I feel I can also overlook as again some of these will be found elsewhere. Although if I get through the rest of the sections I'll take a took to see what I can find :) Finally I feel no big need to read through one of the bibles or hymnals. I own 4 hymnals and at least 6 bibles, and the point of this is to read books that I might not have originally thought to pick up.
I guess I should outline some other thoughts I have about this challenge. I am a avid believer that reading is and should be fun. I did the whole reading for the sake of learning in school. And I know I'll do it again when I start my graduate work. But for right now I have no need to read for the sake of knowledge. If I learn something great. But for me at this moment in time, in this stage of my life, reading is pleasure. If I don't like what I'm reading then I won't continue reading it. So that means I plan on picking books I'm drawn to. Books I hope to enjoy. I'm not going to force myself to read a book from every section of the store just to say I did. But because I think there are some great books I will enjoy in sections of the store I normally do not browse for myself. When in the store for myself (outside of work) I tend to stay near fantasy/sci fi, graphic novels or the children's sections. There are so many more sections to browse and that's what this challenge is for.
The other thing I hope this does is show the boys all the different kinds of books there are out there. As a 1st Grader Ian is starting to really read on his own. He still needs some help but I often find him on this bed with a book in his hands. Cai at 5 can read simple sentences. And Aiden is starting to learn what sounds the letters make. Lately I have come across reading and friends facebook posts or pintrests pins to links about how to get you children to read. To be honest they all say the same thing. Read to your child. And read yourself so they see you read. Not to sound haughty, but I could have told you that years ago. That being said, I tend to keep to similar books. I am often scared to try a new book/genera for fear I won't enjoy it. So hopefully the boys will see me trying new books and that will encourage them to try new books as well.
Interested in some of our sections that I will be reading from? Here are only a few.
Memoirs/ Biographies
General Fiction
Political Science
and many more
So far here is what I have started
Yesterday while taking a break between sweeping and mopping the store I read "How to tell if you cat is plotting to kill you" from Humor- although due to it's popularity it is keep up on the front desk display. It is from the Oatmeal and of course very very funny. I think my cats are plotting to kill me based on the evidence in this book :)
I am currently in the middle of  Book #1 of the Underland Chronicles: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. This is from our Kids Series sections which is aimed towards late Elementary and  Middle School kids. Thus far it is very enjoyable.

So what are you reading for you pleasure???

Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday_ Jan 13, 2014

Hello to anyone and everyone who still checks up on this blog. It's been awhile. But a week and a half into 2014, I figured I might start again with a meal plan. My boys are becoming more picky. While that doesn't stop me from continuing to cook the way I have for the past 7 years, it still  makes menu planning interesting. On the one had I want good, healthy food. On the other I want my boys to eat it. And more importantly I just plain don't want to hear them whine.  For those that may hear from personally or on Facebook, I got a part time job at a bookstore, which I love. However since I work more evenings then mornings/afternoons, that means I have to plan meals even more than before. Cause if I'm going into work at 3pm than I need to make sure that dinner is either already put together on the stove/in the oven or everything is out and ready to be put together by Mark. I believe he can cook. But he doesn't, so I try to make it easy on both of us by having it planned or even cooked before I leave.  This week my goal it to have some meals with leftovers. I am getting tired of grilled cheese or pb&j for lunch. Not that my boys care. But Mark and I do :)
So here is our menu for this week.

Monday: Salsa chicken over rice, (using home-canned salsa) some side veggie, probably frozen peas
Tuesday: Crockpot black bean and corn soup
Wednesday: Midweek meal at church
Thursday: Curry over rice
Friday: Creamy Pesto Pasta (Simply in Season)
Saturday: The boys are on their own. I'm going with the Jr Youth to snow camp. Mark gets to decided what's for dinner :)
Sunday: Popcorn cheese and apples.

For more menus be sure to head over to Organizing Junkie. Hope everyone one has a Happy Monday! and Happy Menu Planning