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How to make New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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Photo by Malte Lu on Pexels.com

The New Year is upon us.  Many people see this as a time for a fresh start, as a time to do things differently than the year before.  Whatever happened the year before is done and gone and this is the fresh page of a new chapter.  Some people see resolutions as bad, but why?  Humans are always changing, always evolving.  It’s ok to recognize faults or things we aren’t happy with and try to work on them to improve how we feel about ourselves.

It has also been said that over 80% of people will not stick to their New Year’s plan by February.  FEBRUARY!  That’s one month off to a great start and then nothing. Nada.  These people start out the year well- with the right intentions and probably the right mindset, but old habits die hard.  Life happens.  And the New Year’s resolutions are gone.  I’ve even heard that some people have the same resolution every year, or close to.

You probably know those people- maybe they are you?  Maybe the resolution is to workout more.  A gym membership is bought (usually for a cheap price), swearing to those around you this will be different… there are often a lot of visits in the first week or two, but the visits consist of walking in-maybe doing some cardio-maybe doing some weights, knowing the difference between the “regulars” and those there for their resolutions.  Maybe it’s even a little intimidating.  The results aren’t there that you would have hoped for.  Excuses start to take creep in.  And now there’s this gym membership being paid for, but not being used.

Let’s make 2019 different.  Create a plan now to make 2019 the year that you stick to your New Year’s Plan.  Maybe it’s eating healthier, working out more, more self-care, deeper dive into your spirituality, more time unplugged.  Whatever the resolution, there are definitely steps that can be taken to lead to continual success instead of starting strong, crashing and burning.

Let’s be one of 20%. It’s not hard, but it will require work (if it was easy, there wouldn’t be an 80% failure rate, right?)

  • WRITE OUT THE GOAL.  I know this is nothing new, but seriously- write it out.  If your goal is to be unplugged- then write down how often you are going to allow yourself screen time each day.  If you want to lose weight- write down how much and by when and how are you going to do it.  (it is safe to lose 1-2lbs a week).  Maybe you have a big goal- and if you do, then break it down into small goals (more on that later).  Write them down where you can see them every day (even post its on your bathroom mirror).
  • START SMALL.  Small steps that you can work on regularly integrating into your life will result in higher success rates than starting out doing too much, too fast.  Doing too much, too fast will cause disruption in the life you are used it.  It will shock your body and will result in easier burn out.  Depending upon what your resolution is, it can also result in injury as your body isn’t prepared to withstand the quick changes you are throwing at it and it just can’t keep up.  Start with a couple days a week and after you are successful with that for a couple weeks, then up it to 3 days a week.  Then 4, etc.
  • SMALL GOALS WITH REGULAR CHECKINS.  Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon in 2019.  Or maybe you’re not a runner at all, but your goal is to run a 5K.  If you’ve never ran a 5K or a marathon before, don’t start out the gate expecting that’s going to happen right away.  For the 5K- start with an easy run training program like FIT4MOM’s 5K training.  Make the goal that you are going to run a mile without walking by a certain date.  When that happens- celebrate. Then make it 2 miles.  Celebrate.  For the marathon- find a marathon later in the year.  Sign up for a 5K first, then a 10K, then maybe even a half marathon before you tackle the marathon.  And again- celebrate the success.  Run the 5K and celebrate.
  • CELEBRATIONS.  This needs to be it’s own step.  Most of the population has a higher extrinsic motivation than intrinsic motivation.  That means, we feel more success and accomplishment with external factors than internal.  Rewards vs. the sense of “feeling better” or “feeling accomplished”.   As a workout plan gains success and longevity, that is when intrinsic motivation usually will take over.  Until then, set up small celebrations for success.  Ideas for celebrations include a meal at a favorite restaurant, some new workout gear, a coffee date with a friend (and have that friend help with your accountability…more on that next), time by yourself, taking time to watch your favorite show or movie.  Maybe even make yourself a sticker chart, and after “x” amount of stickers (sticking to your goal) then have a celebration.  Have the sticker chart visible and the act of placing a sticker on the chart is sometimes celebration enough because it gives a sense of accomplishment.  Add your written goal (see above) to your sticker chart.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY.  Find a friend, spouse, coworker, group, or coach that wants you to be successful, maybe even shares your goals, and use them as your accountability partner.  (or a combination of a couple of those) Maybe you need a coach that is being paid to hold you accountable.  Maybe a small group that is going to be expecting you to show up?  Maybe it’s just a friend that shares your goals and you are going to hold each other accountable.  Humans generally want to make other humans happy (not always the case).  But they want to make other humans happy that they respect.  If you respect someone and you know they are watching out for you, chances are you going to do what you need to do to make them happy.  Your success is their happiness.  (Check out the “Accountability” Blog for more).

5 steps to success.  Be the 20% this year.  Don’t let your goals, your resolutions go to the wayside and have them appear on our 2020 resolution list.  This year can be different.  This year will be different.  This year is the year of YOU- you have your resolution because you want things to be different, whether they are big or small.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

Cheers to 2019- let’s do this.

 

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The Elf…

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Ok- raise your hand if you, too, thought this elf would be such a fun tradition for the holidays and now you are dreading pulling it out yet another time and coming up with 32+ “activities” or hiding places for your elf?  Seriously- kudos to the person that thought of this idea and was able to convince all of us naive parents that it would be a super great tradition.  Lies.

Or maybe you are one of the few that love the Elf and all the “fun” it has to offer.  Do you really exist?

At our house- we forget to move him.  (Buddy- our elf’s name is Buddy #creative).  We really just move him around and it’s a fun “where is Buddy” game every day.  But we haven’t had any reprieve.  We have had the elf since Aiden and Lu were little… and the way it’s worked out- it has rolled right into the Knox and the twins.  I seriously think we are on year 8 or 9 of this thing.  No joke. (It was created in 2005).  Let me tell you how fun it was on those sleepless nights with the twins realizing the damn elf didn’t move.  Enter Aiden.  That kid has saved us SO many times.  And yes- this year Lucy was on the mad hunt for Buddy when we realized we didn’t know what box he was in from the move. “Hey Lu- not sure if you know or not, but Buddy isn’t real and we need your help finding him.”  Her: “duh”.  After two days of hunting, Jeremy headed to Kohls and we now have a Buddy #3.

(Buddy #1 met his unfortunate death when we had him eating popcorn and watching the movie ELF when Lucy was little and Rockne ate his face off.  Seriously picture our faces… we left Buddy face down in the bowl of popcorn all day- went up to tuck them in for bed and come down and the elf has no face… the popcorn was also gone.  I can not even begin to tell you the middle of the night panic trying to replace the elf without a face… Jeremy going to every store was open and sending me pictures on our Razors (did they even take pictures??) and trying to find the one with exactly the right hair color.  Thankfully our secret was safe for many years… we finally just broke the news to her this year.  She was slightly devastated.)

But here we go again… another year of hiding the elf every night until the glorious morning of Christmas when most people are excited about presents and time together with family- we’re holding up our Christmas mimosas in the air to a break from having to scramble to hide the elf.

For total selfish reasons- I created a Virtual Elf Planning party on Facebook this year.  100% selfish.  I need all the ideas.  Although- one of my amazing neighbors ordered Reindeer from their elf last year!!  Seriously!! Real Reindeer!  In their front yard!  Amazing!  And another had their elf break their leg, and therefore be in a cast so they couldn’t move for a few weeks #genius.

Buddy is back though- and he will be back for at least a few years.  (or if the little ones are anything like Lucy- we have 8 more years of the Elf. *insert favorite cuss word*)

I have included my Elf on the Shelf Calendar for you all. #yourewelcome. Nothing fancy- but each day is split in half so the top half is for the idea and the second half is for supplies needed.  This way, if you are lucky enough to have helpers like me- you can all be on the same page and not have to guess what the elf does next.  Because it’s all about taking the stress out of the holidays, right? *insert spontaneous laughter*

Elf on the Shelf Planning CalendarElf on the Shelf Planning Calendar

If you forget to move your elf, someone else (probably just like me) has created a list as to why the elf didn’t move.  Check it out HERE

And for those of you that were smart enough to have never introduced the elf into your house- I raise my mimosa to you.

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My Teenager

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It hit me today…  I’m almost the mom of an adult.

By the time the twins are in kindergarten, I will be the mom of an adult.

Want to know how I figured that one out?  When I was sitting in the passenger seat of MY CAR while he drove us to his school.  Did you read that?  He DROVE me.

Sh**

And now that I’m a little more into my day, and the coffee has kicked in, I realized that my sleepless nights ahead will no longer come from the babies, but from my oldest.  I love that I have kids at all stages of life.  It allows me to relate to so many more moms and stories they tell, but it also allows me to be a little humble and gracious to the stages my kids are each going through because they are all so uniquely different.  Life lessons as a teenager are HARD.  They are beyond potty training accidents and sleep training and positive discipline (or not so positive in my case some days).  And they are not going to get easier.

These are legit life lessons.  I can’t grab his hand and pull him back out of the path of a car or hold him in the deep end.  I can’t kiss an owie to make it better or find his favorite blanket to cuddle.  (Well, I could, but… I’d lose the cool-mom points that I have still remaining).

My child is driving a huge metal object that weighs a ton (especially Betty… yeah, he drove Betty… that should be extra credit).  Mistakes mean potentially a lot of damage.  He did great- he’s so cautious.  My dad always told me to be on the defense, don’t assume anyone around you is a great driver.  I get it.  Aiden will be a great driver and he won’t be the kid that does a lot of stupid stuff (he probably will, but I’m going to play naive for now)- but it’s everyone else around him that worries me.  (Like the lady who was tailgating us through our neighborhood this morning as he was following the speed limit… man, did I want to get out of the car.  I didn’t.  I also only went to grab the wheel once… which I think is pretty good for a 5 minute drive!)

It’s not just physical mistakes.  The heart and brain life-lessons are hard, too.  He had a coach yesterday tell him some not great things (when I thought he played a freaking fantastic game and had two tricky corner kicks get past him… and all the other members on the team).  That hurts.  That stings.  And it’s hard to teach them that sometimes ADULTS forget they are dealing teenagers and that they shouldn’t take their frustrations of a tied game out on them.  On the flip side, he’s old enough to handle that now and we’re beyond everyone getting a trophy or medal for participation, or making a team because they will cash your check you write them (yeah, I said it- if you haven’t entered the world of club sports yet, just have your check book ready.)

And love… We’re not into dating yet (at least I don’t think he is).  And maybe the first broken heart will be his sister’s, and not his, but I’m not looking forward to that day.  What if he’s the one doing the heart breaking?  Lesson too, right?

So I have these toddlers learning life lessons through “yes”, “no”, “that hurts”, “that doesn’t hurt”, etc.  The “lessons” seem so small compared to what I’m dealing with in regards to the big kids.  (even though in that moment with the littles, I totally admit I often overreact and make them really a big deal).  And now I have this teenager, and another almost teenager, that are learning some really big stuff.  And unlike the littles, most of the bigs’ lessons, I just have to sit back and offer support.  I can’t take the lead.  I shouldn’t take the lead … if I did … they wouldn’t learn the lesson, right?  I have no control.  (There it is- my control issues).  I can’t be there to “fix” it like I do with the littles.  The bigs have ground they have to uncover themselves.  I can only hope I did lay their foundation right, and that I did everything I could during those small life lessons to create success (whatever that definition is) in the big life lessons that are about to come.  It also made me realize how important the littles’ life lessons really are.  They lay the foundation.

However, if Aiden and Lucy come to me one day looking for their blanket for comfort, or to kiss an owie, or pull them out of oncoming traffic.  You best believe I will be right there, cool mom points or not.

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We now have Threenadoes- x2

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Man- if I had to pick one age I could bypass- it would be three.  I know, I know… it sounds horrible and heartless, but seriously, like overnight they have taken over my sweet (yet rambunctious two year olds) and replaced them with these beings that appear cute on the outside and full of sass and stubbornness on the inside (I blame Jeremy).  My babies are no longer babies!!

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No- they are no longer babies- we will probably always refer to Whitney as “Baby”, but the baby stage has packed up and left the Hillman household (or at this current point, my parent’s house because #moving).

As we approach the threenage years, I’m going to take a second and reminisce on moments… that I remember…

  • Finding out there were two:  Seriously- will never forget that moment.  In the Dr. office, not expecting great news.  I had had an ultrasound the week before (at 5 weeks) but Dr. didn’t say too much and said let’s repeat it in a week.  For someone that had been through multiple early miscarriages… I wasn’t expecting great news.  I had symptoms, but I also had symptoms with Jeremiah, the baby we lost in the second trimester due to a Partial Molar Pregnancy (ugh- needles in the skin just typing that phrase out).  So I sent Jeremy to his bowling meet, had my mom meet me at the Dr. to watch 7 mo old Knox in the waiting room so I could find out maybe good news/probably bad.  It was a new tech… had an internal ultrasound because it was so early… and before she flipped the switch on, she goes “Well, it still might be too early to see both their heartbeats”.  Me: “Oh, you must have the wrong chart, we’re just checking for a viable pregnancy.”  Her: “Lisa Hillman?  Yeah, they didn’t tell you last week there are twins?”  Me: “Uh… no… you’re kidding right?  Oh my gosh, I can’t breathe… can you go get my mom?  I definitely need my mom?  She’s sitting out there… go get her please?”  Her: “Uhhhh… I just can’t leave this inside you…” Me: “Oh, right”.  I don’t really remember the rest of the appointment besides the moment of my just handing my mom a picture of “the babies” and watching the realization of what was happening wash over her face.  Let’s just say she was a little more excited than I was.
  • Telling Jeremy: Have you all seen it?  It’s on YouTube… I’ve never seen my husband speechless before.  Watch it HERE.
  • Team Green: Being Team Green was SO hard… especially with twins…and especially with a High Risk Doctor that had a hard time keeping secrets.  But we made it and it was SO worth it.  We had an idea that Baby “B” might be a girl… the nurses referred to “her” as a Diva because B was always the most difficult to get the readings on and never cooperated.  Fast forward to the delivery and “A” came out with “It’s a girl!”… we start crying and then go… oh man, two girls!!  Imagine our surprise when two minutes later “B” comes out with “And it’s a boy!”  Uh, what?!?!  Welcome to the world, Griffin  (who still has Diva-tendencies)
  • The Delivery:  First “Gentle C-Section Delivery” at Copley.  So great.  We had a clear curtain so I was able to see them immediately.  They put Whitney on my chest right away and had Jeremy wear a button down so he had Griffin right away for some skin to skin time.  Well, both of them wouldn’t settle down and kept crying, so the nurse did a quick switch and sure enough- we had a daddy’s girl and a mama’s boy from the first minutes of life.  Totally different from the C-Section I had had with Aiden 13 years prior that I didn’t get to hold him for over an hour and barely saw him before they whisked him away for all the tests and bath.
  • The feedings:  Dang- that sucked.  Neither twin would latch.  We. tried. everything.  Lactation consultants, nipple guards, different positions… nothing worked.  Which left me to pump.  And pump.  And pump.  I missed out on a lot of life in the first few months.  We would feed them, burp them, change them, get them settled, then I would pump for about 20-30 minutes (for a good feeding) and I would have about 30 minutes before the process started all over again.  Fed is best and my life became insanely less stressful when we introduced formula.  And the babies were so much more happy and content as well.  I repeat.  FED IS BEST!  for everyone!! including my 3 other children and my husband.
  • The support:  The meals, the help, the holding of babies.  It was all so great.  It takes a village and our village sure picked us up and helped carry us when we were too tired.  Showers were so glorious and it was so nice to have someone come and just sit there so the shower could happen uninterrupted.
  • The first year: Nope.  Don’t remember it.  I don’t remember who rolled over first, who talked first, who crawled or walked first.  Nada.  I got nothing.  I remember moments of success… like figuring out how to carry both of them up and down the stairs at the same time, when they could feed themselves a bottle, when I got them both to relax at the same time… even if it was for only 30 seconds.  I SWORE I would not take any moment for granted with them.  Sleep deprivation beats memory.  Hands down.  I do remember buying a Franchise when they were 3 months old.  Who doesn’t start a franchise when their twins are three months old?
  • The gear:  So much gear for twins.  Not necessarily two of everything, but two of a lot.  So many bottles and bottle parts (Thanks, Dr. Brown), the pack and plays, the diapers… so many diapers.  We used to order our diapers from Amazon- and it would look like we had a body delivered to our house every month.
  • The real world was not twin friendly: I gave up going places eventually.  I remember pushing one cart and pulling the other cart through a store.  I remember getting so mad when people would take the “big cart” at Target for their one child.  I had to remind myself they have no idea.  I actually pulled into Target once and left because I couldn’t find a big cart.  I would take the double stroller places, but that didn’t fit anywhere (which double strollers are the same width as wheel-chairs, which made me super sad).  Grocery stores put milk at the back of the store.  No quick trips.  This now made Jeremy the sole-grocery shopper.  And trying to get twins through a parking lot is like herding drunk cats.
  • The Chaos:  It’s never calm.  What’s calm?  There’s no calm.  There is always something going on.  Someone crying.  Someone yelling.  People fighting.  Something lost.  We’re late.  We forget things.  We haven’t forgot kids yet, though.  Yet.
  • Their bond:  They maybe aren’t as close as some twins, but they sure have a bond that none of the other siblings share.  They have a special sense that they can tell what is going on with the other when we can’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not butterflies and rainbows… they fight… but they love each other fiercely and don’t like to be apart from each other at all.  They watch out for each other.  I would take them to the church nursery to interact with other kids, and they would just play by themselves.  Now, they will tell you they are each other’s best friends.  Melt my heart.
  • Boy vs. Girl/ Nurture vs. Nature:  So with boy/girl twins… there’s not a whole lot of time to promote “girl” toys or “boy” toys.  Since they started playing toys- they gravitate toward the same gender toys.  Our biggest thing has been Griffin (and Knox) wanting to paint their nails or wear dresses.  Who cares though, right?  Why can’t boys of pretty nails?  Or wear pretty dresses?  Why is it so much more appropriate for girls to wear “boy” clothes, but not the opposite?

I know this post doesn’t make it seem all great.  It is.  I swear.  I was never a person that wanted twins.  I was actually shocked when I found out there are people in the world that wish for spontaneous twins!  I wouldn’t change it for the world.  They were the perfect finale.  The perfect caboose to our train.  Quatro and Cinco.  I can’t imagine life any other way.  I enjoy the questions.  I enjoy watching their bond grow.  I enjoy the chaos.  I embrace the chaos (somedays).  I love that we have a huge triple stroller named “The Beast” and I love Black Betty.  I love that we have this large family and that I have 5 kids that are all so uniquely different.  But I don’t love 3’s.  3’s are rough.  I’m sure I will be celebrating in a year when we reach the 4’s.  Until then- que sera.

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5 Mom Must-Dos for Back-To-School

School starts here in about a week.

I have 5 kids entering 3 different schools- (note: next year I will have 5 in 4 different schools- eek!).  This is the twins first year in preschool and this is a whole new ball game.  Making sure all 5 kids have their health forms, and we have all the appointments scheduled we need to schedule, and I’m making sure I’m not missing a back-to-school meeting at any of their schools.  I seriously could use a personal assistant just to keep me on top of it all, and they would be busy all.the.time.  Which got me to thinking- we do some much for them during this time of year… what are we doing for us?

While it’s important to make sure your kiddos are set for their “best year ever”, it’s also just as important that you are taking care of YOU.  Back-to-school can be just as stressful (if not more!) for moms than it is for the kids!  Let’s be real- have you felt totally lost and overwhelmed in the Target back-to-school section finding the exact color of folders, highlighters, the right number of markers, and telling your kids “no” to all the “extras” they want!? Or keeping track of all the paperwork and emails from the schools, only to find out you still don’t have it right?  Plus, we’re at the end of summer- and while we all started out with great intentions about “the best summer yet”, most of us are probably secretly… or not so secretly… counting down the days.

The overwhelm is real.

So what does a mom do?  No worries- I’ve compiled a list of some Mom Must-Do’s to fight the back to school overwhelm.

  1. It’s ok to say no.  Seriously.  To your kid… to friends… to the HSO committee (sorry!).  A wise person once told me that every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.  What are you gaining or sacrificing by saying yes to something?  Analyze what you are saying yes to!  It’s ok to say no.  (you can tell this to your kids too, they don’t have to sign up for everything under the sun)
  2. Move.  Whether it’s walking, running, working out, yoga, horse back riding, dancing, Zumba, whatever… just move.  There’s this whole science behind movement.  It can make you happier, relieve stress, help you sleep better… the list continues.  It doesn’t have to be long or intense- anything is better than nothing.  (and I mean, I may know a place that offers great classes with other moms… just saying)
  3. Take advantage of Sundays- they are a great way to reset for the week with your family.  Take the time to go over what is happening in the week ahead.  Practices, games, meetings, projects, big assignments… put it all out there and make sure everyone is on the same page.  This will help you prepare for events and not be caught off guard.  This can also help with meal planning!  Have games and meetings all afternoon Tuesday?  Sounds like a great night for a crockpot meal that can cook all day and people can eat as they come and go.
  4. Create a happy space… and go there.  Maybe it’s your kitchen, room, office.  Spend time there alone each day.  Maybe it’s waking up 30 minutes before your kids do and enjoying a cup of coffee or your favorite book or journal and spending time just being able to focus on you.  Maybe you’re more of a night person… spend time then focusing on you and setting your intentions for the next day.  Give your mind time to breathe.
  5. Drink water.  You think I’m kidding and I’m not.  It’s easy and it’s simple and the health benefits are abundant.  Half your body weight in ounces of water.  You’ll thank me.  Maybe not the first few days (or nights!), but eventually you will.  You’re future self will thank you as well.

The most important thing is to not forget about you.  Take care of yourself so that you can be the best version of you for your kiddos as they are about to start the next school year.  Don’t get lost in the overwhelm.  You got this, mama.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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A New Chapter

So I’m starting a thing.  Mama-Bear is taking over the page.

I definitely don’t consider myself the expert of all experts, but I think I’ve had a little “life-experience”.

As a wife, mom of 5, and entrepreneur… I always get asked how I do it all.

Sometimes I do it all… and sometimes I fail miserably.  So why not learn from my mistakes? Or my successes?  I have 5 kids- all in different stages of life (except, of course, for the twins.  But even they are so different).

I’d like to think I’ve been through a lot that other moms can relate to.  Easy pregnancies, high-risk pregnancies, twin pregnancies, early miscarriages, second trimester loss, breastfeeding, formula fed, first and second marriages, blended families, leaving a career to start a business, potty training, driver’s ed, tween girls, and a child that we are going to have an “alive at 5” party for when he turns 5.  I wish I was kidding.  (It’s a Hard Knox Life).

You can receive all the life-hacks and goodness in four different ways

  1. Follow this Blog
  2. Like (and follow) my Facebook Page HERE
  3. Like (and follow) my Instagram Page HERE
  4. Sign up for one of our bi-monthly Workshops in Oswego (found on Eventbrite and Facebook)

Can’t wait to connect with you more.  If you have a mom-hack you are looking for- shoot me a message.  If I don’t have the answer- I will find someone that does!!

-Lisa PBL_1273hs

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you might be a toddler if…

Hey- I’m Knox- I’m 3.  Maybe you remember me.  Its been a while since I’ve been able to write about life as I know it… so here I am.  Back again.

Its been so long since I was able to sit down and write that I should fill you in on a few things.  First of all- I’m 3 and in preschool and loving every minute of it.  The twins- yeah, they’re still around and they are 2 (and craaazzzyy).  Didi (Lucy) is in 5th grade and Charlie (Aiden) is in high school now and I LOVE hanging out with him and his friends.

So this post is all about me.  Yup, just me.  Thought I would fill you in on a few of my favorite things to do:

  1. TAG-TEAM:  Many of you know I used to like to pick on the twins.  Especially Grif (only because he cries all.the.time).  But its crazy.  One day it just happened.  I realized Grif was bigger than me.  And he bites.  And he can fight back.  So I don’t pick on them (as much… let’s be honest… I still do, sometimes) and instead I have learned that I can get a lot more accomplished if there is more than just me.  So I recruit them.  Like when I need to reach the fish food on the shelf, or dump toys and electronics into the fish tank, or get food or candy I’m not supposed to, or fill up cups of water and dump them on the floor… you get it.  It definitely helps having power in numbers.  The twins are pretty helpful when it comes to this stuff.
  2. PAINT: I’m super good at painting.  Painting with paint, water, play-doh.  I paint on paper or walls.  Anything works, really.  Play-doh on walls works really well (and I guess is super hard to get off of walls- who knew?)
  3. HAMSTER HELPER: Didi got a new pet.  I want a pet too.  Mom says no.  So instead, I try to help Didi as much as possible with her new pet.  Her name is Ginger.  Didi keeps her door locked now so I can’t get in to check on Ginger anymore.  I used to check on her while Didi was at school, and one day Ginger looked lonely so I got her out to play with her and she just ran away.  She came back to dad though and crawled into his hand, which is good.  I was worried.  But ever since then- I’m not allowed in Didi’s room.  So now I have my own pretend Hamster named Ginger that I take care of (though she isn’t as fun as the real one).  She lives in one of mom’s bird cages on the shelf and I like
  4. FISH FEEDER: So Charlie has a bunch of fish in our house and I’m really good at feeding them.  Fish are hungry.  A  lot.  So I feed them as much as I can, whenever I can.  I even put in some toys and XBOX remotes one day for them to play with, but mom wasn’t happy.  Have you ever tried fish food?  Its not that bad.
  5. OUTDOOR EXPLORER:  Being outside is my favorite.  I love being outside.  I love to go for walks and see new things like the diggers at the end of the street and talk to my next door neighbor Mr. Franklin.  He’s one of my favorite people.  He has a cane and just laughs at whatever I say.  I told my mom I want a cane like that for my birthday.  I also can open doors now and have tried to go for a walk a couple times on my own, but mom doesn’t seem to think that’s a good idea.
  6. SUPERSTAR: I guess mom and dad used to like to karaoke a lot.  So mom set up their old karaoke machine in our basement and it has TWO WORKING MICROPHONES!  Griffin and I are really good at singing duets.  Our two favorites right now are Happy Birthday and Go Cubs Go.  Do you know how loud it can get when him and I are both yelling into the microphones?  So loud.  Its awesome.  We also have some pretty intense dance parties and Whitney is a really good dancer.

 

So those are just a few of the things I like to do to keep me busy.  I love my family and love hanging out with my older siblings and get super excited when dad comes home from work.  The twins are ok, but still get in the way sometimes… ok, they get in the way a lot.  And even though my mom gets upset sometimes, I love snuggling with her and giving her lots of hugs and kisses.  She loves snuggles (and taking deep breaths and reminding herself that this is all a phase and that it goes by too quickly).