Friday, September 19, 2014

Burgers and Fries... #Agreed

I hope you have all seen that video with the father singing about needing to make more than "Burgers and Fries" if you want to marry my kid! Get a life, move out of your mom's house and be worth my kid!

I get it... I see it every day. I have a hot kid and guys that want to "get with that." Because of the love, devotion, and deeply seated desire to have more happiness, she doesn't fall for that line of crap. Why do girls fall for that? Why do they see a guy that doesn't have it together and then think that they are ready for a relationship  or they can "change" him?

Trust me, if you are worth it.. I will be happy to add you to my family! I will encourage her to see the good in you that I see because no one wants her to be happy more than I do. This subject is definitely worth a list of what I want to see before you show up at my house asking to marry my daughter.

1. You have met our whole family and they like you. Meaning you have attended at least one Carter family gathering with all cousins, aunts, and uncles in attendance. You are a good fit for our kind of crazy.

2. You have a career. You know what you want to do with your life. You have a plan and you are working on it every day. I am not trying to support one more person.

3. You have a place to live and dependable transportation. This is what normal people do. They live somewhere and they can get to and from work without calling a friend.

4. You have great credit and a low debt ratio. She has managed to live this long without being thousands and thousands in debt. Her credit is flawless you should make owning a home someday a possibility. This is a great way to start a union.

5. You love her, not just the way she looks but every thing about her. She's more than a pretty face! Know that. She deserves a life partner that appreciates everything about her.

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The video can be viewed here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

College is Harder Than it Looks

As I watched IN THE HEIGHTS at Village Theatre last night, tears were pouring down my face. Then my laughter was contagious. I get it! I really do. I am a mother of a high school senior and a college sophomore. The show spoke volumes. I was impressed with the thought of the child's perspective.

The story is set in NY and the stage was authentic. The moment was very real for me when I felt the pain of the cast members. The dance scenes were set to music that is very relevant and included powerful lyrics. The lyrics were perfection.

After the show, the director meet our little group of students and spoke with them about the love of theatre. The students asked great questions, like "What is your favorite scene?" Even though he didn't select his favorite scene, he did say that the "lyrics" were his favorite part of the show. And, we all agreed.

Every parent should take their kid to see this show!  I am so glad I was able to spend the time with my daughter. It opened up the opportunity for me to talk to her and share strategies she can use to deal with the stresses of going off to school and making her own way.

As parents, we often lose touch with what really matters to our kids. The security of home and the rigors of trying to do it alone. Sending your kid off without enough money and putting it on them to work to make ends meet is a reality of life. But, it's not as easy as is seems to you. Remember that!

When I think of every phone call I received from my college freshman with all of her little dramas, I was able to see how those things could overwhelm her to the point of wanting to give up. It's hard to be far away from your family and be the "one" that is going to make it! That is a lot of pressure.

Future blogs will address tips on how to help your kid be more independent at college!

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Buy tickets here:

Village Theatre
303 Front Street N
Issaquah, WA 98027

IN THE HEIGHTS: A truly original masterpiece of Musical Theatre, IN THE HEIGHTS won the Tony for BEST MUSICAL and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize because of its unmatched combination of a non stop Hip-Hop/Salsa/Jazz score, heartbreaking characters, and world class dancing.

September 18 - October 26, 2014
October 31 - November 23, 2014 in
Select Tuesdays at 7:30 PM
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM
Fridays at 8:00 PM
Saturdays at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sundays at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM
*Thursday Matinee: October 9, 2014 • 2:00PM

Preview Performance: September 17, 2014
ASL Interpreted Performance: October 4, 2014
Post-Show Discussion: October 21, 2014

Running Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (including intermission)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Longest Shower

The longest shower I took in June was at Yosemite. We were 6 days into our camping trip and it was more than 24 hours since my last shower. I know!  

We had to pack up all of our stuff and go to the housekeeping site about 20 minutes away. Each shower was $5. For a party of 4, it was quite an experience to have this luxury added to our trip. 

The shower attendant let the kids in for free because we had brought our own towels.  Tony went into his shower room and we went off the other way. 

I want to say that this marathon shower was amazing! I had been stressing this part of the trip because I like to have water right at my campsite—it feels more at home that way. 

At home, I may take a 2 minute shower and run out the door with hair wet. But, this day my shower felt like a million dollar luxury. I washed my hair three times. I left my conditioner on for minutes. I even let my face wash sit a while. I sang under the stream while hot water ran down my back.

Why? Because I saw the value in that shower. The value was so real to me because I had to pay the money before I could partake in the activity. Now, think of something you get to do for free. How important is it to you? Do you show it the respect it deserves?

It's a mindset. Even freebies have an intrinsic value. So when you need something from someone—show their assistance the respect it deserves. Luxuriate in the knowledge that you have been blessed. 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are We Spoiling Our Kids?

Are we spoiling our kids? I think some people more than others!

Last night after dinner, I had a great conversation with Miss Jae. She had me laughing uncontrollably as she was describing "Instant Gratification" and the destruction of the American family. I see it everyday. I read. I have Facebook.

Here's the story Miss Jae shared:

Her teacher has a kid. This kid is a little bit spoiled and was not happy with his Christmas presents and wanted to go to his friend's house to play with his presents instead. He actually asked his mother if he could go play with his friend's toys because his were not what he wanted!

When the parent said that she didn't think it was okay for him to go over, he responded with "So and so's mom said I can come over anytime I want to play with said toy."

She didn't allow it and her kid pouted and wouldn't leave his fort all day! All day.... Wow, just wow. Wait... he has a fort? Yes! He does and it's handmade and adorable. Apparently, it was exactly what he wanted for Christmas until the said toy hit the scene.

Then Miss Jae said, "Some kids are so into this instant gratification, they don't even want to be your kid anymore because you aren't jumping through the hoops fast enough for them!" Exactly....

It feels like it's bigger than a problem to me... it's more like a disease. You need something else so much that you can't even enjoy your life. How do we cure this? I don't remember being this way when I was a kid. Even though I was a bit on the spoiled side, I still found a lot of joy in my life. In the blessings I had.

So when your kid wants to guilt you into giving them exactly what they want try these 5 tips to curb their desire to run over what works with your family objectives.

1. Ask your kids why. Sometimes giving kids an opportunity to explain why they want something gives them the opportunity to see that they don't need it or you could change your mind.

2. Charge them part of the cost in funds or more responsibility. Make them accountable for what they want. Your boss makes you justify every extra dime you get.... it's great practice.

3. Set a plan to earn it. What do you do to get what you want? You set the steps to get what you want and you follow that plan until you get what you want.

4. #YourKidYourRules. Do what you think is best. When it comes to your kid, no one know more about what has worked in the past.

5. Say No. Say no. If you don't think your kid needs something, don't let them have it. They will live!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

These Boxes Aren't Going to Pack Themselves

We are moving to a new town over 20 hours away and we are packing our own things. On some level, I knew this was going to be an absolute nightmare! But, I didn't want to face that in the beginning. Now that the contract is signed and the check is literally in the mail... Take the check he said.  I would love to throw up my hands and hire professional movers to get this crap on a truck and out the door! It's way too late for that...

Here's the thing that you don't know when you are watching the packers get your stuff into boxes....they don't care about your stuff.

I don't mean they are going to throw it around like the airlines lob your checked bags and wreck your stuff. They literally don't care about your stuff which allows them to work in complete detachment mode. They pick up a trophy and they wrap it in paper. Then, they put it in a box. The professionals don't know that the little girl who won that trophy is a young woman now trying to decide where she wants to go to college.

In theory, it sounds very easy to do. Not that I know. As detachment mode has been unavailable for this entire experience. For instance, I picked up a trophy yesterday--to wrap it and put it in a box. It was from the first year of swim when she was a little fish unafraid of the water. I had a small tear for the little girl who screamed and jumped around when they called her name. All of these precious moments are mine and that's why I have to pack for a month and professionals pack for a day or two.

Now, it is 80 packed boxes later and I have accumulated a large pile of things to take to the swap meet... you know when I get that spare morning to really get some "ish" done. I still have about 20 boxes to pack and that is just a rough estimate because truthfully... I only have 20 boxes and the thought of going back to work to get more boxes and drag them up the stairs sounds like the last thing I have time for this week.

So here's what I hope will help you if you ever decide to pack yourself. These aren't going to help you with Remembrance Mode. But, you will be happy to start with this little list when you are ready to get your show on the road.

Ten Hot Tips to Get Packing!

1. Clean Your House First. When you pack, you put stuff in a room in a box. It sounds simple. When things are out of place, they get put into boxes with other stuff. Then when you are unpacking you are running all over your new place putting things away. Also, you don't unpack all of your boxes the second you get into your new place. If all of the pieces to a game are scattered, it's useless until you find all of the pieces.

2. Get Free Boxes. Sounds so easy to buy them for a dollar a piece, but there are so many free ones around that it really doesn't make sense to buy them. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse. Craigslist has them advertised all of the time, grocery stores have plenty, and you probably have lots of them at work.

3. Determine how much tape you think you need, then buy more. Going back and forth to the store for tape is a time suck! The best tape is the brown tape you get at Uhaul. If you have extra at the end, throw it in the trunk (with receipt) to return later or use it when you ship packages at Christmas. This item is only a deal breaker when you need it and you have none.

4. Buy flat paper. We have moved countless times. The paper you use to wrap your glassware and breakables is easier to use when it is flat and ready. They have it by the box at Uhaul... cheap. Also, save your shredded paper in plastic bags and dump it in your boxes to fill space around your breakables instead of balled up paper--it's free!

5. Mark your boxes properly. Mark all of your boxes on the top and on at least one side. Use arrows to indicate which way goes up if it matters. I use stars to indicate what needs to be unpacked first. Let's face it, unpacking all of your boxes will take time.

6. Keep your tape, markers, box cutters, etc. in one area. It is so easy to walk around with the stuff and lose it in your work in process space. Keeping it in one place cuts out the time you lose looking all over your house for the tape you know you just had but can't quite locate.

7. Visualize the Goal. Set a packing goal. Pack a few boxes everyday or pack in stages. Knick Knacks are great to look at but a pain to pack because they need to be wrapped in paper or bubble wrap. They are a great place to start.

8. Breathe. No one in your family is going to take packing as serious as you do. So just breathe, consider how hard you would work for a jerk, and get your attitude straight so your family doesn't find other things to do to avoid the war zone.

9. Irreplaceable items need to be in your car with you. We have some things that we adore, paintings, our important documents, that sort of thing. We travel with them in our car. Why? Because I want to make sure they get to the final destination in perfect condition.

10. Manage your mail. Forward your mail and opt for paperless statements even if it's only for a little while. If your bank has a bill pay option, set up your payments in advance on a reoccurring basis until you are settled or longer if you enjoy the freedom!

I can blog everyday about the drama involved in moving! I am sure there will be more to come.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

I Am A Cheater

Now that I am seriously taking control of myself, I can clearly see that I am a cheater. I know people will be surprised to read this about me. But, I have been spending the last 33 days reminding myself that I am worth the sacrifice. 

Guess what... It's not a sacrifice! It is a decision to monitor all of my activity. The results... A very happy husband. 

"Babe, can you tell Gia I love her?" I never thought I would hear that in my life! It's not something my husband of 19+ years should say. I love your dear friend Gia... What?

But the truth is I love Gia too! She has transformed my life. She has made me a better person and now the outside is matching the inside and as I shrink, I feel more alive. More my true self. 

Nothing taste better than skinny feels. #Truth. Nothing. I have to remind myself on a daily basis. A moment on the lips forever on the hips. Yes! Forever, until you stop cheating. Just stop. I did. 

Now, I plan my food in advance and prepare meals from scratch. I don't buy processed food. I use real organic food/ no GMO prepared food. And my body loves me. 

18.8# Yes!! I shredded it.... Gone forever. I look at myself in the mirror in my panties and I smile. I look hot! Apparently I feel hot too, sexy husband says so. That's all I really care about. 

So the next time you decide you want to look better or feel better, do it. Stop cheating. Log your food. Find a mentor. Stick to it and remind yourself as much as you need to that you are not a cheater and reshape yourself. I did!

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Social Media Etiquette: Should I Delete My Ex's Family?

Just last week, I was in the grocery store and there was a family talking about a situation that happens a lot on Facebook. Just so you know, I wasn't being nosy... I just wanted to understand their complaint so I spoke with the mother and I let her know that I am a social media expert and a blogger and I would love her opinion on the question:

Should I delete my ex-girlfriend's family?

This question is so personal it really can't be answered in a blanket statement. But, this family had a valid point. The "ex" girlfriend but still baby mama just got married. Apparently, they didn't like the husband and were complaining loudly about the many photos the blushing bride posted. Not about the photos so much as the comments her friends were making.

In some of the photos, the comments were not flattering to her "baby daddy" aka the family's flesh and blood! Sangre de mi sangre. To the point that they were bashing his lack of parenting skills and went so far as to say that now the kid had a "real daddy." Ouch! I can understand this complaint.

I can see their point from this vantage point. But, doesn't a bride have the right to share her photos and joy for all to see? I think so. I would if my own wedding wasn't over 19 years ago. I would be posting my photos until people were sick of seeing them... then I would continue for at least three weeks longer. Wink.

When your friends are posting on your posts and they are bashing your ex... they are most likely rehashing what you have told them. So, keeping those words out of your mouth will help the situation. This is your baby daddy and one day, he may change. Give him the space to be better by not sharing your biggest hurts with friends that are going to show up on your threads and post your deepest thoughts for all the world to see.

So I guess the answer is, it depends on how much policing you are going to do on your threads. If you allow your friends to bash your ex, everyone will see them and this could cause a pile-on. People can take the threads so far down the road that your happy event isn't even in the far horizon.

Some options are:
  1. You can delete the offending post.
  2. You can comment asking people to keep the focus on the joy of your event.
  3. You can let his family know that you are not planning to censor your friends
  4. You can remind his family that if they want to "unfriend you" they will still have access to all of the photos you post of the baby. Then send them directly to their phone or email.

The truth is this #YourPageYourRules. Post what you want. The people that aren't happy can leave. If you have people on your page that you don't want to see certain things, they can ignore them or "unfriend" you. It's so simple, it doesn't even need a post. But, if you want to keep the ex family and think of their feelings, you are doing a good thing.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

No Question is a Dumb Question.... Right?

No question is a dumb question... right? It depends. Are you using your question to get people to validate your laziness or disorganization? Maybe, that's not a question you should ask in social media if your profession is based on one that requires extreme attention to detail and people are going to notice your lack of commitment.

For example, I am a writer. I am on Facebook saying something like... "I have writer's block and no amount of banging my head against the wall is helping. Any other suggestions?"

This leaves the lines of communication open for me to get advice that can help me get over my writer's block.

But, if my post is something like... "I am sitting in the shop getting a manicure and my client is waiting on his copy so his website can go viral and make his fortune, should I feel guilty?"

I shouldn't be offended when someone says... "Yes."

I would say if you are using social media like Facebook and you ask a question that can paint you in a bad light, don't get OFFENDED when someone gives you a true answer even if it hurts. This causes drama and that's not why you have a business page.

Asking the right questions on Facebook can get you the answers you need to finish a project, design a marketing plan, or give the people what they really want. Many people read your posts if you are keeping them interesting and it's good to build a rapport with the masses. It make you seem real.

Besides, you don't want to ask someone if these pants make your butt look big only to hear them say, "No baby, it's your butt!"

Spanish translation: No preguntes si tus pantalones de mezclilla hacen tu trasero verse grande si no quieres escuchar "No bebe son tus nalgas."  

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Say What? The F-Bomb Has Landed

Say What? Little baby precious has let the F-bomb fly again! You are mortified because you know you taught your baby better than that... at least you think you did. But, there was that one time that you didn't know would haunt you for the next day, week, months......

There are things that you can do to get your baby to stop saying that word. Putting chili in their mouth or soap is considered child abuse by some people and most CPS personnel. So, I will advise against this time honored tradition featured on A Christmas Story.

Don't panic... how you handle this situation will dictate how long you will have to deal with the behavior. If you are a fast thinker like my husband, you will immediately say something like "Bad Mommy" and you will get your hand spanked. Crazy I know, but it works.

For those of us who where asleep at the wheel, I have collected a little bit of advice from some of my family and friends who have great kids and parenting advice to share.

1. Don't laugh. Babies do a lot of things for attention. If everyone in the house is rolling on the floor laughing their heads off, the baby will take that as validation. Don't validate poor behavior or it will continue. Chances are you will be in mixed company and your little bundle of joy will let his favorite cuss word fly and trust me... they won't be laughing.

2. Make a face. I know this sounds funny, but it works. Have you ever seen a baby's face when they eat something really sour or hot? That's a great look to have when your little one lets that F-bomb fly. He will know he did something wrong. Babies love to please so giving them visual clues that you are not happy is a great deterrent.

3. Consequences. When you have a baby that is making poor choices, you have to counter with consequences. Some suggestions are listed below.
  • Timeout. Put your kid in a quiet place a little away from the hustle and bustle of your home to "reflect" on their word choice.
  • Take away a toy that they like to play with like a stuffed animal. Let them know that Fishy can't hear those kind of words.
4. Spank the child. Personally, I don't spank kids... but if you do. This might be a good time. A little pat on the hand is what one mom suggested.

5. Stop the Source. Is your child hearing this language on a regular basis? Put a stop to it #YourKidYourRules. If it's you... you know better so do better.

6. Teach Them New Words. Using powerful positive words will make it easier to overcome any bad words. Try short phrases like. "Please stop." "I don't like that." or "I am mad." Remember, they are using these words when they are frustrated so give them some words they can use instead.

Don't give up your efforts, be consistent. #YourKidYourRules. You have the parenting ability to stop this behavior. If you are keeping it out of your mouth, it's easier to keep it out of theirs. Happy parenting!

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Using Words to Workout Your Baby Issues

If you are an absolute believer in spanking your kid, you may not agree with this blog and that's ok. I can clearly remember that one time I spanked my daughter and she cried so much that I was deeply saddened. So much so that I cried. Then, I decided that I was going to do something different with my kids. I was going to use my words and teach them to be better kids. Love them. Hug them. Make them feel safe. My words are powerful enough. We will talk about the "look" in another blog. *Wink

My Blog...

It was a great week with my sister's kids. Her little one was having a hard time getting along with his brother. I sat with them to find out what was going on and I observed their interactions. The little one likes to get his way. The bigger one intervenes when his brother is "making poor choices." I decided that a week is too long to have continued conflict, so I wanted to see if the strategies I used to work magic for my girls still worked if used consistently.

The baby loves to get his way and bite his older brother when his desires are not immediately met. I had heard that his brother "picks on" him... but I didn't find that to be the case most of the time. For example, last night when the baby was trying to smash a hotel glass into the desk, his brother gently took the glass out of his hand and told him not to do that. This is a trick that I taught him. (Be nice to the baby and always look like you are in the right.)

The baby was mad! He grabbed his brother's arm with his nails and tried to bite him on his arm. His brother acted like it really hurt him and he pretended to cry. (Another trick to get the baby to stop what they are doing and to bring understanding that his actions are causing pain.) He told his brother to "stop" and pulled his arm away. I went into action. I picked up the baby. We had a little chat. I wanted to redirect his anger. The conversation went like this:

Me: Are you ok big brother?
Big Brother: No the baby scratched me and tried to bite my arm. He was trying to break the glass on the desk.
Baby: Crying
Me to the Big Brother: I am sorry that you were hurt. (I rubbed his arm and gave him a hug.)
Me to the Baby: You know that you cannot bang the glass. It can break.
Baby: Shook his head. Still crying.
Me: You hurt your brother. You are not allowed to bite him. Tell him you are sorry.
Baby: Soooree
Me: (I hug the baby and hold him in my arms.) You are a good boy and good boys are nice.
Baby: Not crying so much.
Me: Say that you are a good boy.
Baby: Me Good.
Me: Ok, kiss your brother.
Baby: Kisses brother. Then, they play.

Problem solved.

What! That is it? Of course, it takes time. Consistency is the key! We had been doing this for a week.

It makes more sense then:
1. You hit your brother.
2. I hit you.
3. I tell you that hitting isn't allow or it's bad.
4. Confused kid... What do you mean hitting is bad, didn't you just hit me? And that's where the problem comes in with using hitting to redirect instead of fixing the problem in a positive way.

I am not saying that my way is perfect! But, it worked perfectly for me and my girls. Now, it has worked for these boys. If you have any tips to assist others struggling with redirecting this behavior or want to comment on this blog, please comment below.

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