June 15, 2011

Tagesplan

Today Erich and I put together our summer “Tagesplan,” or daily schedule.  This is my effort to create structure in our home and feel like I have some sort of handle of what’s going on here.  After I had my second son last June, it felt like it took quite a while to feel like I could balance both kids and NOT FEEL CRAZY.  Ha!  Who am I kidding?!  He’ll be one this Friday and I’m still trying to do that!  Now I wouldn’t call myself “efficient” or “organized” or “crafty” but I was able to come up with this, and so far it’s worked pretty well. 


Artwork done *mostly* by Erich...

In case anyone is wondering what we do all day, here is what it says:

Morning
1: Breakfast
2: Brush teeth, get dressed
3: Run with Jaeger
4: Mathias sleeps, Mama showers, Erich plays on his Leapster (I know an hour is long, but he’ll eventually break out the toys.  He’s excited about the idea of Leapster time for now.)

Midday
1: School with Mama*
2: (M/Th) shopping, (Tu) museum, (W) library, (F) playgroup
3: Lunch
4: Mathias sleeps, Mama studies, Erich plays quietly

Afternoon
1: Erich watches a German movie, Mama studies
2: Snack, chores**
3: Swimming
4: Baths

Evening
1: Ride bike, play outside
2: Dinner
3: Mathias goes to bed
4: Erich goes to bed

Half way there! Wooah-ooh! Livin' on a prayer!
*Now that school is out we’re still going to do school time together for an hour during the baby’s nap.  I’m using the German sister site of kidssoup.com.  You have to pay for access to their print-outs but it’s super cute and creative and GERMAN so it's worth it to me.
** We just started this, after my super sweet husband got me an iPad and Erich decided it was for him.  It’s basically an incentive program.  He gets a sticker for each chore.  Fill up the chart (it takes 4-5 days) and play on the iPad.  You’ve never seen a 4 year old more motivated to put away silverware. 

We’ve had charts like this for a few months now.  Erich loves it, I love it.  There is less whining (I wish I had an Easy button to get rid of that entirely) and having a daily plan to refer to makes being home with kids much less suffocating. He loves knowing what is going to happen next and exactly what has to happen before he is allowed to do what HE wants to do.  Also, without something for him to refer to it’s hard to get him to go along with my plans.  Erich is his father’s son and isn’t about to believe you know what you’re talking about unless you can back it up.  Well this here, this is my wingman!  Whenever I get a meltdown about going to the store, the Tagesplan is all I need to point to.  “See here, buddy, Mondays and Thursdays 11-1, it’s shopping time!  It absolutely MUST happen or we’ll never get to that cartoon portion of the day.  We’ll be stuck in limbo forever!  The universe will implode!!!”  The Tagesplan has my back, the Tagesplan does not lie.  The Tagesplan will bring peace into my world once again.  All hail, the great and holy Tagesplan!

June 14, 2010

Dads Rock Giveaway Bash: 60-Inch Mitsubishi DLP Home Cinema TV

Super sweet giveaway on Mrs. Moneysaver! I hope I win! :)

http://www.mrsmoneysaver.com/2010/06/dads-rock-60-inch-mitsubishi-dlp-home-cinema-tv/comment-page-40/#comment-29374

April 26, 2010

"More Diligent and Concerned in the Home"

I spoke at church yesterday! This was my talk:

“More Diligent and Concerned in the Home” 

Growing up, I never doubted my parents love for each other and their love for me (and each of their other 5 children). I witnessed my father sneaking up behind my mother to kiss her and express his love much more than I ever felt comfortable with during my teenage years. Their PDAs were often and sincere enough to significantly counteract the effects (or perhaps, post traumatic trauma?) of our yearly pilgrimages to Utah in a hot, crowded minivan. Those kisses and more I would say more than made up for the seemingly endless hours of arguing about directions, driving and stinky feet. Now THAT is a lot of love.

Elder Bednar gave a wonderful talk during last fall’s General Conference entitled “More Diligent and Concerned in the Home.” In it, he offers 3 suggestions on how we can build a foundation in our homes that is built on Christ and our love for our families.

The first Suggestion is to express love – and show it.

Simply put, he says we should sincerely and frequently express love to our family members; expressing not only in words, but in our actions as well.

In my home, I’d say we’re pretty good with the “I love yous”. In fact, we have an “I love you” for any occasion. The sweet, heartfelt “thank heavens you’re finally home, I wouldn’t have lasted another second without you” I love you, the “what you said is so funny and adorable I could just eat you up” I love you, the “I’m so sorry you have get up early and go to work while I get to just lay here, but really you’re my hero” I love you and finally, the “I need to get off the phone but I don’t want to be rude so instead of saying that I’ll just suddenly say ‘I love you’” I love you. Saying it is definitely important although pretty darn EASY. Showing it is a lot harder.

In his talk, Elder Bednar stated:
We should remember that saying “I love you” is only a beginning. We need to say it, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to show it. We need to both express and demonstrate love.
My 3 year old son and I go through a set of rules almost daily on how not to treat people - a list he thoroughly enjoys reciting to me if I so much as raise my voice: No yelling, no hitting, no biting, no pushing. Now, assuming you all have those down, we can discuss how we DO treat others, most especially those we hold most dear. Please forgive me for my love of cheesy Mormon youth/EFY music, but the Michael Mclean song, “Are You Giving the Least to Those Who Matter Most” runs through my mind whenever I approach this topic, and it’s times like this that I really wish I could sing. I don’t even need to look over at my husband to know he’s rolling his eyes right now. Maybe later he’ll give my one of those “you’re such a nerd, but you’re MY nerd” I love yous. Anyway, here is the part I keep humming in my head: “Are you giving the least to those who matter most or are you sharing your best with those who really aren’t that close? Well it’s time to turn around and find out where your greatest joys are found.” I find it easiest to think of things that way – just save your best for the best. Your wife, husband, children, etc. should see the best of you and receive the best you have to give. This includes your patience, your listening ear, your smile, your talents, your faith and your respect.

The second suggestion is to Bear Testimony – and Live It.

I pulled this quote from Elder Bednar’s talk:
The bearing of testimony need not be lengthy or eloquent. And we do not need to wait until the first Sunday of the month to declare our witness of things that are true. Within the walls of our own homes, we can and should bear pure testimony of the divinity and reality of the Father and the Son, of the great plan of happiness, and of the Restoration…. Each of us already knows we should bear testimony to the people we love the most. But what we know is not always reflected in what we do. We may feel unsure, awkward, or even perhaps a bit embarrassed…. As we profess truth rather than admonish, exhort, or simply share interesting experiences, we invite the Holy Ghost to confirm the verity of our words.
I can relate to the embarrassed bit. Openly sharing my testimony is something I find difficult and to be honest, a little awkward. Although I’m pretty sure it’s not as difficult as I’m making it out to be – especially after breaking the ice and getting into the habit. In fact, no one made it seem easier than my own mother. In high school, my mom was the early morning seminary teacher (held at my house, pretty awesome, I know) so I heard her testimony every weekday at the crack of dawn, whether I wanted to hear it or not. I suppose I could try that with my own children, it might even be less intimidating when they’re drowsy… But if I can’t rustle up the Spirit that early, Family/spouse scripture study or Family Home Evening will definitely continue to be the easiest time for me to bear my testimony. Perhaps I’ll work on being more stealth, gradually sneaking my feelings on the plan of happiness into breakfast time as time goes by.

The third suggestion is to Be Consistent.

It’s hard not to recite the rest of his talk here because it’s just so good. Elder Bednar told about his experiences bringing his rambunctious young boys together for family home evening, scripture reading and the like; an effort that often left him and his wife exasperated, feeling as though they weren’t doing any good. They persisted however, and here’s what Elder Bednar believes came of their efforts:
Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening, I believe I know how they would answer. They likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.
Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time…
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.
As I mentioned earlier, in my home growing up there were 6 of us children. The odds were stacked way against my parents, and we often resembled a pack of wolves as opposed to children. We ran around throughout the neighborhood often without shoes, and sometimes without clothes. My parents, bless their hearts, were diligent however -- and my dad was really strong -- and despite being vastly outnumbered, they still managed to reign us in for family dinners, family prayers, and FHEs, all of which were interspersed with complaining, hitting, giggling and mysterious bodily noises. As we got into high school, we might have been a little more reverent, but our varying schedules made it a much harder get everyone together. I know, however, that my parents still tried and that’s what sticks with me. Their efforts were always consistent with their love for us.

Consistency is really the key. None of us is perfect, and we’re certain to fall short at some point. What’s critical is that we keep at it and are consistent in our efforts, otherwise our words will ring hollow. For example, Marc and I have something of a dirty secret: We have a weakness for sugared cereal, especially as a midnight snack. Erich doesn’t know about this secret life we lead, he just knows that he’s not allowed to choose the pretty boxes of Lucky Charms as his cereal in the morning (otherwise he’d refuse to eat anything else). But if I happen to break down during the light of day, and he sees me start to pull the box out, he definitely has an opinion about it. He used to say something like: “Mama, you can only have yellow or blue!” But now he’s started with: “Yummy Mama, can you share?” Children will call you out AND THEN FOLLOW YOUR LEAD if they catch you breaking your own rules or going against your own philosophies. Teenagers will notice too, only instead of following your lead, they’ll likely come up with something on their own – something much more interesting. At least that’s what I remember doing…

The point is, we need to be authentic and sincere with our families. We need to do more than say we love our family in public, we need to tell them and show them we love them in private. We also need to do more than say we have a testimony of the gospel, we need to share it with our family regularly and live in a way that shows we do. If we want our family to grow closer to one another and to Christ, then we must be consistent. As parents, as hard as it may be, it is important to be diligent about ensuring our families come together for scripture reading, family home evening, dinners and time together. But the effort alone is tangible evidence to our children that we really do love them and that our beliefs really are important to us. 1st Timothy 4:12 states “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Love and faith simply aren’t things that can be understood through words alone, they need to be taught through action, so our children learn by receiving love and faith.

Elder Bednar says that:
As we seek the Lord’s help and in His strength, we can gradually reduce the disparity between what we say and what we do, between expressing love and consistently showing it, and between bearing testimony and steadfastly living it. We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we are more faithful in learning, living, and loving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
I really believe this is true. I think if we consistently share our love and our testimony with our families, we’ll end up with closer, more faithful families. It may not happen immediately, but that’s the fruit these efforts will ultimately bear. But now I’m trapped, see. I’ve publicly expressed that’s what I believe so now I need to follow through behind closed doors! Well I promise I’ll try. None of us is perfect, and our busy lives often get in the way, but the best we can do is keep on trying. Elder Marlin K. Jensen once joked that his family never seemed to get Lehi out of the desert in their family scripture study, but they kept at it nonetheless. Having faith in our own efforts and trudging through even when we feel stuck in the mud is part of the journey, and I know our families will be eternally blessed as a result. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

January 12, 2010

Super Nerdy/Awesome Coupooning








I know only super nerds post pictures of their coupon deals, so consider me an official super nerd.  I just couldn't help it, I got all this today for only $33!  In fact, I'm KICKING myself because I could have save $4.50 more if I'd been smarter. But I still saved $95!!  Even better, it's stuff I actually NEED.  I've been known to buy plenty just because it's a great deal, but I'm trying to be better and use coupons all the time, and oh my gosh are we saving so much bloody money it's ridiculous.  Anyway, using coupons is pretty sweet, even though it did consume my whole morning and was organizing them until 2:30am last night...

December 2, 2009

You might be pregnant if...

*If kissing your husband after he eats a clementine feels like you're being waterboarded with orange juice.. you might be pregnant.
*If you catch yourself saying this is THE MOST AMAZING (FRENCH FRY/DOUGHNUT/BOWL OF RAMEN) YOU'VE EVER EATEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.. you might be pregnant.
*If you've stopped complaining about the dog's/your husband's gas so much because you're not sure if it was you or him.. you might be pregnant.
*If everything you come across seems to smell like urine, socks, maple syrup or grandma's basement.. you might be pregnant.
*If you wake up in the middle of the night inconsolable because you had a dream about wizard nuns stealing you away from your family and it felt SO REAL.. you might be pregnant.
*If you can't sing along to a Taylor Swift song on the radio without sobbing through the refrain.. you might be pregnant.
*If you listen to Taylor Swift songs on the radio.. you might be pregnant.
*If you're secretly bummed it's not swimsuit season so you can show off your new rack.. you might be pregnant.
*If people keep touching your belly, and you cringe at the fact that they're delicately bonding with your extra fat layers and the baby is actually 6 inches lower.. you might be pregnant (but then I guess you already knew that).
*If you prepare exactly what you were craving, eat it, and then want to puke because the smell won't go away.. you might be pregnant.
*If you just got comfortable in the perfect position on the couch/bed/movie theater seat and you suddenly feel like you're about to wet yourself, even after you JUST went.. you might be pregnant.
*If you start eyeing your husband's closet.. you might be pregnant.
*If you tuck your shirt under your bra and unbutton your pants around the house so your belly can "breathe".. you might be pregnant.
*If you sit down ready for an evening of laundry folding and DVR, but then fall asleep thinking about it because even that was too exhausting.. you might be pregnant.
*If your favorite color Runt candy (purple) falls between the seat and you get really, extremely upset that you can't reach it.. you might be pregnant.
*If you've had a jar of peanut butter and a spoon at the ready on your nightstand for more than 3 days in a row.. you might be pregnant.
*If your husband wakes you up from a nap to hand you a DQ chicken strip basket and he doesn't say ANYTHING about you eating the entire thing while laying down in bed with your eyes closed (slightly elevated to avoid heartburn).. you might be pregnant.
*If sleep-eating on your back in bed seems perfectly normal to you.. you might be pregnant.
*If said chicken strip basket was neither a lunch nor dinner, but simply a "mid-meal snack".. you might be pregnant.

And finally, if you make up a list of scenarios of what it's like to be pregnant and every one applies to you... well, you know.

October 5, 2009

German Preschool

Late this summer, it appeared Erich wouldn't be admitted to the private German preschool we were looking at, so I took matters into my own hands and started up a cooperative preschool with some other German mothers in our area. Wouldn't you know it, a couple of weeks later, I got a letter from the German school asking if we were still interested. We decided we'd found a better solution and could save a buttload of cash in the process. Seriously, what were we thinking?? All I did was send out an email to some German parent groups that I'm a part of and I got a really good response. We met, all of us for the first time, and discussed details in German as I tried to desperately to understand what the H they were talking about. Let me tell you, I was a rag doll by the time they left my house. But I had made it through the first meeting and they didn't kick me out of the group! Bonus!!

We decided to meet for 2 hours twice a week and rotate houses and responsibilities (snacks, reading/singing time, craft). We have 6 parents - all native Germans with the exception of me - and 7 children. Luckily, the children get along really well, although that could be because there are only 2 boys in the group... and even though my Erich isn't much a fan of sitting, or potty training, or eating, he's doing pretty well. He'll repeat words he hears, he's starting to ask for things more clearly, and socially he's becoming more... um, normal. What I mean is, instead of walking up to another kid and making weird animal noises, more often he'll say hi or tell me they're in his way (hey, to me that's progress!).

Overall, it's working out great - even better than I'd expected. Everyone is involved and commited, and I'm incredibly happy about my idea coming to life. However, it's been three weeks and I'm still feeling insecure about my place - whether I'm not fitting in, or what the other mothers think of me. They are all really nice and creative and easy to be around, and so are their kids, but I just wonder if they think I'm crazy or silly for only speaking to my son in a language neither my husband nor I fully understand. My biggest fear is that they'll eventually call me out as the fraud I am, deciding that my German is too sub-standard, and that my child is too young and disruptive for the group anyway (a result of my poor parenting). I feel like my only recourse is to do my best at developing relationships; however, even this is difficult because I don't understand everything they say. During our first meeting, I could only understand about 1/2 of everything that was said, and now I understand about 3/4 of the conversations, which is at least encouraging. I go home every day and look up words they used, but I still get get hung up, and even though I'm frustrated, the last thing I want is to force everyone to speak English to me. It would defeat the entire purpose of immersing Erich (and me). I also hope I can show them I have a lot to offer when it's my turn to lead. I've been sharing German translations of English songs that they don't know, maybe that will be my niche?

As I said though, I really believe this preschool is a good thing for us. I have faith that I'll grow more comfortable overtime. Erich and I are both improving in the language and it's providing more structure and social opportunities for him. Plus he LOVES going to see his "deutsche Freunde," as he calls them. I'm grateful that we gain so much from the our new friends, I just hope we can offer as much back.

March 23, 2009

The First Great American Hotdog Launch.

The First Great American Hotdog Launch was created and hosted by my fabulous friend Erin. Unfortunately, Marc & I were unable to attend this competition of ingenuity and might, and were forced to hold our own tournament.




P.S. - My second throw got 36'. Marc conveniently chose not to record that.

March 17, 2009

"You really could afford to talk more."

The same guy that once said to me: "You're really pretty, but it's because of your personality," also once told me: "You know, you really could afford to talk more." I wanted to tell him that he really could afford to talk less. But he was my boyfriend's best friend, and I didn't want to start a fight, even though that boy was the King of back-handed compliments. Nevertheless, that comment has always stayed with me.

To this day, I often wonder if I'm expressing myself enough, or if I really could "afford" to say more. I used to be a shy kid, but I'm pleased to say that the more life I've experienced, the more confident and emboldened I've become. These days when I have something to say in a social or classroom setting, I generally say it. I have even reached a certain level of confidence where, although I'm not clever enough to do this often, I'll say something slightly off - that will, at the very least, make one person in the room smile to themselves while purposely avoiding eye contact. It feels good.

I am very aware that on occasion, things I say aren't always as hilarious to other people as they are in my head. But that awareness, I've decided, is just the price of individuality. I've discovered that it's extremely satisfying to knock my own socks off - everyone else is just a bonus. I also seem to have unconsciously made it a goal to become really good at witty banter. I'm still working on it, but paired up with the core personal belief that I'm actually really quite hilarious, I'm sure I'll go far.

The fact of the matter is, if you think I'm less than mildly entertaining, then it just means you don't know me very well. I am most definitely more than mildly entertaining. In fact, I constantly remind my husband that he is severely missing out by not staying abreast on every word I type on my various stay-at-home-mom social outlets such as Facebook, Google Talk and Twitter (follow me, if you dare: melbohn). When he finally catches up, I do declare he is never disappointed. Neither am I.

March 1, 2009

Facebook has turned me into a stalker.

I ditched my blog for Facebook. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. The reason being: it's easy. Facebook, for those who are completely clueless, is the lazy man's blog. And it's the most major networking site this side of the World Wide Web. You can post pictures, write on peoples "walls", post links, "poke" people, become a fan of stuff, post ranting notes, and update your status every second. You can do all the same stuff you do with a blog, but have a much larger audience because Facebook alerts all of your buddies on your slightest moves. What's that? Sort of sounds like a subdued form of stalking? That's because it is. On Facebook, you stay connected with your own circle of "friends," i.e., everyone you've met in your life that you don't mind following your every move with bated breath (friends like me). Furthermore, by accepting your friendship, these chums have extended to you the same invitation: Frisk me, baby.

One advantage to staying home with a 2-year-old all day is that I am always within 20 feet of my computer screen. I can hear every alert of a new email or message the moment it comes into my little baby's (laptop's) awareness. Facebook very kindly notifies me every time one of my friends pays attention to me in written form. At which point, I rush to see what was said in my honor. What I am blissfully unaware of, however, is what else they are looking at, reading and thinking. It is best, and safest, to assume EVERYTHING.

This is my confession: Facebook has turned me into a stalker. It's one thing to cruise through friends' blogs, read their posts and leave the occasional comment, but it's another to stay logged in all day and read every news feed that pops up - on the average of every second. And then to read every status update, note, picture comment or wall-to-wall conversation that looks somewhat interesting. This is what is stalker-ish about the whole thing. Do they really know I'm reading their conversations with other people? And scrolling back in time to read their previous statuses and comments? And looking at any picture they've posted or album they've been 'tagged' in? And scanning their friends to see who their friends' friends are?? I assume no one cares, or else they would be more private; besides, they probably do the same things themselves. Also, unlike blog surfing, you can't track on Facebook which IP address has been perusing your profile, but you can take comfort in knowing that your stalkers are only those you've invited into your personal life (although considering some of the randoms I've friended, maybe this isn't such a comfort). Still, does this type of behavior seem odd to anyone else? Does it matter? Are we all on huge ego trips and just flattered by the attention - assuming anyone else would be as well?

Okay, I do have a life. I'm not completely absorbed by the lives of others; I'm just really excited to keep in touch with people. Besides, it makes for great interactive reality web-tv. I often wonder, however, where exactly that line is that separates social networking from obsession. Because I get the impression that it's pretty thin.

February 27, 2009

Because I'm a Cold, Heartless Beyotch.

Pay It Forward DO OVER.

Because the first 3 responders to my Pay It Forward post didn't follow the rules and post the same thing on their blogs, they have been disqualified. Come on, guys! Rules are RULES!!
"The first 3 people to leave a comment on this post will receive a handmade (or possibly store-bought) gift from me during this year. When and what will be a surprise. There's a small catch though...Post this same thing on your own blog and then come back and leave a comment telling me you're in. Remember, only the first 3 comments receive the gift!"
And THIS time: Post first, then comment. Ahem.