My Top 10 Universal Truths of All Kids

In observing my own two kids and watching other nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids, I’ve come to discover many universal truths of all children.  Here are a few of my random observations:

All kids…

  1. Have their own distinct animal noise in one volume: EXTRA LOUD! My daughter’s is kind of like a trilled cawing of a sea gull.  My son can get so high pitched and screechy…so possibly another bird call.
  2. Have no concept of time – especially when getting ready for school or you are rushing to get out the door.
  3. Are oblivious to their own messes. “What is there to clean up?!” ha ha
  4. Would only ever wear sweatpants or soft pants if they could.
  5. Can be wise beyond their years and find ways to melt your heart. My daughter sees the beautiful flower in the dandelion and not the annoying weed. She also says “I love you all day, everyday.” Ditto sweetheart!
  6. Are little sponges, soaking in everything they see and hear. This is why we try to choose our words carefully.
  7. Are fireballs of energy – sometimes as if they had a double shot of espresso every waking hour. How can I bottle that up & borrow some?
  8. Are surprising, constantly keeping you on your toes. There’s no roadmap in parenting, as I wrote in this post, and the journey together presents chances to learn and grow.
  9. Should get outside everyday! They just simply behave better with some fresh air. (Also mentioned in Top 5 Things I Learned from my Kids).
  10. Are among life’s greatest blessings. They inspire me to do better and be better, and I thank God daily for their presence in my life. I write about this sentiment here (Attack of the Kissing Monsters and other Million Dollar Moments) and also here (On Parenting: the Milestones are Different Now).

What other universal truths are there for kids?  Let me know what I should add to this list!

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Only in Wisconsin? Family Trip to a Beer Garden

As I mentioned in my post “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” we dig Oktoberfest beer, so when my sister-in-law suggested we check out one local beer garden, we couldn’t refuse. Since the beer garden – or Bier Garten auf Deutsch – is in a park and next to a kid’s playground, we decided to make it a family picnic.

We broke out the big beer glass I bought from Oktoberfest more than ten years ago.  Here’s Daddy O. showing his excitement!

Holding beer stein

At the bier garten, I split a half-liter with my sister-in-law, and Daddy O. opted for a full liter of dark beer.  Apparently it is shipped from Hofbrauhaus Munich, and it was quite good.  We also shared a big pretzel (complete with three cheese blend spread), bratwurst, quark (type of cheese), fruit, and sandwiches for the kids. It was so fun to dine and drink on a beautiful, autumn day!

Bier Garten sign

Isn’t this the best sign?

After lunch, the kids played on the playground, leaving Daddy O. to finish his liter while sitting on a park bench.  A polka band with an amazing tuba player and authentic German beer hall songs made our afternoon outing even more perfect.  I think it’s impossible NOT to be happy when you hear a polka (but maybe that’s just me?)!

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Initially, we felt a little crazy for bringing our kids to a beer garden, but it really was a lovely day!  Living in Wisconsin, adults can bring their underage children to bars, so why not a beer garden too?! Cheers / Prost!

A First: Mom Put in “Time Out!”

It’s true.

I was given a “time out” by my pre-schooler last night.  I can’t sneak anything by her anymore! Geez!

Daddy O. was commenting on the chaos I created in the kitchen in order to lovingly prepare a pasta salad with olives, carrots, cheese & salami.  He was the one to clean it up, so I asked him if he would have preferred not to have such a delicious pasta salad. As I made that comment, I innocently gave him a swat on the tush.

My daughter had clear sight of my butt-smack, and almost instantly said, “Mom, no hitting. You get a time-out.”

Daddy O., enjoying this a little too much, said, “Okay Mama, it’s one minute for each year old you are.”

I replied, “Can I please have 30-some minutes of time to myself?  Can I bring a book?”  Can you say paradise?!

We compromised, and I was given a two-minute time-out in the corner.  Daddy O. and big sister seemed to savor watching me as I served time as a consequence for choosing to hit.

Finally the oven timer buzz, and I was allowed out of time-out.  I then gave Daddy O. a hug and a smooch, and told him I was sorry.  I will try to make better decisions next time (or at least wait until the kids are in bed to deliver butt-smacks).

Have you been put in time-out by your kids?  I’d love to hear about it!

Transition Back to Work

After being at my new job for a whopping three weeks, or six days, I feel like I can accurately share details about my transition back to work.  In a word:

GOOD!

I am very happy to have more structure, as I have to be more organized and productive in order to make my work days go more smoothly.  This means a few things –

  • Getting as much ready as I can the night before.  Kids stuff packed, my lunch packed in containers ready to go into my lunch box, items staged close to the door, dinner planned and prepped (if I can).
  • Wake up BEFORE everyone else!  This is key in getting ready quickly, so I can get out the door when I need to.  Plus, I love the quiet house in the morning.
  • Don’t get distracted.  I have a tendency to linger and putter around in the morning when eating breakfast.  On my word days I have to stop myself and stay focused on what I MUST DO instead of the “NICE to-do’s.”
  • Prep snacks for the kids because they are hungry immediately upon arriving home.  Instead of just throwing more crackers their way, I try to have cut up fruits and veggies ready for them.
  • Keep dinner simple.  We typically eat leftovers, crock-pot meals, or quick & easy to make meals.  Tonight it was pasta with red onions and black olives.  Yum!

Do I still have crazy moments in the two hours from daycare pick-up until my kid’s bedtime on my work days? Without a doubt! But together, my awesome teammate / husband and I figure it out and make it work.  It is only two days out of the week, so it has not been too difficult of a transition thus far.

Work wise, I’ve had to adjust from my larger, corporate marketing mindset to that of a small business.  I have to scale down some efforts to an appropriate level that matches our current resources with my time often being the limiting factor.  I work with extremely nice people; it’s too small of a business for office politics; and I feel like I’m already making a difference.  Of course there are some new ideas and changes that I’d like to propose, and I hope to do so in due time.  Until then, I’ll clock in for my two days a week and accomplish whatever I can to keep plans moving in the right direction!

How do you make your workdays easier?  If you transitioned from staying home to working, I’d love to hear how you make it work!