Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Elves went to the zoo! And they got us tickets to see the Lights Before Christmas at #toledozoo! #christmas, #elfmagic, #smallstepsseriouschafing

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A few "essentials"

In addition to proper fitting shoes and decent clothing (truly doesn't have to be anything fancy but something you are comfortable in and works even though I prefer to stay away from cotton) there are 3 things that I consider essentials in my running bag.

1) Body Glide: It comes in a handy deodorant type stick and can be applied easily to an area that is prone to chafing during a run.  I tend to use it near any seam or band that may rub and have also used it on the back of my ankles if I am having issues with shoes.  I forgot to put it on on Tuesday before our early morning and the under arm chafing from my arm sleeves is not comfortable.

2) Warm FX: Similar to Icy Hot and made by the Body Glide it helps to loosen up tight/sore muscles.  This is by no means a replacement for traditional ice and heat therapy but it works in a pinch.  I prefer this one because it also comes in a handy deodorant type stick and can be applied easily.

3) The Stick: This is a recent addition and I could kick myself for not getting it sooner!  When I used to visit the gym regularly I would borrow their foam rollers, and they are fantastic as well.  When I started working out from home more, I still was hesitant to spend the money on The Stick and just used a rolling pin.  It worked but was not flexible at all.  So I sucked it up and The Stick arrived Monday.  I have used it daily and will continue to.  I can easily roll out my leg muscles as well as my arms and back that are very sore from the push up challenge.

What I consider essentials
What do you consider to be an "essential" in your running bag?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Simon, the Santa hat and the bullies...

Yesterday I proceeded to ask Simon the normal after school questions...What made you happy today at school? His response is usually long as he speaks of specials, his friends, his teacher, and the bus ride. Then I ask "what made you sad today at school?" His response to this question normally is "oh nothing" or "I was sad because we didn't have science today", EXCEPT yesterday he proceeded to tell me how 2 boys from his class were picking on him and kept taking his Santa hat off and throwing it in the dirt. He told me he handled it "sponsibly" (he loves using big words) and told his teacher and the boys received "consequences". Him and I had a conversation about the incident and how he did handle it very well and I felt the teacher handled the situation at school correctly as well.
This morning as he declared he did not want to wear his Santa hat to school and would only wear it on days he did not see the two boys, my heart broke for him. It was not only his Santa hat that was damaged yesterday, but also his free spirit and his little heart.
While he is at school today I will wash the dirt off his hat and when he comes home hopefully attempt to repair the damage done by the other little boys. This is a teachable moment and an opportunity to discuss with Simon the damage words and actions can do and the lasting effects they may have. We will also talk about how brave he was to be different and hopefully by Monday I will send him off to school rocking his Santa hat again!

How would you handle the situation? Any good book recommendations that would help him understand bullies or that it is ok to be different?

UPDATE: After publishing the blog this morning a friend shared a link that contained a list of books about some tough topics we may face as parents ( As I read through the little reviews, the book Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy grabbed my attention because it was so similar to what we were dealing with.  As I searched the internet for a little more information about the book and the author I not only found out she was local but also having a book signing tonight!  So right after school we trekked out to the Barnes and Noble to pick up a hard copy of Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun and her new book The Potato Chip Champ.  We all had a great time meeting Maria, chatted a bit, took a few pictures and got some autographs.  She also told Simon how cool his Santa hat was and shared with him that the little girl "Lucy" in the story was really her and how she was teased when she was little.  After we came home we sat down together and read the book, discussed the feelings of the characters (which opened up some dialogue about his own feelings sometimes) and allowed us an opportunity about doing the right thing, since at the end of the book Lucy does help the bully when he needs it, even though she really wants to tell him what a meanie he is.  It was great to see him smile again and sport his Santa hat again!
Simon reading Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

The 2 books we picked up tonight written by Maria Dismondy (who is also the co-author of Juice Box Bully)

To visit Maria Dismondy's website/blog and learn more about her books:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beer + Coffee = Delicious! Thanks @marathondan it is awesome! I may not be running at 5:15 am tomorrow though after this! #smallstepsseriouschaffing, #founders, #beer

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Nap time, conference call, and cross training! All brought to you by speaker phone and mute! #smallstepsseriouschaffing, #crosstraining,

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Christmastime is scary this year for me...

Simon heading off to school in his Santa hat...

Last week Simon was so excited for Christmastime that he wanted to wear his Santa hat to school in place of his winter hat.  I let him, but spent the majority of the day with anxiety.  What if that Santa hat brought on unnecessary discussion about Santa and his existence?  He does ride the bus with older children, waits in line to go inside the school with older children...oh please do not let anyone ruin the magic for my little boy, I am not ready for him to stop believing in the magical time of Christmas.  This is the first year I was uncertain we would make it the entire season without getting busted by one of the boys.  I would rather have Simon use his critical thinking skills to figure out that the logistics of Santa are not possible (or legal since people cannot just go around climbing down chimneys), then someone at school telling him Santa is not "real".

In our house we believe in Santa and we are definitely an over achieving elf family.  Now, I know there is some controversy out there in Parent World about Santa (and please remember there is no right or wrong way, nor am I judging anyone that does it different then us, but this is what works for our family and why), but let me explain why he is a big part of our Christmas Season.  As a child I remember the excitement and magic that surrounded the holidays in our house.  The wonder and make believe.  The ringing of the bell on Christmas morning so we could come downstairs. (One of those bells still sits on my mantle year round and I smile when I see it because it triggers so many happy memories)  I do not know when I figured it all out, but part of me still believes in Santa.  Not the person himself, but what he stands for; the good in people, the giving without the recognition (I know when they figure it out they will understand it was mom and dad but for right now their smiles and joy are all the "credit" I need), the make believe and the magic.  Santa does not put the boys on the naughty or nice list though in our house, I have explained to Simon several times in his little life that just because he makes poor choices sometimes this does not make him a "bad kid", so we stay clear labeling them naughty or nice around the holidays as well.  This is also one of the reasons we chose to use Elf Magic Elves, because I was not a big fan of the Elf on the Shelf story that talked about him reporting to Santa.  We want them to behave even when know one is "watching", when they do the right thing because of their own self pride not because someone can see them.  I also did not like that you could not touch Elf on a Shelf, so when I found the Elf Magic Elves and the story behind them that talks about making memories and spending time with the family I was sold.  (You can really use ANY elf or any "doll" for the holidays and still have the same outcome).  Our elves really like to bring us activities that we can do as a family or activities we can do for others, such as when we bake our cookies for the neighbors or go shopping for our toys for other children.  I know many people roll their eyes at our little elf tradition or the amount of time and effort I put into it every year, but I will never forget the smiles and excitement I get to see every morning.  I will never forget the memories that we have made and will continue to make and I hope long after they figure it all out for themselves, they continue to enjoy the opportunity to imagine and believe even as an adult.  I hope that long after the material presents have been broken or outgrown; they remember all the fun we had as a family and they remember the little things that make the holidays special.

Over achieving Elf Family
When the day comes that Simon figures out the whole Santa business (which even if a kid at school does not spill the beans it will be soon I am planning since Simon is a pretty logical thinker) I plan to share a letter similar to the one written by another mother who explains it all so perfectly HERE.

What holiday traditions do you and your family enjoy?  What happened after your little ones found out?