Friday, December 21, 2007

Cute quiz, Thanks Lori. Take the quiz and see which one you are! may remember this from last year. It is so cute. Makes me feel all festive and christmas-y.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A-list Christmas Party

I just realized that I wrote about this same party last year! I love traditions!
I am in a bit of a hurry so I will spare you the mundane details and send you here to see pictures and watch a video of my husband and I leg wrestling. It pretty much says everything that there is to say about the Annual O'Dell "Family" Christmas Party!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Kids: The Center of The Universe

This post was supposed to be about my new job at Jimmy's shop but as I sit here and think about what I want to write I keep going back to these thoughts that have been swirling around in my head for a couple days. They're just thoughts. I have no opinion yet and I am making no judgements on myself. I am not taking action, rather I am just feeling them. Mulling them over. The creative movement teacher at the kids' school says that one of her goals with children and yoga is to get them to "sit with their emotions, whatever they may be". And I think that sums up what I am doing right now.

Ok, I know this is going to sound a little over the top Oprah-y but those of you who know me, know that I am a really down to earth person so I won't worry too much.

Thoughts...I tell myself that I know how to take care of myself. I tell myself that I have a sense of who I am and I make time in my life to do things that nurture myself. Is that really true? Isn't it true that the things I do for "myself" I actually do for my family? Is it even possible for women to do things strictly for themselves? If it is possible, is it ok? Do I have any thing, person, activity, place or job in my life that is solely mine? Do I get to dream about a life that isn't wrapped up in being the caregiver? Does being a mom mean that you have to put everyone else's needs first?

So, there are the thoughts. Like I said before, there is no judgement in them. I'm just sitting with them.

So, maybe you are wondering what all this has to do with my new job?! I have been working at Jimmy's shop for a few weeks. Yesterday I wrote myself my first paycheck (I'm doing the bookkeeping) for exactly 475.00. (The amount of Olivia's school tuition) When I held that check in my hand I had one of those "my life flashed before my eyes" moments and I saw with perfect clarity that every single thing I do is for my husband or children. I saw how everything was intertwined and how every path, every action, led back to the same thing.
And so I ask myself those questions and I think those thoughts and I wonder. Is this the way it's supposed to be?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Holiday Philosophy/Goal

I wrote this parent education article for the Little School House newsletter and it pretty much sums up my Holiday Philosophy/Goal. I write that with a "/goal" because I don't always practice what I preach but I sure do try!

By Sarah

The holidays are here and do you know what that means? I hope that for your family it means many wonderful, rich and meaningful memories but for many of us that isn’t always the case. Do you feel overwhelmed and under pressure throughout the holiday season? Do you sometimes feel guilty about not having the perfect Martha Stewart tree or acquiring the seasons must have gift? Do you feel obligated to attend every holiday function you are invited to?
It is very easy to fall into the high-pressure trap of the holiday season and feel like you have to provide every holiday experience for your child. This season can be a joy to share with your young children if you remember to focus on the things you value for your family and if you consider your child’s unique needs and ways of experiencing things.

Here are some questions to think about when choosing activities to do with your 3, 4 or 5 year old:
How much of this can my child do? What pace does my child prefer? Will this activity disrupt my child’s day or add spontaneity? If one activity fits, will two?

It is often the very simple and probably inexpensive things that your children will remember the most. I sincerely hope that your emphasis during the holiday season is on creating meaning through a few simple experiences and on developing family traditions that your children will associate with the holiday season. I hope that you will take the time to think back on past holiday experiences and reflect on how they fit with your family. Give yourself permission to say no to the things that don’t fit. Do less, not more. Keep your days as relaxed and simple as possible. If you start to feel overwhelmed by the holidays, your child is probably feeling that way too. Instead, treat your family to the best thing about holidays and families: Laughter and fun.

Some ideas for families with young children:

* Bundle up and take a short walk through your neighborhood to look at lights.

* Lie on the floor under your Christmas tree and look up at the lights. You can share Christmas memories or just listen to some beautiful Christmas music.

* Decorate cookies (with emphasis on process, not product) and deliver them to a friend or neighbor.

* Make some popcorn strings and hang them on a tree outside. Watch for birds or squirrels stopping by to have a nibble.

* Read a Christmas book together.

* Watch the snow fall or gaze at the winter stars.

* Help your child choose some of her own artwork to give to a relative or friend. She can tell you about it and you can write down her words to enclose with the gift.

* Visit the State or City tree and talk about it. Where did it come from? How tall do you think it is? How did it get here? How long did it take to decorate it?

* Cut out some snowflakes from white paper and hang them on doorways or on windows.

*Help someone (in a way that is easy for a preschooler to understand) For example: Shovel your neighbor’s driveway together.

* Help your child make play dough. Wrap a ball of it up with cellophane and a ribbon and give it to a friend.