Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sister Talk 'N Fruit

Last night Coach was out watching his favorite college team get beat. I would feel sorry for him, except he was cheering for Missouri to beat UT. He got what was coming. I'm not really a fan of either, but Texas always comes first around here. (Sorry to all of my Missouri friends and family)

 I'm pretty sure he was the only one in the UT stadium wearing black and gold. Someone actually bumped into him as he was leaving the bathroom, and they apologized, saw his Mizzou hat, and took back their apology. We take our sports pretty seriously around here.

While Coach was out getting hassled by Texas fans, my sister came over to keep me company and hang out. She lives about 45 miles away, so occasionally we take turns driving to each others town. She and I get along really well now, but we love to remind each other of the horrible things we did to each other as children (she swears I was the only one, but she has no idea how much she taunted me). I couldn't help it that I thought it would be funny to see her eat dog food, and to see if she could escape if I taped her up with duct tape and left her in the basement. Wow, it sounds pretty bad on paper, but believe me, she loved the attention :) 
Our annual pajama match
(Yes, we are nerds)

Anyway, during our intellectual conversation last night about which shoes go better with our outfits, and the new Coach purse that she got a great deal on (which I am way jealous of by the way), I found out that she had never had a pomegranate. Random topic I know, but this is my new favorite fruit, and I had to share it with her. I know it's strange, but that's how sister speak works. One topic to another, and no real reason for the switch.

 I told her how I had just discovered this really cool fruit, and how fun they were to eat. Since she had not ever had one, I figured many of you probably have not had one either, so I had to share my new find and recommend it! I am including my step-by-step process of preparing a pomegranate. It takes a little time to eat, but it is soooo good for you. I've heard there are some awesome health benefits of it, but really I thought it was neat because it was different than the everyday apple, banana or orange. These are the kind of things I get excited about :)

There are always funky looking fruits at the grocery store that kind of scare me, no more Mr. Pomegranate, no more

Cut it in half, because the work is on the inside
There are little seeds on the inside (these are what you eat)
I would not recommend eating the peel!
Time to get dirty. Use your fingers or a spoon to pop the seeds out.
Is it just me or do my hands look extra wrinkly???
The seeds are kind of in little pods
Have a bowl ready to catch the seeds, I say this because I peeled my first pomegranate in the car
Seems like a lot of hard work for one fruit
But you really do get a lot out of one.
According to Coach, each seed is like a drink of juice
I think the seeds are what would happen if a blackberry and a cranberry had babies (weird I know)
You'll See!

Try one and let me know how it goes!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Tu-Tu a Day Keeps the Morning Blues Away

I am not a morning person. Let me repeat. I am not a morning person.
I wish I was, but I am not. I work in the schools, therefore I am supposed to rise before the sun, get dressed, get my children dressed and fed, have my stuff together and ready to go, eat breakfast, take my monkeys to daycare (which is at the school I work at, but still) and be at work before the children arrive with their bright and smiling faces! This is probably the hardest of my daily struggles. Sad but true.

Oh, but I'm not the only one! I've noticed at my elementary, that you can tell which students are morning people and which are not. Some are bouncing to their classes, books and backpack in hand, whistling the song they heard on the radio in the car; while others are glaring as they slowly make their way down the hall past all of these morning people who do not seem to understand that they could still be in bed. Let's just say that I was the latter during my school days. I've learned to hide it a little better. Still no singing to myself! Y'all know which one you are!

Because I have had so much trouble with mornings, I always hoped that my children would be happy, smiley, morning people. Little Mary Tyler Moore's of mornings (or Dick Van Dyke for my son I guess).
I even distinctly remember saying to my hubby, "I hope God lets our children be morning people like you because it's rough not wanting to get up but having to anyway."

Little did I know how much that prayer would come back to bite me.

My children are morning people, waking up early on weekdays, weekends, holidays, and every day during the summer. Awesome. Way to go Autumn.  I only wanted the best for my children. Can I take it back????   In the mornings on the way to school, my sweet husband turns the music up high and the kids jam out on the way to school. Although the dancing and cuteness of my kids screaming the words to Kelly Clarkson's, "Since you've been gone," which comes out as "Since you McDonald's" is worth every memory, I still feel a need for quiet and calm.

 I would rather drive in complete silence or maybe with a little Michael Buble softly playing in the background.

I have learned to adapt slightly. I attempt to have mine and my children's clothes ready the night before, if I have energy to do this and if there are no distractions such as "The Bachelor". This is, and has been, one of my favorite shows for a long time. It's definitely not intellectual and probably rots my brain as I watch it, but it is like a train wreck, you just can't look away. And there is always one crazy lady on there that makes it worth staying tuned to see when he figures out that he really is dating a lunatic. I digress,,, sorry. Back to my mornings of torment :)

Anyway, I have attempted many things to help myself to wake up in a cheery mood: getting up earlier (didn't work out), having coffee ready (takes too long to kick in), sleeping a little later and doing makeup in the car (got pretty good at this, but it's a little too dangerous now that I have kids). I had pretty much given up on it until this morning.

I woke up to noises in my living room. I figured it was my 5 year old who I call Stinkerbelle. She is always up early asking for food. Constant hunger around here. To my surprise it was my 2 year old Mini-me. She has recently gotten a toddler bed, and has discovered the freedom of getting up whenever she wants. Usually she knocks on our door if she has woken up early, but this morning was different. After hearing the noise I walked into the living room and realized that she had already dressed herself, gotten her shoes on, and made herself look beautiful. 

By this I mean, she was wearing a tu-tu, 2 unmatching shoes (a flip flop, and a croc), and had gotten my lip gloss. Oh, I forgot to mention, she was also wearing a shower cap. Not really sure where that came from, but she found one. I could not stop smiling and laughing at how she had attempted to get herself ready this morning. Mini-me did the unthinkable. She made me smile before 8 a.m. Yes, I had to redress her, but it was one of the sweetest most hilarious things I have ever seen. She had attempted to get herself ready, and was bright and shiny and ready for the day.

I'm thinking that maybe the key to a good morning is relaxing a little, and enjoying the little things. I may not have a cute little 2 year old dressed in a tu-tu every morning to make me smile, but I have 3 little blessings and a Coach who always wakes me with "Mornin Glory What's Your Story." Oh you early risers.  We will see.
P.S., I'm also going to set the coffee maker each night to help as well. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wanna Smile Today?

Today is game night! Go Team! The game is pretty far away tonight, so I will not be attending. I am there in spirit. Sending luck to the hubby. Since game nights are one of the hardest nights (watching the kids, fixing dinner, bathing children who think it is hilarious to splash the mascara off my eyelashes, and attempting to keep the house clean alone), I like to have an activity for my kiddos to do. I have found that:
 Food +Entertainment = A few minutes of peace (I'm not making any promises though!) :)

I first did this craft/snack with my speech therapy groups, and then did it with my monkeys at home!

They love it when I bring home work :)

Apple Smiles!

Ingredients needed:
*Peanut Butter
*Mini Marshmallows                  

Start out with an everyday apple! The ones pictured are Gala's. I liked these because they were small and easy to create little smiles.

Thank you coach for being my Vanna!

Cut out 2 slices of the apple in an almost wedged shape.  Sorry the pic's are so blurry. My camera was in the early death stages at this time :(      Memories.......

Add some peanut butter! This always makes any snack a hit with my speech kiddos! Peanut... Peanut Butter.......

Spread the peanut butter on one side of the apple slices. The peanut butter side will be the inside of the mouth.

Now add mini marshmallows to one slice of apple on the peanut butter side. Make sure to add the marshmallows close to the rounded outer edge. These will be our beautiful teeth!

Put the apple slice without marshmallows on top of the other one, peanut butter side down!

Tada! This person might need to floss.

This is a very simple craft recipe that only takes a few minutes to create, but is a ton of fun!

Say Cheese! Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How do I live without you????

So, today was a pretty rough day. My oldest monkey had a fever, and had to stay home with Coach. I hate when I can't stay home and baby her. Although she was in good hands. Hands that waited on her hand and foot. Daddy's and their little girls... Something special. Anyway, not only was she bedridden, but another very sad event occurred. One of my most prized possessions died...... My Camera! If any of you are like me, this is a day to mourn. I love/loved my camera and use it constantly. It is now a part of me! My poor children have been posed and placed and told to smile more times than anyone could think possible. I like to take natural pictures too, but who can resist a big grin. Anyway, I now feel an ache in my heart for my departed camera. I would like to now say a few words:

Dear Camera,
Please forgive me for how I've used you.
You were good to me, and I took advantage of you every chance I could.
Please understand that I felt that we were meant to be together always.
I know that you were constantly flashing others, but that's okay. I kind of liked it.
I will miss your fine pixels, and the way you could always make me smile.
You were always giving, and I was always taking.
I know I pushed your buttons, but you never complained.
Thank you for your service, and work.
I love you, I miss you, and will always remember the focus you placed on me.
Love always,

On the bright side I did receive my girl scout cookies today!!!! Not all is lost!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Name May Be Autumn, but I Did Not Fall

So, tonight is game night, and it's an away game. I am at home, and not brave enough to take 3 kiddos out of town to watch Coach's game.  I sometimes get a little down about not being able to attend the games, but instead of dwelling on it, I am going to share with you my entertaining weekend activity.

I am always up for getting out of the house. I am a goer, (is that a word?). Whether it is or not, that is what I am. Coach on the other hand loves to stay home. I call him my hubby homebody. Ooh,  here's a thought I can call him my homeboy.  That may just stick. He would choose to stay home and watch a RedBox rental any day rather than go out to a movie. I would rather get out. I am always up for a drive or for a walk, although drives have become much less enjoyable since my two year old has decided she officially hates the car, and walks are a little breezy right now.

Anyway, my hubby homeboy (see it works! No? Alright, I'll stick with homebody) decided to get me out of the house and take me on a surprise date.  Let's all say it together..... Awwwww........
Okay, don't get too excited because it was not a trip to Paris, or a getaway to wine country. But it was sweet. He surprised me by taking me ice skating.

So, if you have read my previous post about cartwheels, you got to enjoy my embaroussment at the fact that I can no longer effectively flip my body through the air like I used to. I have been practicing by the way, and no you don't get to see pictures. Maybe once I perfect them :) 

I hoped that this ice skating experience would go much smoother than the whole cartwheel catastrophe. (I'm pretty scarred).  I remind you that I live in Texas, and where I come from, it does not snow, or even ice over, so this ice skating thing is unknown territory. Now, Coach is not a small guy. He is 6ft 6, and approximately 240 lbs, so this wasn't going to be a breeze for him either. The rink was small and chopped up from a lot of use during the day, but we were going to attempt this. In my head, Coach and I were going to skate arm in arm, or do the couple skate thing (you know, where the girl skates backwards, and the boy pushes her- umm it was romantic in middle school).  We grabbed our skates and headed onto the ice. The rink was atop a building in a nearby big city, so we got to see all of downtown and the lights as our view. It could not get more romantic right? Well, if constant stumbling, hanging onto the wall for dear life, and being passed by people 3 times our age is romantic, then there you go.  After a little practice we became a little smoother, so I asked my hubby homebody (yeah, I like that better), to couple skate. We attempted and failed miserably, but we did not go down!!!  That was the goal of the evening, Do Not Fall Down! And we didn't. We did however wear ourselves out and have to stop every once in a while to catch our breaths. Maybe I should write a section about working out. :) 

In our own little way we had a romantic evening, and the fact that Coach planned it made it special. Romance is enjoying the time you have together and making the most of it. We didn't look awesome on the ice, but we had an amazing time. Although, someday I am planning on going to Paris. Hopefully they don't have ice skating there!

Just a quick note to those of you who used to make jokes about my name in elementary school (I'm sure you can guess all of the Fall jokes they came up with), some were kind of funny actually :) but I want you to know:

My Name May Be Autumn but I Did Not Fall Down!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My New Years Resolution - Positivity

This year I have decided to try a new resolution. Last year was lose my baby weight, and I did okay. Never quite made it to my goal, but did make a dent (or got rid of a few dents) :)  I decided to go a different route this year and try a unconventional resolution.
At the school I work for, our theme for the year is "Get on the energy bus." This is a book by Jon Gordon that gives 10 rules to fuel your life, work and team with positive energy. Everyone at my school was given one of the books that outlines how to do this, and encouraged to read it.  I have not read all of it (in all of my spare time), but highly recommend it. I have heard it is great. What I have read is a list that my principal sent out to the employees that the author of "The Energy Bus" wrote. I usually think these kind of lists are a little corny, but I actually liked this one. So here is my inspiration for my new years resolution.

20 Tips for A positive New Year by Jon Gordon

1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can know that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement: My purpose is _______________
(I'm still working on figuring out exactly what I am going to fill that with)

3. Take a morning walk of gratitude. I call it a "thank you walk." It will create a fertile mind ready for success.
(Not sure I will have time for this every day, but may try to do it on the weekends when Coach is home)

4. Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think optimistically about where you are going.

5. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
(or in my case queen, and princess :)

6. Remember that adversity is not a dead-end but a detour to a better outcome.
(I really like this quote. Wish I was one of those people who could memorize quotes and use them at the perfect moment. I usually end up saying, Oh that stinks, it will all be okay. )

7. Focus on learning, loving, growing, and serving.
(Definitely important for coach's wives)

8. Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.

9. Don't waste precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

10. Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.

11. Live with the 3 E's. Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.

12. Remember there is no substitute for hard work.
(We women already know that)

13. Zoom focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: "What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?" Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.

14. Implement the . Complaining is like vomiting. Afterwards you feel better but everyone around you feels sick.
(Love this one!)

15. Read more books than you did in 2010. I happen to know a few good ones. :)
(I'll try!)

16. Get more sleep. You can't replace sleep with a double latte.
(I am definitely a coffee addict. Maybe I can have both)

17. Focus on "Get to" vs. "Have to." Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.

18. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
                     I am thankful for ________________.

                     Today I accomplished _________________.

19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.

20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.
(My husband wanted me to include the famous quote: Life is a garden, dig it-Joe Dirt,  thank you Coach for the contribution)

After reading these tips, I decided that in 2011 I am going to try to be more positive. When you have all the troubles of daily life upon you, it is hard to remember that most of the troubles you have are also blessings. Work, somedays tiring, but rewarding. Children screaming, thank you Lord for the healthy lungs of my children, Coach gone at a game, we are blessed he has a job, and I am blessed I have him as my husband.  Life is busy, but I am going to try to look at each day, as Jon Gordon said, as a gift.

Good luck to y'all on your resolutions and hope you each have a blessed new year!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Everyone Should Do Cartwheels

Last night, I participated in an event that I am glad no one (besides my family) will ever see. Coach was home early because it was the night before a game. We picked up dinner, and had a fun evening hanging out together in the living room. Everything was pretty normal until my daughter asked me a tricky question.

"How do you do a cartwheel mom?"

Being a former cheerleader, and dancer , I felt highly equipped to handle this question. I puffed out my chest and walked to the middle of the living room floor. First, I began by attempting to show her how to do one through demonstration. Lets just say it didn't work out so well. I didn't realize how long it has been. This demonstration ended with laughter from all of my children (even the 1 year old) as well as my hubby

. Hmmm.... how do you teach a cartwheel? I've been doing them since I was 4, so I have never really thought about how I was supposed to teach it. Needless to say, I attempted to have her lift one leg here, place two hands there, and kick. It was a very entertaining and interesting sight. By the end of the night, I offered up the suggestion that maybe we should enroll her in gymnastics this summer and let the professionals handle it.

As I sit here and write this, I think, parenting is kind of like doing a cartwheel. You jump into it, and just do it. The rules are hard to explain, and everyone has their own personal touch. We are all just hoping to make it through with grace and land on our feet. Sometimes we don't do it perfectly, but we all have the opportunity to get up and try again. (Wow, guess I am feeling deep today!) It takes practice, and sometimes we can use some help to get through it. Cartwheels can be so much fun, but they also take a lot of hard work.

By the way, I will be practicing cartwheels for the next few days to ensure myself I haven't lost my touch :)
Keep me in your prayers! I'll need it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The True Meaning of Coach's Widow

Let me first explain the reason and meaning behind why I am writing this blog. I am what people call a "Coach's Widow." Please don't confuse this with a real widow!!!! I do not want that to be a confusion, although I am sure it will happen at some point. I stumbled upon this term a few years ago when I was sitting around a table with some girlfriends. I began to tell them that my husband was getting ready to graduate from college as a teacher, and that he was really excited to go into coaching. (I will tell you more about the reasons he went into coaching later!) I had believed we were going to have the good life. Since I am a speech pathologist (aka speech therapist), and work in the schools, I believed that my husband working in the schools would be awesome! We would both have holidays, summers off, and be off work by 4 every day during the school year. As I was telling my friends about his soon to be graduation, one of them said, "Oh, you will be a fellow Coach's Widow!" I had never in my life heard this term, and was actually kind of offended by the fact that she would call it that. "A coach's widow?" I questioned. What are you talking about. She laughed and looked at me as if I was a pitiful child. Little did I know that this is a very common term. "You don't have any idea what being a coach entails do you?" she asked. I had played sports in high school, well when I say sports, I mean cheerleading, and dance team, and didn't ever really think about the hours that the coaches put in. I looked at my friend and replied, "No, not really."  I had no idea what was coming. Most people don't even fathom working the kinds of hours that coaches do. Yes, coaches work hard, but many times the hardest job of all (in my opinion) is being the coach's wife or the "coach's widow" as we now understand it to be.  I have now officially been a coach's widow for 2.5 years. I am a mother of 3, work full time, and am beginning to feel like it is my job to spread the word about how crazy, fun, hectic, lonely, tiring, exciting, and entertaining life can be when you are in this role. Although I am sure I will talk about coaching a lot, really, this blog is what I decided to do to document the crazy ride I call everyday life.