Time for a Confession

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I hear this comment a lot from other parents, "I wish I had your patience. I could never homeschool."  Or, "You are so good with your boys. You do the most creative things with them". Every time I hear those comments I think, man, if you were only at home with us everyday you would probably feel very different. I am actually not very patient. I lose my cool every day. I'm sorry if I have lead you to believe that I have it all together. I do not. 

Today, was a really bad day. I felt like I was suffocating in my house. The boys decided it was a great day to fight and complain the whole time. I was on the verge of tears. Threats were thrown out about losing electronics or friend time if they could not straighten up. The boy were miserable and I felt defeated. Negative thoughts were beginning to consume me. Why did I ever think I could do this?  Do I want to spend everyday with the boys?  Maybe it would be better if they went to school?

I have been at home with my boys for around 3000 days. The boys have probably only spent 30-40 days away from me. That was a little shocking when I figured that out. That is not enough time away or apart. I find that when I start to hit a wall it is really hard for me to feel  refreshed  again.  It is wonderful getting out for a date night, or run and get a massage or pedicure, or have a night out with friends, but that is not usually enough for me.

Imagine working for the past 9 years and only getting 40 days off (meaning time away from the kids). I know many of you are in the exact same boat.  I think it is a matter of feeling very burnt out and overwhelmed. I'm sure a lot of how I am feeling can be attributed to the end of the school year. We are all ready for summer vacation! But, I need some alone now. I have been feeling very guilty because I have a very big trip planned this summer for just me.  I am meeting a friend in Germany and we are going to be traveling around Europe for almost two weeks.  I cannot get over feeling guilty, but when I take a step back, I know this trip is exactly what I need.  

I also seem to make these outrageous expectations for myself.  I always fall into the mindset that if  " I did it for one boy, I must do it for the other two." I will have planned 3 themed birthdays in a matter of 4 months and honestly it is taking every ounce of endurance in my body to try and get this last one prepared. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE birthdays, but these parties are sending me over the edge. It has made me realize that I need to simplify. I do not have to have a completely homemade birthday for my boys. Will they care if I order a cake instead of bake my own?  Will they care if we take a few friends to a play land instead of a huge theme party at home?  I don't think they will. I imagine they would rather have a happy mom, not a stressed out monster mom. 

I have started to take the fun out of being a mom. I have lost sight of why I am preparing these activities for the boys. Who am I doing this for, me or them?  I am reminded over and over that my 9 year old only has 9 more years before he is 18!  Those last 9 years flew by and I know the next 9 will do the same. I don't want the boys to remember their mom as this crazed perfectionist/workaholic that could never just laugh and enjoy life with them. I am much better than how I was when we lived in the US, but I am still too high strung with them. 

So today, in front of all if you, I am pledging to enjoy the time I have with the boys, stop putting so much pressure on myself for these crazy deadlines that I give myself,and re-evaluate what is important to me. I would much rather put my time into having fun with the boys instead of having pictures that "looked" like we were having fun when in reality a picture does not tell the whole story.  It's time for a change. 

I will be blogging about this process I am going through. Sharing my successful days and the days I feel like I have completely failed. I will be open, honest, and raw about my days at home. I will try and post more of our real  moments and not just our picture perfect moments.    I hope as a community we can be supportive of each other and if anyone else is having struggles with homeschooling or being a parent  I would love for us all to offer support and advice.  

I do not always have it together.  I have struggles daily, moments of frustration, and many times where I feel like I have done this whole parenting thing wrong.  But, I am thankful that I get to be the one to decide it is time to really fall in love with being a parent again.  

Anyone else ready for a change?  
 photo signature_zpsda663a8a.png

Setting Rules for Screen Free Week

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I suppose we should set some rules for Screen Free Week before it actually gets here.  It would be so easy to let myself slip after the boys go to sleep and try to justify that I am allowed to check my phone because I am the adult.  But, if I am making the boys take this pledge it is only fair that I take this pledge too.  I'll have to see if I can get Ben on board with us.  This is what the website says about Screen Free Week:

These are the rules we have set for our family:

  1. No TV for the whole week
  2. No ipads (apps) or Minecraft or wii for the boys
  3. I cannot check social media sites like facebook or instagram.
  4. We can use our computers if it is school or work related. 
  5. We can watch one 30 minute educational show a day if it goes along with what we are learning that day.
  6. I can work on the blog for 30 minutes a day, but only after the kids go to sleep.                   blog = work
  7. The boys can take my phone from me if I am caught checking it throughout the day.  I will pay whoever catches me 5 baht ($0.15). 
We have already set up some very do-able plans with our 30 Screen Free Ideas.  I am also looking forward to spending my week planning a ninja birthday party and hopefully tackling a few rooms in my house.  

What are you looking forward to doing while you power down next week?

 photo signature_zpsda663a8a.png

30 Screen Free Ideas

Monday, April 28, 2014

Next week, May 5-11, is Screen Free Week.  This will be the 2nd year we have participated in it.  Last year we made it five days. I was pretty proud of that, but this year I am hoping to make it the whole seven days.  I know the first few days I will be hearing a chorus of "I'm bored's" and I want to be prepared.

Here are 30 activities to help keep us busy while we are unplugged.

  1. Write a letter
  2. Take a bike ride
  3. Family Game Night Learned how to play scrabble
  4. Make Oobleck
  5. Yard clean-up
  6. De-clutter playroom
  7. Bake cookies
  8. Go Swimming
  9. Visit library
  10. Get ice cream
  11. Spend morning at coffee shop
  12. Make sidewalk chalk paint
  13. Make play dough
  14. Dance Party
  15. Build a Lego Zoo
  16. Frisbee
  17. Play catch
  18. Play M&M game
  19. Car wash with matchbox cars
  20. Scavenger hunt
  21. Baked cotton balls
  22. Make Monster cookies
  23. Feed fish at pond
  24. Have a picnic
  25. Play at playground
  26. Make milkshakes
  27. Paint a picture
  28. Start a rock band
  29. Build a fort
  30. Start a Journal
I am also excited about reading these great books to the boys.  They all have to do with unplugging your family.  Thank you for the great list!

Celebrate screen free week with books that show how fun it is to unplug

These are my ideas to keep the kiddos busy.  What are you planning? 

Remember, Screen Free Week is May 5-11, 2014!   

 photo signature_zpsda663a8a.png

Does the Easter Bunny visit Thailand?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Holidays can be a strange thing when you are living abroad.  Especially, when you live in a country that does not celebrate the holidays we celebrate back in our home country.  I've said it before, I like to make a big deal out of holidays for our boys.  I want them to have memories and traditions from each holiday when they look back at their childhood.  I hope I am making it memorable for them.

One big problem with holidays here is that we do not have any extended family to celebrate with. But, I still plan a big brunch and a traditional (for our family) Easter dinner.  It's not the same, but we try to keep things as close to what we would have done back in Ohio.

 Brunch: Cinnamon rolls, eggs, sausage, bacon, croissants, pineapple

Dinner: Ham, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, rolls

The boys woke up bright and early to find bunny tracks through the house.  Britton was so cute.  He ran into my room and said, "Mama...there are bunny feet in the hall and he brought us stuff!"  He could barely get his words out because he was so excited! I always think they are shocked when the Easter bunny or Santa actually finds them here.  The boys checked out their Easter baskets from the Easter bunny and then searched around the house for gifts that my mom sent the boys.  They also had treats from Ben's mom, so they were sugared up for the day.

After brunch, we headed to the pool.  It has been so hot here lately.  April is the hottest month in Thailand. Today, it was 96 degrees, but it felt like 117!  So hot.  We hung out at the pool for a while and then came to color Easter eggs.  Last year, we started coloring eggs on Easter and I liked it so much that I think we will always color our eggs on Easter.

We had a great Easter together.  Thankfully, the Easter Bunny found his way to Thailand. We were very thankful to our parents, who helped make Easter so special this year for our boys by sending special Easter gifts for them.

How did you spend your Easter?  Do you have any traditions that you like to do with your family?

 photo signature_zpsda663a8a.png

KidZania...Have you heard of it?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Have you ever heard of KidZania?  I never had until one opened recently in Bangkok. They have locations all over the world.  Unfortunately, they do not have any locations in the United States yet, but I did see on their website that they plan to open many locations in the States this year!! The whole idea behind KidZania is to let children role play in different jobs in the pretend city. When you walk up to the ticket counter it looks like you are entering an airport.  You buy your "boarding passes" (tickets), head through security and enter in a whole child sized city. The kids are also given a check that they have to cash at the bank in order to start their day at KidZania.   It is absolutely adorable.

My boys could not wait to get started.  The decided to do a magician class first.  Parents are not allowed to attend the classes or lesson, but most of the sessions have windows that the parents can peak through to watch.  Back to the money that they are given.  They are paid in KidZo currency.  If they perform a job like firefighter, construction worker, doctor, etc. they get paid at the end of their session for "working".  Some of the sessions the kids have to pay to do, like the Coke Bottling factory, the milk processing plant, and any other session that they make something during.

 Construction worker..Learning how to build a brick wall

Britton was a firefighter.  They give a fire safety class and then the kids hop on the little fire truck and put out the fire.

My boys had an absolute blast.  There are over 60 jobs that the kids can be a part of.  It's a little overwhelming at first trying to figure out how to hit as many jobs as you can.  Thankfully, the day we went it was not crowed at all.  Here are some of the jobs the boys completed...firefighter, construction worker, car salesman, tv producer, coke bottling, milk processing, magician, vet, mechanic, university student, architect, and so many more.  It was such a great way to learn.  At the end of the day the kids can take the money they earned and shop at the store.  It was a great lesson on money, because the boys found out they did not work enough to buy anything they wanted.

 Coke Bottling.  They even got their own bottle of coke.

 Greyson went to University to learn all about dry ice.  He was making dry ice bubbles

Britton went to work for the vault.  He had to collect bags of money from around the city.

KidZania Bangkok is opened during the week 10 am- 5pm and on the weekends from 10 am- 3pm, 4pm-9pm.  We went during the week and were able to stay in the building the whole time.  They do have a few concession stands with hot dogs and popcorn, McDonald's, and a coffee shop.  They also have a sit down restaurant, but we didn't even check it out.  It is a little expensive to go, so plan to spend the whole day if you can.  For our family of 5 it cost around $100.  Parents have to pay.  It really was worth the money though and the kids are already asking when they can go back.

 Milk processing.  They even got to make their own flavored milk.

Grey was a Honda dealer and then was able to design his own Honda.

Have you ever been to one of the KidZania locations?

 photo signature_zpsda663a8a.png

A Little Slice of Paradise- Koh Chang, Thailand

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We have had a wonderful year of traveling...our first trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand and seeing Doi Suthep, The Umbrella Making Factory, amazing 3-D art museum, waterfalls, experiencing Angkor Wat & the floating villages in Cambodia, and seeing the wonders of Disneyland in Hong Kong.  I have loved everyone of our trips this year and really still feel like I need to pinch myself to remind myself that they were not just a dream.  All of our trips have been "on the go" and not very relaxing.  We were desperately needing a beach vacation to relax, read a book, and just watch the boys play.

We are very lucky that Ben has two weeks off of school for Spring break, so we decided to head to one of our very favorite islands, Koh Chang. We visited Koh Chang a year ago and had an amazing time.  We saw wild monkeys right on our front porch, took our first (& last) elephant trek, and just experienced island life. We were excited to get back to this island.

To get to the island, we took a mini bus from the airport and drove 4 hours to the pier to Koh Chang.  This bus driver was amazing and very cautious, unlike our ride home. More on that later!  Once you get to the ferry, it takes about 45 minutes to get over to the island.  Then hop right back on the minibus to your hotel. Thankfully, our trip to the island was very uneventful.

 On the top deck of the ferry to Koh Chang.

 This is the ferry that take you to the island.  

If you have a car, you can drive right on to the ferry.

This time we decided to just relax and enjoy the beach.  There was a lot of  building in the sand, swimming in the pool, and relaxing.  It was just what we all needed.

 I never thought I would see this, but Grey kept taking breaks to read his book!

 Building sand castles


 Playing Frisbee


On one the of the last days, we decided to take the boys snorkeling for the very first time.  None of us have ever snorkeled before and we had no idea if the boys would even like it.  All of the hotels have many options for different excursions to book.  We decided on a 3 hour snorkeling trip to one island instead of the all day option that would take you to 5 different islands.  The snorkeling company, KaiBae Hut,  picked us up at our hotel, dropped us at the docks, fitted us with the right size life jackets and we were off on a speedboat to the tiny island of Koh Yuak.  It was beautiful.  The water was crystal clear and as soon as you put  your head in the water you are surrounded by hundred of fish and coral every color of the rainbow.  It was stunning.  The boys could not get enough of it.  Greyson was obsessed with finding all the sea glass he could.  It was a really lovely morning and I look forward to doing that again with the boys.
 Getting ready to go snorkeling

 The beach was full of shells

 The water was crystal clear!

 The company that took us snorkeling

The island of Koh Yuak

Later that night we went Bang Bao Fishing Village.  It is supposed to be a traditional Thai fishing village.  It may be, but really it seemed more like a tourist trap to me.  The entire strip is built up on stilts and is lined with souvenir shops and places to eat.  We walked all the way to the end of the pier and looked at all the fishing/snorkeling boats and the beautiful lighthouse.  We had dinner in the village.  We had a little bit of a difficult time getting back to our hotel, due to the songthaew drivers asking way too much money for such a short ride.  Sometimes you just have to give in and pay a little more if you ever want to get home again.
 Snorkeling boats in Bang Bao

 Lighthouse at the end of the pier

The beautiful sunset while we were eating our dinner

We had a fabulous week at the beach.  It was full of fun moments, special bonds being made, and a week full of memories.  We are already talking about when we can try to make it back!  

 The boys on the beach

 Our hotel, Siam Beach Resort
 Special morning walk with Lincoln

Getting ready to head back to Bangkok

Now, getting home was a completely different story altogether!  Our driver that picked up up at our hotel was flying through the hills on the island.  We were just inches from rear ending a car.  I thought that maybe he was just in a hurry to catch the ferry, but by the time we were on the mainland we were still flying down the road.  I felt like we were in that scene of Harry Potter when he is on the bus and it it swerving all over the road and speeding like crazy.  This driver would get so close to the back of a car that I really have no idea how we did not get into an accident.  Finally, after a very stressful 3 hours in the mini bus, another passenger called the owner of the buss company and demanded that he slow own.  Once we go back on the bus, he was a completely different driver.  Almost Perfect.  Because of this situation, I will never go with that bus company again and plan on only hiring private drivers in the future.  But, we made it home safe and sound.

We have a few more days off for Spring Break and have a couple more adventures in store for the boys!  

 photo signature_zpsda663a8a.png
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...