Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: What's Your Level of Chaos?

On Friday, my husband was invited to use some guest passes at the YMCA. So, he took our two littles and met up with his sister and her kids to go swimming. Fun, right?! Well, as you can imagine with four kids under the age of four, things didn’t go quite as planned… Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? I think it might apply here…

To make a long story short, after Ben threw a tantrum for not wanting to leave the pool (understandable, right?) he proceeded to pee on the locker room floor. As this was happening, Thad’s sister noticed they were clearing the kids out of the pool. She thought, “Hmm, it must be adult swi….” but that thought was interrupted by her daughter saying, “Mom, I pooped in my suit.” Yep. Her potty-trained three year old caught a tummy bug that decided to make its appearance in the pool. (Now Ben giving the tile floor a golden shower didn’t seem so bad after all! Ha!)

It’s okay. It happens to every parent. It happens to me. It happens to you. It happens to the parent who appears perfect. No parent is immune to chaos! (There is no vaccine for that one, huh?)

The point I am making here is this: As a parent, you need to be comfortable with a certain level of chaos.

Just remember it’s only a tiny glimpse of your life, and it too shall pass.

Toddler Tip Tuesday: A Spot for Your Tot

Ben was 22 months old when Gianna was born. If you’ve ever had a baby (and odds are you have if you are following my blog..,) then you know how time consuming a baby can be. And if you add a toddler to the mix, you also know it wouldn’t be wise to leave them at large while you have your hands full feeding the baby!

Something Ben started doing on his own was sitting next to the rocker while I nursed Gigi. To help encourage this, I made this little “spot” more comfortable and stocked it with things he can do independently. He also knows it’s a time to be quiet. This way, he doesn’t feel left out or alone while I am feeding his little sister, but it’s still a peaceful environment for the baby (& me!).

If you’d rather, you can also set this spot up somewhere else in the house. Create an enclosed area that is safe and stocked with goodies for your little one (at least enough to keep him or her busy for 20ish minutes). It helps ease the stress and guilt of being pulled away from your oldest, but still allows for the bonding that happens between you and baby during feeding time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not Me Monday

I did NOT wait 3 weeks to take my coughing kids to the doctor, only to spend $40 in co-pays to be told it is "just a virus"

I did NOT take 4 days to do 4 loads of laundry
(in my defense, the machines are right outside Ben's door and they are so loud! I hate planning laundry around nap/bed times! grrrr!)

I did NOT cut onesies off my daughter because I didn't want to get poop in her hair
(too many explosive diapers this week, I tell ya!!)

and finally, I did NOT almost cry in the middle of the department store when I saw a kid's shirt that read "Grandma's little cutie"

What is something you did NOT do this week??

Friday, February 24, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: The Best Things In Life Are Free

This isn't what I originally planned on posting, but I just couldn't resist! (I'll save the other post for next Friday) ;)

I recently got a new "old" part-time job. It's at the Lakeshore Learning Store in Indianapolis. The job is "old" because I worked at the Lakeshore Learning Store in Palatine for many years. I'm excited to do some work outside of the home, and I'm grateful it is doing something I am familiar with and already know I love doing.

At any rate, I worked a 9 hour shift today... that is the most consecutive hours I've been away from both of the kids. After a long day of hard work, it was so refreshing to come home to this:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

Gianna Brooklyn Nurmi

I am so thankful for this healthy little girl.

If you don't know the background story, take a moment to read it:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Choose Your Attitude

I almost named my blog “Choose to Laugh,” because in some of the most stressful situations, a chuckle can cure all! And some of the situations our kids put us in, all we can do is laugh (because if we don’t, we might cry!) Plus, if you know me, I love to laugh and find joy in making others laugh, too. J

When I worked at Stanton Middle School, our principal would end every day’s morning announcements with the same message. He would say “Choose Your attitude…” (My fellow Stantonites know what I’m talking about!) J

Hmmm. Let that sit for a moment. Attitude is a choice...

I am in a mom’s group that meets weekly (similar to MOPS if you are familiar with that). This week’s message was centered around Philippians 4:11-12. “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” I think the key word here is “learned” because I find that contentment often doesn’t come naturally. It’s a conscious choice we must keep making and hopefully one day our brains will default to positive thinking. But until that happens –if it ever does -at least we will always have a choice to be “happy.”

So when your significant other asks you something you know you've told him/her a thousand times before: Choose LOVE. When your kids made a mess playing, but you know they had a blast: Choose JOY. When the kitchen is in chaos and there is a stack of bills to pay on the counter: Choose PEACE. When your 2 year old throws the mother of all tantrums in the Social Security Office that was as quiet as a library when you got there (yes, that was me this morning...) Choose PATIENCE. When a stranger is rude to you: Choose KINDNESS. Well, you get the idea.

So in the words of Principal Lomas:

“Choose your attitude… and make it a good one!”

And hopefully your actions will follow.

I challenge you to take one moment amidst a frustrating situation this week where you pause to change your attitude & actions to good ones.

Feel free to leave your experience in the comment section; I’d love to hear all about it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Toddler Tip Tuesday: A Storage Solution

A puzzle just isn’t as fun if there are pieces missing, crayons don’t ever seem to fit as well in their box as when you first bought them, and there always seems to be a sea of small toys scattered about.

An easy and cost effective solution: Repurpose food containers for storing your tot’s toys.

I keep Ben’s puzzle pieces in an old Chinese take-out container. The crayons are in an old lunch meant container, and the colored balls are in an animal crackers tub. It also makes clean-up a snap! Ben loves putting the things into their containers.

Toddler Quick Tip: Does your little one equate veggies to toxic waste like mine does? Mix cooked (& smashed) cauliflower into your kids’ mac n cheese – they will never know!

Not Me Monday

I did NOT turn the monitor off and open both bedroom doors and “hope” I heard Gigi if she woke up in the middle of the night

I did NOT schedule play dates that were more for me than my kids

I did NOT get Ben a Happy Meal thinking I’m the best Mom ever and ended up eating the entire thing myself because he wouldn’t

(I guess that’s a good thing??)

I did NOT toss and turn all night after booking flights to Florida because I’m so anxious about flying, even though the trip is

2 months away

I did NOT make a list of people that I feel I need to forgive because every time I think of them I feel hurt or angry

(*sigh* why does it keep getting longer??)

And finally, I did NOT stare longingly at the bottle of wine on top of my refrigerator and argue with it, out loud, that I wouldn’t drink it until Thad got home... just in case I finished the entire bottle myself ;)

What is something you did [NOT] do this past week?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nothin' Fancy Friday: The Five Dollar Savings Plan

Since moving to Indiana, we have cut our household income by almost half, and added a baby to the mix. As you can imagine, we have had to make some changes to how we handle our finances. One thing we've done that is working really well is we are using CASH for our groceries and entertainment. Groceries also include diapers, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. Entertainment would be going out to eat, taking the kids to the museum, going out for drinks, etc. We have a set amount that we use each month - each month it's the same. Once the cash is gone, we need to get creative while we wait for the next paycheck to roll in.

Something I picked up on Pinterest (and I'm not sure who to give credit to) is the Five Dollar Savings Plan. It's simple. Find a jar - or any container - and each time you receive a $5 bill back as change, you put it in the jar. Of course, this only works if you use cash... this probably isn't the best savings plan for all you credit/debit card swipers. I have to say, though, it's hard letting go of those $5 bills! haha But, we did manage to rack up $55 in just two weeks!

As motivation, I put a list of reasons to save on the other side of the jar so we aren't quick to spend this cash on frivolous things.

This would be something fun to do with your kids, too.
Replace the $5 with coins or $1 bills.
I like the transparency of it so I can literally see our money pile up. :)

Happy Saving leads to Happy Spending! :)


Another budget tip - use cash for everything! (not the plan for us, but might work for you!)
You can download cash envelope templates from Today's Nest at http://www.todaysnest.typepad.com/todays-nest/2010/09/todays-money-budgeting-with-cash-envelopes.html if you want to try this type of budgeting system.

Thankful Thursdays

Photographed by Sarah Nurmi

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good."
Genesis 1:1,31

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Best Parenting Advice...

Whether we ask for it or not, our friends, family, and even strangers are quick to offer parenting advice. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome it most of the time. However, there are times when I want to punch that person in the face! Ironically, it is usually the older (uh hem, MUCH older) generations that do more harm than help - for me anyway. It’s like they are so far removed from that stage of life, their memories are diluted with rainbows, butterflies and babies that never, ever cried. For instance, my grandma – bless her heart – is always offering me “suggestions.” “Why is she crying? She must be hungry. When was the last time you fed her? She probably has gas, did you burp her? Give her some Milacon. Maybe she’s too hot. Maybe she’s too cold.” And I swear she said all that in one breath. Finally I just said, “Maybe she’s just a baby and babies cry sometimes!”

Anyway, parenting advice can be helpful – but we do need to take it with a grain of salt.

I think the best parenting advice I got is:


Gianna usually goes to sleep right after her last feeding (around 7pm). Last night, she proceeded to scream until 9:30pm. She was fed. She was changed. She was bathed. Her gums were lathered in Orajel. I was at a loss! This is about the point when I start to cry. Thad said, “What if you just let her cry?” I said, “I would be the worst mom ever.” Cool as a cucumber he added, “Sarah, do you remember when Ben used to do this?” I said, “Yea.” He told me to name a specific time. “That one Christmas at your parents’ house.” I retorted. He said, “Okay, how about another time?” He asked. I thought for a moment. The truth was, I couldn’t remember another time! I remember he used to cry it out often, but it is a foggy memory at best.

So, whenever I’m on the brink of tears I just have to remember – this doesn’t last forever, it gets better, and I probably won’t remember this moment that made me want to Google orphanages. Haha!

What is the best

parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Toddler Tip Tuesday: Time Out = Time Wasted? Maybe...

My 27 month old son, Ben, has made a past-time of throwing his food off his tray. Sometimes he picks it up when asked, but other times he won’t. I wasn’t sure how to approach the issue. One day, he threw nearly a full plate of Mac n Cheese on the floor. He refused to clean it up. He crouched down over the noodles but instead of picking them up, he shook his head with a smile and said, “Nooooo.” “Oh,” I thought, “Game on!” So, I put him in Time-Out for 2 minutes. Each time I brought him back and he didn’t clean it up, I put him back in Time-Out. This went on for a solid 45 minutes – all the while I have my coat on ready to go grocery shopping as my husband sits merrily at the table enjoying his lunch. “Just go,” he chimed in, “I’ll clean it up, he obviously isn’t going to.”

But, I refused to let this ‘parenting moment’ pass me by. “He needs to learn that this is NOT okay!” I said. Finally, I got on the floor with Ben and put my hand over his and picked up every last noodle. Little did I know, that’s what I should have done from the get go! Putting him in time-out wasn’t working because that was time he was spending not picking up the Mac n Cheese (which is exactly what he wanted!)

So how do we handle our little angels when bad behavior is on the brink and time-outs aren’t the ticket? First, make sure you are keeping your cool. ( I always thought that if my blood was an element on the periodic table, it would have the lowest boiling point! *Nerd Alert!* I used to teach Middle School Science) ;)

The time-out strategy won't work in a situation where your toddler doesn’t want to do something - like my Mac N Cheese incident, or when Ben didn’t want to put his coat back on after shopping at Target. It was like a match on WWE, and I’m just waiting for it to be posted on YouTube from someone’s Smart Phone!

In cases like the latter, every second he isn’t complying, he’s winning. So, give your kid a chance to do it himself. “I’ll give you ten seconds to _________ or I’ll put my hands on yours and we’ll do it together.” If those ten seconds tick by and he still hasn’t complied, I think the Wonder Pets said it best: “What’s going to work? Teamwork!” and dive into the land of hand-over-hand. Once the task is completed, then you can put him in time-out for disobeying.

Toddler Quick Tip: Buy Yogurt Whips instead of regular yogurt – it doesn’t fall off the spoon as easily so your kiddo can feel independent feeding herself while you have less mess to clean up!

(Inspiration provided by: “The Biology of Bad Behavior.” Parenting Early Years February 2011: 66-69.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not Me Monday

I did NOT leave a basket of clean clothes on my dresser ALL week before putting them away – and I only put them away because I needed the basket to do laundry again!

I have NOT been giving in to Gianna’s wee-morning hour feedings just so I can get some sleep (even though I know she can sleep 11 hours straight)

I did NOT use a crusty burp cloth to wipe Ben’s nose & face after a volcanic sneeze spewed snot everywhere

I did NOT pour that extra cup of coffee this morning, even though I sense it might have a negative effect on my nursing baby’s nap schedule

And finally, I did NOT cry at 2:30am because I just walked my toddler back to bed for the 4th time that night and as soon as my head hit the pillow, the baby woke up.

What is something you did [NOT] do this past week? ;)

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Hello Friends!

Since I feel my brain is wired to follow routines, I thought I would run my blog the same way.  "Can't Clock Out" will feature 'Not Me Mondays' (things I said I would never do as a wife and mother, but inevitably have), 'Toddler Tips Tuesdays' (from food to discipline to sleep and everything in between), 'Words of Wisdom Wednesdays' (something I learned that week that I couldn't pass up sharing), 'Thankful Thursdays' (self-explanatory...), and 'Nothin' Fancy Fridays' (a casual post that could include tips about anything from fashion to organizing your home!)

My hope is that you will enjoy reading these posts as much as I like writing them!  They will be short and sweet - just as our "free" time often is.  Now step away from your computer/iPhone/iPad and wipe that snot dripping from your kid's nose and change that baby's diaper... oh wait, that's what this mom  needs to do! ;)  Farewell until Monday! :)