Thursday, December 31, 2009

Job Description & Resolutions

At night, right before my head hits the pillow, my mind starts to race. Does this happen to you? You begin to think of all the things you didn't get done during the day, the things you need to accomplish tomorrow and the constant tally of home & personal projects without a check by their name. That was me last night, while Ben snored on. There are two parts about this which become quite annoying. One is I love making lists...making me wonder if there really are that many items to get done or is it my list making obsession? And two, if it's not completely my obsession, then where does one draw the line?

Well, as I sat in bed I began thinking about the whole New Year's Resolution thing and wondered if I should give it a try. I've actually never made any New Year's Resolutions, because I tend to think they're hogwash. Here is what I wrote last night as I was pondering the subject:

Honestly, I find resolutions a bit overdone & the follow through is lacking, which makes me typically avoid making resolutions. Maybe if I make resolutions in specific areas of my life I could find the abstract date the concrete. It's like what Ben has said (he heard it from someone else and so on), "We don't say what I 'might' do such & such, but I 'will,' because there is only 'will' in accomplishing goals."
It's so true. It's easier to say I might or I would like to do _______, but that leaves it ambiguous and a bit hopeless. And I guess that's what I don't like about New Year's Resolutions, because I don't want to commit to something and be like the rest of society saying I will resolve myself to ______, but lack follow through. However, I am all about goals and dreaming big (hence the endless lists and the visionary dreamer). But all of that goes to waste if there isn't follow through. And although I'm an ENFJ with the J being more structured and organized than the P's; I'm not a strong J. I like the spontaneity and option for change, which makes this whole job of homemaker a bit perplexing at times.

So the resolution...well, as I was flipping through my notebook, which I've had since I found out I was pregnant with Cadence, I came across a page titled, 'Kamille's Job Description 8am-5pm.' Well if that doesn't make your body shiver for those P's and teetering J's. It doesn't have a date posted, but I'm assuming it was pre-Cadence since it only talks about Veronica. Ben, the logistical one, helped me put it together. Logistics are not my strength, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, but definitely one of Ben's. He is incredible at finding solutions to problems and creating systems to fix it. On the other hand, I'm gifted at inspiring change & coming up with ideas on how to change; but, implementing it is a bit tricky (I think this is one of our marital strengths).

When I worked at Hillcrest Kids in the managerial arena, I brought these gifts to the table, which I believe helped the company thrive in new ways. Another area I tried to create as best as possible for my school age staff was giving them clear expectations, in order for them to reach their potential. I know if I don't have clear expectations in a workplace (whether it be in a paid or stay at home mother position), than reaching my potential is stifled. And for those of you stay at home mom's, wouldn't you agree that is the case with your children? When they know what is expected of them and comprehend the consequences when the expectations are not met...they thrive!

So as I reflected upon what I did at H.K. for myself, my staff & the children, I knew I needed the same thing in my new job role as homemaker & mother. The dilemma was not having a time clock, being more emotionally invested, & the feeling of 'my job is never done.' Plus, I didn't have clear expectations written out. This is what led to the creation of 'Kamille's Job Description.' And here is what we came up with:

Kamille's Job Description 8am-5pm
Roles: homemaker, mother, volunteer

  1. Mother Duties
  • diapering & potty training
  • feeding/cooking & clean-up & teaching good eating habits
  • clothing
  • conversing with her
  • playing & interacting
  • creating social interactions
  • teacher her manners & chores/working/helping
  • buying/shopping for her needs
  • laundry
  • education for self on child development, discipline & mothering
  • Physical Development: provide large motor & fine motor opportunities
  • Emotional Development: empathy when hurt, how to deal/express emotions in a healthy way=validation
  • Mental Development: playing, reading, introducing new challenges/toys
  • Spiritual Development: praying before meals, praying with her and for her, teaching right & wrong, telling her about Jesus, singing songs
  • Discipline
***Pray--Smile--Be encouraging
  1. Homemaker Duties
  • dinner; prep, make, devise menu
  • grocery shopping; make list, know pantry, stay in budget
  • laundry; wash, dry, fold, put away
  • dishes; load & unload
  • bathroom; sweep, mop, sinks, toilet, tub
  • sweep & mop common areas
  • vacuum
  • organize closets & pantries
  • reduce clutter by putting items in appropriate spot & donating items
  • keeping stock of dry/canned food, frozen & fresh
  • clean up common areas
  • dust
  • wash diapers
  • keep our household calendar up to date (this can include our blog too)
  • keep a working budget

Now these were what we wrote down over a year ago, so this needs some fine tuning; but, I think it's a good start and I'm going to revisit this area of life. And I guess I would say that this is part of my Resolution. There I said it...I will type out my expectation list and when I lose track I won't get discouraged, but get back on course.

For me and our household, we are working on our family mission statement, in order to know where we are headed. And one of my resolutions is to read the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. If anyone else would like to join me in this read, feel free. I will blog on the chapters.

The other thing I will be partaking in for the month of January is 'Eat from the Pantry Challenge.' It's described in the link provided, but for our family it will look a bit different than what is stated on Money Saving Mom's blog. We will use what's in our pantry and I will set an amount of money I am willing to spend for the month. Stay tuned as I chart our progress. Well, Cadence is crying for me and Veronica has managed to get into some more monkey business. Signing off for 2009.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Arizona Christmas

We were fortunate enough to spend time with my family in Arizona, which is where I grew up. My mom moved back to AZ two summers ago, being the last time she had seen Veronica. And as you can guess, a lot happens from 18 months to almost 3 years. The last time she & my younger brother had seen Cadence was about a year ago. So, you can imagine, Nana was beyond excited to see the girls. In fact, when we were waiting to be picked up by my dad & mom at the airport, the arrival of my mom with a grin from ear to ear said more than any adjective.

On Being Ticklishious

Veronica enjoyed being tickled by Grandpa Soto & Nana, where she would declare, "I'm not ticklishious!" This means she's asking you to tickle her, which they would. And after the tickling pursued, she would shout, "I'm Ticklish, I'm Ticklish!" And then she'd start all over.

On Cheap Entertainment

On our last night (we used a vacation rental house), we brought a twin size mattress into the living room (why didn't we think of this day one of vacation?). The girls loved everything about this as they quickly climbed on & off the bed. Cadence showed her spatial awareness skills and definitely bypassed the 'Ogre gene' (it's the clumsy gene on the Scellick side) by getting on & off the bed with ease.

On Sleeping

After Veronica's ticklishious fest, she began getting Nana involved in pretend sleeping. She would snooze, which isn't to be confused with her "cheese" smile. They do look the same, but they're COMPLETELY different.

On Opening Presents

This was also the first Christmas where Veronica had a better understanding of what was happening, which enabled her to help her sister in the unwrapping presents department. Next year I'm sure Cadence will get a promotion.

But it's okay since Cadence knows how to make use of her sister's presents when she's not looking.

On Playing Outside

We also had fun being able to play in the backyard, go to the park at the end of the street and Cadence eating rocks. Well, she tried to eat rocks, but we would stop her. Actually, being in the backyard showed us again how truly unique these girls are of ours. When I asked Veronica to join me on the grass, she would protest, "NO, it's too grassy for me!" **Sidenote: Veronica is really into adding a 'y' to anything she doesn't like. For instance, "the carpet's too softy for my feet, those are too Grandpa storyey's for me." So as Veronica insisted on only entering the grass with shoes on; we saw Cadence crawling across the grass toward the bed of rocks without any knee pads. Seriously, it made my knees hurt watching it.

On Seeing Close Friends

Although I grew up in AZ, there aren't that many people I keep in touch with from my 17 years of living there. My best friend from growing up was going to fly over from San Diego; but, as she put it, "my lemon of a dog" got hurt again. It would seem that every time we plan to see one another little Rocky Road dog gets seriously hurt (hip replacement sort of stuff), which inhibits seeing each other.

My other friend who I keep in touch with is Stephanie. She actually lives in the Phoenix area, so we were able to see her & her family. Matt is her husband and Amelie her daughter. Amelie is exactly 7 months younger than Veronica and a firecracker. She is one cutie and she could compete against Veronica for crazy curls. Steph and I swapped stories of how we only brush our curly Q's heads right after bed (and reassured one another of our decision as some straight haired kid's mothers look on with a condescending eye). Our time together is never long enough, but I savor every minute.

After we got home I realized I didn't take any pictures of my dad and only one picture of my brothers. I guess that's how it goes sometimes. I'll post some videos later.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

This morning I peeked through the peep hole of our door to watch Veronica walk hand in hand with her Papa, while the other hand was holding a rather large basket. It's pictures like this where I cannot get enough of being a mama. There aren't enough emotions or words to truly describe that feeling in my gut & heart. It's like when people say (about babies), "Oh they're so cute...I just want to eat 'em."

Now, let's go ahead and get over the cannibalism thought running through your head, or those of you saying, "EEWWWW!" If that statement makes you sick, then I guess this post isn't for you, because that quotation describes the feeling perfectly. It's wanting to devour the whole picture or moment, so you can savor each aspect. It's knowing that this little girl will be 16 before we know it and will be wanting some other young man to be hand in hand with.

And as I reflect upon these images & moments, I'm reminded how in the midst of tantrums, saying "NO" (from both sides) the twentieth time in an hour, the selfishness, the times when I want to retreat--hoping they don't find me...that I want to know my girls. I want to know them better than any person on this planet, in order to help them know themselves & their Papa God. I want to know what puts a smile on their face, how to help calm them, how to divert them, how to encourage them and most of to love them like Christ does.

This is what I want most for Christmas. It takes work and it's definitely not easy and I want to give up at times, but God reminds me when Cadence lays her head on my chest and sighs, "OHhhh!" in that sweet Tayer voice. Or when Veronica walks to the car with her Papa hand in hand eagerly in search of the BEST gift for Mama--that I can regroup & look to the big picture. All this makes me think of people who mention how their marriage doesn't take any work. I can't help but wonder what planet they live on, because work doesn't mean it's negative or their marriage is headed for the dump.

In fact, as I see my marriage with Ben and my mothering with my girls, it's when I work & strive for something better within it that the harvest abounds. I equate work with weeding a garden, it's not always "fun," but it's necessary to keep it healthy & growing. And it doesn't mean that working on my marriage or parenting isn't fun either. It's all about perspective. I want for Christmas a fresh perspective on working at being a mama who knows her girls and a wife who knows her husband and a daughter striving to fully know Papa God's heart for me in the midst of all it.

All of this came from reading the following quote in the book 'Strong-Willed Child or dreamer?'
Innovative people have a passion for what they do. I don't know if this passion is innate or not, but it can snuffed out in a person. Think about it: how much passion will Johnny exhibit if after every time he runs around the house and displays passion, he gets hit on the head and is told to "Sit down"? You're right, not much. This is one of the things that makes being a parent such a challenge. I see characteristics in my kids that in an adult would be fantastic, and yet occasionally they drive me nuts. Sometimes, I have to catch myself and stop and listen to them. If I just say no, they will probably lose the inventiveness and imagination they need to be creative when they grow up.
As I get to know my husband & my children (and other people in my life), it allows me to flame the passions inside of them, rather than stifle it. And primarily as a mama, I see that I need & want to be my child's biggest advocate. So all I want for Christmas is that (well, and maybe a cookbook or two:) ).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cardamom Orange Cookies & My Helper

I wrote about making these cookies with my little big girl here. But what I didn't put there that only your eyes get to see is this very fun video of how she helps her mama. And might I add how wonderful she's been the past couple days since my Monday meltdown. Ben and I have put her in the pack & play at night, because her too early wake-up calls are not okay. Especially when they have been disrupting the whole family.

The amazing part about all of this is her willingness to sleep in there. When we said she might need to sleep in the crib she let out a huge, "NOOOOO! That's Baby Cadence's crib." I think she was a bit humiliated at the thought of sleeping in the crib. The pack & play on the other hand was more of an adventure apparently. We needed something to contain her as she is definitely one of those kids who needs very CLEAR & DISTINGUISHABLE boundaries. This is what we came up with and as a result...I have a little girl who is not testing the limits, instead of saying, "NO" constantly says, "OKAY (with a cheerful heart), and says after accidently kicking Cadence, "Oh, sorry Cadence." All because she's sleeping more with a wake-up call at 7:20ish. Can we say lovely?

And without further ado, here's the video:

**Note how she will repeat certain words until I repeat them. She does this to make sure I know what she's talking about.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Words

It's in those moments when your child is reflecting & out pops the sweetest, sincere words you have ever heard (at least at the current moment). We had two of these moments in one day--I know, quite the record.

While eating dinner, Veronica paused with thoughtful inflection saying, "I love Gramma & Grampa."

Earlier in the day before eating lunch we prayed, thanking Jesus for our food. I typically say, "Thank you for this food & nourish it to our bodies," but I happened to pray for Ben to get better & for the rest of us to stay healthy. It was shortly after this Veronica announced, "And pray for Granpa!" We prayed for Granpa & Ben said God would know which Granpa she was talking about. And it reaffirms in me that The Spirit of God speaks to people of all ages.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time Stand Still

As the seconds turn into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into a day, and days eventually turn into years gone by. With all the minutes that have gone by since my girls appearance on the scene, I wish I could bottle up every smile, sneaky nose scrunch, witty comment, dramatic performance (well almost all), etc, etc.

From my end of the telescope:

*When Veronica runs out of the bathroom after she's gone poopoos with her face lit up with accomplishment & delight, waiting for a praise.
*When Tayers attacks her sister with utter glee and infectious laughter.
*When Veronica spots me looking at her while in the car, her squinty-eyed smile.
*When Cadence comes in close for numerous kisses.
*When Veronica puts on my shoes & hat; then, picks up the basket as if she were Ginger Snap from Strawberry Shortcake bringing cookies to share.
*When Veronica throwing me bait by saying, "Eronica no hold mama's hands!" To which I replied, "Oh Veronica couldn't hold mama's hands, because I was wearing GLOVES?!" To which she spins around saying, "TOOOO Glovey! Too glovey!" (She wouldn't hold her bare hand with my gloved hand the other night and said, "too glovey!" She overheard us laughing...and you know the rest of the story).

Here's some videos of special moments too!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Imagination times a Million

I know, I've heard me talk about how big Veronica's imagination is, but seriously, it's a bit out there. Of course, I don't have your kids at my house 24/7, so I don't have anything to compare it with. However, I would wager to say that she really does live in a dream world (most of the time).

According to a personality book I have, which focuses on Myers-Briggs, there's a chapter on understanding where your child falls under. For myself, I'm an ENFJ and after reading the "Idealist" child (all NF's are idealists), it further confirms that I have always been an Idealist. With this in mind, I look at Veronica and go, "Oh boy! So this is what it was like for my parents." (Veronica is definitely different from me as well--keeping in line with her unique person)

Aside from imagination is the memory capability of this nearly three year old. I'm quite impressed with some of the most random and mundane events she remembers. One thing she can remember the best is any Strawberry Shortcake DVD, which is a reason I limit her intake, because she would most likely start responding to "Strawberry," rather than Veronica. Below is a perfect example of this.

To the untrained eye, this is merely a picture of a little girl with her beloved blankie on top of her head. What you aren't seeing is the image inside her head.
She came up to me looking like this, saying, "BAAA! BAAA! I'm a wamb..." But she's not simply any old lamb. She finished that statement with, " Strawberry!" Upon watching one episode of Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry disguised herself (along with her cat, Custard & dog, Pupcake) as a lamb, in order to find out who had been stealing Caramel Corn's barnyard animals. Veronica many times will replay the events of the previous day, week or month as she is talking for both characters. Sometimes the events never happened, but to her they actually did. In any case, if we're lacking entertainment, one thing's for sure--make myself some popcorn and watch Veronica perform.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Simple Mom

As a stay-at-home mama, it takes much diligence and self-motivation to get all the tasks done throughout the day, as I am the one setting my schedule. This is very hard for me, because I succeed in group accountability settings. I can recall two online college classes I took and I didn't do nearly as good had I actually been inside the classroom.

I remember sitting down with Ben about a year ago writing up a job description for myself, which helped me tremendously, because it gave this abstract thinker very tangible, concrete objectives to work toward. If you're like me, or maybe you're more along the concrete, objective doer, I came across the a very wonderful website about two months ago.
It's called

Here are reasons why I have loved it:
  • The author is a stay-at-home mama (reputable & trustworthy authority on the subject)
  • She's dedicated to simple living (frugality, thrifty, & resourceful)
  • Tradition & Ritual importance (values family time via yearly traditions & rituals)
  • Creative (she has great ideas on stretching a dollar, family togetherness, etc)
  • Home Management ABC's (basics on organizing my home)
  • Working towards Goals (Tsh always writes toward a bigger goal. Her family values Family Mission Statements, which help them do everything aligning with that statement. I appreciate it, because it helps my family narrow down what we value as a family and leave everything out--without feeling guilty).
  • Grace-filled (too many of these types of sights make me feel overwhelmed, but simplemom is very grace filled & realistic. As a mama & wife, I need that A LOT!)

In a world where we are defined by what we own, who we know, or how much is in our savings account, I hope this website will inspire you to be who God intended. Blessings!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mama's Ingenuity

The culprit:
Tonight during bath time, Ben said, "Mama did it again (or something to that affect)!" And you know what...I did! I would definitely say that what I accomplished to make bath time more enjoyable for not only Veronica, but us as parents is pure genius. And if you're a mama yourself, you know when you find something amazing that works (I mean over the top amazingly works), than you're going to relish in every post victory moment.

My ingenuity comes in the form of a shampoo bottle. However, it's not any ordinary bottle. Sure it's found at your local grocery store, but the marketing department of the shampoo wasn't thinking outside the box for it.
As you can see I've transformed your normal run of the mill 'Strawberry Smoothie' shampoo for kids into a dreamer child's personalized 'Strawberry Shortcake with Custard the Cat Strawberry Smoothie' shampoo. This was further marketed to our almost 3 year old dreamer by making the following suggestions, "Wow, you get to use Strawberry Shortcake Shampoo! I bet Strawberry Shortcake uses the same shampoo. What do you think?" or "Oh and Custard's on the cover too! Does Custard use Strawberry Smoothie Shampoo?" or "Oh my Veronica, you're going to smell just like Strawberry Shortcake!"

You might be thinking right about now, "Why go to all this for bath time?" Oh, yes...well, how shall I put this, "it's HORRIBLE washing Veronica's hair!!!" She screams, she cries, she wails, and let's out pleas to avoid bath time altogether. Over a year ago she began dreading bath time, where she didn't even want to get into the tub. That fear lasted about two months. Unfortunately, for her we still bathed her during that period. And although the fear dissipated, what remained was a lingering which changed like a bi-polar on & off their meds.

Recently, it's been getting worse, all the while her one year old sister delightfully and nonchalantly allows water to wash over her eyes. So my idea was to get Strawberry Shampoo, attach a picture of Strawberry Shortcake and hope that imagination would take off. And since I was a true lover of the original Strawberry Shortcake as a little girl, with similar dreamer tendencies...I remember my mom getting "special" strawberry shampoo for me, which made me feel more like I lived in Strawberryland.

The verdict: She LOVED it!!! Can I emphasize this enough? I mentioned that we should take the Strawberry Shortcake Shampoo with us to Grandma & Grandpa's house this week, ya know, if we needed a bath (as if it's an option right). Her response upon getting out of the tub was grab the bottle of shampoo and said, "Let's go to Grandma & Grandpa's (over & over)."

In other words, she wanted to take a bath again. She didn't cry at all. She didn't object to getting water on her hair. There were no screams, wails, pleas, melodrama galore (that came when we announced bedtime). It was sublime! Never underestimate the power of imagination in a child, especially when you can use it for your sanity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monkey Business

Yesterday as I was in the kitchen, Veronica was making her way upstairs. Now, she is very open about most things in life, leaving her with little to no coy ways in her body.
I asked her, "Veronica, what are going to do."
Veronica with unabashed honesty, "I'm going to get into monkey business."

Last week I had to run to the store to get some milk before Ben left for work. When I walked in the door, Veronica hurriedly announced, "I GOT A BANANA, SQUISHED IT AND ATE SOME!"
She slurred some of her words together as the above wasn't as clear as what I wrote. I thought she was talking about breakfast. However, about 10 minutes later I noticed a banana that had been squished, as if she bit into the peel to get the fruit out, just laying on the counter. That monkey!

Today I was asking Veronica a series of questions..."Veronica, how old are you? Veronica, what's your full name? Veronica, how old is Cadence?"
Then, I asked her, "Veronica, where do you live?"
I thought she might reply with, "HERE!"
However, she surprised me with her response, but I guess not too much as she is quite imaginative.
She said with all seriousness, "In Strawberryland!"
I replied, "Yep, I believe you do!"
Like I said, she has quite the imagination and I'm sure she has imagined herself living there many times in a 24 hour period.

While we were getting the girls ready for bed the other night, Cadence crawled down the hall to our bedroom. We were originally all in the girl's room preparing for nighttime. Veronica got into monkey business earlier in the day, so when she walked into the bedroom to see what Cadence was up to, she announced quite loudly & shockingly, "OH NO, Cadence is getting into MONKEY business." **The monkey business Veronica got into was in our room by getting into mama's lotion and putting it everywhere on her body. She was going to take a nap on our bed, while Cadence was asleep in their room. I told Veronica that she was NOT to get into monkey business, but didn't heed mama's rule.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tayers turns one (with pictures)

Happy Birthday my sweet Cadence. You gave mama a run for her money to wait it out in the womb for much longer than I would have liked. We wanted to have you at home, but like most things in life, we roll with the punches.

For those of you reading, enjoy the pictures of when she was fresh out of the oven to a year later eating a birthday cake. **Disclaimer: All hair is original, no fakes here.