From Our Home to Yours

ChristmasSilly

I warned them that if they were going to act like that, I’d just take the picture and post it.
So it didn’t go to print, but I think the screen shot (including design view, ha) is possibly embarrassing enough to get them to behave – like children that don’t actually exist at my house - for just a few minutes so I can capture a completely unrealistic Christmas photo!

Holiday Blessings!

ColorCoatedGnar’s Favs @ColorMeRad

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If pummeling your friends with powdered color bombs and getting hosed down by perfect strangers armed with liquid color spray are your idea of a good time, then this is the 5K for you! What I love most about these silly themed, untimed races – um, besides the silly theme and the fact that it’s untimed - is that they’re ideal for beginner runners…aka: my five-year-old, whom raced via piggyback for most of this one #mommyworkout

Top Favs and/or Least Favs:

Blue boogies – two days worth, yum
Uber blue bath water – and the ring it left behind
The blue glow on our skin – three showers later!
Can you say #PhotoOp? (yes, in shades of blue)
Blue stain – how is it that the entire rainbow of colors we encountered = blue?

Key Factors in Aligning Values & Actions

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
~William Shakespeare

Worldly pressures, images and persuasions can be confusing and often misleading. If we are not careful, we can quickly stray from our original goals. We are continually exposed to media, social ideals and various other forms of information and unsolicited feedback, but thankfully, we have some insight and knowledge of these pressure pits which can help us thwart the mass of it…unfortunately, our children are still young and not as well prepared…but we are here to help them along their way!

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

This transitional time of year is a perfect opportunity to help remind ourselves – and our children – of what our values and priorities are, and take a closer look at our goals…in order to reevaluate our cause. Learning more about who we are wonderfully made to be will help navigate this wide open space. Discovering more about who we *want* to be and less about what the world is *pressuring* us to be can be the key to true happiness.

So, how do we help our families achieve these ideals?

It helps to start with a list of values. Prioritize your top ten values and have your children do the same. The below list can be used to generate ideas, but choose your list according to what is most important to you.

Family
Spiritual Growth
Social Interactions
Sports
Education
Money
Health
Service
Career Advancement
Hobbies

There are no wrong answers on the values assessment list because every person is a unique individual! If we all shared exactly the same values and strengths, we wouldn’t be nearly as effective in working together.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. Romans 12:4-6

Do your actions match your values?

Once you’ve determined your priorities, it’s helpful to check that you are appropriating your time accordingly. I like to do this using percentages, but you can simply rearrange your above list according to your current schedule. Now, compare the two lists and see where adjustments need to be made. Being aware of what we are doing and the reasons why can help in setting positive long-term goals.

Now that we know our values and can see where we are spending our time, we can use the information to set new goals and align our daily lives to reflect our beliefs. It’s not uncommon to slip into a bad habit of doing too much of that in which we would rather not…a whole lot less of that in which we should.

Goal Setting

One of the best ways to get back on track and moving toward the original goal is to set a main long-term goal with several, reachable short-term goals along the way.

All goals should be SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

Your goal setting sheet should look something like this:

Main Goal = _____________ (keep it positive)

Short-term Goal #1 (include specifics and an achievable date)
Short-term Goal #2 (cross s-t goals off as they are accomplished!)
Short-term Goal #3 (almost there…stay on track)

Motivators: (I like to put encouraging words and helpful reminders here – something to keep the focus. Sticky notes on mirrors, in the car or somewhere they will be viewed daily can help too!)

I think you might be surprised at the many things you can learn about your children and their amazing, loving hearts as you help them set and keep their goals. They may be surprised to learn some pretty cool things about you too (and gain some wisdom into the reasons *why* you do the things you do!) …so in whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

Financial Freedom for Your Children…

It’s easier than you might think…and it starts tomorrow! Ok, ya, it would be ideal if you were able to run out today and invest a little bling for baby Penelope. She could spend her college years on the slopes, buy a snazzy condo in Boulder and chill with her insouciant trustafarian friends – picking up random gigs with the band and entertaining for cash on Pearl Street in her free time. But, if you’re a parent of a young child, you probably have a list of obligations – and the list outweighth. The good news ~ Penelope might learn to manage her hard earned dollars AND you don’t need cash flow now to set your child up for successful financial management later!!!

Attend this FREE event to learn more about the many ways Young Americans works to educate our youth for a successful financial future. More than $1,500 will be given away in cash prizes ~ rain or shine the Birthday Carnival is on!

The Radical Art of Corn Starch

We’ve talked MuD RuN, TrI AtHAlON, 5K, HeALtHy TRadITioNs and TrYiNG SoMEthiNg NeW…so, I think it’s only fitting that we take a closer look at one of the newest, craziest, most colorful races available in our state ~ COLOR ME RAD!!! Um, can you say #PhotoOp?

This 5K incorporates an array of vibrant explosions of blue, green, pink, purple and yellow along the course (so don’t think you’re going to take that short cut and not be found out!). As you come to the finish line, coated in rainbows of 3.1 miles of pure success and adrenaline, prepare yourself to finish out that last bit of unbridled, passionate aggression - as you pummel your friends and family with handfuls of beautifully crafted, colorful cornstarch (kids, this is your chance at letting your parents know how you really feel about limited game time and the crackdown on sugary snacks.)

As if finishing this 5K wasn’t enough, just think about your new, wayyy seriously cool image as your co-workers view your epic profile photo – dripping in the evidence of a seriously awesome race – come Monday morning. Oh ya.

“This is the royal rumble of color. Every 15 – 20 minutes everyone will grab handfuls of color and pummel each other until you’re black and blue (from corn starch – no real bruising will occur). There will be music, food, and sponsors welcoming you across the finish line with open arms. Hugs are free and just like any good AA meeting, spectators are welcome.”

I know…you’re still wondering one thing: how did they make the vintage term “Rad” hip again?

“Unlike Communism and my late Uncle Steven, “Rad” has survived the fall of the Soviet Empire, the scrutiny of the SEC and Webster’s Dictionary, heart disease, and the disdain of high school students everywhere. Like an old vinyl record, it was lost in common practice and parlance and has now reemerged as the vanguard for everyday nomenclature amongst babies, toddlers, teens, and business execs.”

Ok, so you’re preety much convinced, right!? BUT, you did just drain your FSA account on those fancy new frames and top-shelf contact lenses…and it could get dangerous out there. Precautionary concerns ARE legitimate, and guess what…they thought of that too!

“Using the same tactics you use protect your “special parts” from the sun and wanton eyes. Clothing, for starters, works wonders for keeping your skin as soft, supple, and as unseen as a baby’s backside. Goggles, glasses, shirts, shorts, shoes, cooking aprons, hospital gowns, or radiation suits can be worn to protect you from the frequent blasts of color from Color Me Rad, and any stray UV rays from holes in the ozone overhead.”

No doubt you have several other questions and concerns - check out the Color Me Rad round up of FAQs and gain a true appreciation for the seriousness and professionalism of this event.

*This race is NOT timed (aka: shame-free), children 7 and under run FREE (but won’t receive a shirt), all ages welcome*

Color Me Rad will take place Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield on September 29th and benefits the YMCA of Denver. Expect to be coated in color every 5 minutes following the 9 a.m. start time.

[Coming soon via Mile High Mamas: ENTER TO WIN ... FREE Color Me Rad registration for two!]

Reach for the Sky(hawks) at this Sports Academy

The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.

Ok, so that may *not* be the essence of children’s sports camp…but it does make for a good pep talk, right!?

This summer Noelle will be participating in her first sports camp sampler – a week-long Mini-Hawk program including lessons in soccer, baseball AND basketball – this being her preference to camp options (that her mom might have tried to promote with gentle persuasion – to no avail) including volleyball, tennis and cheerleading (maybe it’s my misguided pep talk, eah?). Hey, at least the girl knows what she wants, lol!

Skyhawks Sports Academy is not only reasonably priced, they have over 10 different types of sports camps in over 250 Cities across the US for ages 3 – 12. I was excited to see that “our” camp option of choice was offered at a park within biking distance from our home…which means I’ll be waking that other sweetheart of mine up early and politely requesting that he try to smile as we ride alongside our little sister to her first-ever summer camp experience - he’s going to love this too, wink!

So, why enroll your child in a Skyhawk sports camp this summer? Hmmm…

10. Parental Down-Time
9. Good Reason to Turn the TV Off
8. Fresh Air and Sunshine
7. Adorable Photo Op
6. Skill Building Teamwork
5. Exposure to New Ideas
4. Healthy Social Interaction
3. Physical Fitness – Prevent Childhood Obesity
2. Something to Fall Back On #failedacademics
1. For Future Success in Mid-Life Adult Alternative Sports
*Did I mention PaREnTaL DoWNtImE!?!?*

Prepare your child for a future career as a professional athlete…or just provide them with the skills to become a killa mid-life adult sports hobbyist!!!

Skyhawks Sports Academy website includes a full listing of programs offered, safety information and detailed information on the premise of the company. Check out this VIDEO for a glimpse of what this summer camp looks like.

Skyhawks Sports Academy offers week-long sports camps for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Since 1979, over 1.5 million children have attended a Skyhawks Sports Camp. For over 30 years, Skyhawks has been committed to providing a safe, fun and skill-based experience for kids.

 

Qualistar Colorado

Quality child care is of the utmost importance in raising a well-adjusted, sufficiently educated and properly nurtured youngster. When we, as parents, must trust our children to the supervision of others, it is our responsibility to assure that the trusted facility is one held in the highest regard. Until now there have been few formal methods for choosing a child care program based upon a uniform code, but with the new Qualistar Rating™ system in Colorado, parents can compare their options on a 1-4 star scale.

The Qualistar Rating™ system measures performance based upon:

Quality of learning environment
Program’s family partnerships
Training and education of program staff
Adult-to-child ration and classroom group size
National accreditation

Qualistar Colorado, along with network resources, provide FREE child care referrals to parents in two simple ways:

1. Call a trained child care referral specialist: 1.877.338.2273

“Child care referral specialists are available Monday – Friday to take your call and help you find child care options in your community. Our referral specialists can also help you;

• Discover why quality child care matters and what it looks like

• Find child care centers and homes to meet your needs

• Learn about financial assistance and family resources

2. Search online: http://www.qualistar.org

Simply enter your zip code in the search field on the homepage. You will then be redirected to a database where you can create an account and begin your search for child care programs in your community.”

QUALISTAR COLORADO

“Qualistar Colorado is a nonprofit organization working to advance quality early childhood education across Colorado. Qualistar partners with parents through our website and a statewide network of Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to help them find quality care that best meets their child’s needs.”

3607 Martin Luther King Blvd. • Denver, CO 80205
303.339.6800 • 1.877.338.2273
http://www.qualistar.org

Learn more @ Child Care Maze

 

Loving Our Children as Christ Loves Us

“Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.” ~Tim Keller

How do we raise strong, confident children, preparing them with the tools and values to achieve God’s will in their own lives? Simply by loving them as Christ loves us. To accept, love and reassure our children for exactly who they are – not for who we wish them to be - is at the essence of healthy of parenting. Forgiveness, grace and abundant love.

Concepts from Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel:

Sometimes our love is incomplete because…
Our children feel they have to COMPETE for it.
Or they feel they have to EARN it.

Making love secure…
We can ACCEPT our children for who they are.
Provide them with AFFILIATION with a loving and honoring family (without an idealistic view of what that must look like).
Give them regular, generous amounts of AFFECTION (from both parents/all family members - pretty much until they’re 120 yrs-old!).

It’s not always easy to accept the quirks and rebellions of our children, but a biblical view of right and wrong tempered with graceful lessons in repentance and freedom from guilt will allow our children the power to confront the challenges of a sinful human nature. It’s all too easy to be tempted to punish harshly for innocent annoyances (especially when overdrawn and underslept) but it’s vital to the success of our children’s personal/spiritual growth that we allow them to be the silly, sometimes obnoxious individuals they were made to be…and one day, all that crazy energy will be alloted to the very purpose they were sent here to serve. So, as you attempt to prepare a healthy meal to the beat of wooden spoons on metal pots and pans – paper airplanes whizzing past your head in a near miss to the hot burner and boiling water – just remember that your little musician and your future pilot will thank you for loving them as Christ has loved you.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass

A Glimpse of Mortality and Reflections upon Motherhood

Profound, precious moments along the journey of life possess the power to leave impressions upon the human heart. It seems to me that these impacting variances to the general trend often occur unexpectedly, with impeccable timing and often host an unusual twist to what might otherwise have been an ordinary event. In awe, I appreciate the unforeseen greatness and provision of insight as I wonder along in my personal journey…enlightened…embraced…in motherhood.

It is no surprise to me that my plight in life, as deemed prominent in my paternal line, includes a mushy, gushy – sometimes overly sentimental – side…often to my dismay.  My grandmother has it, my aunt suffers and while it would be profusely denied, my brother has some tendencies as well. The worst case, however, belongs to my father, and after years of witnessing his “allergies” (as he has termed it) I have concluded that he is quite allergic to the script inside birthday cards and the finale of sentimental movies. Bearing all that in mind, I stuffed a few tissues into my pockets as we headed out to visit my great-grandma in her new placement at the care center.

After making our way through a series of locks, knobs, buttons, ID badges and security, I received an endearing, heartfelt compliment. It came from a middle-aged man wearing a tuxedo t-shirt playing a lone game of checkers in a quiet corner of the entryway. His curious stare and innocently gaping grin left me with no doubt that he was a patient in the center. Eyes wide and with carefree excitability, he paused from his game to verbalize the very thought that had come to his mind. He admired my hair, saying that it was “sunshiny” …and that he liked it. He repeated it twice more before I left, each time with genuine sincerity, but that was not the moment that would leave a forever print upon my heart.

The breath taking, tear welling, utterly impacting moment occurred suddenly as my children and I passed through a gathering room in the home. Several gracefully aged patients sat about in wheel chairs as visitors came and went. Placed between a resident staring intently at the bird-filled vivarium and a slouched gentleman snoring rhythmically in his chair, was a delicately fragile woman adorned in softly loosened skin. Her dainty pink gown tented her frail frame and her eyes gazed blankly off into the distance…in her arms, with the gentle, loving heart of a long-time mother, she clung to an oversized baby doll.

My eyes gravitated quickly to the dark beige twills of the berber carpet but the image remained. I took a couple of slow, deep breaths. Pangs of emotion crept into my stomach and up to my throat. We rounded the corner, and as I thought I had handled my surge of emotion with a bit of diplomacy, one of my children whispered the inevitable, heart-wrenching question, “Mommy, why was that old lady holding a doll?”

It was the answer to such a question that evoked the physically emotional response. The aching in my stomach had made its way to my heart, making it difficult to communicate my answer. I reached into my pocket to retrieve a tissue, and in the strongest, most composed whisper I could voice, I explained to my four-year-old, “She was probably a mommy for lots of years.” The understanding was apparent with the uncharacteristically silent response from both of my children.

We continued through the halls toward our intended destination to great-grandma’s room. With each passing door, my injured heartstrings were further tugged. Being that this was a small Colorado town and one of the few retirement homes in the community, the names on the doors were all too familiar. As I contemplated a quick dash to the bathroom for an emergency weeping, I had a realization. This generation had spent an entire lifetime together. They had made their journey, each along an individual path but intertwined with all the others and now preparing to depart. It was a beautiful thing.

Great-grandma was as spunky as ever, still healing from injuries incurred while attempting things best left to those in their early nineties, but enough of a hopeful spirit to recover from and move on to her next strong-willed attempt at independence. She was a roommate to the grandmother of a childhood friend of mine. That little fact was surprisingly comforting to me.

I left that day wondering about the life grandma had lived, her years as a young mother, a widow and her amazing faith that had impacted generations, providing me personally with encouragement through the years – particularly in my own experiences as a mother.

Images of motherhood continued to dance through my mind as I made my trip back to the city…those of an imagined, perfectly intended devise…as well as ones witnessed that day in the unrelinquishing frailty of humanity. The thoughts were not haunting, heart rendering, yes…but certainly not without hope. In that brief moment on that single day, I saw something – the most important thing. It was remembered by that mother’s heart, embedded deeply enough to surpass the need for conscious recollection in a failing human mind – an emotion harnessing a power untouchable even to mortality. I saw a physical expression, a window into the dearness of a human soul – a sight to forever live in my own heart. I witnessed pure, true, insurmountable love for another human being. That kind of love – a mother’s love – triumphs and continues to live on…long after the journey of life is complete.

 

 

Triathlete Training for Moms

There is something amazingly invigorating about a 750 meter swim, 20K bike ride and 5K run, competing alongside some 600 participants…and the achievement of being able to claim the title of “triathlete” (even at a sprint distance!).

It wasn’t the sport that held the draw for me; nor the physical benefits – though rather advantageous after having two wonderful kiddos! Personally, I was intrigued with the conquest…and comforted by the distraction.

Life trials are inevitable and while I would mostly prefer to avoid them at all costs, I do recognize and accept the fact that they will, eventually, lead to improved character, buffing me into a better person so long as I persevere the course – knowing when to press forward and when to coast along to catch my breath – recognizing along the way the truth that I am not the one ultimately in control of it all.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

Fear…it’s an interesting emotion. An inhibiting feeling that, in the absence of, may result in amazing achievements far surpassing human understanding and probability. Disposing of this useless, yet persistent, annoyance is – what I believe to be – the first step in conquering the end goal.

I suppose this is the reason I chose to take my life’s frustrations onto the track, bike, and – since the swim is mandatory for this particular race – into the pool (or the lake on race day, ugh). In the summer of 2010, along with my astoundingly supportive little sis, I (WE!) earned the title of “triathlete.” Thankfully, the triumph was accomplished simply by crossing that finish line, regardless of speed or grace – which is good because we finished our first tri on our MoUNtaIn BiKeS!

I can’t make claim that I excel in any of the three events, that I have superior equipment or more than adequate training – I am, after all, a mom with a bit more to do (and spend time/money on) than my hobbies. Which is exactly how I came to discover that moms can be triathletes too. Not only can we be great athletes ~ we have been in training since day one and didn’t even know it! Yep, all that lugging of the bucket seat, chasing after that toddler and piggy back riding when little legs get too tired to walk on their own has sparked an inner athlete that need but only to be directed and perfected for the sport.

It’s as simple as that: keep doing what you’re doing and have fun with it! Practicing the specific skills is an important element too, but can often be accomplished with kids in tow. Of course, some kid swapping is helpful – especially for sanity, but absolutely take the opportunity to instill the love of physical activity and the great outdoors with your children.

The Swim:

While admittedly lacking, my training in this area is often accomplished as my children splash around – under the direct supervision of a lifeguard on duty – in the children’s pool at our recreation center. When they were younger, they required one-on-one attention, which made swimming more complicated – I would either use the gym nursery or swap workouts with a friend. Even a day at the pool teaching kiddos simple skills and having fun helped me gain confidence in the water, so never pass up the opportunity to jump in!

The Bike:

Biking with little ones is surprisingly convenient – and enjoyable – once you are prepared with the right equipment. Over the years, I have used various bike attachments for my kids. I have found inexpensive equipment at yard sales or used sporting equipment stores, which is nice because they do grow out of these rather quickly. My favorite gear so far has been our bike trailer – not only because I can still squeeze both kids into it at ages 8 and 5 (but now they fight…and it’s a tight fit, ha) but because it converts into a jogger as well. I love the dual purpose.

We have made it a morning tradition to either walk or bike to school – works for us because the school is just around the corner, but it assures a little fresh air and reminder for the importance of activity in our day.

The Run:

Running is my absolute favorite form of exercise…but that was not always the case. It hurts. Honest but true…however, the pain does subside with training, and when it does, the sport is quick, affordable and majestically beautiful in our lovely state. I think it’s one of the best health-conscious family activities Colorado has to offer – well, maybe second to skiing, wink.

Using a jogger or convertible trailer during training will make your 5K feel like a walk in the park! A smart mom gave me the tip of keeping restlessness at bay by offering up a favorite snack while you’re out on the trail…because you might find yourself too winded to use the reliable parenting tactic of lecturing, yelling and the like.

The Tri:

Putting all three activities into a single event is trying indeed, but most certainly not beyond that of carrying a child for nine months, giving birth (ok, so I admittedly had cesarean sections…but hey, that wasn’t easy stuff either!) and absolutely not a challenge beyond that of being a mother – on the clock every hour, every moment of every day. When it begins to feel like too much, add hydration, quick caloric energy and undeniable confidence and determination…you will soon find yourself crossing that finish line…and on to the next quest!

I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. ~Larry Bird

 

 

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