Sorry kiddo…finding dinosaur bones is tough in Ohio….here is how I know….

I was so pleased that my parents visited us this weekend.  There are times I am almost moved to tears watching their interactions with their grandsons.  The grandparents and the grandsons clearly enjoy each others company.

Ryan, is almost 2 and a half years old, which means he is in “repeater” mode frequently.  It is flattering and funny when he mimics something good, not so good when he mimics my temper or overhears a cuss word.

One of the prized book sets that has come from my parents’ house to ours was a series of 15 Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedias that I loved to read as a kid.  Ryan enjoys reading them as well.

On Sunday, Ryan chose to read the volume on Dinosaurs with Grandma.  Grandma mentioned to Ryan that when I was a kid, there were a couple of times I dug massive holes in our backyard looking for dinosaur bones (massive at that age is about 4 feet diameter, 4 feet deep.  Whenever I think about doing it, how great was it that my parents tolerated me digging these craters in our yard!

Later that afternoon, Ryan started playing in his sandbox.  When I asked me what he was doing, he said “digging for dinosaurs dadda”.  That had me rolling.  Then he asked me to help him.  Well, I have extensive amateur experience in this area, so I was happy to assist.  Sadly, we did not find any dinosaur bones, but we did find two earthworms, so that will keep him coming back (kind of like sucking at golf  but you have a last good hole that gives you a false sense of hope)

Now Ryan, I don’t want to sit here and tell you won’t find any dinosaurs (I can hear the experts now….saying out loud….what is present-day Ohio was ancient seabeds).  I will tell you Ohio has great fossil beds, and I will tell you can dig in our yard if you want to.  We will need to just do this first.  OUPSlogo_color

Would love to hear any great dinosaur hunting stories!

Life Lessons for my sons: #1 Constructive criticism

“Don’t listen to the fact he is calling you an a##hole, listen to the reason why he is calling you an a##hole.”  Dan Dakich giving advice to Steve Alford on the coaching techniques of Bob Knight.

Boys, as you go through life, something you need to understand is that you will receive criticism.  It does not matter whether you are trying to do something or not, you are not doing anything (and thereby getting someone upset), or you need to be corrected.  Sometimes you will deserve it, and sometimes you won’t.

It is human nature to become defensive and rationalize your behavior.  It is hard to stand there and take it, and sometimes embarassing as well.

To help you deal with the feedback, I think it important that you do the following:

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.  It’s ok, everyone has them.   
  • Know what your core values are.  What is right, what is wrong?  Tip….if it involves shaming someone or makes you uncomfortable….it’s wrong
  • Who is offering the critique?  If the person is someone you love, respect, trust, thank them for the feedback.  They are trying to make you better.  If they are a scumbag or sniping from the outside, ignore it.

Mommy gives me this feedback on a daily basis.  I may not always react in the best manner, but I am trying to get better.

I was fortunate in a recent staff meeting to get some feedback on areas I was falling short.  The person giving the feedback pointed out issues with my communication style.  Their perceptions were the opposite of my intention, but in order to serve, you need to meet people where they are.  I value this relationship, so I will work at this.

You make your decision on your action, and then FAIL FORWARD!  You can’t erase the past, but you can learn from it and keep going.

Don’t act like a victim!  Don’t fall prey to this weak-minded thinking.

Best point to remember, your parents are always right (even when they are wrong)!

Readers, other lessons for my boys on this topic?

And that’s why I created my morning routine….

Last week, I created this morning routine to help me achieve my New Year’s Resolutions that I have been lagging behind on.  I have no problem being an early riser, but wanted to create an intentional structure to push toward specific actions and results.  This is also the best time of day to get things done before our young sons wake up and command our attention.

Alas for best-laid plans.  That was our son Sawyer’s first night on the Ferber sleep method.  I should say sleep was an oxymoron this night.  If you know anything about the Ferber method, the parents are to let the child fuss for a predetermined time frame before soothing the child.  I blew past the 5am alarm and did not get up until around 7a.

If you looked at the routine, I am trying to focus on exercise, 1-3 chores to help me strive to my goals, and prayer/meditation to help me find an inner calm and keep my patience throughout the day.  I am a fairly intense person, so getting some exercise and completing the last step of the routine is critical for me.  The 1-3 chores are decided on the night before so I do not have to think about them in the morning, wasting additional time.

I did not have the chance to do any of these, which shot my frustration level through the roof.  Jen brought Sawyer downstairs and handed him to me before I got anything done on my list.  Because she was up all of night, she also missed her start time for grocery shopping.  We both got frustrated with each other and our time crunch.

Whenever I am not able to use the morning for personal time, I feel like I am playing catch up the rest of the day.  If I am able to knock some big to-do’s out before anyone else in the house is up, it gives me momentum throughout the day.

I would love to hear about other succesful morning routines that people have, please share in the comments!

Appreciating Odd Situations….That’s What You Remember

Woody and Lucy back from their pre-dawn 3 mile walk

Woody and Lucy back from their pre-dawn 3 mile walk, while Sawyer finally is sleeping!


Yes, these pictures are hard to see.  And that’s the point of the story…..

This morning, Jen came down from upstairs with Sawyer at 315a.  She woke me up, and in a frazzled, can’t get to sleep because I am taking care of my baby boy way, asked me to take him so she could get some sleep.  Despite being so tired, she came up with the really smart idea for me to take him on a walk.  I am glad she did, I was so groggy I could not even find my glasses.

Springtime in Ohio can mean many things.  On this particular morning, it meant an overcast night with a slight breeze and 55 degrees.  We were lucky.  Sawyer and I got bundled up and our black labs Woody and Lucy got leashed up.

What a walk!  We were able to do a 4-mile loop over the next two hours.  It was great to spend this time talking to Sawyer about life (at least until he fell asleep, which was the point).

Because it was an odd situation, it something I will always remember when I think back about spending time with Sawyer.  It sounds cliche, but the kids do grow up quick.  I can’t believe he will be 7 months old tomorrow, and Ryan will be 3 this November.  The time has flown by!

In short, appreciate the unusual opportunities that come from odd situations.  They seem to create the best memories when you think back on your life.  Just think about some memories you have, did they come from unusual circumstances?

Would love to hear your stories!  Have a great day!