Tag Archives: Shopping

Doing Too Much For Your Kids?

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Do you do too much for your kiddos? I know that I am guilty of this from time to time, but didn’t realize just how much I do that I shouldn’t, until I tried to stop this week. Let me explain. I read an interesting article from EmpoweringParents.com last week entitled “Why Fixing Things For Your Child Does Not Help”. (It’s a great article that I highly recommend.)

In the article Sara Bean, M.Ed. explains why doing even the smallest things for your children, such as picking up their clothes or toys on a regular basis, robs them of the ability to learn how to pick up after themselves. 

“In order for children to learn how to do hard things, you have to let them go through hard times. There is no way to truly master something without experiencing it,” Ms. Bean wrote.

She then outlines other traps well-intentioned parents often fall into, such as writing or typing up homework assignments.

Well, luckily, I’m not doing that just yet. But I decided that I’d no longer pick up the towels on the bathroom floor; clothes thrown in the corner; juice boxes; snack bags; various papers; toys and socks strewn across the den. The first day went well, but during the day, when my boys were in school, I had to keep reminding myself NOT to pick up their items. When I picked up my oldest (who is the worst offender) I had to point out everything left as it was thrown, and force him to pick up, throw away, put in the laundry bin, etc. Boy did he complain!

Four days later, after starting this new campaign, I look around me as I write and see a coat on the couch, a Reese’s wrapper on the floor, a Vitamin Water bottle on a chair, and toys strewn on the floor. It’s an endless endeavor to get kids to pick up after themselves. It’s clearly not an easy fix. My son literally has the knee-jerk reaction to throw things, leave things and not put away anything. But, I’m determined to break him. And, it may just be time to re-introduce the dreaded allowance.

In the meantime, I get to nag more and to point out the messes like a drill Sargeant— but hey, at least it’s good for my child, right?

Can anyone relate?

Bagno Vignoni: Ancient Natural Spa

I was determined to visit the ancient Tuscan village of Bagno Vignoni after reading a tiny mention about it in Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine  last month. Little did I know that it would be so close to our villa! This ancient gem is home to natural warm mineral baths that Italians have travelled to for hundreds of years—typically en route to and from Rome.

When you turn off the road just before San Quirico d’Orcia, you drive into the small village with the age-old vocation as a spa. If you don’t go off the beaten path, you’ll come into this petite rectangular village with a main square wrapped around a 49 meter long pool with ancient travertine buildings and a palace erected by Bernardo Rossellino for Pope Pius II.

As you sit in the shade by this pool, you’ll notice bubbles emerging from the center that are from the outlying hot springs whose therapeutic qualities have been reknown since antiquity. A 16th century inscription calls these waters, “sacred to the nymphs.”

But if you want to travel to the outlying hot springs, you need to get on foot and walk behind the village and off the beaten path. It is well worth the trek. … And Free. You can pay to have expensive treatments within the walls of hotels in Bagno Vignoni, but why not trek down to a natural aquamarine pool at the foot of a water fall?

I took my boyfriend’s 19-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, who urged me, after we waded in the gorgeous opalescent waters and rubbed blue mud on our skin, to hike up to the water fall.

Interestingly, after centuries of mineral water flowing over them, the rocks and stone around the pools have turned into a porous, non-slippery surface.

It’s amazing as it allows you to hike barefoot, and even through the water at steep angles, without the slightest fear of sliding.

I began to feel as if I had landed on another planet.

The kids were having a ball, as the sole visitors to hike up to the water fall where the source of the waters were hotter than most showers. The feeling was amazing.

As I hiked down from the water fall, back to the pool below, the breeze from the hills surrounding the village seemed to whisper to me. My spirits lifted, even in the extreme heat.

Certain things will always bring peace and well-being: a bit of exercise, sunshine, friendly faces and a gentle breeze.

Add warm mineral waters and mud—and you’ve got a combination for deep relaxation, known for centuries.

Parenting a 3-Year-Old: Emotional Whiplash

I felt instant recognition when reading the poem “Duality” today by the blogger Ineffable Mr. Jones. (Here is a link to his beautiful poem.) I realized as I finished reading it, that it described today (and almost every Saturday for the past year) perfectly. I adore my three-year-old, but the tantrums and the screaming when I ask him to do or not do something, put me in a tailspin.

One minute I’m breathless and shaking. He’s thrown something again. He’s hit me. I’m struggling to pick him up, while he kicks, and put this 40 lb bruiser into his time out chair that I literally have to strap him into. I’m trying to stay positive, but typically fail. I wonder why I was chosen to deal with this all alone.  And then, maybe 10 minutes later, when he calms down, all I can think is how grateful I am he is here with me. I learned a few weeks ago that my rough and tumble three-year-old isn’t creating antibodies. Yup. It’s like he’s never been vaccinated. He has no antibodies to Tetnus, for instance, or Pneumococcal. That’s why he’s sick so much. That’s why he’s a cranky bugs most days. That’s why his adenoids are so swollen ALL the time and he can’t sleep well. That’s why he’s had pneumonia so often and is vulnerable to getting it again. After 20 days straight on antibiotics last month, I found a specialist and had his blood drawn. Thank God. We’re going to solve this. He’s going to be okay.  My heart swells with unconditional love and fear just thinking about it.

But…WHY he has to scream, throw things, kick and hit when he doesn’t get his way—to the extreme that he does—is driving me to the edge. It’s like emotional whiplash on a weekly basis. Today, I went from being madly in love with my little guy while playing sweetly with him—to choking down dark anger and frustration when he threw books off his bookshelf and screamed full tilt because I dared to ask him to put on his shoes a few minutes earlier. It’s the emotional equivalent of one minute cruising sweetly down a dirt road through the countryside on a gorgeous summer afternoon—to banging your head and neck on the back of the seat as you are jolted into Mach 5 speed—thrusting you madly into outer space. And this happened over and over again today, as it does on our weekends. I want so badly to stay in pasture thoughts and soul snowing love as Mr. Jones so eloquently put it. But my weekends with my little guy propel me like an emotional pendulum back and forth, again and again. I can’t let him get away with his tantrums and bad behavior. I have to be firm and put him in time out every time. I do. But it’s hilariously exhausting as I carry him up the stairs, still limping in my boot from my injury, to put him in his time out chair. But it’s what I have to do right now.

For those of you who may think I’m missing the forest through the trees, know this: Of course I’m madly in love with my little boy. Of course I’m meant to lasso this challenge and grow spiritually because of it. Of course he will grow out of this or I’ll find a specialist to help me if necessary. He has to get better physically and emotionally. I CAN do this. I HAVE to. So even though it’s been one month without a weekend off and I’ve got two more months to go, I’m going to mentally strap myself into this pendulum and remind myself to try to enjoy this maddening ride. Single parents out there, can you relate?
Here are Mr. Jones’ simple words. See if they resonate with your world:

“Duality”

by: Ineffable Mr. Jones

Turmoil…

an ocean mind..

spiritual avalanche…

bleeding….             bleeding…

Life!

* * *

Peace…

Pasture thoughts.

soul snowing.

breathing …. breathing

Love!

Life.

Finding the Light Within

Whenever I begin to feel jealousy, anger, pity or fear creep in—the four pitfalls I imagine many single moms tripping over—I stop and take a breath. I let myself step aside (sort of like a Woody Allen moment with the protagonist asking the audience for insight) and ask why I am sinking to these depths. Intellectually I know it’s not helping. Going through the process of divorce is gut-wrenching enough. Adding insult to injury by sinking to such negative thoughts, only keeps us mentally in the basement. How someone else treats us isn’t always deserved, or in any way reasonable. But knowing this, and feeling this, are two different things entirely. I understand. For two years I’ve wrestled with insecurities that I never had before. Getting to the place where I feel beautiful, loving, and like I am a gift to my children, has been a long walk of faith.

I’d like to walk that with you. I’m still finding my own way, but want to walk with you—especially those who are just going through the storm—as you hold your breath and put one foot, (metaphorically) in front of the other.

I’m currently working with a spiritual counselor and feel so blessed by her insight. One of the exercises that has helped me the most is that of meditation and focus on love. Love requires no formal religion—so no matter your faith—this exercise will help you. Over time, it creates what is called a bleed-over. The more you visualize yourself as a seed of light and love and harmony, the sooner you realize that it’s true. And once you do—no one, or anyone’s behavior—can take that away from you.

If you’ve received a crushing blow to your ego and self esteem, as many women who are dealing with infidelity have shared with me, there comes a time when those insecurities will begin to lift. Sure, there will always be people who are younger, physically more beautiful, more intelligent or more athletic than you. But these qualities don’t ultimately define us. They aren’t the essence of who we are. They don’t create the “je ne sais quoi” that the French refer to—meaning the intangible, or inexplainable quality that makes someone distinctive or attractive or irresistible. I’ve always imagined that this comes from an inexplicable source of light within a person. Have you ever met someone who isn’t quite beautiful, but his or her smile or lightness in mood or sense of goodness blows you over until you begin to think of that person akin to an angel? If you haven’t experienced this, you may think I’m nuts. If you have, you know exactly what I mean. I don’t pretend to have any of the answers for us, but I do know that we are all equal in God’s eyes. We all have access to light and love. All I know is that the more I focus on that, the less I focus on anything dark. Hurtful things people say or do begin to fall to the wayside as I focus on being a light to myself, my children and those I love.

If you are motivated, try this exercise with me for a week and let me know if it is changing your perceptions, mood, relationships with your kids, your Ex, etc.

Each night as you drift off to sleep, breathe deeply and visualize divine light bubbling up from the core of your body. It begins to spread throughout your body: up through your chest, your arms, down your legs, and out your toes, fingers and head. Say to yourself, “I am filled with light.” Imagine sharing the light with your children and even extend some love and light to your Ex, your extended family and any friends that you want to reach. Hold no other thoughts other than letting those you care about, feel light and love. Hold no agendas. Breathe deeply. Feel warmth run through your body, and begin to think of at least five things you are thankful for. Even if you can only think of things such as food, your car making it to work, or running water, be thankful for those things. The list will grow over time.

Allow yourself to drift off to sleep after saying your thanks.  Do this every night for a week. Even if you are in pain. Even if you are distracted. Perhaps especially so.

Remember, no matter what someone has done to you, it doesn’t define you. It doesn’t diminish your “je ne sais quoi” —your light within.

For some of you reading this, my words may seem a bit cheesy or saccharine. Sure, I know some of you are struggling with child custody battles, health issues, child support default, etc. The issues are heartbreaking. Perhaps this little exercise seems useless. Perhaps you think it’s silly. Try to push self-depricating thoughts aside and entertain this idea for a week anyway. What do you have to lose? Over time, you may begin to really feel that you are a source of light and love. And once you do, I have a hunch that your contagious energy will carry you forward throughout all your struggles with much more ease, confidence and less stress. And lowering stress is essential. I’m currently writing an article for a national magazine about the effects of severe stress on women’s health. It’s not pretty. Our children deserve healthy and happy moms. Lets try to give them what they—and we—deserve.

Lots of love,

Laura

Sprouting Anew

I’ve always been obsessed with trees. They have a spiritual connection for me that I can’t really explain. As a little girl, I used to walk through the horse trails on the farm and then just sit beneath the pine trees, under their canopy, and listen to the wind, wait for deer to appear, and feel safe. I painted pine trees when I was older too, and love looking up into the sky beneath the canopy of leaves of any sort.  I even meditate often with the imagery of a tree in mind. I breathe in all the ego-driven fears I’m wrestling with such as feelings of anger, anxiety, jealousy, pity, etc. and imagine breathing them up from my roots of my being and having them lift up through my body and out of my head into the lightness. I exhale it there for the universe to take care of. When I breathe in, I inhale lightness, joy and peace and let it flow like lightning through my limbs, my core, and down to my toes to land into the earth where I’m planted—where I can utilize it again when necessary. I do this for five minutes, or try to! It’s hard to be still isn’t it? (I highly recommend trying this exercise for a week to see if it helps you with any anxiety.)

Well, when one of my sisters sent me this message last week, I had to save it. I love the imagery and adore our California Redwoods. It’s perfect for those of us going through a divorce who may be wrestling with sprouting anew. I hope this brings some inspiration your way! Thanks Sarah!

“Coastal redwoods are the planet’s most enduring lifework. A fallen coastal redwood will sprout anew within three weeks. Small trees can endure more than 400 years beneath a closed forest canopy without losing their ability to grow rapidly if and when that canopy is opened.

We can be like that, too. No matter how painful our life may have been, we always have the internal resources to heal and grow into happiness. We now have the strength, insight, and spiritual tools. This combination teaches us that there is no unhappiness too great to be made better. Opening ourselves up to the miracles of recovery, we step from the dark of negativity into the light of possibility and abundance. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it does happen – one day at a time.”

Happy Holidays Contest!

I’m thrilled to announce my first contest to win fabulous parenting products! And I’m doubly excited as these are really amazing, high-end items from a Baby Brezza baby food processor— to an Evolution Robotics automatic floor cleaner.  I’m SO glad to be able to give back to you all—as this community has given me so much support over the past four months since launching NavigatingVita.

To enter, just subscribe to my blog by midnight December 30th and you’ll be entered to win some amazing prizes! If you are already a subscriber, don’t worry, you are registered. I’ll draw the six winner names on New Year’s Eve. Below is a description of the cool items, all but one, given to me by Dr. Drew’s Lifechanger’s show. Best of luck and Happy Holidays!! xo

NavigatingVita’s Happy Holiday’s Prizes:

Evolution Robotics Mint automatic floor cleaner   (worth $200.00)

timi & leslie Black Charlie II Leather Diaper Bag (worth $159.00)

Baby Brezza Baby Food Maker (worth $100.)

gogo Kidz Travelmate system  (worth $90.00)

Sleepeasy Solution DVD  (worth $24.99)