Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Family Mission Statement T-Shirts...Take One

I have this dream of showing up at Family Camp this summer with matching t-shirts.  I'm still working on the style, fonts, etc., but here's my first attempt at a design--featuring our Family Mission Statement (which was totally written by our children).




It's funny because even though my children suggested this over and over again as our mission statement, I kept trying to make it more "professional."  Well, now we have a professional one all typed up somewhere, but the only one we can actually remember is THIS one!  I'm sure it will change over the years, but for now, this is our focus--spreading love within our family, to our neighbors, and to the world.  Just like butter on toast.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How the Power of Moms Retreat Made Me a New Mom

It has been such a boost these past couple of weeks to hear how the June Power of Moms Retreat has been an influence for good in the lives of our attendees.  It takes more hours than I can count to run this website/organization, and it means so much to know that all this work matters to someone out there. 

What's great is that the Retreat also made ME a new mom!  I've noticed that since I returned from St. George, I'm more patient, I'm more excited about life, I feel less alone during the hard times, and I feel such a hope for the future.  Just sitting in the same room with 30 motivated, dedicated, talented women helped me to see what's possible as I raise my children, and that vision isn't something you can buy.  

One specific skill I learned at the Retreat (which I want to write as ReTreat--because it was such a treat!) is how to look at the "sticky points" of my day and create solutions.  Some of the practical solutions I learned over the weekend are as follows:

  • When I want my two-year-old to open his mouth while I brush his teeth, all I need to do is ask him to repeat a series of funny noises that necessitate him opening his mouth.  It works like a charm...no more wrestling at bedtime.
  • When my children are grumpy in the car, I ask them what special treat/privilege they'd like when we get home, and I invite them to sit nicely so they can have that treat.  (It was amazing to see a whole van load of children calm down when they had a reason to do so.)
  • When one of my children whines to me in the car, I ask them to start over and say, "Mother Dearest..."  (That one always makes us smile.)
  • When I see a child who has clearly "had it" for the day, I give him/her a chance to calm down: "Sweetie, go take a shower, eat a snack, and rest for 30 minutes in your bed until dinnertime."  Why should I let cranky children keep getting more cranky?
  • When Spencer (my two-year-old) won't obey, I make it a game.  Fun and games is the key for preschoolers, according to Linda Eyre, and she's right!  Instead of getting upset with him when he wants to run all over the store parking lot, I ask him questions like, "Can you pull that HEAVY door open?  Are you strong?"  Or if he wants to play in the van instead of coming into the house, I redirect him toward something interesting in the front yard: "Wow--what color is that leaf?"  or "Want to help me find the BIG trashcan?"  Allyson came to church with me after we returned from Saren's house, and she helped Spencer stay calm through the meeting by making funny faces at him.  It was wonderful!
Being at the ReTreat helped me to see that there are tons of solutions out there that aren't difficult to implement.  I used to get flustered when my children acted like children, but now I think, "What would make this situation better?"  

Shawni gave me a great little tip that involves writing on my children's fingers.  You just grab a pen and one of your children's hands, and you put one letter on the tip of each finger--each letter representing one thing you love about that child.  I've been asking each child to come up with two things they love about themselves, and then I add three more.  They keep trying to make the letters spell something funny, and they get SO excited whenever I do this.  Thanks for the idea, Shawni!  Here's Alia, practicing the piano with her labeled hand:



And then Grace decided that I needed letters written on my hand, as well.  So cute of her.




My life isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  I've been in tears at least three times this past week as I've felt overwhelmed and exhausted with everything going on (a busy last week of school, a little boy who wakes up between 4:50 and 5:30 every morning--screaming, lots of messes, and lots of projects I want desperately to finish but can't quite manage right now), but through it all, I do feel happy. I know that everything will work out, and I know that if I keep trying, keep hanging in there, and keep taking my naps, this process of motherhood will be the best experience I can imagine.

My children are 10, 8, 7, and 2, but I am a new mom.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mind Organization for Moms Videos

For someone who really doesn't like to make videos of herself, I think it's kind of funny that I've posted two videos in a row this week.  I would never have even started making videos if it weren't for the Mom 2.0 Summit, where I learned that videos are important if you want your new friends to get to know you through the computer screen...so here you go!

Last weekend, Saren's family came and stayed with us for a few days, and an hour before they headed back to St. George, her husband, Jared, took six children to the park so Saren and I could record this video.  We were so squished into my home office that there wasn't room for Saren to sit behind the computer (which is why I'm looking up during the whole thing--she was leaning against my husband's desk).

So many people have asked if they could see how I implemented Mind Organization for Moms into my own life, and I figured this would also be a good way to better explain the system to potential M.O.M. participants.  David Allen has put together such an incredible system, and I am determined to share it with all the moms out there who are feeling as stressed out as I was.

One fun side note is that the desk I'm sitting at in this video was my Mother's Day present from my husband.  I only had a little card table before this, so he did some research on Craig's List and found this awesome desk for $20.  He drove out to the seller's home to buy it, carted it back to our house (and all the way up the stairs), and got it completely set up for me while I was out running errands.  To me, that spells ROMANCE!

Another reason I'm so excited about the desk is because it shows that you can get totally organized for less than $100...including your supplies, furniture, and the Mind Organization for Moms program.

I've got some great edits to M.O.M. "in the works" right now, and I'm trying to get them up online before my children get out of school for summer break, but these late nights are killing me, so I promised myself I'd be in bed by midnight tonight.

The program is still being offered for $30 (until September 1st), and we're also offering it free until that date to anyone who shares our site with 30 moms.  Click HERE for details.  My goal is to get 1,000 moms using the program by August 31st, so if you have any friends who want to get organized, please spread the word!

Thanks for all your support, everyone!



Here's Part 2.  Seriously, could they capture a better facial expression in the still frame?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our New Welcome Video for The Power of Moms

I STILL haven't unpacked from our Power of Moms Retreat, but this past week has been full of exciting developments with The Power of Moms, and although I am more tired now than I've ever been in my life, I'm also really optimistic about all that's in store.

Saren and her family came and stayed with us for the weekend, and we had tons of fun going to the beach, playing kickball at the park, and staying up late into the night planning the future of the website (9 children in my little house was quite a squeeze, but they all got along so well, and we were having so much fun that we didn't even notice the mess!).

Our husbands have made all this possible for us.  They've been helping us out every step of the way, and while we made the video below, they took care of the children and cleaned the kitchen...quite the memorable Father's Day, I'm sure.  (We did try to make it special for them with a nice breakfast, homemade cards, and some chocolate treats from Trader Joe's.)

So that's what's been going on here....  I'll blog more soon!

-April

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our June 2010 Power of Moms Retreat


My head is spinning after an amazing weekend at our Power of Moms Retreat.  I honestly don't know if it's possible to sum up everything I learned, felt, and experienced, but I at least want to post a few photos and share by biggest takeaways from this life-changing event.  I'm thoroughly sleep-deprived, but simultaneously ECSTATIC about the worldwide growth potential of this organization.  (I'm writing this as my two-year-old dances around me to a Barney cassette tape, so I can't guarantee complete coherence!)

We started out with some "Speed-Friendshipping" as our 30 participants arrived.  We switched parters every five minutes, and everyone received a little list of questions to help get to know one another in preparation for our discussion-rich classes.   



This was such a fun way to make fast friends.  I had a hard time holding back on the hugs.




Isn't it great to see moms relaxing and smiling together?




I think one of the best parts of a Retreat is not having to cook your own food.  Red Mountain Spa had some amazing gourmet food.  It was TOTALLY on the healthy side, so I'll admit I could have used a little more "comfort" food, but I lost a pound over the weekend, so that was a nice bonus.




I loved getting to see Saren, Shawni, and Linda together...they are incredible.  (During this photo shoot, Shawni was checking in on Lucy who was being babysat at Saren's house.)




Here's what our conference room looked like.  It had a nice, intimate feel, and we all took turns sharing our ideas, asking questions, etc.  LOVE these women.




Here's a photo of four of our five presenters: Me, Linda, Saren, and Allyson.  I feel incredibly privileged to know these women.



We played some games at night.  You know those crazy get-to-know-you games you played at camp when you were young?  Well, that's what we did.  I was giddy with excitement.  At one point, when we were all sitting in two rows, holding hands, playing "Lightning," I said, "Do you think there is another group of moms in the ENTIRE WORLD playing this game right now?  

It got a little dark, so it was kind of hard to see each other, and I think a few moms felt like we were holding them captive at the game night (sorry, ladies!), but overall, I think it bonded us together.  Here's half our group with Saren,



and here's the other half with me (sometimes we had to split up to make the games more manageable).  From left to right are Miken, Laura, Laurie, Tiffany, Lindsay, Aubrey, Mary, Me, Megan, Heather, Allyson, Erika, Amber, and Danielle.




Below is a photo I took of one of my favorite conversations this weekend.  These three darling girls are part of one of our Learning Circles in Arizona.  They told us how their group of 12 women gathers each month--having read the assigned article AND the suggested articles--and they stay on task, discuss how to improve as mothers, and provide an environment where they can all grow into the mothers and women they want to be.  I had to snap a photo because this means so much to us.  Learning Circles are 100% Saren's vision, and seeing them in action is beyond amazing.   If you haven't started one yet, we've got a summer special going on...sign up!




A few of us got up early in the morning and went walking on the Lava Loop trail.  St. George is absolutely gorgeous.  We all wish we could have stayed there a week so we could have enjoyed the outdoors a bit more.




Below is a photo of one of the best classes of the Retreat for me.  Saren, Shawni, and Linda (Eyre) taught us about Family Systems--how to help our children to behave, manage resources, and feel a strong family identity.  If you were to search the world for a team of women to teach on this topic, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone more qualified.  I've been a new mom in the 24 hours since I returned home (more on that later).




I need to do an entire post on what's going on with Mind Organization for Moms, as well.  I had the chance to teach the whole program to our group, and it turned out better than I imagined.  I can't wait to get this out to more moms across the world.


When the Retreat ended, I had the pleasure of hearing Mindy and Valerie sing a "Power of Moms Retreat" song Mindy wrote in honor of the event.  This great guitarrist was scheduled to play at the Red Mountain Spa restaurant that night, so he graciously accompanied them.  I'm in the process of uploading this to YouTube...I'll publish it as soon as I can!



As I was driving home with Allyson and Laurie, we were having such a great time discussing everything we learned that we didn't realize we were RUNNING OUT OF GAS!  Allyson literally coasted off the freeway, and we came to a stop 20 yards from a gas pump.  What are the odds?  As soon as we stopped the car, six men came running over and pushed us up to the pump.  Our heroes!



If you think you might like to attend our next Retreat (or one of the Retreats or Workshops put on by our new Power of Moms Trainers), please be sure to sign up for our newsletter.  It will be wonderful!  You'll return home feeling relaxed, motivated, and truly happy with your life.
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