Thursday, April 20, 2017

Words from a serial procrastinator

Mom2MomEd Blog: Words from a serial procrastinator
I've been meaning to write a new blog post for three months now. It's not that I haven't had a single spare moment or the desire to do so. It's that I'm a serial procrastinator and just can't seem to get anything done lately. 

I envy those of you that are organized, efficient, and on top of your game.

I'm a hot mess.
I can pull most things together flawlessly at the last minute, but sometimes too many things pile up and I can't do anything. 
Literally anything.

Guess where I've been? Over here, just doing nothing......

Well, not exactly.

I've been teaching full time, grading papers, working at my au pair job, raising two kids, tending to a husband who has been knocked around for about six months or so, studying for two big tests, and "meaning" to do a lot of other things.

Dinners have been pizza, tacos, and anything easy. I feel so unhealthy from my poor eating habits and not having time to go for daily walks. Fresh air alone is medicine for my soul. I have the best of intentions and then snap....the day is gone. It's dinner, bath and bedtime and boom.....guess who falls asleep while putting the kids to bed? 

Don't even get me started on how often my daughter sleeps in my bed just out of survival, so I don't die of sheer exhaustion.  (You can read about how "pleasant" my daughter can be at bedtime here.)

I realize it's one of those ebb and flows of life, but damnm it's uncomfortable for me.

As a self proclaimed control freak, it's really difficult for me to feel out of control, and I definitely internalize it more than I should. I turn into a huge introvert. It's not exactly easy being a introvert with two active and social kids.

So guess what I turn into next?

A crabby mommy. 

Yea! Please tell me I'm not the only one and that someone out there in the universe can relate?

I'm really trying hard to focus on the things that are going well right now....since I am way overdue on giving an update, I thought that now would be the perfect time to spell those out!

1. My kids still love me.
No matter how many times I'm cranky, irritable, and fake playing animals, they still tell me they love me, they hug me, and they think I'm the greatest thing in the world. Kids are wonderful for our self esteem, aren't they?

2. I finally got out in my yard this week and I can't wait to plant our garden. 
The kids and I talked about our garden plan, and they love the challenge of trying to buy no produce (that isn't necessary when you have a garden--just something we want to try!) at the grocery store. We're armed with a bag of seeds and some seedlings and can't wait to get back out there!

3. I'm taking my kids to Disneyland in a couple of days.
Yep, it feels a little crazy, but I can't wait! My parents are going too, and my husband is going to enjoy a few days home alone in a quiet house. (Oh my goodness, how I would DIE for that!) I'm fortunate to be able to do that though and I'm going to enjoy every minute of that chaotic magic.

4. My husband is on my team. 
We aren't perfect, we argue, get irritated, we say things we don't mean, but we don't give up on each other. I'm thankful that I have a strong guy who lives this life with me. Not to mention that our kids are lucky to have him too!

5. I'm alive. 
Some days that is just enough. I'm walking, breathing, I have a fridge full of food, a closet full of clothes, and a house full of family. I definitely don't take the time often enough to really just be thankful. I realize how lucky I am, and I take it for granted way too often.

I had a million thoughts flowing through my head when I sat down to write this post and kept saying to myself "don't admit you're a hot mess....fake it until you make it." Right at this moment though, I don't have the energy to even fake it. 

Life is busy, life is messy and life is crazy. 

I'm not the only person/woman/mom who gets stressed out, overwhelmed or who procrastinates until it's paralyzing (right???). When Malea and I started Mom2MomEd, we decided we'd be real, no matter what. And, sometimes real is messy.

How about you? How has life been chaotic for you lately? Are you a procrastinator? What can you find to be thankful for when life is too crazy?

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Friday, April 7, 2017

A fun, FREE typing program for children

Mom2MomEd: A fun, FREE typing program for children
I'm willing to bet that your children have quite a bit of experience using technology--even if they are only toddlers! They've probably already spent some time typing on a keyboard and can likely navigate a tablet almost as well as (or maybe even better!) you.

But, when your child is plucking away on a keyboard, are they just pecking at the keys or letters and numbers with their pointer fingers? If so, you might want to start encouraging them to develop proper typing skills.

Why does this matter?

In the many years that I have been a tutor and teacher, I've noticed that the kids who learn to type properly are able to complete their work more quickly and with fewer mistakes. They also are able to process information mentally more efficiently because they don't have to waste mental energy on the act of typing--they free up brain power for learning. They also develop a skill than will help them in any number of future endeavors ranging from simply playing a game online with friends to writing an important report at work. 

I taught my son, JP, to type at age 5 and now, at age 18, his typing speed is well over mine. We both took typing tests last week, and my speed was 94 words per minute after adjusting for errors. Pretty good, right? My son blew me away with an adjusted typing speed of nearly 120 words per minute!

So, how did I teach him to type properly?

We used a little online program called Dance Mat Typing. This is a completely free, fully online typing program from BBC Bitesize, an educational website from the BBC. The program is fun and cute with lots of little animals and sound effects. 
Your kids will learn which keys should be pressed with which fingers, and where their hands should sit on the keyboard. They can practice a number of drills, starting with super simple combinations and working their way up through a few different levels.
Now, Dance Mat Typing is not a comprehensive typing program and does leave a lot to be desired, but overall it's a great starting point! I had my son start out with just a few minutes per day, repeating several segments over the course of several days, and eventually he was able to learn the key strokes and correct typing skills. From there, he was able to start using a computer keyboard properly and his speed and overall typing skills increased at a fast rate, naturally, since he had the basics nailed down.

Here are a few additional screen shots of the program:
You can check out Dance Mat Typing HERE. Be sure to come back and let us know what you think of it and if your kids benefit from it! 
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