Monthly Archives: April 2011

I’m signing up for “101 tasks in 1001 days”

May 1, 2011 will be the start of an interesting adventure and experience for me, as a person, a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend, and a writer. Inspired by my fellow bloggers at Sarsm’s Blog and The Laughing Housewife, who themselves were inspired by the Day Zero Project, I’m taking on 101 tasks in 1001 days.

Why am I doing this? After much soul searching these past few months, and so much going on at home every day, it’s time to bring focus into my life. There have been lots of things I’ve wanted to do, but they never seem to get done. Lots of things I’d like to start working on, but I never start. Most new year’s resolutions don’t get completed because people don’t write them down. I believe the same thing applies to anything you want to do with your life, big or small. By writing them down, they become real, touchable, and we in turn become accountable, and hopefully motivated.

So I’m taking on the day-to-day challenge with my fellow bloggers Sarah and Tilly Bud. I’m counting on their support to make it through the next 1001 days and end up proud of what I’ll have accomplished. Some things on my list may seem trivial, others out of reach or unrealistic, but they’re all on it for the same reason. I want every single task (fun or not) done.

The three of us would be very happy to have you on board with us, if you’re interested in taking on the challange. Just visit Sarsm’s Blog for more details.

Deep breath… Here are the 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days.

Start date: May 1, 2011
End date: January 27, 2014
1001 days equal to:
– 2 years, 8 months, 26 days
– Almost 33 months
– A little more than 143 weeks

Home & Organization

1) Grow food plants in the garden (Spring 2011) (0/1)
2) Grow food plants in the garden (Summer / Fall 2011) (0/1)
3) Grow food plants in the garden (Spring 2012) (0/1)
4) Grow food plants in the garden (Summer / Fall 2012) (0/1)
5) Grow food plants in the garden (Spring 2013) (0/1)
6)Grow food plants in the garden (Summer / Fall 2013) (0/1)
7) Plant flowers/flowering plants in the backyard (0/1)
8) Grow strawberries (0/1)
9) Decorate our living room’s bare walls (0/1)
10) Decorate our bedroom’s bare walls (0/1)
11) Make my office an organized, well-decorated, comfortable place of inspiration (0/1)
12) Buy new tools to replace those missing from my tool box (0/1)
13) Patch the numerous small holes that decorate our walls throughout the house (0/1)
14) Install the new curtains and curtain rod for our sliding window (0/1)
15) Install microwave oven over the stove or repair the current oven (0/1)
16) Get our stove gas burners fixed (0/1)
17) Sell the baby crib by end of spring 2011 (0/1)
18) Sell or donate the baby toys and clothes in the closet and garage by end of summer 2011 (0/1)
19) Clean out and organize the kids’ closets (0/1)
20) Clean out and organize the kitchen cabinets and pantry (0/1)
21) Redo the varnish on the bathroom vanity (0/1)
22) Clean out my bedroom closet (0/1)
23) Clean out the garage (0/1)
24) Repaint the walls of my dining room and kitchen in a color I like (0/1)
25) Create a kid’s art & craft box easy to access (0/1)
26) Store the kids’ artwork in storage boxes (0/1)
27) Clean out my various email inboxes and folders (0/1)
28) Unsubscribe from emails I never read (0/1)
29) Organize and clean up my internet browser bookmarks (0/1)
30) Edit and save all family / kid photos I took since the birth of my first child in 2006 (0/1)
31) Upload the saved photos onto albums on the Shutterfly website to share with family and friends (0/1)
32) Print memorable photos of my oldest child for the large photo collage frame I bought and put it on the staircase wall (0/1)
33) Print memorable photos of my youngest child for the large photo collage frame I bought and put it on the staircase wall (0/1)

Writing

34) Spend 3 hours a day on writing activities (paid or not) during the week, 2 hours a day on weekends (0/1001)
35) Send 100 article queries to magazines and publications (0/100)
36) Post once a week to my Perfecting Motherhood blog (0/143)
37) Post once a week to my new freelance writing website’s blog (see task #51) (0/143)
38) Post once a day to my Every Day I See a Cow blog until December 31, 2011 (0/244)
39) Post 2 to 4 times a month to my Buy Products From France website (0/72)
40) Attend a writers’ meeting several times a year (0/10)
41) Join a book club (0/1)
42) Write my first book (0/1)

Reading

43) Update my list of read books on Goodreads  (0/1)
44) Read one book a week (0/143)
45) Read 30 literature classics (0/30)
46) Re-read all of the Harry Potter books in a row (0/7)
47) Read 5 to 7 new books with my kids every week (0/143)
48) Learn 3 to 5 new words every week and keep a log of them (0/143)
49) Put a list of my 20 favorite quotes together (0/20)

Career

50) Update my LinkedIn profile to highlight my writing skills and experience (0/1)
51) Create a new website for my freelance writing business (separate from my marketing website) (0/1)
52) Create an Excel spreadsheet for my business expenses and income for 2011 (0/1)
53) Track and document my business deductions and receipts for 2011 (0/1)

Family & Leisure

54) Spend one-on-one quality time once a week with my oldest (0/143)
55) Spend one-on-one quality time once a week with my youngest (0/143)
56) Establish 2 French-only days a week with my kids, including storytime (0/246)
57) Cook one large family dish every week (0/143)
58) Make/bake one family dessert every week (0/143)
59) Try 10 new recipes (0/10)
60) Bake Christmas cookies and share with friends and family (0/3)
61) Have 10 family picnics (0/10)
62) Try 10 new restaurants (0/10)
63) Go apple picking (0/1)
64) Shop at a farmer’s market (0/1)
65) Sing in the rain (0/1)
66) Enjoy some outdoor/indoor music (0/1)
67) Go whale watching (0/1)
68) Take two family vacations (0/2)
69) Make birthday cakes from scratch for every family birthday, including mine (0/15)
70) Make sure my oldest learns how to swim (0/1)
71) Make sure my youngest learns how to swim (0/1)
72) Watch one new movie with my husband every other week (0/72)
73) Watch 50 of IMDB’s Top 250 movies (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) I haven’t seen yet (0/50)
74) Email or call my sister at least once a month (0/33)
75) Pet a dolphin (0/1)
76) Pet a horse (0/1)
77) See a waterfall (0/1)
78) Walk in a forest (0/1)
79) Make a snowman (0/1)
80) Stargaze and look for shooting stars (0/1)
81) Visit a botanical garden (0/1)
82) Go to Disneyland California (0/1)
83) Go to Legoland California (0/1)

Finances

84) Rollover the 401K from my most recent job into my personal IRA (0/1)
85) Set up college savings accounts for my two kids (0/1)
86) Write a will (for myself and my husband) and get life insurance (0/1)

Health & Personal Growth

87) Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night (0/1001)
88) Take my vitamins every day (0/1001)
89) Eat at least one good source of protein every day (0/1001)
90) Drink Diet Coke on weekends only (0/143)
91) Exercise (strenuously) at least 2 times a week (0/246)
92) Check my blood pressure twice a week (0/246)
93) Get 2 mammograms (1 a year) (0/2)
94) Go a whole day without saying no (0/1)
95) Not swear for a whole week (0/1)
96) Spend a whole weekend without computer or internet access (0/1)
97) Complete 5 Sudoku puzzles (0/5)
98) Get one or more massages (0/1)
99) Take a class to learn something new (0/1)
100) Do some volunteer work (0/1)
101) Develop 3 new friendships (0/3)

Now, as the Nike people say, “Just do it!”

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Sibling rivalry: what our kids really fight about

My boys, walking side by side. No sibling rivalry here!

My boys, walking side by side. No sibling rivalry here!

Anyone with siblings knows that living with brothers and sisters has its ups and downs. Who else can give you a kiss or a hug, then just a few minutes later pull your hair, kick you, or even worse? As parents, we don’t always get to witness our kids’ quiet, tender moments but we hear the quarrels loud and clear! What the heck are siblings fighting about anyway?

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s must-read book “Nurture Shock” has a whole chapter dedicated to sibling rivalry. As a mother of two young boys, reading these 15 pages has given me a lot of insight and reassurance. Studies show siblings between the ages of 3 and 7 clash an average of 3.5 times per hour. That equals to 10 minutes of arguing every hour – how unproductive! It’s striking to learn that the way siblings interact when they’re little will remain the same in their adulthood (hopefully with less physical fights!). So anything parents can do to encourage positive sibling interactions will have lifetime consequences.

Bronson and Merryman suggest to forget about Freud and his idea that children fight over their parents’ love and attention. Poor Freud, just when I mentioned his Oedipus concept was overblown in my previous post… Well, the famous psychiatrist can roll over in his grave but the data is clear. Less than 10% of sibling fights happen to be over parental affection. As much as we’d like to think our kids worship us, we’re not the center of their arguments. So what do siblings fight about? 75-80% of arguments are about, drumroll please… TOYS!!!

This theory is 100% true at our house! No matter how many toys they have, my boys always want to play with the same one at any given time. This what I get to hear 3.5 times per hour:
“Give me that”
“I want it”
“It’s mine”
“I got it first”
“I was playing with that”
And my favorite,
“Give it back or I’m going to rip your arm off”
This one is my clue to intervene…

Even though individual personalities can shape sibling interactions, the best we can do is to help our kids develop tools for conflict prevention, not just resolution. Bronson and Merryman suggest to help them think of ways to play well together and how to work out conflicts on their own. This is a tough angle for me because my attitude towards any toy conflict is to take the toy away – problem solved! So it’s a learning process for me too – back off and let them figure it out…

Another book I really like on this subject is “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. These two brilliant ladies, also authors of “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk”, provide many tools and tips for parents and kids to handle hundreds of situations. Helping kids improve their communications skills will lead to a more peaceful household. Hmm, maybe we should implement such lessons in the workplace…

My boys still have a lot of skills to learn but it’s good for them to start early, one day at a time! When I hear them giggling and laughing, and making up some imaginary play together in peace, I know something’s working.

Have you found tools that work great to solve or avoid sibling conflicts? If so, would you mind sharing?

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