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Writing Wednesday – #2 – 30 Minutes/Day Is All You Need

Pale Pink Floral Belated Birthday Facebook Post

If you’re like me, you have a LOT of things going on.

  • Day job
  • Maybe some freelance jobs
  • Kids/Friends/Spouse
  • The Windows… They are so smudgy…Is that grime in the shape of unicorn riding a squirrel?—FOCUS!

It can be hard to find time to do the writing you really want to do – the heart project that makes you sing. The one you know can actually get you OUT of your day job down the road.

Undisciplined? Hey, I Resemble That Remark!

I hemmed and hawed over “no time” and “too much going on with the kids” for years, and it finally became crystal clear to me that the guilt and frustration in my soul of not doing it far outweighed the inconvenience of actually doing it.

And so, now, I’m doing it.

And the kids still love me.

In fact, they are seeing a far happier mother.

And it that feels amazing.

And you can do it, too. Kids or no kids, spouse or no spouse, dirty windows full of mystical riding rodents or not.

Here’s how.

10 Tips For Writing 5 Days/Week – No Matter What

  1. Put it on the Calendar: Every day, put that one heart project on the calendar. My motto is “I build my busy time around my writing and not the other way around.” NOTE: Mothering is not busy time. Attending to my children’s needs is not busy time. Organizing their closets while screaming at them to not make “Street Urchin” a career because I’m procrastinating about what I really need to be doing? That’s busy time.
  2. Keep it Short: 30 minutes from start to finish is all you need. If you are like me and need some wind up, schedule in a bit more time, but know that 30 is all you need to really write.
  3. Let your Family Know: Let your unending pit of needs from everyone in the universe sweet family and friends ones know when you are going to write and be clear about it. (Tip: This might take a few weeks to get running. Expect that. You might be like me – used to being there at the drop of a hat. That has to change. The kids won’t die if you aren’t there to solve the mystery of where the last juice box went and whose it really belongs to. In fact, if they can’t solve it on their own – peacefully – they don’t need it.)
  4. Dedicate Space: For me, it’s my Clowfice (Closet/Office)

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Or the Shirage. (Combo of She Shed and Garage)

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It’s not fancy but my ego is not my amigo. Until I get my swanky studio, I’ll make due with what I can. Some of you lucky ducks actually have a real office. If you happen to live locally to me, don’t be shocked to see a six foot wacky writer at your door. Confused? Refer to #5:

5. Have an Alternate Space: Can’t work at home? Join the club. Find a friend’s house, a coffee shop, the library or even the car. Any place that you can work outside your home if being in your home will turn you into a crazy person.

6. Have a Mentor: For me, this is a fellow writing friend who is kicking my butt. She stays at home full-time and makes as much writing as I do working at a school. (Maybe more? None of my business. In fact, she’s not even my official mentor, but I study her business model and find her counsel wise. Plus she talks to me without wanting to throw up, so that’s a plus. ) I value her because this saint is not hiring me to work for her, nor is she living with me. Her only concern is my heart, what I want to do, and making sure I’m not more lazy than Stink and my dog whose whose current summer schedule includes sleeping until 12PM which, frankly, works for me. More time to write!

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7. Task vs. Time: This one is HUGE for me. My A-Type personality used to freeeeeeaky freak out that I didn’t make allotted calendar time. My mentor gently reminded me to calm the blexxx! down and instead focus on getting what I need to accomplish that day. (She doesn’t say bleexx! She’s a good Christian devotional writer. I think nasty comments for her.) My point: apparently I can get my task done at a different time than anticipated. Who knew!? (Note: This means planning out my writing so I know what my task is! I know… organized! It’s crazy! And guess what! I still don’t do that! Work in progress!)

8. Get Inspired: Put something on the wall that speaks to your soul. For me it’s this handmade 8 x 10 canvas created by Lily (name changed) – a sweet friend from my private Tourettes support group, Twitch and Bitch.

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She created it for me about 3 years ago. It came at a time when I didn’t know what my purpose was. It reminds me that I am not the center of the universe and that writing is awesome, but only if it’s done to serve others. I am God’s kid, first. My talents are from Him. (Again, my ego is not my amigo and throws a tantrum about this daily. It’s fun watching the duel when I remember not to take myself too seriously.)

9. Turn Off Devices: Facebook? Cell phone? Twitter? Buh Bye. Enough said.

10. Turn Off Your Brain: This is often the hardest. For me, it’s saying a prayer before I start. It’s kind self-talk. “Andrea, you are worth this time to work on you.”

What Kind of Writing to Spend 30 Minutes On?

For me, this writing is not my freelance jobs or my blogging. This is my heart work.

  • My pilot
  • My musical outline
  • My new book idea.

Those 3 items above? They will easily take me a year at the rate I’m going. I’m sorry, but my kids are a priority. I work a day job. It’s the reality of my life.

The Schedule’s Affect on My Psyche

Sweet relief!

Why?

My dreams are not being forgotten.

My soul can come out and play again.

And so can yours.

So, what do you think of the list? Any suggestions?

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

book front and back

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MTHFR Gene Post #2 – Got Tics? READ THIS!

Happy Tic Tuesday!

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As you can see, my pit bull lab mix is terribly excited about this topic. And you will be, too! And so, my friends, I give you….

More on the MTHFR Gene!

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No, it’s not translated as the Mother Fxxer Gene (though if your child has a defect in this gene, it may cause tics, Tourettes or a variety of other issues, which could cause you to curse in frustration. But there’s hope! Just read along.)

MTHFR stands for Methyl-Tetrahydrofolate Reductase, an enzyme which is in charge of the process of methylation in every each and every cell in your body. Methylation is a fancy way of saying “absorption.” If your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients, your body can’t function at an optimal level.

A Faulty MTHFR Gene – 2 Types

There are usually 2 types of MTHFR variations that can cause issues:

  • Homozygous
  • Heterozygous

Oh no! On top of being a mother fxxr we’re also dealing with gay vs. straight genes? Peace, people! It’s less confusing than it seems.

2 Genes Broken Down

If your child is Heterozygous (AKA: A1298) this means that he or she has one affected gene from the parent and one normal gene. It means their enzyme function will run at approximately 60% compared to a child that has no mutated MTHFR gene.

If your child is Homozygous (AKA C677T) it means they have 2 mutated copies of the gene, and their enzyme effience/absorption abilities plummet to 20 or 10%.

Vitamins With Optimal Absorption Are Key

Here’s where hope comes in. Once you know if your child has a gene mutation that is not processing his or her vitamins, then you can treat it through methylating vitamins. They are often much more expensive than regular vitamins, but the idea is that your child’s body will function at a much higher level than before as it’s they will finally be absorbing the fuel they need to run.

How to Test? How to Proceed?

You can test your child through 23 and Me,

The Best B12 Methylating Vitamins for Kids with MTHFR

Honestly, I don’t know yet. I’m still wrapping my head around this.

I owe you a copy of the vitamins Farmer Stacey uses for her son’s MTHFR gene mutation.

So What’s Next?

I am obviously no doctor – I’m just a concerned mama who is going to get her teenage boy tested. I advise that once you get the test results from 23 and Me, talk to an integrative doctor or check back with me in a few months and I’ll tell you what vitamins I am using.

Dr. Jill Carnahan on MTHFR

There’s a lot of sites out there on this topic. I found this one by Dr. Jill Carnahan to break it down with a good dose of science and layman’s terms.

Update on Stink’s Tics

And on that note, I’m off to watch an episode of Gravity Falls with my son. For those that have followed me from the beginning, Stink is doing amazing. He’s no longer dairy free and on no vitamins. Some shakes and tremors, but happy to be a ticker. I don’t push him toward any treatment, but if he does have the MTHFR gene I will be insisting he take a folating vitamin every day for his health. I will do so not as a controlling “I’m going to fix your tics” teenage mom. I honestly don’t believe it’s my business to do that anymore. I will insist due to his health. After all, he’s his own person. My only job is to keep him safe and love him like a MTHFR.

And I do.

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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There’s Nothing Outside of Yourself You Need to Be Happy (Except Maybe Headphones)

 

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I live in house with a husband, 2 kids, a pit bull and a room mate. Given that we have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this does not give us a lot of space. (I admit it. I’ve peed in the backyard at times. No one knows this but a few close friends. And, well, now everyone who reads this blog. Don’t judge.)

I’m completely aware that people in other countries live 8 to a room (heck, the kids I assist at a Title 1 grammar school one city away live 8 to an apartment) so I try not to complain. Each day I write gratitude lists.

“Thank you God for the giant oak tree that shades the cramped dining room poor excuse for a bedroom  sacred space I share with Rex.”

“Thank you God for our fridge full of vegan hot dogs and gelitin-free food for my entitled/have no idea how much it costs big-hearted teenagers whose sweet souls are always thinking of animals.”

And, speaking of teenagers, “Thank you God for my beautiful daughter who today is 13. Today.”

Today, folks.

My round faced china doll girl of yore has morphed into long legs and curvy hips. Her Betty Page throw back hair style has been replaced with long brown locks. She has zits near those gorgeous dimples. And, as much as I grieve the few stains on her lovely face, I pray sometimes that, to borrow a similar statement from Farmer Stacey, ‘May God keep her pimply and humble.’ I’m not ready for what comes with the other.

Today I picked up my son from the train station. He had just returned from five days of visiting his best friend who lives 4 hours away. I swear, he stepped off that train and I didn’t recognize him.

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Stink: (Low Man Voice) “Hey, Pipsqueak.”

Pip: “Hi, Stink!”

Miss L: “Give us your bag!”

And so he did. My girl, her bestie and him. They walked side by side to the car, talking the pros and cons of the Hogswart Express vs. Amtrak. (Yes, there’s delicious food. Unfortunately no chocolate frogs or magical playing cards. Darnit.)

I often wear headphones, like the ones below, to get some space from the constant noise and chaos that surrounds this busy home.

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But when I stay in gratitude, I am so often overwhelmed with how it’s also a happy home with all its clanking, banging and raucous laughter. And I will miss these days when they are gone.

Quiet is good to calm the mind, but when push comes to shove, I don’t know if I’d have it any other way.

As my sponsor often tells me, “You don’t need anything outside of yourself to be happy.” And while I often want to punch her in the face cringe when she says that, she’s right. I am learning, slowly, that there is a lesson in everything.

And today, the lesson was clear yet again: head phones can give me a little breathing room to find myself amongst the dog barking, the door bell ringing, the Jehovah Witnesses preaching, but always remember I am my best self when I am surrounded by people I love.

And so, I will be taking off these suckers in a moment. I will be saying prayers with my kids upstairs. I will crawl into bed next to Rex, and I will once again say thank you to a God who I don’t always understand, but I know gives me everything I need. And I don’t need to find him outside of myself.

And neither do you.

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Fun Friday – Sombreros for Taco Tuesday

I just got back from a beautiful trip to Lake Shasta. The trees were so green. The water was so blue. I kayaked without killing myself. #Itwasasuccess.

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While the views were outstanding, there was something even more incredible that took place in that beautiful country. It was something that, if I’m not careful – especially in my parenting- I can overlook. It’s called “Fun.”

From a spirited conversation on the plane ride over, to dinner out, lunch out and some amazing home cooked meals by Farmer Stacey, I didn’t have much to do other than to relate my stories, listen to hers and laugh.

While vacations can’t truly compare to real life (especially when I was blessed enough to not pay for the trip myself) it did remind me that life doesn’t have to be such a bore all the time. I can get so caught up in what “has” to get done (cooking, cleaning, shopping, working) that I forget what I “get” to do (talk with my kids, chuckle at a show with my husband, call up my  mom and dish over the time my father’s pants fell off in a Costco parking lot while talking to my sister about a great deal on Diet Coke.)

One of the things we do every Tuesday is eat tacos. But not just any tacos. Boring healthy kid-approved vegetarian tacos. (The teens aren’t vegan yet. I don’t have to mortgage the house for Whole Foods “Looks Like Queso Tastes Like Crappo” cheddar. Our veggie tacos are a simple fix of tortillas, beans, rice, lettuce, salsa and cheese.)

And sombreros!

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A few years ago I scored 8 cheesy sombreros for $4 at a Salvation Army discount day. Do they go with my retro tan and cream checkered floors? No. But is it hilarious to watch an unsuspecting guest put one on before saying the blessing over our food? Si, senoritas!

Until we get lice, we’ll be wearing those ridiculous over sized, Mexican noggin’ covers. On the inside, my kids are secretly dying at the absurdity of their six-one mother rocking out to mariachi music while wearing a cone shaped hat over her messy bun. But on the inside, secretly, I think they want some shakers to go with it.

Because it’s goofy.

And ridiculous.

And it’s fun.

And sometimes, you just have to go for it, mis amigos.

“Our egos are not our amigos!” I say, “Let’s drop the perfect routine and act like dorks because we can!”

PS: I don’t really think lice would stop my tradition. If you ever plan on visiting, you might consider making it a Wacky Wednesday instead. On those days, we just talk about camels and shout, Hump Daaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy at each other. Equally as enlightening!

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What about you? What do you do just for fun? I’d love to know!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Writing Wednesday: Websites, Schedules and the reminder to JUST DO IT

The day before I left for Mt. Shasta I was supposed to be marketing for my husband’s business. As he sat to my left, back erect, hair as in place as the retirement account he’d love us to have, I sat at his right: tank top stained, gray hairs popping up, pretending to be actively finding new clients for his computer business, but instead, I was website hunting.

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For a writer like me, website hunting is like house hunting. It’s all about location location location. What’s the address? Will people be comfortable there? As much as I’d like a “fix it up myself” charmer, I’m not sure I can handle the creaks and leaks that come with a DIY space that involves website ads, video posts and more than a few pages with back splashes containing more than its share of kitsch meets damask. And pit bulls. I love those suckers.

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On my list of many things to do to move forward with my writing is brand it. That means a new site. Which, well, is scary, because that costs money. And time. And how will I get it done in between getting the kids off to camp (or worse, keeping them out of my hair while they are not at camp so I can write) and feeding the family (and feeding the pit bull) and OH MY GOSH THAT NEIGHBOR KID IS HERE AGAIN and the LAUNDRY… THE LAUNDRY… KILL ME NOW!

Get Over It, Andrea

After talking to a dear writer friend last week, as well as an agent from the Blythe Daniel Agency today, a few things have become crystal clear to me. In addition to a newer website, I need to be able to answer a few questions. Then, and only then, will I be able to jump off the rat’s wheel of working a day job and leave my smaller freelance article writing behind.  (Though bless you freelance gigs… you’re amazing and… note to self… update your freelance site, girl!)

If you want to join me in moving forward with your writing career, you’ll need to answer the same questions I am about to.

4 Questions to Answer to Write Full Time

  1. What do you want to focus on?
  2. How will you build your brand?
  3. How much time per week will you commit to it?
  4. Can you have fun doing it?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my main goal – in all of this – is to be present for my family. If I can’t have fun and stay connected to my kids, then all of this is in vain.

To quote my sweet friend, “You need to get disciplined. It’s the only way. JUST DO IT.”

And so I am. Here is how I broke down what I want and how I want to get there. Maybe you will have something similar?

My Dreams

  1. Make a full time income from writing

What Kind of Writing?

TV Writing & Books

How?

  • Finish pilot this summer
  • Outline next book this summer

When?

2 hours/day – Monday – Thursday (Friday is my off day to be with my babies!)

1 Saturday/month where hubby takes kids so I can write.

Branding?

Tweet, FB and blog 4x/week

Don’t Like Marketing Social Media?

Too bad. Just do it.

Reminder to Self Why I Must Market on Social Media (Even if I don’t want to)

To sell the books I’ll need an audience.

To get an audience, I’ll need content.

Once the content is created, I’ll need to put it out on social media so people can find me.

Then, and only then, will I have the opportunity to push my next book through a larger distribution channel such as a Harper Collins. (Full disclosure: I met an agent from Harper Collins at the Southern California Christian Writers Conference. She was connected, smart and brutally honest.

Her: “Your book sounds amazing.”

Me: “Thanks! (Stars in my eyes I know I’m going to make a million dollars thank God I spent 20 bucks in gas to get to this conference)

Her: “How many followers do you have on Twitter?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Her: “How many followers do you have on Facebook?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Her: “How many subscribers do you have on your blog?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Her: “Why should we bring you on board with us?”

Me: “I know. (Gulp of Reality) You shouldn’t.”

But What About Your Small Press?

Small presses are great, such as the one my book is already with at Armonia Publishing.

The downside of a small press? Less distribution.

The upside? More residuals.

The downside? Less distribution means less copies sold, so not a heck of a lot of money.

The upside: If I market my books like I’m supposed to – if I BRAND myself better – I’ll have a built in audience which means more books sell which means more money in my pocket.

OH MY GOD IT’S SO BORING

Reality sucks go back to drinking and live in your land of delusion. Having a plan may seem boring, but in reality, it’s liberating. I’m tired of waiting for my husband to make a fortune so I can sit and write and dream and create without the day job. Creating and writing happens within the laundry, the cooking, the doctor’s appointments, the day to day grind of work at a school combined with freelance and the very messy/unpredictable/when will it stop deal we call life.

How Do I Know the Above List Makes Sense?

The idea of it doesn’t make me sad. My brain might have told me last year, “Get a job teaching Special Ed! It’s predictable and you love the kids and it’s good pay!” But my soul screamed at me, “No! Don’t do it! Choose me! Be free! Do what God put you on the earth to do!”

And so I will.

And that makes me so incredibly happy. Because for the first time in a very long time, I’m putting me at the top of the to-do list.

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And you can, too. Are you ready to get organized to make your dreams happen? Tell me about your plan in the comments below.

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

 

book front and back

 

 

That’s One Mother FTHR Gene – MTFHR and Tics

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(photo credit: Mommypotamus)

Welcome to Tic Tuesday!

I’m so excited you’re here! But… I won’t lie – I’m tired. I have been up since 4am and it’s almost midnight in Mt. Shasta – a beautiful mountain town in Northern California that I’m just visiting for the first time.

My dear friend Stacey, who I met when she read me over at BabyCenter, flew me out to the home she shares with her five boys. FIVE. That’s about as shocking to me as the original diagnosis of T.S. my son got 10 years ago.

The reason I’m telling you about Stacey’s boys? Irony of irony – one of her sons developed a pretty serious tic condition right after leaving my house 2 years ago. (Quick – get off the computer before you catch Tourettes!) Stacey has done a LOT to heal her son’s symptoms, including the GAPS diet and following an environmental doctor’s supplement plan. I’ll talk more about these things in my next posts, but for now I want to talk about the MTHFR gene which, when undetected, had prevented her son’s healing. It might be affecting your kid, too!

MTHFR – What is That?

MTHFR stands for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene. Say it five times fast: methyl-ene-tetra-hydro-folate-reductase.

To be more simple, it’s an enzyme in our bodies. This enzyme adds a methyl group to folic acid which helps the body properly use vitamins such as B6. If the gene is mutated, your child’s body is not able to get the nutrition it needs. This can cause all sorts of problems from mood swings, ADHD issues, depression and, you guessed it, tics.

Treatment

Specific vitamins can be given to your child that will help him or her absorb the nutrients they need. I will ask my friend specifically about the brand she uses and post before the week is up.

How to Diagnose

The diagnosis for this mutation is pretty simple. You can request a blood test from most naturopaths or do a saliva test for $199 through 23 and Me.

Excellent Blog Post on MTHFR

The Mommypotamus blog does an excellent job explaining more about the MTHFR gene here.

I’d talk more about how a man ten years younger than me flirted with me for two hours on the plane. (Yes, I told my husband. Relax, people. We only made out at the gift store later talked.  And it made me realize, as nice as he was, I’m so glad not to be in the dating world. I have the personality of an outgoing New Yorker but the insides of a stodgy librarian. It’s fun being me!)

I’d tell you about how Stacey had to bolt from the couch downstairs because a black bear decided to dig through her trash can and eat some of her organic GAPS brownie leftovers.

I’d tell you about how my sweet husband was kind enough to get up at 4am to get his wife onto a bus to get me to an airport where I almost lost my breakfast waiting for the second shuttle to arrive at the airport gate where I could dodge into a restroom.

But if I do, I might start ticking, and it’s not from the MTHFR gene. I’m just bone crushing tired.

New to T.S.? Come back next week!

You are not alone. Your child will be fine, and so will you. I promise. I do.

Until tomorrow,

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Happily Ticked Off is Changing…But Not. Join Me!

For those of you who are used to me writing just about Tourettes, don’t leave me! I’m going to be devoting every Tuesday to Tics. But, along with the theme of Happily Ticked Off, I’m also using this site to share what I’m going to start doing to get truly happy in my every day life. And I hope it will encourage you to do the same.

Here at Happily Ticked Off You Can Expect:

  1. Mystery Monday – I will write what I want! (Book reviews, interviews with authors, recipes for Camel Milk pudding. It’s a grab bag for sure!)

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(It’s a real thing… I can’t make this up)

2. Tic Tuesday – What’s new in the world of tics, Tourettes and Special Needs? Let’s support each other in raising our special needs kids. Whether its Tourettes, Autism or any diagnosis you weren’t expecting, here you’ll find a place for hope, healing and strength to deal with whatever comes your way. (And laughter. Because if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. And you’ve done enough of that!)

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3. Writing Wednesday –  This will be for you writers out there! Tips, questions, struggles and life related to art, writing and balancing what keeps our souls alive with day jobs, families, and real life stuff. (No, we can’t all sit in our skybraries all day and write the next Great American Novel or camel themed musical. But that’s the goal! And isn’t that couch amazing?)

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4. Fun Friday

These posts are going to be talking about how to put the fun back into parenting. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of freaking out over spending all this money I don’t have to provide fun for my kids that, at the end of the day, they don’t always need. It’s not about paying for fun that makes a difference, it’s being fun that kids remember.

EX: As much as I’d love to spend a week, all expenses paid, at the Great Wolf Lodge… obsessing over my 47 year old body while careening down germ infested water slides and bragging to my friends on Facebook who are sitting at home flogging themselves over having overdue library fines AGAIN and now their kids can’t find the books that are due in the first place darnit and… oh wait, that’s me… I’d rather focus on how I, as Mama, can bring humor and joy right back to my wolf pack at home.

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We’re Enough, Moms!

We can all get so stuck in what we think we should be doing for our kids, we forget that just being who we are is enough.

Yes, enough.

Even with the fridge missing the organic food.

Even with the running late to church. Again.

Even with the misplaced keys. Again.

Even with the career… or lack of career… or in between insanity of a career.

Time for Fun

I am no guru. There can be days when I’m feeling too busy to bring on the fun. But those days – especially those days – are when I need to be intentional about it. Otherwise, parenting is just one more thing on an already crowded to-do list. And really, that would be kind of lame. Lets support each other in the journey to walk on the lighter side of life. Wouldn’t a little more singing, a little less shouting, be lovely? Let’s do this together!

Until next time,

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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