Tuesday, December 13, 2011

duct tape has many uses

We went to Carson's Parent - Teacher Conference about a month ago.  When we sat down with his Teacher, Mrs. Douglass, she begins by telling us how great Carson is and how friendly he is.  She said that he gets along with everyone and is amazed at how friendly he is.  "I mean really, everyone like this kid!"  But of course this is followed with the dreaded "HOWEVER".  "However.... he never ever ever ever stops talking.  I mean never ever ever ever ever ever ever stops talking.  Even when I am talking."  (OK.  We get the point lady!)  She looked at Carson and said "Would it help if we moved you to a different seat Carson?"  Jokingly, I said "maybe you should move him next to a girl so he won't talk so much!"  Mrs. Douglass smirked and said "Oh yeah right - that  won't help!  He'll probably talk more!"  LOL  So she moved him to the very front of the class in an effort to keep his attention longer and limit his little motor mouth from running all day long.  I figured it was working as I haven't received any notes home or anything.

Fast forward to today.  I was in Carson's classroom volunteering as I do every other Monday afternoon.  I was saying goodbye to Carson and his teacher out in the hall way (I wasn't allowed in the classroom because the kids were making Christmas gifts for their parents.) and his teacher says "Carson is such a joy!  Oh, and if you could send him with some duct tape tomorrow that would be great!"  Thinking she was serious, I replied with "Of course, how much do you need?"  Again, she laughs and says "Just enough to fit over his mouth!"  I laugh too and tell her that if she finds some that works, to let me know!  :)

It's so funny how different the boys are.  I know I've said this before, but really.  Just the other day I asked Hunter's preschool teacher, Miss Gina, how he was doing.  She said "Oh is doing so great.  He is certainly a great kid.  I have no problems with him.  In fact, it would be great if he talked more in class."  Well... I know someone who can teach him.

We had a quick review with our nanny today to see how things are going, address any issues, etc.  Of course the only struggles she has are with Carson and how he "likes to push the limits."  (She actually does a really good job of not letting him push those limits and sticks to consequences.)  So then Brad asks; "What about Hunter?  Do you have any challenges with him?"  "NOPE!  He is great!"  she says.  "Nothing.  No issue at all?"  "No, he just goes along with whatever.  He does what I ask.  He doesn't push me.  He's great."  Brad and I look at each other and without even saying anything, I just know what he is thinking (because it's what I'm thinking too); Carson is your child, Alicia!  And sadly it's SO true.  Carson is soo much like me... tightly wound, loud, emotional, impatient, confident, stubborn.  And Hunter is ALL Brad; laid back, easy going, quiet, patient, very selfless.

So I come to this same recurring parenting challenge/question... how do I help Carson channel these characteristics to be strengths and not weaknesses?!  It's a great thing to be passionate and willing to show emotion, but how do you make sure this doesn't manifest in being an emotional drama king (as he often is.)  It's incredibly beneficial to have confidence... but not to be cocky.  It's a strength to be proactive and be a "do-er."  How do we channel this away from being impatient and acting with out thought?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holdaway house rules

while watching the Cowboys vs Giants game;
Carson: "Hunter, we can't cheer for the Cowboys."
Hunter: "I know. It's a rule in this house. You can't cheer for BYU either"
Carson: "If we do... I bet mom will kick us out of the house."

Well, at least they know where I stand.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas in London

Carson is doing a "Christmas around the world" project at school.  Each student is to learn about Christmas in a different culture.  They encouraged the students to ask someone they know who is from or lived in a different country.  Carson's "Nana" (brad's mom) is from England so Carson asked her what Christmas is like in London.  The three things he learned were;
1. They call Santa "Father Christmas", not Santa.
2. They made their own Christmas ornaments
3. It is very cold at Christmas time and snows a LOT.

The other part of the project was to "dress" a paper doll to show what a kid may be wearing at Christmas time in London.  Nana told him that he would most likely be wearing grey or black shorts.  Black or grey shoes.  Long black socks, and a blazer.  So Carson and I went to my scrapbooking stuff and he picked out different patterned paper to dress his doll.  I drew a blazer and cut it out, traced the pattern for shorts and he did the rest... this is the final product:

Nana will now go to his class next week and teach the kids about Christmas traditions in England.  Carson has been counting down the days.  He is so excited to show off his Nana.

a lesson learned

November 28, 2011

I had one of those rare moments today where you feel that maybe... just maybe your kids are getting it.  Two moments actually.  
Carson had his friend, Logan over and they were playing upstairs in the loft.  Logan is 12 years old and in all honestly, I don't love Carson playing with him.  Not because Logan isn't a good kid, he's actually a sweetheart.  I just don't like the age span.  I feel like with Carson in 2nd grade and Logan in 6th grade, it's inevitable that Logan is going to talk about things or want to do things that are too mature or inappropriate for Carson.  I don't know, maybe I am just being too protective.  I do allow him to play with Logan, I just limit it.  Anyway... back to today.  As Carson and Logan are walking down the stairs, I hear the tail end of their conversation and it's something like this;
"yeah... dude.  I just had to cancel it because of how much it cost.  I use to talk to my friends all the time on my cell phone but now it's cancelled."  Um... Carson does NOT nor has he EVER had a cell phone of his own.  We've made it quite clear that we won't even entertain the thought of him having a cell phone until Junior High and only then will we entertain the idea.  Brad and I look at each other like "did he just say what I thought he said?!" At first we just kind of laughed it off.  But then I started thinking about it and it's these exact situations that concern me with him playing with someone who is this much older.  This comment could only have come from the motive of wanting to impress Logan.  It's not too unlikely that at 12yo, Logan and or his friends may very well have cell phones.  So... I decided to address it.  I called Carson in to the other room, away from everyone.  When I asked him about his statement you could immediately see his mind going to work... what do I say?  Do I lie?  What's my excuse?  So, just as immediately, I said, "Carson... we heard what you said sweetie.  Please just tell me the truth.  Why would you tell him you had a cell phone?"  He took a big gulp and said I don't know.  I asked him if he was trying to impress him and he, with great hesitance, said yes.  Of course I went on to explain how important it is to be honest and if you have to lie to impress your friends then there is something wrong.  "If you really want to impress him, go in there and admit to Logan that you lied and apologize for it."  I thought for sure he was going to argue this (I mean really, there's not a single one of us that likes to admit when we're wrong... especially that you lied.)  To my surprise, he simply said ok... walked in there and said "Dude, I lied about the cell phone.  I never had a cell phone!"  Also to my surprise, Logan answered with "I know.  It's cool."  I was so thankful for Logan's response.  It helped drive home for Carson that in spite of how hard it is to admit to when you've done wrong, it will always be better in the long run.  I was really proud of Carson for taking that "like a man" :) and doing what was right.  

Just hours later, Carson was arguing about something (I don't even remember what started the argument.)  It escalated to the point that he was sent to his room for the night an hour before bedtime.  He was WAY out of line and yelled and argued and hit my arm.  
After much crying and what sounded like throwing things around in his room, he yelled out to me and asked that I come in his room for a second.  I was prepared for him to beg me to let him come out.  Instead, he said with true sadness on his face, "Mom, I'm really sorry.  I should never ever hit you and I acted inappropriately.  I know you are just disciplining me and you do really love me."  Um... come again!?  Who are you and what did you do with my son?  WOW.  Once again I was able to use this to drive home how when you take control over your emotions and admit when you have done wrong, it always ends up a better situation than if you continue to do wrong.  I told him how much that meant to me and how proud I was that he was willing to apologize and realize his actions were unacceptable.  

Parenting is so incredibly hard.  Sometimes... most of the time... I feel like I am talking to a brick wall.  It's moments like these that help us grow as parents so we can continue to believe in the tough love and discipline we offer our kids.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Carson's marathon birthday

The night before his birthday, we went to the local Aquatic center with some friends.  It was great!  the kids got to swim, eat pizza and cupcakes!!

Birthday Boy

the whirl pool

The leaning tower of cupcakes

Did I get it all?!

After 4 mini cupcakes, Hunter was COVERED in chocolate

Little miss Rylee and Hunter

Cheese face!

The morning of his birthday, he opened presents from Mom and Dad.

new books

For Carson's birthday dinner, he chose the Bonsai.  

Carson's artwork on our picture at Bonsai...

I said Marathon birthday didn't I?  The day after his birthday, we got together with my family to celebrate the big 8!  Unfortunately I didn't take a single picture that night.  How did that happen?!

A couple weeks after his birthday, we went to Nana's house for the family celebration
This definitely needs to be documented.... Brad always talks about the fact that his mom never allowed guns in the house when he was little.  It's always been known that even toy guns are simply not allowed in Nana's house.  Well... guess who got him this gigantic 2 foot long Nerf dart-gun?  Yep!  Nana!!  She somehow didn't realize it was a gun.  ha ha ha.  She made in known that this will be the first and last gun she ever buys.  lol

Grandma and Grandpa Holdaway gave Carson cash in his card and he was obviously quite excited about it!

"3rd person" can offer some good perspective... who knew!?

As an integral part of the non-profit organization; Operation 61, I have been charged with the (seemingly) daunting task of writing a bio.  Daunting?  It's just a couple of simple paragraphs.  Yeah well, if there is one thing I hate, it's talking about myself and my accomplishments.  Don't get me wrong, i enjoy a good conversation about what I am involved in and subsequently, what I am good at.  However, to simply boast about myself and my strengths or talents just somehow feels awkward and uncomfortable.  I was asked to do this bio months ago and I procrastinated and procrastinated.  Now, with 2012 planning and refocusing upon us, it became an assignment rather than simply a request.  UGH... no getting out of it this time.  Given Brad's involvement in Op61, he was given the same assignment.  Why is it that I find it so easy and actually very exciting to help him write and revise his, but I continue to put my own off?
It's now midnight the day before the bio is due and I'm finally sitting down to write it.  In preparation for this, I asked my Manager at work 3 things;
-What is my biggest strength at PEI?
-What is my biggest strength on an individual level?
-What is one area you would like to see me improve on?
Here is his response;

Oh this is easy!
Alicia’s biggest strength at PEI is her belief and attitude. Her optimism is inspirational and she lifts up those around her with her belief and energy!
On an individual level, her determination sets her apart. There is no such thing as a task she cannot tackle, she always finishes what she starts, and regardless of the difficulty of the task, she will complete it.
I would say that an area of weakness would be in her drive to accomplish her goals, she sometimes pushes herself too hard and might need to slow down and sharpen the saw before she runs herself into the ground.

I figured if I heard it from an outside perspective it would be easier to write about my strengths.  Though very humbled by his response, I still felt at a loss.  How do I say these things about myself?
Matt has been a good "devil's advocate" in my life more than once.  A few months ago, as I was struggling to produce revenue at work, he cared enough to sit me down and say all but "What the hell!"  He was willing to tell me what I needed to hear, instead of what I wanted to hear.  And I was so thankful he did.  After nearly 3 weeks of abnormally low numbers, I pulled my head out and turned it around in a matter of days... getting back to my usual numbers.  Here in this email, he has once again reminded me of something I need to continuously work on... sharpening the saw.  I tend to focus on my weaknesses to a degree that I am blind to my strengths.  I have a very hard time being happy with the little victories along the way because I am too stuck on the end result and the fact I'm not there yet.  Success is a journey, not a destination right?  Yes, but easier said than done.  I don't want to run myself into the ground and miss the fun along the way!

Coincidentally, I received the following email from a colleague at work today;

Like always…thanks for the great set!  Next appointment I get from you I’ll just ask for their credit card because you T them up enough that I’m sure they will just give it to me.  Thank you.  In all seriousness you are highly skilled sister.  I remember when I first came back to PEI after being out of the game for awhile (keep in mind I THOUGHT I was pretty good before)…I heard you over the cubicle and I was like who the heck is that?  They sound dang good and I sound like crap compared to that!  I learned a lot from listening to you and I appreciate all you do!

Kyle Enzler

Funny thing is, Kyle is actually someone I really admire and consider him extremely good at what we do.  This was a really great compliment coming from him!  I've been in this role for 6 years now and have excelled.  I'm in a commission only position and thankfully been able to make a great living at it.  When I take a step back and look at the big picture, I can see, appreciate, and actually say out loud that I am indeed good at what I do.  I guess I just get wrapped up in the competition of it all and so often feel like I just am not doing good enough.

Recently I had the opportunity (with out knowing it), to help a friend shed some light on something that was holding her back in life and in the process, she (with out knowing it), helped me see how I struggle with the same thing.  Funny how God works.

Lesson learned?  Appreciate the little victories along the journey and don't beat yourself up over mistakes.  

Back to the Bio...
How do you find your "role" in an organization?  How do you determine the best use of your talents and strengths for a greater purpose?  Again, something I have struggled to define.  As I sat down to type out the rough draft of this bio, a weird thing happened.  Professional Bios are typically written in the 3rd person.

Well, here's the final product;

Alicia Holdaway worked in Retail management from 2000 – 2006.  In 2005 she took over a struggling Buckle Retail location as Store Manager and increased the store’s negative trending revenues to a positive growth in a matter of months.  

Seeking a change, she moved into sales in 2006.  Since this time, she has worked as an Inside Sales Executive for The Professional Education Institute.   Her primary role is guiding prospective students from around the world through a sales process in order to ultimately enroll them in professional coaching programs.  As one of the top 3 sales associates in her role, Alicia has proved to have great sales aptitude and effective communication skills. 

Alicia has a God-given desire to help others, primarily by empowering them to see their true potential through honest feedback, advice and problem solving.  She is able to address obstacles head on and work diligently to find solutions.  Alicia strongly believes there is a war to be won against modern day slavery and through Operation 61, hopes to use her strengths and talents to fight this horrible crime.  

I'm excited about 2012 and a new focus in my personal growth;
I have made a commitment to myself to view life as a journey and not some destination I'm headed for.  I commit to celebrate the small victories along the way.  I commit to appreciate the lessons learned as a result of making mistakes.  I commit to take the accomplishment of any goal in baby steps instead of getting frustrated that I am not at the end of the "journey" yet.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Carson's Thanksgiving List from School

I'm Thankful for...

My Friends:
-Ethan Stone

Nice things others have done:
-Help me
-Play with me at recess

Animals and pets:
-my fish

People to Love:
-My mom
-My brother
-My dad
-My teacher

Food and Treats:
-Ice cream

My Favorite Color:

My Favorite Song:
-Moves like Jagger

Weekend Fun:
-Playing with my friends

Trips I've enjoyed:
-Going to Moab

Books, toys and games:
-My video game Halo Reach

The Best Things about Home:
-My Family

TV and Movies:

-Playing on the playground