Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chore Charts - No Screen Before Clean and Homework

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Star charts. Rewards. Stick jars. Chore posters. Blah, blah, blah. I have tried several chore charty things. And usually we stick with them. For a while. And then it's just too hard to keep up. I mean, counting stars and earning prizes - all the while making the chart look all cute and visually appealing and all that jazz . . . not in my skill set.

I searched high and low on Pinterest for the easy solution. JK, I did not and would not. Is there anything easy on Pinterest for the craft and star chart challenged? Nope.

I made my basic chore chart on a word doc. We have used these basic chore charts for the last few years with the motto "No screen before clean and homework." For the most part, it has worked pretty well.

I posted a photo on my Totally Desperate Mom Facebook page (which is basically now my place for lazy blogging) of my kids doing their Fantasy Chore Draft. And many people commented or texted me asking for copies of my chore charts. Here you go:
(Click on the photos to be able to read them more clearly)
For the eleven-year-old:
 For the nine-year-old:
 For the seven-year-old:

We switch up chores every once in a while based on how many outside activities they have, stress level, summer time, etc. But it had been a while since we had made adjustments and Elijah and Lydia were complaining that the other person had all the easy chores. So we decided to do a draft so they could take turns picking which chores they would do. We basically left Jordis out of the draft because she gets the easiest chores since she is seven. With the exception of dry mopping the hardwood floors. Because she loves doing that. For now.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

My Little Taylor Swift Fans

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We're dreaming of Taylor Swift letting these girls back stage. Or perhaps on stage. Also, this video really just encapsulates the sisterhood. Lydia (9) shaking her head and Jordis (6) singing. Non-stop Taylor Swift songs. And the giggles. I love these two. 
So if you know Taylor, put in a good word for us :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hagen Family Worst Photos 2014

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I have really neglected my blog the past few years. In fact, my Totally Desperate Mom Facebook page has really become my form of (lazy) blogging. However, I probably can never let it go entirely because of this. My worst pics. My family's ugly photos. The worst lighting, the worst angles, the worst attitudes. This Christmas, our family really does celebrate Jesus. God with us. But somehow this Hagen family photos has also become something we (and apparently others) celebrate. It's a tradition. 

My girlfriends were talking about mud masks and junk. And for my birthday my girlfriend got me some mud with special powers. I tried it. Apparently I am not so good at it.
Lighting is everything. My garage is my best lighting friend. Or in this case, my worst lighting friend. If you want to see my wrinkles and creases and blotches in all their glory . . . here you go.
Okay, so this is kind of staged, but whatever. I look like a freak.
Although I proudly wear the sash of Miss Catan, I can hardly look at this photo. It's just bad in every way.
 Morning glossy eyes. Special mouth, frowny wrinkles are developing as I approach FORTY. 
Hair eating photos always turn out well. 
Working out some stuff in our marriage. 
Sleeping kids are not always cute.
Say "cheese" Jordis. 
After the Easter candy . . .

Early in the year Jordis provided me with many shots for the hashtag #nothomeless. Unfortunately, she is really into brushing her hair now so I don't foresee much #nothomeless in the new year. Savor these ones, people. 
I love it when she does her own makeup. Because she is so good at it.
I love it when she does her own makeup and then goes to watch her sister in the talent show.
We are hopeful that #nothomeless has a future in balloon work.
Face necklaces. The next big thing.
When Jordis saw this pic she said, "I love this one. Look at my tights! They're yellow!" 'Nuff said.
Yep. She belongs to us.
Elijah got a really bad haircut this year. The next morning, he shaved his head completely.
Shiloh really tried to outdo me this year by way of ugly photos. So proud of him. 
Looks like that guy from The Simpsons here.
Just no. 
Shiloh is so very proud of this one. His belly sticking out skills are first class.
This might be my favorite worst picture of the year. Oh Shiloh. Shiloh, Shiloh, Shiloh.
Mad skills, Shiloh. Way to go.
Family photos are always a good time.
I spoke at Crossroads Church on Mother's Day. My kids came to see me. I could't see them,
Hugs and kisses. From our family. And this random dog on the beach.
To walk down worst memory lane . . . 20132012201120102009.
Until next year . . .
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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Costco Inspired Thoughts About Kids Going Off to College

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Yesterday in line at Costco I saw a middle-aged women in her tennis outfit. Clearly an empty nester because she was buying tennis balls, toilet paper, and avocados. That's it. And I got really sad and thankful. Sad for that stage in life. Sad there was not a dozen apples in her cart that will vanish in days. Sad there there were no flat pretzels that her son likes. Sad that there was not a double flat of raspberries that will be consumed by tomorrow. Sad that there was not a ginormous honey dew rolling around in her cart because her kindergartener told her class that honey dew was her favorite food.

I am sure that woman has a great life and enjoys her freedom, her grocery bill, and her tennis. And I know there are GREAT parts to having grown kids. Like going to the bathroom without interruption and people gratefully rejoicing when you make them food of any kind. But I was looking at her cart situation and thinking "I am so glad that my kids are in school right now so I can fly through Costco, but I am so glad I get to go pick them up in a few minutes!"

You guys, this kindergarten business does not make me cry. But I cannot handle the thought of kids going off to college!!! Yesterday I helped one of my babysitters (who started as my "mommy's helper" when she was 9 years old) with her COLLEGE essays.

And I get teary-eyed thinking of her beautiful mother who will be kissing that sweet face goodbye next year. I know she is not dying or vanishing into the abyss never to return, but I just can't handle it. Last year we went to my high school's dance show and they did a senior dance where all the girls wore their college sweatshirts. Could not handle. Was crying on behalf of their parents.
And I am so thankful that I have at least 8 more years with Elijah at home, 12 with Lydia, and 46 with Jordis. She told me the other day she never wants to leave home and go to college. Yes, that's the same girl who once told me I was meaner than fireworks. She's never leaving home.

Parenting is hard. Some days are horrible. Some days are simply mundane. Some days are rewarding. Some days are amazing. Sometimes I feel like a total failure. Some days I feel like I could teach a parenting class. JK, never had that thought. I guess what I am trying to say is, I am thankful that I get to be a mom. The end.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stealing from the Rich to Give to the Rich?

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On Mother's Day weekend I spoke at services at Crossroads Church in Fremont about "Lies Moms Believe." One of the lies I addressed is "I am ruining my children." Because we often think our kids will only pick up on our failures, weakness, parenting mistakes. Any bad choices they make in life are our fault. Will they learn anything good from us?

The truth is we can greatly influence our children but we cannot control them. We must do our best and surrender the results to God. They do see us and they are learning from us even though sometimes they act like we are invisible. We influence them every day, but we cannot control them.

Almost every night I pray with my kids that we would have generous hearts. That we would be generous with our time and money. And almost every night, sweet Jordis prays the same exact prayer. "Dear God (omits "thank you") for this wonderful world. Please help angels to surround our house. Double them both." Amen. She has admitted that she doesn't even know what this means. She has just picked up on it from someone else's prayer, twisted the words a bit, and then repeated it. For years. Only adds to it or spices it up when I ask her to. I long for the day when she prays to have a generous heart and an open hand with her stuff. Enter Mother's Day morning.

I spoke at two services Saturday night and then Sunday morning I woke up to Mother's Day blessings and confirmation of what I was teaching - we do influence our children. Jordis came to me with a Mother's Day gift. Twenty dollars of her very own money. (Grandma hid money eggs instead of candy on Easter so I thought that is where the money came from.)
"Mom, this is for you. It is from my give jar and I wanted to give it to you."
"Oh sweetheart, thank you so much. That is so generous of you. Maybe we can work together to figure out who we can give this to who really needs it. Thank you so much."
So sweet. So blessed. She is really getting this generosity. A little misguided to give it to her mom instead of someone really in need, but I'll take it. 
As I walked out the door I saw her in her room going through letters and pictures of our Compassion sponsored kids. Be still my soul. She does hear us and see us. We are influencing her to be generous and to care about others.

I then spoke at two more services on Sunday and had this new illustration to throw into my talk as we talk about how we influence our children. Thank you Jesus . . .
until I get home. And find out that she has given her brother 20 bucks. And then she brings out her wallet that is LOADED with cash. Many one dollar bills, some twenties, fives... $70 more dollars to be exact. Where is Jordis getting her money? Generous Jordis is really a criminal.

We question her. She just had the money. She just got it. She didn't take it. She won't reveal her sources. Meanwhile the whole family is now involved in this money scam and none of us can control our laughter. Elijah, Lydia, me, Shiloh. Cannot stop laughing at the five-year-old thief who will not come clean and yet has money for days. Did you get into Dad's wallet? Did you get into Mom's purse? Did you take it from Grammy's purse when you were at the office with her? She. Won't. Budge. She didn't take it from anywhere or anyone. She just had it.

We go to Grammy and Grandpa's later in the day and finally coerce a confession out of her. And when I say coerce . . . I mean, comedy. My brothers and sister-in-law as my witnesses, Jordis is a piece of work. And she was working us. "If I tell you, you have to give me five dollars." Whaaaaat? At one point my brother Cameron (who is trying to contain his laughter during this whole debacle) says to me "You're not winning." Then we all crack up. She finally whispers in my ear "Your purse."

She got it from my purse. Before you go thinking I'm all money bags, you must understand I had recently gone to the bank and got cash and a bunch of ones because we just started giving the kids allowance. And I needed a bunch of change for when I sold Totally Desperate Mom after the Mother's Day services. And my five-year-old took advantage of me and my temporary cash situation. And there went my illustration. And there went Jordis's allowance. We took all the money from her and she did not receive her one-dollar allowance that week. And she will never steal money again. We hope.

The moral of the story? I don't even know. Good luck in parenting?
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

God is Good, But Sometimes Life Still Sucks

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Suffering sucks. Just this week I've heard this from dear friends . . .

My dad is suddenly really sick. Sclerosis of the liver and huge tumor there.

Our baby is not going to make it.

My husband was unfaithful. We are in the process of the divorce. 

Awful. Heart-wrenching. Painful. Tragic. Last week I was asked to speak on the topic of grief. Because I know it. Because I have been there. Many of you know my story of loss and grief. Because of my journey, my heart is tender for those who are suffering. So let me just pre-party with you on this topic before I share at Mothers Together because it is weighing on my heart. And this is my self-therapy.

Many of you know grief personally. You are looking back on it. You are walking into it. You are right in the middle of it. And if that's you, I just want to validate the suckiness of it all. The pain of it all. The emotional pain where your heart just hurts so bad you want to crawl into a hole. The physical pain where you have cried so much it physically hurts and you feel like your throat is going to pulse into your brain -- or something totally funky like that because that hardcore crying pain is hard to articulate. It just sucks.

Yes, God is at work. Yes, somehow God is in control and we are not. Yes, God will bring good out of all things for those who love him and are called according to His purposes. Yes, what Satan has intended for evil, God has meant for good. Yes, God walks with us in our suffering. He hasn't caused it, but some how he steps right down into it. Yes, in our weakest, most desperate times . . . God speaks clearly. Or maybe we are just ready to listen. But some of us were really trying to listen before the pain, so what is up? Yes, God loves us. Yes, God has not forgotten us. Yes, we can trust him and do not need to fear. These things are awesome and true. I know this firsthand. They sustained my broken heart. They brought peace to my suffering. But my circumstances still sucked. 

And all those truths about God don't mean you should be skipping through suffering.  Because even with all these truths in your head, the pain is still there. The loss of marriage, the loss of a parent, the loss of a pregnancy, the loss of a baby, the loss of your health, the loss of a child to addiction, infertility . . .

I don't know where you are at as you read this, but if you are suffering loss right now I want to oddly encourage you with this:

Your situation sucks. Let yourself be sad. Let yourself grieve. Cling to Who and what you know, but let yourself cry out to God and grieve. And let people bring you meals for the rest of your life.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Our Paleo Faileo: A Gluten and Sugar Free Experiment

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I am married to a man who turns into a different person with a sip of caffeine or a bite of sugar. He goes from reserved to ummm. . . CRAZY. Crazy in a good way, of course. Just ask any of the young adults who were in our life group and witnessed the transformation.

Anyway, I thought that perhaps some of this food sensitivity business may have been passed down to our children (one child in particular) and may be contributing to . . . how do you say . . .  mood swings. And we all know that sugar has no real benefits (outside of pure, temporary, emotional DELIGHT!) and that gluten simply serves to make you look a touch on the pregnant side. So while our family does not have any known sensitivities, allergies or issues with food (other than sugar addiction) I thought it might benefit the entire family to enter in to a few weeks of gluten-free and sugar-free eating. I was wrong.

Here's a recap of what went down:

Day 1: We will reduce and ease them in on this day. Oatmeal with chocolate chips for breakfast. I tell the kids what we are going to do. Paleo-ish eating. (But not cutting out all grain or dairy.) Together. As a family. And mommy will make delicious gluten and (refined) sugar-free meals. Does 5-year-old Jordis even know what gluten is? No. But how does she react? Lays on floor and screams "I'm gonna die!" I make delicious brussel sprouts with bacon for dinner from my friend Danielle Walker's cookbook Against All Grain. I love them. I am alone.

I make trip tip. They love that. Shiloh eats mint chocolate chip ice cream after dinner. Oops. Says he didn't realize he was a part of the experiment. I spend $4000 and my sweet precious time making gluten free bread. Homemade bread. It's a big deal. At least my dog thinks so because she jumped up to the counter and ate it when I was out of the room. And yes. I did cut off the dog side of the bread and ate the rest.

Day 2: Lydia goes to breakfast with dad. She has pancakes and hot chocolate. Umm..."Shiloh, remember we are trying to be gluten free and sugar free this week?" "You know I take the kids to breakfast every week. What else can she eat while out to breakfast?" Huh, I dunno. Eggs and bacon? Omelette? Oatmeal? Plain yogurt with fruit? Meanwhile, on the eat-breakfast-at-home-front Jordis refuses to eat the oatmeal I make because there is no brown sugar. SHE DOES NOT LIKE HONEY. So she eats a pear for breakfast. Elijah stays home "sick" from school and I later catch him downing a packet of hot chocolate in his room. Solid.

I put a slab of bacon in Jordis's snack for school. Totally normal. I'm sure she wasn't the only TK kid throwing down bacon at snack time. And since it's day two, I make real deal chocolate chip cookies  because they don't have gluten or refined sugar . . . until I throw in some dark chocolate chips. So they are just smidge sugary. And fattening. Because I don't want to be legalistic. And we have to survive and junk.

For dinner I make broccolini. I ask shiloh to stop at store and grab a roasted chicken. Thankfully, he remembers the chicken when he picks up a box of Cream of Wheat and Malt'-O Meal.

Day 3: Took Jordis to Whole Foods. She refuses to try the gluten free pretzels that taste like they are slathered in butter and are so good. But she is loyal to the Trader Joe's pretzels so she will not budge.

Day 4: Lydia resists Starbursts from from a friend. Elijah goes to a friend's house after school and has chocolate milk. Cuz he forgot. Of course he did. Shiloh is still with us... in moderation: He's had a cheeseburger (with no bun!), ginger ale, and Taco Bell. Today. I am averaging two read deal chocolate chip cookies a day. We are crushing this.

Day 5:
Breakfast: Chicken sausages for breakfast and "flat" eggs. Only Elijah and Shiloh will eat the sausage.
Lunch is quesadillas with gluten-free, corn tortillas. The same tortillas that have accompanied our soft taco dinners. The same tortillas that were in Elijah's lunch. Seriously people, these are the softest bestest gluten-free corn tortillas ever. Until they're not gluten free. Shiloh looks at the packaging and says, "Hey honey. You know these have gluten in them right?" Dang it. No wonder they were so good. Winning.

Lydia goes to a movie with her friend so I pack her pretzels and fruit snacks. And dropped off gluten- free Mac and cheese for her to eat for lunch at her friend's house because that's convenient and normal.
And that's all for the play-by-play folks. Suffice it to say we ate far worse on our gluten-gree, sugar free TEN DAYS then we normally do. To compensate for our deficiencies I gave the kids juice. Like every day. Normally juice is a treat for them. We had gluten-free pizza three times. Normally we have pizza maybe once a month. (But if you are wondering, Z Pizza had the best gluten-free pizza.) Shiloh says, "I am allergic to being gluten free." And I had so many gluten-free chocolate chip cookies because I stashed them in the freezer and loved on them every day. Because I am a good friend to those cookies. And now I want them.

In conclusion, the quasi paleo thing does not work for our family at this time. We do better in moderation both mentally and physically. However, if we were dealing with autoimmune disease, illness, allergies, stomach aches, etc. . . .we would listen to PINK and we would try, try, try. Again. Because I love that song and I do believe that this kind of eating is better for you. And it can really help to manage illness. READ Danielle's story. And buy her cookbook even if you are Paleo Faileo like us. Because there are great recipes in there.

If a picture could sum up our journey . . . 
And please note: my floors just look clean and unscratched. They are not, so step off. Have a nice day.
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