You can’t chart motherhood

by jessicalieb on May 30, 2015 · 0 comments

Joe’s work has a “health” incentive program. Basically, if you’re active and healthy you get money. One of the program options is to wear a “fitness band” to track your steps and reach a certain number of steps each month. Joe thought this would be the easiest option so he bought us the JAWBONE Up Move Activity Tracker. (If you aren’t familiar with fitness activity trackers you simply wear them all day and they chart your activity level usually via an app on your smart phone.)

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I thought it’d be pretty simple, I have 4 boys that keep me busy all day. Joe and I are on a “team” so we can see each other’s progress. Well, as it turns out fitness bands can’t really track the full extent of my physical activity as a mother. Almost every day Joe clocks way more steps than I do (like thousands) and he works in an office, sitting at a desk while I’m at home with the boys. The best I can figure is he walks further distances (from his car into the office, to lunch, etc.)

Yesterday, Joe worked from home. He spent most of the day upstairs in his office and he even took a nap in the afternoon (after he took an antihistamine that made him drowsy). I, on the other hand, went shopping at 2 stores, cleaned the house, cooked the meals and took care of all 4 kids. I thought for sure I’d blow him out of the water with my steps. Nope. Only a few hundred more… just barely.

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I was pissed. I worked hard yesterday… and my fitness tracker didn’t notice. I’ve decided that fitness bands can’t handle the work of motherhood. I may not be walking miles each day but given the state of my physical exhaustion each night I’m pretty sure I’m working pretty darn hard.

My fitness band doesn’t know how to calculate when I’m on the floor wrestling with my boys, doing dishes, cooking, cleaning the house and other activities that don’t really require much walking. It doesn’t notice that I just wrangled an obstinate 2 year old into a pair of pajamas or spent that last 30 minutes helping a fussy baby get out his belly gas. It also can’t calculate that my trip to target isn’t a leisurely stroll around the store… I have a 13lbs baby strapped to my chest while pushing a cart with at least one 25lb+ child in it and 2 other children in tow. It definitely can’t understand the physical force that must be exerted to strap an overtired and strong willed child into his car seat.

And of course nothing can really track the emotional fatigue children cause us. Worrying. Negotiating. Disciplining. Teaching. Loving.

I was so frustrated with yesterday’s results I took off my band and swore I’d never wear it again.

Then I got over my frustrations and realized that a little piece of technology wasn’t going to define me as a mother. I work hard, and I don’t thing an inanimate object will ever be able to understand just how hard a mother (and father) works.

So this morning, I put my band back on simply to appease the health program people and get a little money.


Let Summer Begin

by jessicalieb on May 27, 2015 · 0 comments

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Today Jude finished his final math worksheet. Our first year of homeschooling has come to an end. As I look back over the past school year I realize that this was the best decision we’ve made for Jude. He has completely blown my ideas and expectations about homeschooling out of the water.

Given the fact he started his homeschool curriculum more than 2 months late he completed all of his work in record time. Some days were hard to get him (and myself) motivated to do the work but we did it.

We are already starting to plan our curriculum and schedule for next school year. Since Jude turns 7 this summer we have to step up our homeschool game a little (according to the state of NC) but given the fact he’s already ahead on most of his work I’m not too worried about it.

Last night I was telling Joe that Jude is still a bit of a mystery to me. I still don’t understand how is brain works or what makes him tick. Having a child with an incredibly high IQ is challenging on many levels. He learns things very quickly and easily however if he struggles just the slightest bit with any subject he gets very frustrated. He has to master a new task immediately which makes teaching him easy but also hard at the same time.

I never thought I would be a homeschool mom but I’m slowly starting to see myself homeschooling all of the boys. In the meantime, we’ll take it day-by-day, year-by-year.


Summer Learning with Netflix

by jessicalieb on May 20, 2015 · 0 comments

The school year is wrapping up but that doesn’t mean the learning is put on pause. We are on the go a lot during the summer but we regularly have some “rest” time in the afternoons.  The little ones nap and the bigger ones read, play quietly or watch a show. I try to optimize screen time by choosing educational shows that the kids will enjoy.


Here are a few of our favorites on Netflix Instant:

The Boxcar Children – Based on a beloved book series. Fearful of being sent to live with relatives they’ve never met, four homeless, orphaned siblings turn an abandoned boxcar into their new secret home.

Leapfrog – An early-learning series filled with music-filled animated adventure.

Wild Kratts – Zoologists Martin and Chris Kratt morph from live forms into their animated selves, complete with Creature Power Suits, in this animal show for kids.

The Magic Schoolbus – Join Ms. Frizzle as the Magic School Bus travels to outer space, under the sea, through an anthill — and even inside the human body!

Bill Nye the Science Guy – Host Bill Nye gets kids fired up about science, sharing his enthusiasm for all its branches, from astronomy to complex ideas about genetics.

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There is also a huge selection of kid-friendly documentaries as well as movies based on popular children’s book series.

And don’t forget to check out the great DVD selections like Liberty Kids, Wishbone, Schoolhouse Rock and more.


My boys love any type of vehicle including tractors. We were very excited to check out the new Casey & Friends book series centered around the iconic red CASE IH tractors and other farm equipment.


There are four “Casey & Friends” books set to be released in 2015:
A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends
Big Tractors with Casey & Friends
Combines with Casey & Friends
Planters & Cultivators with Casey & Friends

We are reviewing the most recent release, Big Tractors with Casey & Friends along with a CASE IH toy tractor.

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends shows how the biggest, most powerful tractors handle the demanding jobs of pulling and powering on the farm. Find out how Big Red and Sammy – the biggest tractors on the farm – use their powerful muscles to work in the field with the rest of the team. Learn about the science of farming and discover how advanced technology makes Big Red and Sammy special.

This is a very colorful and fun book with a cast of cartoon characters explaining how the equipment works. I love all the educational facts found in the sidebars, picture glossaries and fun farming facts. Some of the features include a timeline of the red tractor, explaining the different jobs of various farm machines, an a driver’s point of view from within the tractor explaining what all the components and switches are for. For all us city (or suburbanite) folks there is even a glossary in the back that defines all the farm terms.

If you have a little tractor fan the Casey & Friends series is a must-have.

One lucky reader will win a Casey & Friends book and toy tractor. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Ends 5/29/15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends on May 29, 2015. The winner will be chosen using and announced on this post. Entrants must be 18 or older. Winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

I will receive the featured product in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.


New Costumes for my Super Heroes


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How to Capture the Beauty of Everyday


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An Easy Way to Give Up the Pacifier


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