Category Archives: family

The Benefits of Homemaking

I read the best article this morning. One that I really, really needed to read. I struggle, now that the kids are older, in school all day, and don’t need supervision 24/7, with feeling like I need to justify the fact that I am still a SAHM. I may not get as much done during the week as I would like, as my Homemaker/Mom guilt tells me I need to do, but it allows Big Daddy to not have to worry about the home front, the kids, or the critters. If you remember, my hubby travels for work. Even when he was home every day, my being home allowed him to focus on work, and not worry about the running of our household. I had never looked at it like that, before today. I knew that my kids behavior, and school work benefited when I first started staying home (once they were in school.) Had I known the difference it would make, I would have never gone back to work….I worked on and off until the girls were in the 3rd and 5th grade (I think that’s right, anyway). I went back to work after Bug was born, after using up my maternity leave and all my vacation time, left work when I found out I was expecting Pally, mostly because I knew how horribly sick I would be for the first 3-5 months. Then, when Pally was 2-3, I reentered the workforce, and remained in the workforce until she was 8(?). In the years we lived in MI, the girls mostly stayed with family for daycare, in the South Carolina years, I worked second shift, and they stayed with Bug’s kindergarten teacher – I watched her daughter during the day. Then, in the Illinois years, they had to go to daycare, which they both HATED with a passion. We were almost always late, they dragged their feet every morning, there were often tears at drop off. It was horrible. I worked, mostly days at a local hospital, and all four of us were miserable. I was a mean, hateful heifer by Sunday night, and NOTHING ever got done. When I finally had enough, and told my Horrible Boss to take my job and shove it, the improvement in our family was amazing. We were all more relaxed, the girls grades started an immediate upswing, our weekends and family time became much more relaxed and enjoyable. I still don’t feel like I get enough done, it never feels like enough, but my kids are happy, healthy, our household runs pretty smoothly, and weekends are for family. We are closer, we do more fun things.. Most weekends aren’t just for errands & chores, anymore! I wouldn’t change the way things are now, for the world, with the exception of having Big Daddy home every night. So, if you are blessed to be a SAHP(arent), know that it’s good for your spouse/partner, too, not just you and the kids. (Yes, I purposefully, didn’t discuss the sacrifices that are made with a one income household, although, the financial benefits often off-set the sacrifices: the savings in wear and tear on a vehicle, savings on work wardrobe, the inevitable savings by having the time to prepare from-scratch meals instead of convenience foods due to work & extracurricular schedules.)

So, in conclusion, I am in no way passing judgement on those who choose to work, or must work, I’m just telling you about my perspective on our choice for my staying home, and being Susie Homemaker.

Neglected, but Resurrected

Are you all sick of hearing excuses and apologies for my not being faithful to this blog? I’m tired of giving them to you. So…here we go again. I figure if I’m going to be leading out in a Women’s Writing group, I’d better be writing. I’ll talk about life, my crazy life, as the SAHM of two teen girls, two dogs, more cats than I need (we are fostering a litter of 8), a hubby who travels for work (which sucks), my continued journey of seeking a healthier/smaller me, and our ups & downs. I’ll share my crafty – Susie Homemaker type projects, both successes and failures. I’ll share my guilt and perceived failures on things domestic. On that last note, I’ll share that this summer’s garden fits into that category! I am ashamed to say the weeds are taller than all the plants, except the corn, because I’m not good with keeping up with things like that without a strict schedule. We got a lot of cukes and tomatoes (grape, mostly) from the garden, so it wasn’t an absolute failure.  Our carrots were also a big WIN. We managed to get some huge, flavorful carrots…the whole row seems to have done very well.

Life in general is busy, as usual. I’m leading out in our local fiber group, called “Stitch, Please.” Hopefully, soon, the women’s writing group will start. Bug is in Driver’s Ed, participating in Scholastic Bowl again this year, joined Chorus at school, and is in the musical Guys and Dolls, so we have lots of practices and rehearsals to go to. Pally has started her 8th grade year, so there is a lot going on, but band seems to be the thing that keeps her & I the most busy…and Pep Band starts next week – so we have to have Pally at numerous middle school basketball games in the next few months. We’ve already done two parades this year, marching band, ya’ll…but she gets better, and better every year.

We are settling in nicely to the new house. It’s been almost a year here, and we couldn’t be happier. We are still trying to get ourselves organized – a never-ending project, it seems. We keep rearranging things, and some of the rooms. Currently, I’m on the hunt for a cheap Chinoiserie screen or plans for one, to separate my desk/office area from the rest of our dining room. I’m also working on a couple of knitting projects – always having more than one project cast on at a time! Even though I feel like half of my projects get abandoned, and never finished. It’s something I’m working on this year, just one of my personality quirks.

So, thanks for coming back. Hopefully this time I can stick it out with you! If I seem to falter, or fade, give me the what-for.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Wow, what a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. The girlies and I spent 9 days in Michigan, coming home the night before the school started. My Dad came back when we did and spent a few days. While he was here he built a frame for our porch swing, it was our anniversary present. He also brought us a freezer (I’ve been needing/wanting one). The girls and I got the first coat of paint on our shed, and as soon as it’s dried up some from the blessing of rain all day yesterday, we’ll do the second coat. As a family, we are undertaking our autumnal house deep cleaning, and we started yesterday, so my kitchen is a wreck. We were systematically emptying out cabinets, cleaning them, inside and out, then replacing the items in the cabinets. Rick and I also did a little work in the living room. It is amazing the amount of clutter that just magically appears. I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have ANY flat surfaces in my house, because all they do is gather things that don’t belong there. Books, magazines, mail, school papers, you name it. So busy.

Before we ever started yesterday, we had a family meeting, delineating all the routine household chores, and then I made a chart, what happens on what day (not who does what). The only chores that are assigned are dishes and afternoon dog walking. Those are the girls regular chores, they alternate days (i.e. if it’s your day for dishes, your sister walks Rory) and then have other duties as assigned. I got tired of the sighing/huffing/eye-rolling when they were asked to do something “extra” so we had a very belated conversation about we are ALL responsible for the way our house looks. Granted, most days, I’ll have the bulk of the work done, because I’m the homemaker, and it’s my primary responsibility. This just puts them on notice of what needs to get done, and it doesn’t automatically default as “my job.” The girls are to come home, have a snack, do their homework, then check to see what housework needs to be done, above and beyond their dishes.

I’ve already got my second load of blue/green laundry in this morning, yes it’s Blue/Green Monday, and yes, we make that much laundry when it’s only done every week, week-and-a-half. I’ve also walked Rory, fed & watered Shiloh, and chased Shiloh down the road. He has this  new “trick” where he tries to knock me down and escapes. Usually, if someone else is home, we catch him easy, but I chased him 1/2 a mile today, and was unable to catch him. I’m hoping he decides he’s hungry and comes home on his own. I’m so flustered. You see, technically, he’s not our dog. We foster him for the folks that own our house. His owners have told me before that he’s gotten away a couple of times, and then comes wandering home after a few hours….I really hope this is the case. It is hard to catch a four-legged critter, even one that is a senior citizen. I was jogging and still couldn’t catch up with him. Had he not knocked me off-balance enough I had to right myself, I think I would have had him before he ever got out of the yard.

Back to our vacation in Michigan….we spent the first weekend with just my Mom, as my Dad was out-of-town, and had a grand girls weekend, then it was the 5 of us until Wednesday, when the girls and I were blessed enough to be asked to house sit for my aunt, who lives on a lake. We spent 4 days playing on the beach, soaking up the sun, and splashing in the water.

This was our view from the deck off the living room.

My girlfriend and her kids came to hang out twice, and my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, 2 nieces, nephew, and my mother-in-law came and spent most of a day with us. I even had a “high-school” moment, where I stayed up with my girlfriend until 5 a.m. Who does that at my age? It was great, we talked, and talked, and talked, and laughed, and laughed, and there were even some tears (on my part, ’cause I’m a big ol’ emotional wreck.) It is wonderful to be able to reconnect like that with a friend I’ve had since the 7th grade. Yes, my kids & hubby will tell you she and I talk on the phone numerous times a week, for at least an hour every time, but it’s just not the same as being in the same room together.

This is how my girls spend our lake house vacation.

(Pay no attention to the time stamp, I didn’t even realize it was on, and wrong.)

Also, this last Saturday, my dear hubby picked up his very first brand new car. It’s a nice, shiny new Toyota. Very fancy, and it rides nice.

This week is FULL to the brim, with finishing our early Fall deep cleaning, my doctor’s appointment (routine chronic illness/med refill stuff, no big deal), and preparing for our weekend in Wisconsin. Next week, the Hubby is on vacation! Woo hoo! So even though we’ll be home next week, since the kids have school, it still gives Mom & Dad some alone time…I see a couple of lunch dates in my future, maybe a movie, definitely some thrifting…since Bug needs bigger jeans. She’s finally out grown all of her hand me downs from her 23-year-old cousin…mind you, Bug just turned 13. We grow ’em small in my family. I think I’m one of the tallest grand daughters, and I’m barely 5’6″, if that tells you anything. We also tend to stop growing by our 14th birthdays…

I still have other “fun” projects I am working on, they are just really slow going right now. What with everything else I have to do, you know how it is.

Until next time….

Renewed

I woke this morning with a renewed sense of faith and hope. I had somehow forgotten that “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to the purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV. Our Father works stuff out for us, even when we can’t see how it’s going to turn out, or that we want it to turn out a specific way. We lose sight of God’s plan for us, and forget that His answers to our prayers aren’t always obvious, or what we are asking for. Some of you know that I’ve been very committed to improving my prayer life, to the point that I am using electronics to keep a list of my prayer lists and have set a reminder. Now I am renewing my commitment to my personal devotions and Bible studies. I discovered there is an app for our denominations quarterly study. Downloaded! I also have committed myself to finally reading the Bible cover-to-cover over the course of a year. Can you believe that even with 8 years of religious education, I can’t say that I’ve read the entire Bible. I imagine I have come close, but usually only in bits and pieces, and fits and starts. That will be my morning devotion. With God’s help, I will also be reading a daily devotion in the evening from Beautiful in God’s Eyes, a daily devotion for women.

What has brought this all up? First, I imagine we all, at one time or another, have struggled with our faith in some fashion. I am no exception. Also, I haven’t exactly been the best example for my kids. Sure, I believe, and profess faith, and belong to a church. They see that, they see that I also try to live right, and trust God. Have I ever had devotions with my kids on a regular basis? No. Do they see me having regular devotions? No. Do we attend church like we should? No. Do I realize that they are coming to an age where their friends and family within our denomination will start being baptized? Yep. In a way, I am glad my girls don’t attend church school. They will not feel the pressure that comes with the stage they are in school/life where all their church school friends are being baptized, because it seems like the thing to do. Yes, there is an element of peer pressure there. “Everyone else is doing it, I should too.” I honestly sometimes wish I’d waited. I’m pretty sure I was 13. My husband has expressed the same feelings, I believe he was even younger. (Caution: slight deviation & rant to follow.) At the time of my baptism, there were things I said in my baptismal vows that I didn’t adhere to. (Unless I’m delusional one of them involved not going to the movie theater.) I felt like a hypocrite. I did and do still adhere to 99.998% of what I remember vowing. I just looked up what the current baptismal vows are, and they seem to have been adjusted. Maybe I am not remembering my vows right, as it was 23 years ago, that the movie theater thing wasn’t involved. Honestly, as an adult, looking at the current baptismal vows, the only thing I’d have a problem committing to now is not consuming alcohol. Not because I need it, but because I enjoy the occasional drink. I do not get drunk. I don’t enjoy that. I can honestly say I’ve NEVER had a hang over from alcohol. (I say it like that, because a couple of years ago, I burned my right hand terribly, and was given a shot of Dilauded in the ER, which left me with a hang over.) I don’t waste tons of money on drink, I don’t spend my grocery money, my house payment, or my utility payments on drink, nor does it cause me to neglect my family, my home, or any of my responsibilities. I consider it a non-prescription form of Valium, Xanax or Ativan. I do not have a drink every night, nor every week, nor every month. (I’m also not saying it’s wrong for anyone to do, it’s just my personal preference.) I enjoy having a drink, now and then. I do not find that these things interfere with my relationship with God. And to use a tired example, Jesus did turn water into wine, and it wasn’t grape juice, you can’t get drunk off grape juice. The verses I am referencing here are John 2:1-11, NIV. The summary is: Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding, and has it taken to the master of the banquet, where the master of the banquet is quoted after trying the wine, “everyone brings out their choice wine first and the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” Would your perception of the quality of grape juice be affected by when it is served? Um, I don’t think so.

Back to the baptismal issue….I want my girls to make their own choices in this regard. Do I want them to be baptized and to join our church? Yes. More importantly, I want to set a good example for a relationship with God. Most of all, I felt a need to draw closer to my God, to understand better what He has to say to me, that includes not just strengthening my prayer life, but by studying God’s word.

Friday the13th IS Lucky

My baby, Pally, turns 11 today. My how time flies.  You know how a lot of blogger mom’s share their birth stories? Well, I’m not going to do that, not exactly.  My memory isn’t good enough to share reliably. (Yes, my family makes tremendous fun of me for being forgetful. I have been known to ask a kid about homework 3 or 4 times in the same afternoon, and the Hubs claims I am NOT a reliable witness.) I thought I’d share how Friday the 13th has become something lucky for us, as parents.

Pally, doing what Pally does.

It all started in 1999. I was expecting Darling Girl No. 1. She was a breech baby, we knew she was breech, and I’d been doing the “stand-on-your-head” exercises that they give you on the handout when the Docs know your baby is the wrong way around. I was scheduled for an external version (where they try to turn the little peanut from the outside) at the 38 week mark. Guess what day that would have been? You guessed it Friday the 13th of August. Did I make it to that day? Nope. I didn’t go a day over 37 weeks 5 days with either girl. Darling Girl No. 1 (from now on referred to as DG1) decided that she should start making her entry into the world on August 10. That bought me a night in the hospital, being administered meds to try to stop my labor until the OB decided he wanted to crawl out of bed, and be at the hospital to see us at 8 a.m. (Can you tell I’m still a little miffed about that?) The OB and our family doctor, who would have attended the deliver if DG1 had flipped the right way around, spent what seemed like an eternity trying to turn her. But, nope, she was trying to escape both feet first. And it didn’t remain an external version. Our family doctor, Dr. Walrus* spent some time trying to dislodge DG1’s feet. Yes, the OB dilly-dallied around long enough that things were progressing a little faster than he expected. So, I got a nice trip to the O.R. where I proceeded to vomit & itch during the entire procedure. I ended up with a healthy pink (actually, her first few hours she was purple, but I guess that happens with c-section babies) bundle of cuteness, so it was all worth it.

Now, for Darling Girl No. 2 (who will now be referred to as DG2). I was due sometime at the end of July, 2001. No, I don’t remember the date. I assume it was around the 29th, but I don’t know which box in the basement has the baby books in it, so….we’ll go with that. I had good contractions on and off all that week. So good in fact that we were at the hospital twice in the first half of the week, where things would be going along pretty well, and then stop completely. By Thursday, at my regular weekly appointment my midwife, who also happens to be a friend, said we could think about some “help”. She’d already done everything she could to help get things moving, outside of my being admitted to the hospital. Everyone one agreed that it was the best idea to get the ball rolling. It didn’t help that the Hubs was leaving on SATURDAY to start a new job in Tennessee, so I kept thinking every time my labor starter, “Wahoo. This is it. Now I don’t have to worry about him getting here on time.” After conferring with the supervision OB, and my having spent the rest of Thursday hiking around our neighborhood trying to get things moving, she called and told me to be at the hospital bright and shiny Friday morning. I think we checked in around 9. By 5 p.m. we were snuggling our new, healthy, beautiful baby girl.

So, Friday the 13th, you don’t scare me. I look forward to them, on every one of them my thoughts turn to the day my DG2 was born, and then I think about how DG1 could have been a Friday the 13th baby as well. I expect something good from Friday the 13th. I could have received the greatest blessing on that day in 1999 (if my scheduled version hadn’t worked, they’d have done a c-section that same day to deliver DG1), and I did receive the greatest blessing on that “scary” day, almost two years later in 2001, with the birth of DG2.

 

* Dr. Walrus was NOT his real name. Bless that wonderful man, but he had a crazy, huge, very full mustache.

My Reason for Being Here

Did you ever wonder what you were put on this Earth for? I used to. Oh, I had all kinds of grand ideas…I was going to be a lawyer, a famous author, an English professor, then one day, when I thought I’d completely lost my way, a college washout, working a dead-end job, with little satisfaction, single & pitiful (because I didn’t feel whole alone) something amazing happened. God showed me what I was meant for. Wanna know what it was?

 

 

Simple:

This is the reasons I get up every morning, instead of pulling the covers back over my head. I cannot believe this was almost 3 years ago. Wow, time flies.

Does that mean my life is nothing without my Hubby and kids? No, but it would sure be a lot less fun, less lively, lacking so much love and missing oh, so much purpose. I am blessed every day. Every single day, even on the days like today, when I’m exhausted, and my allotted three cups of coffee just aren’t doing the trick, when my kids fluster me by doing normal kid stuff, when the mountain of laundry waiting for me after being sick for 3 days is taller than I am (not really, but it seems like it), I am blessed. Just look at them! I know, your peeps are über special too, but these are MY peeps. They love me. I love them in return, beyond measure. Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with this Purpose.

No Rest for the Weary.

So, the last time I was here I was talking about having a sick kiddo. She’s all better now. Well, except for the occasional cough. We had a quiet Friday night, it was great. The Hubby had the whole weekend off. Yeah! On Saturday afternoon Bug had friends over. Cousins “C” (whose overly organized mother I mentioned before as being completely done with her freaking Christmas shopping by Halloween) and “S”. “S” is a former neighbor girl. For three years it was almost like she lived here. She and her family moved this last spring, to the very next town, only about 5 minutes away, but it might as well have been across the state, as busy as every one has been. We’ve seen her twice in the last 6 months, and I find myself missing her. The girls originally came over just to hang out on Saturday afternoon, but it didn’t take long for someone to ask if they could spend the night. Of course I said yes. They did make-up and hair, and even I got in on the hair action. I love people messing with my hair and when “S” asked if she could do mine, I couldn’t resist. On Sunday, we had smoothies for breakfast, and then “real” breakfast for lunch. Before breakfast I made a humongous batch of non-toxic play dough, and that kept 4 girls ages 10-13 busy for hours. We colored it, added a little sweet orange oil to make it smell pretty, and then I let them open my 100 count cookie cutters and go crazy. Yesterday, I found that I messed up the recipe, when I noticed it was molding. Gross. I wrote down the salt amount in tablespoons instead of CUPS! No wonder the stuff took so much work to get to a nice texture. I guess I’ll have to try again another day.I think “S” missed me. She was very helpful, and talkative. They drew for a bit on Saturday night while I was cooking supper and she made me a card, then later asked if it was okay that she called me Mom, and wanted a goodnight hug when my girls got them. I was happy to oblige. She has always been a good kid.

I divvied up the dough so both of the visiting girls could take some home with them. I managed to fill a lunch meat contain (you know, those reusable ones) with 6 different colors for both of them. I also woke Sunday morning to a very full living room. The girls decided to sleep in my living room. Bug and “C” were both on the couch (no, it’s not a pull out), “S” was in the recliner and Pally was wedged between the couch and the coffee table. Silly kids. Hopefully my next house will have a bigger living room or family room so that we can just have the kiddos crash right there in the floor.

Of course, by Sunday night I was sick! I think I caught Pally’s cooties. My throat hurt for two days. However, I finished Pally’s fluffy eyelash yarn scarf, on Sunday. I made it for her for Christmas last year. It promptly started to unravel on Dec. 26. I unraveled the whole darn thing and started over. Finished just in time for the cold weather snap we are having. She has worn it EVERYDAY since I finished it. I have one skein of yarn left before the Feather & Fan baby blanket I’m working on is done. I can’t wait. Hopefully by early next week I’ll be working on Bug’s scarf. It’s a simple ribbed scarf.  Maybe by Christmas I’ll have their hats started (or done if I’m really industrious). I’m also planning on starting another baby blanket in the Raspberry stitch. Maybe. I figure I can keep them in reserve, as gifts.

So, how busy have you been?