Monday, November 14, 2011

Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Unseen Angels

Look into their hearts.

So many things to see.

A person only understands

the things that they can see.

Not knowing what they are,

only what they are told.

Missing so many things in life,

because they do not know.

Till one day an angel takes the time

to open up their eyes.

Whats waiting there in time to see

but was never to be free.

We are so much more then the reflections

that the mirror seems to read.

It only takes an angel for us to open

up to see.

Hoping that the Gods guiding hands

will lead someone to see, that there

are many angels just waiting there to lead.

Our lives are not always what we thought

they were meant to be but there was a angel

that was leading me to thee.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jackson Shay's Birth Story

It has taken me almost 2 months to realize I hadn't posted Jack's birth story yet. I'm posting this for those of you who are interested and haven't heard the whole story.

By August 16th, I hadn't had ANY contractions in almost 2 weeks and seemed stuck at 1cm. I was hardly effaced at all. I was concerned about going full or post term, since the weather had been so ridiculously hot here. I was considering having the midwife schedule a c-section on my EDD just in case Jack wasn't here, so I wouldn't have to worry about getting my tubes tied later. Then late that Tuesday night, I had 2 hours of off and on "cervical pokes". And when I say pokes, I mean like someone with crazy long finger nails poking you. At my midwife appointment the next morning, they were running a little behind because another mother-to-be ran late to her appointment. The midwife checked me, and I had progressed to 2cm and had a bulging sac. I didn't know what the bulging sac meant, but I was under the impression it was very favorable. The midwife said she doubted if I would last the weekend, and vigorously shook her head when I asked about driving out to Eastland to pick up Skyla. She also suggested that I do lots of walking.

I went home and sent a text message to my friend Nicole C. asking if she wanted to go walk a local mall with me and then let the kids play in an indoor play area. Her youngest had just gone down for a nap, and they had plans for the afternoon, so we made plans to walk the next morning. The girls and I went and walked the mall for about an hour and a half, then they played for about 30 minutes before we went home. I had a couple of contractions while walking, but nothing worth timing or paying any real attention to. I didn't sleep very well that night. Probably had something to do with the fact that I got up to go to the bathroom 3 times and then I am one of those people who takes FOREVER to fall back asleep.

I woke up having had no contractions, and took the girls to pick up Nicole and her boys to walk the mall. We walked around for about 45 minutes and then let the kids play about 45 minutes. Mike got ready for work as usual, and by the time he left for work, I had only had a handful of contractions. I started having contractions about 10 minutes apart lasting 15-20 seconds around 3pm. The girls and I ran an errand to Wal-Mart to get some comfort food, bread and butter pickles, sliced pineapple, and some frozen fruit treats. My mom called to see how I was doing around 4:30 or so, and when I told her about the contractions she started calling people and getting worried that I would give birth with the girls in the van on the way somewhere. I talked with Pastor Tim, my dad, and Mike very soon after, all because my mom had made her phone calls. She was on the ball, whereas I probably would have waited at least another hour to call anyone. I also called the birthing center to give the midwife on duty a heads up that I was having time able contractions so no one would be shocked if I needed to come in later that night. My dad highly suggested going to his house, so that way the girls would have someone to watch them if I need to go to the birthing center.

This whole time, I had been finishing packing the birth center bags with the "necessities" that were still daily usage items like the camera. The girls and I went to my dad's to have a way to keep them busy while I labored. I called the midwife back to let them know that I was at my dad's and gave them his number. My dad also came home to help my oldest brother watch the girls. I talked with the midwife again, since the contractions had not picked up. She suggested going on a 30 minute power walk and then taking a warm bath to see if that had any affect on them. I don't know how far I walked in the 100+ degree heat, but I know it was farther than my dad was comfortable with. Almost as soon as I started walking, the contractions picked up and came every 1-4 minutes and lasted 15-30 seconds. They didn't subside after the warm bath either. We periodically talked with my mom and Mike, and I told him to stay and work. We would call him when I was about ready to head to the birthing center. I continued some online research I was working on until I couldn't really concentrate anymore.

I called my midwife back about 9:40pm and let her know the contraction stats(3-5 minutes and lasting 45 seconds) and that I was having problems concentrating. She asked if I wanted to come in and I said please. I guess she understood that time was getting close so she said she would meet us there in 15 minutes. Mike was still at work, but I told him to wait until his relief got there to come to the center. I also sent a text to Jamie G., who is training to become a midwife, that we were going to the birthing center if she was able to come. My dad drove me to the birthing center cracking jokes and talking about various things to help keep my mind off the contractions.

We got there at 10:02pm, and the midwife told me to go to the bathroom and then lay on the bed for a cervical check. I had progressed to almost 7cm and had an even bulgier sac. She had just finished the cervical check, when my water broke and ALL OVER that side of the bed. We are talking one serious gush! With the next contraction, I suddenly felt the urge to push and told her so. She asked if I wanted to try to wait to push until Mike got there, and I said it wasn't up to me! My dad then called Mike and told him to skip stopping by the apartment for a change of clothes. This was all going so fast, that it was only the midwife, my dad, and I there. Mike and the birthing assistant still weren't there yet. Jack was born in 5 or 6 good pushes. No tears this time, and it seemed like a lot easier birth this time around. That probably has something to do with the fact that Jack was 2lbs 6oz smaller than Genevieve!

Jackson Shay was born at 10:16pm on August 18th weighing 8lbs 2oz and 20in long. Mike was still not there, so my dad got to cut the cord. Mike got there around 10:20pm. He was in awe of how quickly it all went, and is very much in love with his son.

Jamie G. got lost in Dallas, and somehow managed to drive all the way up to Anna (50 miles or so north of where we were), but she was still able to make it to spend sometime with us before going home. It was nice to spent some time with her, because we hadn't seen her in more than a year and she and I are of kindred spirits.

There was some concern for Jackson, because I had only had water in the last 2 hours before his birth, and his sugar was a little low so he was a little jittery. After nursing several times, he was doing lots better. He is a great nurser and has been going through at times what seems like a crazy long growth spurt. His 1rst PKU came back with some abnormalities, but they were all straightened out by the time he was 2 weeks old.

I didn't have the water birth I wanted, because by the time the tub would have been filled up, Jack would still have been here already. I don't mind though. The midwife had to laugh some afterwards, because she wasn't sure if I was really in labor when I called the last time because of how calm I sounded. I guess having my kids as close together as I did helped keep me calm.

I enjoyed using a midwife instead of an OB this time around, and wouldn't have changed much. I probably would have had Mike leave work a little early and probably would have gone to the birth center a little earlier.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dear Non-Pregnant Person,
I hope you find these guidelines helpful in your interactions with pregnant women, as failing to follow them may result in serious physical harm. If you are thinking, surely she doesn’t mean me – then you should probably read this twice.

1. The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is ‘Congratulations!’ with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you a jerk.

2. Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father – not grandparents. Unless the baby is in your uterus or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase ‘my baby’.

3. On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in 2, the pregnancy, birth, and raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it…

4. The body of a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other body. You would not randomly touch someone’s stomach if they were not pregnant, nor would you inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix, or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.

5. Likewise, no woman wants to hear comments on her weight…ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about is pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is ‘You look fabulous!’.

6. By the time we are 20-30 years old, most of us have picked up on the fact that the summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don’t need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes. Nor do we need to know how badly you will feel for us because we will be pregnant during the summer and how glad you are that YOU will not be pregnant this coming summer.

7. There is a reason that tickets to Labor & Delivery are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, MIL, or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt and genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents. You weren’t invited to be there when the baby was created, you probably won’t be invited to be there when it comes out either.

8. Like everything else in life, unless you receive an invitation, you are NOT invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital, and the parent’s home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to ‘help out’. If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.

9. If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules, and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from multiple locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.

10. The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask for you to wait three weeks to visit, appreciate that you are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.

All the Pregnant Women in the World

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Mom-Judging Olympics: A competition nobody meant to enter

The Mom-Judging Olympics: A competition nobody meant to enter

What do moms judge each other for?

Courtesy of Sara Keeler

Sara Keeler, with her sons Gabriel and Joseph, calls motherhood 'a competition nobody meant to enter.'

The real question is, what don’t we judge each other for?

Nearly 90 percent of us judge other moms, for everything from breast-feeding habits to bratty kids, our TODAY Moms/ survey of 26,000 moms found.

As one mom told us, motherhood is “a competition nobody meant to enter.”

Didn’t try to breast-feed? One in 5 moms will judge you for that. But if you breast-feed for “too long” – say, nursing a 3-year-old -- you get judged too, by 43 percent of moms.

Other ways to get mommy-judged: Have a bratty kid (66 percent of moms will judge you harshly); have an overweight child (37 percent); let your child have too much TV/video game screen time (32 percent); feed your kid junky food (34 percent).

In the Mom Judging Olympics, nobody wins.

Most moms try to shrug off the judgment, but it can really get to you. Lawna Hurl, mom of two daughters in Alberta, Canada, says she went back to work after six months in part because she couldn’t take the constant, unspoken competition.

“I didn’t like being around other moms ‘cause I often felt inferior,” she explained. “It saddens me that among moms there is so much judgment – no matter what you do it seems someone is judging.”

(Of course, now she might get judged for “working too much” – one in five says this is a mommy no-no.)

Parenting expert Wendy Mogel, author of “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee,” says part of what’s fueling the mom judge-a-thon is what psychologists call “displacement.” The world is a scary place, and we can’t control things like the economy free-falling. But we can control our choices as a parent – so we attach way too much significance to them.

Rachel Fishman Feddersen of and NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman talk about the lengths some moms will go to get a break from their children, some of which are surprisingly extreme.

“Mothers are judging themselves and judging others to make themselves feel a little better,” Mogel said. “We’re all trying to look good, and we want our kids to look good and impress others.”

Lacey Davis, a mom in West Virginia, says she hates to admit how judgmental she is. “When I go to other moms’ homes I do the quick once-over and pick apart things and almost go down this checklist I carry in my head. Dishes in sink, floors not swept, no sweeper lines in carpet,” she told “I HATE this about myself because I know if I am doing it, then so is everyone else that comes to MY house!”

But the harshest critic usually lies within. Sara Keeler, a mother of two boys in Gillette, Wyo., describes motherhood as “a competition nobody meant to enter.”

Courtesy of Lawna Hurl

Lawna Hurl's two daughters.

She plays along, sometimes – when company is coming, she’ll race through the house and shove all the clutter into closets, so people think she’s an OK housekeeper. The pressure to be the perfect mom feels heavy, she says.

“We all want to be the best at what we do,” Keeler says. “We conLinksciously and unconsciously compare ourselves, and our children, to every other mother and child we come in contact with.”

Brigette Dineen, a mom of two from the Cleveland, Ohio, area, bemoans the “Eye of Judgment” that seems to follow moms everywhere. She chalks up the pressure on moms today in part to information overload: We have so many resources, from prenatal yoga classes to umpteen child-rearing books to educational videos and BPA warnings, that we expect perfection from ourselves and our families.

“So why are our kids still sometimes brats?” she wonders. “Newsflash – they’re kids and that’s what they do.”

I will readily admit I am a judger. I try not to, but I am human. Therefore I judge.

I don't judge a mom for not breastfeeding or breastfeeding for "too long". I didn't try that hard with Dianna, and made it more than a year with Genevieve.

I do judge a little for bratty kids. I understand that kids will have behavior issues at various times in their lives and that you can only do so much before it borderlines abuse.

I do not judge co-sleepers, because I KNOW how much easier it makes getting sleep when you have a young child.

I do judge people with overweight kids, because I think that most of the time it goes hand in hand with feeding your kids junk food and not making sure they get enough exercise. Take into account my stepdaughter Hailyn. She is overweight. She is definitely a hefty girl. She prefers to eat junky food, and turns her nose up at alot of food that Mike and I fix her to eat. I truly worry that when she starts school very soon, that she will be made fun of for her size and her quirks. She is rather spoiled, and it kind of hurts me that we can only do so much about it at our house and then she goes home to something totally different. Sad thing is, she is pretty much the same size (shirt and shorts) as her almost 8 year old half-sister and she won't be 5 until Sunday.

I am constantly working on becoming a better person and parent, but as most people know, it is a very slow journey.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)

Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”

She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stepmom Bill of Rights

I found this on Cafemom after doing some looking for emotional support, and I have to say it all makes total sense. I think I am going to type it up all nice and pretty and hang it on our bedroom wall.

Stepmom Bill of Rights

1. I will be part of the decision-making process in my marriage and family at all times.

2. People outside the immediate family - including ex-wives, in-laws and adult children - cannot make plans that affect my life without my consent.

3. I will not be responsible for the welfare of children for whom I can set no limits.

4. I must be consulted about which children will live with us, when they can visit and how long they will stay.

5. I will not be solely responsible for housework; chores will be distributed fairly.

6. I will be consulted regarding all family financial matters.

7. Others may not violate my private space at home, nor take or use my possessions without my permission.

8. I will never be treated as an "outsider" in my own home.

9. My husband and stepchildren must treat me with respect.

10. Our marriage is our first priority, and we will address all issues together.
~Author Unknown

Friday, June 17, 2011

A father's day wish: Dads, wake the hell up!

By Jeff Pearlman, Special to CNN
June 17, 2011 10:18 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- The woman started crying.

I didn't expect this, because, well, why would I? We were two adults, standing in a preschool auditorium, waiting for the year-end musical gala to begin, talking summer plans and Twitter and junk fiction and all things mindless parents talk at mindless events. Then -- tears.

"My husband," she said, "doesn't care."

"Uh, about what?" I asked.

The floodgates now open, she told me her husband works from home. But he never drops their daughter off at preschool. He never picks their daughter up at preschool. He never wakes up with their daughter, never puts her to bed, never takes her to a movie or a carnival or a ball game; never comes up with fun daddy-daughter activities. "All he worries about is golf," the mother said. "Sometimes he'll take her to the driving range for an hour. But that's it. ..."

Two days later, by mere coincidence, a different mother cornered me. I was sitting in a pizzeria with my son, Emmett, and daughter, Casey, gnawing on a calzone. The woman, another preschool regular who always seems to be dragging around her kids with the worn look of a chain gang inmate, glanced my way and muttered, "My husband would never do that."

"Do what?" I asked.

"Be out alone with both of the kids at once," she said. "Never."

In case you are wondering, I am that dad. The one who works out of the house. The one who drives his kids to school, packs lunches and pushes swings and arranges play dates and attends teacher conferences and -- generally speaking -- frequently finds himself alone in brightly colored rooms filled with women and tykes.

Along with my wife (who, until recently, also worked from home), I wipe snot, clean poop, order time outs and say no -- Really, no! I'm being serious, no! -- to the damned ice cream man and his Satanic siren call. I know all of my kids' friends, and most of their tendencies (Ashley and Emily love dolls, Lucas only wants to talk about Derek Jeter, Tyler digs applesauce).

Hence, I have been sent here today, on behalf of the stay-at-home mothers of the world, to convey to my fellow pops a message of love and hope in this lead-up to Father's Day: Wake the hell up.

Really, wake the hell up. Now. I understand that most of you have 9-to-5 jobs, that you leave tired and come home tired and just wanna chill in front of SportsCenter with a bowl of chips. But, seriously, you have no remote idea: Being a stay-at-home parent is exhausting. At the office, you can hide. You can take lunch. You can pretend you're working while scrolling the Internet for Yankees-Blue Jays and, ahem, Lindsay Lohan news. You have genuine social interactions with folks over the age of, oh, 12. People ask questions about your day -- and listen to the answers.

I envy you, but I sort of pity you. Kids grow. Age 1 turns to age 3, which turns to age 7, which turns to 15 and 18 and 21, all in the blink of an eye. If you're there, as I am, it flies. If you're not there -- if you're almost never there -- it barely exists at all. Which is why I just can't stomach those millions of dads who view their days at home as recovery from work, who'd rather rest than engage, who have no problem with passing the tykes off for more alone time with mom and who, literally, moan to their wives, "You have no idea how hard I work."

For you, I offer these 10 commandments of righteous fatherhood. Pay close attention, because, behind your back, people are pitying your wife:

1. No golf on weekends: Seriously, it's ludicrous. Your spouse is home with the kids all the time, and you think it's OK to take five hours on a weekend day to pursue your own pastime? Selfishness, thy name is Father.

2. Wake up: Literally, wake up. With your kids. On at least one of the two weekend days -- and perhaps both. I know: you wake up early for work. Not even remotely the same thing. Rising alongside the kiddies is hard. And crazy. And (gasp!) sorta fun, if you'd just stop moping.

3. Change diapers: If you have little kids, and you don't know how to change diapers (or, even worse, refuse to change diapers), you're pathetic. That's no exaggeration -- p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. It's not all that hard, and though the poop sometimes winds up on the fingers, well, uh, yeah. It just does. Wash your hands.

4. Play with dolls and paint your toenails: How many fathers do I know who refuse to get girlish with their girls? Dozens. Dude, put aside the machismo, break out Barbie and slather on some pink polish. You'll make a friend for life -- and nobody else is watching.

5. Do things you don't want to do: It's easy to take the kids to the driving range -- because you want to be there. Now try spending the day having a tea party at American Girl. Or crawling through one of those wormholes at the nearby kiddie gym. Fun? Often, no. But this isn't about you.

6. Order the wife to bug off: I recently met a mother who told me her husband hadn't been alone with their 9-year-old daughter for more than two hours ... ever. Inexcusable. Let your wife do her own thing: relax, take a run, whatever. Entertain your children solo. They don't bite (Note: is not liable if your children do, in fact, bite).

7. Surprise! Just once, on a random day without meaning or purpose, show up early at your kid's school/camp/wherever, say "Get in the car!" and take him/her somewhere special. Just the two of you, alone. A movie. A park. A hike. The memory lasts -- I promise.

8. Dishes Don't Clean Themselves (Nor Do Toys): It's amazing how this one works. You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.

9. Wake up your kid: Not often. But if you want to score big points and create a killer memory moment, walk in Junior's room at, oh, midnight, wake him/her up and go outside for 10 minutes to watch the stars.

10. For God's sake, tell your kids you love them: They never see you, and they'd probably like to know.

Bud, as you read this your wife is expecting little -- and your kids are expecting even less. Pull one out of the blue. Make Father's Day less about you, and all about them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeff Pearlman......and probably several thousand stay at home moms.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Electronic Issues

Sorry I haven't been posting the organization and decluttering blog. I dropped my computer and cracked the screen. I saved all my documents and typing on an external hard drive that crashed a few days later. I am working on catching up, but it may take me a while because the girls are being rather taxing on my energy levels right now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Guide to Imperfect, but Clean Laundry

If you do an excellent job taking care of your laundry each week, this isn’t a post for you. If all of your clothes are neatly put away, you should skip this post. You don’t need to read it.

If your goal is simply to have you and your family dressed in clean clothes, let’s talk strategies.

1. Have one laundry basket for clean clothes — just one! I’ve had a load of clean clothes sitting in the laundry basket for four days, not even folded. Pretty soon my kids will start getting dressed from it when their drawers are finally empty. I don’t care; it’s just one basket. I put away all the other laundry because I only have that one basket.

2. Do not pile clothes on your ironing board. If your clothes need to be ironed but you don’t plan to do it right then, hang them up in your closet anyway so they won’t be more wrinkled. There are few things more discouraging than an ironing pile. If for some reason you have an inkling to do some ironing, you can get the clothes from the closet or iron one shirt when you need it.

3. Don’t fold stuff. Towels are hung back on the towel bar. Sheets are put back on the bed. Underwear gets tossed in the drawer. T-shirts are hung on hangers.

4. Sorting clothes before you wash — I don’t think you need to do it. I can’t help myself, I sort anyways. Do you or don’t you?

5. Phase out high-maintenance clothes. Look at the care label when you buy new ones. Dry clean only? Pass. The shirt may be on sale, but you’ll pay much more for cleaning costs, not to mention how long it will sit on the floor of the closet before you take a trip to the cleaners.

Mainly with laundry, just try to keep up. You don’t need to have it all finished to feel good about it. I need to do three to four loads a week in my family, so I try to keep up that pace during the week. I don’t try to have all of my family’s clothes clean at the same time. If I did, it would last about two seconds.

Ain't It Funny?

My days are not my own.

My time is not my own.

My schedule is not my own.

My home is not my own.

My room is not my own.

My bed is certainly not my own.

My body is not my own.

My TV is not my own.

My phone is not my own.

My car is not my own (I mean, hell, it's a minivan.)

These days, pretty much nothing in my life is my own. And yet, I have everything I could ever need.

Chapter 1: My Story (and Mine too!)

“Clutter can indeed be traced back to Adam, who, when his fig leaves were worn out and should have been discarded, pressed and saved them as a memory of bygone days.”

Some people believe that there are people that are born this way – the ability to be tidy housekeepers. Mrs. Porter and I both believe that we’re born with an innate ability to clean or that there are “neat freak” or “messy” genes. Where does it start then?

Children tend to learn by what they see and not by what they are taught. Mrs. Porter’s parents, and mine as well, taught their children to clean but also showed behaviors that invite clutter. Her parents, and mine, saved LOTS of things. Childhood games also tend to follow us into adulthood and become habits.

Anyone who has kids knows the game “drop it”. The baby or child will drop utensils, food, toys, and other things off their high chair and mommy or daddy will pick it up and hand it back. It’s a repeating cycle until one person, usually the parent, puts a stop to the “game”. Now that we are parents, we don’t like it so much.

Then there is the game “empty it”. Both Dianna and Genevieve play this game FREQUENTLY and to be perfectly honest, it drives me nuts. Literally. I used to have a bunch of their little toys in fabric bins on their shelves. Then the dumping began. I only have so much energy, so everything is now semi-neatly stored in a large cedar chest(family heirloom type) in their bedroom. Then there are all the books! With the girls having a librarian for a grandmother, each and every birthday and Christmas are filled with books. I had to store all of the paper page ones in their closet, so the books with the stories that I grew up with can last until the girls can read them for themselves. Then there is the laundry. It has to ALL be stored in their closet, which is childproofed. It we had the clothes in a dresser out in their bedroom, I am SURE that the drawers would get emptied daily. These games are mastered VERY quickly, but “put it back” takes a while longer.

Mrs. Porter also mentions that preschoolers graduate to a game that she calls “leave it”. Kids this age like to play with their own toys and then leave the mess for someone else to deal with. She talks about how her nieces like to play this game. At first, she dealt with this by telling them that any toys getting left laying out would get thrown out. She also stated that the girls owned enough playthings to fill a Toys-R-Us store. THAT is WAY too many toys! Another time, Mrs. Porter tries a kinder and gentler approach. She taught her nieces that the more toys they had, the more they had to clean up. More toys = more cleaning! Suddenly, they were very eager to find toys they no longer loved and donate them to charity. I hope I can teach my kids this valuable lesson.

Without setting boundaries on the number of toys and expectations to pick them up, preschoolers might even play “leave it” right into their teenage years. Worse yet, it might get so burned into their brain, that this character trait will follow them into adulthood. Combined with the “need” to get more things without getting rid of some of the things they already own, there is a recipe for disaster.

Mrs. Porter and I have a problem in common. We both tend to play “leave it” quite a bit. Dishes pile up in the sink. Laundry may sit in its hamper or on the floor for days. Things will get set down on the table or bar to the kitchen until “I can get to it”.

It used to be hard to get rid of stuff, but then I started getting tired of how much time I was spending cleaning and organizing. I think I still spend too much time cleaning and organizing, and that is an ongoing project in itself.

Like Mrs. Porter, I also lacked a confidence in my cleaning skills. I know how to wash a counter, it was the cleaning all the junk off it part that was and is still hard. I didn’t read every cleaning book I could get my hands on, I just did a little research online about “green cleaning” and try to keep up with some of the posts from FlyLady. Several people contribute to this Facebook page, and followers also share their experiences so they can help others. I have never tried index cards for anything other than notes for school, have never used a timer, had never thought of using incentives, but I have come up with a cleaning chart/schedule that I hope will help me keep up with everything, especially after LO#3 arrives. Unfortunately, everything is only temporary, especially if you have young children.

If cleaning is “that big” of a problem, then any little part of it should be prayed about. Not some little halfhearted prayer, but one as serious as one that you would send up for a friend who has been in a serious accident. Answers or a spick and span house won’t usually happen overnight. And sometimes it won’t always be in a way that you expect.

Sometimes you have to start over as if you were a child. That was what Mrs. Porter did with the help of 2 friends from church. One BIG point mentioned was “You CAN’T keep it all!” Gifts are gifts. Once it is given to you, you can do whatever you want with it. You can keep it, regift it to someone who really NEEDS it, or get rid of it in another manner. You can’t keep it all and keep a clean house!

That brings about A BUNCH of good questions. What can be gotten rid of? How do I decide what to keep? What other things have I been holding onto that I don’t need? Ask your friends about their methods for handling clutter. How do they keep their homes free of so much stuff? What do they do with possessions they used to love but have outgrown? What happens to expensive items they no longer use? Do they keep duplicates? How many bath towels do they own? How many sets of sheet do they own for each bed? What about extra blankets? Are there items they stock up on? What types of keep sakes do they save? ALL excellent questions!

How many pairs of jeans do I really need? What about t-shirts and sweatshirts? Do I need all that I have? What don’t I wear anymore? Are there clothes that don’t fit right or don’t compliment my figure? What do I have that I just don’t like? Am I hanging onto clothes that are torn, faded, or missing buttons? If so, why am I keeping them?

Mrs. Porter lost pounds of emotional weight with every piece of clutter that went out the door. Her soul felt lighter. Whatever feelings of comfort or happiness she derived from having too much stuff was multiplied by letting things go. This gives a new definition to freedom. You might be able to sense God’s presence even more, like Mrs. Porter was. She also found a peace and clarity previously unknown in her life.

I think that the “new philosophy” mentioned is definitely a good idea to write down or print out and keep where you see it every day. Write it. Memorize it. Say it to yourself when you are cleaning. I CAN’T KEEP EVERYTHING AND KEEP A CLEAN HOUSE!


By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24: 3-4

The first step in maintaining a clean house is obtaining the wisdom in how to do it. Nearly anyone can keep a clean house for a day. Every day is a horse of another color. Understanding is needed to comprehend how to permanently transform clutter into neatness and less stress. We need to remember that the most beautiful treasures we can fill our house with are people, not material possessions.

De-Cluttering My Heart:

Lord, forgive me for: being so lazy after taking the girls down to the library and playground.

Lord, thank you for: time with visiting family. It truly is a blessing, even though it is not for long.

Lore, help me with: getting the girls out of the apartment more often while the weather is still decent and not too warm outside.

Decluttering My Home:

Do I still play “drop it” and “leave it”? I know I still play both of them, and they are a constant struggle that I try to work on daily. Working on them can be hard, especially with having kids around. What childhood habits do I need to change? I definitely need to change the “games” I play and definitely work on getting to cleaning sooner rather than later. What behaviors can I replace them with? I don’t really know what kind of positive behaviors I can replace them with. I know I need to work on not setting things down and taking forever and a day to get back to them.

Am I open to pairing down any of my collections? In the past year or so, I have gotten rid of(given back to the original owner) almost 2 whole series of books, some of my knick knacks, and a bunch of little craft clutter junk, what I like to call things that I save to do crafts but are really trash. What items am I willing to consider letting go? I recently got rid of a bunch of unusable clothing scraps that I was saving to make memory quilts/clothes for the girls. I don’t know exactly how much I got rid of, but it was at least a couple of grocery bags worth.

Which do I desire more – to keep everything I own or to keep a clean house? I definitely desire a clean house more. I hate having to watch where I am stepping, just because the girls have so many toys out that haven’t been picked up yet. I also don’t really have the patience to keep picking up the same things several times a day, every day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don't You Want a Doctor?

Note: I found this on Cafemom and it totally describes my feelings about why I really wanted to go with a midwife this time around

Don't you want a doctor?...

It is a question I have been asked, "Don't you want someone who can handle anything?" When I heard this question, so many feelings boiled inside me so fast that
my answer constituted: "No, because I don't want someone waiting for the slightest opportunity to cut me open again." And, while that holds true, there's so much more than that and it deserves to be put into words.

I don't want a doctor because I believe in my ability to birth. I believe that Mother Nature/Creation/ God(s)-or whomever you revere- have given us the ability and the opportunity to birth, and to go through that passage for a reason. Over the years in North American culture, we have lost sight of such experience and its purpose. It has been said before, that "A child is born,
and so is a mother."

I don't want a doctor because they are experts in many things, but not normal birth.

I don't want a doctor because I want a birth attendant who believes in me. An attendant who will empower me, and support me, and tell me to get it together and birth this baby. I choose someone who will encourage me to be educated and make decisions with me, not for me.

I don't want a doctor because I am not making decisions based on fear. I make decisions based on research, and logic and, all the while, I also follow my heart.

I don't want a doctor because, despite widely held beliefs, birth in a hospital is not as safe as birth outside a hospital. Birth with a midwife, at home, is a rational choice.

I do not want a doctor because I am more than a paycheck, a liability, or a 'difficult' patient.

I do not want a doctor because I do not need to wait an hour in a waiting room to be seen for 5 minutes and by someone who needs to look at my chart to know my name. Instead, I want to be welcomed with a hug, offered water, a snack, and have an hour talking about my pregnancy, my feelings, and my birth plans.

I do not want a doctor because I do not need to feel scared about being an inconvenience, or have questions, take too much time, be too "needy" or have too many expectations.

I don't want a doctor because I want to be regarded as a healthy birthing mother. I am not sick, I am not a patient. I am full with life.

I don't want a doctor because birth is NOT an emergency waiting to happen, it is NOT dangerous. A doctor makes you believe birth is unsafe and you need them. After all, they would not have a job otherwise. A midwife trusts the process and allows it to take its course without fitting it into a box or random standards.

I don't want a doctor because I want someone who can handle things without a knife and someone who knows how to help me get the baby into a better position and over a pubic bone, and whatever else, without slicing me open or using torture devices.

I don't want a doctor because my body works. And it works best if not surrounded by strangers poking, probing and interrupting my concentration.

I don't want a doctor because I know I WILL go into labor, my hips are NOT small, they're the perfect size. My baby is NOT too big, my body CAN dilate, I am NOT a failure to progress. I DO NOT need to be saved. By not having a doctor, I AM saving myself.

I don't want a doctor because I don't want him, or a calendar, or a clock to tell me when I HAVE to birth and how fast I need to dilate. My body knows it, my baby knows it. We'll do it when it's time for the baby to be born, and time for me to birth my child.

I don't want a doctor because I don't want to be offered an induction (or be cut open) because it's close to Christmas, Mother's Day, or Labor Day. I won't be hurried because
there's a golf game, a cruise, or a date to be made, or it's just inconvenient for me to wake them up at night or to take too long.

I don't want a doctor because I don't want to be imprisoned in a bed "just in case" and I don't want to have to stay still so a machine can work properly and the nurse doesn't have time to come into my room.

I don't want a doctor because I do not need to ask for permission to use the rest room, move around, eat, or have an opinion. Nor, do I need scare tactics and a "dead baby" card when I opt out of a procedure done only to cover the doctor's legal butt.

I do not want a doctor because I appreciate being talked to respectfully, and acknowledged, and being taken into account. I DO WANT TO KNOW, AND I WILL worry my little head about it, after all, it is my birth, my child, and my responsibility to do so.

I don't want a doctor because I don't want an electronic monitor to tell someone how I'm doing or whether I am in pain or not, or if my baby hugs are adequate enough.

I don't want a doctor because I don't want someone to "manage" my birth, and "solve" things by using interventions, which may lead to more interventions, which would be solved with even more interventions

I don't want a doctor because I don't want to be silent. I will groan, and moan, and sing if I want to, and my midwife may sing with me.

I don't want a doctor because* I *will birth my baby. My midwife will be present at my birth but nothing (besides food) will be delivered.

I do not want a doctor because I am not birthing on my back, or holding my breath or counting to 10.

I don't want a doctor because I don't want my child to be poked and prodded before we have a chance to hold each other. I want my baby to hear my voice first.

I don't want a doctor because I cannot bear another cut into my uterus and my heart, nor can I bear to watch another baby of mine born into blinding bright lights, deep suctioning, IV's and antibiotics.

I don't want a doctor because I have all it takes: wisdom, strength, courage, faith, and a vagina.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Too Much Stuff! Introduction

Organized and uncluttered are probably two of the last words anyone close to me would use to describe me. I am one of those messy “organized” people. If Mike needs something out of our filing cabinet, he usually asks me to find it since it is my “filing system”. I also have my own sort of organization system for our office, crafting, and electronic items.

In my Sunday school class, we started doing our weekly lesson from this excellent book called “Too Much Stuff: De-Cluttering Your Heart and Home” by Kathryn Porter. Mrs. Porter has a unique perspective on clutter, which I think is why her book is so good and helpful. I think even organized people can learn something from her. If the book has a question to answer, I will put my answer(for that day) in RED.

A little background on Mrs. Porter is necessary to explain why she is such a wonderful person to write a book like this. Mrs. Porter’s mother died when she was 57 years old. Her official cause of death was ketoacidosis, a condition that can occur. Ketoacidosis is a condition that can occur when a diabetic does not follow the proper medical care.

“Let me not destroy the beauty of today by grieving over yesterday…or worrying about tomorrow. May I cherish and appreciate my shell collection each and every day…for I know not when the tide will come and wash my treasures away.”

Mrs. Porter truly believes that her mother’s love for material possessions contributed to her early death. The amount of clutter increased, and she gradually stopped taking her medication because she lost them.

“For I know the plans I have for you, “ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 I think this is an EXCELLENT verse to start this off with because as Mrs. Porter says in her book, “God has great plans for you. He loves you through all the messes you make in life, and not just the ones involving clutter. He knows you’re not perfect, yet He still desires a prominent place in your life. Do not be discourages. For when God is our hope, we know we have a future.”

De-Cluttering My Heart

Lord, forgive me for: (This prayer point is for cleaning your conscience. Confess what is on your mind.) stressing about the stupidest things and not being as calm as I should be in some situations.

Lord, thank you for: (This prayer point is for acknowledging God’s blessing. Develop a thankful heart by finding things to be thankful for and sharing your gratitude.) such sweet(at times) and wonderful children. Having them truly is a blessing!

Lord, help me with: (This prayer point is for asking God’s help in specific areas. Recognize that God will show His strength through your weakness.) my patience levels. Help me to discipline and teach my children in ways that honor you and the way I want to live my life.

De-Cluttering My Home

How does clutter impair my lifestyle? Do I lose things? Do I spend extra money buying items I already have? Think of specific examples. Clutter impairs my lifestyle too much. I stress too much about trying to clean up after the girls and keeping the apartment in a condition that I am not embarrassed with. I don’t lose things as often as I used to, but I can always do better. I do pretty good about not buying extra items, although I do sometimes forget if we have something at home.

What would I do if an unexpected guest knocked on my front door? Would I invite my guest inside? Or would I just happen to be on my way out the door and politely excuse myself? Right now, I would invite the guest in and ask them to excuse the dirty kitchen. The girl’s room, living room, and dining room are clean, but the dishes REALLY need to be done tonight.

How has the too-much-stuff lifestyle affected my relationships? What would I like to change? Having too much stuff has affected my relationships some, because of some past events and people being nosey and judgmental when they shouldn’t have been. I’m not sure what I would like to change, because relationships can be fickle things. They need to be worked on all the time.

I hope reading this has helped you, even if just a little. I will try to put chapter 1 up sometime next week, but we will see when based on my energy levels and how busy we get.

Here is a link to the book, so you can buy it or borrow it from the library or find it somewhere else!

Friday, April 15, 2011

10 Commandments in Life

Someone has written these beautiful words. One must read and try to understand the deep meanings in them.

They are like the Ten Commandments to follow in life all the time.

1] Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble; it is a "steering wheel" that directs us in the right path throughout life.

2] Do you know why a car's WINDSHIELD is so large & the rear view mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, look ahead and move on.

3] Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4] All things in life are temporary. If going well enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong don't worry, they can't last long either.

5] Old friends are like Gold! New friends are Diamonds! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a base of Gold!

6] Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!

7] When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision."

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them; and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES; it takes away today's PEACE.

If you really enjoy this, pass to others. It may brighten someone's day. Praying for love and peace to fill your life

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Joys of Having Children from my POV

WARNING: This is going to be a venting post, and it may take me a while to actually get to the vent.

I have to admit that I love being pregnant....most of the time. When the baby is big enough, but not HUGE, and is kicking....that is one of the most AWESOME feelings in the WHOLE WORLD! When the baby is big enough to decide that your bladder is a trampoline, then they become a bit of a pain. The crazy varying hormones can be tiresome.

My pregnancies with Dianna and Genevieve were pretty different. Not quite total opposites, but still very different.

Dianna's was uncomplicated until the end, when it was discovered that she was frank breech(her head and feet were in my ribs) and the amniotic fluid levels were low enough that they weren't comfortable with trying a version(turning). She ended up being born via a semi-emergency, and probably unnecessary, c-section. We had some minor weight issues with her after that, but she is a "wild" and precocious 3 year old.

Genevieve's was full of "complications" at the beginning, but none really related to the pregnancy itself. I switched OBs around 12 weeks, because I didn't want to have another unnecessary c-section, which I know for a fact would have happened, just based on what Genevieve's measurements were doing the last 2 months of the pregnancy. She was born via VBAC at the same hospital that Dianna was born at.

This pregnancy has been "complicated" too. We tried unsuccessfully for more than a month to get insurance, only to be denied. I don't mind paying everything out of pocket, because we decided to use a midwife instead of an OB to save money and we will get to claim every penny on taxes next year. Because of being denied insurance, we aren't doing "all the extras", like 2-4 U/Ss that some OBs like to do to earn their money. We were able to find a place through my midwife that would do an U/S for free. As people sometimes say, the third time was the charm for us. We are getting our boy.

Unfortunately, little one, being a boy, is bringing drama like a magnet already. Mike's family has issues with the name and some of them are threatening to not allow little one or me at any family gatherings. Not really a big deal to me. Mike spends too much time helping out and not relaxing, like the rest of the family. I end up watching the kids and not getting a break either, because Mike's grandma's house, where the whole family gets together, is not baby proofed at all. And then there is the fact that little one will is/will be a boy. Circumcision has been brought up, and it is probably going to be a bit of a battle. Mike is circumcised, and I don't want to put our little boy through any "cruel and unusual punishment" when he hasn't done anything wrong.

The stress levels for everything are ridiculous right now, but God has his hands on our shoulders reassuring us that everything will be OK.

Mike and I have done some talking, and it looks like we will be starting some of our own family traditions at holidays. This year, since we will have our three kids, and at least Hailyn, and maybe Skyla, we will be doing Thanksgiving at our house! Since Mike and I started dating, we have ALWAYS had Thanksgiving and Christmas at his grandma's house with family. I think it sounds like a WONDERFUL idea so we can "establish" ourselves as a family.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Angry with God?

A new study of a venerable topic is being conducted by Case Western Reserve University psychologist Dr. Julie Exline.

Exline says the concept of being angry at God goes back to ancient times. Her research provides a contemporary review of the mental health issues associated with personal stress.

“Many people experience anger toward God,” Exline explains. “Even people who deeply love and respect God can become angry. Just as people become upset or angry with others, including loved ones, they can also become angry with God.”

Exline, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, has researched anger toward God over the past decade, conducting studies with hundreds of people, including college students, cancer survivors and grief-stricken family members.

She and her colleagues report their results in the new issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Anger toward God often coincides with deaths, illnesses, accidents or natural disasters. Yet anger is not limited to traumatic situations. It can also surface when people experience personal disappointments, failures, or interpersonal hurts.

Some people see God as ultimately responsible for such events, and they become angry when they see God’s intentions as cruel or uncaring. They might think that God abandoned, betrayed, or mistreated them, Exline says.

Exline notes that it can be difficult for people to acknowledge their anger toward God. Many people are ashamed and don’t want to admit their feelings, she says. In particular, people who are highly religious may believe that they should focus only on the positive side of religious life.

“But religion and spirituality are like other domains of life, such as work and relationships,” Exline says. “They bring important benefits, but they can bring difficulties as well. Anger with God is one of those struggles,” she adds.

According to Exline’s findings, Protestants, African-Americans, and older people tend to report less anger at God; people who do not believe in God may still harbor anger; and anger toward God is most distressing when it is frequent, intense, or chronic.

Overcoming anger at God, she says, may require some of the same steps needed to resolve other anger issues.

“People may benefit from reflecting more closely on the situation and how they see God’s role in it,” Exline suggests.

“For example, they may become less angry if they decide that God was not actually responsible for the upsetting event, or if they can see how God has brought some meaning or benefit from a painful situation.”

People who feel angry toward God also need to be reassured that they are not alone. Many individuals experience such struggles, she adds. She suggests that people try to be open and honest with God about their anger, rather than pulling away or trying to cover up their negative feelings.

Friday, March 18, 2011

39 Things Every Mom Should Know

I found this AWESOME list in a magazine, I forget which one, and thought I would share it.

1. You never have to go to obnoxious kid-themed restaurants. Ever. I wish someone had told me that.
2. Don't make birthday parties a huge deal.
3. Do your chores while kids are awake. Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing.
4. Put Band-Aids on everything your kids want you to. Why not?
5. If the kids are awake, bite the bullet and be awake yourself. You'll waste so many hours trying to futilely to extend early-morning snoozes that it's not worth it. If you are sick, pregnant, or it's the middle of the night, ignore this advice.
6. Just throw away the poopy underwear.
7. Don't beat yourself up if you have to use a bribe.
8. Teach your kids not to pee outside unless you're camping - you'll be glad you did. But if other people's kids do it, don't judge the parents too harshly - it's all about karma. (If you're in the midst of potty training, all bets are off. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.)
9. Buy cheap shoes when kids are little. Feet grow faster than you think.
10. Don't forget about board games. You'll suffer through way too much Candy Land and Cutes and Ladders, but Connect Four and Battleship aren't half bad. And Clue rocks.
11. Embrace their quirks.
12. Know this: That stain won't come out. And it's okay. (The sooner you accept this, the better.)
13. At some point it will be February. Things will seem bleak. You will think about vitamins, glasses, more exercise, more sleep, more chores, less TV, more rules, fewer rules, and organic food. Just wait. Things will get better when the snow melts. Know that it will happen again at the end of the summer, right before school starts. It's the circle of life, baby.
14. Always get boys' haircuts at barber shops instead of hair salons.
15. Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?
16. Never stifle a generous inclination.
17. Try to like what they like. It kind of sucks when It's Bob the Builder, but the payoff will come when they discover Lemony Snicket.
18. Teach them to pump on the swings ASAP.
19. If your child falls asleep occasionally without brushing her teeth, don't wake her; baby teeth do eventually fall out.
20. I know you are supposed to use natural consequences to punish bad behavior, but sometimes it's hard to think of natural consequences. In these cases try threatening your kids with clipping their toenails or some other activity they dread. I've had great success with this one, but you must find your own.
21. Get used to the word zerrissenheit. It means a state of disjointedness, and it's the new normal for most of us. At least you can feel fancy because it's German.
22. Buy kids deodorant before they need it.
23. Teach your children to make their own breakfast - and allow enough time so they can do it without pressure.
24. I can't stress this enough: Use duvet covers on your comforters and forget about a top sheet. Not only will you thank me for this advice, but your kids will thank me as well when they are learning to make their bed.
25. Remember clogging lessons are not in the best interest of the child.
26. Don't administer a punishment that hurts you more than it does them.
27. Always pack wipes. If your kids go somewhere without you, send along wipes. It's like having a mom with them.
28. Do not allow the word wienies in your home.
29. Dress your little girls like, well, little girls.
30. Make sure your kids know how they like their eggs and burgers cooked. You don't want them to feel stress when ordering at the diner.
31. It's fine to brag about yourself to your kids.
32. Buy quaint wooden toys and hand-knit stuffed animals, but don't expect your kids to play with them.
33. Just say "No" to any toy or doll that comes with packets that have to be mixed with water.
34. Teach them to like cool music. Why suffer through The Wiggles when you could be enjoying Wilco or counting along with Feist?
35. Don't buy the most expensive school-picture package. It's a waste of money.
36. Give out awards for actual achievements.
37. You're never too old to dress up and decorate your house for Halloween. And it's more fun for everyone if you are into it. It also entitles you to more candy.
38. If the school year, new babysitter, or karate class gets off to a rocky start, don't totally stress out about it. Instead, think of the improvement that can be made by the end of the year.
39. Independence is a wonderful thing. For everyone. So is together time. Make sure you have a healthy dose of both.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Valentine's Day Card

Inside my heart,
there is a place
that only you can reach.
There is a feeling of trust,
and the security
that you always want
the best for me.
Inside my heart,
there is
the understanding
that I can turn to you
with my greatest hopes
and my darkest fears.
There is a comfort
knowing that whether
I'm silly or serious,
frowning or smiling,
happy or angry,
you'll always love me.
Inside my heart,
and inside my very soul,
there is deepest joy
and truest happiness -
for all I could ever want
is what I have with you.

Carolyn Hoppe


I was going through some of my files yesterday. More specifically the ones that have things like cards, cut out comics, and articles from magazines that are waiting to be put in my scrapbook(to be remembered for a long time) or tossed(because I can't remember why I kept it). While going through one of them, I found a card that Mike and I received for our wedding from a great aunt and uncle of mine. The great uncle has since passed and the great aunt is not doing so well in nursing home she is(was?) in. I think the words on the card are worth sharing, and hope they touch you like they have touched me.

How to Make A Beautiful Life Together
Reflections on Marriage for the Bride and Groom

Let love be your shelter.
The world is noisy
and confusing at times,
so make a home
that is a haven,
a peaceful place where you can
listen to your hearts and savor
the comfortable closeness
you share.

No matter how busy
your days may be,
make time for yourselves.
Hold hands. Unwind.
Surprise each other.
Find little chances every day
to show you're grateful to be partners,
to be friends, to be married.

Life is not perfect.
You will make mistakes,
but each time
you meet life's challenges together,
you will grow wiser, stronger,
and surer of your love.

Cherish your yesterdays.
They are irreplaceable souvenirs
of your journey through life.
Make memories
that will bring back smiles and sighs
whenever you look back.
(Look back often!)

Look forward, too.
Dream together. Plan together.
Make promises to keep.
Believe in your tomorrows,
because tomorrows
are what forever is made of.

To make love last,
put each other first.
That is the way to make a
beautiful life together,
the kind of life
you both deserve so much.