And How

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm there.

You know those seasons of life, where you're just happy where you are and not wishing you could be at a different place? You know, the ones you just want to pause and soak up for a while?

I'm there.

I love this life.

Those boys....sigh...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Calling my bluff

I've been suggesting nagging Pack about lowering the thermostat in the house lately (mostly for my own hot-natured comfort, but also to save some money) but I didn't really think he'd do it.

He called my bluff.

I'm in a sweater and boots in my 63 degree house and I'm still freezing.  Here's why:

Short of using our actual names, our pastor shared a message on Sunday that really identified us.  I don't think that many people saw us elbowing each other during church (while whispering, "That is soooo us!").  We should have known it was a message meant for us when it started with a clip from The Office.

It was about money (specifically debt).  We can relate to that.

Here's the deal.  One year ago, we REALLY realized how much in debt we were.  We knew we had some debt, but I guess we just hadn't sat down to add all of it up (because student/home/car loans seem like good debt, right?).  We paid off several puny credit card balances and patted ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Or not.

Turns out, Pack wasn't the only one who called my bluff.  I thought if we paid off a few things here and there that we would be doing all we should and God would be happy and would let us have more money.  Turns out, our new church started the year out with a series on "The ABC's of Financial Freedom" that opened our eyes.  Turns out, everything we thought we knew about money was WRONG!

Sounds like bad news, right?  Well, here's the good news (and it's awesome).

We don't have to be slaves to our money (or society) anymore!

That's why I'm considering this post my Emancipation Proclamation from debt.  I don't want it to own us anymore, so I'm putting the word out.

We're getting free.

We're starting now (and that's why I'm freezing).

And as if I wasn't cheap enough, I'm willing to cut every corner I can find.  Pack and I even had a head-to-head Magna Doodle brainstorming session on ways we can cut back.  We're excited.

To be honest, it's not all confetti and balloons though...we are experiencing some of the friction that occurs when two people come to terms with their bad habits and it's gotten ugly at times.  Next we're going to need someone to teach us how to talk calmly about money and how to be accepting of each others' ideas (but no, Pack...we are NOT drinking powdered milk and I won't even bring up your other "money maker.").

Please pray for us as we learn to live without the false security of debt.  Pray for our family and for all the other families at our church that are learning how to "break free from the bondage of debt."

I have already been so blessed and excited by this series.  I'm so thankful God moved us here to VA when we did and helped us find this church that blesses us EVERY week in so many ways.  I'm thankful God planned this for us and planned for us to be set free from this mountain of debt that looms over us.

I'm thankful, He called my bluff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Am I being unconventional when I say that I don't think it's necessary to go to preschool?  I've been getting a lot of information lately that is supposed to make me decide I should send my 3.5 year old to preschool to "get him ready" for regular school.

I'm not buying it.

I understand that a lot of kids end up in preschool because both parents work or because maybe the child requires some special instruction (like language, for example) that the parents cannot provide, but besides that...I don't get it.

These are the two guilt trigger phrases that I feel are thrown at parents the most:

  • Your children need the socialization that they will get from other kids at a daycare/preschool. they don't!  If mom needs some socialization away from the kids, that's one thing, but my 3.5 year old doesn't need to socialize with anyone except me.  No one will deny that kids model their behavior after the behavior of the parents more often than not.  With good role models as parents, your children will be plenty fine learning from socializing with you!  I'm not saying that you should keep your kids away from opportunities to play and engage with other children; I think that it's vitally important that kids know how to react with their peers.  Instead, I'm suggesting that your kids will benefit from as much quality time with you as possible in the early years.  Don't feel that you're depriving your kids of a necessary experience by choosing to forgo preschool.
  • Kids who go to preschool do better in school and are more ready for it.  There are a couple of reasons that I take issue with this.  First of all, I didn't go to preschool and I think I was plenty prepared for school when I started after adjusting for a couple of days.  That makes this argument personal.  Secondly, from an educational background, your kids aren't learning that much in preschool that you couldn't teach at home.  Don't believe me?  Read up on What Your Child Should Learn in Preschool and ask yourself if you have basic knowledge of those skills (That's a joke.  You know how to do all of it...hopefully...if not, you might want to think about preschool).
I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty who is already sending their child or children to preschool.  Moms already deal with enough guilt for every single other parenting decision out there from breastfeeding and diapers to co-sleeping and car seats.  Not sending your kids to preschool is just something that we don't need to feel guilty about and it's frustrating that people wold assume we wouldn't do what we thought was best.  If I'm happy being with my children and they are well-adjusted and healthy, then to me, that's the best-case scenario.  After all, they are only little for so long and I want to soak up every little bit of their childhood as possible!

Resolution Review-January

I was thinking that the best way to hold yourself accountable for a goal is to review it periodically.  Since I have 11 goals for 2011, I figured it would be wise to review these monthly.  I don't expect I'll blog about it every time I review it, but I will this time:)

1.  Homemade Quilt.  I cut out some squares.  I really need a book.  I seriously don't know what I'm doing and I have this thing about not wasting time for pesky things like measurements, which is causing me some problems.

2.  Vegetable Garden.  Not. Even. Close.  I just don't know where to start.

3.  A Proverb a Day.  I've actually done this so far.  I might skip a day, but I know I'll be reading it next month, so I try not to stress about it.  I think I'm going to read a different translation (on my Droid) each month to keep it fresh.

4. Limiting Eating Out.  We did really well with this for two weeks and then blew it out of the water on the weekend.  You can't win them all, right?

5.  Get rid of clothes.  I started with the childrens' clothes and moved to my "unmentionables."  I cut out at least half there.  The other clothes just seem a little overwhelming right now.

6.  Small Group.  This weekend!  I'm very excited to be joining a group.  My only debate was whether to join a women only group or a married couple's group.  I think we settled on the married with children group as a start.

7.  Lose 10 pounds.  SKIP!

8.  Renovate our Kitchen.  Not yet.  I'm afraid this will the the first resolution to go...

9.  Family Service Project.  Pack gave me a great idea to make some bread for our neighbors and have the boys take it to them (with me, of course).  I've noticed that I THINK we are the only people on our street who go to church on Sundays.  Maybe we can invite them when we deliver the bread....

10.  Loving Pack.  I'm learning his love languages:)

11.  Make less waste.  I've gotten the ingredients to make some laundry and dishwasher detergent and I've also bought some hybrid diapers.  Of course, after I bought them, Jude decided to start potty training, but I guess that will help with our efforts anyway:)  I'm also doing MUCH better at remembering to bring in my reusable grocery bags at the store.  I'm having a lot of fun with this resolution.  I'll have to do a post on this alone one day.  It's pretty addictive:)

So that's where I am.  I'm on it (for the most part) so far!  I'm excited to see how much I will have done by summer.

Oh, how I long for summer, but that's another post!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To-Do List

I thought about making a to-do list today.  Pack will be home tomorrow and there was a lot I wanted to get done while he was away.  Then, yesterday came rushing back to my memory and I went with my better judgement by just going with the flow today.

This morning, my shower was still cold, drinks were spilled, messes were made, cleaned up, and made again, and yes...I fussed ( kids are 1.5 and happens).  The difference is that today I kept reminding myself of those words that He brought to my heart yesterday, "You're doing this because you love them--you don't have to be a natural!"

And do you know what?  It made all the difference!

So instead of focusing on all the things I might not have checked off on my would-be to-do list, here are some things that I actually got done:
  • I made up my bed.
  • I swept and mopped the entire downstairs (a rare feat!)
  • I separated all the clothes that were too small for Jude.
  • I got the boys to take a nap from 2:00 to 4:30 (!!!!!!!)
  • I found a good recipe for whole wheat bread and made it.
  • I played with the boys outside (well, in the was COLD!)
  • I made three meals.
  • I kept the sink empty.
So, some of these things wouldn't have even been considered important enough to even make it to the to-do list (making up bed, cooking, dishes, naps), but today they were an accomplishment that I was proud of.

Tomorrow, I don't see any blogging on the horizon.  I'll be busy doing most all of the above and getting ready for my sweet, sweet husband to get home and release me for a long overdue girls' night (yippeee!!!).  I'm so thankful for today and this breath of fresh air!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not a Natural

For stay-at-home-moms, it gets easy to forget that your children are just that...children.  After spending all day "working" (yes, it's work...a lot of it), sometimes I have the tendency to treat my sweet little babes like they're annoying co-workers that I'm glad to say goodbye to at the end of the day.  I love my boys.  I REALLY do.  Being with them is my joy and it's 100 percent what I want to be doing right now, but it's still hard.

Can you tell I've had a rough day?  

Here's a little Cliff's Notes version of my day.

Cold shower.  Some things got broken.  Food was wasted.  Lots of crying could be heard ALL DAY.  No naps.  Late to the bank. Jude tried to eat my chap stick.  Penn won't eat supper.  Jude wants to eat supper while walking around the house.  Bath time floods the bath room.  No story time as punishment.  Jude hops the baby gate three times (at least).  I yell (A LOT).  I end up feeling like the worst mommy in the world.

I think I'm a pretty good mom.  I have a lot of fun with my boys and I like to post and get feedback on some of the activities we do together.  I think some of the time, I try to make other people think that I'm a natural at being a mom.

The truth is, I'm not a natural mom and days like today remind me of that in a very obvious way.  How I reacted today was pretty much what comes natural to me.  Being a fun, loving, and patient mom is an effort and sometimes I'm a lot better at it than others.  If it came natural to me, I would never have to make the decision to rise above my "nature" and do things for no other reason than because I love my kids.  I could do it all without an ounce of affection because I was "a natural."  I'm thankful to "work" at being a mom.  These days (although I don't wish them to come any more often) remind me of the heart of my work and the importance of making the conscious decision to be the best mom I can be.  Those two little boys don't deserve anything less.

Now excuse me while I go snuggle with my now-sleeping babies and try to earn their forgiveness.  Something tells me I'll be instantly forgiven:)