Friday, December 19, 2008

The Spider Saga

So this was a post that I wrote for my very first blog, when my daughter was still a baby. It was written in February of 2005, but I really like it, and I think you will too. So, here goes:

Ewww, yuck! For those of you who don't know me, I hate spiders, scorpions, basically any form of bugs (or arachnid) that moves. I don't know why I have this slight terror, maybe they are just misunderstood creatures, but to me, they are creepy! Anyway, so today starts like any other morning. Jordyn wakes me up at 7:30 (I had actually been somewhat ignoring her for the last two hours in order to get some more sleep; she was dozing in and out). She plays in her room a little, for some reason she is very cheerful and active when she gets up, she doesn't get that from me! Anyway, I can smell the stinky diaper but know that I am going to have to change her clothes too, after all, it's the beginning of a new day. That leads me to remember that I still have to clean out her closet of all her "oh, so cute, way too tiny" clothes. So, as I am progressing through this heartbreaking task..."that was so cute"... "I think Mom gave that to me".... "She only wore this once"... anyway, I have moved onto doing her drawer too. Not too bad, just some old onesies to put away. Okay, we're still good here, no creepy crawly things yet...until...

I lay back and look up at the ceiling and see this little black thing near Jordyn's light. I think to myself, it has to be a fly, please let it be a fly...then it moves a little and I realize that this is no fly. Maybe a silverfish? Oh, no. It comes fully out from under the light and I see them...all eight of those terrible legs! Now, I have to mention that I have found a HUGE spider, we're talking a half dollar size on the front door, Jordyn's eye height when we were walking out. This spider, is not huge. It is small. Not quite baby spider material, maybe an adolescent (who wants them around anyway :) ) So, we're talking maybe nickel size...including legs. But this spider is invading on my child's space. Just sitting there waiting for the opportune moment to launch an offensive. Well, Jordyn was going to have to go down for her nap soon, so I knew that I had to get this trespasser out of my daughter's ceiling. I can just imagine him crawling over to the space above her crib and then slowly lowering himself...the last thing I want to see is a creepy crawly creation on my daughter. But all is good, we have a handy dandy can of spider killer, it will be over in a moment...as long as the deceased spider doesn't fall on me, we will be able to move on. Right?

I take Jordyn out of the room and put her in her Exersaucer (walker/bouncer type unit that has a bunch of toys attached to it...Jordyn loves it.) in the living room. Far removed from whatever fumes may ensue. I'm ready. I feel like I could use some more bouncing, spitting and butt-slapping, but I am prepared. I aim, shoot, and fire; unleashing this supposedly lethal blow to the enemy. Well, I obtained the element of surprise. Unfortuneately for me, I surprised the spider right onto the inside of the light fixture. Great...now I can't even back up my first blow with a second blow. The spider is still alive. Dazed and confused his is, and tries to figure out how to get himself out of this ambush. He scoots to the edge of the glass where I am ready to fire another lethal blow. No luck, he sees my attack coming and ducks. Anyway, we play this cat and mouse game for awhile. I get a stool to stand on providing myself with a way to get inside the fixture, without getting too close, I spray, he curls up into a ball...getting my hopes up. Then, two seconds later, he's back up and at 'em. By now, I assume that he's ingested enough poison to knock him dead with just one more squirt. So, I let him think he's got the advantage. I leave for a little bit and when I come back, Leggy there has gotten back onto my side of the glass and is toying with the thought of sliding down to the ground where he hopes freedom is waiting.

I see my chance and attack. No luck. This spider must have built up an immunity to this stuff! So, I realize that if he does decide to go to the floor I will be able to smash him. Not usually my favorite form of attack seeing as I have to get too close to the creature, but nothing else has worked. So, I see him test the waters (so to speak) by dangling a little. Feeling like all is well, he repels a little further. I am seeing my enemy's weakness and pick up a piece of wood. (This wood had been left in Jordyn's room by Eric because he was showing me something...I don't know why I never removed it, but now I'm glad I didn't). Leggy, seeing his potential escape begins to let loose and slide down even faster. But, I'm prepared. With a solid whack, I knocked him to the ground. Not knowing if he was dead or alive, I clobbered him again. This time, there was no doubt. He was curled into a nice little ball on the carpet. Victory!

Jordyn was getting cranky so I realized that I had no time for a proper burial (in the toilet) or even to play Taps. After all, he was a very worthy adversary. I leave him on the ground and get Jordyn. I feed in her preparation of her nap. Carefully I move my sleepy baby toward her crib, avoiding the fatal zone where Leggy lays. I kiss Jordyn "goodnight" and grab a tissue and dispose of this creature in the trash can.

All is well in la-la land now, Jordyn is sleeping and I keep jumping at every tickle or touch thinking that some of his friends or relatives saw my terrible behavior and are mounting an attack. Whoever said nature was a good thing?

Great Beginnings

A few days ago, I began my day by surfing the internet for several hours while my children watched mind-numbing television. Yesterday, there was no TV, but I still spent a significant portion of my morning surfing on the internet or puttering around the house. You know puttering, right? For me, it involves a round trip from my bedroom to the kitchen, whereupon I open the fridge, close the fridge, tell the kids to go play and meander back to the bedroom, climb in and pop the computer back on. Lest you begin to think that I am recommending this style of life as a “great beginning” let me reassure you. The afore-mentioned scenario is not the ideal or goal or is in any way to be emulated by anyone, ever.

I am fond of telling anyone that I am not a morning person, which is true. I frequently remind my husband that I just have trouble getting started in the morning and that I don’t really get going until the late afternoon, which is happily for me, when my husband gets home and I can therefore justify the cessation of all objectionable activities straightaway. And I wonder why the housework doesn’t get done.

Ironically, though perhaps that it a misuse of the word, I am able to function in the morning. I was in the military and they are known to say, “we get more work done before 9 am than most people do all day” and I have attended for a bunch of years, a school system which still, for reasons unbeknownst to me, prefers the morning hours as the most preferable for instruction. Yet in both instances, I was able to perform tolerably well in both these cases over a significant number of years. The fact that I don’t prefer it really ought not to make much of a big deal, but it does.

So far, I have developed two coping mechanisms. One, copious amounts of coffee, pre-programmed so all I have to do it roll out of bed and pour a cup. I’ve even considered moving the coffeemaker to my nightstand so I won’t even having the trouble of getting out of bed before consuming caffeine (yes, that was a joke…). The other, perhaps slightly more sustainable approach is to shower as soon as I wake up. Generally, I start a brewing cycle of coffee, then get in the shower, but the actual sprinkling of water upon my body in the morning seems to do the trick.

Of course, I am trying to work out more and as always, the morning hours get the best prize. My husband and I have just started a morning routine working out together which does get you up and going, but then I end up completing my day in sweaty clothes because I never showered. The idea of showering at the gym is a possibility... but have you ever been to a gym with all these women running around naked with no shame? I mean, it’s one thing to doff the towel to rub lotion on your legs at home, but at the gym??? Please, cover up already!!! [Okay, ranting aside] The possibility here is good, plus it gets me out of the house which means I can run errands in the morning on days that I need to do that….Hmm, possibilities.

The key to having a great beginning is to have a purposeful evening. Set yourself up for success and don’t stay up until 1:15am writing a blog post (oops), get to bed early. Instead of plunging into piles of clean laundry on the floor in the morning, at least remove one outfit per person to hang on a hook for the morning. The few (and I mean very few) times that I have done that, I have been amazed at how much easier it is to accomplish what I want out of the day. Usually by the time my kids get ready for bed, I am desperately ready for them to go to bed too and picking out an outfit is just not on the list. Gradually, though, I think they will get used to the idea of picking out clothes and getting dressed when you wake up….or at least that is what I am trying this week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A List of Accomplishments

I found this list Meme on this blog which I have never read before, but this looked interesting and fun to me. I bolded the ones that I have already done and italicized the ones that are on my "goal list." For fun, I explained (I always take advantage of a chance to use as many words as possible!) :)

1. Started your own blog, um, you're reading it...
2. Slept under the stars, in a tent (but we could see the stars)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you could afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld/land, I grew up in Southern California...we went regularly; I would love to go to Disneyworld though!
8. Climbed a mountain!
9. Held a praying manits
10. Sang/played a solo, It was O Holy Night for a voice class in college. I missed the high note.
11. Bungee jumped, Close enough, I did one of those large bungee attractions. It was fun.
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train, We went from Seattle to Chicago, it was a blast and we'll do it again!!! Much better than a plane...
21. Had a pillow fight Yesterday, actually and almost everyday
22. Hitch-hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you were not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a homerun
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied, I should have this already!!!
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke, It was forced upon me...
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance, a serious gall-bladder attack, called 911 and everything!
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain, Its always raining here, we have lots of opportunities!!!
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie, I was in Rudy. I was part of the crowd cheering "Rudy, Rudy..." at the end of the movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business, several times- they have all failed
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platettes or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcyle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book, that would really be a dream come true!!!
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible, how embarrassing that I can't say yes!!!
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life I was a lifeguard...and a young boy jumped off a diving board into the deep end, came up in the "drowner's position" before going under. I was in the water and got him out safely. I don't think he swam again the rest of the day...
90. Sat on a jury, I have jury duty scheduled at the end of the month...
91. Met someone famous, wouldn't know them if I saw them...
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved-one
94. Made a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Yup..that's my life...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Update on Katie

My sister Katie has been dealing with a variety of health problems, all seemingly circular, one causing the other and no real original cause until a month ago when she had an exam and the doctor (finally!) noticed a tumor or fibroid growing in my sister's uterus. She scheduled Katie for surgery and that took place yesterday.

They were able to do a laparoscopic surgery to remove this tumor/fibroid/bloody mass. It was about 3 inches long, which is about the size of a 3 month old "pre-born" baby, without the cute fingerprints and essential heartbeat, of course. No wonder Katie's body has been acting crazy!!!

We are hoping that this will cure Katie's constant anemia and "endometriosis" and create a new, healthy sister once again. Hooray! Sing praises to the Lord!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Clean House!

I was getting ready for dinner and the kids were acting crazy when my phone rang two days ago. It was a realtor who wanted to see our house (yeah!!!) but as I looked around I began to panic. My house wasn't close to clean. She set an appointment for 10:30 in the morning, which was workable. I started cleaning immediately and stayed up until 2:00am! I got up at 7:00am and continued to clean until the appointment. My husband stayed up until 11:00pm cleaning with me and in the morning, he cleaned the outside of the house for me before going to work!!! Amazing. In the end, we did get it done, had two visits and now I feel like I am living in someone else's house!!! It is really enjoyable knowing that I am sitting at my computer right now in the middle of the morning and I have already done the dishes, started dinner, done laundry and my house is clean!!! The kids and I are going to run around and straighten up before lunch and naps and before dinner (and probably before bed too!) in order to train them to keep up the house. I feel like I have a new lease on life!!! (Just wait till I lose the weight too!!! I'll be unstoppable!!!)

Anyway, I have seen photo tours of home and I have always wanted to do it, but have never had my entire house cleaned at one time before. So today I went around taking pictures of all the rooms and I will post them here, for my sake as well as yours.

This is the view from the front door. I know, not much to look at :). You can see the kids' Christmas project on the right, which is hanging at the edge of the living room. The dining room is to the left and the kitchen is off that. Down the hall, you can see my "laundry room" and straight into my bedroom. A hall in front of my door leads to the bathroom. The door next to mine is the kids' room and the third room is next to that (behind that closet on the left). Whew! Here are the pictures!


This is the dining room, taking from the kitchen. I have two pantries, one on either side of the table. I use the glass door one for my regular food and the other closet-looking one for bulk storage and baking stuff. You can see my huge fruit bowl. Yum!
This is my kitchen from the dining room. I have beans cooking away in the crockpot for dinner tonight. I think I'll pair them with some bacon, veggies and rice and make a thick soup/stew dish. Served with crackers and a salad, I think.
The pictures got out of order at this point, but this is a view of my living room, standing in the hallway (about where the kids' project was hanging). My couches are ancient and so I have slipcovers for them. You can see my (purple :>) laptop on the coffee table and the little folding I pull out of the corner to make my "portable office" that I am sitting at right now. We have another computer set up off to the left, which the kids were playing on this morning. Good for parental supervision! We have removed the TV from this room and are storing it at a neighbor's house until it sells. In place of the TV, I have used the whole in our entertainment system for storage and covered it with a curtain.
This is the second half of the kitchen. You can see I have two window right next to the sink, which is really nice. I can watch the sunset from my window every night. My fake flowers make a completely unusable space pretty. My kids LOVE the letter magnet game on the fridge! You can also see their handprint that I will be sending to a lucky grandparent for Christmas (framed!)
So that's it...look for part two!!! The bedrooms!!!

Clean House, part 2!


I couldn't upload more than 5 pictures in the post (I don't know why!) so here is the second half of my house.

First, the Master bedroom. Eric is a big fan of tigers and he bought that blanket in Iraq. It has found a home on our bed while I am making a quilt for us. I will likely only make a duvet cover and buy a cheap comforter to fill it with. We have a King Sized bed so washing a bedspread is impractical at best. I have a green bed skirt, but it is in the wash today. :)
This is the kids' room, which as you can probably tell by the color, it was originally just Jordyn's room. The pictures she has on the walls were all taken by my mom. The afghan she has on her bed was also made by my mom and Jordyn has had it since she was born.
It is perhaps too much furniture to cram into one room but I have found that I really like the kids sharing a room for now. You can see Noah's afghan on his bed, which he uses as a "blankie" and dearly loves.
This was Noah's room, but is now the play/book/TV/storage room. I originally cleared it out to have a place to put the boxes I'd packed but it rapidly turned into a multi-purpose room, including a library. Those white shelves go across the entire length of the room and are filled with books (only the ones I want to sell, the good ones are packed already).
So there you have it. A tour of my home...my clean home! Hope you enjoyed it!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cute Movies...

Despite what I should be doing, I still spend a lot of time on the computer. I am trying to get my kids more involved, when they are misbehaving and need to come sit next to me or just want to cuddle, this movie is a cute one to pop on to YouTube. Its just the alphabet song, with simple magnets, but my kids loved it! They also loved the "monkeys on the bed" which was linked to after the ABC song. Try 'em out!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Labor Pains

Labor hurts. I think most (if not all) women approach labor and the impending delivery with mixed feelings; joy for the new life and fear of the unknown (and sometimes known) pain. At some point you feel like it just can’t be done, you can’t stand the pain any longer, can’t push anymore…and then they tell you the baby is crowning, you’re almost there, just a little more….with a little more effort, your hard work, blood, sweat and tears have resulted in a beautiful baby. The sound of that piercing cry announcing their presence makes it worth it, and you forget that you ever thought you couldn’t do it. I’m in labor right now, albeit a different variety. I won’t produce a crying baby from this labor, but I might just push through to find a happier, more content family.

We had a busy day today, all in different places, but we ended our days at Wal-Mart doing some grocery and random things shopping. By the time we brought in all the stuff, we were ready for a quick dinner and a nice relaxing evening. Noah, on the other hand, had other plans. He wanted to watch TV. My little 2 year old plopped himself on the couch and repeatedly said, “T-view” which is his version of “TV”. This isn’t abnormal and most of the time, he gets his way. Tonight, I told him no, but he kept repeating himself (he does that often). Then Eric stepped in and told Noah no. Eric has a louder voice than I do. Noah bust into tears. The tears didn’t dry up so Eric sent him to his bed (where are children are told to go if they feel the need to cry). Eric was so upset at Noah’s need to have the TV on that he removed the whole thing several minutes ago. Not only that, but he took out the DVD player (which wasn’t a whole lot of good without the TV, I must admit). I feel like Noah, ready to bust into tears.

The kids might enjoy watching TV and Noah really does seem to have a “need” to watch TV, at least it is the first thing he turns to for comfort and in boredom, but it’s really me that has the need. I love being able to “sleep in” on the couch when I have a bad morning. I love being able to shower during the day. I love being able to direct my children somewhere and have them go willingly and stay there so that I can get something done. I love sitting in front of it myself, watching brainless shows. I love being able to put it on even if it serves as only background noise. What don’t I like? I don’t like that I like those things! I want my children to grow up watching me doing the cooking and cleaning and be working right along side me. I want my kids to break out a game to play when they are bored. I want to have time to read to my children. I want my kids to learn at home, and actually learn! But it still hurts.

This is the labor pain; where I must endure something painful in order to give life to something completely new and wonderful. A woman rarely labors alone, she always has a support system in place, people to comfort and to encourage. She sometimes has a knowledgeable person present who can tell her how much further she has to go and to remind her about what she will gain from persevering through this trial. I find that comfort system in the blogs I read, my family, my husband, and mostly in my Lord. He is my Comforter, the one shouting at me in a mixture of excitement and angst, “you’re almost there, don’t stop yet!”

In many ways, labor is just like anything else in life. We go through the fire in our spiritual lives and come out sanctified and closer to God. We struggle to build up a marriage and end knowing each other better than we know ourselves. As a family, our goal is to be beacons to the world, to support and edify each other, to learn to serve and to unconditionally love each other. A family is a safe place to try new ideas, develop lasting friendships, to learn values and beliefs and bring glory to God. The television doesn’t help any of those things. It is a time waster. There is very little material benefit, and though there are good shows to watch (I personally like watching The Duggar’s show, 17 Kids and Counting), not watching them is just fine as well.

I was at my strongest over four years ago when, after having pushed for three and a half hours, my daughter was still unwilling to come out. They told me that I would need a C-Section and the doctor left to go prep the room. The last thing that I wanted was a C-Section. The nurse in front of me knew that and she told me that I didn’t need one, that I could do it. During the next 30 minutes I was pushing well and my daughter was crying on my stomach. Without that nurse, I might have given up. I knew better, I knew what I wanted but I didn’t think I could do it. I DID IT!!! I pray that I can go back to that moment when my will overcame my want.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blogging Breaks and Moving

I am not taking a blogging break, but it seems like some of my favorite blogs are. It is probably only one or two, but it feels like a lot more than that. I am realizing that I am addicted to these blogs and that is a dangerous place to be. I remember reading in Created to Be His Help Meet, by Debi Pearl, as she discusses Titus 2: 4-5 that women should be keepers at home. I am a stay at home mom, and I am fighting for the ability to stay at home with the kids during our financial problems yet, am I really at home? When Debi says, “Modern inventions have provided a way for a woman to stay at home and still not be a keeper at home. We can sit at home in body while traveling in spirit by means of the telephone and the computer,” (pg. 212, emphasis hers). What a fitting description of me! I recognize where I am sinning, though I haven’t put that word on it. I call myself a “late-riser” or justify myself by saying that “I’m just not a morning person” as though that somehow gives me the ability to lounge about in the mornings, sipping coffee and surfing the internet while the dishes build up in the sink, the laundry piles grow ever more daunting daily and my children hang out with their friends from Nick Jr. After working so hard during the morning hours, I usually feel the need to nap with the children. If this is not idleness, what is? I have recently started adding a daily chapter from Proverbs into my daily Bible reading and I have found a new favorite verse: “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and they want as an armed man.” Proverbs 24:33-34. And that’s not the only one!!! Proverbs has at least 6 other references to indolent sleep! Guess my problem is a common one? The good news, it isn’t a problem, it is a SIN and since it is a sin, I can go to my Heavenly Father, confess it and be forgiven. Not only that, but He has given me His Holy Spirit to guide me so that I don’t keep sinning!!! What a blessing, praise the Lord!!!

So, where do I go from here? I am starting, as I posted those 5 Simple Rules, to eliminate those distractions from my mornings, in particular. Instead of napping, I want to give myself the ability to read the blogs and surf the internet or call a friend (or my sister, as the case may be) but this way I avoid actually sleeping and I still get the refreshment that is important. The other thing I want to incorporate is “outing days” where the kids and I go out at least twice a week. We have a wonderful Hands On Children’s Science Museum with all sorts of fun activities and we have an annual pass! So it costs us only what we spend to get there…and we can take the bus! I would also like to add a weekly trip to the library. Between those two activities, I would love to add a “community service” type of activity but I don’t know how to go about finding one that is appropriate for young children. Suggestions? I know it is important to instill this into my children and this is a good time in their lives, before schoolwork consumes them (which is still a few years off anyway, I plan to start slowly). Hopefully, adding in a few extra morning activities will be enough to get us going.

The major thing that this gap in other people’s blogs has reminded me is that it is time to pack up my belonging and get moving. For starters, I need to decide, room by room, item by item, what I want to keep and what needs to go to Goodwill or yard sale. Then, after the non-essentials have been packed, they need to be sent to my mother’s house for the time being. After that, we should only have the few possessions that we use on a daily basis. This is a harder step than I anticipated and I find myself holding on to the strangest things. I have sorted my books recently, but deciding which ones to leave out temporarily has caused me some grief (I want to keep them all!) and I am noticing that we have far too many clothes, towels, and sheets. Time to downsize!!! We each only need one towel, right? I am really looking forward to this process, even though it is a slightly painful one; it is good to confront the issue head-on. We might be forced to move quickly and not knowing is allowing me to procrastinate so I am trying to set mini-goals for myself; like a box a day or something similar. It’s all gotta go eventually!!!

Thanks for your prayers and concern over the last few days (and weeks).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

5 Simple Steps

After having a couple of good responses to my previous post, I decided to start with 5 simple steps toward a simple life. It's an obvious enough reason: doable change.

1. Create healthy menus based on "staples" that can be stocked up and saved or prepared ahead of time. Create a recipe collection for inspiration.
2. NO TV in the mornings. This is going to be hard, but it is when we watch the most TV, so cutting it out is essential.
3. Cultivate contentment by purposefully thanking God for what I already have whenever I find myself being greedy or covetous; appreciate the clothes I already have and focus less on what I could have (if I just started sewing).
4. Clean! When the "blahs" set in during the morning, begin moving! Focus on a room (following the chart I have already created) and do it!
5. Move! Incorporate exercise into our now TV-free mornings by starting the day with a good walk with the kids or an evening walk as a family or jump for a minute every hour or scrub the floor or...adding physical activity to my day even in small amounts.

How does that sound? Now I have to go clean!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Simpler Life

I am usually completely upfront and honest about my thought and feelings on this blog. Maybe that comes from my experience writing a journal (which is how this blog started) or my relative inexperience with writing to an audience about a particular topic (to pull that off you need to be educated about whatever you're writing about and I feel like I am only at the learning stage of these things...). So yet again, I post yet another "this is what I've been thinking about" blog. Interestingly enough, I find that is what occupies my mind these days, not the actual doing (which would be worth writing about) but the thinking about doing (which leads to overly-emotional-practically-useless posts).

The latest (and repeating) thought is that, like so many blogs that I am following, I want to lead a simple life. We are a young family of four, in more debt than my husband can reasonably make in a year (not including the two new cars we own) and we have four television sets of which at least one is running most hours of the day. My house is dirty and I am frustrated. Sounds pretty, right? Of course not!!! Maybe the problem is that I keep thinking about solving my problem instead of acting on my problems. No matter what, the time has come to sell our belongings. I have been changing slowly but surely and I really do feel the conviction to lead a simple, if slightly "abnormal" lifestyle. Things like using candles and oil lamps, making my own soap, washing laundry by hand and cooking using old-fashioned simple food seems perfect for our family. 

When I first started wearing dresses, I thought that the purpose was to wear a dress, that there wasn't much rhyme or reason behind it. Sure, I read the arguments about being modest, but I thought pants and modesty weren't mutually exclusive. Then I began to ponder feminine but again found that women can look feminine in pants. That is until I began to define feminine. I no longer think that women can look very feminine in pants. It is possible, but rare. Women these days confuse sexy with feminine and most of the time, I think that a woman will look feminine by wearing a nice blouse, but pairing it with jeans just kills it for me. What I began to discover is that the dress actually revealed the heart. It wasn't used as a cover-up or a distraction, it was the outward displaying of the heart. What I like about wearing dresses isn't their comfort but that they help me discover what is in my heart.

My household possessions do the same thing. I look around and I don't see memories of my kids building a fort or reading a story, but watching TV or a movie. My almost three year old is in love with TV, to the point that he specifically asks for it and "needs" it each day. To wean him off TV is a loud process, but better to do it at 3 than 13! I long for the days where my children and I go through the house cleaning it and rewards ourselves with time spent in a good book. That life sounds idyllic and fanciful and also unattainable. I have daily proof through the blogs that I read that this life is possible. People do exist without a TV, people do manage to spend time together as a family without stress and arguing, women are able to get their chores done during the day. I acknowledge that people rarely put their worst foot forward on their blogs (though I have no problem doing it!) so what I am reading is the best possible scenario. However, these women are committed to it and they are happier because of it.

So the material effect from all this thinking is that my husband and I are preparing to move and we will be taking an extremely hard look at what to keep. Questions like, is this good for the family? Will this build us up together as a family of God? Is this item going to steal time from my family? Is there a strong emotional attachment to this item? Is it necessary? Do I love it? From these questions I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff and (while saving money on the move!) benefit my family. This is a hard process for us and it goes against conventional wisdom. We are hoping to sell quite a few of our household possessions and not replace them at all, instead choosing to do without until we can afford to purchase them. We will use the proceeds from the sale of our belongings to pay for our move and pay off some debt, if there is anything left.

Have I mentioned the move? We are moving from Washington to Colorado in January which will put us much closer to family. We are all very excited about this move, but the logistics of it are a source of constant confusion. This next year will definitely be "unconventional" as we try to get back on our feet! If anyone has specific tips on how to go about selling our household goods, how to begin to live a simple life (ie. what should we change first and/or how to go about changing it) or anything else that is appropriate, that would be great! I have yet to delete a comment and don't have a problem posting (polite) dissenting opinions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Babysitting and Homeschooling?

I have been thinking more about homeschooling lately. Jordyn is getting close to school age and she is eager to go to school. We live across the street from a (bad) public school, but she is so excited about going. Awhile back, last spring, when it was still very cold and the dew still froze the grass every night, I was lazy in the morning. The kids were still in their "footie-style" jammies and I had (of course) turned on the TV. I was working on my computer which happened to be in the master bedroom, Jordyn came in at one point to tell me she was going to school, but I didn't understand. Imagine my dread as I realized that I didn't hear the usual whining and screaming. I quickly came around the corner and the front door was ajar. I ran out the door screaming my daughter's name, still in my PJs too. It was then that I noticed the two little figures in the jammies crossing our frozen field of grass heading toward the school. She was 3 and holding her 2 year old brother's hand sopping wet feet even in their little footies. Thankfully, they came when called and promised never to leave again without Mommy or Daddy. We installed a top bolt later that day.

This story breaks my heart twice; once, that she is so eager to go to school to learn and I am letting her and her brother watch countless hours of TV which brings me to number two, that I am just an awful, selfish parent. I didn't even hear them go!!! I have spent the last four years pushing my kids aside with movies and TVs so that I don't have to get involved with them, after all, I'm busy surfing the internet! I have a deep regret about the way I have been parenting. Today was one of those days. I kept getting up to do something, but sitting down again a minute later. I ran off on all sorts of non-productive tangents and ended up with an entire day wasted. It struck me that I wasn't a mother, instead, I was a babysitter: waiting until the real authority showed up and I could go back to what I was doing. OHHHH, I love my kids, I want to teach them, I want to nurture them, I want to see them to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. HOW? How can I even come close to doing anything like that for my children? I am so self-absorbed 80% of the time that when I finally do pull myself together, I am so busy "catching up" that I can't be bothered with my kids either! What a heartache this is... "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." -Proverbs 29:15. What a painful verse to read, but I must be made to see, I am forcing my children away.

Please pray for me, confronting this requires digging through years of personal baggage. I have been selfish from the get-go (just watch some of my childhood home-movies!) but I am a new creature in Christ and bound to sin no more, but that doesn't mean it makes it easy, it just means I have a Rock to go to for strength. Praise God for that!!!

So often I feel like my kids deserve better than me. I think that is where I come back to homeschooling. I know in my heart that it is the best method, that it is the right thing to do, but then I think about how excited Jordyn is to go to school and I think to myself, that it might just be better that she go. She would get a better education...even if it's a lousy one!!! As the pressure starts to build about what she should know or should be able to do or be doing, I begin to further doubt my abilities, despite what I know to be true.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Changing, Changing...

The battle against your flesh really is a never-ending one, isn't it?

The last several days I have been searching through my favorite blogs, reading of course, but also picking through the links that they read. This ever increasing blog roll has created hours and hours of "dish-procrastinating" reading but also a few new favorites. One of them is Team Bettendorf and the other is the Ante family's blog, and the wife, Kris has her own, here. These new blogs have just made me start to reconsider aspects of my life. Kris has posted some articles about headcovering (because she does) and I want to read them. They make me feel like I should cover, so I'm back into this debate again...I just can't seem to decide!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don't Worry, It's only a Tumor!!!

My sister, Katie, has been in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals for about two years now because of frequent anemia, heavy periods, endometriosis and the fact that they were completely unable to find a reason for all the problems going on. Katie finally changed doctors to one that would be a little more proactive about finding the actual problem while still treating the symptoms. (Her previous doctor told her that (at age 25) she was a lost cause and needed a hysterectomy.) During an exam where the doctor was actually able to insert a camera she exclaimed, "Katie, I know what your problem is! You have a tumor!" Usually there would be some sorrow or upset, but there was joy in the room because this three inch long fibrous tumor that had taken up residence in Katie's uterus was operable! Not only that, but it is fibrous, and benign...no cancer.

Now, Katie is scheduled for an MRI that will determine the exact parameters and how to best remove it. Apparently there are three different ways to remove the tumor, depending on size and placement. It is extremely likely that this tumor is what has been causing the painful cycles, anemia, and is likely what doctors confused for endometriosis! Praise the Lord!!! I'll post more when I know what else is going on, but for now, I give thanks and praise to my glorious Lord!!!

***I stand corrected, my sister, Kelly (Katie's twin) informs me that it is technically NOT a tumor but a fibroid...I don't really know what the difference is, perhaps composition, but either way, I can rejoice that the doctors have a last FOUND SOMETHING!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics and Religion

I am not fond of discussing politics overly much. I always feel inadequate to carry on a conversation. I rarely have all the data, but with the information I do have, I make the best decision I can.

Though the votes are not all in, it is obvious that Obama is to be the next President of my nation. I am unhappy with this decision on a political level- I disagree (and vehemently) with many of his policies. I think he is the wrong candidate for the position but what I think doesn't matter. In what is perhaps, the first (major) time in my life, I can let go. Obama's policies are liberal at best, communist at worst. I can either wring my hands and fret or I can trust God in His ability to work all things together for good. These next four years are probably going to be extremely upsetting to Christians, especially conservative ones. I can be thankful that God is in control. Now I know to watch the sky and pray, for surely the day is coming.

I have always found it interesting that America is not in the Bible. The Book of Mormon added an entire account of the Americas and though I believe that the Book of Mormon is a false doctrine, I think its funny that Americans have always wanted to put their stamp on the map, but in the greatest Book of all time, we aren't there.

Anyway, Jess over at Making Home has a post about how we are to pray for our leaders, even ones we don't agree with. I commit to praying for our current President, be it Democrat or Republican for as long as I live. I probably won't pray everyday, but I will pray when I think of it throughout my week because a prayer is more powerful than a vote!

These are just my thoughts for today. In other, completely unrelated, news: I finished sewing a skirt today and plan on making several more over the next few weeks. I bought a new pair of boots at Wal-Mart for less than $20 and they promptly gave my blisters on my heels. Anyone know how to prevent blisters? These boots must last through this winter and quite possibly, next one too. I will take pictures when my wardrobe is complete!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Heart of the Matter

(This post began as a response to Anastasia-Jane's comment on my "My Issue with the Issues" post but it was just too long to post...and too important, so I've posted it here!)

I have always been one to give in to peer pressure, whether good or bad and for the longest time, I have always wanted to just fit in to a group. I have never fit into a group before and I don't make friends easily or keep them long when I do. I think all of that "baggage" is what is preventing me from seeing what is right in front of my face!

I don't look good in long skirts, I am about 75 pounds overweight and skirts are just NOT flattering when you are heavy. Sure, dresses can hide little indiscretions here and there, but they only work to accentuate the extra weight I'm carrying around. However, despite the fact that I look poorly in them, I have felt called to wear them. I feel better when I wear long skirts and I like it when my daughter does too. Frankly, at my weight dresses and skirts are just more comfortable because there is less pulling and tugging going on. So, for now, I am settling on the comfortable, God-honoring, modest, but completely unfashionable and unattractive skirts and dresses. As I lose the weight (see my other blog!) I hope to be able to begin to look nice in dresses again. I know I will once the weight is gone, and I'll probably look better than I would in pants!!!

I know I've said a lot already but when you said that "God would lay in on your heart to change," it made me think of what God is teaching me. I am learning about all of these different "conservative" approaches and I have tried them all with varying degrees of "success" but the real lesson isn't in putting on a particular garment (skirt or headcovering) it is in my ATTITUDE, my heart that reveals what I am truly wearing. Whether I am wearing pants or a skirt, when I confront my husband over an issue, I disrespect his authority over me and disgrace my Father in heaven. I am learning so much about my place in the world, in society, in the home and under God. These things have been HARD for me to learn because it isn't as easy as putting on a dress! I wish it was...but God is working on changing my heart. I praise Him for this stressful time because I know He is changing me into the woman that he wants me to be! My husband has already noticed a difference in my attitude toward him when I am wearing pants and when I am wearing skirts.

As I try to take it one day at a time, I am realizing that wearing these unattractive outfits keeps the vanity off of myself. I don't have to fret about my "butt looking big in these jeans" because I'm not wearing jeans, I am wearing a modest dress or skirt. Sure, I am looking wider than I actually am, but I can give that to God. He has created me just as I am and loves all my curves, even the ones I want to get rid of! See, it's really a heart issue. I have been complaining about my hair lately because it isn't long and beautiful like so many other women. I want it to be long and beautiful and either straight or curly. My hair can't decide what to be and just ends up frizzy, I get frustrated with it in the morning and am tempted to whine and complain...this is my heart!!! I am now turning to thanks all my complaints. "I hate scrubbing toilets! Thank you Lord that I have indoor plumbing, that my son is still too young to make cleaning around the side an arduous task. Thank you Lord that you have given me hands to work that I might bless my family with them." And so goes my day. This can only be the Lord changing me. Oh, how I want to be changed!!! "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 KJV

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkins!!!

We went to the pumpkin patch several weeks ago and though my husband carved the kids' pumpkins, he didn't touch ours so they were sitting out on our front doorstep. Yesterday, our kids were playing with the bocce ball set and decided to use one of them like a mallet and smash in the top of Daddy's pumpkin. So, today I am faced with gutting the pumpkin before it rots....but, I decided to bake the pumpkin! Usually, I bake pumpkin bread but I have always used the canned variety. I saw a blog the other day on how to bake pumpkins and decided to give it a shot!

So, now I am looking for recipes to do something with all this pumpkin pulp I have on hand! I found a good website, Pumpkin Nook Cookbook, that seemed to have some good recipes. What I am really looking for is pumpkin pancakes. I have heard good things before, so now I have a recipe for them...my pumpkin seeds are done now, so I'm going to crunch away!

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Issue with the Issues

When I first started this conservative Christianity journey, like I have said before, I was really skeptical of the whole thing. I didn’t understand the claims or positions of the different groups. One thing I have found since discovering Conservatism that disturbs me is the number of ways to “classify” a person. Perhaps I am still looking in on a totally foreign concept, but I almost feel like I am changing religions, that I can now be in the ranks of “super-Christians” or some other such nonsense. I have noticed (at least) four groups of people who move in these conservative circles: one, the KJV only believers, two, the modesty and femininity are the hallmarks of the female species, women and girls wear exclusively long(ish) skirts or dresses, and three, women (and girls) shall keep their heads covered at all times and four, always home school. Along with these four main topics there seem to be at least a few other issues like diet and church preference that further divide us.

I look at all these topics, not because I disagree and find fault in these issues, but because I agree with these issues and find fault in their practice. I know (or at least I am very confident) that none of these women’s blogs would argue that any of those things are essential for salvation, which rules out “legalism” as a method for adding anything except grace through faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, but I wonder about legalism in the way we live our lives. Is it purely from the Bible or is it a way to unnaturally separate ourselves from the world and be proud of it?

I am really fighting this: am I wearing modest (long) skirts and dresses out of submission to my husband (who doesn’t care if I wear pants) and God who declares that I should be MODEST/CHASTE and FEMININE? Is a long skirt the only way to accomplish both of those things? Can I wear a well-cut, not skin-tight, pair of pants and a nice blouse and still be feminine? Am I wearing those clothes merely to be different and to be accepted by a particular group in society? I want to throw out my pants; I only wear them because they are easy and “modern” so I won’t make other people uncomfortable by my appearance (like my mom, for example). I want to dress my daughter in pretty feminine clothes, but she wears mostly pants. How does all this dress-wearing work in winter? We are moving from Washington state (semi-mild winter) to Colorado (not so mild winter) and we are moving in JANUARY!!!

Then I look at the King James Only debate and while I was completely convinced not too long ago, I have since begun to think differently. I DO find the KJV harder to understand. Yes, the words themselves are simpler, but the order of the words makes it difficult to understand the sentence. I read the NKJV, as does the pastor at my church and I enjoy it. My version pulls from both the “oldest” text that the NIV uses and the more historical version that the KJV uses, in the notes whenever the texts disagree, the NKJV translators included an asterisk and then writes out what the other version said. If I am unsure about something, I will usually take it to the KJV because I do believe in the historicity of the text forming the KJV. However, I did ask my sister who took the Christian Apologetics Master program at Biola University and her belief is that the only infallible Word of God is the original language and that the translations that we use are still useful for doctrine and correction but as they are translations cannot be considered in the same class as the inspired word of God. We know there are mistakes in the KJV, sure many of them were typos, but how many misprints are in the original text? None. I don’t mind using the KJV and I don’t care for the NIV or any of the ultra modern New Living Translation because I think they inhibit a person from truly understanding. When you don’t have to think when you read, you can easily pass over a passage, but when you have to work at understanding it, your brain recalls better. See? I’m up in the air here as well. This one feels a little less “important” because it is a pretty private issue, I think. It is easier to keep this decision between God and me.

Then we have head covering. I used to think that women should cover, but I kept going back and forth and while I think that it can be beneficial, I don’t think that at this time, God is calling either me or my daughter to cover our hair, our bodies, yes.

Finally, home schooling. Honestly, this is my plan, but I am having my doubts about whether I can do it. This is supposed to be my “test” year because Jordyn is in preschool right now. I am doing NOTHING. It seems like she is learning NOTHING!!! Perhaps, if we are in a good school district, we will try Kindergarten for her. She is really excited about “going to school” and I think she would like it. My daughter has a tendency to be shy and she doesn’t really have other kids to talk to, so school might be good for her. I know what I want. I want to use The Well-Trained Mind and give my kids a great academic life. What I am doing is letting them watch countless hours of Dora and all her Nick Jr. buddies. How do I get there?

One trend I am noticing is that I need to “fix myself” first. I think God is working hard on me now because so many aspects of my life have been either put under a microscope or thrown into the flames. I can only come out better since God has begun a good work in me and will be faithful to finish it! Praise the Lord for that or all these musings would be depressing indeed!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tomorrow's Plans

I have a lot to do tomorrow. Now that I have all but dropped out of school, I am feeling so much less burden and so much more peace. I really want to finish my degree, but not at the price I was paying. Anyway, the state I have been in has allowed me to become more lax with my housework, so tomorrow is going to be a push-start day for me.

I hope to:

-do all my dirty dishes (there are A LOT!!!)
-go to the gym, working out needs to come higher up for me at this time in my life
-straighten living room and vacuum, process the paperwork that's piling up
-scrub bathroom
-complete load of laundry and fold and hang my "leftovers"

I don't plan on wearing myself out, just my normal morning and afternoon cleaning, plus the dishes and laundry, which "don't count." In addition to the things I purpose to do, I would like to do some sewing. I haven't found any decent dresses or skirts in my price range for my size, so I have purchased a significant amount of material (it's enough for my wardrobe) and its not doing me any good folded in my basket(s). I also bought some crushed velvet for our Christmas outfits. I am looking forward to taking a really nice Christmas picture as a family since it has been a long time since we have taken one. Hopefully, I can get the outfits sewn and the pictures taken and developed in time to put in our Christmas cards! In addition to tackling my sewing pile, I am working on a new two-week meal plan following this new diet I am trying based on the book Perfect Weight America by Jordan Rubin. His book is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone. He uses many of Sally Fallon's recipes from her book Nourishing Traditions and I love his plan, but always find it hard to shift to that lifestyle, even though I know it is better for me. (Check out my other site, F.I.S.H, to watch my journey!)

I was hoping to do the dishes tonight, but I might just read my Bible and then head to bed!

Friday, October 17, 2008

School Woes

I am so tired of school! When I started this school year, I thought I had more than enough free time to actually get everything done that I needed to get done. Sure, at the time, my kids were watching more TV than the average adult- it was literally on from wake-up to naps, after naps until forcibly playing outside, then dinner, and then after dinner required a movie before bed to "wind down" though I don't really know from what! As I started to realize that my schedule was pathetic and that DAYCARE (shudder) would provide a better education that what I was currently giving my children, I started to change. I know people (my husband) who is a rapid-changer, once he decides to change and logically maps out his brain, it is like instant change. Me, I have to work it over in my brain logically, emotionally, spiritually, and I NEVER stop talking about wanting to change. Gradually, I can take baby-steps and accomplish minimal change, but generally speaking, the biggest obstacle to all my change is in the "just do it" motto- I rarely just do it, I always think about it. Anyway, school started nice and slow, which was just plain misleading. I consider myself an intelligent woman and I typically excel in education situations with a minimum of effort. This was completely different. Because it is an online environment, "class attendance" requires you to do more than fill a chair and listen, something I could do very well in a traditional setting and still make a good grade. Now, I am forced to "read" a lecture and then respond to it. This was far more time consuming than any class I've had to sit in. On top of all this- I was required to do the regular weekly work, which generally amounted to somewhere from a hundred to several hundred pages and more responses. I still loved it, I love going to school and I love learning. I know that I can continue "learning" without some fancy degree but I have always been taught that women need a "back-up plan" and should therefore be prepared to have a full-time career at the drop of the hat. This means education. I was prepared to get my bachelor's degree in English or history with an intent to teach. 

The hitch in this plan came when I started to realize that my place was in the home. Verses like Titus 2: 4-5, "That they may teach the young women to be sober, the love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." I hadn't really dwelt long on these verses because they were uncomfortable, but also, despite the reference to blasphemy, I mistakenly thought that they were less than essential. When I think about this verse now, I feel ashamed. I was taking a history class and we were to write an original research paper on any topic we wanted. EVERYTHING that I wanted to write on was nothing to do with history! My topics were all about parenting and mothering, particularly as they pertained to the feminist movement. The problem that I was having is that I would have to convey my paper in a neutral, unbiased manner and on something so important as that, I didn't think that I could really maintain neutrality, especially since I wouldn't be able to use the Bible as a primary reference. This brought up an interesting problem for me: it is currently acceptable to say that you are gay in class, but it is unacceptable to say that you are a Christian. Therefore, I had to couch my REAL opinions in code and generalizations (otherwise I would be warned and then kicked out of class!) I think this is how blasphemy occurs.

 I can keep my witness pure by doing what God designed women to do- be workers at home, being chaste and submissive. These are things that our current culture looks at as an anathema; it is so strange and foreign that it calls attention to it, and through our willing position as homemakers, to God. This should be my goal- to witness to people all around me by my position under authority. It is so different from society that it must be noticed! Going to school and "providing a backup plan" is to accept society's mold for me. It is giving in to trusting myself over God, thinking that just in case God's plan doesn't work out, I have something to fall back on???

I have been so torn over this issue and have cried several times to my husband about feeling like I can't do it all and my constant frustration that the house and the kids are ALWAYS the ones who are sacrificed to my lofty ambitions. Despite all of that, finishing my degree is something that I WANT! It is hard to give it up. Today, I asked my husband (again) for his opinion. In the past he has given me the standard, "Do whatever is right for you." which just kills me because it is the exact opposite of what I am truly looking for. I want his help making the decision. We are all selfish beings and would like our way, but I was beginning to see that "my way" wasn't working. I finally cried to my husband asking for a final decision- what did he think was best. I would listen and submit no matter what, but he did say that he would approve of me dropping out of school, immediately. This potentially has big financial repercussions for us financially, and we aren't really able to bear them, but I know that God is sovereign. I have always been told that when you are following God's will, you have peace. Well, tonight I have relief, and peace. There is that fear of the unknown, the longing for the dream, but also the knowledge that I am doing the right thing for my family, for myself, and for my testimony.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Check out my Other Site!

I have been reading a lot about nutrition lately (again) and I have been needing to diet (again). It is one thing to dress like and act like a lady, but when you are 50+ pounds overweight, even a dress doesn't look very feminine. I know that I have to accept the body that God has given me, but I also know that I am responsible for taking care of it, something I have sadly neglected. My new site is called FISH: Finally, I'm Seeking Health and I will be posting ways that I am attempting to lose weight, my weight and measurements, pictures of progress, health-related articles, anything I can think of to inspire me on my journey. I am open to other contributors, so if you want to lose weight and are looking for a place to post your results, I'd welcome you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Garbage Disposal

When we bought our house a year ago this month, the first thing my husband bought to "fix-up" was a garbage disposal since this house didn't have one and I was pretty sure that I couldn't live without one. When he first examined the pipes, he realized that it was going to be harder to do than he had first thought, so he procrastinated. Then came the other things to fix and somehow the box hiding under the kitchen sink didn't bother him...that is until yesterday.

I came home from a quick run to the grocery store for a last minute dinner item (I forgot potatoes! How could I have forgotten the potatoes???) to find my husband sprawled under the kitchen sink. He had decided that now was the time to install the garbage disposal. After the we ate the chicken casserole that I made, Eric had to run to the store to get the specific pipe pieces. (Apparently, we had black pipes and that makes it more difficult). He ended up having to install a new outlet under the sink because the dishwasher was hard-wired, which he didn't expect. So, he ran the electrical wires and installed a new outlet so that our garbage disposal would have power. It was right about then, maybe 10:00pm when he realized he had forgotten a pipe. No more installation could be completed because Walmart doesn't carry the part and Home Depot closed at 8:00pm. He would have to finish after work the following day, today. He stopped at Home Depot on the way home from work and less than a hour after he began, we had a brand new garbage disposal in our kitchen sink!!! HOORAY!!!


Now, let me tell you, this thing will grind up a chicken bone, and you won't even hear it working! It can handle all sorts of things and aside from a slight vibration in the counter (like a cell phone in your pocket, not loud at all) you would never even hear it grinding!

This, of course, has sparked a new wave of "kitchen protection" where I redo the kitchen and somehow remember that it is the "heart" of our home and I should maintain it better than I have. Ahh, sigh. I love my husband!

What on Earth is Going On???

So, I don't regularly search YouTube, but it appears I don't have to, because I found this on a blog that I read and I just think it is the scariest thing...watch and be amazed!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Yet again, I am not doing this on Monday, but it is really the beginning of the week for me because of my strange schedule. If you like this idea, you can get all the information here.

TODAY IS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2008.

Outside my window...a cold front has moved in to replace the wonderfully sunny weather we had over the weekend. The blustery day just makes me remember that it is Fall.

I am thinking...about the million things that I want to get done today and the slightly smaller list of things that MUST get done.

I am thankful for...my children. I have been feeling so inadequate lately which I am beginning to think is really just Satan trying to undermine my position as their mother. If I fail at my job, then what? I am thankful for a husband who tries so hard to understand when I have a bad day and who works with me to solve my problems. I am not the easiest person to live with and he supports me whenever I am down and encourages me to get back in the game when I want to quit. It doesn't always come in the way I want to hear it, but as I reflect on it- I see God's wisdom speaking through him. What a wonderful blessing!

From the kitchen...I will make that chicken casserole I was talking about on Friday. It isn’t Eric’s favorite dish, but we haven’t had it in a long time, so I don’t think he’ll mind.

I am wearing…my PJs…again, still. I never wore that outfit on Friday (I wore something else) so I will wear that: my long khaki skirt (that I made…poorly), a green t-shirt, brown tights and brown boots.

I am creating…my Fall and Winter wardrobe. I have enough material to make a complete wardrobe because my trip to Goodwill did not produce anything for a plus-sized woman. When I am done sewing, I will have 5 dresses, 3 skirts, and a brown corduroy jacket. I also bought material for matching outfits for our family for a nice Christmas picture.

I am going…. to Target to finally buy crayons for the kids, along with a special bag to put them in (cardboard boxes rip too easily). Then, to the grocery store to buy some veggies for a nice cleansing soup, since it is October and I am trying to do another Perfect Weight American cleanse.

I am reading…my King James Bible…. another finally.

I am praying…for Jordyn’s teeth to heal, for our family to come together as one unit, for my unsaved family members (and children) to come to know that salvation is through nothing but grace and faith in Jesus Christ

I am hearing…the sound of my children playing under the kitchen table, which has been transformed into a “fort” for the day. We have already done trains, “food” and are now moving on to Play-Doh when they clean up the remaining toys underneath. It is my goal to completely eliminate the TV from my children’s existence; we have worship music playing in the background.

Around the house…the clutter from several days has still not been picked up, but today is a domestically focused day for me. School comes second.

One of my favorite things…a nice hot cup of coffee while reading on the couch or surfing the Internet in the morning. I love lazy mornings!!!

A few plans for the week…I really want to get the house back in shape and I want to post pictures of it. I also want to get some serious sewing done through this week, but I am having a pretty demanding week of school ahead, so maybe I’ll just focus on one skirt and one dress

A picture I am sharing…pictures from the pumpkin patch we went to over the wonderful weekend.

The Picture that I just couldn't attach...

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I have been surfing "blogland" for a long time now, and while I have had blogs for several years, I had never completely realized the network they provide. One of the things that I have seen is this "simple woman's daybook" which I didn't really understand, but enjoyed reading. I like that it was just such a simple way to chronicle your moment. I know that I am not following the instructions exactly (it is supposed to be Monday!), but if you like this idea, you can get all the information here.

TODAY IS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2008.

Outside my window...wait while I open it, we have a cloudy windy day that is challenging my attempt to leave the heaters off in our house until November. The best part is that this drop in the temperature is causing the leaves to change color...and there are a lot of trees here. I really like seeing the mix of evergreen trees and fall colors.

I am thinking...that I have a lot to do and should probably NOT be writing about my life right now.

I am thankful for...Eric getting a day off today; he has worked incredibly long hours resulting in over 40 hours in the first four days and while Eric would love to work overtime, the company won't let him.

From the kitchen...I will probably surf around the web later today to find something new to do with frozen chicken breasts; maybe my mom's casserole: chicken in a 9 x 13 pan, frozen corn to cover and two cans of Cream of Mushroom soup- bake until chicken is done (30-45 min) at 350 degrees, serve over mashed potatoes. I wonder what would happen if I used fresh broccoli?

I am wearing…my pjs (sheepy face) but I will be wearing my long khaki skirt (that I made…poorly), a green t-shirt, brown tights and slippers.

I am creating…a twenty page research paper about motherhood.

I am going….to take a shower soon and hopefully to Goodwill to find some winter dresses/skirts.

I am reading…hundreds of pages on historical motherhood, feminism and how one affected the other, along with all my other school books.

I am hoping…to move to Colorado in the next few months, we need to sell our house first, so I suppose “sell house” would be my biggest prayer right now.

I am hearing…the sound of Backyardigans playing in my bedroom so I can shower (hopefully!)

Around the house…the clutter from several days of not picking up consistently.

One of my favorite things…staying in bed late, when the room is really cold and I am nice and snuggly warm underneath my covers.

A few plans for the week…mostly homework (I need to play catch-up) and a stabilization to our routine to help me find some time to “homeschool” or at least have a dedicated time for the kids.

A picture I am sharing…(TBD), hopefully I can take and post one later today.

Housing Market?

This is a video that I found on another blog, Keeping the Home, and though I am not convinced with all her political ideas and end-of-the-world scenarios, this video is important. It is how my husband and I were able to purchase a home that we couldn't afford and it is the reason that we are unable to move now that we want to. The banks aren't wholly culpable, we are also to blame for not listening to good advice when it was given and for blindly trusting the people selling us the house, thinking that they were the "professionals" so we could trust them- for surely they were telling us the truth...

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Cleaning Routine

It's been almost two years since I found the Fly Lady system. Her 15 minute baby-steps are crucial to my survival, however, I never managed to quite make the routines that are so essential to her system. So, while I was an advocate (and I'm still on her mailing list!) I am not a follower. Then, I read from Candy on www.keepingthehome.com and Candy doesn't use "zones" like Fly Lady, but instead has broken down the house by surface, so you would clean flat surfaces on Monday, and windows on another, appliances on another...so on. This system is more thorough than Fly Lady's but I have a problem with its specificity. In my case, I needed something extremely simple that I could use to help thwart my procrastination. Both of these programs has valuable aspects, so I want to pull from them, and I did, to create my own system.

First, I started with a goal: Biblically, we are called to hospitality and I (thankfully) have a natural inclination toward opening my home, which I have carefully suppressed because my home is filthy. When my family attended a new church last Sunday, two of the elders dropped by on Tuesday evening. How embarrassing!!! Thankfully, our house was not at it's worst, but it was not pretty either! So, my goal became the ability to show a presentable home at a moment's notice. The main living areas (and bathroom!) need to always be tidy or in use. We are a family with small children and children have toys, so I won't get rid of all the toys, but I will teach my children to put them away when they are done with them. The second aspect is that I would like my house to be ready to entertain guests within 30 minutes. Maybe this is less attainable than the first part, but I think it is a good goal for our family to keep in mind. Entertaining involves so many different things, but I would like for say, my mom, to call and say, "Hey, I'm on my way home from work, can I stop by for a visit?" and I will not be ashamed at whatever she sees. The other aspect is that I would like to keep the house clean and organized for the health and happiness of the family. It is amazing the difference between the kids just because their bedrooms and living room are cleaned! They actually want to play, instead of just staying in front of the TV all morning. I never realized how much mess affects you physically and though I keep saying that I just "don't see" it, my body knows the mess is there and it causes stress to build up. What a pleasure it is to come into a clean home.

So, how am I going to do it? First, I have a conversation with my husband about what tasks needed to be completed on a regular basis. Then, I broke the house into five sections: living room and hallway, kids' rooms, kitchen and dining rooms, bathroom and laundry area, and master bedroom. I took the list of things I wanted to accomplish on a weekly basis and put it all down by room. I want to clean 5 days a week and I have scheduled 2 hours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon to do that. So, I took my list of tasks to be done and my schedule and I plugged in one room per cleaning session. This means that I will "hit" every section of my house twice during the week, once in the AM, once in the PM. I did choose particular tasks to do on those days, so that if I needed to, I could go right to the directions to follow for that day, change the sheets and vacuum the master bedroom on Friday morning, for example. However, I think the key for me is that it gives me direction. Today is Friday, so I know that I will be spending time cleaning the master bedroom this morning (starting at 10:00am) and then I will go into the living room for this afternoon's cleaning. What I have yet to do is to establish "monthly and yearly" cleaning lists but when I do, I will divide them out through the month or year on the day that I would normally do my cleaning routine. The other thing is that my husband is going to be working a 6 day rotation, so I might end up with a Wednesday off, in which case, Saturday is my stand-in day. As is stands, I have planned for Saturday to be a "special projects" day which could include cleaning, but also includes sewing and crafting. Sunday's are my day to rest so I am not planning anything for that day (excepting of course, the standard dishes and tidy-after-you-finish-playing-with-that-toy variety).

The last aspect of this, is that I am taking pictures of each room when in a state of "tidy" and when completely clean and I am posting them in my Home Management Binder so that I have an easy reference of what it could look like. I like that I have freedom with this plan and I can still get my work done. It is my job to provide for my family's health and happiness and a clean house is a great beginning. I would encourage anyone who is trying to clean their house to do this as well, make a list of ALL the most necessary jobs, schedule the cleaning and divide the way you prefer. If you like to do all the floors one day, you can always arrange for Monday to be your floor day, Tuesday windows and dusting, Wednesday wash day...whatever works!!!

I'm off to get some cleaning done!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Call for Information

This semester at school, I am taking a history course where the entire class is set up on writing an ORIGINAL historical research paper. It is incredibly intense because it requires loads of reading and writing (somewhere between 15-20 hours a week, for a 3 credit class!) but it is the ORIGINAL part that is really throwing me off!

My topic, which is still being revised, is how feminism has affected motherhood between the 1800s and 1980s. If anyone has any books or articles that were written in the 1800s about motherhood or the effects of motherhood, I would really appreciate any information that you could give me. You can post a response or email me. If you don't know anything, could you ask the people around you? I am searching for this information but I fear that I am not going to have enough to write a good paper.

My goal is to present this information in a way that leaves no doubt that motherhood as it was in the 1800s, before feminism messed with it, was a much "better" way to raise children. I am not really writing a persuasive paper here, but I think I can still argue the point a little bit. :)

Thanks for the help!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Update on Katie

My mom flew to New Mexico the other day and so now I have a consistent line of information. Katie is doing fine, she is at home now and the doctors think that the liver condition is a result of the mono. The major concern right now is to get the proper nutrients into her body. She is already extremely thin so she can't afford to lose any weight. Adding this to the other million things that are already wrong with her and my mom says that she is taking about 12 different medications, including pain-killers, everyday. Continued prayers are always appreciated.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Katie Elizabeth...

In other news, my sister, Katie (age 25), is in the hospital with liver complications. She has had a series of medical problems and this is the latest. The doctors do not have a diagnosis though talks of hepatitis have surfaced, they are just waiting for the body to fix itself (apparently, there is nothing they can do for the liver) but after one night at home, she is back in the hospital and now diagnosed with mono. Please pray for her health and healing. She lives in New Mexico and I am not able to visit her. She is, thankfully, a born-again believer of Jesus Christ the King.


Katie and Kelly (and me in the background) playing with some phones.


Katie and Kelly, twins.


My most recent picture of Katie (that I know of), taken Christmas of 2006. Katie is on the left, Kelly on the right (and pregnant with Bethany).

Recently...

My posting has thinned out and that is disappointing to me. There are so many topics and issues that I am learning about and that I want to discuss on this site, but I just don't have time. A monthly post is probably all I will be able to accomplish in the future, if that. My goal is (and always has been) a weekly post, but I have started school in earnest now and I think I can understand to a small degree what working mothers go through! My school schedule is simple, I am able to stay at home with my children because I am going to a 100% online school, otherwise I wouldn't have tried to go to school with my young children. When my husband and I were talking about finances, we decided that I needed to do a little extra work for us to make it every month. Since I get my Montgomery GI Bill, it pays for school as well as bringing in a little extra every month, so essentially, school is my job! Trying to get all my studying and class time done during naps and after the kids go to bed is not working and now I am trying to negotiate activities that will allow me extra time in the afternoon after the chores are done to study. After all that, I have very little time to read extra websites (and blogs) that I love, like Keeping the Home but when I do get a chance, there is invariably something that makes me think that I would like to make my own post about. Instead of going crazy about all these different topics, I am going to make a list of the issues I was to discuss and then whenever I do get a chance, I can just pull a good topic from my pre-made list. I will probably keep the list in my Home Management Binder (HMB). Once I figure out how to include pictures in a post, I will take pictures of my HMB and my house and my clothes for a week...at least that is what I am working on.

I did get a chance earlier today to read Candy's blog and post a response. I don't understand why people get so offended at someone else's opinion. I love Candy's blog and though I don't agree with everything she posts, I do agree with the majority of it and I appreciate all of it because she doesn't just wave about her opinion, she always supports it with Bible verses and good logic. She does feel like a mentor to me and her posts always make me think. Her recent post about being a sloth at home really hit dead-on. I am a lazy, procrastinating bum and with a good excuse, it is positively terminal for the happiness of our home. Her latest post about not "hanging out" with non-Christians is exactly what people need to read and I was really surprised that she got bombed for it! That ANY Christian not understand this fundamental truth surprised me and since I had lately "fallen for it" by allowing my conversation with a non-Christian to distract me and allow my behavior to not reflect Christ, I needed to hear it again and see the list of verses she used to support her position.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day of Reflections

September 11, 2008; what a good day for reflections. I started my reflections this morning around 9:00am when I realized that today was September 11th, and that 7 years ago, I was in the military and just getting dressed to go to "PT" (I was on a swings shift) and I heard in formation that the World Trade Center had been hit with an airplane. I had no idea of the scale, in fact, I had no idea what the World Trade Center was. When my normally stoic platoon sergeant was late to formation, we were a little confused, but like good soldiers, we stayed in a loose formation talking amongst ourselves. As the platoon sergeant walked across the field toward us, stopped halfway to answer his cell phone, talked for a few minutes and then hung up and ran toward our formation as fast as we've seen him run. He called us to attention and told us that a third plane had hit the Pentagon and we were all to go to our barracks room and stay there until further notice. We saluted as the flag at the front of post was lowered and the gates barred. He told the soldiers who lived off post to plan on it taking several hours to get back on and recommended going home and coming back with plans to stay. He was right, though I didn't live off post at the time. Armed guards were stationed behind a bunker at the front of the military base and every car was searched, proper identification was required. For the rest of us, we went back to the barracks and called our loved ones to let them know we were okay and that the Army was still protecting it's assets, us. Later that day, we were marched to class (we had been allowed to either walk or march ourselves before) by a platoon sergeant or drill sergeant and though we had class on that day, much of the time was taken with talking about what was happening and what it would mean for us. We watched the footage over and over again, willing it to sink into our brains that something of that magnitude happened during our lifetime and not on the pages of the history book we were forced to read in high school.

Today, I watched the original footage from Foxnews.com (but I couldn't find a link, sorry) and it completely brought me back to the moments I first saw the attacks and the days and months of ensuing chaos. I prayed for the families of the victims, that they continue in their healing process and for our country to not forget what it felt like that day, to remember that urge to fight, to defend our country. I was us to remember all the flags flying and how proud we all were to be Americans.