Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wild Days...

Today it was quite a sight in my house!  Christmas presents strung all about which one has to watch where to step to avoid a catastrophy.  My daughter, age 6, in her Snow White costume laying on the couch playing her new PSP.  My sons, age 6 and 5, in their new Transformer costumes shooting their Nerf guns at each other and at my 9 year...and at my 31 year old.  Oh yeah...he's not my son, that's my husband.  LOL.  Then there is the baby running through the house in his diaper (after he tore his clothes off) chasing his brothers, an eventual his sister too, running and laughing.  Then there was me...good ol mommy trying to make breakfast while dodging Neft bullets coming from 4 different directions, 5 kids all excited to be celebrating Christmas yet again (with Grandma), and my husband joining in on their excitment and playfulness.  Oh, Christmas.  I love the holiday, but thankful it only comes once a year!

A Parent's Love

"A parent's love is whole, no matter how many times divided"
                                                     --Robert Brault

By now I'm sure that everyone has heard that Michelle Duggar miscarried while expecting her 21st child (would have been 20th surviving child).  After the premature birth of Jim Bob and Michelle's 19th surviving child, many people were outraged that they were expecting yet again.  I personally, was happy for the family. Having a child is such a joyous and wonderful experience! Many critics negatively say that it's unfair to the children to have such a large family...that their children are raising children.  The fact of the matter is that their children love having such a big family and that the older children don't think of it as raising their siblings, but doing their part as a family.  Each child also believes that God will bless them with as many children as He sees fit. Jim Bob and Michelle are raising well behaved, respectful children.  This family does not use food stamps, welfare, or any other government assistance, so really it's not any one's concern how many children this family wants or has!

The latest controversy with the Duggars regarding their family, is the controversial image of their stillborn fetus, named Julibee Shalom Duggar.  Many comment that it is inappropriate, while others feel that the Duggars are setting an example for other parents that have suffered such a loss.  The images were taken by a nonprofit organization intended for the private use of the family, which they decided to share with the public.  The artistic images help families with their closure and peace. 

My personal condolences go out to Jim Bob, Michelle, and the rest of their family.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

With the death of my Grandfather occurring, I can't stop thinking about my Grandmother.  How is she going to handle losing the love of her life?  and living alone in her house? and taking care of herself and the house?  and how is her own health going to be in the near future? 
Working in the medical field, I often worry when someone (particularly an older woman) loses their significant other, whom they have known or been married to for most of their lives.  My Grandparents have been together for 40+ years.  I just couldn't imagine how much of a basket-case I would be if I lost my husband after 40+ years of being inseparable
"The Broken Heart Syndrome", also called "Stress Cariomyopathy", is triggered when a traumatic event such as this occurs. Someone with this syndrome will have heart attack- like symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. Women are 9 times more likely than men to have the broken heart syndrome, especially women 55 and older. No one quite knows why women are more likely than men...perhaps because we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves more-so then men.
Just thinking about my Grandparents and their amazing relationship, it just reminds me to not take my own life and relationship for granted.  I have a wonderful, loving husband, amazing children that I cannot get enough of, and I couldn't ask for a better life.  Don't take life so serious!  This is the time that we should be building lasting memories with our kids.  Pick your battles and show them more positive attention, no matter how mad they make you.  Don't nit-pick everything your significant other does, show more appreciation no matter what.  And don't let a day go by without telling your significant other and kids that you love them. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

 Have you ever had a feeling that something just wasn't right?
This evening before dinner, I decided to write out our Christmas cards...I know, I know, I shouldn't have waited until the last minute.  When I got to my Grandparents' card, I paused, not sure how I should address the card. My Grandfather has not been doing well lately, and the fact was that he could pass away at any time.  I held my breath and wrote out both of their names.  The rest of the evening went as planned with preparing dinner, eating, cleaning up, getting ready for work (I work nights), and leaving.  I decided to give my Grandmother a call since I haven't been able to get a hold of her for the last two days, and to my surprise, she answered.  First thing out of her mouth after "Hello", was "Grandpa's gone."
My heart sank.  We all knew that the time was coming, but you still can't ever prepare yourself for the news when you finally get it.  He lived a long, happy life of 90...91 in January.  He was such a great man, and will always be loved and missed very much.
Now as I sit here, I need to figure out how to tell my children that Great-Grandpa's passed away.  My children understand pretty well, in the basic terms anyhow, about death.  When someone dies, their heart stops beating, and they stop breathing, then their body goes to the cemetery while their spirit goes to heaven...
Some parents debate about whether it is appropriate to bring young children to viewings/funerals.  In the past, we have opted not to bring our children.  When my other Grandfather passed away earlier this year, we did take our youngest (about a year old at the time), but he was/is too young to understand. 
At what age would you take your children to a family member's viewing and/or funeral?

Friday, December 2, 2011

To be or not to be...a Stay-at-Home Mom

To be a 'Stay-at-Home mom' after your baby is born, is a big decision that you and your partner should discuss in advance.  Being a SAHM may sound amazing, but it also has it's downsides to consider. I stayed at home for a while after my 18 month old son was born...and I LOVED it!  I felt like I was so busy taking care of kids, driving to and from school, keeping the house clean, cooking all the meals, etc kept me so busy that I wouldn't be able to sleep if I went back to work! here I am.  Back to working full time AND all the other stuff.  My husband does help out with the housework and such, but I tell him that I would love it if I could have continued staying at home with the that bad? 
The main pro for staying at home that convinced us for me to stay at home was that I would be watching our kids and not a stranger.  We didn't want to do daycare, and family isn't a reality for 5 kids to babysit.  It makes a lot more sense for me to stay home than pay someone to watch all our kids.  Plus I really got a great chance to bond with not only our baby, but all the kids.
Having one income instead of two is hard (possible but hard). Budgeting is a must-do.  I try my hardest not to waste anything, including paper towels and food!  We might eat the same thing for dinner, then lunch AND dinner the next day...only if I made too much of something!  For my Little ones to eat a snack like gold fish on, I will rip a big paper towel in half.  Drives my husband crazy, but every penny counts!  Also, I cut coupons.  Highly recommend watching TLC's Extreme will make you want to cut coupons and save as much as you can!
A Pro AND Con is that your kids are ALWAYS with you.  It's great for bond and spending time together, but can be hard to get some 'adult time.' Even 4.5 seconds to go to the bathroom.  The bathroom in my bedroom is small, so when my little starts pounding on the door, I put something thin like a comb under the door.  He laughs and puts it back under.  Passing it back and forth will keep him occupied for at least a few minutes!
Many stay-at-home moms develop a loss of identity feeling.  You are no longer that party girl going out with your friends, or that workaholic, or student.  You are a Mommy and that's it.  Instead of fearing that you are loosing your own life, push yourself to be the best mother.  Do things with your children, do extra little things for your partner, research parenting tips, and just keep bonding with your children! 
What we do now with our children is only temporary, but will last a lifetime. 
What ways do you stay sane as a stay-at-home mom?

Surviving Picky Eaters

 "Picky eaters". Most toddlers are picky eaters, and mine definitely is one! Along with my other kids too! Here are some tips to survive your picky eaters:
  • Don't force your child to eat.  Making your child clean his or her plate could lead to overeating.  We usually give small potions and let them ask for seconds
  • Let them help.  My kids love to help me cook! Even if it's something as simple as putting the fish sticks on the pan.  They each take turns and when it's their turn they get to help cook, set the table, pass out food/drinks, and help with dishes. My kids are between the ages of 9 and 18 months, so I don't allow them to touch the stove or stove top.
  • Keep trying. My kids are more opt to try something new if it's off of my plate instead of their own! I let them try a bite then gladly get them a plate once they tell me they like it!
  • Fun! Kids love when their food is cut into different shapes or they have a yummy dip. 
  • Have a routine. My kids know that after school they have to eat something healthy like apples with peanut butter, then they can have a piece of candy.  Or that they have to eat dinner and be full FROM DINNER, then get dessert about an hour later.
Hope these tips are as helpful for you with your kids as they are with mine! It's normal to be a picky eater, but it doesn't mean to stop trying!  How do you get your picky eater to eat?

'Finding my own Shoes'

At two years old, I would dance around in my Great-Grandma's heels and pearls.  My mother would say, "I know you think you're being pretty, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would stop.
At six years old, I would pretend to be a teacher and educate my dolls.  My mother would walk into my room and say, "I know you think that you're smart, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would stop.
At ten years old, I would pretend I was the greatest singer.  My mother would walk into my room and say, "You may think that your voice is pretty, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would stop.
At fourteen years old, I would try to be the best person I could.  My mother would look at me and say, "I know you think you're a good person and daughter, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would try harder. 
At eighteen years old, I would work and go to college.  My mother would call just to say, "I know you think you're trying to better yourself, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would try harder.
At twenty-one years old, I would work, go to college, and take care of my baby.  My mother would say, "I know you think you're a good mother, but those aren't your shoes."  And I would try harder.
At twenty-seven years old, I AM pretty.  I AM smart.  I DO have a pretty voice.  I AM a great person and daughter.  I AM a great mother and now wife.  And....
Those ARE my shoes!

----Short story posted by Sarah Farris on the Columbus Creative Cooperative website.