Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Simple Life


I have a hard time stomaching the nightly news. Murder, terrorism, sex crimes, theft, wildfires, floods, tornados...I just turn it off. I am not uninformed, don't misunderstand. I just want my small children to know what the world could be, before they learn what it truly is. 




All I want is the simple life, too much to ask??

Making bread, growing food, recycling waste, sewing, just the basics that's all I ask. These things are not hard to do. These tasks do however require turning off the xbox, ipad, or tv and going outside. It is so sad that many kids don't even go outside without prompting. My kids are outside kids, and I personally intend to keep it that way. We have built them a sandbox, great grass area, refinished our deck, put up a trampoline, gotten chickens to follow around, ride bikes, and make almost daily walks to local parks.

Kids and a Tree by j4p4nI currently have taken on summer babysitting for extra income. The little girl (age5) is so sweet and kind. We had a conversation the other day about when her dad will have days off work. She also knew his payday was coming up and that he had to pay his child support. This broke my heart. I sat her down and told her that was an adult thing to worry about. This is not an isolated case. Kids understand the world so much more than we give them credit for.

I know every household is run different and situations change, but let kids be kids while they can. Life goes too quick to put them into the throws of the real world any sooner than they have to. I am not telling you how to parent; I am simply observing that these kids are so impacted by the world and hold and protect them as long as you can.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Let's get chickens!

Dillon agreed to my latest project... LET'S GET CHICKENS!

He also agreed that it would be a low to no budget project. I gladly accepted that and began to search out ideas, materials, and inspiration for building a chicken coop. One might say that I take after my dad, a man that has "potential" piles all around his house for his projects. I don't have piles, but I have a project so I knew just who to go see.

We went to a local business that gives away their used pallets and got a trailer load. After hours of disassembling them by hand, there was much useable lumber ready to construct the coop. About a week later we had walls, a floor and eventually a roof. A generous uncle gave me some buckets for nesting boxes and a trip or two to my dad's piles provided handles, latches, and tin. A visit to (my newly discovered no budget crafter's store) the hazardous waste facility provided stain, crack filler, and metal paint.

So now that I have bored you with our version of building a chicken coop, let me make my point. When telling people about our undertaking we got mostly negative comments, "they sell them for a couple hundred dollars", "that's going to take forever", "really!?!?!", and so on. To those comments I pose a question, when was the last time you made something with your hands? Yes, we saved money, but there is a certain pride and passion that comes with creating something from nothing that is important too. Another life lesson we hope to pass on to our kids.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy. Easy would have been whipping out the credit card at the hardware store and loading one in the truck. So many people go this route, good for them. The memories of Dillon and the kids and I putting the time into this project together are worth more. When your husband goes golfing and all he can talk about is "that silly old coop", you know it has been worth the time and effort.

Be it making Homemade bread, a quilt, or a rickety ol' chicken coop, it still means more when made by hand.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Staying at Home


Many people have asked me why I write and do a blog. I tend to be a socially awkward introvert who has plenty to say, but it just wouldn’t come out right if I spoke it. I stay at home with little kids, so my adult conversation skills are a little weak right now. (I know many can relate).


My best thoughts seem to come to me in the shower, driving, and the moment my body goes into sleep mode for the night. If I remember them, they make great topics. My kids are also great subjects and constantly keep me entertained. The joy and honor of being with them as a stay at home parent is getting to see their character and personality grow and change (pretty much daily). Don’t take it personally if you both work… every family situation is different, I get it. I can only speak from my personal experiences.

With that said, there are ups & downs to the stay at home parent life. You get to participate in the little moments; first words, baby dancing, laughs & giggles, spit up, bumps & bruises that need kissed, etc. Some days it feels that all of these things are great…as long as we stay in our little bubble at home. When we venture to the public, everyone has an opinion and advice. I generally shrug it off and humor the little ol’ ladies who have teething hacks from 1962.

Many people appreciate but don’t realize the amount of work that goes into the job of stay at home parent. The parent part is commonly understood, but the stay at home part is overlooked. Not only is every aspect of parenting in the job, but running a household is also. The term Homemaker is often used and with good reason. Being able to stay at home gives an opportunity to make a house a home. All those special little touches. I have often heard moms say, “If only we could trade jobs for a day, they would understand what it is I do all day long.” I can totally understand.

When we had our first child and I started staying at home, I dove in and immersed myself wholly into our child. In doing this I had a feeling that I had lost myself. Could have been a bit of postpartum depression, but who knows for sure. I had the greatest love and joy for that baby but when she would sleep I wasn’t sure what to do with me…. That was the point when Dillon and I talked and decided that here and there I needed a craft project, book to read, new recipe to try or to go for a walk; something I could do that I enjoyed, to keep me from going bat-crap-crazy.

When doing housework, I tend to think of other countries or the old days. Take doing dishes for example. We have dishwashers. We did not have to haul the water, make a fire to heat it, and then scrub and dry the dishes by hand. Vacuuming is another great example. Be glad to have carpet to clean. Some huts in Africa have dirt floors. Imagine life without a washing machine. Having to use a scrub board down at the river, every once in a while, to wash clothes.

Moral of the story is simply be thankful. Weather it’s the 3rd poopy diaper before noon, the mountain of laundry staring you down, or the first cup of coffee in the morning…be thankful.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Death


I don’t think it is easy to process no matter how it happens. Car wreck, murder, suicide, freak accident….it all happens everyday and has somehow become ‘normal’. Birth, life, death. That’s how it works and all in God’s time and according to His purpose. Some of us are gifted more time on earth than others and that’s hard to accept sometimes. We are emotionally connected humans that have feelings, thoughts and wishes.

I went into my senior year of high school dealing with the loss of my only sister. Many of you know this. I was taking my ASVAB military entrance test the day of her car wreck. Many of you don’t know that. My life has changed since that day. God had a plan for her and it was time to call her home; it has taken many years to understand this. Flip side is that God has a plan for those that are left behind too. I went and retook the test and was offered many positions within the military. I declined. God had other plans for me.

My grandma and I were very close. She was one of my best friends growing up. When she fell ill after back surgery a few years ago, I visited her often. Her illness grew worse and on my last visit she couldn’t talk. I did the talking and held her hand. She kept pushing my hand away and I took it to mean that she didn’t want me to see her like that and she knew the end was near. Family called the next day and asked if I wanted to come say goodbye and I told them I already did. My heart knew she was at peace.

Suicide has touched our family a couple times in recent history also. Please know that there is always someone who will listen. There are anonymous hotlines, local agencies, and good friends that care. It is always a blessing to get a simple text, ‘praying for you today’ or a random delivery of flowers or a 5 minute just stopped in to say Hi and help fold laundry visit.

This is an odd topic to write about but necessary. God has a plan for all of us and He will call us home in His timing. Enjoy the time and gifts you are given. Know that things happen for a reason, even if we never get to know why this side of heaven. Have faith.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Major Dis


My credentials are not extensive, flashy, or impressive. I have worked a variety of jobs, held a few management positions and have a college degree. Since having our 4 year old I have stayed at home and not been in the active workforce. Now that you know a little more about me, let me tell you a cautionary tale…

Dillon and I were house shopping (again, we seem to move a lot). He was during the busy time at work, so I volunteered to take on the task of calling around to get mortgage quotes. Yes, you can shop around for mortgages, who knew? I started with the lady we had used in the past. I sent her an email requesting the pertinent information to what I was seeking. She said she’d get back to me, so I made more inquiries to other places and added it all to my list.

Well, after about a week of email correspondence and short answers to my questions, I was starting to get frustrated with our go-to lady we had used in the past. Meanwhile, Dillon emailed her on a question he had. She replied to him, answered his question, sent him the answers to my questions and additional info that would have been helpful in response to my inquiries. I might have overreacted a bit, but I was @#$%^*!!!! (quite upset)!! After trying and trying with her for a week, I get a few one line responses. Dillon sent her one question and she wrote him a book.

I felt she disrespected me and because I was not a “professional”, we couldn’t communicate on the same level. Right, wrong, or otherwise we did not use her services this time around.

Have you ever had that feeling of being disrespected? For not being “on the same level”? I felt hurt, looked down upon, and frustrated. Maybe I took it to heart too much. I hope that writing this helps people to realize that everyone needs the same respect no matter their occupation. This isn’t a constant occurrence, people are generally good in this area. One bad apple and a chance to learn.  


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Yard Sale


It is that time of year, spring cleaning. Cleaning the dirt and grime but also the things that have accumulated over the cold, wintry months. No room is exempt in our house!!

Closets, drawers, cabinets, chests, shelves… all of it has been gone through. It shouldn’t, but it continues to amaze me how much “stuff” we have. I like to think that we are a normal (haha) family that lives a moderately comfortable life. We are not the hoarders from the tv show, but there is excess. Americans are spoiled. We live for stuff, we work for stuff, and often we suffer for stuff. Why? Again, I ask why? Majority of people in this world are happy with only possessing the essentials to get through life.


This purging process has made me take a deeper search into our “stuff”. Recently, I have been looking into minimalism. We aren’t going to move into a tiny house and have 3 pair of underwear. What I am looking for is living with less to get more out of life. “Stuff” dings the pocketbook and creates stress. I want to diminish both.   

My kids are the type that are truly happy with the box the toy came in, rather than the toy itself. I want my kids to have imagination and play outside. I have significantly cleaned out their toys, clothes, and d├ęcor. Please don’t think that they are limited to a couple toys and are constantly bored. I have found that having less IS more. My kids have responded positively to having less. Their appreciation for what they do have has grown and I hope it keeps doing so. We draw, cut, glue, craft, read, and pretend more.

Dillon and I have purged about 1/3 of our clothing, shoes, accessories so far. The knick-nacks that would sit and collect dust…and that I’d have to spend time dusting have been sorted out also. Again, don’t think our walls are bare or keepsakes have been tossed, that is NOT the case. I am talking about that 1992 cardboard framed etched mirror that was won at the carnival at age 12, and the like. It has “lightened the load” literally and figuratively.

Having a yard sale is a bit of work, and you don’t usually make a whole lot of money. Flip side is that we get to use it as a teaching lesson for our kids. You don’t have to hold on to “stuff”. To sell, donate or pass on our “stuff” is a positive thing. I am constantly saying we cannot keep everything, so that the ties to “stuff” that society teaches can be broken.

You are in control of your “stuff” and the choices that are made with it. I can tell you, from personal experience, take a deep look into your things. There are several methods to purge, organize and clean out. Find what fits best for you and your family, you won’t regret it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Off for Repair


Today in church I was twisting my wedding ring around and I noticed something odd. It had a crack all the way through the band and the sodder on one side had broken loose. After all this does not surprise me, I never take it off (hence the turquoise paint stuck between a couple diamonds from 2 projects ago).

Admittedly I was sad by this because I knew it meant a trip to the mall jewelry store and a couple weeks without it. I feel naked without it (sorry, TMI). So, as a substitute I pulled my promise ring out of the box. It had been a while since I’d seen it, let alone wore it. Still fit my finger after 10+ years. My 4 year old asked what a promise ring was. I said that daddy gave it to me and promised to love me forever and ever. She then asked what my marriage ring was for then. I said that daddy promised to love us forever and ever.

Not only was I glad to have a substitute, but also to think of when Dillon gave it to me and the memories of when I used to wear it all the time. Sweet times of life that seem only like a dot in time now. I guess the whole “getting older” thing is making me more sentimental. Dillon and I have been best friends for what seems like forever (he’d insert ‘seems longer’ here). It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, but we committed to the good, the bad, and the ugly. I take my ring seriously as a daily symbol of that commitment.