January 29, 2010

Bad Attitude.

You know, it is funny how the online world works--just when you need a whisper from God you can get it from a blog!  What a blessing to be able to get advice from wonderful, experienced mothers when often in our own real-life worlds there are few others going through the same things.  Which is why this post and this spoke to me so deeply.  My husband has been out of town every other week since the new year and I have been having a bad attitude about it.  Yes, this is his job.  Yes, I was feeling slightly entitled, I think, because he had been home for such a long stretch before the holidays.  Yes, it has been a hard several weeks with sad kids, cranky toddlers, a fussy baby and way.too.much.on.my.plate.  Yes, it is hard being home alone with the kids and your spouse is away.  No one takes the place of daddy.  No one.

But, nonetheless, I wasn't helping matters with my attitude.  It smacked me in the face this last trip when my oldest son started fussing about Ken leaving and my husband said to him, "Cheer up.  It doesn't help matters for any of us to have a bad attitude."  Well, he should have said it to me a long time ago.  But, being the kind and loving husband that he is--he didn't.

And, in the midst of frustration with the current chaos of my life, I was missing out.  Missing an opportunity to really be with my children and to take joy in them.  So, I reminded myself that this, too, shall pass.

My key points for how to survive with a travelling spouse:
  • Stay home.  My kids need the stability of being home.  No errands, nothing out of the bare minimum requirements.  We went to visit the Grandparents one evening (which is normally lovely) and it was awful.  Largely because I wasn't really thinking about it--it was late, everybody had reached their maximum daddy neediness, etc. etc.
  • Be prepared with food.  I have to have convenience foods on hand.  Things that can be popped in the oven with one hand while holding a baby and the two-year old tries to wrestle me into putting juice in her sippy cup.   Frozen french-fries, chicken nuggets, casseroles and pizza dough made ahead of time.  This is not the time to try new recipes or force the kids to eat foods they don't like.  Save your own sanity.
  • Be prepared with essentials--diapers, medicines, laundry detergent, whatever.  I remember having a little one with a high fever once when Ken was gone and having to ask a neighbor to sit with my kids before she went to work so I could get Tylenol.  Not good to leave a neighbor with your sick, sad children because you were unprepared!  Thank God for good neighbors!
  • Be prepared with something fun.  Yet doable.  It probably isn't a good idea to go wearing yourself out at the zoo all day the first day your spouse is gone.  You know that the baby won't sleep that night and you'll be grumpy and tired all the next day.  Yet, maybe it would be fun to invite over some friends.  Plan an easy, no cleanup craft or a movie night.  Sometimes, something simple can be made into big fun.
  • Go easy on yourself.  Its okay if the house is a mess until your husband gets home and can help you clean it.  There have been seasons (such as when I'm expecting and really sick or with a newborn) when my husband has kindly cleaned the house before he left and cleaned it when he got home.  There are times when you can't keep up with the house AND meet the needs of your children.  Its also okay if not much schoolwork gets done because you have a sick baby (or others) and the best you can do is sit on the couch and hold them.
I think, as in all things, it is best to keep peace in your home rather than try to accomplish too much.  Our jobs as mothers is to really block out the temptation to try to keep up with what the world says we should do.  We must be thankful for this wonderful vocation we have been given, thankful for our husbands who work so hard for our families, and delight in our children even when it seems our burdens are great. 

Now, I must go post my list on the fridge for myself!!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

January 21, 2010

Scrap it...

I've come to determine that scrapbooking is a waste of my time.  But I still like it.  I really really like these binders:

Why, oh, why didn't someone come up with this sooner?  Why did I struggle on with those darn post-binders for so so long?  Although, I admit, it makes me think of utilitarian, office-supply type organization.  But, so easy!


Sorry, my pic is sideways.  And, my camera sucks doesn't take the best pictures.

Anyhow, back to the original thought.  Scrapbooking requires way too much time.  I am not entirely sure why I feel the compulsion to do it at all.  I could just stick the pictures in an album.  There is something cathartic about creating and writing that I do enjoy.  My mother barely took pictures and they certainly never ended up in an
album.  From an early age, I was the one saving and organizing pictures in those awful sticky-cling albums.  But I am going to try to limit myself this year to major events so that I don't feel so overwhelmed.  All those cute, random pics will just have to go in slots!

I am just wondering, is the scrapbooking craze over and done with? Have people had it with the whole notion and gone back to traditional albums or perhaps, the shoebox method?

January 18, 2010

We LOVE Krohn's!


We love Krohn's Conservatory!  First of all, it is free.  Second, it is just a nice place to get out and stretch your legs on a rainy or cold day.  The kids always really enjoy seeing all the different plants.  Nathan especially likes to know what the names are of the ones that catch his interest.  Liz had a little bit of a hard time not plucking all the pink or purple flowers! Their favorite parts are the banana plant, cocoa tree, and bonsai. 

And, if you are really lucky, you are one of the few to spot the clones in a cave (or, ahem, technically speaking in the tunnel beneath the waterfall--another favorite).


Our only disappointment of the day was that the special exhibits room was closed because they are preparing for the next show, I'm guessing the Butterfly show.  Thus, we missed seeing the orange trees (we peeked through the window).  You should go if you haven't been!



January 17, 2010

Cinco!

For the first time ever, we were counted in Spanish today.  There was a family walking the other way and as they passed I heard, " Ooh la la!  tres, cuatro, cinco.....  Cinco!"

Ken and I laughed.  Because, although we are used to having our kids "counted" in English, it was the first time we've heard it in another language (at least from what we can tell).  Too funny!

January 14, 2010

On being a lowly housewife.

You know, the term housewife is really kind of outdated.  I would go so far to say that being called a housewife is considered subservient, demeaning and only reminiscent of the 1950s.  On any sort of application these days the option for a person such as myself who stays home with the children is "homemaker."  Which is great.  I am that for sure.  I am responsible for making the home and keeping it.  But I have always considered myself a "housewife."  Some might think that term is degrading, not lending enough importance to all that a wife and mother at home accomplishes during her day. 

It does, I admit, make me think of the 50s.

However, I think homemaker is bland.  I am first and foremost, a wife.  I just happen to be a wife who stays home, and homeschools and is in charge of lots of little ones (sometimes they are in charge of me).  But without my husband, I have no team.  I have no counterbalance.  My kids or the house do not make me feel complete, my husband does.  I wait for his arrival at the end of the day, his phone call if he is out of town and look forward to the time at the end of the evening reserved just for me.  I am his wife and he is my husband, and it is so good!

And, I am lucky.  I am blessed to have a wonderful, Christ-centered marriage.  I have a husband who truly loves his family and works very hard to provide for us. 

I work hard for him, too.  I cook for him, truly because the kids would be happy to live on peanut-butter-and-jelly or mac-n-cheese.  He's the one who appreciates that I cook and clean and try to make our home a happy one!  So, I am a housewife.  A wife who tries to serve her husband and children with some quality home-making fully realizing that all of it boils down to serving the Lord in my vocation.

I am a Housewife.  And proud of it.

January 13, 2010

Murphy's Law

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

Which is pretty much the case any time you mix kids, chaos (comes with the kids), a tired mom and a husband that is out of town (which he is, often). I said at the start of this venture (the one involving the husband being out of town) that I should keep track of all the things that go wrong because he's gone.

Yes, I said because.

Not when, because.

There is a difference, you know. Because things don't often go wrong when the dear husband is in town. And maybe, just maybe such things aren't a big deal because the husband is here to handle them.

Which all leads me back to Murphy's Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Because.

Just because it can. It can go wrong and create havoc for my sanity. It can go wrong and have no one to save me without me looking ridiculous. And it does often go wrong.

If I had kept track, maybe I could make millions writing a funny book. But I doubt it. Nonetheless, some of the wrongs that have occurred are:

  • flat tires, multiple times. one of which involved driving car with flat tire to tire store.
  • dead battery, in the rain, in the middle of the country with no cell service. Had to walk to the nearest house in the mucky mud carrying the baby and ask poor person who was home sick to please jump my battery.
  • basement flooding. yep that was stressful.

And those are just some of the BIG ones. That doesn't include all the vomit, purple sharpie colorings, arguments etc., etc. induced by the children.

So, the next time my dear husband is out of town. Be prepared for something to happen.

Because.