Category Archives: Home Sweet Home

What to do…

What to do when nearly seven months pregnant and bored? 

Nope, don’t clean your house.  Don’t do dishes or laundry or anything else that’s overly productive.  Baking cookies is okay, but only if you eat half of what you bake immediately.  Taking a nap is okay, too, but if your four and a half year old won’t be quiet enough for you to sleep, feel free to get up and eat some more cookies.

Today was my first day home from Bible study since deciding to quit.  We finished our study last week and I had already said that it would be my last time.  Babysitting issues were getting messy and complicated and it got to the point where it was only my kids and one other family who were going anyway.  That mom decided to quit as well. 

Sleeping in and not worrying about being in a rush this morning was great.  I will surely have those early mornings still, when appointments or events force me out of the house before eleven.  But I think for now, this is good for me.  It’s not about the study itself, although our numbers of younger women had really dwindled.  It’s just that as pregnant as I am and as busy as my kids are, it was getting hard to pack them all up, take them to church before ten and then pack them up and bring them home at noon every Thursday.  I’m a homebody and not afraid to admit it.  These other moms who have their kids in a different event each day (dance, soccer, hockey, gymnastics, piano, skating, swimming, etc) are brave, but make me feel a little like I’m going to pee my pants in terror.  Or maybe that’s just my pregnant bladder.  Either way, I just couldn’t do it.  Maybe that’s yet another reason that homeschooling appeals to me.  It’s certainly not at the top of my list, but getting to stay home and not worry about running this kid to that school and picking that one up at such a time from the other school will be nice. 

But the big question in my mind is now – what to do?  I know I need fellowship with other moms or I’ll lose my mind.  I see my sister-in-law a few times a week on average, which is great, but I need other friends, too.  I don’t think joining another Bible study is the answer but I’m also not sure if just hanging out with other women is quite enough.  And mornings are definitely out.  If this study had been later in the day or in the evenings sans children, I would have been less likely to quit.  I’m just really not a morning person.

So…what do I do?  For now, I suppose I just keep reading my Bible on my own, working through my women of the Bible devotional, taking care of my kids and husband and attempting to keep my house from going completely to pot.  And I wait. 

God spoke something into me about a month ago – that he was going to give me “new” strength.  I didn’t really understand it until I went to Break Forth and then it made a bit more sense.  I can see now how I’ve walked away gradually from all my outside comittments in the past year, ending with this Bible study.  I really do believe that He has something else for me to draw strength from.  And yes, I know I need to draw my strength from Him, but I also know that He places a need in each of us to have fellowship with and discipleship from others.  I know He has someone or some group of people for me – a friend or friends who will walk by me and be a support in some way to me.  It’s hard to wait on this and not have a clue where it’s going to come from, but I know that’s all I can do for now.  And when something catches my eye – an advertisement or invitation to some event involving other women – I’ll give it thought and prayer and see what happens.

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Filed under Faith, Home Sweet Home, Life, in general

This blog is not dead!

..And neither am I. 😀

Break Forth was beyond amazing – God really spoke to me about a lot of things and one of them was the amount of time I spend on the computer and putting on movies for my kids to keep them busy.  Yes, right now, I’m on the computer and my kids are watching a movie, but we have been changing our habits.  One of the big things is not turning the computer on for a few hours after I get up.  I’m reading my Bible first thing most days (or after breakfast if I don’t manage before) and trying to sit with the kids and play or read to them every day.  Erik has been grouchy since we got back two weeks ago and that has made things a lot more difficult for me.  I’ve also been getting my house into shape and finishing up what I started before we left for Edmonton.  It’s looking better than it has in a long time and more importantly I’ve been keeping up on the maintenance side of things – making sure dishes are being done when they need to, even if it means a big deep breath and counting to ten in my mind in order to do it.  Yeah, nothing has changed there – I still don’t like doing it! 

We’ve also been on a written budget this month and are amazed  at how much money we have left over at the end of the month.  And it’s all going into savings for now.  When we get our tax refund, our line of credit will be paid off and we can finish our emergency fund of $10,000.  It feels like a TON of money but I’m feeling a bit better about how long it will take since I looked at the surplus for this month.  If Mike gets any amount of overtime this fall it will speed the process up even more.

Life is less busy outside the home but inside feels crazy lately.  But I feel like I have the peace that God wants me to have – that I’m focusing better on what should be my priorities.

I have had a few events outside my home in the last few weeks – one being another ultrasound.  This time I got a nice profile picture of the baby.  I feel so tickled and in love with this child when I look at the picture I brought home.  My ultrasound in December only showed the baby’s back and limbs – I never got to see its little face.  I was thrilled when the technician was able to show me this time.  We’re looking at it and wondering who it looks like and from what I can see, the head shape is most like Erik and the chin and lips are like Elias.  I just can’t wait to mee this little one!!  Three more months!

Here’s the picture, just because I can’t help but share it.

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Filed under Faith, Home Sweet Home, Life, in general, Nine Months

Chaos

At the moment, my head and heart actually feel quite peaceful.  My kids are all in their room playing nicely together and they had a big breakfast which means they won’t be begging for lunch for another hour or two.  Tomorrow afternoon, Mike and I are dropping the kids off at his parents, checking into a hotel and having nearly twenty-four hours alone!  So I’m feeling pretty good.  But I know if I turn around, my stomach will flip.  My house is a DISASTER!  And it’s an uphill battle – just last weekend, we actually had it looking pretty good.  The toys were cleaned up and the kids room was spotless on Friday, I vacuumed the living room and dining area thoroughly a few days after that.  Mike had picked up all the garbage, recycling and dirty clothes and put them where they belonged.  And now, you’d never know any of that had been done.  I hardly know where to start!!  I felt like cleaning yesterday but I only made it as far as doing dishes and folding laundry.  My desk needs to be cleared off and the floors desperately need sweeping and mopping.  Most of all, I need organization.  And space.  The organizing will take work, but the space is all used up.  The best thing I can do is to look around and try to figure out what can be moved, what I can get rid of, what I can pack away in the shed. 

Things I can pack away:

English Corner stuff.  We gave it up when no one came forward to help but we were first given all the materials and they are all sitting by my front door still, taking up precious space.  It will either go in the shed or go to the church to be stored.

Kids clothes.  I have one bin of Jenny’s too-small clothing and one or two of Erik’s that have no business being in the house.  Out they (should) go.

Unused household items.  Like my waffle maker.  The one that was last used by my father when he was here visiting in 2005.  The one I had never used before.  Also the rice cooker (I cook my rice on the stove and it works just fine!), mini food processor and probably a dozen other small things that I imagine must be packed in the back corners of my cupboards.  I know they are in there, but I have no idea what they might be because I haven’t seen them since we moved in four years ago.

Unused books that I’m not quite willing to part with.  This one is iffy.  I don’t really want boxes of books in my shed.  But my bookcase is totally full and I really want to clear the books out that are in the open window of the dividing wall between the living room and kitchen.  Some can certainly be given away and some even thrown away – can you say 2007 Sears catalogue?  But some I know I will probably have to pack up and save.

Things that can be given away, thrown away or recycled:

The growing pile of junk in my bedroom that is destined for the thrift store.  The one I started in June.

The masses of recycling all over the house.  This part is hard and is worth explaining.  The recycling depot here is in a not so nice part of town.  During the day, they are open to take things inside and recycle.  This requires all sorts of sorting – separating different kinds of paper, cardboard, plastic and tin.  If you wait until that part is closed – around six o’clock – you can use the outside bins which do not require so much sorting.  The other downside of having to go inside is that I nearly always have my children with me during the day.  I will not leave them in the vehicle while I stand inside sorting things.  It’s illegal.  And I don’t feel like having my children taken from me because I was sorting recyclables.  So, the answer is to go at night by myself.   The trouble with that is that now it’s dark at six o’clock.  The last time I dropped things off at night during the winter I was totally creeped out the whole time I was there.  So, there lies the reason that I have so much recycling lying around.  We’re talking two full small blue bins, two full diaper boxes of paper and cardboard, three full garbage bags of plastics and tin and one large blue bin full of the same.  It’s pretty bad.

Things that can be moved:

The nightstand sitting in the living room.  It should probably go into our bedroom, even though there is no room for it by the bed.  I don’t mind our bedroom being crowded as we mostly just sleep there and don’t generally invite our friends over to hang out there.  However, I greatly mind our living room being stuffed full of furniture. 

The masses of paperwork, books, craft supplies and goodness knows what else on the table by the front door, the dining room table, the kitchen counter and my desk.  It might not  all be destined for the garbage, but it does need to find a better home.

So, that’s about it.  I’m quite sure there’s more, but my mind is cluttered now and I can’t think of anything else.  There goes the peaceful feeling.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, The H Word

The slacker returns

My apologies for my lengthy absence.  At least I think it was lengthy.  I was thinking about the blog recently and realizing that I’ve gotten pretty far away from my original purpose.  I had a plan with this one – to give other bad housekeepers the comfort that comes in knowing that you are not alone.  Now if I had miraculously changed and become the perfect little housewife, it would make sense that things would change, but things are more or less as they were when I started: messy.  I have about a dozen different areas in my house that need a LOT of work right now and about an ounce of motivation to work on them.  I am much more interested in reading, crafting or just lying around being lazy.  And pregnancy doesn’t help this lack of motivation.

Anyway, I don’t have time right now for a long post as I have to pack up a baby gift, clear all the snow off my van, have sandwiches ready for Mike and drive the gift to the church when he comes home for lunch.  I am going to a partylite party tonight so I won’t be able to make it to the baby shower happening at the church.  I don’t plan to buy a single thing at the party, but the hostess is a good friend and I told her I’d be a body for her so she has enough people.  

If I have a bit more time in the afternoon, I may write a bit more about the house then, but otherwise, it will probably be later in the week.

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Filed under Blogging, Home Sweet Home, The H Word

Out of the woods and wading through the river

There was one day when I kissed my kids goodnight and cried, thinking I’d be in the hospital dying before they were awake the next morning.  I have never felt so awful in my life and I was sure there was no way I would make it through.  I know it sounds dramatic, but it was honestly felt.  I just couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing them again.  With that was the thought that even if I lived, I would lose this precious life I am carrying.  My mother said that swine flu was a very bad thing to have when you’re pregnant and my doctor had told me that she knew one person who had miscarried.  I tried all I could to not be afraid, but sometimes it’s easier to succumb to it than fight it off.

Late Tuesday night, after being so sure of death at the end of this, I threw up.  It was pregnancy related and not from the flu at all and somehow I felt a lot better afterward.  Maybe it was life reminding me of its determination to keep me, or my baby telling me – as Mike said – that I wasn’t about to take it down with me.  The unfortunate thing is that overnight, I ended up with a splitting earache – a second trip to the doctor confirmed an ear infection.  An ear infection!!  My kids get ear infections, I do not.  But apparently swine flu put me into a childlike state physically speaking (and at times, emotionally).  Thankfully antibiotics fixed that problem quickly – I was over the pain after less than two days. 

On Thursday the boys came down with swine flu.  We called the doctor and after describing Erik’s symptoms, including respirations and heart rate, she prescribed tamiflu for him.  I thought I was saved a third trip to the clinic, but when I got to the pharmacy, the prescription wasn’t there and I had to go in anyway to straighten things out.  This was of course, breaking my bed rest yet again, but I figured that a drive to the pharmacy would be less work than watching the kids if Mike went to get it.  It would have been were it not for the additional drive and walk into the clinic.  I felt like falling over as soon as I got home.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that swine flu takes it out of you.  And swine flu plus pregnancy equals misery.  But I’m getting over it – still coughing a bit and still very tired.  I felt like tackling my kitchen today, it was in such a state, but after I got up and fed the kids breakfast and put on a movie for them, I knew it wouldn’t be happening.  I’ll be lucky if I feel up to it by the end of the week.  Mike is back to work today but was home all last week and we didn’t go anywhere for more than a few minutes – and that was just sending Mike out to get Tylenol or food.  We had a few very kind women (my mother-in-law and sister-in-law included) who brought us meals and baked things.  I have more cookies, buns and treats in my house right now than I have at any Christmas past.  Just a few minutes ago, a friend and her daughter came by and gave us a bag full of snacks.  My friend said that her daughter decided that they needed to get us a present – she is good friends with Jenny and has been since birth.  It’s nice having so many people thinking about us and praying for us, but it will be even nicer to get out of here and see some of them.

We’re watching a move tonight and I’m just hoping I won’t regret it – for both the sake of the content and subject of the movie, and for staying up for the next few hours.  Tomorrow afternoon I have my first maternity appointment and I’ll be able to confirm the health of this little life I’m carrying.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Illness and Injury

Nine days ago…

Or was it eight..?  Anyway, I committed myself to staying off the computer for one week, focusing instead on getting my house in good order and getting some projects done.  I let people know where I needed to last Monday and shut the computer down.  And about an hour later, Mike called to tell me that he was being sent four hours north of here for work, probably for five days or so.  Had it been two or three days, we may have stayed home, except that Mike’s sister and her husband live there and we had been promising a visit.  Mike would be staying there anyway because his work there was in their garage (the house is company owned, he works for the same company as our brother-in-law..yada, yada).  So we packed up and left Tuesday afternoon for a town a good deal smaller than ours, to a house with two Great Danes and no children.  And stairs.

Six days later we came back, worn out and so glad to be home after a rough week.  Erik fell down the stairs twice, I found myself in tears at least three times, we were perpetually covered in dog hair and constantly telling the kids to not do this or not do that.  As far as good things?  Jenny learned to swim by herself..with water wings.  Previous to this trip, she wouldn’t even let us let her go at all, and in two trips to the pool, she was all over the place by herself.  We did try taking the water wings, but the thing that worked best was just giving her a pool noodle to put under her arms.  Elias, on the other hand, spent his time in the pool clinging to us in total fear.  Erik sat in his little baby float with his face smushed into the front of it, looking completely relaxed and rather unamused by anything.  We walked to the pool twice out of three times and took lots of walks – in fact, I determined that I had some form of exercise every day we were there.  It helped my mood, but certainly didn’t prevent the inevitable clashing between families.

Anyway, it is wonderful to be home and yet my children insist on being a pain in the neck even though they are back in their own space.  I’ll be glad for the long weekend coming up and a bit of a break from being on my own.

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Filed under Holidays, Home Sweet Home, Mi familia

Making the most of what we have

I am currently working my way through A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn.  It is fantastic so far.  The author is the mother of ten – four biological children and six adopted – and she advocates attachment parenting and co-sleeping andis a Christian to boot.  She also has a very relaxed attitude about her large family.  She obviously takes it seriously, but isn’t uptight about it.  My favourite part so far was when she admitted that she doesn’t make her bed every day.  Ahhh, how nice.  A little reality when it comes to housework.  She talks about the perceptions people have of the mothers of large families – that they are either insane or incredibly organized – and how she is neither. 

Anyway, I’ll probably get around to a more detailed book report when I finish the book, but I realized that what I wanted to write about today tied into what I learned reading this book.

One of the things that Mrs. Ostyn advocates is room-sharing between children.  Obviously this is necessary in a family with ten children unless you are millionaires and can afford a house with eleven rooms.  She also encourages readers to change their current space rather than assume they need something bigger when they add to their family. 

I would not be considered the mother of a large family – yet.  I intend to be in that category eventually, but with only three children, I’m not quite “crazy” yet, especially living here, where it is very common to have a minimum of four children per family.  Knowing that I at least hope for more children makes me want to think of myself this way even now and prepare our family for more children even before we are expecting them (yeah, that answers that question – I am not pregnant again…yet). 

We currently live in a two bedroom, one bathroom home with no basement and only about 800 square feet of living space.  We have a shed for storage, but no attic and no garage.  We have three children sharing one room that contains a bunk bed, a toddler bed, a playpen, bookcase, toy box and Little Tikes vanity.  We have a total of two closets in our home.  Yes, two.  No pantry and a minimal amount of kitchen cabinet space.  We currently have over the door hooks or organizers in every room, just for extra space for toys, towels and clothes.  There was a time not too long ago that I looked around this house in despair and wondered how we would manage if we could not move before another baby was born.  I have talked to God about this and asked that He not give us another child until we can move, but now I think He may have other plans for us.  Fifty years ago, families lived in houses the size of ours with four kids – and often more.  They did not have huge television sets, computers or an abundance of modern appliances taking up space.  Their children did not have every new Playskool toy from the Sears Wish Book (was there a Wish Book back then?) and did not need what our children seem to “need” now. 

I will admit that we have too much stuff.  We have more clothing than we need, my children have more toys than they need and we have managed to fill much of our space with other things that we very seldom use. 

While getting rid of at least some of this stuff will help our space issues immensely, adding better storage solutions will help with the things we can’t go without.  One issue I have is running out of places to store food.  It is a huge money saver to buy in bulk and limit your grocery shopping trips as much as possible.  The problem I have is that when I do stock up like this, I end up with food all over my counter tops and even on the floor in my kitchen because there is no cabinet space left for it.  Yesterday while putting something up on the wall in my hallway, I realized that if we put shelves up at the top of the walls in the hallway, they would not be seen by most people (as the hallway is mostly hidden from view when in the living room) and they would hold some of the gadgets I don’t use often, or the bulk foods I don’t have room for in the kitchen.  The size of our house comes in handy here, as the hallway is right outside the kitchen and I wouldn’t have to walk far to get to what I needed.  Yes, it may make our house look a bit cluttered to have shelves all over the walls, but it is a space solution that is relatively cheap and does not require any actual construction. 

I have determined that we could easily sleep four kids in the second bedroom, although the space will get tight when it comes to clothing and toys/books.  Under bed storage will be used under every bed (including the play pen when possible) and whatever isn’t needed in the house will go to the shed.  I am also considering buying a second, smaller shed to go just off the back deck so that the kids’ clothing could be stored there when not being used (i.e. larger and smaller sizes that are being saved for other kids).  In the winter, it is a pain in the neck to have to walk all the way across the back yard to get to the shed for kids and maternity clothes when needed, but there is simply no space in the house for the dozens of bins required to hold all that clothing. 

My hope is that by using our space more efficiently, we will be able to stay in this house much longer than we assumed we would be able to.  We paid $126,000 for this house four years ago and our payments with property taxes are under $900 a month – you cannot beat that without living in a trailer or renting.  Currently, we would have to pay upwards of $250,000 for the size of house we would want to move into – something with a minimum of three bedrooms and a basement.  Staying here a little longer will enable us to save money and build up the equity in our home.  It will also help us down the road to know how to live in somewhat cramped circumstances and know that we can manage it without any trouble (or without much trouble, anyway).

Stay tuned for more on the book in a few days (I’m almost done!).  And if you don’t want to wait, buy the book – or do like I did and check it out at your local library.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Kiddos, Life, in general, Money, Reading

Current state of affairs

Well, I’ve quit my pain pills already, which is great because I was starting to get overwhelmed by all the different times and doses of meds throughout the day.  I also thought that the naproxin might be making me feel sick, so I thought I’d test my theory. Unfortunately, I was dreadfully sick to my stomach most of yesterday and ended up getting less than six hours of sleep because it took me so long to fall asleep and then Erik threw up and wouldn’t sleep in his own bed and I had to try to fall asleep  next to him smelling puke.  (Big breath out, that was quite a sentence).  So this morning I felt great when I woke up – not too tired and not sick.  And then I took my antibiotic.  Within ten minutes I was hurting bad again.  I had some breakfast and I do feel a bit better now, but I have to eat with my afternoon dose and if it still makes me sick, they’ll give me a new antibiotic.  This SUCKS because when I get my tonsils out in a week, they’ll have to give me another antibiotic.  Three different antibiotics in a month is a bad thing.  So with any luck I’ll feel better this afternoon.

Last night I wrote a long to-do list and a shopping list.  My plan is to get as many loose ends tied up this week as possible and to stock the cupboards and make at least three meals to freeze.  I don’t want to resort to sending Mike for take-out all the time, so while I feel decent, I’ll make a few things that he can throw in the oven when I’m recovering from my surgery.  The kids have basically eaten macaroni and cheese and alphaghetti all weekend, so I figure it’s probably a good idea to have more options for them.

I’m quite certain that my list contains lots of tasks I won’t manage to get done, and I’m not going to start much until tomorrow, as I was told to take three days to rest after surgery.  I feel good enough to get a few things done, but I’m going to try to keep it to making phone calls and other things I can do without moving too much.  I’ll have to stretch my grocery shopping out a bit if I don’t want to totally wear myself out and at the moment, I’m beyond thrilled that my house is in decent order right now because cleaning it like crazy does not sound like it would feel great.  I’ll have a bit to do right before my surgery, just to make it a friendlier place to be for my friend who is coming to watch the boys, but otherwise, most of the big work is done.  Except our bedroom.  Which I am NOT looking forward to cleaning. 😦

Anyway, the good thing is that the recovery from having my teeth out seems to be going as fast as I expected it to, although I am a bit concerned that my jaw will still be stiff next Monday, which could be bad for a surgery that requires reaching back into my throat.  I’m just guessing that they have to keep your mouth wide open to do that.

I’ll keep updating as things change, but then I may be silent for awhile depending on how busy I get and how hard the recovery is next week.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Illness and Injury, Life, in general

One thing at a time…

It’s snowing today.  Lots and lots of snow.  In May.  Erik needs to go to the doctor because he’s been coughing all the time for more than a week and his nose is running constantly.  Taking him to the doctor means going out in the snow.  I packed away my winter boots already.  The snow shovel is now buried under snow.  Oh, there are just so many problems with this day.  I don’t feel particularly overwhelmed or anything, I’m just having a hard time deciding what to do.  I would call someone and get them to come here so I don’t have to take the kids out, but my options are very limited and I think I’d feel bad about it since that would mean they would have to go out in the snow as well. 

This post sure is full of run-on sentences.

Anyway, what I was originally going to write about is my checklist.  I am happy to say that yesterday I fully updated Itchy Fingers with all my latest craft projects.  I also folded and put away three loads of laundry that had been sitting around for some time.  Mike had to go back to work for a while after the kids went to bed and I felt like I should be getting things done, but was way too worn out by then.  I am still sick – still on antibiotics for tonsillitis and with some sort of sinus/cold/cough thing on top of that.  I will be doing one thing at a time this week because I don’t want to overdo it.  My mind is more than ready to get everything done, but my body just can’t keep up.

Now on to today and what to do.  If it would just stop snowing, I would go to the doctor with all the kids.  It looks almost like a blizzard right now, though.  It may not get any better by afternoon, but I’ll probably wait a bit anyway.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Illness and Injury

Back to business

A list of goals:

Clean up my house.  Yes, you read that right, no need to fiddle with the monitor.

Finish craft projects already started before starting new ones.  This is going to be incredibly difficult for me, but I’ve got way too many half-finished projects hanging about right now.  I have a list of them somewhere and I’m sure I have more to add to it by now.

Update Itchy Fingers with all the new crafts I’ve done in the last month.

Gradually work on the scavenger hunt craft swap that I signed up for on Craftster.

Blog somewhat regularly here without spending too much time on the computer…..and….

Spend less time on the computer and more time actually working on the non-computer related goals on this list.  As it is, I spend a great deal of the day on here and it is something I need to change.

We’ll see how well I do with this little to-do list.  I don’t have a great track record with check lists, but at times, I have been known to complete half of one.  Cleaning is at the top, so maybe I’ll get that far at least. 🙂

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Filed under Art, Home Sweet Home, Life, in general, The H Word