Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Importance of Self Care

I'd like to take today to talk about the importance of self care no matter what your profession is but especially when you are in a care taking job. Whether you are in the health care field, a mother, or taking care of aging parents people get depleted pretty quickly. It is difficult to keep giving and giving but a lot of people misunderstand what self care really looks like. It isn't always a massage and a mani/pedi. Self care can be as little as just taking 15 min in the morning and reflecting on what your day will look like and remembering to acknowledge the things you can be thankful for that day. Morning journaling can go a long way in putting your mind in the mind set of getting things done and prepping for what is to come that day. Drinking your favorite warm beverage or juice while doing this can help set the mood for a wonderful day. It is just a short check in with yourself. Your feelings and your body.

Most western countries have the bad habit of hitting the ground running as soon as the alarm goes off. Believe me I make this mistake too. Especially while I was working full time. But I always tried once I got to work to make myself a cup of coffee, look over my calendar, and envision what my day will look like. What tasks I had left over from the day before and what I needed to do that day. Now as a stay at home I go over all the different tasks that I have to do to keep this family functioning.

Morning Journal is my favorite and least expensive self care technique. There are plenty of other ways.

  • Exercising (especially walking and Yoga)
  • Meditation (even if it is only checking in with your body for 5 min and using mindful breathing)
  • Coloring or drawing (art lets the part of the brain that does not have words express itself)
  • A mindful shower (where you are mindful of your body and are thankful for all it does for you)
  • Mindful cleaning (Remembering to only hold on to the things that have function and you love and get rid of the rest so it does not clutter your home or your mind)
  • Aroma therapy (essential oils can make a huge difference in mood and feeling)
  • Mindful eating (enjoy each bite of your food and check in with how it makes your body feel)
  • Chatting with a friend (make sure that this friend is a friend that helps you feel better and does not drain you of your energy) 
  • Gardening
  • Knitting (or whatever your favorite hobby is)

What is your favorite self care technique? How do you like to start or end your day?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Long time no post...

Hello everyone,

It has been a long time since I posted my last blog post and just typing this seems really odd to me. I feel rusty and not quite sure where to start. My last post was almost 10 months ago. I posted about choosing to be home with my family instead of going back out into the workforce and what that takes in effort for me. The last 10 months have not been easy. I have stumbled and gotten back up over and over. I have wished I was working many times. I have also been thankful for being home and being here for my kids moments many times. Finding a balance for a mother is hard and some of the biggest news since I posted last is that we are expecting baby boy #4. That is right.

This came as a huge surprise to us. We believed that our family was complete. I was sure that I would not want to give birth again after my last being 11lbs and 14oz. We were preventing. I cried for a couple of weeks but then I held out for the hope that just maybe this was a gift from the universe and I might just be having the little girl I always wanted. When I found out that was not the case it was even harder to carry this baby. All the aches and pains became worse. The thought of going through labor and delivery of another giant baby became harder to process. I'm having another giant boy. It has already been confirmed. I am now on a special low carb diet so that I can try to do something to limit his weight gain. This makes this pregnancy even less fun. No ice cream or any of the other food I crave.

Since mom died over 2 years ago I have struggled with my faith. When I found out I was pregnant this time the thought that I might be getting a little girl resparked my faith for a little time, sort of holding out hope that maybe mom sent me the little girl I always longed for. But when I found out that this was a little boy my faith crumbled again. I love my boys. I would never return them. I'm sure that this is a blessing and I just haven't seen it yet. Maybe this child will be the easiest kid ever. Maybe labor and delivery will be no problem unlike last time. Maybe this will be the kid that sleeps through the night sooner than age 2. Maybe........ But I'm not holding my breath because this is a human child that is born to me and the likelihood that he will be that much more different than my other children is slim to none.

I turned 34 yesterday and I had told myself that I would not have more children after the age of 32. I'm only 2 years younger than my mom was when she had me. Mom has been at all my births until now. Now she is gone. Now my husband and I need to do this on our own. Now I need to put my big girl pants on and face the music. My baby is due on Dec. 9th and my babies have all been at least 5 days past due so I will have a newborn this Christmas. Still bonding. Still getting breastfeeding down. Usually at 2-3 weeks my nipples are cracked and bleeding. I worry about making this Christmas magical for my children. I worry about a lot of things having this 4th child in 7 and a half years. I worry about my abilities to keep up and meeting everybody's needs. There is only one of me and now a 4th child and a husband that really need my attention and my love.
New  baby clothes from Target

Knitting a little jump suit for the belly dweller.

I am trying hard to do things to bond and make sure that I greet this baby with open arms and an open heart. I have gone to therapy to work through my feelings, I have done some shopping since I had gotten rid of All of the baby stuff we had and Alex had outgrown before we found out that we were expecting again. I try to appreciate those belly moments where he is active and be thankful for all the other great things in my life. I know as soon as he is in my arms I will love him as much as I have loved all of my children. Thank goodness for my bodies ability to form bonding chemicals. I become that crazy mom that can't let my baby out of my sight and you better not touch it with out asking permission first unless you are family.

I will end this post here. I could go on and on about how rough the summer was being pregnant with 3 small boys and the pelvic pain that started in the 3rd month but I believe that you get the point. As much as children are a blessing being a parent is hard and being pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy and having 3 other young boys is really hard. Especially when you don't have a village.

What are your struggles at the moment and how are you being mindful and working in a direction of healing and happiness?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Choosing My Family

This Christmas day had me thinking about what I want out of life. What I want for my children and my future. What is more important to me and our family. I always go through certain stages of grief when I become stay at home again. It is almost always the same. I go from Super Mom and Wife in the first 2 months where everything is cleaned up and put away and I dive into closets and drawers to rearrange and clean out and suddenly around month 3 I hit a wall. I know what it is. I can analyze it but to stop it is harder. I hit the dip. The depression and I have a hard time getting myself out. I get tired of doing it all and getting no thanks or acknowledgment for it. I get tired of picking everything up after everyone but I don't want to be the wife and mom that bitches and moans constantly so it builds up and I stop doing it all. I start only doing the things that have to be done and if there is no deadline it doesn't get put on the to do list. Oh, my to do lists. They are sad now. I write them out and then ignore them and then I see them again and just get depressed. I, by all means, do not sit around all day picking my nose. I have a very active, giant two year old that I run after all day getting him off the top of my desk or stopping him from pushing his chairs or rocking horse over to a child gate to climb over it. I am constantly putting out fires it seams of dirty diapers, laundry, meals and picking up children from school, helping with homework and getting them in bed.

My husband started a new work schedule. He works 8-6 M-Thur. so that he gets every other Friday off. This is another adjustment. By the time he gets home most nights it is 6:30pm and the kids go to bed at 7:30. So each day he only gets an hour with them except for one Friday where he is home when they get home from school. It makes for a VERY long day for me.

2014 Willow Tree Ornament 
I have my outlets. I have play dates at my house on Tuesdays where my fellow grad student stay at home parents come to talk to save their sanity and mine. Where our children play and we get to talk about how non-glorious it is to be a parent. The poop, vomit and little to no sleep you get. Then we turn around and boast about how great our children are and how we couldn't imagine life without them.

My being home now is a choice that I go back and forth on if it is really what I want. I love working. I love being around other intelligent grown ups. I love the immediate change I have made. Being home is different. I know this is what is best for my children but the rewards are small and far between. There is no paycheck and the gratitude is little to none when it comes to kids. I take enjoyment from hearing my kids interact with one another. They are really forming good lasting relationships. If I had them in aftercare then they wouldn't even be in the same room after school. Being a mom and wife is frustrating a lot of the time but the good moments are REALLY good. I get to go on field trips and see the plays. Pick them up from school and ask them about their day in a non-rushed manner. I get to be in the moment with them and not constantly worrying about if I have everything for dinner or will I have to feed them fast food again.
Dough raising for homemade bread

As a parent how do you choose? How does one keep themselves sane and do what is best for their family? I'm reading Radical Homemakers which is really helping me see my value as a stay at home mom with a very expensive Master's degree. In our current society, that values more what you can buy instead of make and produce, it is hard to stay focused on all I do for my family by growing our veggies, raising chickens for eggs, keeping bees for honey, knitting, sewing, baking from scratch, and learning now to clean with safe chemicals. Making a home. Raising a family. Being here for them. Choosing to produce instead of buy.
My backyard flock

I choose to be home because I choose my family. I choose forming good solid bonds with my children, I choose spending more than 2.5 hours a day with my children that are just rushed because dinner needs to be made and then things need to be cleaned up. I choose having time and energy to make home cooked meals instead of fast food or frozen meals full of chemicals that I can't even pronounce. I choose to cut back, have a smaller home, have second hand items and older cars because in the long run that is not what kids really care about. They care that their mamma is there for them. That she is willing to cut back and live a less lavish lifestyle so that she can be home with her kids. They care that their mamma is there to cheer them on and not some care taker that might not even work there tomorrow.

As you see in this post this choice was not easy for me as an individual that loves other grown ups and needs to be mentally challenged but as a mother it was a no-brainer. I choose my children because they are little for such a short time and before I will know it they will be too busy with their own lives to need me this much. I tried working. While I was happy at work I felt guilty about leaving my children to be cared for by someone else not even related to them.
Road Trip back from the grandparents.

I am far from perfect. I do the best I can with what I have but when women say that they can't afford to stop working what they are saying is that they are not willing to give up the huge house, the new car and the cable package for their children. It is possible to live on one income. It is hard. It takes a lot of work and planning but you can choose your family over running the rat race. You just have to downgrade to the point where one income is enough and then make that a home. Your home made by you and not what commercials tell you it should look like. I have a friend that does an amazing job of keeping a home on her husband's income. Her home always looks like it is out of a magazine but almost ALL of the things are bargain finds at flea markets, second hand stores, craigslist, and antique shops. If she can't find it that way she has her husband make it. She even dug her own fence posts and built a fence around her back yard herself. They bought a beautiful home that needed a LOT of work cheap and did almost all of the work themselves fix it. I have another friend that is home with 5 kids all 7 years or younger who she homeschools, keeps a neat home, grows her own food, keeps chickens and goats and makes a lot of food from scratch. These women are superheros in my mind. On top of this they themselves look amazing.

I don't have the first friend's talent for homemaking. I also don't have the second friend's patients to homeschool and I certainly am not keeping myself in shape at the moment even though I am trying.  I am not an interior designer  or a school teacher at heart. I knit, sew, cook and bake with the best of them but the work it takes to keep a home like she does is more than I have the energy to do with 3 kids 6 years and younger. I do the best I can with what I have. I am a housewife first and foremost.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to being able to stay at home. If you are a single parent or you have lost your spouse then you have to work. Also if your spouse is unable to work then that also leaves you to be the bread winner. I have friends that are stay at home dads and that is awesome. At least there is one parent there to take care of the child or children and home. People are not bad people or parents if they choose to work away from their children but if there is a will there is almost always a way. It just takes choices that you might think are steps back when really they are steps forward. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Loss of Backyard Friends.

I knew when I took on having backyard barn animals that at some point I would have some sort of loss. That something would get one of my ladies or that they would get sick or something. But my last month of experience really threw me off of my rocker.

Several weeks ago I went and got new chickens. The Cream Legbar that I had was laying white eggs instead of the blue that she was supposed to be laying and the breeder was nice enough to get me another pullet that would for sure lay blue eggs. While there, 2 more pullets followed me home. There was a cross between a Cochin and a Road Island Red and a Maran/Cream Legbar cross. The Cochin I named Sweety Pie because that is exactly what she was and the Maran mix I named Heidi because she just seemed like a Heidi to me. 3 days in to having them the Cochin was killed by something and it ate her head and left the rest. Two weeks later the Cream Legbar (which I named Stinky because she smelled so bad on the way home) had gotten caught on a neighbors fence and been there for some time and when I got her down she died shortly after. It was really sad. I hated that she had gone through that. The temp was over 100 that day and she hung upside down, for God knows how long, before we found her. I feel so horrible about that. I just thought she was in the shade somewhere in my backyard. Then only a few days after that Heidi starts looking a little lethargic but still spunky when I got close to her one day and only hours later I walk out and find her dead with her legs int he air. Having never lost a chicken before I was shocked. All 3 different ways. My other girls are fine. No problems there for over 18 months. Have you ever had a sting of bad luck like that?

Sadly, due to not wanting to invite carnivores to come hang out in our backyard, I had to put their bodies in the landfill. That brought on guilt too. If you have chickens how do you deal with your carcasses when there is a loss?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Love Granny Squares and Flowers?

This is a free pattern on Ravelry only today. The body of the bag is a big granny square. It is the Shabby Chic Granny Square Bag by Corrina Rick. I look forward to seeing all the different variations that will pop up of this bag. In the patterns she includes instructions on how to add a liner. I would love to make it even bigger and use it as a shopping bag. I would also like to use some of the bright colors that are in at the moment like the neon peach color one of my favorite colors at the moment.

What are some of your favorite free patterns?

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Spring Garden

This year in my garden I focused more on getting things planted to grow rather than to make it pretty or well organized. My older son helped a lot and because of that I had all kinds of things sprouting all over the place. Here are some photos of what is going on at the moment. 
Cilantro from Botanical Interests was quick to sprout and has been thriving well. 
This was one of those "just stick something in the ground and lets see what it ends up becoming" I don't know what kind of squash it is but I do know that it is squash. 

Lady Gaga my Polish hen is quite the sight and interesting to watch but all she does is teach my other hens bad habits. I really need to rehome her. She finally started laying this spring but like I said she is more trouble than she is worth. 

 This Zucchini is growing so fast and has plenty of female flowers on it already even thought they are not blooming yet I am looking forward to some amazing zucchini dishes this summer
 I planted some Sweeter Yet Cucumbers this spring and I look forward to eating them. They are not an heirloom but they are REALLY good. And they already have female flowers growing. So excited! Hope to eat plenty of these this summer.

 This basil popped up so quickly. It is one of Botanical Interest's variety  packs and it is so nice to have all the different types of basil to try.

 A few days after I took this photo these vines wilted due to a vine borer infestation. I was so sad to see them wilt and not being able to do much for them. What do you do to save your plants from the vine borer?
 In the past years I have not done well with peas. I have had poor plants and poor yields but this year was not bad at all. It is getting towards the end of these peas but I have enjoyed they fresh and cooked. Beside the peas I have carrots in all different colors. I love how I am surprised each time I pull one up at what color it is. In the past I have had a problem with my carrots tasting bitter. Is there a trick to making sure that they taste sweet?
Something keeps eating my Okra pants. I love Okra and was looking forward to eating plenty of it since over 10 plants sprouted but due to both chickens making it into the veggie garden and just some sort of bug eating them I am starting to wonder if I will get any. I love the flowers that bloom on these and since this is red okra the seed pods are beautiful too. I haven't seen what is eating them. Do you know of anything that eats Okra plants like this and if so how do you stop it?

Swiss Chard that seems to be thriving.

 My Bees bouncing back from having lost their queen at some point. I checked the hive 3 weeks ago and there were queen cells and little to no brood. I was worried that I had lost my bees but they are growing in numbers again so I will have to go in and check on them again next weekend.
 I thought after I fenced the chickens off in a smaller part of the yard that this would definitely not happen. I thought that in such a small space they would keep it nice and mowed if not completely void of vegetation but this is what my chicken run looked like a few days ago. I have since chopped down all of the weeds but left the sunflowers for shade. Does this ever happen in your chicken run?
This is what looks to me like a pumpkin vine popped up on its own. Anybody have a different opinion on what this could be?  it is right in front of my grape vine and I struggle with deciding if I should let it be there or not and am worried that it will take all the nutrients away from my growing grapevine. Do you ever have surprise veggies pop up in your garden? I had several tomato plans shoot up this spring. If you do what kind of surprises have you had?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Long Time No Post...

The bees are still alive!
All the girls enjoying the warm day!

Buff posing for the camera

This is where Buff likes to lay her eggs
Fridge full of eggs

My shaggy big boy.
Shaggy next to biggest boy.

My current project
My Valentine Present from my Hubby

Today's bounty from the girls
The baby sleeping next to his Pabbi on the couch.
Thought I would just give you a glimpse into my world at the moment. My backyard is still busy with my farm animals and bees. My home full of boys both big and small having fun and being loud most of the day. We have all been fighting a cold this weekend. When I went out to let the birds out to free range today I stopped in the sun and felt the warmth of the day. I work inside most days nowhere close to windows and even if I were the weather has been cold and dreary for so long. The beautiful weather was such a blessing and warmed both my body and soul as the feathered ladies waddled around me.

I work a lot these days keeping me too busy to keep up with this place. I am finishing my 3000 hours of supervised experience at an inpatient facility for people in psychiatric crisis. I have to finish my hours before my time runs out for my license since I took time off to have Alex and be home with him for the first year he was born. I don't regret being with him. I do hate that I only get about 2 hours of time with them after work on weekdays before it is bed time these days. But I keep telling myself that this is what it is at the moment. My boys just need to hold on tight for one more year and then we can reevaluate what is what at that point. I did the math though and even after I finish my hours and make more money because of having my license I would still be paying more for childcare for my 3 boys those last 3 hours of the work day than I would be making in those last 3 hours. At the moment I pay about 2032 dollars a month for daycare for my boys. Which leaves me about 168 dollars of my paycheck each month for gas and physical up keep. So I am working at the moment just to finish my hours. I am not making any money.

This brings me to my Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids leadership classes and my thoughts that have come up those teachings. I started my group yesterday and I look forward to the many more group calls to come. I won't be able to teach Simplicity Parenting until I finish my hours for my license because I signed a no competition contract with my current employer. But I will have it in my tool box for after. As a back up plan and be able to maybe help friends and family with my teachings even though I might not make any money with it. It has me thinking back to my childhood. How was I raised? How did that have an effect on the person I am today? What impact do parents really have? How much can we guide after a certain age? How much is it teaching as much as it is modeling? How do we give our children the ability to find their own way with their own unique talents? How do we guide with out pushing our fears and needs on to our children? How can we just be that training wheel until they are ready to ride life one their own? How long do we hold on to them and how do we know when it is time to let go and let them fall and learn from their own mistakes?
There are so many parenting styles out there. Picking one is not the easiest thing to do. My thought is that if it works for your family then go with it. If it doesn't work then it is time for change but make sure to pick the change that falls with in your value system and try to be as consistent as possible.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my update. What is your view on the perfect parenting style? Do you believe there is one true way? How much does genetics and personality have to do with parenting? 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Time Flies....

Happy Sunday!

I know it has been a long time since I last posted. I have been very busy with life as a working mother the last couple of months. I have finished the "training stage" of work and actually started working as an intake therapist at a local inpatient psych facility. I really enjoy work. I know that I am making a difference in peoples lives. I am sometimes the first step in someones road to recovery from mental illness. I enjoy the people I work with and even though at times I feel like I don't know what I am doing I know I have people supporting me that do.
My office at work.

It is hard to leave my children in the care of others each morning though. If I wasn't finishing my candidacy hours then I would probably not be working full time. But I only get so long to finish my hours and I already took 18 months off to have Alexander. So I pay 2032 dollars a month so that someone else can watch my children. Mamma guilt gets to me when I am picking up my children at 5:30 or later because I couldn't leave work fast enough. I try not to think about how many hours they spend in other peoples care. I hate that I spend the days that I do have them cleaning, grocery shopping and doing all the things that need to be done to keep this family of five running. Just yesterday I went grocery shopping and then to get my hair fixed for the first time in 4 months. Today I am about to spend the rest of the day putting clean sheets on all the beds, doing all the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and mowing the backyard.

Speaking of the back yard. I got a new coop. The great coop that my husband made me was not big enough for all the birds I have. It is better suited for 2-3 standard birds or 3-4 bantams. So that coop will be sold. The new one I put together myself!!! With power tools and all!! I am so proud of myself and the birds like it. They actually go in the coop instead of trying to roost on my back porch which was becoming really GROSS! Lady Gaga is the only chicken that keeps trying to roost on the back porch still. But she is not the brightest of the bunch. I got this coop at mypetchicken.com.  While it looks nice it was very beat up when I got it and broken in several places that I ended up having to fix. Unless you are handy I would not order from them.

My chickens have been molting and they also got an upper respiratory infection from the Americauna that I traded the rooster Cowboy for. Being a new chicken keeper I didn't know that hearing a chicken sneeze is a bad thing. Well it is. Very bad. Stopped all of my chickens from laying for over a month. I got my first egg yesterday and that in the nesting box. It was one of Buff's eggs. I was so happy to see it. I was so scared that they had gotten a line of strep that keeps chickens from laying for ever. Can't wait for them all to be laying and the beautiful colors that will come with it.

We have had a visitor in our back yard this week. This poor cat looks like its hind quarters have been saved. Also it is hard to see in this pic but it's tail is either dislocated or broken. I've been letting it eat our cat food. It has been getting cold at night and I can't think of not helping him grow his fur in by feeding him some good food. 

 Alex and his baby. We got that baby in IKEA in Iceland this summer when my mother died. He didn't show much interest in it then but now he walks around and hugs on it and kisses. It also sleeps with him at night. Poor Alex has had pneumonia and a double ear infection. He has been a trouper about it too. He almost had to go to the hospital last weekend but we got pediatric home health to come to the house instead. He was still drinking and eating fine so I didn't see a point in stressing him by putting him in the hospital. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Backyard Chickens Getting a Cold Treat.

Don't know why I said purple eggs. They are going to be blue. But Enjoy a peek into my backyard flock.

Too much dairy can cause diarrhea  in chickens but it is fine as a occasional treat and they really LOVE it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Try Amazon Prime Free!

OK here is my review of Amazon Prime. I have been using Amazon Prime for several years now. I have bought everything from a lawn mower to floss from Amazon since with Prime you get FREE 2 day shipping of all Prime Products. Not all the products on Amazon are Prime products but I almost ALWAYS find what I need on Amazon and can have it shipped to my door with in 2 business days.  This has made a huge difference for this busy mamma of 3. I can just pop online and shop for things with out having to drag my monkeys alone with me to the store. They even have dry good groceries.

Prime also has ebooks that you can borrow for free for a month. Not all of their books mind you but I did read the Hunger Games this way and there are many more very popular books and of course all of the classics are free.

Prime also has lots of free shows and movies for members. I haven't used this option much since I watch more Netflix and Hulu than Amazon but I have tried it and the experience was pleasant.

Here is what I recommend. If you are wanting something super heavy like, lets say, a lawn mower or a grill or a shed and need it shipped then why not take the opportunity and use the free 30 day trial?

The few times that I have had a problem with a product they have sent a replacement before I know it and paid for the return of the product that there was a problem with. What have you got to lose? Just click on the button at the top of the blog post and sign up! You will not be sorry.