Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh it's here...somewhere....

I've mentioned on a few occasions about my love for our household schedule. Now I'm going to mention (go into great detail) about my new love for our household folder.

Apparently household notebooks are all the rage. I suppose I should know this since I've tried my hand at various attempts of this for the past year. My first household notebook contained beautiful print-outs from an organizational website. I had every document you could imagine...even ones that made no sense for our family.

My second attempt contained more items that I created myself. This still failed because I once again overdid it.

Enter attempt #3...a folder. No binder, no clipboard, no "home central" corkboard......

A folder. And right now, it's working quite well for us.

A few months again I devised a household schedule. I have since adapted this even further--but this schedule is doing wonders for our days, our home, & our sanity.

Upon opening our household folder you'll find:
our household schedule (in two pages). This was created by making a list of everything I felt needed to be done each week and how often. I plotted cleaning tasks on our "less busy" days. Each day has a list of five things that need to get done everyday (make bed, bible study, clean dishes, check trash, pick-up toys), any activities for the day, daily chores, and paper pushing tasks for the day. Please know that there has yet to be a day where EVERYTHING has gotten accomplished!!!!
a monthly/semi-monthly checklist to fill in & personalize with tasks to complete (downloaded here).
6 months worth of calendars (from here.)
A Master to-do list (you know, for all those things that need to be done...someday)
A Master to-do list before baby (this is a room by room checklist of things to clean/organize/sell & a Misc area for items like "install car seat." I had a similar checklist during my first pregnancy & it was awesome for the nesting instinct)
A "need before baby arrives" list
A list of craft project ideas
Birthdays/Anniversaries for the year
An Inventory Checklist (Freezer, Panty, Fridge, Cleaning, Paper products, diapers, and Linen closet lists---this has the top items we need to have on hand. I do a quick check through these areas with my checklist and will use that to make shopping lists---or lists for items to look for a good coupon sale)
2011 Goals (more on this later)
Freezer Cooking Plan for the month (I make notes of recipes to try, meals to cook, etc)

The pockets contain post-it's with blogging and writing ideas, information for my work at home job, & library events.

And for now, that's it!

There are potentially a few things I want to add/tweak, but right now this is working great for us! I am working on a cleaning checklist that details what cleaners to use where, along with a guide to doing laundry. Because my husband will be taking over some of this when baby arrives & because we'll potentially have family here helping--he agreed (no really, he did!) that a cleaning/laundry guide might be helpful...along with where certain cleaners are stored.

Like anything, if it's going to work for you...you have to figure out what your family needs...even if that means customizing some of your own forms!

Monday, December 27, 2010

one heck of a project....

When we moved into our new-to-us home back in May, I was certain we'd be unpacked within a month or two. For the most part we were, aside from two rooms that have boxes with who knows what in them at this point.

I knew when we moved that I wanted the process to be as efficient as possible. I labeled every box I packed with a colored number. The color represented the room it would go to, the number corresponded to a list that said what was in that particular box.

As we unpacked our belongings in our new home, a few items just didn't quite find their place & they joined the boxes in the room upstairs, what was supposed to be my office/craft room. Time went on and our spare bedroom became an impromptu office...(which really means it just got filled with paperwork & odds and ends.) Anyways, we're three months away from baby's due date & in need of that second room. Which means we are needing to transition the pseudo office/guest room upstairs.


That room is & has been filled with boxes...nearly floor to ceiling...and the problem has grown.

See for yourself....

We started on this room a few weekends back and have already made tremendous progress. We are both getting really excited with how this room is turning out! I'll continue to post updates on our progress!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

and if I can't finish the first one, what hope is there for the next?

baby books.

I have a love/hate relationship with them. I had great aspirations of documenting each pregnancy/ first year of my children's lives with great detail & photos.

I have a belly book that is almost finished (from Lucy's pregnancy, no less) & her baby book has about 1/4 of the pages written on. I couldn't tell you exactly the date she rolled over (though that's on video), sat up, started crawling, walking, got her first tooth, etc.... I have approximate time frames, but for the life of me, I'm not one of those moms.

Enter Plan B.

I cheated. I totally just assembled photos of Lucy's first year into a photo book. I'm hoping to write out little notes about each month and attach at a later date....but if that never happens, at least I have a photo book documenting her first year.

With Baby #2 we're going to try hanging a calendar in the nursery and documenting milestones there--then I can have it all ready to go when I order a photo book documenting their first year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

toddler traditions.

When my husband and I were first married we swapped stories of our favorite traditions growing up and ideas we had for future traditions for our family. As it turns out we didn't have to wait long to begin such traditions. One of the first things we started was purchasing an ornament for our tree. The next was spending Christmas morning together...in our own home.

That first Christmas was a little strange to wake-up in our apartment, away from family, for the first time on a holiday. At the same time, it was simply wonderful. We opened gifts, lounged in our pajamas and ate a healthy amount of cinnamon rolls.

Our second Christmas we were blessed to have a five-month old daughter to celebrate with. New ornaments were purchased & Christmas morning was once again spent relaxed and at home. We videotaped our daughter's reaction to seeing her presents from Santa, though a five month old doesn't really change expressions all that much.... :)

This year we've been able to add many more "traditions" now that we have a toddler who is much more interested! Thanksgiving morning we woke up and ate pumpkin pancakes from the freezer, traced turkey hands, & watched the parade. When December 1st approached, I wrapped up 25 Christmas themed books I had picked up last season/over the summer. Based on an idea from a friend, I wrapped each book individually & Lucy has been allowed to open one each night. She has had SO much fun with this, I can't wait for next year to be able to introduce even more traditions! Her excitement has made me excited for Christmas morning...I'm so looking forward to bringing her out of her room to see what gifts she has to open...

And this year, I know we'll get a great reaction :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

what will we eat?!?

In the mornings when my husband is on his way out the door I always say the same thing....

"think about what you want for dinner..."

Oh yeah...I also end with "Love you!"

(just so we're clear that my love for him does take priority over what we shall eat that night)

For a few months now we've been relying on the fruits of our labor to feed us. Our last freezer cooking frenzy was a success. We tried a few new things and they were huge hits and are on their way to making it to the master list.

Today I opened up the freezer and saw the makings of four more dinners. I pulled a taco kit from the freezer (cooked taco meat + already grated cheese) to thaw in the fridge.

Dinner's Done! (almost)

The best part, something my husband and I both agree on, is that there are no pans/cheese graters to wash afterwards. Our two plates get tossed in the dishwasher & we call it good.

We have burritos left & a handful of pancakes, but our freezer is in dire need of filling up again.

I'll be planning our next three months of freezer cooking dates soon...or at least getting them on the calendar so that we can start stocking up on ingredients as needed. I'm hoping to try a few new items again in January & February in preparation for our (hopeful) mega freezer cooking session in March...just in time for baby #2.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Promise me you'll be here in the morning..."

Maybe it's the hormones from pregnancy. Maybe it's the reality that tragedy exists.

Or maybe it's just that I shouldn't watch Lifetime movies...or movies like "Raising Helen" when I'm nearly 7 months pregnant. Regardless, that was the phrase I tearfully said to my husband the other night before drifting off to sleep.

This was the conclusion of what started out as a harmless, almost joking, conversation with my brother-in-law a few hours prior. God forbid something ever happens to both my sister and brother-in-law, my husband and I will step up and try to fill the mighty big shoes of these incredible two people...as guardians to four additional kiddos. My brother-in-law has often joked about this responsibility, and the mortgage that comes along with it.

My husband and I have talked off and on about the reality of needing to have something in writing, God forbid something ever happens to the both of us. We have no monetary possessions that people would fight about, but with so many people that love our daughter--we want our wishes to be clear. It's in these conversations I feel like I see the desires for our child (ren) for the future, and pray that the Lord will make my husband and I a part of them.

Obviously we desire for our children to be exposed to the love of Jesus that has rescued the two of us, but the more I express what I would want to happen, the more I realize the issue goes much further for women than it does for men. (though I will say my husband and I have generally been in agreement about what we want) Practically speaking, our children could have multiple options of people to love them in our absence---but last night it became clear to me what I've been trying to express in all these conversations with my husband.

It's what Helen's sister wanted. (Seriously, I've watched this movie about four times in the past month. :) Helen wasn't necessarily the obvious choice, she was who her sister felt could represent her the best in her absence.

Simply stated: I want our "fill-in" parents to be able to be the best representation of the kind of mom I am and desire to be. I want them to be able to share stories of my husband and I; stories of growth, humor, sadness, change, love, etc. I want them to let my kids get messy, stay up late just because, crawl in bed on the weekends and watch cartoons, take impromptu trips to the park/library/wal-mart, read books to even when there "isn't time," etc.

If my kids can't have me, I want them to have what I feel would be the best representation of me.

...even if it means they have to move into a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn because that's all the new guardians can afford once they've taken them all on.

(and if you haven't seen this movie, you should watch it...)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

that's what she said...

No really, that's the post title I chose. And it doesn't mean what you think it does.

Lucy. It's about things Lucy has been saying.

My daughter is quirky, fun, active, & outgoing in every sense of the word. (True story, she sat on a stranger's lap in an airport recently after running up and hugging her.)

My daughter is also apparently developing a sassy streak, at the ripe old age of 17 months I might add :)

Last night my husband was placing toys back in the buckets and trying to get her attention. As he crawled around on the floor picking up toys he kept asking her to help. She, oblivious to what was going on, continued to spin in circles while holding a pinwheel she received back in July. Finally my husband says: "Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.." each time getting ever so slightly louder.

Lucy stopped spinning, squatted down, placed her hands on her knees and while looking her father in the eyes said "Da-Da!" in quite the loud voice.

We chuckled. No, we burst out in laughter.

And then I imagined us 12 years from now and we've entered the teenage years and that same voice is looking us dead in the face and saying "what???" in the same exasperated tone as we heard "Da-Da!" last night.

This morning we all overslept. Well, technically you can't say that Lucy and I overslept as we had nowhere to be...but my husband, he did in fact oversleep. He blames the flannel sheets...

Anyways, as he was rushing around this morning to get ready, Lucy brought him one of her favorite Christmas books of the season to read. Being the good daddy that he is, he of course obliged and read it. Minutes later I also had to read the book & then apparently she wanted Daddy to read it...again.

My husband finally said "Daddy can't read the book right now, I have to go to work."

Lucy just shook her head and in the saddest voice ever said "no, no, no..."

And then I remembered, that even with a little extra sass in her step, she's still our little girl. She still longs to be read to, hold your hand, & cuddle in tightly when it's cold.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm makin' a list....

Several, in fact. Every Saturday or Sunday I sit down and compose a weekly to-do list on my trusty yellow legal pad. These items are in addition to our weekly household checklist. So far this system has worked wonders in place of my very random notes that were stuck around the house and seemingly always forgotten.

When I was pregnant with Lucy I put together a two-page spreadsheet of things that needed to get done before Lucy arrived and I hung it in our kitchen. My husband and I worked on this list and accomplished almost everything (even items like "organize the Laundry room" made the cut on this particular list.)

I guess this is a part of my personal nesting instinct because I've already begun brainstorming different checklists that need to be made for Baby #2. Our due date is still 15 weeks away, but the last 25 have breezed by...and if it weren't for my ever-expanding belly and persistent kicks from the inside, I'm not sure I'd believe I was really this far along.

So the lists I'm preparing this time around?
-Items needed for Baby #2
-Craft projects to complete for Baby
-Household tasks to complete before baby arrives (clean-out/de-cluttering that I won't have time to do after baby arrive, etc...)
-Freezer food to prepare for us. We've been doing lots of freezer cooking and compiling a list of things we feel freeze exceptionally well
-Items to stock up on before baby (making sure that linen closet is full, diapers are ready, etc..)

I'm hoping to get the lists accomplished this week during one of my bursts of energy & then the husband & I will begin tackling them. He does this because he loves me & knows that feeling prepared is the best way to soothe his wife :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

25 weeks

25 weeks....seriously?!?!?

Wow! This pregnancy is seriously flying by...and that realization is making me fret a little about all that we need to do before life changes in a big way!

A few highlights...

We are feeling movement all the time and SEEING it from the outside. Because of an anterior placenta this time around, we didn't start feeling movement until about 21 or 22 weeks...which the doctor warned us we probably wouldn't because of the placenta location.

But once we started feeling it, we felt it! Baby moves all. the. time. This kiddo is very active and I feel the baby move from one side of my belly to the other. (side note, it's getting really hard not to say he/she. :)

So yes, we know the gender...and no, we aren't planning on sharing until baby arrives. This wasn't the original plan....but we're kind of enjoying having a secret to ourselves.

Within the last few weeks my belly has really started sticking out there. My muscles are starting to hurt in both the belly and the back...in other words, I'm already feeling very pregnant which is not a good sign. :)

With this in mind, we're going to start tackling some big projects this weekend with the hopes that we'll be ready to go for baby before March even arrives...or that's the plan.

Oh and for comparison, me at 25 weeks with Lucy & 25 weeks with Baby #2

..obviously a bit bigger the second time around, but everyone says that's normal...and I didn't start out this pregnancy as tiny as I was when we found out we were expecting Lucy. :)

either way, I enjoy having a pregnant belly. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DIY Decor.

If you keep up here at all, you'll recognize we run a pretty slim budget...and decor is never really a part of it :)

However, during our move this summer it seems that several of our holiday decorations were ruined do to breakage or mildew/mold damage as a result of a garage that frequently flooded.

Armed with this knowledge, I purchased a few items to try and spruce up our home this holiday season ( & beyond.)

The first project was inspired by the Michaels Black Friday ad. I purchased the holiday colored chargers at 2/$3, my husband found some plate hangers for $1.50 at Wal-mart, and I dug out some white paint and brushes.

The second project I've seen on various websites, all of varying types. (Sorry if that's not proper credit to the original idea---but I'm not sure who actually had the original idea!) On Black Friday, Jo-Ann's craft store was selling flannel fabric for $1.29/yd. Not quite what I had in mind--but it fit well with our small budget. I purchased a pack of 10 8x10 art canvasses & a pack of 5 7x14 for $10 a piece at Michaels. A little more than I wanted to spend, but these can be re-used...and I have several leftover for an additional project for baby #2. Cut the fabric so that you will have enough excess to wrap around the back of your canvas and staple with a staple gun. Seriously...it's that easy. :) The solid green ones ended up a little too plain, so I added some mirror snowflakes. The brown damask print ones hang above our bed & the butterfly print is also jazzing up our bedroom decor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

thinking about being thankful.

So perhaps this post is a little...late? To be honest, I wasn't really feeling very thankful leading up to the actual holiday & I'm not sure I'm loaded with thanksgivings right now either.

Now, I am thankful that my family is healthy, my babies are growing (the one on the outside and the one tucked inside for a few more months!), my husband loves me, my marriage is stronger today than it was last year, & right now I'm even thankful to go to bed at night with a clean house.

But to be thankful in the "everday" things, that's where I'm seeming to struggle. I've always been the one to see small blessings in our lives even when our bank account sat empty. I've been the encourager when we had to wait to pay one bill because there was only enough to pay some of the bills. I've even been the one to get really excited when we have money in our bank account at the end of the month, even if it's only a few dollars.

But the truth is, we are not poor. In relation to the world we live in....my husband and I live in such abundance, it's ridiculous that I even consider using the term "we're broke". Don't be fooled, we have heat, a tree with soon-to be presents underneath, meat in our freezer, and an occassional ice cream treat. But, it's a common phrase lately...from our mouths & other mouths. And, that terminology can just leave you feeling REALLY defeated.

November was a tough month, a kick in the face to be brutally honest. Between a lack of pay from my job for the two week vacation I took, a mis-hap in not paying the utility bill from last month, a broken car, broken glasses, etc...it was just a rough month financially. We live on a meager budget (like most we know) & are in a position to have "enough" to just get by. We came home from a wonderful (& budgetted for) vacation....and it's like November chose to take away that joy upon our return. I won't even get into what happened when a certain company turned us into collections saying we owed them $450 for equipment we had RETURNED. (No worries, a government consumer protection agency cleared this up for us a few weeks later)

I spent several evenings in November feeling anything but thankful. We were doing the BEST we could with what we had, why did I feel so...forgotten? Now, maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, but I spent a few nights in tears spilling my fears to my husband. He, in turn, kept telling me not to worry about tomorrow. (Ironic role reversal as these were the same things I was saying to him last year...)

And then as November came to a close, I recognized my failure in all of this---something I have avoided quite often. My faith was being put in our bank account, and not in My GOD. I was being blessed ALL around and I couldn't see it because of that small bank total I kept focusing on. My husband and I typically pour out praise over small things when we can see God's hand in it & I was NOT recognizing those things...and had not been for sometime.

So as December started, I did just that....
-We praised God that our in-laws had loaned us their car...and praised him again when my dad volunteered to fix my husband's car, for free.
-We praised God when we found ourselves blessed with several 20% off diaper coupons to amazon & stocked up on diapers for Lucy at the cheapest prices imaginable
-We praised God when we discovered our tree was one of the few decorations that escaped damage during flooding in our garage this winter...even if our ornaments weren't so lucky
-We praised God when he blessed a family member with incredible understanding about our delay in re-paying them
-We praised God when a bill was resolved & a subsequent refund check was sent to our home
-We praised God when my husband fixed his glasses with a popsicle stick
-We praised God when we decorated our home for Christmas with flannel fabric and art canvas
-We praised God when I was able to find items to fill my husband's stocking for free after coupons
-We praised God when we filled our freezers with meals for the next month or so, meat included :)
-We praised God when my current boss for my work at home job emailed me about an additional project she needs help on...that will add around $600 of income a month if it works out...even if it is just a possibility at the moment
-We praised God, not our bank account.

It's all too easy to put our faith in money, possessions, people, job stability, etc....and, oh, what a beating my heart took when I allowed it off course. And what a blessing it is to be getting back to faith in God alone, not our bank account, to provide for our needs....over & over again...

my husband pointed out that I had disallowed anonymous comments, that has now been resolved!

Brand-Name Bargains.

I'm a bargain shopper. I'm also a sucker for brand-name items. (This doesn't make me a snob, I'll always try the store-brand equivalent and sometimes switch, but typically brand-names win out.)

Believe it or not, bargain shopping and brand-name addiction can co-exist...often with the brand name coming out cheaper than store brand if you play your cards right.
I've talked before about combining my love for expensive kid's clothing with bargain shopping. And not that I'm endorsing anyone, but Gymboree almost always wins out in my mind of having cute and durable kid's clothing. Their prices are outrageous and I wouldn't even spend that money on adult-sized clothing, but when shopping smart, I can get what I want super cheap if I buy ahead for the next year, combine with a coupon, or if I simply wait for the item to be clearanced out (which happens often.) Example: on Black Friday I purchased two long-sleeve winter-themed shirts for Lucy, two packs of hairbows, an outfit for Baby #2, and 4 Christmas/Birthday gifts...for right at $50 shipped to my door. (Oh, and I'll also have a $25 off my next purchase coming in that box as well...)

Example #2, I'm pretty loyal to the type of toothpaste, deodorant, bar soap, razor, etc that I use. When I first started couponing, I wasn't sure the two could co-exist---but alas, I was wrong. Case in point: Read your coupon. (sorry for the terrible picture, btw...) Anyways, I recently had a stack of 4 coupons that read "Buy 1 secret deodrant get $5 off ANY Olay bar soap, body wash, or in shower body lotion." Perfect! I picked up the deodorant at around 2.25, and a 2 pack of bar soap at a similar price. Free deodorant and bar soap. And since I had four coupons...four free deodorants and four free packs of bar soap. I'm pretty confident this is less expensive than a store-brand similar product :)
And my last (recent) example of a brand-name bargain is really a no-brainer. If you haven't started buying diapers through Amazon's Mom program...well, then you should really start. It's quite possibly the easiest way to save money on diapers, they ship free to your door, and they are cheaper than buying at your local Target. (Again, not endorsing...just encouraging!) The program saves you 30% off diapers and ships them free to your doors. You can cancel your save and subscribe order as soon as you receive it and you'll receive no more shipments OR you can keep it saved and Amazon will continue to ship you diapers at the discounted rate.
I did some price-checking this weekend. The biggest box of Pampers size 5 I could find at Target was 136 count for $36, or .26 a diaper. Amazon sells the box of 156 diapers regularly for $40.15, or .26 a diaper. If you do subscribe and save, the price drops to $28.11 a box, or .18 a diaper. Awesome deal! BUT, it gets better! If you can get your hands on a coupon found in Parents magazine or Parenting: The Early Years, you'll locate a coupon for 20% off a diaper purchase. That drops the price to $20.79 shipped for free to your door, or .13 a diaper. And if Pampers aren't your style, this deal extends to Huggies, Luvs, and all sorts of wipes. I have a box of three large refill packages of Huggies Wipes (sell for $5-$6/package in stores) for $11. And, if you have amazon giftcards through Swagbucks....well, you'll be getting an even bigger deal. (and yes, that's my referral link if you sign-up---I earn matching points.)

I hope that's motivating to some....that good deals CAN be found on brand-name products with just a little bit of effort!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Lucy's been up to....

I feel like our toddler is busy trying to grow up very quickly. She is starting to say new words, but we don't always hear them more than once after she says them the first time. :) We are working on that....

Lucy is very into wearing hats, mittens, and fuzzy socks lately. Part of that is enjoying dressing up, part of it is the drop in temperature. She loves bringing us oven mitts to wear and has a new purse that she likes to carry around and fill with items.

Her rocking chair is her favorite place these days. She stands in it and looks out the window, piles her animals in and out of it (and her diapers), and yesterday I found an empty milk jug sitting in the chair with her animals. Awesome.

She LOVES her daddy....she runs to the door when he gets home and lately the wind blowing so hard has tricked her several times into thinking daddy's home when he really isn't. They snuggle and watch cartoons in the morning and he handles bath time and storytime before bed. The other night Daddy had to work late and she just kept carrying her book to the door and pointing and asking for Da-Da....REALLY sad to watch. :(

She has said (for a while now) ma-ma, da-da, & duck. We now hear: no, yeah, juus (juice), nanna, whoa, what, arf (dog), uv you (love you). Again, sometimes only once or twice...except for "no", we hear that one A LOT. When asked to say "please" for a snack, she just lifts her shirt and points to her belly. That's our fault (and Yo Gabba Gabba's...for the whole song "there's a party in my tummy...)

She blows kisses to EVERYONE, gives kisses on the mouth when she feels like it, has had a few "time-outs" recently, loves to hold hands and guide you places, enjoys throwing things in the toilet and trashcan, starts the vacuum frequently and runs away, and chews on her crib (has LITERALLY ate a chunk out of her very nice crib) and books. She is active--and we love it!

She has an incredible personality and we are trying to get her to say please and thank you. (but right now she just points to her belly when she wants to eat something) :) We let her feel my belly and we talk to the baby. But she just says "yeah" and sticks her finger in my belly button. We've been trying to get her to say some of the baby names we like--I told Jon whichever she says first we'll go with.

She isn't the type to sit and watch TV--but she will occassionally watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She much prefers being on the go...all. day. long. :)

She'll usually nap mid-morning for at least an hour--sometimes two. That is her ONLY naptime of the day. In the afternoon she gets "quiet" time in her crib and I put on Sesame Street DVD's for her to watch. This lasts about 30-45 minutes. She has fallen asleep on occasion during those times. We try and get her to bed by about 8pm and she is still waking up at least once a night...and has been waking up anywhere from 6-7am. Usually at 6 if Daddy isn't ready to be up, she gets some milk and her sesame street DVD's then too...which she loves :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving in a nutshell.

My husband and I have traveled to the in-laws the last two years to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year we stayed put and celebrated the day with my family. I like that each year has looked a little different and that we have modified plans to fit our desires and needs of our growing family.

Wednesday night we headed to my Aunt's house and celebrated with my dad's side of the family over a meal of tacos :) It was so nice to get to catch up with the cousins and see all their kiddos. There were 11 kiddos there, 6 of which were 2 and under! My how we have grown over the years!

Thursday we relaxed all morning (I slept in--thanks to my hubby!) We ate pumpking pancakes from the freezer while my husband cooked sweet potatoes. We headed to my sister's home (with a quick trip to CVS on the way). We celebrated with my parents, sister, brother in law, and my niece and nephews. We didn't have much responsibility in terms of the meal---but overall the day was SO relaxing. No schedule, no place to go or people to entertain...just our small family unit. Enjoying food, conversation, and football! My mom, sister, and I began scanning the black friday ads and making our shopping lists.

Friday I decided to start later than our typical 4-5am departure time, with the hopes that we could meet up later. I didn't leave the house to shop until after 8 am, and I still managed to find most of the things I was hoping to--and then some, of course :) I never did meet up with my sister or mom--which turned out ok. I haven't had that much time out by myself since before Lucy was born. :)

The best way to describe our Thanksgiving this year was...restful. I enjoyed the laid-back nature of those days...and now we're just looking forward to Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

in which i justify that which needs NO justification.

Sometimes I wish we lived back in time...in a time where staying home with your children was considered a "job" and valuable.

Recently I was a part of a conversation in which other women and mothers were sharing about their jobs (incredible ones I might add) & one of these women looked at me and asked if I was staying home with Lucy.

my reply: "yes, and I'm also working 20 hours a week from home to help make ends meet."

Her reply: "oh, but you're not really using your degree?"

me: (gains composure) "well, I majored in Family Studies & Human Services...and did several semesters of coursework in child development and elementary education...so..yes, I'd say I'm using my degree."

another woman: "don't you get bored at home?"

me: (laughs...) "um, no...not really. Again, I'm working from home part-time AND taking care of a toddler all day who naps less than 2 hours of that time...and that's if I'm lucky. So no, I'd never say I'm bored."

What's my point? I'm tired. Tired of justifying that staying at home is valuable AND really is a full-time job in itself. Tired of justifying the fact that I don't need a career on my plate to feel successful as a woman. Tired of feeling as though mothers who work full-time outside the home are the "best kind", because they can "do it all." Tired of people thinking my days are filled with soap operas, ice cream, and luxurious naps. Tired of feeling like I have to provide an explanation why my husband and I chose this route...which, even if we had felt like I should continue working, almost 75% of my take home pay would have been put towards childcare during Lucy's first year of life. so NOT worth it to us.

Now, I know several moms who work outside the home and this is is NO way an attack on them. My point here is not to say there is a right or wrong, a better or a worse. Everyone has to make decisions that make sense in their situation.

I personally know several moms who desire to be home with their babies, but it is simply not an option. I know moms who work outside the home (part and full-time) to help make ends meet or simply for the sake of insurance benefits (another soap box topic for another day, health insurance that is) I know moms (like myself) who are generating income from home part-time...which presents it's own set of challenges and I know several moms who have some of the neatest jobs that they feel called to do & I'm so thankful for their talent to continue what they're doing.

But, using one's degree in a full-time career outside the home does not make them a better mom than me...anymore than me staying at home full-time does NOT make me a better mom than them.

And I'm sure moms who work outside the home feel judgement just the same. And I hate that...we're all moms. We're all doing the best we can in our given situations (stay at home, work from home, work outside the home, etc...) And honestly, every situation looks incredibly different---even when comparing two stay at home moms.

I just wish I didn't feel the need to justify my husband and I's decision...or explain to others what our days really look like.

(and, I'll admit it....in those newborn days, there were a few luxurious naps and soap operas....and maybe some ice cream :)