Tag Archives: distractions

Life in 2016

Reflections of 2016

December 30, 2016

December 27, 2016

December 21,2016

December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016

December 3, 2016

December 1, 2016

November 28, 2016

November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016

November 20, 2016

November 18, 2016

November 8, 2016

Reflections of 2016

Can you believe that this year is almost gone? I can’t but I am ready to start 2017 with a fresh, positive, and energized outlook. I know in my heart that this new year will be better than last year. I also know that God has some truly amazing things in store for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us in the upcoming months!

We have been through alot this past year. The year started off really rocky. There had been some nasty rumors and gossip that caused us to leave our church and lose contact with some people. It was also filled with some nasty messages, hateful comments, and posts from people who chose to believe the rumors.

I’ve learned to forgive even if you don’t feel that they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness lets you move on and heal from the pain.

My oldest daughter finished up boot camp and then DD17 and DS21 took a road trip to Missouri to bring her back home. Then we had a lot planning to do for DD19’s wedding. It was really hard to stay strong for my kids and my family but I refused to let the chaos and nastiness get me down.

I filed for divorce after being separated for nearly 2 years. It was a painful and difficult decision that I prayed a lot over. It was not the outcome I wanted but it was what needed to be done at the time to protect my family and myself from his behaviors and actions. We have come a long way since then and are working to be the best parents we can be to our children.

I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am in and wherever I may be. I will change the things I can change, focus my attention on God, and let Him handle the things I have no control over.

Our family got larger with the additions of a niece and a nephew, both of which I absolutely adore. There was a camping trip where I got to go salt water fishing for the first time and I loved every minute of it. This was a welcome relief prior to the stresses of the wedding where we had last minute changes that threatened to ruin the whole thing. I am pleased to say that it was a success and it is now a beautiful memory for us to cherish.

During those stressful times I found out who my true friends were and became closer to my best friend. She really came through for me when I needed her. I had another friend who also came through and was a lifesaver, quite literally, and he was the calm in my storm on a few occasions.

There was a brief romance where my already tender heart was shredded and ripped apart. This was harder on me than my divorce as it came at me unexpectedly and then it was over without any warning or explanation. I lost someone who I considered to be one of my best friends with the end of that relationship. I know that my questions will continue to go unanswered and I know that there would never be anyway to get back what it was that we had. It still brings tears to my eyes but I do treasure the moments we had.

I am learning that it is much easier not to question God when something happens but rather to embrace it and trust that He knows best. 

Then I attempted online dating which I quickly learned wasn’t for me. I did meet a couple of really nice people and I went on a couple of dates but we didn’t really click. I quickly found that dating by text is not for me either. I need to be able to see the person and hear their voice. I want to know that they are not a figment of my imagination. I did make a friend through the dating site and we still text on a semi-regular basis.

We had another camping trip where I took the five kids and myself. It was an adventure that we all enjoyed and thankfully survived. There was moment that I wasn’t sure if I would make it as I had fallen in the river. Luckily I had a life vest on and I was able to stay calm until someone was able to reach me. The crazy thing was that he was able to walk out to me but I was just a little bit too short to reach the bottom.I think I swallowed my yearly quota of river water that day.

I’ve had many more episodes of the gossip mill. There were days and weeks that I felt I should just write a soap opera about my life. I finally realized that the problem wasn’t really with me but with the ones who were starting and spreading the rumors. This was a big turning point for me and the way I handled the stress and drama from those situations. I also had some painful revelations about family and friends.

Then there was the flu bug that hit us around Thanksgiving. I was upset that we were not able to visit with family but fortunately God did give me the strength and supplies to make our own impromptu dinner. I wasn’t able to eat but I made up for that at Christmas dinner with my daughter and son-in-law. That was definitely a dinner to remember as the police showed up twice!

I have learned to be ready to receive a blessing at any moment and any time.

These are just some of the ups and downs of my past year. There have been a lot of firsts like the salt water fishing, a low country boil (I actually had twice this year), and online dating. I can say that I have lived, loved, been loved, and have been truly blessed. Life has taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and God’s will for my life. There have been many surprises, good and bad, but all in all it was a wonderful year.

I hope you can also look back on the past year and see what has happened. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve experienced and then think about what you want to experience in the 2017. I pray that each and every one of you will be blessed abundantly in the upcoming year. I pray that God will touch your lives and supply your needs, whatever they may be.

 

 

 

Routines

I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a  ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.

How do we find a balance? Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.

I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections  and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.

My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.

During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids. I was OVERWHELMED!

Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.

Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘show place perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a life saver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.

My house is not ‘show place perfect’ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’.  I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.

The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.

I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working I probably haven’t been able to work that on it yet, but keep checking and I will get them up.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Kids’ Morning Routine 

Daily School Routine

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

Monthly Routines

Yearly Routines

Laundry Routines

Yearly kids chores by age

Age appropriate chore charts

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FlyHelper | Personal Organizer for Android

Weekly Routines

I hope you have had a chance to read through my other posts on routines. If you have then you are probably wondering what Weekly Routines are.

For me these are tasks that need to happen on a weekly basis. I have divided these tasks up by certain days but sometimes I may complete them ahead, or behind, schedule. These just help to keep our house running smoothly and keep the cleaning from becoming such a chore.

Sundays are more of a resting day for us here. The only things I have listed to do on Sundays are:

  1. Check for newspaper coupons
  2. Empty all trash

I will go to Couponmom.com to see if there are coupons in the current week’s newspaper and then I will either make a quick trip to get 2 papers or ask someone else to pick them up for me. (I will need to do another post on couponing.)

Then I will also have the kids check the various trash cans and empty them. Our trash collection runs on Monday morning so we try to get it all ready ahead of time.

Mondays here can be a little hectic just like they are for everyone else. Monday is normally the day when I try to do our ‘house blessing’, another FlyLady term. I have actually divided these tasks between Monday and Tuesday but will try to get as many finished on Monday as possible.

  1. Take the trash to the road
  2. Wash clothes — Ds3 & DS4
  3. Scrub & Shine the sink
  4. Wash coffee pot in the dishwasher
  5. Dust*
  6. Vacuum*
  7. Purge magazines*

So the first one is pretty self explanatory but sometimes I forget so it helps me to remember. Someone usually has to help the boys to get their hamper to the laundry room but they can load/unload the washer and the dryer. You can see our Laundry Routines for more info on the second one.

Third is to scrub and shine my kitchen sink. I try to wipe out the sink every night before bed but it does seem to need a good scrubbing once a week to keep it nice and shiny.

I rinse the coffee pot out each day but by the end of the week it starts to look a little dingy. A quick run through the dishwasher takes care of that and it is ready to go again.

The last three marked with an * are parts of our ‘house blessing’ which I learned from the FlyLady. Each of these tasks can be completed in 10 minutes or less at my house.

The weekly dusting I do is not the pull everything off the shelves and dust each piece individually dusting that my Mom-mom had me help with when I was little. This is just taking a feather duster and quickly dusting through the house. I also dust the blades of the ceiling fans once a month. We live on a dirt road so dust builds up rather quickly.

Same with the vacuuming, 10 minutes or less, just vacuum the main areas. I am fortunate enough that my vacuum has a long enough cord that I can pretty much plug it into an outlet near the kitchen and be able to reach my bathroom, my bedroom, the playroom, the living room and most of the other bedrooms. The kids are responsible for vacuuming their rooms at least once a month. We don’t move the furniture or anything like that, unless we are rearranging or deep cleaning, as there will be a day that is designated for that with our daily missions from FlyLady.

To purge magazines doesn’t take long at all. I have a stack of magazines and only keep a set number. Once we reach that number I will either pass them along to someone else or throw them away if they are in bad shape. I do keep a few of them to use for art projects as well.

Tuesdays have another set of tasks that are completed each week. These include:

  1. Wash Clothes – DS14
  2. Clean room – DS14
  3. Polish*
  4. Mop*
  5. Clean out fridge
  6. Clean out microwave
  7. Meal planning
  8. Mow the play yard

OK. The first one is just something we do everyday, and the second is something I have recently added. DS14 is special needs and sometimes his hygiene practices are questionable. While I am trying to teach him to be as independent as possible his room often needs attention. He will sometimes spit everywhere or lick the walls, I know it’s gross, or do other things that cause his room to smell funky. So I get him to strip his bed and we thoroughly clean his whole room, wipe down the walls, shampoo the carpets, etc. every Tuesday. I have a system to my cleaning and can usually have his room cleaned in about 15 minutes. This helps everyone in the house and is just something that really has to be done.

Again the ones marked with an * are parts of our ‘house blessing’. These take 10 minutes or less to do. I grab a rag and a bottle of Windex and run, maybe not run as running isn’t allowed but I do move quickly, and wipe off all the shiny surfaces first. Shiny surfaces would be the mirrors, glass, TVs, computer monitors,etc. I also try to wipe all the light switches,remotes, and kitchen appliances like the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Then I do a quick wipe of the tops of my coffee tables and end tables. I will also wipe some of the newer cabinets that we have as they seem to be a magnet for sticky hands.

When everything is all nice and shiny we do the mopping. I use a steam mop but a regular mop is just fine. This is not a get down on your hands and knees to scrub the floor either. I will fill my steam mop with water and set it to ‘scrub’. Then I first use it on my kitchen table and benches. It helps to get any of the ‘stickies’ that DD8 may have missed. After I finish with that I will do the kitchen, laundry room, and entry ways. I save the bathroom for last. Then the mop pad goes into the hamper for the whites. This is normally 10 minutes or less as the cord for my mop reaches to every room except the back bathroom.

The key is to keep it under 10 minutes for each task. The house blessing is not the time to do a major detail cleaning. That can be added to your To-Do list for another time.

I will try to put a cup of water in the microwave before I start mopping. I set it for 2-3 minutes and leave it. By the time I finish mopping I can open the microwave and just wipe it out really quick. If I didn’t get the outside of it when I was polishing I will give it a quick wipe also.

Same with the fridge. I don’t take everything out. I quickly grab anything that needs to be thrown out and empty it. Then I just wipe off the shelves and clean up any obvious messes. There will be another day to do a major deep cleaning of the fridge. I will also polish up the outside if I missed it earlier.

Once the fridge is clean and I can see what we have and don’t have or what may need to be used I will review my menu plan and start a grocery list.

Sometimes I have DS21 here and will have him mow the yard. When he mows he will mow everything that needs mowed. If I am mowing I just break it down into smaller segments that I can do quickly. The play yard needs the most attention as the kids are out there almost every day.

Wednesdays are more of an errand day here:

  1. Change sheets
  2. Wash whites
  3. Make grocery list
  4. Clip coupons
  5. Grocery shopping
  6. Drop off donations
  7. Get gas

I have the DD8 & DD9 change the sheets on their beds. (I keep an extra set of sheets for everyone’s bed so they can remake the bed after they strip it down.) Then DS3 & DS4 will also bring in their sheets. I also strip my bed down and remake it as well, as Momma needs to lead by example. I know everyone has different opinions on how often sheets should be washed but I like to do them every week. If the weather is nice I will hang them outside because it makes them smell so good!

I keep a hamper in my bathroom for the whites. When anyone has anything that needs to bleached they put it in that hamper. DD8 & DD9 are responsible for gathering up any used/dirty towels, bath rugs, and wash rags and bringing to the laundry room to be washed with the whites also. After the sheets are washed I will throw in the load of whites.

While the kids are doing their school work I will start working on the grocery list again. I will check the sales and print off lists for each store that I plan to visit. Then I will pull the coupons out and clip what coupons I need and put them in my binder. I also try to check for ecoupons if I have time.

Once the kids are down for naps and DD17 is up and ready to babysit I will head to the grocery store(s). While out I will drop off any bags or boxes or donations that we have accumulated the week before. There are many different drop bins in town so I will stop at whichever is closest to where I am going. I will also try to fill up with gas while I am out.

Once I am home everyone helps to unload the truck and put away the groceries.

Thursdays are usually kind of slow here. The kids are ready to be done with their school work for the week and Momma is usually ready for them to be finished also.

  1. Wash clothes – Momma
  2. Restock the bathrooms
  3. Carry shopping bags to the truck
  4. Vacuum
  5. Call Mom

Again we have laundry, Thursday is my day to wash clothes. DS3 and DS4 like to help with restocking the bathrooms. They know where to put the toilet paper and are always to eager to help. I check the bottles of soaps and such. I will refill the soap containers, if needed and bring new shampoo, conditioner, and/or body wash to each bathroom, as needed.

The next one just helps me to remember my reusable grocery bags. Sometimes I just throw them on the bench at the back door and forget about them. Then when I go grocery shopping I can’t find them so I just have this as a reminder for myself.

We will do a really quick vacuum through the house. We are surrounded by sand and there are many feet that walk through our house on a daily basis. Everyone takes their shoes off at that door but the sand still finds its way to the carpet. Not to mention the other little things like the paper bits off of notebooks and such. This quick task just keeps the house looking freshly cleaned.

Last I have ‘Call Mom’ on my list. Sadly I admit that I do not talk to my family as much as I probably should. We text but that isn’t the same connection as actually talking to someone and hearing their voice.

Finally Friday! Yay! Who am I kidding? I don’t get the weekend off. As our week is winding down we have a few more things that we do just to keep everything under control.

  1. Wash clothes -DD8 & DD9
  2. Clean out vehicles
  3. Clean out purse
  4. Clean out work boxes
  5. Mop
  6. Pick up in the yard

Not too bad, we have laundry as usual.

I will grab a grocery bag and one of the kids to help me with cleaning out the truck. It isn’t usually too bad as we try to pick up our messes as we go. I will change out the trash bag I keep in the truck too. I try to do a quick wipe down of the seats, dash, , steering wheel, and console while I am in the truck as the dust is really bad. (I should probably get me a small duster to keep in the truck.)

Then I try to clean out my purse as we all know how receipts and things can pile up in there. Also kids will always hand you things to keep for later and then never reclaim them.

I have the kids clean out their work boxes. Our work boxes are just simple plastic containers that hold their pencil pouches, notebooks, and workbooks for school. During the week the kids manage to accumulate massive amounts of paper and trash in their boxes. By cleaning them out once a week I can try to help them tame their clutter monsters.

Again I do a quick mop as it is usually needed by Friday. I don’t do the table and benches though unless they are super sticky or something.

The kids will also grab a grocery bag and run around the yard to pick up trash that has blown in and get rid of broken toys that may be laying around.

Saturdays are pretty simple:

  1. School planning
  2. Check oil/fluids in vehicles

I try to find a little time on Saturdays to get the following weeks lessons planned out and entered into our Homeschool Manager app. I will also check to make sure that I have entered grades and checked off the completed assignments. I try to go ahead and make printouts or copies of the things we will need and put them into my file organizer.

Vehicle maintenance is important and as I don’t have anyone else to do it for me I have to remind myself to keep a check on everything.

This is the basic run down of our day by day weekly schedule here. I know it may seem complicated or seem like a lot of things to do but its not really all that bad. These tasks and routines are what keeps our house running as smoothly and stress free as it does.

When you first start your routine it will take a bit of time to get used to it. Start simple and basic and slowly add things to it. Pretty soon it will come as second nature. You will immediately start to see the results of doing things on a regular basis. I wish you all the best of luck!

See also:

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evening Routines

I know by the time the kids are in bed the last thing you really want to do is think about any more routines. However the success of tomorrow morning will greatly depend on your evening routine. I try to keep it fairly simple and if I have checked off the tasks on my Morning Routines and Afternoon Routines then it doesn’t take me long at all.

Below are the screenshots of my current Evening Routine:

evening.jpg

Once the kids are in bed it is time for me to finish up the day so I can relax a little and have a bit of quiet time. I may sit in my room or watch a movie with DD17. Sometimes I just chat with some of my friends who are night owls as well.

First thing I do is check to make sure the coffee pot is ready to go in the morning. I also check our bread basket, which is more of a bread box now, and I will pull a loaf or two of bread out of the freezer if I need too.

Then if the dishwasher is full I will make sure it has been started and if it has already finished I will crack the door a bit. I have DS14 and DD9 hang their glasses on the bulletin board so they don’t misplace them. I will clean them and get them ready for the next day.

I will also wash out the water bottles, if they didn’t make it into the dishwasher, and refill them so they are ready for the morning. I have some really thirsty kids here and they love water!

Shining the sink is a FlyLady term and it simply means cleaning up your sink and making it shine. Nothing like coming into a clean kitchen with a shiny sink! I will also take the dirty wash rag and dish towel to the hamper and set out clean, fresh towels and rags.

I check to make sure the porch lights are on, and that the doors are locked, while going from room to room to double check that everything is pretty much in order. (2 minutes or less for this task.)

Before I put my computer away I will double check my calendar for the next day to make sure of any appointments or activities we may have planned. I will also review the menu and see if there is anything I need to prepare for them.

evening1.jpg

I will also double check my FlyHelper app for any other tasks that may still need to be completed for the current week and/or month. Those will go on my To-Do list, if they haven’t been completed.

When I go to check on the little ones I will set their outfits out for the next day. (I usually hang a pair of bottoms with a top to make it easier.) Then I try to set out my outfit for the next day as well so I can just grab it really quick in the morning.

Ahhh…. the day is almost done and it is time for some ‘me time’. I will fix me a cup of tea or cocoa and take a few minutes just to relax. When I get ready for bed I remind myself to take out my contacts, I am guilty of forgetting this, and then I wash my face, put on moisturizer, and brush my teeth and hair.

I try to spend a little time reading my bible or devotional. I remind myself to go to bed at a decent hour but for me a decent hour could be 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. I do normally try to go to bed by 10:00 but often times I just can’t sleep.

I hope these routines will help you to set up and maintain your routines. I can promise you that your house will run more smoothly and your stress levels will go down tremendously. Don’t try to just copy mine unless you also have 6 kids at home, a dog, a cat, and 50+ chickens and a few geese…. I’m just kidding. But in reality what works for me may not work for you. My priorities will not be the same as Mrs. Smith’s who lives down the road.

Remember that what looks good on paper isn’t always right. So if you try to set up a routine and it isn’t working then don’t be afraid to revise and revise again until it does work.

If getting up and exercising at 5:30 isn’t your cup of tea then don’t do it. Maybe it is better for you to exercise later in the day or every other day. If you don’t like cocoa then that wouldn’t be the best way for you to relax in the evening.

See also:

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Afternoon Routines

 

December 1, 2016

Well, today started early, like 1:30 am early. I went to bed last night with a headache and woke up sick. No fun at all. I turned my phone on and had all kinds of messages that I had missed during the night. (I almost never turn my phone off but my headache was really bad.) I did feel better after I took a shower though.

After my shower I did have almost a whole hour of ‘quiet time’. I spent that time going through my prayer journal and thanking God for the answered prayers. I also added a few new ones. I read my devotional and worked on a study that I had out. I also let my Bible fall open and read out of Psalms. It was just what I needed to help calm my soul and renew my strength this morning.

After messaging my best friend I had a long talk with God and had to hand something over to Him, something I should’ve immediately handed over last night, but stubbornly thought I could handle it on my own. (Which is how I ended up with a headache.) I felt such a relief and got the answer I needed once I let go. God is so good!

I am so thankful to have friends who can make me feel better when I’m down and who remind me that I don’t need to stress over things.

The kids were up super early and started tattling right away. My one son was in a grumpy kind of mood which did improve a little but not much. In fact, he is grumpier right now than he was this morning  He is currently voicing his opinion about bedtime through his bedroom door.

Then I remembered it was December 1st which meant that I needed to change out our school calendar. This lead to me realizing that I had forgot to print out the new calendar stuff for December (I admit I forgot last year too). So I grabbed the laminator and the paper cutter. I printed off the pages I needed and got to work laminating them.

My 3 year old loves to watch the laminator. He gets so excited to see what we are making. He was also my little helper and helped me to carry everything over to the playroom and get it all set up. We had a card left over, St. Nicholas day, and I didn’t know what day it was for sure.

So we went to the laptop and asked my dear friend, Google, for the answer. My son was very curious as to who ‘Doogle’ was and where he lived. He wanted to see a picture but forgot about that when I offered to let him put the final card in place. (December 6th in case you were wondering.)

We did manage to get our school work finished by 12. The girls have really been dragging their feet this week. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday! I tried to get my daily chores finished and pay bills while they were working but that was pretty impossible today.

I did my laundry, as my laundry day is on Thursday, and then I carried my hang-dry items to my room. My oldest daughter was in there working out so I set them on the dresser with the intentions of going back to finish them shortly. The other clothes got dried and I left the ones that needed pressed on the dryer until I could get them. Well, I didn’t remember the wet ones until after lunch and they left a wet mark on my dresser. I just finished pressing the others after dinner. Now though I can say that task is completed for this week. Yay!

I did manage to finish my grocery list this morning, print my sales lists, and clip coupons. I pulled out my big coupon binder and started to get it set up again.One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with. I think couponing will help me with this goal. At one time I was doing extremely well but I kinda fell off track with all of the different things I’ve been taking care of this past year.

I set out with $200 and my first stop was to put gas in my truck. Then to make a few more stops. I managed to find a few books to go under the tree and a few for stockings at Dollar Tree. I also picked up a few things to go along with our Advent study which I also confess has not began like I thought it would.  Being sick with the flu last week really did a number on me and I’m still not feeling quite 100%.

At another store I found a great deal on some meat. There was a BOGO sale on ground pork and ground pork patties. Well, I happened to find 4 packs of patties on sale that had been marked down $2 on top of the BOGO making them almost free! Then even better I found some stew beef also marked down $2. I know some people don’t like these sales but I grab them whenever I can unless the meat looks questionable. I have a big freezer and I know that even cheap cuts of meat will become tender in the crock pot or pressure cooker.

After two more stops and saving over $100 in sales and coupons I still had a little cash in my pocket. I stopped by the ‘relaxation station’ aka Island Shack Tanning Salon. I know, tanning isn’t really healthy, but the warm beds really do help my sore muscles a lot. Plus I usually sneak in a little nap in too.

After my quick nap I stopped to put air in my tire as I had found a note on my windshield informing me of a low tire. So sweet of someone to let me know, I really did appreciate that. Then back home to unload my grocery haul.

Upon exiting my vehicle the geese and the cat promptly notified me that I had forgotten to feed them earlier so groceries had to wait. Big sister heard me pull in and came to help. She had unloaded most of them by the time I had finished feeding which was a great help.

The kids all helped me to put away the groceries. They like to help because they can see what goodies and treats I might’ve gotten. They also enjoy trying to guess what Momma is going to make by looking at the groceries that I brought home. After everything was put away I sat down for a moment to try to decide what I needed to do and what was just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

I still need to dig out our Christmas stuff. Who am I kidding? I still need to put away the Fall decor! (Speaking of which, I did find the cutest little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers today, on clearance!) Christmas is all packed neatly in some large green totes so I know where it is, I just haven’t brought it in.

I did bring in a tote and some boxes with the intentions of packing away the Fall decor but dinner had to be made. Then the clothes were calling me from the top of the dryer. I still haven’t vacuumed the floors either, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Today was visitation and Daddy had already promised to help them with a craft today. They made some paper Christmas trees. I even broke out the art supplies which included sequins and pom-poms. I wasn’t brave enough to bring out the glitter though. They turned out really well even thought some kids really didn’t want to follow along with the video.

christmas-trees

I love it when he does things like that with them. It helps them to strengthen their bond and also creates memories that will last for a long time. He also made his own tree, that they helped to decorate, to take home with him. The boys made him some ‘presents’ to go under his tree too.

Dinner consisted of Sloppy Joes, seasoned fries, and some homemade coleslaw (1 bag of slaw, a bit of mayo, a little sugar, and a splash of white vinegar. I’ll have to work on that recipe as I just kinda dump and taste as I go.) One of the little boys got excited when he saw the buns and the cheese. He had been asking for hamburgers but he thought Sloppy Joes were close enough and he actually asked for seconds.

After baths big sister wanted to try her hand at some No Bake Cookies. (Last night she made Easy Sugar Cookies.) She involved everyone in the process and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed measuring, stirring, and of course the taste testing! I’m not so sure that chocolate right before bedtime was a such a good idea though as little man is refusing to go to bed now.

So all in all we had a great day. Lots of memories were made too. That’s what life is about. We have to do the best we can with what we have. Each and everyday is a new day with a fresh start.

I think my kids will remember these days when they get older. They won’t be worrying about whether or not I vacuumed the floor. They also probably won’t be traumatized by not having a Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’ve agreed that we will set it up on St. Nicholas Day and I drew a picture of a Christmas tree on my desk calendar for them to look at.)

They will also look back on the pictures and hopefully remember how much fun they had making crafts with their dad. We may have our differences but I am so thankful that we have been able to work through them and/or put them aside for the sake of our kids. Even though our relationship as husband and wife is over we are still connected through our kids and will always have that bond. It is important for us to continue to work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.

I am off to bed but first I need to walk little man to his bed. Then I have a few things that I need to add to my prayer list. Have a blessed night!

 

 

 

It’s Natalie not Octomom

I’m sure most of us remember the story about “Octomom’. The single mother of 6 who underwent IVF and gave birth to octuplets. There was a ton of media coverage and backlash on anyone involved in the controversy. It raised a lot of questions about a lot of different issues that I am not going to get into.

What I do want to point out is that she is in the news again, in a more positive light. She is using her experience for the good and so many of us can learn a lot from her transformation.

She admits that she had turned to stripping, pornography, and adult films to earn income to support her family. She has also admitted to being addicted to Xanax. She was receiving public assistance, which is not a bad thing, but failed to report the earnings she had made. This caused her some legal problems.

Think about the situation she was in. Can you imagine what she was going through? Can you imagine the shame and disgust that must have went through her mind at times? This could’ve have been part of the reasoning for the drug addiction. Can you imagine not having anyone to support you during such a hard time? She had so much negative publicity surrounding her that it was probably hard to find a ‘decent’ job.

As a mom of many I can only imagine how overwhelmed she must’ve felt at sometimes. I have six kiddos underfoot all day, I have had as many as eleven at one when I was fostering. From some of the articles I’ve read she didn’t seem to have a lot of support coming in. She was also going through family issues and dealing with the death of her mother.

She seems to feel that she deserved at least some of the judgement and negative publicity she received but she decided she didn’t want that to haunt her family. She has apparently decided to make some big life changes. I, for one, am encouraged to see this. She also owns up and accepts responsibility for the bad choices she has made and she doesn’t want her past to be a reflection on her children’s futures.

She has left the adult film industry and is now working as a counselor. She is still receiving some public assistance but is trying to better herself. I admire her for going public about her struggles and especially for admitting what she has done and not placing the blame on others.

I also admire and respect the fact that she has not put her children (at least to my knowledge) in the spotlight and has tried to protect them from as much of the negativity as she could. I know that being a single parent is hard and being a single parent to 14 must be extremely hard. When you are constantly surrounded by negativity and drama that does put an almost unbearable weight on your shoulders.

For all those moms (or anyone else) who are feeling down and discouraged please don’t give up! Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we ever look up to see where we are. Just remember to take it one step at a time and keep pushing forward. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. It takes a strong person to admit they need help and to ask for it. If someone offers to help then please don’t push them away.

Always remember that GOD loves you! Nothing you have done, are doing, or will do can separate you from His love!

You may also like to read:

Turning I Can’ts into I Cans

God uses cracked pots

We need mentors

Open Doors

 

Additional credit to:

‘It’s haunted us’: Octomom Nadya Suleman changed her name and found a regular job in effort to escape criticism for having 14 kids while on government help 

‘I WAS ADDICTED TO XANAX’

If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat….

We all know how it is to be working really intently on a project only to get distracted by something or someone. I know my kids never seem to need anything until I am working on bills, my blog, paperwork, or if I get a phone call. A phone call in itself can be a major distraction depending on the timing of it.

When we are doing our school work in the mornings I try my best to keep the distractions to a bare minimum. It never fails that someone will come in and get the kids stirred up or the cat will sneak in and start tickling someone’s feet. Maybe the phone will ring and the kids will take it as a signal to go crazy.

I try to handle important calls and paperwork during nap time when things are generally a bit quieter and calmer here. Sometimes I get side tracked with one of the million other things on my To-Do list. Sometimes I get into a conversation with a friend via text or messenger. Sometimes I start checking emails or log onto my Facebook for a quick peek and one thing leads to another and I end up accomplishing nothing. These are all distractions.

While many distractions could be avoided and sometimes they can cause us to waste precious time, they are not always a bad thing.

On occasion I have been really busy and working really hard on something when one of the kids comes up just to say ‘I love you’. Of course, they usually want something when they do this but I never get tired of hearing those three words. It reminds me that I do need breaks and they need attention and hugs, lots of hugs.

Sometimes I sneak to my room to work on something while the kids are playing in the yard outside of my window. Maybe I get caught up just watching them play and wondering how they have grown up so fast. Then I’ll notice that someone’s pants are a little short and decide to check for sales. Or I’ll remember that someone else needed something so I’ll try to look into that.

If it’s not the kids, it’s the cat. I’ll get all comfy and situated and the cat will come in. He will start by rubbing on my foot, then my leg, then he will jump on the bed. He will make his way across the nightstand to sit on my lap. If the computer happens to be in my lap then he will sit on the computer. He wants my attention.

I know its hard when you have deadlines to meet or something that is really pressing on you to get finished. It is so easy to just say, ‘No, I can’t right now.’ or ‘I’m too busy for that.’. We need to step back for a moment sometimes and ask ourselves if what we are working is really that important.

Is it gonna matter in 5 years that I didn’t get this blog post finished on time? Will it really be the end of the world if I don’t check all of my emails right now?

Occasional distractions can be a welcome relief from the stress of our often overwhelming duties and responsibilities. They can actually help our brains to relax a little and help get our creative juices flowing. Have you ever been stuck on a problem of some sort and walked away from it for a bit only to come back with fresh eyes and have a solution pop up out of nowhere? I have.

I’m not saying that we should give in to every distraction but every now and then its OK to let yourself get distracted. I usually try to keep a list of things that need to get done. My daily list is kept on my FlyHelper app. I also have a weekly and monthly list on there as well. So for the days that I am not focused and get distracted by every little thing I can refer back to the lists to keep me on track.

I also keep a file on my desk for things that need my attention. These include bills, reimbursements to file for various items, school materials to check into, appointments to make, and other things that invariably make their way into my already full lap. These are the items that I try to work on during quiet times.

My desk is situated on a kitchen wall adjacent to the playroom. The playroom is where the kids spend probably 80% or more of their time when they are in the house. This works out good for me as I can keep an eye on them while also working on important things that may need to get finished. I can do my bills, phone calls, menu planning, grocery lists, shopping lists, and even clip coupons from this one area. This may not work for everyone but it does for us. I currently have a roll top desk so I can leave my current project out on the desktop and just pull the lid closed so no one messes with it.

If I have big projects to work on I try to break them down into smaller tasks that I can work on in shorter chunks of time. Many times I am able to get them finished much quicker than anticipated but just the idea of knowing that I can get to a stopping point helps keep me focused.

For instance, one of the couches in the playroom needs replaced but I haven’t had the money or time to go shopping for a new one. The cushions had so many holes that they would leak stuffing everywhere and on anyone who sat on it. We had put a throw on the couch which didn’t stay put for very long with so many kids around. The only other solution was to make some covers for the cushions.

I knew that meant dragging out the sewing machine, the sewing box, and finding some material. Well, I found some material at a thrift store and I set it in an easily accessible place. Then the next time I was in the closet I managed to pull out the sewing machine and the sewing box and set them in a place where I could get to them easily.

One day I had a little free time so I decided just to pull the material out and get it cut to size. That went much quicker than I had expected and the kids were playing quietly with big sister so I decided to proceed with assembling everything. In less than an hour I had each of the cushions covered, fluffed, and put back on the couch. I had also vacuumed up the mess and washed the throw that had been on the couch.

Maybe you are sending out Christmas cards? Break it up into small chunks like buying the cards and stamps, gathering the addresses, signing the cards and sealing them in the envelopes, addressing the envelopes, then mailing them. Or do them in small batches.

Just remember that as life happens distractions will be an inevitable thing. Try to weed out the ones that you can and embrace the ones you can’t. Take each moment, each hour, each day in stride and stay focused on your goals. Don’t let the distractions keep you from your goals but don’t let obtaining your goals cause you to miss out on life and your family.

When things don’t go as planned

We all know how it is to be planning for something. We get all excited as the details are being made and the final preparations are almost finished. We had planned to go to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. This would be a good time for all of us to visit and enjoy our families together as two of my other sisters were coming also.

For me it was going to be a welcome relief from some of the stress I’ve been under lately. It was also going to be the first time in a long time that I didn’t cook a whole Thanksgiving dinner. My kids were excited to visit with their cousins and aunts that they haven’t seen in awhile.

Wednesday morning I woke up not feeling quite myself. After I showered and got dressed the little boys came to my room and said they weren’t feeling well. One then proceeded to vomit all over my bed, rug, and foot. So I grabbed him and ran to the bathroom and held him over the toilet for a minute. After he felt a bit better I proceeded to strip him down and shower him while gathering a load of laundry to wash.

This was our routine several times before lunch time. I got out our ‘puke bucket’ for the kids to carry around with them and a beach towel for them to sit on wherever they went. (We learned these tricks a while back and it helps to contain these messes and makes clean up so much easier when they can’t make it to the bathroom.)

So as the morning went on I felt worse and worse and was in a semi-zombie state by the time we finished school. It took every last ounce of energy I could muster to fix some lunch. Once big sister came in I let her take over and put the kids down for naps. I headed to bed. I slept almost all afternoon. (At some point during the day I did manage to send a couple of texts to let everyone know we wouldn’t be able to make it to dinner.)

Luckily I had almost everything we needed to make our own Thanksgiving dinner. I know I could’ve joined my brother and his family but as a mom I really didn’t want to possibly expose anyone else to whatever bug we had.

Some time Wednesday morning I had thought to take a turkey out of the freezer and made a quick menu. I had also arranged with my other daughter to make the mashed potatoes as that was one thing I did not have on hand.

I fixed some oatmeal for breakfast, which was not our normal Thursday morning breakfast, and it seemed to upset one of the kids as he likes everything to go according to routine. Once I settled him down with a puzzle to keep him I occupied I began to work on dinner. Turkey went in to cook, and then I began on the pies. Fortunately I had gotten a couple of frozen pies on sale so I just had to take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven.

Then I thought I should make a Lemon Meringue pie for my dad. (I had planned on making two on Wednesday but I was too exhausted and sick to think about eating much less making anything to eat.) I pulled a pie crust out of the freezer, yes I cheated, and left it on the counter for 15 minutes or so. While it was defrosting I also pulled some frozen bread dough out to defrost.

Well, the pie crust didn’t seem to defrost the way it should have so I popped it in the microwave and thoroughly messed it up! So I pulled another one out and reread the microwave defrosting instructions. It still didn’t work quite as planned but it was salvageable. While baking the pie crust I divided the dough into rolls and placed them into a pan to rise. I began the pie filling and broke an egg yolk into the whites when I was separating them. I have not done this in forever but I did manage to scrape most of it out and the meringue turned out fine. The pie crust could have been prettier but the meringue covered up the flaws.

My daughter came in and mentioned that she wanted a Chocolate pie. By this time I was already feeling pretty worn so she offered to look up the recipe and make it herself. I agreed to that. I retrieved another pie crust and attempted to defrost it correctly with better success. She made the pudding and finished the pie. We then decided to make a Peanut Butter pie which went went fairly smooth with the exception of me baking the crust a little too long.

I checked on the rolls and they had not risen at all. I mean no signs of life at all, nothing, not even a little puff here or there so I threw them in the chicken scraps along with my failed pie crust. I then proceeded to make a batch of 30 minute dinner rolls, from one of my favorite cook books Real Mom Kitchen, and realized I only had enough eggs for a dozen rolls.

I borrowed a couple of eggs from my sister-in-law-to-be and started on a new batch of rolls. Within a few minutes I could already tell that they were definitely alive and well. I didn’t have quite enough regular flour so I added a bit of whole wheat flour to the rolls which made them a little darker but they turned out just fine.

When it got closer to dinner time we made the green bean casserole and finished up a few things. We pulled out a folding table and covered it with a sheet as I had not dug out the Thanksgiving table cloth. I don’t really think anyone noticed anyways.

We ended up having a pretty good dinner and enjoyed our time with family. The kids watched Godzilla and they are still running around pretending to be Godzilla. I had to lie down after dinner, which I could not eat as I was still feeling a bit puny, and I fell asleep.

In the end it wasn’t about everything being as planned or looking perfect to the last detail. We managed to work together and make a meal that everyone could enjoy. We didn’t have cranberry sauce or everyone’s favorite sweet potato casserole. We don’t have tons of leftovers, well we do have plenty of pie, but everyone ate until they were full and content.

It wasn’t the Thanksgiving we had planned but it was a wonderful day. I was a little upset that I couldn’t do what I had planned to do but it was out of my hands. I have learned that sometimes God has other things planned for us and that we just need to let go of our plans and see where He is leading us. It was much better to do that than to cry or be grumpy because things didn’t go our way. (OK, I do admit I may have been a little grumpy but I will blame that on not feeling well.)

When things don’t go as planned just breathe and try to relax. Accept it for what it is and just work with it. If there are things you can change, like your reaction to the situation, then work on changing those but leave the things you can’t change to God and He will work those things out for you.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. – Jeremiah 29:11

Its been one of those days

I think all of us has had ‘one of those days’. Well it’s a Monday, and it’s a Monday after a time change so I have a strong feeling it will be one of those days everyday for the next week or so. If you have young kids, special needs kids, or maybe even no kids then you know what I mean. That one hour time difference can wreck havoc to your normal routines.

My kids don’t understand what is going on except that they are more tired and cranky than usual. Their stomachs are telling them it’s time to eat and Momma is making them wait which makes them irritable beyond belief. When you multiply that by 5 (the youngest ones) then things can get rough, really rough. The nonstop bickering and squabbling before lunch time had me threatening to send everyone back to bed for the day. Sigh, it was pretty awful.

The littles were up before 6:00! They had gotten themselves dressed and came to my bedroom asking for breakfast. Well, Momma was in the shower and they posted themselves by the bathroom door and made sure I knew they were there. They were all excited when I opened the door and they went and turned on the kitchen light, which is the signal that everyone can get up, and began making their rounds to wake everyone up. I had to explain to them that it wasn’t time yet and that Momma needed a few minutes to herself. I sent them back to their room to play quietly until 7:00, which I am certain seemed like it would be an eternity to them.

Momma really needed her ‘quiet time’ this morning. I knew from past experience that things can get rough and hairy after Daylight Savings Time so I wanted to prepare myself. I was able to get through my morning prayer and some of my devotional before being interrupted again by some very impatient and hungry little boys. The little time I had was well worth it and it did help to sustain me through the morning.

When everyone was up they just wanted to argue and complain about everything from making their beds (which they do everyday before breakfast) to putting their dirty dishes up. The littles didn’t want to help with their laundry or straightening their room. The older ones didn’t want to their morning chores and really weren’t interested in school work at all.

I had put some calming oil in our diffuser and some quiet music on to no avail. It did not seem to have any affect on the crankiness or irritability today.  I wish I had taken some photos of all the grumpy faces at the table this morning.

On top of cranky kids I had to make some phone calls to try to straighten out a problem with one of our phones. Well, this was the 3rd or 4th time I’ve called and I couldn’t get anyone on the other end of the phone to understand the problem. When I ask for a manager they just hang up on me. I guess I’ll be trying again tomorrow.

Then we had an issue with one of the sites we use for lessons. Not sure if it was all technical problems or more user error. Both of my younger girls seem to have lost the ability to read directions and work independently today. So, while attempting to do a reading lesson with my special needs son, and then some hands on work with the littles both of the girls kept interrupting with silly things.

However, we did make to lunch time with all but one of the kids finished with their school work. The one who didn’t will just have to finish it tomorrow as he has been in meltdown mode all day. He likes his schedule, if anything messes with his schedule then he gets mad, upset, angry at the world (which is everyone in the house right now). He was certain he would starve to death before lunch time got here, even after a mid-morning snack, but I am pleased to say that he did survive and so did I!

After lunch was nap time, Hallelujah! I’m not kidding, I was thanking God for letting me make it to nap time without completely losing all patience. Did I mention that I’ve been feeling a little puny the past few days? Well, 1 sick momma + 5 cranky kids = lots of unhappy people. Not a happy equation at all. It took a lot of prayers to keep my sanity and patience this morning.

So, finally everyone went down for a nap and I finished up with my house blessing aka cleaning. Mr. Starving refused be quiet, he has been talking almost non-stop for 2 days in a row! He wants to make sure everyone knows that he is not happy with this change of routine.

When my teenage daughter was up and about I left to run some errands and have some ‘me’ time… grocery shopping. Yep, I consider grocery shopping as ‘me’ time. At least it wasn’t too busy but I do believe there were quite a few other people who were not liking this time change either.

So, I am home again. Dinner is in the crock pot, thank goodness, and it smells wonderful. I was going to make some rolls, I still might, but we may end up just buttering some bread to go with it. I’ve sent the kids out to play, hoping they will get rid of some of that pent up energy.

I sat down to check my site and I hear one of the kids screaming which isn’t unusual when they are playing. Then another says someone is bleeding, I get up to go see and big sister already had little man with her. He had blood on his head, don’t panic, as a fairly seasoned Momma of 9 I know that it is usually worse than it first looks.

I escort little man to the bathroom and explain to him that we need to clean it up and check it out. He wants to know if he needs to go to the doctor or if he can go back outside to play. That’s a boy for you. He stayed amazingly calm through the whole process and as it turns out it was just a little scratch on the top of his head. After a kiss and a few minutes of rest he was ready to play again. I thank God again for keeping him safe.

I think I’m going to finish up here and go have a few ‘quiet’ minutes to myself in my room before dinner time gets here. Maybe I can finish up my devotional for today? I will sit by my window and watch my kiddos playing in the yard and just try to enjoy the rest of the day and pray that it will go smoother than this morning did. (If it doesn’t get better we may have an early bed time.)

When it’s all said and done though I am thankful for everyday, good or bad, because I know that God is working in our midst. He is using days like today to teach us patience and understanding. He is making us stronger and wiser and preparing us for things that lie ahead. He is there for us and will give us what we need, if we will only seek his word and ask him for his help.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Dear Special Needs Parent

Original Blog Post on July 12, 2016
Dear Special Needs Parent, I see you in the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and at the park. I see the smiles that hide the tears. I see the tired look you try to hide. I hear the little sigh you let out when another mom talks about ‘date night’ or a milestone their child has reached. How do I see and hear all of this? I am a special needs mom, a single parent, a homeschooling mom, and so much more.
I know how hard it is to get up at the crack of dawn because your kid is already up and calling for you, even though they didn’t fall asleep until late. I know how hard it is to divide your attention between the kids, the chores, and all that has to be done. Much less finding time to do things for yourself like shower.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last ‘date night’ I’ve had or even the last time I was away from my kids for a night. (Maybe when the 3 year old was born?) I know that when you try to plan an outing it drains you because of all the things you have to be prepared for. You are exhausted by the time you get everything and everyone packed and ready.
Things that were once fun can still be fun but they are oh so exhausting now days. We have our good days when nobody has a melt down (or maybe just a couple of melt downs for the day), nobody wets the bed, and everyone eats what you made for dinner.
Then we have the bad days. The days when everything causes a meltdown, from the French Toast you make every Tuesday to keep things on a simple routine, to the thunder they thought they heard, or the little brother who is stuck on singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (which was big brother’s favorite song yesterday but is irritating him today). Sigh, I know.
Then we have the really bad days were we just want to go back to bed. The days when you have done 3 loads of laundry before 6 am. When you have showered your 13 year old 4 times before 7am and stripped his room (and the bathroom) and completely disinfected and sanitized it for the 3rd day in a row. The days when he has forgotten/refuses to do anything for himself and calls you every bad name he can think of and then some that you can’t and don’t want to understand. I’ve been there. Sometimes these phases last a day or two or sometimes a week or two.
I can remember a few years ago when I had to clean my son’s room. It was a horrible mess. I grabbed rubber gloves and trash bags. I went to his room and opened the window. I filled those bags and started tossing them out the window because it was so nasty and I just couldn’t bear the thought of cleaning the stuff again just to have him repeat this scene again in a day or two. I was about 3 weeks from my due date with our 8th child. While cleaning I started throwing up because it was so bad. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days, at one point they thought I would be delivering the baby early. This was a week before Christmas and we had already planned a party for friends and family. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The party was cancelled and all last minute Christmas shopping went undone. But we made it through that and you will make it through whatever it is that you are going through right now too. (A very healthy baby boy was born 2 weeks later.)
I have my kids 24/7 with only a slight reprieve two times a week (when he feels like coming or something else doesn’t come up in his schedule) for maybe 2 hours a time (which was scheduled to be 5 hours each time but he never makes it that long). I can’t leave because something always happens. Sometimes I go to my bedroom or sit outside but the kids usually wander away and end up with me so I really have almost no ‘Me time’.
I know the brave front you put on when you are out and about. I know the fear when the kid next to you wipes their snotty nose on their hand and then goes to play with your kid. I know that if my kid catches whatever that is that life will be miserable for the next week or two. Not too mention the fact that it will eventually spread through the house and I’ll end up sick trying to tend to 6 kids by myself too. Yep, I know.
I also know that we need to be there for each other. We need to be a support system for each other. Whether by joining blogs or Facebook groups. If someone offers to help then let them. They can do dishes, wash laundry or just sit with the kids while you nap. Maybe when you the kids get comfortable you can even sneak away to do the grocery shopping by yourself.
Don’t keep trying to do it by yourself as you will just crash and burn. Trust me, I know.
If you are a friend or neighbor, maybe a parent or sibling of someone who has a special needs child please know that they do need you and they need your support. I can’t tell you how much it means just to chat for a minute on Messenger or a couple of texts when I am having a hard day. Let me tell you that I will never turn down food, especially ready to eat food. When someone shows up unexpectedly at the door with an armload of pizzas it is a wonderful feeling to know they were thinking about you.

I Can’t Do it by Myself!

Original Blog Post April 20, 2016
Earlier today as the kids were cleaning up for lunch work I sent the 4 year old to tidy up the playroom. It was a mess which had mostly been created by his younger brother and himself. He went in and immediately said, ‘Momma, I can’t do it by myself!.’. I explained to him that if he would just choose one thing at a time to put away he could indeed do it by himself. He put away all the books and then he attempted to put the cushions back on the couch and chair. He couldn’t do it. I watched him try and try. He struggled but he kept on trying.
Finally he asked me for help. I was sitting here at my desk, which I had taken a picture of earlier because I planned to clean it up and post the before/after pics to one of my groups, and looked at the piles of paper. There are school papers, bills, books to read, books that need put away, sigh… I could go on and on. I got up and pulled the top down over the mess.
Then I saw the mess on top of the desk. Projects I’ve been working on, copy paper that needs put away, stacks of mail for my older kids, notes about appointments to make, and so much more. I turn to the island and start to clear it. There is a note that simply says ‘pantyhose, receipt book, tea’, seems like an odd combination but that was some things I remembered when I was in the shower this morning. Everything has been taken care of and has been crossed off so I throw it into the trash. There are several of these notes laying around the house as I have to jot everything down or I will forget.
The kids are yelling for me as someone is taking turns on the swing. My dad needs me outside to look at something. The phone rings and it is a telemarketer. My special needs son is having a melt down and as I notice that he needs a haircut, which may or may not result in another melt down. Then I remember that I forgot to do something, but what was it? Was it important?
As I stop and look around I see there is a grocery list to finish. Sales to look up. Coupons to clip. Floors to vacuum and mop. Things to dust and polish. The windows have little hand prints and smudges everywhere. The yard needs mowed. I still need to plant the stuff I bought over the weekend. My list goes on and on.
I go to bed so tired that I can’t sleep. I wake up before I’m rested to start again. My body hurts. My head hurts. My body hurts. Sometimes it just feels like too much. I feel OVERWHELMED! I just want to cry! I can’t do it alone!
I realize that I’ve been running around trying to clean up my messes and get my stuff in order but I can’t do it alone. I need to take some time and have a little heart to heart with GOD. Maybe you’ve recently been widowed or divorce? You’ve not only lost your partner but your friend. You have no one to talk to when things are going rough, or when you have exciting news. You feel utterly alone. It can be so scary. You feel confused when the person you thought you knew has turned into a complete stranger.
Life is hard. Keeping up with a house is hard. Taking care of a family is hard. Its all hard enough when you are married and have someone to share the responsibilities. When that someone leaves and you find yourself all alone doing all the work it makes it that much harder. Maybe you can ‘keep up appearances’ for a little while like I did. Then when it sinks in that they aren’t coming back you have a whole new sense of being overwhelmed. That has been me for the past month or so since the papers were filed. Now as our court date approaches I know it’s over and I feel almost as hurt and overwhelmed as I did when he first left.
So what do you do? First, have a talk with GOD. Confide in him. Ask him for the strength you need. Ask him for guidance. He is there for you!
Second, I would fix a drink or snack and make a list. Then decide what needs done first, second and so on.
Third, take a deep breath and get to work. It doesn’t matter what you do just choose one thing and get started! Try to handle top priorities first.
Make sure to take frequent breaks to re-energize. I have found that when I am upset I have a lot of energy so I try to put it to good use by cleaning or organizing. Lately though the kids have been a little crazy and it seems almost impossible to get even the basic things done.
I have my routines on my phone. When I have these days, which they have been quite frequent lately, then I pull out my phone. (You could have them on paper or wherever is best for you to have easy access for them.) I look at my list and work on it. If I remember something that isn’t normally on my list, check to see if I have pantyhose to go with my suit, then I write it down on a sheet of paper.
Letting go of perfection is another thing when you are feeling overwhelmed. Is there something the kids or someone else can help you with? Ok, maybe they won’t clean the windows the way you would but at least the windows would be clean. Maybe they don’t fold the towels like you do but you could check that off your list. Involving the kids can help keep them occupied so you can get other tasks finished.
When you come to something that is really hard then ask for help or break it up into smaller chunks. I hate cleaning the refrigerator so I might just clean the top shelf one day and another shelf the next. If I’m trying to fix dinner and the 2 year old is screaming for a drink I might ask the 9 year to get it for him. If I’m out of milk and my son says he is going to town I’ll ask him to grab some milk. Remember, if you feel overwhelmed just stop and take a breath. It’s OK to cry and scream (you may just want to scream into your pillow so you don’t scare the kids). Just don’t sit down or throw your hands in the air and give up!
Don’t forget to PRAY!