Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
Sharing life with you is fullfilling

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Small house visitors

Last week we had the privilege of visiting some friends of ours.  We don't get to see them often so it was indeed a special treat.  The last time we had seen them was when our youngest was born 7 months ago.
While we were at their house I couldn't help running a comparison of our living spaces.  Their 4 bedroom house seemed like a mansion in comparison to our 5th wheel.  Our whole home would fit inside of their dinning room and living room with space to spare.
But I wasn't envious of them at all.  Their life is beautiful and their home filled with love, just the same as ours is and those are the things truely important. .. Not how much space we have or the things we fill that space with.
Both of our families are thriving, our children growing and healthy.  We are living lives filed with God's peace.
After leaving their home we traveled back to set up or own home and start the 5th wheel life here in Pennsylvania.  I had a very full week ahead of me and was looking forward to getting life back on track.  Things went well enough. 
The weekend came and our same friends were headed out for a family vacation in our general area and asked if we wouldn't mind some company for a night.  I welcomed them whole heartedly.  More chance to see the friends we do rarely see! And our first 5th wheel house guests too!  They came, we had a lot of fun and enjoyed each others company. .. And you know what?  Aside from a lack of sleep due to our tight quarters and so many people in them it was great!  I really wondered if I would be embarrassed or sad about the space I had for such good friends... But I only had one tiny moment where I wished I could offer more, I love my little house. I love the freedom my children are enjoying.  Even though my space is small I feel perfectly at home in it. And now that we have been living in it with Patrick for nearly a week I am finally getting things in the places they need to be, and school is back in progress.  We didn't even fall behind this week!  I did have to throw us in pretty hard core to make sure we didn't lose our place in all the craziness but it is going well.
I feel that life is both rewarding and comfortable right now and that is such a blessing.
I do wonder how our friends felt about their visit. .... But I know I gave my best and that is as good as it gets.
I do love this life! God has really blessed me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Setting up camp

I'm so excited to say that we have finally arrived to be with Patrick at our new home.
Being that last weekend was a holiday weekend we didn't get to set up because the camp ground was too full. .. But we are set up now.
This morning the kids woke up and went outside for the morning while I unpacked and put things where they belong.  I was shocked that they were so good.  They played quietly in the loose gravel around the picnic table in our 'yard' until lunch time then we had sandwiches and carrots for lunch walked over to throw out our trash and came back for nap time.  I still have to nail down the right time for a nap though because only Micah slept.  We did school and then went grocery shopping and on the way home they all fell asleep.  Not just a light doze but the sleep of someone deprived of sleep. Hard sleep is rare in these kids but I'm hoping to see it often this summer as they will have so much more outside play time.
Have I mentioned I love rv living?  Simple life is so refreshing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Zip ties

The reason I have stayed in Michigan as long as I have is because my brother and sister in law invited me to share their joy and be their doula when my niece joined the outside world.
I'm happy to announce that she has arrived. Her story isn't mine to share but she is gorgeous and her mama is a birthing rock star.
Now that she is born I have the task of preparing the 5th wheel to move to our new home location, which means taking all the glass items off shelves and using zip ties on cupboards that might rattle loose in the drive, spilling everything inside.
The zip ties make me think of life and how it often seems to be locked in place but really one small maneuver and it all comes apart.  A seemingly healthy little girl diagnosed with cancer, a woman told that her husband won't be around for the birth of their 3rd child because he has been called to serve his country once again and will be leaving in a few weeks.
Everything can turn upside down in moments. .. And what can ever set them right again?  There is only one answer. .. God.  Lean in on him as he cares for you.  He loves you, he created you, he created carefully those little lives that are forming every day that he entrusted to your care. 
My niece, she was just born into a world of uncertainty, and the only thing we can ever be certain of is that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that he would die in our place for the sins of the world.
That he loved us so greatly makes me believe in miracles. That he loved us so greatly makes me believe that the only place to find rest is in his arms.  That he loved me so much makes me realize that I need that love both poured into my life and spiling out into other people's.
The people mentioned above are real, both of their stories are heart wrenching and make me want to do everything to help in any way I can help. .. But more than anything they make me draw into my heavenly father for support and security.  When life is anything but secure rest in his love and trust in him to carry you through whatever may come.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Getting ready to go again.

I read a blog post about traveling with children yesterday and it motivated me to write out my experience with long car rides and young children. I have plenty of experience in this. My oldest took his first road trip at 7 weeks old. And we have not stopped traveling yet. We are also about to embark on our adventure to go to Pennsylvania and I'm going to have to prepare my father (who is driving us) for the travel with very little ones, so this post will serve as a reminder to me as I prepare for our journey. My number one trip advice is that you any other passengers with a say in destination or arrival time need to absolutely be on the same page with your plan and understand that children do not understand things in future tense. They only know right now and the past few hours. Slow is the name of the game with children. Don't try to drive more than 8 hours in one day, or 2 hours without stopping. And when you stop think of the stop as an adventure rather than a hindrance to your adventure. Rest stops are great places to explore. Generally speaking no two gas stations or rest stops are exactly alike and children love to browse the store or look at the maps or wander on the side walk. If you allow them that small pleasure you will have less complaining in the back seat. Another thing I recommend is stopping to eat. Don't get fast food at the drive through. If you get out and enjoy your meal around a table, use the bathrooms, take your time don't rush. Everyone will travel happier and your bellies will thank you because you can order healthier food that way. Maybe even food that will digest better. Next pack a bag for each of your kids. Yeah you will have a bag of clothes but giving them each a bag or as I do a backpack, filled with goodies will encourage less boredom. My kids each have a travel bag that they only get for road trips. The bag is important. It's like presentation. ..a brown or paper bag just isn't as cool as a butterfly backpack or a backpack that has a monster on it. My kids are home schooled so they don't get school supplies that other students get, they picked out travel bags instead. What do you fill them with? Depends on the child. Some people recommend toys the kids only see in the car, others suggest that special lovey that your child sleeps with. I suggest a mixture. Last year I filled a small glass jar with rice and let the kids find small things like a toy car, some buttons, a silk flower, and other tiny objects to put inside then I sealed it and it became a game of find and seek. I bought a pack of pipe cleaners and split it between them. Put some flash cards and lacing cards in as well, then I let the kids add their lovey and a few hand sized toys. I also made then each a coloring book with crayons wrapped in velcro to secure them to the cover of the book which was full of blank note cards, this was such a hit! They also each own a magnadoodle which is always in the car. I want to add some fails in here too.. Don't give your kids playdough, gak, or anything like it... it does wash out but is a horrible mess in the car. Don't give a toddler with a pacifier one of those snack packs they can stuck out purree'd food from. .. Again big mess. And though tvs are great for travel dint let them watch movies more than they would at home, they get bored faster in front of the TV than if you save the movie as a last resort. Some people say traveling at night is best. I totally disagree. If it works for you go for it, but I find if I travel at night I spend most of the day getting ready then the night driving and the next day I am no good because I have not slept in forever. Instead we prepare the night before, get a good night's sleep, get everyone dressed and load the car while they eat breakfast and get on the road ASAP. Then as long as we stop for an adventure at a gas station or rest stop every two hours to stretch our legs the trip goes very nicely. And I don't have to feel guilty about the horrible angle my poor children's heads fall in when they are sleeping in the car. Enjoy the journey!

Friday, May 16, 2014

School is getting fun.

Caeden is such a mover that getting him to sit still long enough to learn things that require attentiveness is often very difficult.  He wants to ask a million questions,  change the subject at least once usually to tell me about dragons, and fidget with things around him. I usually have to clear the table before we can get down to business. ..I don't mean of dishes or toys I mean of everything, including homeschool items that are not needed at this exact moment.
BUT he has mastered reading "The Ear Book" this week,  learned to count by twos and started exploring odd numbers (we have been doing evens mostly) and can now copy a whole sentence in the lines, writing the words in the order they are written. .. The accomplishments are incredible and since he has done so well we actually moved up a few weeks instead of just one in a couple different subjects.
Seeing the fruit of this labor is so encouraging!  I'm loving it now more than ever.  Maybe I can handle this even better than I thought. 
I had no doubts about being able to do it but teaching reading and number recognition is the most difficult thing I've done in my life.  I know that it gets easier once those two things are mastered,  but how easy it has gotten over the course of this week is very encouraging. I can't wait to continue to bigger things and more books and field trips to historic places.
The next year in our 5th wheel is going to be such a great experience!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy 30th birthday to me.

Not sure what the day will bring tomorrow but I am turning 30. I'm actually pretty excited about this new year...
30 is just so grown up.  I guess that is what most people don't like about it.  I love it. 
As far as my personal goals are concerned I'm pretty much exactly where I would hope to be at this age. I do have to tweak them a little but I'm profoundly happy with my life right now.
Here is what I have done since high school.
1. Traveled to New Zealand
2. Moved out of my family's house.
3. Paid off a loan.
4.Got married to the best guy in the world.
5. Bought a house
6. Birthed my first child
7. Moved to San Diego
8. Birthed my second child
9. Over come ptsd
10. Miscarried a baby
11. Moved in with my parents
12. Moved to rural upper Michigan
13.  birthed my 3rd child at home.
14. Moved to Indianapolis
15. Survived Patrick losing a few jobs
16. Bought and moved into a 5th wheel
17. Became a certified doula
18. Began the homeschool journey
19. Prepared to move to Pennsylvania in this month.
20. Made friends all over the world, including China,  Japan, Hungary, New Zealand,  Peru,  Guam,  Australia, Germany,  California,  Michigan, Indiana,  Ohio,  Texas,  Oklahoma,  Maryland, and probably some other places I just can't think of at this moment.
The next ten years will bring two of my children into their teens,  determjne if we really are a complete family and lead to me possibly starting a career as a home birth midwife. I am excited to turn the page on my twenties and enter face first into my thirties.
I hope this yearbrings us all blessings!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers everywhere

Congratulations!  You have the best job in the world!  Some would have you believe the work you do is menial and has little reward but the truth is your rewards are scattered everywhere, sort of like the toys in your living room that probably didn't get picked up last night.
Speaking as a doula I want you to know that at the birth of your child you were given probably the most significant gift your child will ever give you.  A dose of oxytocin.  That chemical that bonded you to your baby and made you respond to every tiny whimper in those first months.  That made you feel warm and peaceful after such hard work bringing that beautiful baby into the world.  (If you didn't experience this at birth it is still possible that you have had it at some point. ..)
other gifts:
Those smiles.  Yes every time your child looks at you with a loving smile it is a gift just for you.  They start as a smile that says "I love you" before words can actually be formed in your baby's mouth, and Eventually turn into smiles of amusement because your child believes you are weird but loves it.
A bunch of hand picked dandelions.  Sure they are weeds, perhaps you remember your mother telling you that is what they are when you brought her some, maybe someone else on the school yard told you. .. But once opon a time they were beautiful yellow flowers that covered your yard and now your child sees them that way and desires to share the beautiful flowers with you.
A crayon drawing (or 500 drawings of dragons) it never ceases to amaze me that my son can draw dragons as well as he can, but I shouldn't be amazed that is all he ever draws. . On the one hand I have so many paper dragons I don't know what to do with them, on the other hand this stage is short and I want to appreciate the sentiment of a hand drawn picture as long as possible.
Spontaneous hugs. My kids were trying to give me their toys as presents and I had to eventually explain that while I love that they are sharing mommy doesn't sleep with stuffed bunnies anymore,  so I taught them that the best present for mommy was a surprise hug. Now they come to me with their hands hidden behind their backs looking sneaky and saying they have a surprise for me, then pouncing on me with a full body hug.  It's awesome!
Finally learning that thing you have been working on forever.  Don't you love that moment?  They finally get it. Be it potty training, reading,  walking, saying mama, whatever it is, the moment they get it is amazing.
Peaceful nights after they are asleep in their beds,  or crashed on the floor next to their book shelves. Where ever those Weary heads land at night and whatever you do with that time it is great to spend it relaxing with a cup of something you love to drink, curled up on the couch thinking and reflecting on your day. The good, the bad, the ugly, the hilarious, some of them mixed all together in the same scenario.  It is a time of refreshment and if you let it be, it can be a time of reward for your hard work. Happy Mother's Day!

This honestly doesn't even begin to cover the lists of rewards that our children give us for our work.  Can you add your favorite reward for motherhood?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Role reversal

Tomorrow is Mother's day.  This is such an odd holiday for us this year.  Patrick isn't with us to celebrate so really it is left to me to either celebrate and show my children the joy of celebrating sometime other than themselves, or choose not to honor myself.  Either option is both awkward and significant. 
On the one hand I think it is an important thing to teach my children to honor their mother and to celebrate the work that I do for them. But on the other hand I feel like celebrating myself could teach them the wrong lesson.
Enter my dad.
For years growing up it has been a tradition that in the spring around mothers day the women would go on a trip to hunt for mushrooms.  Since no children were allowed along it sort of became a coming of age thing for my sister and I.  And then my grandmother died,  my aunt and mom started going at different times and it seemed to fall apart, but still we try to make it work.  Last year my sister and I couldn't make it at the same time so my mom went twice,  on the weekend with me and for a few days during the week for my sister.  This year I don't even have the option to go because there is no one to take care of my kids and because Micah is still breast feeding.  So they went without me.  They will return Sunday night. 
My dad (since mom won't even be around then) has offered to take me out to eat for Mother's day.  The honor is high. A DAD... taking his daughter out for Mother's day.  Let that sink in.  I am blessed.

Friday, May 9, 2014


For what ever reason the other day my children decided to act as if they were born of some other woman, one who clearly never disciplined them.  I had all the familiar phrases in my head, ones like "consistency is what children need. " and they all spoke clearly to me about my failure as a mother to raise children who respected me and honored me with their words and actions. All day long the inner voice beat me mentally while my children ran me through the ringer with disobedience.
I was at my wits end when at 10pm they were finally asleep after putting them to bed at 7:30pm. What caused this horrible behavior?  I have a few ideas but none are absolutely the cause.  A better question is 'how are they now? ' it's been a few days and they are amazingly better.  They miss their dad,  but they are obedient once again.
What did I do?  I listened to that inner voice, not the one that said I was a horrible mother, but the one that said to be consistent.
There is nothing more important in my life than to raise God fearing, respectful children.  And so when one of them is being anything other than that I am doing my best to respond quickly to that behavior. The problem is that I also have sin in my life that wants to take precedence over the discipline of my children.  There will never be a time when washing the dishes,  playing sudoku, or dragon mania, or even preparing home school lessons will be more important than turning the hearts of my children toward God.  If one of them needs discipline or correction whatever I am doing should be immediately stopped or put on hold to take care of them.
Are my children behaving perfectly?  No.  Will they ever?  Probably not.  But will I make them a priority?  Absolutely! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

We found a normal

After so much crazy in the last 6 months it feels so great to find something we can call normal. I literally have not had normal since Micah was born but the last two days we have established a routine and have been functioning as I feel God would have us function.
The peace that comes with a schedule is better than anything.
Our day:
Caeden wakes up and plays quietly with play dough or colors a picture while every one else is sleeping.  Micah and I wake up and I change his diaper and get Caeden breakfast.  Shortly after that Fia wakes up and I get her dressed and have Caeden get dressed as well.
Boomer by then is going crazy in his kennel so I take him out to go potty while Fia's oatmeal cooks in the microwave.
Then I begin the process of making my own breakfast and start Caeden on his schooling.  After I have eaten and the kids are done eating I wash the breakfast dishes and work with Caeden on more school.
Then Micah needs a nap so I turn on some cartoons for Caeden and Fia and go nurse Micah to sleep and pray his siblings let him sleep.
After Micah is down for his nap I finish school with Caeden. And begin the process of getting lunch prepared. After lunch we go play outside for a while if the weather is nice.  Then have a short nap when Micah is ready for another.  And get ready for dinner, and washing up lunch dishes.
The rest of the day is relaxed with no expectations at all and I really enjoy it being that way.  The morning is my best time to get anything done, and the evening is a time to enjoy each other as a family.
Sweet peace!  Sweet schedule!  I totally don't mind at all that all of this is being done in the parking lot outside my parents house... my life is prefect.  I only wish we were already with Patrick, but I wouldn't give up the honor of being at the birth of my brother's first child just to hurry or reunion.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Back to life.

I can't believe after all the craziness we have been through that I'm able to say this but I'm so glad I can.
Caeden is resuming school tomorrow.  It will be our first day doing school in the 5th wheel.  I'm excited and maybe a little under prepared but it is one step in a long journey that proves that we are getting normal back.
What will we do for school?  We will start our day with breakfast and then after I get the breakfast dishes done caeden will work on number recognition and counting by playing sorry.  Yup.  Fun stuff.  Then fia will get some minor counting and color recognition by playing candy land.
After math we will work on recognizing the abc's.  Both caeden and fia need this.
After that will be reading.  Caeden is almost able to read 'The Ear Book' on his own so we will start with that one and then read The poem twinkle twinkle little star.  If he does well and is game then I will have him start reading Ten Apples Up On Top, if not we will do that one tomorrow.  Then we will do a science lesson from the book we have been working with.  We are pretty far behind in that so we will probably do science every day instead of twice in the week.  Fia will color while caeden and I work on science.
Micah will hopefully be entertained with toys and Graham crackers during all of this learning. 
We won't work on history tomorrow but I will need to figure out what our history lesson is on for Tuesday since we also have gotten behind in history.
Honestly even though we are behind I'm just glad to say that tomorrow we can start working again.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Wrapping up

The end is near.  I can feel it.  I sort of took today off from unpacking and went shopping instead, but I still managed to get things almost finished in the 5th wheel. 
I have managed to get almost everything unpacked and put away,  I do need some organizing tools but am in pretty good shape over all. I even have one cupboard that is empty!
I think by Monday I can start Caedens school up again and start back on the path to normal!  He is doing very well in his schooling despite all the craziness of this year.  He has learned that numbers have meaning and what that meaning is,  and he has begun to read. He can read twinkle twinkle little star, and The Ear Book. He also learned about sound and vibrations, which would be cool if I planned his reading and science to go along with each other but I didn't it just happened that way.
Sapphira can count to 11 and recite her abc's. She is starting to color inside the lines and take pride in her pictures, although for whatever reason she has decided not to know her colors when last year she was able to identify all of them correctly.
Micah is starting to get a napping schedule again.  Not because he doesn't need it or anything but I think he is dropping a nap. I believe it will turn out Ok though because he has such a hard time staying asleep with all the noise in the 5th wheel,  so dropping that 3rd nap means he is extra tired for the other 2 and sleeps pretty soundly.
Speaking of sleep, I have been having a hard time on the extra firm mattress of my bed and woke up with bruises on my hips today, so I bought a fiber filed mattress pad and now I feel like I'm sleeping in a cloud! So wonderful!