When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Menu Plan

This is our new weekly recurring menu plan. I don't assign days because I like some spontaneity. Ha! I try to make what I can from scratch, but some things, like my chili, are from cans and spice packets because it's the yummiest EVER! What's your menu plan look like?

Tacos, refried beans, rice

Spaghetti and meatballs, homemade bread, and salad

Chicken salad in pita bread, fruit jello

Chile verde chicken over rice with salad

Hamburgers and tater tots with salad

Homemade chili and cornbread

Chili mac and grilled zucchini

Alternate: Breakfast for dinner

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cleaning Schedule at My House

In an effort to reclaim my sanity, I made my cleaning schedule when I was sleep deprived and had boxes everywhere. Now that the dust has cleared a bit, I am surprised to find I quite adore my little schedule. So, here it is in case you'd like a little peak into my housewivery. (And no, spell check doesn't like this word either.)

Monday-Laundry and Kids' Room
Homeschool Subjects: Bible and Language Arts

This is the day I focus on clearing all surfaces in the kids' rooms. The girls' room has only one dresser, the crib and the bed. Anything else in there on Mondays gets put back. The boys' room has one queen bed and an armoire (thanks Stephanie!). Same goes for their room. I combine their laundry bins and go to it. I like to have a single layer of clothes left at the end of the day (that days' clothes) only going into Tuesday. This is also the day I change the kids' sheets.

Tuesday-Animals, Gardens, Porches, Pool and Deck
Homeschool Subject: Science

This is the day I haven't quite mastered. The outside really is more efficiently cleaned/maintained by the blower/riding lawn mower/tractor/sprinkler system, none of which I can operate. Sometimes on this day, I go outside, look around, and go back inside...but, I am working on a basic maintenance and repair list so I can at least do some basic things outside that will make me feel like I can be part of the outdoors here I longed for so much!

Wednesday-Master Bedroom/Errands
Homeschool Subject-Social Science

This is Kya's school day AND Wyatt's school day. Unfortunately, one goes from 9-12 and the other goes from 11-2. So, I often feel like a chicken with my head cut off most of this day between lunches and getting everyone where they need to go and nursing in between...and arranging grandparents' offers of help without putting anyone out too much...sigh.

But, I am happy to get home and snuggle up with Kya and my FAVORITE subject of all...social science. Ahhhh, nothing do I enjoy more than discussing freedom, citizenship, and Lady Liberty with my five year old. I try to get to our room on this day and our laundry, but sadly, by the time dinner comes around, I am spent. I usually shove the piles around to make a little more room on our floor and fall into bed. My plan is to really get in there this weekend and get rid of a lot of stuff. Because it's the stuff making the mess. Bleh. Wednesdays. Bleh.

Homeschooling Subject-Math

On this day, I wash and change towels, wash the bath mats (there is so much pee pee dribble in this house), clear counters and sweep and mop the floors. I am in the process of finding a new mop. My Fly Lady one is not cutting it.

Friday-Kitchen and Living Room BIG clean
Homeschooling Subject: Language Arts

I have to start the weekend with these two rooms in order and clean. This is usually the night I choose to stay up until after midnight and I love it. I love to clean and have Hulu on into the dark, quiet hours of the night...ALL...BY...MY...SELF!!

Saturday-Family Fun Day (aka: messing up the house all day long)
No school

Sunday-Laundry Room/Get Ready for the Week Ahead

This is the day I regroup in the laundry room. To be fair, this day hasn't really happened yet because there is still SO MUCH CRAP in there. But, I am hopeful. I would like to prepare the laundry room on Sunday for Laundry on Monday, but God has arranged that I just have to rest lately on Sunday for various reasons , so I am happy to obey. :)

Daily Chores (things I try to do every day):

Make beds
Feed chickens/get eggs
Clean cat box
Clean dishes off after every meal
Load and run dishwasher nightly
Sweep floor daily, mop floor every other day
Swish and Swipe toilet and counters in bathrooms
Put away clean laundry sitting in baskets in various locations all over the house! :)

So, that's how I roll. How do you structure your cleaning week?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm sorry sweet girl...

Dear Addie:

As I placed you in your little bouncy seat tonight, after feeding you, I looked toward an evening of rocking you to sleep after listening to you fuss...because for the past three months, you fussed. While I did dishes, you fussed. While I tried to homeschool, you fussed. While I tried to sew, you fussed.

You cried, I cried. You screamed, I got frustrated.

And then, after eliminating my multi-vitamin supplements last week, in a last ditch effort to keep breastfeeding, you became peaceful. You no longer cried with every burp, or writhed in pain. You stopped moving every minute of the day and finally...relaxed...

Tonight, when I placed you in your seat, you just turned your sweet head to the side, folded your hands peacefully, and went to sleep.

If I had known that what I was taking was hurting you, I would have stopped earlier sweet girl.

As I watched your peace tonight, the weight of your painful digestion these past few months really hurt my heart.

I was angry at you.

I thought you were just a "fussy baby."

Thoughts crossed my mind that you were really throwing off my schedule and life. I wished occasionally...

...that we had reconsidered...

But tonight, as I watched your sweet baby face, fall into a peaceful slumber, I realized, you were just in pain. And I am so sorry...sorry for ever regretting...

...sorry because all you needed was your mommy's comfort...

...not her frustration...

I cherish you, and I am so glad we found the answer to your pain, and that you can sleep peacefully.

I cried tonight with thankfulness for your sweetness and with sorrow for my selfishness.

You are like a new baby...

...a sweet, happy, smiley, baby.

I know now she was in there all along...but, I regret...

I feel so sad...

...that I didn't know what to do to help you stop suffering earlier...

I love you more than words.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kitchen Happenings

Here is a view from our new front window to our new front porch: The red kitchen of happiness:

Gingerbread men made by small children:

Gingerbread men making group (minus Addie and Hudson-not pictured but present.)

Caden eyeing the dough boys

This kitchen beckons me to make and bake, create and love, mop and sweep and mop some more. It is a dream of a kitchen and I will forever be thankful for every nook and cranny therein.

Estrogen, Heart Palpitations, Caffeine, Anxiety and Exhaustion

But first, some photos from the last few weeks... Kya studies the flag...
Our living room...

Fall rain brings out the crazy in the kids...

Cross-eyed chubby cheeked Addie Grace... :)

Kya likes to take pictures of us...

The title says it all when it comes to my physiology and psychology the past three months since giving birth.
1. Estrogen-NONE. After I had Addie, I am convinced that all things estrogen-related died in me. This included, in my opinion, the addition of heart palpitations and a strange out of body, not attached to anything kind of feeling. The cardiologist did not think my heart issues had anything to do with estrogen or birth...but HELLO, they started immediately after giving birth and everything I've read about menopausal women and low estrogen says it can manifest as heart palpitations. (No, I am not menopausal YET, you jokesters.)
2. Heart palpitations feel like a strange awareness that the rhythm of your heart, heretofore unnoticed and pleasantly so, is off...the dub of the lub-dub is dubbing all wrong--and sometimes it dubs at the same time as the lub, making a strong BEAT that makes you want to sit down fast. I was pretty sure in the middle of these episodes I was going to die...leaving four kids and a husband to live a life of certain doom...it feels like a lump in your throat and a little bit of a sick feeling...maybe because it causes anxiety...which causes more palpitations. For me, it's a vicious cycle. Oh, and for me, the caffeine deprivation DID NOT HELP!!! It made me palpitate all the more. Strangely, this would happen MOST when I was sitting or lying down.
3. Caffeine...never in my wildest dreams did I think the doctor would tell me to stop drinking caffeine. When those words met my ears, it was as though the strength drained from my body...no caffeine? This cannot be serious. Do you M.D. people understand that having four children and moving into a new home, and having a colicky newborn REQUIRES caffeine?

I thought I had it all together until that moment...

4. Anxiety: I always have heightened anxiety after giving birth. For about three months, it causes me to periodically sleep on the floor between the kids' rooms and my own, so certain am I that a serial killer or kidnapper will come in the night and harm the kids.

It makes me want to lock and deadbolt and chain and alarm every opening in our house.
It causes me to check my baby's breathing...over and over and over again.

It makes me look at my husband in disbelief when he suggests a weekend away.

It heightens all rational fears and worries until sometimes they are unbearably irrational.

It causes me to be certain the latest episode of CSI is going to manifest in my living room.

Sometimes, I think my own special issues should be called postpartem preparedness--because I spend all my time preparing for the worst possible scenario and then preparing again...who has three first aid kits in their minivan just in case? ME. Because I know someone is going to have a puncture wound in the eye as soon as we get to the PARK!

Oh the park...don't even get me started...

I am thankful to know that my God is bigger than all that and His plan is for us to prosper. If I didn't have that on which to hang my anxiety-ridden hat, I would be paralyzed.

When my babies are three months old, like clockwork, the anxiety lifts and the first aid kits and Rambo-proofed door locks are abandoned. Phew!

5. Exhaustion: Where are you? It is a miracle to me that I have stayed up until midnight or 1:00 AM every night, awakening typically at 4:00 AM, every night since we moved, and I am still functioning...not high-level functioning mind you...but, I am doing OK. The few weeks without caffeine were tough. But, I now have a little daily caffeine and it is getting me by nicely.

We get dressed and do our hair every day (I say "we" because I am the sole person responsible for five peoples' hair in this house--it's a BIG responsibility--have you seen Addie's hair?).

We venture out regularly. I put makeup on and I am finding my husband to be very wonderfully HOT again (a sign the estrogen has returned! Hooray!)

The house is looking pretty darn good (because I stay up at night and undo what has been done to it during the day.)
The heart palpitations have lessened significantly.

Addie is three months old, but the past three months are absent to some extent. I'm not sure where they went. The fog is really lifting now and I feel sad that I missed her babyhood.

I feel sad that the last baby we'll have was lost in the middle of moving and fogginess. I feel regret that I have not been able to fully experience the sights and smells of newborn mommyhood...but I'm ready to tackle it again.

I'm ready to breathe in and out the happenings of my family, our farm, our friends, and our life.

Look out everyone! I'm back! Just a little less caffeinated.