Monday, February 27, 2017

Ordinary Days & Things I Have Learned (And Re-learn Sometimes Too) & A Great Book

February is almost over, and we are heading into spring!  We've had a few very warm days and they have been heavenly-a reminder that we won't be stuck in cold dark gray depressing days for long. The little bursts of warmth and sunshine really helped me escape from a February rut.  I have my Lenten resolutions all ready to go and a new cleaning routine (I am doing 30 mins of general house cleaning, and 30 minutes of deep cleaning one room every day for spring and it is working lovely-if I skip days-and I do-I know eventually it will be finished).

We bought a new computer-a Mac-and that has taken some getting used to but I do love it. I was so nervous about it-my oldest kids were laughing at me-but I was just really nervous.  I fear two things-making a mistake and losing all our family pics, and making a mistake and spending four hours talking to someone I can't understand halfway around the world.  The latter has really happened long ago, the first one never (as I type that my heart flutters, knock on wood.)

The change forced me to through my entire photo library which was ridiculously full of meaningless photos.  I more than halved the entire library and it is so nice and organized and I am thrilled.

The change also has me thinking of new ways to scrapbook-I think I might use chatbooks instead of printing photo collages and just stick a little book in the big scrapbook every year or so, along with a few old-fashioned paper pages.  I've been looking for a way to cut down the time AND to stay on top of each event as it happens-adding captions as I remember them in my old mind-not when I am rushing to catch up and forgetting everything, and I think this is my answer for the three youngest kids.  It had been feeling like a duty and now I feel happy about it.

Valentines!

Cookies!

Babies!
 She found her old carrier that she spent days and days in and it sure brought back memories.
(We also have a new smile for photos as you can see.:)

Abbey visited and we both couldn't get Valentines chocolate hearts off our mind, and so we sat in the car outside of Rite Aid after our purchase and split each chocolate.

Janey was so so happy.  She misses Abbey so much.  
As a side note, I love rides back and forth to college.  It's the best time to talk and we sure do about everything under the sun.  I've said it before but the drop off never ever gets easier. 

On one of the nice warmer days, Patrick was able to go fishing with his BF and this is second only to basketball on things that make Patrick happy.

Books!  
On one of my "escape from my rut" contemplations I decided that I needed to find some really good books.  My friend loaned me this one and OH BOY did I love it. It is very much like "The Glass Castle".  I highly highly recommend it. Know that there is some language but this is a true story and it is part of the story.  I will never forget it and have been telling everyone I know to run out and buy it.  There is so much to think about-so much to talk about-I really feel like this book just has to bring about some great conversations from politics (not nasty politics, but thoughtful politics), to poverty, to parenting and more.  If you have a Marine in your life, I think they would enjoy this especially.





I also started writing down little things I have learned on this parenting journey.  I am sure I have written about all these things before but as they come to mind I want to jot them down.  Some things come to mind as I hear or read terrible advice given to younger moms (pretty much everything in those parenting magazines), or I relearn a lesson that I've learned several times before, or I talk with friends that I admire so much as mothers.


-If you constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed when you are a mom (unless you just had a baby and even then this can still apply) you need to eliminate things from your life until you feel calmer and life runs more smoothly.  There are things you can't and shouldn't eliminate-kids :), and church, and maybe kid's school (unless it's preschool, which isn't at all necessary.)  Children rebel against crabbiness, and stress and rushing in the home. They also rebel against lack of attention and lack of consistency.  There are things that maybe are hard to let go of, unless you think of it as a temporary letting go for a season of life.  With each child added to the family, things need to become more centered on home life and house running and child raising.  This is BIG work-enough that it deserves most of our attention. This is not mainstream thought by the way.  The underlying mainstream message today is "don't change your life for your family" at the same time mainstream talk is saying "family comes first". Those two trains of thought are completely incompatible.  We only have ONE husband to pay attention to,  we are ONE mother to each of our children, it is enough to be that ONE well, if we are anything at all.  These roles reap the most reward when they are our priority and some of that reward is our deep satisfaction and joy in family life.

-If you are wondering how someone seems to do it all-I'd say, "stop comparing" but also "no way" while still being present to their family.  There are no miracle workers out there and no one who has more hours in the day than anyone else.  I doubt very much anyone has such an arsenal of time management and skill that a life spread with many big things does not magically cause considerable stress on a family of young ones. I think sometimes the culture we live in today is a giant spreader of delusion.  I called it lies, but my daughter corrected me and said that sounds too purposeful and maybe delusion is a better word.  She is right.  I try to teach my kids that what they see online or on the TV or on social media, must be taken with a grain of salt and some real sensibility and discernment.  We moms need to do this also. Usually the behind the scenes perfection takes a big personal toll or the toll often times gets handed off to the kids.  We all know what reality looks like-it's what is right in front of us and has nothing to do with a screen at all.  We need to pay way way more attention to our reality.  Even when it comes to advice or information, if we take the time for thought and connection-real connection with our own families, we will get the answer-the answer is rarely "out there" from some "expert",  but what's in our hearts and our minds when we are calm and connected enough to our families to listen to our heart and mind. (See first paragraph.)

-If there is something running very true and similar among close happy families, it is a culture of family togetherness but at the heart of it all, it is a strong marriage.  A marriage where the husbands builds up the wife and the wife builds up the husband.  A marriage where the wife is pointing out to the children her husband's strengths, and not his weaknesses and vice versa.  The best book I've ever read on this subject is called "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". It is excellent.

-If there seems to be not enough time in the day step away from the tech-phones, laptops, etc.  It is a time sucker like no other and little distracting minutes add up so quickly to hours out of a day and the cost is way way too great, not only for us but for our families too.

That's all for February!


28 comments :

  1. Wonderful advice and just what I needed to hear, thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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  2. Is there a "Care and Keeping of Wives?" If so, would most men read it? Sigh.

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    1. No and no but I think that would be awesome!

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  3. I could not find the book you recommended. Is it "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger? If not, could you please let me know the author?

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  4. Sorry Beth, yes that is it! I corrected the title and linked to it.

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  5. Thanks for the book idea. I am always looking for non-fiction true stories like these. Keep them coming! I have kids in college also but still a 7 yr old at home. The whole parenting thing is easy for me because I am a stay at home mom. I just cannot imagine caring for family and home and working outside the home. I will someday. But when the kids were all little....it sure was nice to stay home.

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  6. Hi Sarah, I'm about to switch to a MAC too, and I'm worried about transferring all of my pictures. Any tips? I love that you culled the collection as you went along. I'll definitely be doing that too.

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  7. My son did the transfer for me from portable hard drive. Watch a quick tutorial on how Photos are organized on Mac-I hated it at first but my son told me when I got used to it I would see the genius in the simplicity and now I love it-the tutorial really helped me.

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  8. Always appreciate your no-nonsense advice and that you give it freely :) I know everyone is different. But I certainly have found that I need to let things go (and not feel guilty about it) in order to feel more peaceful and less rushed.

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  9. Check out the Project Life App. I LOVE it, especially since I can edit photos and scrap right on my phone.

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    1. I was going to suggest this too. Every Sunday do the past week's page/layout. So easy!

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  10. I'm so incredibly grateful for you blog and your honest "old fashioned", no nonsense way of doing things. I have 5 children from 14 down to 3 and lately I'm just feeling overwhelmed. We recently did a out of state move starting into a new high school, middle school, and elementary school, mid year and it's been a challenge. I feel like there are many resources for Mothers with small children, but not as many "sound" principles or advice from a seasoned, wise mother with tweens,teens and older and I need that. Your blog is often an answer to prayer that I need to just keep going, praying, and trying. I think the think I struggle with most is feeling like I want to give my children opportunities to develop talents and abilities, especially so they have something positive to identify with. I have some children academically gifted and 2 that really struggle academically so it's just feels like such a difficult balancing act. I wish I was brave enough to get rid of all the extra stuff and just buckle down and worry about the basics. Anyway, sorry for the ramble. A it's been a difficult "mom day". Thanks for writing when and what you do.

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  11. Thanks for this, I always love what you have to say.

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  12. Excellent as always. Thank you for taking your precious time to share your wisdom with fellow moms (and daughters!)

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  13. Chatbooks really have been great! Thanks for the good reminder post of what matters most.

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  14. I love your blog and am so grateful for your refreshing perspective! Will you share your 30 min general house cleaning routine?

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    1. Beth I just go room to room and generally straighten. Bathrooms I use Clorox wipes for counters and clean toilets as needed. Make beds, pick up clothes (kids should do this but don't always), and wipe counters in kitchen, unload dishwasher, throw in laundry and/or fold, vacuum and floors as needed (usually once a week, kitchen floor more.). I do what glaringly needs to be done in other words. Some days I skip but like to have at least laundry caught up and beds made. I do this first thing in morning as that's when I have the energy it seems.

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  15. a lovely post.. a great reminder.

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  16. I read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands when it came out! I had a baby that demanded a lot around then, we were young, and struggling. It was such a great help, and I credit it to my happy marriage today. Now that baby is 14, not any easier, but we sure live each other. When anyone asks about marriage advice, I always give Dr. Laura's four word summary: Choose wisely, treat kindly.

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  17. Keep your advice coming! It is such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for taking the time to share with the rest of us. It truly is a blessing.

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  18. So thought I'd ask you this if you have an opinion ;) I think I am very similar to you in that I like a clean and organized house...just helps me maintain an organized mind! My kids have always had little jobs to help out during the week such as bed/room and during the weekend help out a bit more. Now that the older two are in high school (jr and fresh), bed making/room cleaning in the morning hasn't been happening...and they both have 6 a.m. morning practice 3x per week so it is hard to get up and out the door with keeping their rooms clean. So I have been doing the 3-5 minute room sweep like you do in the morning to make beds and pick up dirty clothes off their floor. I didn't really mind...and it literally takes about 2 minutes per room. Then a few weeks ago I decided not to...it's their rooms and they need to keep it clean or not. If I could just shut the door and forget about it that would be great but I have daycare kiddos and they sleep in a pack and play that I put up in each bedroom daily so I am in and out 2-4 times per day. They are getting it clean...sometimes...but often not until the weekend. I want THEM to be responsible...but I also like beds made and a neat house. Straighten them up each morning? Leave them and let it become a pit that they clean up on the weekends? Any thoughts ;)

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    1. I've been in the same place as you Janelle-just did an experiment to see how long I could go before I touched a certain boy's room that I was really frustrated with. Here's the thing-I wouldn't mind if there was a tight stressful schedule for kids-like it seems for your kids-are they doing what they can between school and sports? Or are they just being lazy? That's the question. In a way it takes about two minutes to make a bed, and it's a habit to just not throw clothes on the floor also. There were times here when the kids between working and sports and school-I felt ok giving them a break. Other times no. I can do the 'shut the door ignore' it thing for only so long. (My record-5 days, before I either do it myself, or make them clean it themselves.) I hate the constant reminders and what feels like nagging on my part. If I were you, and I was in and out I couldn't live with a messy room, and especially if I was watching kids, because that's almost like a work space for you. I would say I think the answer is to just do it yourself or compromise-it takes you a couple seconds for you to make a bed (because I'm sure you make it look nicer also), but they can take care of the clothes etc? For me it needs to be done daily, I know that for sure.

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  19. I just love your blog! I'm 31 with 3 little kids and sometimes feel isolated in my parenting style, as it's not the norm of many moms around me. Then I read your thoughts and see your great kids and I get this boost of confidence again in sticking to my guns with what really matters:) thanks!

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  20. I remember reading that book that i happened to stumble upon in a thrift shop when I was first married with a young baby. I really enjoyed it and i do remember trying so hard. It did niggle at me some of what she says as there are so many demands on mothers that sometimes by doing even more like making sure the house is clean and a good meal available when he gets home is beyond possible on particular days. I have 4 kids, 6, 4, 2 and a 6 month old. Now it is not at all possible that my house be clean and a meal made most days of the week. He is gone 5am and home at 7pm - which is bang on bed time. By the time he walks through the door its usually crying happening (one more cuddle pleeeeaase) and the mess from dinner downstairs still there.

    I am truly blessed that my husband is wise and caring and we naturally care for eachother because of the the love and appreciation we have towards eachothers hard work day in day out. My point is, there aint no way my house is going to be spotless at this time in life and that was one thing i remembered from the book. But i love on him and we communicate throughout the day and we enjoy life together...i married the right guy and that makes life a lot easier of course.

    Ps any advice on how to do bedtime alone with kids my age? Also any advice on giving each child enough one on one or quality time to each child?

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  21. As a side question, how on Earth did you make it through all the pregnancies with bad morning sickness? I would love to have a fourth but I'm terrified of going through it again.

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    1. I think I just kept thinking it couldn't happen again? Or that I would try something new and that would be the cure? (Nothing helped except for #5 I did take a ton of ginger pills and b6 and that was the easiest.) I guess in my heart I knew it was worth it and would all be behind me. Have you seen this site? I would really look into this-they seem to be on to something:https://mamaandbabylove.com/can-you-prevent-morning-sickness/
      and Pink Stork Solutions
      Here's a great post from a mom of many:
      http://stevenandersonfamily.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-cause-and-cure-of-morning-sickness.html

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  22. Sarah and her husband for president!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  23. Thank you sweet Sarah! I needed this so badly today! I have been feeling so overwhelmed and like I am drowning! I try to do it all and compare to what I THINK others are able to do. I loved your advice on dropping things in your life to simplify. I need to do this asap, and not worry about how others will judge me.😊 I adore your blog and your main message that you always share about raising children! Your messages are like little gems, the most precious treasures anyone could ever find in this life! Xo

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