We Are So Blessed!

Well, we are moved! It is now Wednesday and we have been in our new home since Saturday. My family and I are so blessed to be able to buy this home. There is more space, which we desperately needed.

What an overwhelming process, moving a family of six. There are still many things to do and some boxes to unpack. It does feel wonderful to be here in this house though. I know everything will fall into place.

I will begin writing again tonight. I have so much that I have been thinking about during this whole process. I cannot wait to share it all with you. I hope everyone is having a great week.

Keep Calm and Move

I dislike moving.  I hate it actually. Not really sure why but I do.  To make it even more fun, I do not know when we are moving. We are thinking some time this week, but we are not for sure. So how do I pack to move a family of six people without driving myself nuts?

I think the key is answering two questions…

What can we live without (possibly for several weeks)?

and

How can I pack so that I will know where everything is?

First question…What can we live without? That is fairly simple. You know your family and what would be best for them.  For example, my youngest is a type 1 diabetic. Her supplies will not be “packed”  into a box and then sealed with tape. She must have her supplies available all the time. So that stuff is in its regular spot on the shelf. The day we actually move and are ready to sleep in our new home, on that day, I will load her supplies into a box. Then I will take them directly over to a new spot that I have created in our new home.

But I also know the things that we do not have to have. Like towels. We can get away with one for every family member and a couple sets of dish towels till moving day. My girls and I can go without our curling irons that we do not use everyday. Usually we only use them when going somewhere nice. We do not need every book or board game we own. We can survive without things like this, so that is what is getting packed. We are going to pack everything we can live without for a little while.

Second question…(and I think the more important one!), How can I pack so that I know where everything is? It always happens. You are getting ready to move and packing things away when you realize you packed item xyz away and you desperately need it. Your choices are to run to the store for said item or to start guessing which box it is in. This is always a pain. So why not plan for it?

I am sure there are a million different ways to do this, but I will show you the way I am doing it…and YES…I have already had to reopen a couple of boxes.

I start with index cards, highlighter, pen, tape and boxes. I load items into a box. Before I tape it shut, I do a couple things. I decide what room the box needs to go to in the new house and write that in BOLD at the top of the index card. That way, whoever is carrying boxes into the next home will know exactly where to put them. I also write down all the items in the box. Now, you can be as detailed as you want. I try to use common sense. I do not list every medicine that is in the box of medicines but I do list things like medicine, blood pressure cuff, band aids, rubbing alcohol, etc.

 I also do not label a box just bathroom stuff.  We have a pretty good size family so we have a lot of boxes, even for rooms like the bathroom. The boxes I use are pretty small so that every family member can help with moving. With four girls in our family, we have a ton of hair “stuff”, beauty stuff and hygiene stuff.  I might have one box that has hair stuff in it and another box with lotion, feminine products, shampoos, conditioners and body washes. I just label so that I know what it all is. Once I have the index card finished, I tape it to the end of the box and because the location is on each label, we know they all go to the bathroom.

Every box we have has an index card. Everything is labeled to be easily moved to the correct room in the new house.  One other thing I do is use the high lighter. I high light anything that cannot be frozen or is fragile. That way those boxes are handled with care and are also not left in the garage where they can freeze.

Moving is exciting but also a lot of work. I am hoping that these few things will make our move easier. I guess I am going to find out. I will be sure to let you know how the move goes and also post about any lessons I learned along the way.

Do You Like Lists?

If you are like me, you love to make lists. For a busy mom, lists can be a life saver. I do not know how I would survive without my lists. I have so many things to remember. It would be silly to try to remember them all off the top of my head.

I use them for everything from grocery shopping to our family work days. I would be lost without them. I am always excited to try new ways to keep lists. There are all kinds of stationary, note cards, paper and even online services for your computer. I discovered something called Workflowy last week and I love it.

Workflowy is a place to keep your lists online. I have not figured it all out completely yet. They have a free and paid version. I started using the free version this week and so far I love it.  The lists are in the form of bullets. Under ever bullet, you can add more bullets. You can even cross items off the list. They have a great tutorial on how to use the service which explains it much better than I would ever be able to.  So stop over at Workflowy and check it out. I am so glad I found it. Enjoy!

 

Violin Nails

I remember in high school, realizing  that my life was gaining more momentum. Days were going by faster. The school year was over quicker every year. The summers passed in the blink of an eye. Graduation came and went.  I settled into the routine of being an adult and all that came with it. Life was normal and uneventful …yet still moving fast.

Then October of 2002 came. I became a mother. My oldest daughter was born. Life did not slow down but seemed to accelerate.  Fast forward to 2015 and my oldest …

She stopped me in my tracks.

She was twelve and getting close to being a teenager. I discovered my fear of her growing up. I am not sure exactly when this happened. I remember several times, her catching me staring at her. I would be walking through the house to go do something and I would see her out of the corner of my eye. I’d look at her and stand still, unable to stop staring at her.  Her expressions. The way she looks when she is totally lost in a book and can’t wait to turn the page. How she dances to music like she doesn’t care if anyone is watching. If there is no music, she will sing and not care who hears her.

I started to grasp the concept of her growing up to be a young lady.

At first I was so fearful. I thought back to my teenage years and all the mistakes I had made. I desperately wanted to protect her from making the same mistakes. Memories of my failures and wrong turns during my teen years started to rear their ugly head. I even had some nightmares about her making awful decisions and getting hurt. I could hardly even look at her without crying.  It was awful.

Why?

Control

I realized that she was growing older and more mature. With that comes more responsibility and making her own choices…and mistakes. This terrified me. I wanted her to always be in the safety of our home so we could protect her. My heart ached at the thought of her hurting in any way. I was not trusting God to watch over her at all. I wanted to be the one to protect her.

I became so emotional about it over the course of a few weeks that one day my husband said we needed to talk.  He sat down with me and told me that he understood my fears. He worries about the kids too. He also explained that she needed me to not be so afraid. She needed me to celebrate her milestones with her instead of bawling my eyes out every time something new came up. She was beginning to worry about sharing things that were happening in her life because she didn’t want to see me cry. She did not want to hurt me…

Wait! WHAT?

NO! I wanted her to share everything with me. I didn’t want to miss anything.

My husband let me cry it out and helped me to admit that I needed to let go of my fears. We would be there for the good times and any bad that may come along. God is the one in control. Not us. He prayed for me and encouraged me to just enjoy all of the milestones.

A few weeks later she learned how to knee board for the first time. I still remember the expression on her face. Once she got up onto her knees and had steadied herself, she looked unsure for just a second. Then she realized she was up and knee boarding.  I will cherish the joy that spread over her face forever.

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And I was there to see it. What a gift. I screamed and yelled from the boat with excitement. I gave her a thumbs up and yelled “She did it!” I turned and signaled to my husband who was on the jet ski with our son, ready to help her out of the water when she let go of the rope. He smiled and returned the thumbs up.

That moment was so precious. Knee boarding is something my siblings and I did when we were kids. We had a blast. It meant so much to me that she was getting to experience something that I loved so much at her age.

I still worry. I am a mom. It is part of my job. But I am not overcome by fear to the point that it stops me from enjoying her. I am so glad that my husband stepped in and helped me overcome this fear. I am so blessed that he took the time to pray with me about this.

Fast forward a little further to 2016. She is in private violin lessons now. She was chosen to perform in the Honors Orchestra for her district. She played in a beautiful theater in front of a large crowd of people. I enjoyed every minute of her performance. She was at the front of the stage, so for the first time I could actually see her playing.

I did cry. Not because she was growing up, but because in that moment I was so moved by her and the music. I was mesmerized watching her fingers and bow move. It was lovely. She looked like a young woman. And I was present. I was fully there, enjoying her and taking it all in. Not worrying or fretting.

I was there and I loved it.

I am so thankful.

The other night she asked for help with cutting her nails. She has cut them too far back before and likes for me to do it. At thirteen years old there are not many things she needs me to do for her. So I actually look forward to moments like these.

She brought me the clippers and as I was clipping her nails she explained what the funny little indents were on some of them. She said “Mom, it is from playing my violin so much.”

I thought about the concert and watching her play. About taking her to lessons and hearing her practice at home. It warmed my heart to see those indents on her nails. They were a sign of hours of hard work and discipline every week. I am so proud of her. She is becoming such a beautiful young woman, inside and out.

Do you struggle with fear when it comes to your kids?

I get it. I really do. But I know now that they do grow up. And they do make their own choices. Some will be the right ones and some will be the wrong ones. We cannot have control over all of their decisions forever.

What we do have control over is being intentional with our parenting. Loving them deeply. Making memories. Teaching them to love Jesus. Showing them right and wrong. But most importantly, helping them learn to discern the voice of God and learning to listen to Him. So He can point them down His best path for them…and they will go where He wants them to.

If you are struggling with fear over your children, spend time in prayer. Ask God to help you realize you are not in complete control and that is ok, because He knows every hair on their head. He loves them more than we are capable of. Take a deep breath and rest in that.

Out of Control Birth Control

Sometime last year my husband and I decided to make a change in our birth control. We spent time talking about our decision and also prayed about it. Last September we made the switch. Everything was fine at first. Then slowly, over the past few months, I have begun to experience some very unpleasant side effects…

mainly it was my mood that changed.

It started with me having what we call the weepies. Then, there were little outbursts of agitation. Agitation turned into anger. The weepies turned into a lack of interest in my own life. Everything snowballed. The last few weeks I have been having mood swings that went from strong anger one minute to hating life the next. It has been a brutal few weeks. Even my coworkers have noticed.

I have also struggled with nausea. A little here and there is one thing. Although it started out that way, it went from the occasional bout of nausea to spending half of my day feeling nauseous. My eating slowly became irregular because I had a hard time stomaching regular meals. I cannot survive on crackers. Many times when I would eat, I would immediately have regrets as the nausea would quickly return. It was awful.

All of this led up to yesterday and a story of just how blessed I am.

I came home from working a little overtime because my husband had been ill and missed some work. All day at work I had been praying about how to approach my husband about the birth control. The last thing I wanted to do was to be demanding and disrespectful and just flat out say that I was stopping the pill whether he liked it or not. Although I understand that some women may feel that it was my body and therefore my right, there is just no reason to be a jerk. I would not want to be approached this way and I know he would not want to either.

We laid down for a nap because I had gotten up at 3:30 that morning. This was so good for me. He held me as I fell asleep and was holding me when I woke up. He knew that something had been bothering me, he had been putting up with my mood swings for months. When I woke up I started to tell him about how miserable I had been feeling and apologized for all of my horrible moods. He told me that he had noticed and to immediately stop the pill and that we would use a barrier method and I could do the NFP method as a back up.

I almost immediately felt a huge weight lift off of me. I was so emotional. I cried and just let all the tension go. It was very therapeutic. He was so understanding. I am blessed to have a husband who is genuinely concerned and wants what is best for me. God is good.

But…

What would have happened if I would have approached him differently. What if I had gotten an attitude and been crabby, demanding or blamed him for the whole thing? The end result may have been the same, but what good would have been done to approach him that way? None. None at all.

So many times I think husbands and wives would respond so differently to each other if they were approached in a different way. I hear wives complain so often about the way their husbands respond and when you ask them what they said to him, their response is “Well I just told him how it was going to be!”…or something along those lines.

I understand what so many of them are saying. As in the example of the birth control situation yesterday. Yes, it is my body that was having to suffer through the effects of what the birth control was doing to it. Yes, it is true that the birth control did not have any side effects on my husband (besides dealing with me). And yes, I understand that there are some men that won’t take any responsibility in the birth control department. I know there are some men who refuse to help their wives out in this situation.  I have heard countless women talk about this before and it is a truly awful situation and I did not know for sure how my husband was going to respond.

He could have said he wanted me to stay on the pill because we do not want to get pregnant yet and he did not want to deal with a barrier method. He could have told me to suck it up. This is not his normal character, but I had no idea how he would respond after all the stress I have been putting our family through the last couple months. None the less, nevertheless, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I approached him calmly and explained what was happening and how I was feeling.

I did not…

raise my voice, use a smart tone or assume he would react a certain way.

I gave him the information and listened to what he had to say. That is such a simple concept! Even though it is easy, sometimes we forget and get worked up before there is anything to get worked up about. We think about the stories of our friends, neighbors and coworkers and almost expect disaster. So then we go into the conversation with a defensive mind set. How could I expect him to respond in a gentle and loving manner when I approach him that way? The truth is I can’t. That would just be silly.

This morning I woke up without feeling nauseated. I was over the moon excited. I know it might take a bit for the pill to be out of my system. Still, just having the nausea gone this morning felt like such a blessing. I am looking forward to feeling like myself again.

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