Mothering Boys: Sometimes I don’t look

This is my 15th year as a mom. What started out as being a mom to one son has compounded to being the mom to four.

Four. Boys.

When you see things like this for example:

it isn’t a clever saying or cutesy sign…

IT’S THE TRUTH!

Boys are the loudest most dirty creatures alive. For months we had no jeans in the house that weren’t stained or ripped in some way. There is no carpet produced that doesn’t weep when one of my kids walks on it.

Blood, mud, tears and stains…all par for the course.

Living with these boys is like living with a whole herd of the Peanuts character Pig Pen. I’m pretty sure on any given day there’s a little dust cloud following these guys around settling on any and all surfaces they come across.

And then there’s the smell. Boys have a specific aroma (you can read about my oldest son here. Smells like Teen Spirit? Uh. Teen Stench.)

Is that to say that I don’t love my boys? Not at all. I so love my children with such a passion that it surprises me.

This of course isn’t cutting daughters down in any way. I’ve just never been a mother to a daughter. I’m a stepmom to one, yes, but it’s not the same.

So on with my story: As the boys were playing Saturday night, and the decibels were rising, I knew I’d hear it sooner or later and as predicted, the boys didn’t disappoint. “MOM!! Come here and look at what Peanut did.”

Of course later this was followed by, “Oh my gosh. You should see their room!” (meaning Sweet Pea’s and Peanut’s).

Now, as a newer mother, I may have just jumped up in a panic and raced to wherever the children were anticipating the worst. Is he bleeding profusely? Did he put a hole in the wall? What’s ruined? Did someone light the carpet on fire?

As one seasoned at mothering boys however, I’ve become smarter…or perhaps better able to keep my stress levels lower with this one simple tactic:

Sometimes (more often than not) I simply don’t look.

Yes, you read that right.

Whatever the boys are up to, if someone isn’t crying then I know no one is seriously injured, if someone else isn’t screaming, then I know that no horrible wrong was done, if I don’t smell smoke then nothing is on fire, if there was no crash, then there’s no chance of a hole in a wall, and the simplest one of all: They’ve already ruined all the nice things we had, so the worst that could happen is that something got ruined-er.

Yes, as a mother of 4 very strong-willed energetic (loud) boys, I’ve had to learn how to pick my battles.

I’ve also had to learn to lock the door behind me to the bathroom and my office, threaten them all, and make it absolutely clear that someone had better be severely bleeding or have lost an appendage in order to make them disturb me, but that’s another blog post (or not).

By not policing their every move, mothering boys has been so much easier and less mom-tantrum inducing. The boys have also had to learn how to problem solve amongst themselves (which is a feat in itself considering the almost 10 year span from oldest to youngest).

Do I ever look? Sure I do. I look plenty. Sometimes I do have to step in. Sometimes someone is being  his own special brand of butt that day and needs to be corrected.

And sometimes I mess with them just to keep them on their toes.

What? Like you don’t know that messing with your kids is the best part of being a parent

Busy weekend ahead!

Are you tired of hearing about our ‘homestead’ yet because I’m not tired of talking about it. We’ve had a busy couple of weeks and a busier weekend coming up.

When we first arrived at our house, we discovered that the previous owners had cleaned NOTHING. It was disgusting. The refrigerator smelled like rotten milk and had mold growing between the shelf and frame.

The bathrooms were equally disgusting.

I say with no small measure of pride that I’ve never left a house looking worse or dirtier than when we moved in. I just assumed that all people would work their tails off cleaning walls and floors. But no, not all people do that, and it seems that some people, once they have the money in their hands, run for the hills without a second look (or a single scrub as is the case here).

Busy weekend

The first couple days were filled with vacuuming and scrubbing before the moving truck got here. I should be ashamed to admit that not all the boxes are unpacked yet, but I’m not. There has been so much more to do!

One of my first priorities when moving out here was to get a garden in. We planted our potatoes last week in the existing garden bed, but we still have a whole stack of seeds. So, I spent the better part of a day building two ‘lasagna’ gardens.

I’ve also been pulling weeds in the existing flower bed, dividing some plants that were already here, and simply taking care of my family.

I’m repeatedly struck with a sense of awe when I step outside in the morning only to realize that we actually live here. Although we definitely have our challenges (What?? No internet?!), and country living isn’t for everyone, it’s a dream we’ve held for so long it seemed unreachable.  I’m back to my country roots, and they feel so good.

This is what the rest of the week and weekend looks like:

  • Finish the chicken coop in the corn crib. It’s the best space we have for them right now, and time is short. J has been ripping up rotten flooring and trying to figure out how to patch the hole in the roof above the ‘oat room’ that will be the coop. DONE!
  • Finish the garden beds and add another if we have time. One of our goals is to produce a significant amount of our food, and this garden is a good way to begin doing that immediately. Not only that, but fresh food that you’ve worked so hard to grow yourself tastes so much better.
  • Head to my parents’. The boys and I have dentist appointments early next week and since we still go to the same dental office I went to as a kid, we make the trip for that purpose twice a year.
  • Cry a little over the fact that I now have two teenagers with driver’s permits. Jeremy was able to transfer his over since he’s had an Iowa one previously, and Punkin just passed his permit test this week. DONE!
  • Help Sweet Pea finish the fence around his pumpkin patch. Talk about a go-getter. He’s totally surprised me with his gumption since we’ve gotten here. Wanting to plant a huge breed of pumpkin, S.P. had to break ground in a new place in the yard. I’m proud to say that he not only measured and staked it all out himself, but he’s done a fine job of running our little tiller to break up the sod. Punkin has pitched in to help with his fence.
  • Same with Punkin, but his is a corn patch. He’s got three varieties to plant-sweet corn, an ornamental that can also be ground for corn meal, and a hull-less popcorn variety .
  • Continue to pick and freeze rhubarb. I’m not even sure how to use all of this yet, but it’s free and it’s here so we’ll find something to do with it.
  • Take the youngest two to the doctor for physicals so they can get back into school. DONE!
  • File for our homestead tax exemption. DONE!
  • Plant some flowers in the bed in front of the garage.
  • Take stock of the food we have, plan our meals for the next month, and see what I have to get the next time I go grocery shopping.
  • Wake up each morning in our brand new huge  and deliciously soft bed, in our little old farmhouse with the stunning views,  and be grateful that I get to do that. EVERYDAY! Oh my gosh, you have no idea 
  • Remember to be thankful to all of those who served and were lost this Memorial Day and every day.

Thank you all for sticking with me as my posting has been so erratic and crazy. Hopefully, as I figure out a schedule, I’ll be able to utilize my time a little more wisely by writing my posts at home then using my library internet time to cut, paste, and schedule them out for the week.

What has been going on with all of you? Is your Memorial Day weekend shaping up to be a busy one?

What holds you back?

As you can see there’s no Family Fridays this week…obviously.

Yes, I know you are devastated, but Carli at Livin’ the Mom Life and I have both had a bunch of ‘stuff’ going on. And by ‘stuff’ I mean life. And by life, I mean kids. Sick kids.

Instead, today you get a peek into what my brain has been pondering all week. Scary I know. Sometimes I don’t even want to peek at what’s in  my brain.

But, here it is: What holds you back?

What brought on this pondering was an ongoing discussion my husband and I have been having about my homesteading dream and his cabin dream.

I rrrreeeeaaaaallllllyyyyy want to homestead. My idea of homesteading is like what my dad would call, “those damn back to the landers” of the 70s. Off-grid acreage (although I need some electricity for my cell phone and wi-fi. I’m not a total heathen.), natural living, and leaving as small of a footprint as possible. I want to learn the skills that people of years past had.

My husband dreams of a cabin on a wooded acreage where he can hunt, where he can feel like he’s on vacation every day, where he can relax and be able to do the things he loves.

We both yearn for a simpler life. One that isn’t complicated by noise, smog, traffic, and if I’m completely honest, people. With Big Daddy having worked in retail for the last several years, he’s had his fill and it’s no small secret that the older I get, the less thrilled I am to be in a room with greater than like, 10 people. Unless it’s a wedding reception where the beer is free, but that’s a story for another time.

We both want the porch and rocking chairs and the view to take in with our morning coffee.

So what are we letting hold us back?

It’s a valid question, and one that has been weighing on my mind since I saw this:

I’ve seen things like this before, and I’m not sure why this one made me think more than the others. Maybe, like I said in this post, it’s because I realize that at my age, I’m likely at the beginning of middle age. Not to mention, the clock seems to be ticking faster and faster as time goes on.

Why don’t we move forward with our dreams?

We find excuses in everything. It wouldn’t be fair to move the kids again. (Which is ridiculous. They’d love to move.) We have to wait for the right time. (Is there ever a right time?) We need to make sure there’s enough money. (There’s enough.) We won’t be able to afford it. (If we choose correctly, we’ll easily be able to afford it.) What about jobs? (Actually, this one is valid, but there are jobs available where we were looking.) What if…what about…

Can anyone else relate? How do you approach your BIG dreams to make sure they come true?

We have cabin fever

We totally have cabin fever right now.

The kids are being little hell-raisers. I’m getting crabby. The husby is getting tired of coming home to a house of bickering boys and a pissy wife. We have cabin fever! (Of course it doesn’t help that we really do have cabin fever.)

Something like this would be nice.

The weather has been ridiculous. One day winter with a wind chill of -50ºF, then decent winter weather, the next day rain and a flooding basement, and then back to freezing.

Punkin is leaving tomorrow to spend a week or so with my dad in order to go ice fishing. He’s been looking forward to it for weeks now. Unfortunately, some weather models are predicting up to 22″ of snow for that area over the next week!

Yes, I do live in Illinois and yes, it’s pretty typical of Illinois to have weather that runs the gamut but hello extreme temperature swings!

Okay Nature…Joke’s over. You can return to your regularly scheduled weather now.

Oh, and am I the only one who thinks the whole ‘Groundhog Day’ is stupid? I mean, regardless of whether the ground rat sees his shadow or not, there’s still 6 weeks of winter left.

For the record, I do love the movie Groundhog Day. One of my favorites as a matter of fact.

This post is randomness at its best.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

photo credit: Patrick Henson via photopin cc