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

The Best Christmas Present Ever

14 years ago today, I received the BEST Christmas present I could ever ask for:

This little fella took us all by surprise by coming 2 weeks and 6 days early. Well, it was the second time he took us by surprise since his older brother was only 10 months old when I found out I was pregnant with him ifyaknowwhatimean. Punkin was born on the 23rd and came home on Christmas Eve.

punkin chirismas gift

Punkin got off to kind of a rough start with horrible colic. I tell him that if he wasn’t crying he was eating. When he wasn’t eating he was pooping, and when he wasn’t pooping he was sleeping. Since he never slept, he was doing one of the first three all the time (mostly crying!).

But, Punkin had my heart right from the very start. He had a smile that lit up the room and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

Punkin is smart, funny, and has razor sharp wit. I love that about him. He also has compassion for others and a lot of patience with his younger brothers.

Here’s to a very happy 14th birthday Punkin. I love you so very much. You are the best Christmas present ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Missy Homemaker Family to yours.

I am grateful for Storm Trooper Humor and the people who also think it’s funny.

I am thankful that my family is healthy.

I’m especially grateful that my dad has a wonderful prognosis from his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

I am super thankful for my friends Jodi and Rhonda. They both get me.

I’m really grateful that my kids are mine. We drive each other crazy, but in the end we both know who has each other’s back.

I’m grateful people keep reading this blog! Thank you thank you thank you!

And I’m very thankful and blessed to be spending my Thanksgiving with my love and my Peanut while my older boys enjoy Thanksgiving with their dad. And I can’t forget to be thankful for the steak dinner we’ll be eating. I {heart} steak.

Here’s to a fabulous Thanksgiving.

The Family Fridays Link-Up Party is Here!

This has been quite the week here in Casa Homemaker. The biggest thing was my HUGE Wellness Coaching Giveaway that I posted here. Please don’t make another New Year’s Resolution until you head on over there and read that post. Now, onto the Parrttaaayyy!

 Don’t forget to stop by HERE and enter to win 3 months of Wellness Coaching for no cost!

Welcome to Livin’ The Mom Life & Missy Homemaker’s Family Friday Link-Up Party!!!

Winter Storm Nika

Winter_Storm

For those of you who don’t live in Illinois, there are a few things you should know. Weather changes at the drop of a hat, and all four seasons are often represented in each season (i.e. the 60°F weather we had just a couple of weeks ago followed immediately by a -10°F day. Weird.). Oh and last Saturday, our basement flooded due to it raining on frozen ground. Good times had by all that day.

Having been born and raised in Northern Illinois, I’ve seen my share of very snowy winters. I saw greater evidence of this when I moved to the U.P. of Michigan for four years during college (Go Huskies!). There’s nothing like opening up your front door only to be met with snow up to your boobs as far as the eye can see. No joke.

When we moved to Iowa we were warned that the winters out there were horrible, but we found that they weren’t much different than we were already used to. The people there took those regular winter storms in stride.

Then we moved to Central Illinois. This area is a whole new animal. I’ll admit, compared to last winter, it may seem to the people who have lived here their whole lives that the world is ending by snow. We’ve gotten feet more snow this year than last.

But please. Each and every time the weather forecast calls for snow of greater than an inch, the people in this city lose their minds.

I happened to have to run to the grocery store this morning, and for a Tuesday morning, the parking lot was packed! Now I’ll admit, I didn’t even realize that there was a storm heading our way. I’d heard of one supposedly hitting up north, but because I don’t watch the news, this whole Winter Storm Nika thing had escaped me.

And inside, it was chaos! There were shoppers filling carts…multiple carts, ladies!… of groceries in order to prepare for a snow storm. My checker commented that she’d never seen such ridiculousness before. That’s saying a lot considering my first experience in this particular grocery store was a girl standing at the checkout pulling not only her EBT card, but her iPhone too, out of her bra.

This made me think a little bit more about how crazy people around here get about snow and food. I suppose I think differently about it because generally, we cook from staples and we (almost) always have those staples in the house. We buy bread most of the time, but if we ran out, I could easily bake a couple of loaves or we’d just go without. Our freezer is stocked with some meat and veggies, and we have a decent pantry going…and if all else failed, we have rice and beans on standby.

I was being snoopy today so I checked out the carts filling the check out lines. Citizen of this city: You were freaking out over Pop Tarts and frozen pizza. Seriously? You think the world is coming to an end and you’re buying that crap?

Judgement aside, I wonder how and when people moved away from putting some food back for emergencies and totally flipping out the moment there’s the possibility of bad weather.

I’ll talk a little more about this in my next post.

Tell me, do you have a stockpile for emergencies, or are you one that stocks up if there’s bad weather on the way?

SMART Goals for 2014

I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions, but ask me to write down my goals and I’m all over it.  Many people struggle with goal setting-either setting goals that are too vague or too aggressive. Often when the goal isn’t met or the actual goal isn’t understood, a person becomes discouraged and gives up.  In setting my goals, I’ve found the best strategy for me is using the SMART Goal Setting Method.  SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Action Oriented, Realistic/Relevant, and Time Bound/Trackable.  How do you use the SMART Goal Method? Here’s an example of one of my goals for 2014.

When setting a goal, first make the goal Specific:

  • I want to have more followers on my Facebook page.

Next, make the goal Measurable. How will the goal be measured and how will you know it was obtained?

  • I’ll have 1000 followers on my Facebook page.

The goal must be Attainable. What Actions will be required to achieve it?

Is my goal a challenge yet still able to be achieved?

  • Yes, it’s attainable.

What Actions will be required for me to achieve it?

  • Network through various social websites.
  • Join new blogging groups.
  • Pimp my blog where I can.
  • Participate in Facebook Page Hops.

Goals must be Realistic and Relevant.

Are my goals realistic considering the sources I have? Am I committed to achieving my goals?

  • Yes, internet time is all I need. Yes, I’m committed.

Is my goal relevant to the Big Picture? Will reaching this goal help me create the life I want to live?

  • Increasing my numbers will give me more blogging opportunities and future monetizing opportunities.

Goals need to be Time Bound.

Is my goal trackable?

  • Yes. It has a specific number.

When will my goal be reached?

  • I’m setting the goal date at May 1, 2014.

Finally, re-state your goal using all the above criteria:

  • I will reach 1000 followers on my Facebook page by May 1, 2014 by joining new blog groups, participating in various Facebook fanpage hops, and committing to 30 minutes a day for strictly promoting my blog and fan page through various networking channels.

And just for you, I put together this basic template using my pathetic design skillz to help you create your own SMART Goals for 2014.   You are free to use this template as you wish.  Best of luck with your goal setting for 2014.  Would you like join our link-up to help yourself be accountable for your goals, please grab a button! We will be doing a link-up on Thursday January 2, 2014 and then the last Friday of every month.

Wellness Wednesday: The END of New Year’s Resolutions and a Big Surprise!

Welcome back to this week’s Wellness Wednesday with M-Powered Lifestyles. In this post, I’m daring you to put an END to New Year’s Resolutions.

Yes, you read that right. I dare you to NOT vow to lose those last 20 pounds by swimsuit season. I dare you to NOT say that you’re going to start the exercise program you’ve been putting off. Don’t swear you’ll eat better…beginning a complete lifestyle overhaul on January 1st (or 2nd after the hangover has subsided).

I’m urging you instead to “Make 2014 The Year of the Best You!

best-you-300x300

What exactly does this mean?

This means that instead of making promises to change your eating and exercising habits (that you know probably won’t last to February), I’m asking you to make SMART goals for this next year.

Here’s an example”

What is it that you really want to accomplish? If you normally resolve to lose weight, why do you want to lose that weight? Do you want to be able to move better or perhaps even just walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath? Those are specific goals. Do you normally say you want to eat healthier? What are you hoping to accomplish by eating ‘healthier’ and what do you consider ‘healthy’? A more specific goal would be to have 1/2 of your plate be vegetables and greens.

Once you have your goals listed (there’s a handy printable here to help), you can then create your action plan (which is also a step on the printable) for each one. Remember, little steps added onto over time create BIG changes.

There is one thing I want each and every person reading this to remember:

You are unique, beautiful, and amazing! Your size, fitness level, body fat percentage, weight…it does not define who you are.

You don’t need to look at other women and pine for their bodies, their careers, their looks or anything else. You already have all you need to be the very best version of yourself. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.

And, sometimes, you just need support and guidance.

Saying that, here’s my big surprise!

I am giving away 10 *free* 3 month health coaching programs through my wellness coaching practice M-Powered Lifestyles.

Five lucky winners will win a 3 Month Individual Wellness Coaching Program equalling 6 sessions of 50 minutes each by telephone. The value of this prize is $600 each.

Five more lucky winners will win spots in a 3 Month Group Wellness Coaching Program equalling 6 sessions of 75 minutes each by telephone. The value of this prize is $300 per person. The starting date for this group will be Monday January 20, 2014 and will be held in the evening. Time to be determined.

Please look at the fine print under terms and conditions. This giveaway is open to everyone regardless of location, as long as you’re willing to schedule sessions during the available times. Winners will be notified December 27, 2013. Edit: The giveaway has been extended through January 1, 2014. Winners will be notified by January 3, 2014.

Not sure if wellness coaching is for you? You can read more about me and my philosophies here.

Best of luck, and here’s to Making 2014 the Year of the Best You!