Nobody’s Perfect

I wish I was a better mom.

I wish I watched less TV. I wish I ordered less pizza. I wish I read the Bible more. I wish I was more patient with my son, more gentle with my husband, had more time for my dog. I wish I called my best friend more often and never sent birthday cards out late.

I wish I journaled more than two days in a row. I wish I could stick with my diet. I wish I could find JOY in my at-work job and more joy in pre-schooling Sam. I wish I went outside more, sewed more, cleaned more deeply, cooked more often. I wish I was always on time with bills and always had enough to pay them. I wish I would never fall asleep while Sam watched cartoons in the morning and woke up to find that he’s been watching them for three hours (oh yeah, it happens!).

I wish I always flossed.

I wish I could be more forgiving of my family, of my friends. Especially my husband. I wish I could forget it all.

I wish my hair would stop falling out and that at 29 my teenage zits would go away.I wish my boobs were perky again. I wish I hadn’t made that pledge to never again dye my hair or paint my nails. I wish I didn’t have to shave everyday. I wish I didn’t have to shave EVERYTHING everyday…

I wish I had a pretty winter coat with all of its buttons. I wish I could find shoes that fit. I wish I had a savings account and a college fund for Sam and a 401K. I wish my parents had taught me about money and I wish that Rick and I weren’t so bad with it.

I wish I hadn’t given my two favorite people the flu.

I wish the snow hadn’t knocked down a power line. I wish I had cleaned better for the landlord to come over tomorrow. I wish we had moved into an apartment.

I wish our new baby was here instead of not here at all – not even a little bit yet. I wish I wasn’t fat so I could not worry about another pregnancy.

I wish I could give all my worries away. Instead of holding on to them because I think that gives me control. I wish we were already there. Already perfect. Already Home. Already Whole.

Today was a good day. A really pretty good day. And those are still all the regrets I had. So anyway, you’re not alone. We’re all the same.  I wish every mom could know that we are all the same.

Make Your (Rental) Home a Haven

home-sweet-homeOne of the biggest drawbacks to renting your home is not having the freedom to make changes in order for it to represent your family’s personality. My husband and I have been renters since the almost six years we’ve been married. We have lived in three very different places and have struggled with not being able to make repairs, paint walls funky colors, start a garden, etc. Through these struggles, however, we’ve found ways for our home to represent who we are. I thoughgt I’d share in case you’re in the middle of these struggles.

Struggle #1: Repairs Needed – No railing on sometimes icy porch stairs, a leaky roof, a room-type carpet glued to the floor, bug infestations. These are just a few of the problems we’ve had with our rentals that required repair or maintenance but didn’t seem important enough to the landlords to take care of. There are ways to handle this. You can do the repairs yourself and ask for reimbursement, you can just take the cost of them, or you can find ways to get around them. Our landlords never reimbursed us for the bug fogger or the carpet, but it was worth it to us to have these things taken care of so we handled it ourselves – with permission, of course.  If you have a major issue and the landlord won’t take it upon him/herself to make your home safe it’s important that you take matters into your own hands. We went for a whole year with a growing infestation of Black Mold on the walls, underneath the mattresses, along the windowsills, next to my baby’s bed! Our landlord told us to spray it down with bleach. We moved out the first chance we had.

Struggle #2: Making it feel like YOUR home – There are ways to personalize your home and give it your own home-y touch without painting walls, removing cabinet doors, etc. My favorite way is to create my own focal point of a room. I once had a huge collage framed in an old picture window frame (that got taken down because it was never tested for lead paint). You can also make your own curtains or drapes and have coordinated pillows, fabric squares on the wall, etc. Place plants about the place or blow up your favorite pictures – not just your formal pictures. We have a great picture from our wedding with my husband in a backwards cap and me in aviator sunglasses running underneath the arms of our friends that will (SOON!) be blown up to 11×14 and framed as the focal point of our living room. Remember, also, to keep it simple. The more things you add to your home, the more cluttered it can feel and own or rent, this is never a good thing.

Struggle #3:  Neighbors – The politics of neighbors in a rental home are tricky. The people who have lived in your neighborhood before you may have preconceived notions about you and your family due to the experiences they’ve had with the other people that have lived in your home. Bring them cookies, anyway. You really shouldn’t have to be the person to introduce yourself first, but God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves and this is how this gets done. Include a note (I just use index cards) with your name and telephone number – depending on the neighborhood – and let them know you’re there if they need you. When you see them say hello, smile, pet their dogs, whatever. You can’t feel safe in your home if you don’t know your neighbors – especially if they’re 10 inches away from you in the next apartment. (This goes for home owners, too.)

Struggle #4 – None or very little garden space – Man, this one makes me bummed. I see all the beautiful gardens all my blogging friends are planting this season and my hands just ache to plant, sow, water,  and weed. In the home we’re at now, we have just enough yard for the dog to go potty.  But we can create a lovely herb garden and keep healthy, toxin reducing plants in each room of the house. We also visit the local Farmer’s Market in the summer and fall – this gives us community that we would otherwise miss out on – plus it funds small business and family farming. The other sad part about renting on a year lease is knowing that what you plant this year will be enjoyed by someone else next year – always frustrating especially if you know you won’t be living there for longer than your lease. The best thing to do is look on the bright side – at least your nails still look pretty!

In the six years that we’ve been renting as a family every single day I have dreamed of owning my own house. I have the colors, the kitchen, the living room, the garden, the garage all laid out in my mind. I see my son and our dog running in the yard and I see me hanging up our clothes to dry on a hot summer afternoon with my husband diligently working in the garage or mowing the lawn. But I’ve learned that a house/apartment/duplex is only wood without my family. A home is not brick or wood, but the family that God houses you with.

How do you make your rental a home? Please share your thoughts, struggles, ideas!

Does This Look Attractive To YOU???

I am 28 years old, so if my opinion changes here I’m sorry. I expect to feel the same on this subject when I’m 87, but who knows? Maybe I’ll hit 45 and demand plastic surgery, Botox, expensive age creams tested on animals, etc. But NOT NOW! Right now my wrinkles are starting to get makeup stuck in them by the end of the day. And I have this long, thick strand of white hair that (honestly!) I am loving! My ta-tas that used to be lovely and attractive now most certainly need a bra – even when no one else is home. Other stuff is starting to happen, too. Who knew that at 28 (ok, well, almost 29) I’d already be noticing these changes? Certainly not me!

But in everything I am I know that I am more beautiful than this picture. WAIT! I am NOT saying this woman isn’t lovely. In fact, I do believe that without the touch up and the facial distortions brought on by computer imaging she would be very beautiful. But how’d you like to be her? Knowing that this is your picture? I don’t think I’d even do it for money.  

I HATE THESE ADS! I HATE THESE COMMERCIALS! I GET SO FURIOUS WITH THE HOLLYWOOD STARS THAT I LOVE AND RESPECT AND SEE UP THERE IN L’OREAL COMMERCIALS!!! (L’oreal tests on animals, by the way.) Women are beauiful. And yeah, men naturally age more gracefully. And yeah that sucks. Big time. All my husband has to do is grow a beard and he all of a sudden looks distinguished. I can spend 30 minutes a day REMOVING my excess hair and all it does is make me look less hairy! 🙂

Oh, but women, you are beautiful. I look at my mother – now 56 – and her hair is longer than mine, completely gray. She wears long, flowy skirts, way too much jewelry, and always smells like Chanel No. 5. And when she smiles her soft, smooth skin glows and all I can think of is how warm and beautiful she was when she would kiss me good-bye to go have a night out with my dad. And honest to God she is more beautiful now than ever. But that’s just my opinion. It WOULD be nice to be electricly beautiful and sexy for my entire life. But I won’t be – haven’t been for SOME TIME NOW. I don’t care. As long as I can be as beautiful to people as my mom is now, I’ll be good. And it won’t cost a thing!

How Much TV is Enough for Your Toddler?

***Disclaimer: I have cheated today and posted this on both blogs. This is a really important subject to me, though, so there!***

For toddlers, the verdict isn’t quite out yet. In doing research today I came across varying guidelines.

Back story: I get home at 1230 am every night, eat dinner, and go to bed by 130-2. It’s just what I have to do in order for our family to eat. My husband works in the mornings so that Sam doesn’t have to do daycare. In the mornings, however, Sam comes into my room and watches TV. And not just 20 minutes as I wake up. He watches about an hour a day – sometimes less, but it’s all that I can do. And when I feel like I’m a good mom I always come back to how we spend our mornings and feel EXTREMELY guilty. When I was staying at home with Sam he got almost NO TV at all…

In doing my research today for recommended TV time for toddlers, I found that the “experts” are either recommending up to two, no more than 30 minutes, or none at all. Those that recommend none say that even educational shows are destructive.

Have you noticed that you child is different after watching TV or do you think it calms them down? I worked with a boy with slight Autism who’s parents swore that TV was good for their son because it was a time that he could zone out. I agreed with them.

Here’s my advice: Do what you feel is enough. My goal is to give Sam 30 minutes of TV time in the mornings and if I’m too tired I’ll neglect some laundry and take a nap instead so that he’s not sitting on the bed for an hour waiting for Lazy Mom to get up! 🙂 And on the days that I’m not tired we’ll watch no TV at all. That’s what I feel is good for OUR family.

What’s good for YOUR family?

Websites with information on TV Time for Toddlers:

Recommendation: None

Recommendation: Up to Two Hours

Recommendation: Up to 30 minutes or less

How do YOU…?

How do you balance your checkbook? Please help a sista out. I tried and tried as a young married girl (long ago) to manage our finances and would either end up in tears or so completely off with our checkbook that I bounced a check every month. So my sweet husband took over. And bounced at least 3 a month. And sometimes school loans would come in and we would start at zero again and I’d be all, “Ahhhh. Nice. Easy…” and the statement would come at least 10 off every month. I gave up for real…

 

Then my husband bounced a bunch a month or so ago and I’m doing bills again. I think the difference in men and women is that men want what they want and will make money to get it. Women want to pay off their debts even if it means no conditioner (a big deal for a curly-haired girl like myself) or if it means being very tight with everything for a very long time.

We’ve moved into the tightness. No more setting aside fun money or ice ream money, etc. We are getting the bare-bones minimum. And while I think this is what’s best I find myself worrying about that blasted checkbook… Maybe I’ll swear them off for a month or two. I just feel so uncomfortable with the online system – there’s nothing to check off and how do you remember where you were last time? What about receipts? What if you forget that you paid $1 in library fines?

I need help!!!

How do you balance your checkbook? (Also, keep in mind please, that we do not make enough to pay all of our bills and have cut out everything that we can – besides phone, internet, and cable which pays for itself in rental fees that would incur.) We usually cut out tithing if we have to – something my hubby is fine with, but I am ABSOLUETLEY AGAINST!

Kellie

…And I’m back…

Hello friends! I wish that I could tell you that I am here with boxes unpacked and neatly tucked away ready for our next adventure, but I can not. What I CAN tell you, however, is that they are put away, out of sight, in our lovely little closets and garage!

Earlier this year we were tried with (how do you say it?!) not having a home secured for us before we left our other rental house. To be brief, the home that we had rented for 3 1/2 years was poisoning us and we needed to leave. We thought we would have a home before we moved out, but most landlords found it tough to admit a family with a Great Dane dog (even if she is a runt!)!!! Understandable? Absolutely, yes! After moving in with my parents for two weeks and a few days we got the offer to move into this house and took it immediately. It is not what we had dreamed of and it is not what we expected, but it is healthy and I truly feel that God has called us to this specific area of the city in order to be an ambassador for Him.

Our new home has no yard (except a small spot for Annie Dog to pee), there are no sidewalks at all in the area, it is in the yuckiest neighborhood in the town, and it is 30 miles from our jobs. BUT it is extremely close to my mom and dad and again, it’s healthy – no mold, no lead paint, no holes or leaks anywhere. I have noticed a surprising amount of yucky spiders, but I’ll live – we’re centipede-free so far! (fingers crossed!)

I got a job, too, which is the only way that we can even pretend to afford such a huge gas bill and such a large spike in rent. I mostly hate it, and it pays so-so, but I get my days with The Boy and this I can not complain about. We have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and there is (WOO HOO) a basement for imclement weather. Mostly, I’m a happy girl, but will never stop wishing for that farmhouse in the country with tons of kids who can run as far as their lungs will allow them, a wrap-around porch, a huge vegetable garden, three dogs lazing around, and a few chickens.

But no matter where we live I know that my HOME is with God and that I can find hope, joy, peace, and  strength in my friend, father, mother, and Lord – Jesus Christ. My family is healthy and we are a strong, loving, tightly-knit unit. I am blessed beyond what most can even imagine.

I hope that this small, humble message finds you well, friends, and I look forward to meeting up with you more frequently from now on. Blessings! Kellie

To Do, Ta Da!

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So I haven’t been around much. It seems like I either blog a lot or not at all. I sure love Mondays, though, because everyone else is up and running again. Am I the only one who just can’t function on Mondays??? I feel like such a Non-Super Mommy, like Grumpy Lazy Queen, maybe? If I could only find a superhero costume for that one I’d try out for “Who wants to be a superhero?” Best show ever, I’m tellin ya.

So, ok. I have some goals for today that I’m pretty sure are gonna get nixed once I start feelin really crappy, but I’ll write them for you as some sort of silent advocate for good mommy-hood. I know. I am so full of excitement I’m almost peeing my pants myself and can only IMAGINE your enthusiasm…

1. Dishes. This includes every plate, blowl, cup, mixing spoon, etc. Because it’s been two days. Yep that’s it… (We don’t have many dishes!)

2. Sweep floor in kitchen. I already vacuumed the floors in the bedrooms and the living room, so I’m marking that off because, hey, I am the Grumpy Lazy Queen and all…

3. Make the bed AND put on the duvet finally… it’s been so long. I should wash the sheets because we smoked when we went out this weekend and crashed hard without taking a shower, but we only have one fitted sheet and no top sheets, so I’ll let it go a few more days.

4. Shower! That should be done already. I know this. Give me a break though, my vertigo is coming back because we’re out of heat again….

5. Make muffins. This has been on my To-Do list forever. I got a really good recipe here and can’t wait to try it out. However, I will be using frozen mixed berries, so I’ll let you know if this is doable or not…

6. Upload pics from new camera onto snapfish and send to family.

Ok. There’s my fantastical and so amazing day. I know you’re jealous, but try to keep in mind that jealousy is a sin, people!!

Kellie