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A blog to support, encourage, and mentor at home moms in all aspects of home making and family life.

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Sunday
Mar262017

The Thing I Disliked The Most About Motherhood

The thing I disliked the most about motherhood?

Being rushed.

All.

The.

Time.

From the minute they were born.  Waking up to their frantic, hungry cries.  "Hurry!  Feed me!!  I'm about to die of hunger!  HURRY!!!!  GET UPPPPPPPPP!!!"

To the countless years of school mornings.  From pre-school to graduation.  Get them up, get them dressed, do their hair, get them fed, stop fooling around, hurry up!!!  Eat!!!  Come here, I need to wipe your face.  Stop it.  No, it doesn't hurt.  Get your shoes on.  Where's your backpack?  What do you mean you forgot your lunch?!!  I just packed it for you and told you it was on the counter!  Now we're going to be late.

To the moment at the end of the day, when you've just put your feet up and turned on the TV and now they need a ride somewhere, or to be picked up from somewhere.  And so you hop in the car, and rush out to get them, hoping to get at least an hour in front of the TV before you pass out from exhaustion.

And you know what?  It never let up.  Not until the day they each married.  Literally right up to that day.  Get up!  Hurry!  We've got hair, and make up, and photos!  

And then they moved out.  

And it was quiet.

Deafeningly, 

quiet.

It was weird.  And I ached for the busyness of a family.  I ached for it for a long time.  I missed them.  I missed the commotion.

But now I don't.  

Now I love the slowness of my empty nest, retired full-time mom, life!  Slowness is my absolute favourite thing about empty nest!  The ability to set my own pace and my own schedule.  And the knowledge that at the end of the day, when my husband and I lay out on the couches to watch Survivor, that no one will interrupt us.  We can just lay there until we decide to haul ourselves off to bed!  And when our little grand daughters come over to play, that's all we have to do.  Play!  I don't have to make sure they…..  fill in any of the thousand and one things you young moms have to make sure your kids do in the course of each day.  Or when I want to snuggle my newest grand-love, my baby boyfriend Skipper, I can pop over and sit on the couch and just snuggle.  And listen to him coo, and look into his beautiful, baby eyes, while his mom takes advantage of the time to race around, tidying the kitchen, finishing up computer work, flipping loads of laundry.  Because she's rushed.  Of course she is.  She's a full-time mom!

But I'm not.  So I'm not.

Young mom's take heart.  You're busy.  We know that.  All of us who raised you, before you were raising them, recognize that.  

And know this.  It's not going to let up.  You know how you think; 'When they go to kindergarten, I'm going to…'  Ya, that's probably not going to happen.  Because there's never as much free time as you think there's going to be.  There will always be something, some demand, some unexpected errand, that takes longer, and requires more attention, than you had expected.  But you know what else?  You'll miss it when these days are over.  You'll miss being the hub.  The centre of your family's life.  The one who kept all the balls in the air.  And know this too.  When that day comes, and your house is quiet, that it's okay.  It's nice.  It's weird at first, but, there's a whole other stage waiting for you.  A stage that's much more about you!  So rush around.  Keep everybody on track.  It's tiring, I know.  Very tiring.  But enjoy these rushed years.  Try to steal moments in the midst of it, and breath in the blissful chaos of family life.  Because one day you'll be where I am, and then it will be your turn to rest.

Friday
Mar242017

A Blessing For Your Grandchildren

As many of you know, I'm quite in love with being a Grammy to my grandchildren, and how devestatingly heartbroken I was at the loss of our fourth little one, Goldie Bloom.  Who I will write about one day, but today is not that day...

Today I wanted to share with you a blessing.  For our newest baby love, Skipper Augustine Menzel.  Born on my 48th birthday, the most wonderful birthday gift I have, or ever will, receive, and the answer to tearful, heartfelt and anxious prayers.

This is something I've done for each of our little ones, and if you're a grandparent, it's is something I encourage you to do.  It's been a wonderful blessing to me as I've thought through writing personalized blessings for each of our grandchildren, and something their mother's can keep, and each child can look back on as they grow.  A legacy of love and faith, they can carry with them, and over them, for their entire lives.

Presented to Skipper and his Mommy, at his baby shower this March ~

 

Skipper Augustine Menzel,

You are the fifth of my beloved grandchildren.  Having you in our family is an answer to earnest and heartfelt prayers.  Yours was a conception we barely dared pray for, and your gustation was one that tried our ability, yet again, to rest and trust, in God's goodness, as we waited anxiously for your birth.

We're a family that has been tested, and tried, and who have found God to be steadfastly faithful in both our sorrow and our joy.  And to speak of your birth without recognizing all that God has faithfully walked us through would be ungrateful.  We know better than most what a tender and precarious miracle each new little life is, and so we thank and praise our God for giving you to us, strong and healthy and oh so beautiful.  You, little boy,  have brought a light back into your mother's eyes.

And so my darling baby boy, my blessing over you is;

May you grow in strength and stature.  

May you be blessed with health and safety.  

May you always bring joy to your parents, and to this whole family.  

May you come to know the Lord early, use the strength of your youth to serve Him, and despite this culture, keep yourself pure.  

May you establish a home and family honouring to Lord, one to whom you will be unwaveringly faithful, and lead well.  

May you love, fear and serve our God all your life and find wisdom in the frequent reading of His Word.  

May you be an example to other men and bring pride to your parents.  

May you find rest and peace in your old age, and die, full of years, surrounded by those you love.

We pray these things over you this day, my precious grandson.

With love and prayers,
Your Grammy


Skipper's birth
Chatty Skipper 

 

Thursday
Dec292016

In Favour of Marrying Young

To Brady on his wedding day~

There's something very special about witnessing the kids you watched grow up, marry.

Today, our very dear friends, are celebrating the first wedding of their three boys.  Their middle son, Braden, will marry his long time girlfriend, Hannah.  And they couldn't be more excited.  

They're darling.  Exactly what you hope a young couple will be.  Starry eyed, innocent, optimistic.  They both live at home with their parents, and after today, will move into their first place together.  They will, as the saying goes, "Begin a life together."

And this is what has become so rare, and in my opinion, is still so special.  To begin together.  

We did it, our parents did it, and our own girls did it.  We began life the day we married.  None of us owned homes, or even condos.  We didn't have our careers all settled; Braden is still a student, Hannah a dental hygienist.  Our furniture was bought, during our engagement, during weekly, very exciting trips to Ikea, because that was what we could afford.  And any pieces that hadn't originated in Sweden were hand-me-downs from our parents.  Every stitch of cook wear, every dish, cookie sheet, knives, forks, everything - had been given to us at bridal showers along the way.  And the day we arrived home from our honeymoon, we went straight to my parents' house to open our wedding gifts so we would have sheets to sleep on that night, hoping someone had filled that registry request.

I often talk to 23 years olds, who are madly in love, who tell me that they're waiting to, "get things settled" before they marry.  I'm here to tell you, and trust me on this one - life is NEVER settled!  I've been married 27 years, and life still isn't settled.  Materially, financially - you will always need or lack something!  Situations change; homes get bigger, babies arrive, yards need mowers, kids need hockey gear - you will NEVER get to the point where you can say, "Great!  Got everything we need, let's sit back and just be in love for the next 50 years."

If you're in love, don't wait until it's stale.  Don't take the magic out of it, waiting years and year to finally settle down.  Here are the things to worry over, to get settled before you say I do: 

Do you have a shared, common belief system - are you from the same faith back ground?  This is a big one!  This can cause a lot of problems down the line.  Not only between the two of you, but between your families and how future children are raised.  How will this look in your everyday life?  Will you attend church, temple, mosque together?  Will you take your children?  Talk about this now.  Seriously, I know you're madly in love and it will just "work out," but it won't.  You need to articulate your expectations around this topic.  In my opinion, this is a deal breaker.

Do your families and closest friends, approve of him/her.  If you're parents don't like your beloved, there's probably a good reason for that.  Actually listen and consider what they have to say. 

Have you discussed what you want your future to look like?  Do you want children?  When?  Will you work after they're born?  If no, are you willing to make financial sacrifices to make that happen?  Will you stay in the town you're living in now?  Move?  Talk about this stuff, don't assume you're on the same page.  Just because that's how your parents did it, that doesn't mean that's how everyone expects things to go.

How do you expect to spend your leisure time?  Do you spend your down time together now?  Or do you head out with the girls and he meets up with the boys?  Once you have kids, whose going to be the one staying home Saturday afternoon, while the other heads out to "relax"?  

This is just my opinion, and the opposite might work just fine for you, but I find couples are happiest when they enjoy spending their leisure time together.  I've known lots of women who become very resentful of husbands who are taking off to "spend time with the boys," every chance they get.  Golfing, playing in ball leagues, having a beer with the boys, while she's the one left running kids to lessons and games, alone.  

Do you have common activities you do together that you can continue to do once you're a family?  One night a close friend of ours nailed the key to my husband's and my relationship on the head, so incredibly accurately, that I was shocked.  My husband is an introvert, I'm an extrovert, so we've always thought of ourselves as the proverbial "opposites attract".  That was until our friend said, "Ya, you're opposites with common interests.  You both love spending time with your family, you both love to watch movies in bed, and you both love to get dressed up and go for dinner."  Boom!  That was it!  Those three simple things completely summed up how we'd been spending our leisure time for the past 30 years!  And it works.  Introvert or extrovert, it doesn't matter, these are the things we love to do, and we've always done them together 

Be sure you enjoy doing things together, before you commit to being together for the rest of your life.  If you don't you'll end up feeling like you're both just separately contributing to the business of a family.

And finally, do you know how to resolve conflict with each other?  Do you know how to work through a disagreement in a healthy, respectful way?  This one is tricky.  With us being opposites, we come at disagreements completely differently.  We've had to learn over the years to simply give the other time to cool off, and then in plain, simple language, with dredging up past history, explain why we were upset.  Sometimes owning that it was just because of a bad day or hormones.  Not every disagreement is a commentary on the state of your marital relationship, sometimes there's just too much traffic on the way home, and it's fine to just leave it at that.

This is where pre-martial counselling with a pastor, priest or counsellor can be so helpful.  They can equip you with tools you'll need in the future.  Teach you non explosive, non exacerbatory language for arguing.  "When you do that, it makes me feel…"  "I felt angry when you…"  "I was hurt when you didn't…"  Not - "You always…"  "You never…"  "You think…"  They can also teach you not to bottle things up.  To learn how to communicate, and that it's okay to express anger or disappointment.  We've found one of the most important parts of avoiding conflict is simply letting the other person know our expectations, to avoid, "But I thought were going to…"  "But you never said that!"  "Isn't it obvious?!  We always…"

Learning how to argue fairly, and also learning when to simply leave the other person alone, is a big part of a harmonious marriage.  This comes about over time, as you learn each other, but starting out well equipped is always a good idea.  If this is not part of your pre-marital counselling, ask that it be added, you'll be glad you did.

 

That's it!  Well, it's not, there are thousands of little things, but these are some of the big ones, the things you need to settle before you say I do.  Not two cars, a starter home not more than 30 minutes from the core and two weeks in Hawaii every Spring.  Building a life together might be an old fashion notion, but I can tell you from experience it's lovely.  A LOT of hard work!!!  Don't get me wrong!  But the year we went on our first fly-away vacation, (5 years after we got married), bought our second car, (when I was expecting our second child), and bought our first, incredibly crappy, run down, out in the boonies, but oh so exciting first house, (the Summer after our second daughter was born), were some of the most exciting times in our marriage.  And those financially poor, early years, were some of our sweetest.  Yes, there were tears, but they were over a young couple learning what the other needed and how to give that to each other, and what the other wasn't capable of giving, the things that friends and family were better at providing.  These were the biggest challenges we faced, and they wouldn't have been any different inside a beautiful, mortgage free home with two Audi's in the garage

If you're in love, make sure you're ready, ask for your parents' blessing and advice, and then jump in!  Financially things will come together over time, that's honestly the least of your concerns.  Marry well, marry seriously and soberly, marry with the intension of marrying for life, and you'll be just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Nov022016

The 10 Minute Trick That Will Keep Your Closet Organized FOREVER!!!

Okay, prepare yourself, I'm about to blow your mind.

I learned this trick 3 years ago, and it's changed my life.  Well my clothing life, which admittedly is a big part of my life.

In my ideal world, I would clean my closet out at the end of Spring/Summer - when I bring out my Fall/Winter clothes, and then again, at the end of Fall/Winter when I switch them back.  But it's a HUGE job!  So I tend to avoid it, and just throw the Summer stuff in with the Winter stuff, and just resign myself to a crammed closet, knowing the things I love are in there somewhere - if I could only find them!

Then came "The Tip."  The tip of all tips!  Wait for it!

At the beginning of a new season, flip all your hangers around.

That's it!  Seriously!  That is the whole tip!  You will NEVER have to clean out your closet again!  I'M NOT KIDDING!!!  Trust me!  I've been doing this for 3 years, I've consigned or given away about 50% of my clothes, I don't miss a thing and now I love everything in my closet.  I just flipped all my hangers last week, when I declared it "Fall" in my world! So most of mine are still reversed.

I'm pretty sure I'm wearing the same number of items I did before, they're just not drowning in the over growth of stuff I never wore, which makes the things I do have feel more special.  In fact, my closet sort of feels "boutiquey" now.  Fewer, more beautiful things, nicely hanging - as opposed to squished like they were before.  (I was so excited about this I bought matching store-ish hangers!)

So here's the formula that has changed my life, and the lives of several girlfriends who have also tried this.

Right now, go into your closet and spin every single hanger so that the hook faces the wrong way.  See pic.  

Wear your clothes normally.  But when you put them away, hang them back on the rack, normally.  With the arch of the hanger facing you.

Of course things that come out of the wash, get placed on hangers that hang normally, because you've obviously worn them.

Then at the beginning of Spring (because we're currently in Fall/Winter), look at any items whose hangers are still reversed, and ask yourself why.  Too small, too big, don't like it, needs alteration?  Need something to wear with it?  It's more of a keepsake than a day to day item?  And decide if you still want to keep it.  There's no pressure to get rid of it, if you have an extra closet where you store heavy Winter things during the warmer months, simply put it away with the hanger reversed so you'll remember next Fall to put it into your closet in the reverse position.  If it's still like that after a couple seasons, I'm guessing you won't have much trouble parting with it.

(If you don't have an extra closet available, just switch the hangers around twice a year anyway.  The systems still works, you'll just have to allow for things that haven't been worn because they were out of season, not because you didn't feel like wearing them.)

The other thing I like about this system is I find I try to choose things from reversed hangers, I often find that I really love certain things, I've just gotten out of the habit of wearing them. 

In the past 3 years that I've done this, I now spend about 10 minutes switching out my seasonal stuff.  I don't even really look at the things on the hangers facing forward - I know I like them.  I just go through the things still reversed and decide if they're worth storing until next Fall, or if I should put them into my consignment bins.

Which brings me to my one last suggestion - since I've started doing this, I've bought myself two additional laundry hampers that I keep in the closet under our stairs.  One is labelled "Summer" the other "Winter".  As soon as I decide I don't want to keep something it goes into that hamper, then I cart the whole thing off to the consignment store at the beginning of that season.  I keep all this money hidden away to buy - more clothes of course!!!

Since I've been doing this, I find I shop differently.  I buy fewer, better things that I get more pleasure out of wearing.  I don't feel guilty when I buy something, because I know I need it/will wear it, I also find I enjoy my clothes more because they're under control, I know what I have, and I like every single thing in my closet.

This is definitely worth a try!!  :) 

 

Tuesday
Sep202016

How To Get Your Husband To Whisper Sweet Nothings

Every girl wants her man to whisper sweet nothings.  To say those things we all love hearing.  The things he used to say spontaneously - way back when.

I've been married 27 years and over that time, I've figured out how to get my husband to tell me exactly what I want to hear.  And here it is…

I ask him!!!!

Yup, that's right!  I straight out ask him to say what I want to hear.  Never mind ask him!  Half the time I simply tell him!

 

"Who's your favourite girl?"

-Shonna Peeler!  (He always uses my maiden name on this one).

~

"Tell me how much you love me."

-Ummmmm….  347

"Wow!  It's really high today!"

-Oh ya!

"What's that out of?"

-15

"Nice!!!"

"Tell me nice things."

-What kind of nice things?

"Tell me you love me."

-I love you…

"I love you too.  More nice things."

-You're beautiful...

-You're a good Mom...

-Candles.  (He threw that one in one mid-Winter day, when I had about 15 candles burning all around the house.  Candles are definitely "nice things!")

Call me crazy, but when I tell him what to tell me, it doesn't feel any less sincere than if he had said the same things spontaneously, unbidden.  He smirks, eyes twinkling as he comes up with the number for how much he loves me that day.  Because the thing is, I know he loves me, thinks I'm pretty, that I'm his favourite girl, it's just not in men's natures (at least not in my man's), to wax poetic at the end of a long work day, or in the midst of Saturday chores, and frankly I don't want to wait for the occasional romantic dinner or luxurious vacation to hear it!  So I just ask!

These are flirtatious interactions, that invite intimacy into an everyday moment.  They remind him, he's my boyfriend and I'm his lover, and we don't have to be in bed or Bermuda to enjoy that knowledge.  They're a verbal smack on the back side, or peck on the cheek.  They're playful, the little things, we women so often accuse men of forgetting.  And that's exactly the point!  They do forget!  I realized this several years back, when I told him, I didn't feel he was being affectionate enough with me.  His response was, "You know I think the world of you, and that I find you very attractive."  Me, "Ya, I know.  And you act like it, I'm not complaining about that, but I want to hear it."  Him, "Ya, I know, I'm bad about saying it." 

And there it was, of course I knew he loved me, desired me, treasured me, but I wanted to hear it.  And he was more than willing to tell me, it just simply didn't come to his mind to tell me, as often as I needed to hear it.  So that's when I just started asking!!

"So….  How do you feel about me today???"

-I love you!

"How much?"

-Tons!

"Do you think I look pretty?"

-I think you look gorgeous!

"Thanks!"

That's it.  Done.  No pouting that he hasn't noticed me in a while.  I ask, he answers, we kiss, the end.

 

**If you have a cute image that would be great for this post, please feel free to send it to me through the "contact" button!  I'm picturally challenged, but love having nice images on my posts!  (Non-copy writed images only please).